Jeff Crank wins battle of Trump vs establishment in Colorado

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Jeff Crank wins battle of Trump vs establishment in Colorado

Jeff Crank emerged with the victory in the heated race for the GOP nomination in Colorado’s 5th Congressional District, besting Trump-backed Dave Williams in one of the most watched primary elections of the day. 

Crank won the GOP nomination Tuesday with 67.9% percent of the vote, at the time the Associated Press called the race.

The race for the nomination was one of the most closely watched contests around the country, pitting state Republican Party Chair Dave Williams, a former state representative, against conservative activist Jeff Crank.

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Dave Williams, chairman of the Colorado Republican party. Photographer: Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Williams, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, has been at the center of controversy in the final days of the race after his comments on Pride Month in a series of emails in social media posts.

“God Hates Pride,” Williams said in one social media post, according to a Colorado Politics report.

The comments spawned a movement to remove Williams from his post as Party Chairman among GOP county members from across the state, the report noted, though those backing the effort acknowledged the petition to remove the candidate from his leadership position was largely a symbolic one.

Williams ran his campaign to the right of Crank, promoting a conservative agenda and a lack of need to compromise with Democrats.

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Crank, who was endorsed by House Speaker Mike Johnson, ran as the more traditional Republican option, promising continued U.S. support for Ukraine and to work across the aisle in order to pass legislation.

Jeff Crank speaking to campaign audience indoors

Fifth Congressional District candidate Jeff Crank speaks in front of supporters during a meet and greet at the Brandt Barn in Black Forest, Colorado on Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

Neither candidate was able to clear the $1 million mark in fundraising, with Crank hauling in just over $500,000 in contributions compared to the just over $100,000 raised by Williams, according to Federal Election Commission data.

But outside groups made a push to elect Crank down the stretch, with a Colorado Sun report earlier this month noting that Republican PACs had spent more than $1 million attempting to boost Crank’s campaign.

The heated primary battle was made possible by the retirement of Rep. Doug Lamborn, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek a 10th term.

Dave Williams speaking into microphone

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams. (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

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Crank will now go on to face the winner of the Democratic primary, which pits River Gassen against Joe Reagan.

The seat is largely expected to stay in Republican hands, with the district being won by a member of the GOP in every election since it was created in 1973.

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