Titones file photo

In this file photo Colorado Rep. Brianna Titone, D-Arvada, looks over a bill before Colorado Governor Jared Polis delivers his State of the State address to a joint session of the Colorado Legislature in the State Capitol in Denver on Jan. 10, 2019.

A Republican vacancy committee has nominated Arvada Republican Lynn Emrick to challenge state Rep. Brianna Titone, the Democrat seeking a third term in the Jefferson County-based House District 27, a spokesman for the committee told Colorado Politics.

A founder of a Christian elementary school and a newcomer to electoral politics, Emrick replaces Arvada small business owner Christina Carlino on the general election ballot following Carlino's withdrawal from the race last month.

"The vacancy committee would like to say thank you to the wonderful applicants willing to stand up to represent their district," Sarah Jacobs, the district's GOP chair, said in a text message. "We ultimately chose Lynn Emrick. Her energy and excitement, support network, and fundraising experience will give us the head start we need in this race."

The five-member committee voted unanimously to pick Emrick after interviewing her and two other finalists Friday night in a closed-door meeting at a police substation in Arvada, according to a committee spokesman, who declined to identify the others who sought the appointment or to say how many applied.

Emrick and her husband live in unincorporated Jefferson County with their three young children, a stone's throw from Arvada city limits. Attempts to reach the candidate on Monday were unsuccessful.

Last year, Emrick and five other moms founded Acts Academy, a private Christian school attached to a church in Wheat Ridge that enrolls children from pre-school through fifth grade, according to Facebook posts.

“We are bringing God back to the forefront of education and desire a return to foundational values that are centered on Christ and His Word, the core family service to our community and charter modeled after Jesus’ example and the fruits of the Spirit," a promotional brochure for the school says.

Titone, the first transgender lawmaker to serve in Colorado's General Assembly, defeated Republican Vicki Pyne by just over 400 votes to win her first term in 2018. She won reelection last cycle by a more comfortable margin in a rematch with Pyne.

"I will continue to campaign as I have in the past: learning about the district's constituents and creating relationships in the community," Titone told Colorado Politics when the vacancy was announced.

Titone serves as vice chair of the House Technology Committee and sits on the House Energy and Environment, and Health and Insurance committees.

Matthew McGovern, executive director of the House Democrats' campaign arm, the House Majority Project, told Colorado Politics on Monday that he likes Titone's chances of winning a third term.

"We feel very confident that Rep. Titone’s great work in the legislature and the Democratic lean of this seat will keep it in her hands this November," he said in a text message. "The GOP has seen a massive backslide in Jeffco in the past decade, and their continued embrace of election conspiracies and attacks on abortion rights will only make it harder for their candidates to win."

According to voter registration figures released Monday by the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, unaffiliated voters make up 46% of the district's active voters, followed by Democrats at 29% and Republicans at 23%, with the remaining 2% belonging to minor parties.

At the same point in 2018, unaffiliated voters accounted for 38% of the district's active, registered voters, with Republicans in second place at 32% and Democrats trailing with 28%.

Libertarian Jacob Luria, a Golden resident, is also on the November ballot in the district.

Titone had about $7,600 on hand after raising $36,000, on top of nearly $9,000 left over from her 2020 campaign, according to campaign finance reports covering fundraising through July 27. Through the same period, Carlino raised about $3,200 and finished with about $500 left over. Luria reported raising $110 and had the same amount on hand.

The district leans toward Democratic candidates, according to an analysis of its voting history prepared by the state's Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission, which drew new legislative boundaries last year. Across eight recent benchmark, statewide elections, Democratic candidates ran about 12 points ahead of Republicans on average, the analysis found.

Pyne, the Republicans' nominee for the seat in the last two cycles, first made her way onto the ballot in 2018 when a vacancy committee picked her to replace the incumbent, former state Rep. Lang Sias, after the Arvada Republican dropped his reelection bid to mount an unsuccessful run for lieutenant governor as GOP gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton's running mate. This year, Sias is the Republican nominee for state treasurer and faces Democratic incumbent Dave Young in November.

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