The Colorado Independent 2016 Candidate Questionnaire

Colorado State Capitol
Colorado State Capitol

This year, for the first time ever, The Colorado Independent sent out a questionnaire to all the candidates running in Colorado’s House and Senate races.

The 17-question survey asks our incumbent and would-be lawmakers how they feel about gun rights, healthcare, school vouchers, and pay equity; where they stand on the hospital provider fee, personhood amendments, water conservation, campaign finance laws and a potential switch from caucuses to primaries. We asked each candidate who they support for president, and whether they’ll be actively campaigning on their candidate’s behalf.

We’ve heard from about one in four candidates so far, with a much higher response rate from Democrats and third-party candidates than from Republicans. Responses are coming in every day — here’s the response rate so far:

58 percent of Democratic candidates
13 percent of Republican candidates
50 percent of third-party candidates

36 percent of Democratic candidates
9 percent of Republican candidates
47 percent of third-party candidates

Of Colorado’s 57 incumbents up for re-election this year, only seven (all Democrats) have responded so far.

Notable takeaways:

  • Not all Republicans support Trump and not all Democrats support Clinton. We heard from candidates on both sides who are unhappy with their choices.
  • Democrats and Libertarians support aid-in-dying measures, but we saw both Democrats and Republicans who are still either unsure or are willing to let voters decide. Republican Linda Garrisson, HD 41, considers it murder.
  • Democrats tend to support mandatory water conservation measures and Republicans tend to oppose them, but there are candidates on both sides who are still unsure.
  • Personhood is unpopular across the board. Same for caucuses.
  • Democrats favor public funding for IUDs (long-term birth control) for teens. Libertarians and Republicans, not so much.
  • Also: Republican Al Jacobson from HD 32 found our questionnaire too long. Democrat T.J. Cole of SD 23 responded to the survey, but ignored the questions turned in actual answers. Libertarian Roy Dakroub of HD 50 loves swearing.

This questionnaire is meant to increase transparency, accountability and communication between elected officials and their constituents. It’s very much a work in progress, and we’ll continue to update it as responses from more candidates come in.

Don’t see your candidate? Find your districts, look up who’s running for House and Senate there, and tell them you’d like to hear their views.

Candidates, send your responses to and we’ll put them on the site.

We’ve placed candidates’ responses on the maps below. The colored icons — blue for Democrat, red for Republican, black for third party — show candidates from whom we’ve received responses so far. Click “see answers” to read them in full.

Colorado Senate

Colorado Senate Inset

Colorado House of Representatives

Colorado House of Representatives Inset 1

Colorado House of Representatives Inset 2

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that Julia Endicott, a Democrat running for House District 20, supports concealed carry in schools. Endicott is against concealed carry in schools and supports background checks for concealed weapons permits. 

Interactive maps made using ThingLink. Infographics made using Venngage. House and Senate district maps via Google maps. 

Photo credit: F Delventhal, Creative Commons, Flickr 

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.