DENVER – Elisabeth Epps, an abolitionist and criminal justice reform advocate, defeated Katie March in Colorado’s Democratic primary for House District 6 in Denver – the most expensive legislative race during the 2022 primaries.
Epps founded and is the executive director of the Colorado Freedom Fund, which pays bonds for people in jail who cannot afford it and helps them to attend the court hearings. She holds a law degree, worked as a public defender in Colorado and as an organizer on criminal justice issues.
She says she sees abolition not as getting rid of all law enforcement but rather working to stop cyclical criminal prosecutions which typically affect underserved communities most.
She was one of a dozen plaintiffs who were awarded $14 million total by a federal jury that found the group of protesters had their civil rights violated by police officers during the 2020 protests in Denver over the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.
“I’m the Dem nominee, and with a clear path ahead to November we know I’ll soon be Representative-Elect!” Epps said in a Facebook post Friday.
The race was also one of the closest in this year’s primaries for several days. Epps trailed March, a legislative aide and adviser who worked under Crisanta Duran and Alec Garnett, on election night. But as votes continued being tallied, she took the lead, and the Associated Press called the race Thursday morning.
The Denver Elections Division put out final numbers on Thursday afternoon showing Epps won with 8,982 votes (53%) to March’s 7,957 votes (47%).
March said in a tweet Thursday afternoon she had called to congratulate Epps and concede.
“It is clear that she will bring incredible passion to the job as our next State Representative,” she said.
More than $400,000 was spent by outside groups in the race – the majority of it coming in support of March and in opposition to Epps.
House District 6 includes Capitol Hill, the Cheesman and Congress parks areas, Hale, Montclair, Lowry and Windsor neighborhoods and leans heavily Democratic.