The Republican Party in Colorado is gaining on Democrats when it comes to nominating candidates that represent Colorado’s diverse heritage.   Two of Colorado’s top targeted legislative races both feature minority GOP candidates and have made the list of “14 in ’14 Races to Watch” put out by the Republican State Leadership Committee:

Martinez Humenik

  • Beth Martinez Humenik, Colorado Senate District 24

JulieMarie Shepherd

  • JulieMarie Shepherd, Colorado House District 40 

Beth Martinez Humenick is running against former Rep. Judy Solano for the seat being vacated by term-limited Sen. Lois Tochtrop.  Martinez Humenick’s grandparents came to America during the Mexican Revolution to give their family a better life and have proudly lived here since.    The Adams-county based seat has always been a middle-of-the-road bellwether for Colorado.  Even though Tochtrop is a Democrat, she leans right on many issues including guns and energy and has often been a swing vote in the Senate.  Whoever wins this seat can’t be viewed as a rubber stamp for their party, which puts Solano at a major disadvantage.  Martinez Humenick is a real trailblazer and her focus on education, the economy, roads and healthcare puts her ideologically in-line with the constituents she is hoping to represent.

JulieMarie Shepherd is challenging Democrat Rep. John Buckner for his Aurora-based seat.  She has already distinguished herself in the community and is an at-large member of the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education.  Shepherd is young, energetic and hungry to make a difference.  Buckner has also tried to distinguish himself on education, but he is very much seen as being ‘old guard’ and enjoys close ties to the teachers union.  In order to win this competitive seat, candidates will have to bring fresh ideas to the table and be able to connect with the changing face of the district.

Both Martinez Humenick and Shepherd will benefit from the RSLC’s recognition since national attention means more money will flow into those races.

CORRECTION: This post has been corrected to reflect that JulieMarie Shepherd is not of Hispanic descent.