Sitting state lawmakers in the Denver area were leading their primary challengers Tuesday evening, though a Larimer County Republican appeared headed for defeat in her effort to move from the state Senate to the House.

In the House District 22 race for the seat representing south Jefferson County, incumbent Rep. Colin Larson of Littleton had 56.4% of the vote compared to former Rep. Justin Everett’s 43.6% in the Republican primary, according to 11 p.m. results.

The race has become a contentious one as part of a larger battle within the GOP over to what extent candidates should toe the party line — particularly on social issues. House District 22 is one of the most expensive statehouse races on the primary ballot, with nearly $359,000 in outside money spent, some of it on attack ads.

Larson said Republicans in the district gave resounding approval for how he represents them.

“It just says the people of House District 22 were ready for an effective leader. They weren’t buying the idea that voting no makes you conservative,” Larson said.

Everett, his opponent, was known as “Dr. No” when he served in the House but had stepped down in an unsuccessful bid to be state treasurer.

In the House District 6 race, three Democrats were vying for the seat currently held by Steven Woodrow of Denver. Woodrow was appointed by a committee in February to replace Chris Hansen, who stepped down to fill Sen. Lois Court’s seat. Woodrow had 45.7%, Steven Paletz 30.6% and Dan Himelspach 23.7% at about 11 p.m. Tuesday.

In Hansen’s race to retain the Senate District 31 seat, he led with 55% of the vote to Maria Orms’ 45%.

Some races in Weld County have been as contentious as the Jefferson County race, with outside groups spending tens of thousands of dollars to back candidates in the solidly Republican districts. For example, in the House District 48 race — a race that some Republicans say, like Larson’s, could play a role in challenges to House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s leadership — $314,000 in outside money was spent. Tonya Van Beber had 56.5% and Grady Nouis 43.5% Tuesday evening.

One of the biggest surprises of the statehouse races may have come in Larimer County’s House District 49, where Mike Lynch was leading Sen. Vicki Marble 66.3% to 33.8% for the Republican nomination for an open seat.

Results in other contested primaries in the Denver metro area as of 11 p.m.: