Lauren Boebert’s reelection race is too close to call
This story was originally published by Colorado Public Radio November 8, 2022. Updated at 7:28 am, Nov 9.
Hardline conservative Rep. Lauren Boebert is facing a tougher-than-expected reelection race, with her Democratic challenger, Adam Frisch, holding a small lead all evening.
Boebert went into the race in a strong position. Redistricting solidified the 3rd congressional district’s red lean, with a 9-point advantage for Republicans. And unlike most of the Colorado delegation, she had the advantage of national name recognition and about $2 million in campaign cash.
Talking to her supporters Tuesday evening, Boebert said she was still waiting on “same day voting ballots” to be counted.
“We know that a lot of Republicans have waited for today to vote,” she said. “They're doing that in Mesa County. They're doing it all over Colorado's third district.”
Still, while many votes remain to be counted, of those that have been tallied, she has been underperforming in many counties, compared to the 2020 results.
Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll said Frisch has worked hard to build “a coalition of normal” across party lines in the district.
“He has specifically courted all normal Republicans on the Western Slope, aggressively gone after the unaffiliated vote, which is the majority vote [in that district], and he reached out to the Democratic base vote early,” she said, explaining Frisch’s slim lead in the race.
Boebert herself came to the office after scoring a surprise upset against Republican incumbent Scott Tipton in the 2020 primary. But her first term in Congress has been continually marked by controversy. Shortly after arriving in Washington, D.C., she released a video saying she’d carry a gun at the Capitol. Boebert was also criticized for a tweet she sent on January 6 telling her followers Pelosi had left the chamber, as a mob was breaking into the capitol. She later joined objections to the certification of the 2020 presidential election results. More recently she heckled President Joe Biden during the state of the Union address.
Democrats tried to have her removed from her committees after she suggested Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar was a terrorist.
Meanwhile, Frisch, a former Aspen City Council member, has run as a relatively conservative Democrat and has barnstormed all across the district to make his centrist pitch.
On Tuesday night, he expressed cautious optimism about his chances, explaining he didn’t want “get out over my skis” and declare victory prematurely.
“I'm not gonna offer any type of a hundred percent we won,” he said. “Are we winning? Yes. Have we won? No.”
Mesa County Commissioner and former congressman Scott McInnis said voters in the district expect their representative to deliver. “I think patience runs out pretty quickly… And so if the congressperson from this district did not deliver, you know, they're gonna have to be held accountable.”
While registered Republicans outnumbered registered Democrats in the third district, unaffiliated voters are the largest bloc. According to the recent state numbers, about 44 percent of active voters in the district were registered unaffiliated, while 23.5 percent were registered Democrats and 34.4 percent were registered Republicans.