Boebert’s political headache grows during his bid for re-election

By | March 18, 2024

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) is in a political situation now that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), whose seat she wants to fill in November, is leaving Congress early.

Observers say Boebert is at a disadvantage because the special election for the remainder of Buck’s term is being held on the same day as the full-term primary — a move that former President Trump’s divisive ally says was specifically aimed at hurting the president. her.

Boebert, who nearly lost reelection in her current district, now must navigate even trickier political terrain in hopes of staying in Congress, with some Colorado Republicans saying she faces an uphill battle.

“This is like asking people to split a ticket, but on steroids,” said Republican political analyst Kelly Maher.

“When you look at ticket splitters, it’s generally not the same name twice, right?” Maher added, citing the fact that whoever runs to fill Buck’s seat in the short term will likely also be on the ballot in the full-term race.

“You are asking people to vote for another party. But she has to argue that you should vote for a completely different person while the same name is mentioned twice. That’s going to be wild.”

Boebert, who currently represents Colorado’s western 3rd Congressional District but recently moved to Colorado’s eastern 4th District, is fighting to keep her congressional career alive after announcing late last year that she would be switching districts and running in front of Buck’s chair.

Buck announced Tuesday that he would leave Congress earlier than expected, at the end of next week.

The announcement triggered a special election to fill out the remainder of Buck’s term, which Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) set for June 25, the same day as the primary.

Boebert opted not to run in the special election, which would have forced her to vacate her current seat, citing in part the Republican Party’s already slim majority in the House of Representatives.

Each party selects its candidate to participate in the special election; with the district leaning heavily Republican, the GOP nominee chosen for the special will be considered the heavy favorite to fill out the remainder of Buck’s term.

Boebert labeled Buck’s decision as “a gift to the Uniparty” and claimed that “the establishment engineered a swampy backroom deal to try to rig an election that I am winning by 25 points.”

Although party members agree that Boebert had no room to leave her seat in the House of Representatives to try to run in the special election — which would have triggered another special election and given Democrats the opportunity given to win her current seat – some say Boebert still faces an unenviable position.

“Essentially what Lauren is going to ask voters is to vote for someone else in the special election, but against that same person in the primary, and vote for her instead. And that is definitely a heavier burden,” said Republican strategist Ryan Lynch.

Boebert first entered Congress in 2021, defeating former Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) in the GOP primary. This past cycle, however, she narrowly won her Republican district in a race against Democrat Adam Frisch, in one of the biggest shockers of the midterm elections.

Frisch is running again for Boebert’s seat and has already raised tons of money. Fearing that she might lose to him this time, the congresswoman opted to switch districts. She took her decision to run for the 4th District as a “fresh start” after finalizing her divorce from her ex-husband Jayson Boebert.

Boebert has faced a number of damaging headlines in recent months, including being ejected from a “Beetlejuice” musical in Denver after footage caught her apparently vaping and behaving disruptively, and several disputes between her and her husband which ultimately led to her receiving temporary benefits. restraining order against him. She asked for the temporary restraining order to be lifted this week.

At the same time, Boebert has the coveted support of former President Trump and a clear financial advantage over her opponents.

The latest federal campaign filing, from the fourth quarter of last year, showed Boebert raised $540,000 and started this year with nearly $1.3 million cash on hand. Former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R), seen as one of her most formidable opponents, raised $154,000 in the last quarter and had nearly $151,000 cash on hand. Businessman Peter Yu had $254,000 cash on hand, including a $250,000 personal loan.

The ad tracking company AdImpact noted on Xthe platform formerly known as Twitter, Boebert placed her first traditional ad buy in the race on Thursday.

“What I will say is that we will go ahead and make it very clear that the congressman wants to earn the support of the Republican primary on the 25th. [of June]. She has a proven conservative record,” said Boebert campaign manager Drew Sexton.

Sexton also dismissed recent headlines about the congresswoman, arguing that these events do not define her record in Congress. Sexton said she has called deputies around the district and participated in dozens of forums, events and Lincoln Day dinners.

“One event doesn’t take away from four years of being absolutely steadfastly conservative on every issue when it comes to voting for Coloradans and actually voting for the American people, and I think people understand that. Her work has not slowed down,” Sexton said, noting that her Pueblo Jobs Act was signed into law as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Some Republicans believe that while the special election offers an advantage to the Republican candidate, that person won’t necessarily be a shoo-in.

Dick Wadhams, former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, suggested that “there will be some benefit” to whoever is selected as the nominee, but added that he “wouldn’t overdo it.”

Boebert isn’t just trying to convince Republicans that she has changed and still deserves their votes; she also has the tough job of convincing them to elect her in an entirely new district. During a Republican primary debate in January, some of her contenders called her a “carpetbagger.”

Larry Forgey, the chairman of the Baca County Republican Party, said the sentiment he has heard from his county about Boebert seems mixed.

“I’m glad Lauren Boebert was there. She has a good record, and that counts for a lot,” said Forgey, whose county is at the southeastern tip of the state.

“I’m just in the middle because I want someone who will stand up and support and uphold the Constitution. And she did. Now I appreciate that,” he said.

“I think there are some among the other candidates who will do that, but I’d rather have a commitment to that than really anything else,” he added. “But at the same time, I want them to know who we are.”

The story was updated at 11:59 am

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