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Tipsheet

Is Lauren Boebert Facing Political Extinction Come November?

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is a feisty bomb thrower from the Centennial State’s 3rd Congressional District. If anything, she embodies what Republican voters want in their politicians: someone to take a baseball bat to the Capitol Dome. And while I enjoy Boebert doing her best to infuriate Democrats, she’s repeating the old habits that nearly got her fired in 2022. She had a restaurant—Shooters Grill— where the servers open-carry firearms.

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Like Trump, she has a solid social media following. You’d think that would provide an excellent foundation to raise money, and it should, except her Democratic opponent, Adam Frisch, who nearly unseated her last time, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more than her and has more cash on hand. It’s still early, but even her Republican colleagues are raising alarms that Ms. Boebert needs to get back to her district and start hitting the constituent services part of the job hard. 

Boebert probably likened herself to Trump, albeit a more local version. And while she was able to capitalize on that in 2020, the people she represents want more from her. The push to impeach Biden and take a blowtorch to the media, the Department of Justice, and other instruments of the Left play well to a national audience, but her constituents want stuff. It’s the same with every member of Congress. It might be that the Colorado Republican is stuck in election mode by going hyperbolic, though in a good way, on red-meat GOP issues but then not being able to follow through on the simple, boring stuff. It’s why one GOP colleague said she needs to start taking credit for things she’s never been part of as the election kicks into gear (via NBC News) [emphasis mine]: 

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“A lot of Republicans have been bewildered by her,” said Dick Wadhams, the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party from 2007 to 2011. “She has not changed her operating style, either substantively or just generally.”

One House GOP lawmaker, who knows Boebert well, offered this advice: “Her ass needs to get home to go campaign. Cut ribbons, go to bar mitzvahs and take credit for stuff she had absolutely nothing to do with.” 

In a part of Colorado that leans conservative but is accustomed to electing pragmatic Republicans and Democrats who tend to focus on local issues like water, natural resources and agriculture, Boebert stands out in the wrong ways to a segment of voters, Wadhams said. 

“The perception, whether it’s fair or not, is that Congresswoman Boebert has paid more attention to fighting these battles within the Republican Party than she has paid attention to the district,” the former Colorado GOP leader said. “Now, I’m sure her office would refute that. The trouble is it gets obscured by how she conducts herself. And that’s what she’s battling right now.” 

[…] 

“We need to get voter turnout. I think that all Republicans need to focus on ballot harvesting where it’s legal in Colorado. And, I mean, that’s something that we have to pay attention to or we’re going to continue to be in the mess that we’re in,” Boebert said in an interview as she descended the Capitol steps. “Democrats chase ballots while we’re chasing voters. And so, I mean, we have to get in the game.” 

But Boebert also said she’s focused on “delivering” for Colorado’s sprawling 3rd District that includes rural areas, the cities of Grand Junction and Pueblo, and wealthy ski resorts around Aspen. While she didn’t provide specifics — and her office didn’t respond to a request for comment — some recent press releases have focused on local issues, like her water payments bill getting a hearing, her bill to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list passing out of committee and securing a $5 million grant for a rural health center in a spending package she voted against.

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First, the Colorado GOP has been a circular firing squad for years. Still, the observation about going home more is a salient point for the Republican incumbent, who only survived 2022 by 564 votes. Frisch’s near win shows two things. One is that Boebert’s district isn’t as red as she thinks to carry on with some of her Capitol Hill action items. Aspen and Pueblo make the Colorado third more competitive. Second, Frisch, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat, might appeal to enough Trump supporters to make this 2024 rematch as contentious as the last election. Frisch nearly beat Ms. Boebert. You can’t do that without a lot of Republican votes. It once again looks as if we need to start packing sandbags there. Keep an eye on it.

Boebert is smart to mention ballot harvesting, and yes, we should do everything we can to defend this seat. 

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