Lauren Boebert Faced A Grueling Reelection Battle. So She Called An Audible

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  • Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert abruptly announced she is running for a different district in 2024, hoping to increase her chances of being elected for another term.
  • Boebert would’ve faced a challenging reelection bid in the state’s 3rd Congressional District where a formidable Republican and Democrat was running against her.
  • “It’s clear she knew that she was going to lose in the 3rd Congressional District, if not the Republican primary, the general election. And I think that’s been clear for some time,” Dick Wadhams, longtime Republican strategist and former chair of the Colorado GOP, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado faced an increasingly challenging reelection bid in her current district, so she decided to run in an environment that’s safer for the Republican to win in 2024.

Boebert would have had to face Republican attorney Jeff Hurd in the primary and Democrat Adam Frisch in the general, who came within 546 votes of ousting her in 2022. After the congresswoman experienced personal headwinds this year with a new relationship following her recent divorce, Boebert opted to run for outgoing GOP Rep. Ken Buck‘s seat instead, whose district is more of a Republican stronghold than her current post.

“Disappointing as she is clearly concerned about losing to Jeff Hurd or Adam Frisch and is doing whatever she can to keep her seat in Congress while jeopardizing our ability to retain Congressional District 3 as well as our slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Dave Williams, chairman of the Colorado GOP, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “There were many Republicans counting on her in CD3 and they were let down today.”

During her announcement video, she acknowledged Frisch’s strong fundraising numbers by taking aim at “Hollywood elites and progressive money groups” for attempting to “buy” her district. Frisch has brought in a total of $7.8 million this year compared to Boebert‘s $2.4 million, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings.

The congresswoman also argued the move was the right decision for her “personally” after experiencing a difficult year in the public eye. After the congresswoman filed for divorce in mid-May, Boebert began dating Democrat Quinn Gallagher, who owns a LGBT-friendly bar in Aspen, Colorado.

Most recently, the couple was caught on security cameras engaging in intimate behavior during the musical “Beetlejuice” in Denver, Colorado, and were kicked out of the venue for vaping and being loud. Boebert reportedly made comments resembling “Do you know who I am?” and “I will be contacting the mayor,” all of which she later apologized for.

Dick Wadhams, longtime Republican strategist and former chair of the Colorado GOP, argued that the incident shook the constituents, even her “very loyal base,” and argued it made the Republican primary much more competitive.

“It’s clear she knew that she was going to lose in the 3rd Congressional District, if not the Republican primary, the general election. And I think that’s been clear for some time,” said Wadhams.

Both Wadhams and a GOP strategist based in Colorado, not yet authorized to speak publicly on the race, believe Boebert’s absence in the 3rd district will make it easier for Republicans to win the seat next year. Williams, however, disagrees.

“I think it’s going to be harder for us to win CD 3 because we’re going to have a much weaker candidate being our nominee now,” Williams told the DCNF. “And then it’s going to be harder for her to win the primary in CD 4 than it otherwise would have been in CD 3.”

The Cook Political Report is moving Boebert’s seat to the “Lean Republican” category after being in the “Toss Up” column since July, David Wasserman, elections analyst for the group, announced on X following the congresswoman’s announcement. Buck’s seat in the 4th district is characterized as “Solid Republican.”

Wadhams argued that her switch to run in the 4th district has “caused consternation” among the already large GOP primary field, and believes her candidacy will split votes among the Republican hopefuls.

“I think she overestimates how popular she is, that she can just kind of walk into that district and these candidates are just going to fall by the wayside — they’ve been campaigning for months, some of them. This was always going to be an intense primary, boy, this elevates it very much,” said Wadhams. “There’s an arrogance that, ‘I have to be returned to Congress.’ This is not about representing Colorado, or the 3rd district or the 4th district. This is her absolute obsession with being in public office. That’s what this is all about. And I just think she’s gonna encounter more opposition than she thinks.”

Conversely, the GOP strategist argued that Boebert’s high name ID and fundraising capabilities put her in a strong position coming into the primary, which the operative expects the congresswoman to win.

“Based on the field right now, if you just contrast like name ID and money in the bank, like $1.4 million in the bank with 90% name ID, unless you have a similar name ID or similar money in the bank, it’s gonna be tough for anyone to overcome,” said the strategist. “I think the bigger sentiment among the candidates generally would be someone who doesn’t live here attempting to represent the district to keep the seat in Congress. I think that would be more of their objection.”

Boebert’s current district is on the western side of the state while the seat she’s now eyeing is located in East Colorado. The congresswoman said in her announcement video she’d be moving to the 4th district in 2024.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 13: Adam Frisch, Democratic candidate for Colorados 3rd Congressional district, arrives at the Hyatt Regency on November 13, 2022 in Washington, DC. Newly elected members of the House arrived in the capital today for orientation. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 13: Adam Frisch, Democratic candidate for Colorados 3rd Congressional district, arrives at the Hyatt Regency. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Hurd, a former board chairman of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, launched a primary bid against Boebert in mid-August, arguing that he’d provide “serious leadership” for the district in Congress as opposed to “creating more problems.” The Republican has since brought in just under a half million dollars, and has $355,900 cash on hand, according to the FEC filings.

The funds Hurd has already raised are impressive for the short time span that he’s been in the race, Wadhams argued, adding that he’s also garnered endorsements from “very prominent figures in the party.” Former Gov. Bill Owens, former Sen. Hank Brown, former President of Colorado Mesa University Tim Foster, several county commissioners and state legislators have since thrown their support behind Hurd’s bid.

“The race for the third district has always been about who can best fight for our agricultural producers, deliver economic development, protect our energy independence, and serve the voters of the district in a serious and hardworking manner. I’m that person,” Hurd told the DCNF following the news of Boebert switching races. “We have the support of elected and previously elected Republicans all over the state and district, and I will fight every day to ensure this seat stays in Republican hands.”

Kristi Burton Brown, another former Colorado Republican Party chair who spoke with the DCNF prior to Boebert’s announcement, didn’t believe Hurd had the name recognition to compete with the congresswoman in the primary despite her vote count likely to have been lower. However, Brown warned that the congresswoman would face stiff competition in the general against Frisch.

“Especially with the same opponent, who certainly at the time, like two years ago, he didn’t have high name ID nor enough money to beat her or compete to the level he needed to to win the seat. Whereas this year, that’s different. He’s increased his name ID. He’s been able to raise money not just in Colorado, but nationally. Any campaign, I think, would be concerned about a turn of events like that,” said Brown.

Frisch is now a more widely known Democrat who has become a fundraising powerhouse. The Democrat served on the Aspen City Council from 2011 to 2019 after chairing the Pitkin County Financial Advisory Board for six years.

There has been scant polling on the race, however, a recent survey, sponsored by Frisch’s campaign and released in late August, showed him up by 2 points against Boebert. Another Democratic-aligned poll, released in early April, found the two tied.

Boebert has held the seat since 2020 when she beat incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in the primary, and won by over 6 points against the Democratic opponent.

Neither Boebert nor Frisch’s campaigns responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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