Colorado US Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-Silt) controversial move across her state to seek re-election now appears as less of a long shot.
The Congresswoman is moving into this open eastern Colorado district instead of again facing former Aspen City Councilman and 2022 Democratic nominee Adam Frisch, America’s most well-funded congressional candidate (raised more than $7.7 million through the September 30, 2023, reporting deadline), in her original District 3. In 2022, Rep. Boebert won the nation’s closest re-election, a 546 vote victory over Mr. Frisch.
The state’s open 4th District has attracted ten Republican primary candidates in addition to Ms. Boebert, but at least two of them are beginning to self-destruct. The pair of prominent District 4 Republican candidates now find themselves embroiled in controversy. State House Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R-Ft. Lupton) was arrested in 2022 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated in addition to possessing a firearm while intoxicated. Mr. Lynch pled guilty to the charges and is serving a probationary sentence.
His congressional candidacy has obviously brought the arrest to the forefront, and the publicity surrounding it ignited a movement within the state House Republican caucus to remove Mr. Lynch as Minority Leader. Avoiding a potential adverse outcome from a caucus vote, Mr. Lynch quickly resigned his leadership position instead of facing public rejection from his colleagues.
Pro-life state Representative Richard Holtorf (R-Akron), another District 4 candidate, who in urging a No vote during debate on an abortion related piece of legislation, stated that he had helped finance a girlfriend’s abortion and rather astonishingly proclaimed that having the procedure helped her “live her best life.” He, too, is at the center of a media storm and his inconsistency will clearly diminish his prospects as a congressional candidate in the state’s most conservative district.
Though other credible candidates, such as former state legislator Ted Harvey, are in the crowded GOP primary, Rep. Boebert is now better positioned in a foreign political region thanks to two of her main opponents being forced to navigate through rough campaign waters.
The candidate filing deadline is April 1st, so we will see just how many of the 11 contenders follow through with becoming official.
The first indication about how well Rep. Boebert is received in her new district, an eastern prairie region that perhaps has more in common with neighboring Kansas rather than mountainous western Colorado, will come at the Republican nominating assembly scheduled for April 9th. Here, the 4th Congressional District delegates will cast their votes to automatically place candidates receiving more than 30% support directly onto the primary ballot.
Those not receiving the required percentage can collect 1,500 valid Colorado voter petition signatures to earn ballot placement. Candidates receiving less than 10% of the delegate vote are disqualified from further participation. Contenders not wanting to go through the convention process can directly file the petitions to gain a ballot line. Therefore, considering all the qualification exercises, it is common for an original candidate field to winnow before the primary election, in this case on June 25th.
The 4th District is open because five-term Rep. Ken Buck (R-Windsor) is retiring. CO-4 is the strongest Republican CD in the Centennial State. The FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as R+26. Rep. Boebert’s current 3rd District carries an R+15 rating. Former President Donald Trump carried the 4th with a 58-39% margin. His victory spread in District 3 was a net 5.5 percentage points smaller, 53-45%.
Therefore, looking at the statistics, the move makes some sense for achieving Rep. Boebert’s goal of extending her congressional career in a safely Republican seat. Her big obstacle will be successfully winning her party’s nomination in late June.
If successful, she will be a prohibitive favorite in the general election. For the remainder of the decade, therefore, her biggest challenge would be to continue winning renomination in the Republican primary.
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