The race between incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert and her challenger Adam Frisch for Colorado’s massive 3rd Congressional District is too close to call as election officials continue to count ballots.
As of The Denver Post’s print deadline, Frisch, Democrat of Aspen, had pulled ahead of Boebert, Republican of Silt, 54% to 46%, the Secretary of State’s Office reported. So far, 205,588, more than 42% of the district’s 487,094 registered voters.
As election officials continue to count ballots, the results could change. But if Frisch’s lead holds, this will mark the second time in a row that an underdog candidate swept in to unseat the incumbent in the district.
As of 8:17 p.m. neither candidate had claimed victory or conceded the race.
Frisch’s tentative victory comes just as he began to garner major national attention and even surpassed the deep-pocketed Boebert’s fundraising efforts in recent weeks. His key to success lay in his measured approach, regularly calling out the congresswoman’s divisive statements and noting whenever she was traveling the country rather than meeting with constituents in Colorado.
The former Aspen City Council member regularly called Boebert a member of the “anger-tainment” industry and criticized her for not passing any legislation in her first term. One of his most-repeated lines during town halls and debates stemmed from Boebert’s fixation on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “I’m Adam Frisch, not Nancy Pelosi,” he’d say.
One of Frisch’s top priorities, he said, is to try and join the congressional Problem Solver’s Caucus, a bipartisan group of representatives that aim to tackle some of the country’s most pressing problems.
Among the most serious issues facing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers the Western Slope and as far east as Pueblo, include an ongoing megadrought within the Colorado River Basin. Fueled by climate change, that drought means less water for the agriculture industry and the communities that support the state’s farming and ranching operations.
Wildfires threaten parched areas throughout the district and the floods or mudslides that follow endanger infrastructure of local and national importance, like Interstate 70. Plus the country’s push away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources threatens the state’s oil and gas industry.
On the campaign trail Frisch repeatedly stressed the need to bring federal funding back to Colorado to help local stakeholders find the best way to mitigate drought and wildfire risk. He’s also underscored the need to shift to renewable energy sources while indicating that Colorado’s coal and natural gas could help the country achieve more energy independence during that transition.
Throughout her reelection campaign the congresswoman repeatedly avoided saying whether she’d concede the race if she lost, falling in line with her attempts to spread misinformation and falsehoods about the country’s election security.
Controversy marked Boebert’s first term far more than policy successes. Her Christian nationalist rhetoric – calling for a religious takeover of America – most worried political and religious experts who warned that the comments threatened the country’s democratic foundations.
Boebert received heavy criticism after claiming that women are “weaker” than men and “need masculinity” to balance out that so-called weakness. She was falsely accused of shooting her neighbor’s dogs and was dragged into a small-town drama in Silt after her husband confronted and frightened their neighbors during an argument.
State officials are investigating whether Boebert broke any laws by cashing in on large amounts of mileage reimbursements from her own campaign coffers. And a congressional aide testified earlier this year that the congresswoman met with then-President Donald Trump’s White House officials ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, while they discussed what options the vice president had faced with certifying the 2020 election.
Despite it all, however, Boebert enjoyed widespread support among Republicans for much of her first term. Those right-wing voters appreciated her curt demeanor and saw her as an equal and opposite reaction to progressive representatives like Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Pelosi.
Not all Republicans in the district stood behind Boebert, though. State Sen. Don Coram challenged her in the June primary but lost by a wide margin. Frisch’s victory on Tuesday likely relied on many of those disenchanted Republican voters casting their ballots against the congresswoman.
While Frisch has repeatedly stressed his business acumen and desire to work with Democrats and Republicans alike, he’ll join a divided Congress rife with party politics, which will almost certainly make passing substantial legislation a challenge.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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