GRAND JUNCTION, CO – Lauren Boebert swept into the heights of Colorado Republican politics on the heels of a lackluster campaign that seemed to be an afterthought to the incumbent 3rd District representative, Scott Tipton. Tipton, who has held the office since 2010, lost the party primary on June 30 to the pistol-packing mother of four and restaurant owner. Her next target? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the “Squad”.
The New York City representative is name-checked in Boebert’s “Contract with Colorado”, the document she refers to as her platform and clearly inspired by the original “Contract with America” that served as the legislative agenda for Newt Gingrich and other Republican leaders in the 1990s.
“Lots of issues, lots of bills”
In a Zoom interview with the Free Press shortly after her primary win, in response to a question about her legislative priorities if and when she should win the seat to represent Colorado’s 3rd District in the US House of Representatives, Boebert laid out a familiar, if vague list of those priorities.
“There’s going to be lots of policy issues. There’s going to be lots of bills.”
Boebert is up against Diane Mitsch Bush, a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives, former county commissioner in Routt County, and retired sociology professor who taught at Colorado State University, Colorado Mountain College, and the University of Arizona.
As of June 30, Mitsch Bush has outraised Boebert’s campaign, pulling in over $1.1 million vs. Boebert’s $151,000.
However, given her underdog status in the Republican primary — during which Tipton had raised $1.2 million and won the endorsement of Donald Trump — it’s possible that the upcoming release of the latest FEC fundraising reports for each candidate might reveal a bigger haul now that she’s the official candidate.
Boebert isn’t letting the numbers get her down. Riding high on the unexpected primary win, she is throwing herself into the general race, focusing on the retail style politics for which she clearly has an affinity rather than the details of the office she’s pursuing.
“Right now I’m really excited that I’ve won my primary. It was a huge upset for the establishment, and a huge win for freedom,” she said in the interview. “And this just shows that voters in this district are tired of DC politics. They understand that the House of Representatives is a citizen-led legislature, and that’s what makes it so unique. We all have our different backgrounds and walks of life that we come from, and we just bring that to the table. So right now I’m just really excited about that victory and celebrating that with the people in this district and working on developing our team and getting our solid policy issues on paper.”
Individual rights and the 14th Amendment
When asked how she would respond to the many, many constituents in the Congressional district who didn’t vote for her and who support positions antithetical to the Republican party’s Tea Party-inspired platform — from LGBTQ rights to immigration to pro-choice abortion to Black Lives Matter — her answer is likely one that won’t reassure many potential constituents who have been deeply affected by the civil and social unrest of the previous two month .
“The 14th Amendment makes us all equal under the law. The Constitution represents the individual and not the group. I am here standing in support of the Constitution of the United States of America, and that is the document that ensures freedom for each and every individual and does not place one group or class of people above another.”
Boebert won just 12 of the 29 counties during the primary, but she carried enough in Mesa County, the largest, to triumph over Tipton. The 3rd District has been safely Republican for at least a decade, but Boebert is faces a formidable challenger in Mitsch Bush, who has considerable legislative experience and a deep understanding of the bread-and-butter issues that are of crucial importance to the constituents in this vast, rural district, including water rights, oil and gas, rural development, and public lands. Recent elections have also hinted at the growing presence of a moderate electorate.
The upstart candidate is unfazed, although it’s unclear if, unlike her party leader Trump, she will attempt to expand her voter base beyond the 2nd Amendment, pro-MAGA audience she drew to her campaign.
She said that her campaign has made “thousands of phone calls” since the pandemic lockdown upended the traditional meet-and-greet routine of political campaigns, and she’s eager to make more.
“I want to be in communication with my people. And that is one of the reasons why I ran. I feel that we were underrepresented here in the Colorado 3rd Congressional District, and we were being drowned out by Denver and Boulder far too often, and our voice wasn’t really being heard on the issues that matter most to us. And I truly believe that if we are silent, we lose by default.”