Boebert’s political headaches grow in bid for reelection

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) is in a political bind now that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), whose seat she is seeking to fill in November, is leaving Congress early.

Observers say Boebert is at a disadvantage due to the fact the special election to serve the remainder of Buck’s term is being held the same day as the primary for the full term — a move the divisive ally of former President Trump argues was aimed specifically at hurting her.

Boebert, who already nearly lost reelection once in her current district, must now navigate even trickier political terrain in the hopes of remaining in Congress, with some Colorado Republicans arguing she faces an uphill battle.

“This is like asking people to ticket split but on steroids,” said Republican political analyst Kelly Maher.

“When you’re looking at ticket splitters, generally it’s not the same name twice, right?” Maher added, referring to the fact that whoever runs to fill Buck’s seat in the short term will also likely be listed on the ballot in the race for the full term.

“You’re asking people to vote for a different party down ballot. But she needs to be making the case that you should vote for an entirely different person down ballot while the same name is listed twice. That’s going to be wild.”

Boebert, who currently represents Colorado’s western 3rd Congressional District but recently moved to Colorado’s eastern 4th District, is fighting to keep her congressional career alive after announcing late last year that she would be switching districts and running for Buck’s seat.

Buck announced Tuesday that he would be leaving Congress earlier than expected, at the end of next week.

The announcement triggered a special election to fill the remainder of Buck’s term, which Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) set for June 25, the same day as the primary.

Boebert opted not to run in the special election, which would have required her to leave her current seat, citing in part the House GOP’s already narrow majority.

Each party will select their nominee to compete in the special election; given the district leans heavily Republican, whichever GOP nominee is chosen for the special will be considered the heavy favorite to fill out the remainder of Buck’s term.

Boebert slammed Buck’s decision as “a gift to the Uniparty” and alleged that “the establishment concocted a swampy backroom deal to try to rig an election I’m winning by 25 points.”

Though members of the party agree that Boebert didn’t have room to leave her House seat to try and compete in the special election — which would have triggered yet another special election and given Democrats the opportunity to win her current seat — some say Boebert still faces an unenviable position.

“Essentially what Lauren’s going to be asking voters to do is to vote for somebody else in the special election, but then against that same person in the primary and instead vote for her. And that’s — that’s definitely a heavier lift,” said Republican strategist Ryan Lynch.

Boebert first entered Congress in 2021, defeating former Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.) in the GOP primary. Last cycle, however, she barely won her Republican-leaning district in a race against Democrat Adam Frisch, in one of the biggest shockers of the midterms.

Frisch is running again for Boebert’s seat and has already raked in tons of money. Amid concerns she could lose to him this time, the congresswoman opted instead to switch districts. She framed her decision to run in the 4th District as a “fresh start” after finalizing her divorce from her ex-husband Jayson Boebert.

Boebert has contended with a number of damaging headlines in recent months, including getting ejected from a “Beetlejuice” musical in Denver after footage caught her apparently vaping and acting disruptive, and several disputes between her and her husband that ultimately led to her receiving a temporary restraining order against him. She asked for that temporary restraining order to be dropped this week.

At the same time, Boebert has the coveted endorsement of former President Trump and a clear financial edge against her opponents.

The latest federal campaign filing, from the fourth quarter of last year, showed Boebert raising $540,000 and starting this year with close to $1.3 million cash on hand. Former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg (R), seen as one of her most formidable opponents, raised $154,000 in the last quarter and had almost $151,000 cash on hand. Businessman Peter Yu had $254,000 cash on hand, which includes a $250,000 personal loan.

The ad-tracking firm AdImpact noted on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that on Thursday Boebert placed her first traditional ad buy in the race.

“What I will say is that we’re going to continue and make it very clear that the congresswoman is looking to earn the support of Republican primary voters on the 25th [of June]. She’s got the proven conservative record,” said Drew Sexton, Boebert’s campaign manager.

Sexton also brushed off the recent headlines about the congresswoman, arguing that those events don’t define her congressional record. Sexton mentioned she’s been calling delegates in the district and participating in dozens of forums, events and Lincoln Day dinners.

“One event does not erase four years of being an absolute stalwart conservative on every issue when it comes to voting for Coloradoans and really, the American people, and I think people get that. Her work has not slowed down,” Sexton said, noting her Pueblo Jobs Act was signed into law as part of the annual National Defense Authorization Act.

Some Republicans believe that while the special election offers an edge to the Republican nominee, that person will not necessarily be a shoo-in.

Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado GOP chair, suggested “there will be some advantage” to whomever is selected as the nominee, but added that he “wouldn’t overstate it.”

Boebert’s not only seeking to convince Republicans that she’s changed and still deserves their vote — she also has the tall task of convincing them they should elect her in an entirely new district. During a Republican primary debate in January, some of her contenders called her a “carpetbagger.”

Larry Forgey, the Baca County GOP chair, said the sentiment he’s heard from within his county about Boebert appears split.

“I’m glad Lauren Boebert’s been in there. She has a good record, and that — that counts for a lot,” said Forgey, whose county sits on the southeastern tip of the state.

“I’m just down the middle because I want somebody that’s going to stand and support and uphold and keep the Constitution intact. And she’s been doing that. Now, I appreciate that,” he said.

“I think there’s a couple that will do that out of the other candidates, also, but I would rather have a commitment to that than really anything else,” he added. “But at the same time, I want ‘em to know who we are.”

Story was updated at 11:59 a.m.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.