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Boebert prevails in primary after switching Colorado districts

Controversial Republican beats five rivals for nomination

Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert talks with reporters outside the Capitol on April 20.
Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert talks with reporters outside the Capitol on April 20. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Lauren Boebert’s decision to switch districts paid political dividends for her Tuesday, when she won a crowded Republican primary for an open seat in eastern Colorado.

Boebert, one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the House at the start of the political cycle, had been running for a third term in the competitive 3rd District, which is centered on Colorado’s rural Western Slope. But facing Democrat Adam Frisch, whom she barely beat in 2022, as well as a challenge from fellow Republican Jeff Hurd, Boebert abruptly switched districts late last year. She ran instead for the reliably redder 4th District seat that was opened by Republican Rep. Ken Buck’s resignation.

Boebert has been one of the most visible and controversial members of the House GOP conference since she won an upset primary over five-term incumbent Republican Scott Tipton in 2020. A newcomer to elective politics, she quickly positioned herself as a disruptor on Capitol Hill, heckling President Joe Biden during his 2021 State of the Union address and tangling with fellow GOP firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia on the House floor.

Last year, she was embroiled in an embarrassing incident in a Denver theater that was captured on surveillance video. Boebert subsequently embarked on an apology tour and tried to focus on legislative business, but the incident appeared to have cost her significant political capital.

Boebert branded her decision to switch districts as “a fresh start following a pretty difficult year for me and my family,” which included a divorce from her husband. She edged out parents’ rights activist and radio host Deborah Flora, former state senator and cattle rancher Jerry Sonnenberg, state House members Richard Holtorf and Mike Lynch, and Peter Yu, a business executive. 

When The Associated Press called the Republican primary for Boebert at 9:22 p.m. Eastern, she had 43 percent in the six-candidate field. She will face Democrat Trisha Calvarese in November, according to the AP, which called the Democratic primary at 1:33 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday. The race is rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales.

Boebert called on Republicans to come together in November.

“I look forward to unifying all … of the candidates who [were] in this primary race. … The people have spoken. They do not want the uniparty representing them, but what you do want is a unified Republican Party,” she said.

Fourth District voters also selected a candidate to fill the rest of Buck’s unexpired term — but the winner of the special election, Republican Greg Lopez, won’t occupy the seat for long. Lopez, who defeated Calvarese in that election, will serve only until Jan. 3, 2025, when a new Congress is scheduled to be sworn in. 

Lopez, the former mayor of Parker who lost bids for the gubernatorial nomination in 2018 and 2022, won the backing of Republicans at a party nominating convention in the spring. At the time, Lopez told Colorado Newsline that he is a “placeholder” candidate and didn’t join the crowded field of Republicans running in Tuesday’s primary for a full term.

With the House expected to be out most of August and all of October, Lopez’s time in the chamber could be short: Members are scheduled to be in session for fewer than 50 days between now and Dec. 31. 

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.