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Kevin McCarthy should not base his next majority on Lauren Boebert’s vote. Her poor performance in the last election (closest race in the country), the ongoing struggles of the Colorado Republican party, and the Democrats targeting the race with 2022 candidate Adam Frisch back on the campaign trail, ensures it will be one of the nation’s most competitive seats. Also adding to their vulnerability, Boebert hasn’t dampened her high-profile public image away from controversial stances and theatrics.
In a district configured after redistricting to have a 9-point Republican advantage, she won in 2022 with only 546 votes. There were indications of trouble. A low-key Republican state legislator won 34 percent in the June primary. A September poll had her only winning with 2 percent. And election day confirmed the vulnerability. The largest Democratic county, Pueblo, rejected her by 6 points — up substantially from her near tie in 2020.
The State Republican party is unlikely to be of any help in 2024. It is disorganized, divided and underfunded. After being wiped out in the 2018 midterm, Republicans suffered even greater losses in 2022. They are burdened with an anti-abortion position made more salient after the Dodd decision and an extreme image in general, mostly associated with Donald Trump and election denial. As they tried to reorganize this year, it was clear the core party supporters remain focused on Trump and the 2020 election. Trump is likely to be Republican presidential nominee in 2024 or will at least hang as a cloud over the party as he did in the 2022 midterms.
Democrat Adam Frisch, Boebert’s 2022 opponent, is already in the field raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. He is in one of the country’s most targeted congressional races and will receive all the support he needs. The district has already been targeted by the House campaign committee and Democratic dark money funds.
Boebert hasn’t altered her positions or behavior. She maintains a high profile in Washington with the most extreme House elements and she was part of the Freedom Caucus opposition throughout McCarthy’s speakership multiple votes. She is in demand out of state as a speaker to groups due to her advocacy of Christian nationalism and guns.
Boebert is testing her voters’ tolerance for the behavior that nearly cost her the seat in 2022. Next year, she is facing a much more prepared opposition.