Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) announcement that she would be switching districts for 2024’s election was a surprise — and unwelcome news for some of the other Republicans already running in a crowded primary in Boebert’s new home.
In a text message to TPM, former state senator Ted Harvey, one of Boebert’s new rivals, described her switch from the Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District to the 4th as a “desperate stunt” driven by her political problems.
“Boebert has failed the conservatives in CD3 to such a degree that they will no longer vote for her. Now, in what can only be seen as a vain effort to cling to power, she seeks to represent the the voters of CD 4 — a vastly different constituency,” Harvey wrote. “This desperate stunt by Boebert may not only jeopardize the Republican Party’s ability to retain CD3 but, if she were to win the primary, could place CD4 at risk as well.”
Harvey went on to tout his own conservative credentials.
“My record is unwavering, and proves my commitment to fighting for limited government, secure borders, the life of the unborn, the second amendment, and for citizens who want a representative to stand against the establishment,” he said.
Boebert announced via Facebook video Thursday evening that she will be moving to run in Colorado’s 4th District instead of the 3rd District, which she has represented since 2021. The move to a more favorable district for a Republican came after a series of issues for the MAGA stalwart, including feuding with allies on Capitol Hill, a near election loss, and the recent, headline-grabbing “Beetlejuice” vaping and groping scandal.
Another 4th District rival, Logan County commissioner and former state senator Jerry Sonnenberg, subtly mocked both Boebert’s change of address and her chance of winning in a message to TPM.
“I look forward to welcoming Lauren to the fourth district and representing her in Congress,” Sonnenberg wrote.
“I’ve lived, worked, and raised my family here and I’m blessed to have always called Eastern Colorado home,” he continued. “The fourth district is my home, and I’m going to continue to work hard to represent the principled conservative values of everyone who lives here just as I have always done.”
State Rep. Richard Holtorf was far more blunt in a statement released shortly after Boebert’s announcement that criticized what his campaign described as “carpetbagging.”
“The voters of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District want steady conservative leadership from their communities. Seat shopping isn’t something the voters look kindly upon,” Holtorf said. “If you can’t win in your home, you can’t win here.”
A handful of other Republicans are running for the 4th District seat, which opened up after Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) revealed he would not seek re-election last month. Buck indicated his decision was based on the GOP’s increasing embrace of MAGA politics, including 2020 election denialism. Despite some of the internal tensions in the party, the district is a safe one for Republicans. Buck won by more than 20 points last year.
Boebert’s standing in her original home district was far less solid. She was re-elected in the 3rd District by a margin of just 546 votes last November. Her challenger in that race, Democrat Adam Frisch, is running again and has, thus far, outraised Boebert by over $5 million. That cash gap came as Boebert dealt with the fallout from her divorce and the subsequent, Golden Dukes-nominated “Beetlejuice” incident. While the 3rd District is far more competitive than the 4th, there is speculation Frisch could have more trouble taking on a Republican that doesn’t have Boebert’s, shall we say, unique issues.
In a statement released by his campaign on Thursday, Frisch referenced Boebert’s recent drama.
“Boebert is running scared from CD-3 because she knows she can’t match our campaign’s ability to connect with voters and the hard work we have put in to provide them with a common sense voice in Congress,” Frisch said, later adding, “Even before the Beetlejuice debacle that embarrassed her constituents, our campaign was polling ahead of Boebert because voters saw that we were showing up in their communities and appreciated the hard work, authenticity, sincerity, and independence that this campaign embodies.”
Boebert and her campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the criticism from other Republicans in her new district. In her video announcement, which appeared to be filmed in some type of suburban kitchen, Boebert framed her move as a smart one for herself and for anyone else who wants to “stop the socialists and communists from taking over our country.” Boebert also seemed to admit she was struggling in polls of voters in her current home district. She claimed she had been targeted by “Hollywood elites” and “dark money,” and suggested her move to the 4th District would prevent those forces from scoring a win.
“It’s the right move for me personally and it’s the right decision for those who support our conservative movement,” Boebert said.
As she defended her district switch, Boebert also referenced her personal struggles.
“This announcement is a fresh start following a pretty difficult year for me and my family,” Boebert said. “I have never been in politics before and I have never been through a divorce. … I’ve made my own personal mistakes and have owned up and apologized for them.”