Two well-known Democratic state lawmakers say they are already exploring whether to launch a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert next year, just weeks into the fiery Republican’s term.
It’s the latest evidence that Democrats are eager to capitalize on the controversies, which have grabbed international attention, Boebert has been at the center of since being sworn into office. But the party will still be fighting an uphill battle in Boebert’s Republican-leaning district, which is set to be redrawn before the 2022 election.
State Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail and state Rep. Dylan Roberts of Avon told The Colorado Sun they are talking with people in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District about seeking Boebert’s job. Both took a pass on running for the seat in 2020 when it appeared they would be facing longtime Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, whom Boebert shockingly knocked out in last year’s primary.
“She’s done a terrible job,” Donovan said about why she is interested in running for Boebert’s seat.
Donovan, a former Vail town councilwoman who now serves as the state Senate president pro tempore, said she is thinking about the race so early on in the election cycle because she is worried about how Boebert reflects the 3rd District nationally. Donovan said she is working to build coalitions that would help her defeat Boebert.
“If she is the only one out there talking about CD3, she is presenting an image of CD3 that I don’t think is accurate and is doing a real disservice to, I think, the soul of the West,” Donovan said.
Roberts said Boebert’s controversies “certainly merit somebody making a good challenge to her.” Since being sworn into office Jan. 3, Boebert has been attacked by Democrats for voting to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, vowing to carry a gun in the U.S. Capitol and for live-tweeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s movement during the deadly Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C.
“Her actions over the last couple of weeks have certainly made me start considering running,” he said.
Roberts said on a one-to-10 scale, his interest in running for the seat is “definitely higher than a five.” But he wants to avoid a Democratic primary in the 3rd District that could hurt the party’s chances of ousting Boebert, and he also acknowledges that it will be difficult for Democrats to win in the district because of its conservative lean.
“We’ve had some divisive primaries in CD3 over the last couple of cycles, which have not helped the winner heading into the general election,” he said.
Donovan’t current four-year state Senate term ends in 2022. She is term limited.
Roberts, a young, rising star in Colorado Democratic politics, is entering his fourth year as a state representative after being elected to a second two-year term in November. He was appointed to his seat in 2017.
Donovan and Roberts are close friends who have worked together in recent years on legislation that would create a public health insurance option in Colorado.
State Senate President Leroy Garcia, a Pueblo Democrat, has also been mentioned as a possible 3rd District contender. He said Monday that he’s “not actively in the process of working on it or pursuing it.”
“I would never completely rule it out,” he said.
Boebert’s chief of staff did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Local Democratic elected officials in the 3rd District have called on Boebert to resign. National Democrats are taking notice, too.
“After barely two weeks in Washington D.C., Congresswoman Lauren Boebert has already put a violent QAnon mob ahead of the health and safety of the American people, helping to incite violence that killed five people, including a police officer,” Brooke Goren, a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokeswoman, said in a written statement.
Boebert has been firing back and brushing off the barbs.
“These attacks aren’t unique to me. They are straight out of the Democrat playbook,” Boebert tweeted on Monday. “They don’t want anyone to know ordinary, God-fearing Americans can come to D.C. and be effective.”
Boebert beat former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat, by 6 percentage points in the November election. The 3rd Congressional District, which sprawls across the Western Slope into Pueblo, has been represented by a Republican since 2011 and as of Jan. 1 had about 30,000 more registered, active Republican voters than Democratic ones. Unaffiliated voters are the largest registered, active bloc in the district.
Mitsch Bush said it will be difficult for any Democrat to win in 2022 in the 3rd District.
“I think the key is that any candidate who is going to win has to first and foremost understand the needs of the people in this district and listen to them and be honest,” Mitsch Bush said when asked if Boebert can be beaten next year.
Mitsch Bush, who also ran against Tipton in 2018 and lost, isn’t ruling out a 2022 bid against Boebert. “I doubt very much I would run in 2022,” she said Monday. “I’m not totally ruling it out, no.”
Democrats, however, have been steadily chipping away at the Republican advantage in the 3rd District over the past four election cycles.
It’s unclear, however, what the 3rd District will look like in terms of geography and voter registration once it is redrawn next year based on 2020 Census data.