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State Sen. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, speaks at a news conference about the introduction of a public health insurance option in Colorado at the state Capitol on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

State Sen. Kerry Donovan on Wednesday filed paperwork launching her campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert next year.

Donovan, a Vail Democrat, made her 3rd Congressional District bid official by submitting a statement of candidacy to the Federal Election Commission. She had been exploring a potential 2022 congressional bid for weeks, citing Boebert’s tumultuous start in Washington, D.C.

Donovan joins a 3rd District Democratic primary field that includes Gregg Smith, a businessman and rancher who lives in Westcliffe, and Colin Wilhelm, a Glenwood Springs lawyer.

Colorado Politics first reported that Donovan filed FEC paperwork.

Donovan couldn’t be reached for comment on Wednesday, but released a video announcing her campaign Thursday that blasted Boebert for being divisive. She is a former Vail town councilwoman who now serves as the state Senate president pro tempore.

Donovan is halfway through her second, and final, four-year term in the senate.

“At this extraordinary moment in our history, we need to work together to fix what’s been broken. The last thing we need are people in Congress who talk tough, and stoke division and fear,” Donovan said in the ad, as an image of Boebert flashed across screen. “I’m Kerry Donovan, and I’m running for Congress. Because you deserve a congresswoman who cares more about getting results than getting headlines.” 

Republicans blasted Donovan in response to her entry to the race. Joe Jackson, a spokesman for the Colorado GOP, said her “far-left policies would guarantee that hardworking families would see their taxes increase and ensure the Democrat’s anti-energy, job-destroying Green New Deal would finally become law.”

Colorado Democrats are making Boebert’s seat a top target in 2022. Donovan is the first established politician to announce her candidacy, though others, including state Rep. Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat, are also considering a bid.

“I’m still considering,” Roberts, a friend of Donovan, said in a text message Wednesday.

Both Roberts and Donovan contemplated running in the 3rd District in 2020, but took a pass. That was before Boebert beat five-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in last year’s Republican primary.

The 3rd District stretches across the Western Slope into Pueblo and leans Republican. Voters in the district backed President Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections, and Boebert beat Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush by 6 percentage points in November.

The 3rd District will likely look much different in 2022 after an independent redistricting commission redraws Colorado’s legislative and congressional maps. The state is expected to add an eighth congressional district next year.

The Colorado Sun — Desk: 720-432-2229 Jesse Paul is a Denver-based political reporter and editor at The Colorado Sun, covering the state legislature, Congress and local politics. He is the author of The Unaffiliated newsletter and also occasionally fills...