State Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Vail Democrat, ended her campaign to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District on Friday.
The decision comes after Donovan was drawn out of the 3rd District during Colorado’s once-in-a-decade redistricting process.
“While each $15 check in the mail with a memo ‘we believe in you’ or $20 donation at a meet and greet made me more committed by the day, the congressional maps failed to recognize the complexity of rural Colorado and instead divided communities, protected incumbents and ignored Coloradans’ voices,” Donovan said in a written statement. “As a result, there is no viable path forward for me to remain in this race, and I have made the decision to suspend my campaign for Congress.”
Donovan was seen as a top contender to win her party’s nomination and face Boebert, who lives in Garfield County, in next year’s midterm elections. Her exit from the race reshuffles the political dynamics in the Democratic primary field, which includes Pueblo activist Sol Sandoval and state Rep. Don Valdez, of La Jara.
Donovan suspended fundraising last month after a congressional map drawn by Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission was submitted to the Colorado Supreme Court for review. The court approved the map last week.
The map places Vail and Edwards, where Donovan’s family has a ranch, in the 2nd Congressional District, which is represented by Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, of Lafayette.
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Congressional candidates aren’t required to live in the district they represent, but it can be politically challenging to try to live in one part of the state and represent another.
Donovan was by far the best fundraiser in the 3rd District Democratic primary field. Her campaign raised $735,000 last quarter and spent nearly $600,000. She had about $615,000 cash on hand heading into October.
Sandoval, by comparison, had about $49,000 on hand heading into October, while Valdez had $29,000 cash on hand heading into October.
Boebert, who has become a celebrity in national Republican political circles, hauled in more than $800,000 between July and the end of September, spending $512,000 during that span.
Boebert had $1.7 million in her bank account at the start of October.
The new 3rd District leans 9 percentage points in Republicans’ favor, according to an analysis of the results of eight statewide races between 2016 and 2020, meaning it will be difficult for a Democrat to dislodge Boebert in 2022.
The 3rd District includes most of the Western Slope, including Grand Junction, and wraps across the San Luis Valley to include Pueblo, Las Animas and Otero counties.