When Republican Lauren Boebert was first elected to Congress in 2020, unaffiliated voters carried her to victory — and she’ll need their support again this year to win a second term.
That’s because 44% of active registered voters in Boebert’s GOP-leaning 3rd Congressional District, which stretches across the Western Slope into Pueblo and southern Colorado, are unaffiliated, while 31% are Republicans and 24% are Democrats.
In the spring of 2021, The Colorado Sun partnered with news organizations across the 3rd District to interview randomly selected unaffiliated voters represented by Boebert to get a sense of their thoughts on the congresswoman’s performance during her first months in office. As Boebert vies for reelection this year against Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen city councilman, we called back those same voters to hear what they think of the congresswoman now after two years in Washington, D.C., and all the controversies she’s been at the center of.
Here’s what we heard:
Richard Hirano, 59, Craig
Hirano, a copier technician, said back in 2021 that he couldn’t remember if he voted for Boebert in 2020, but that he didn’t vote for her Democratic opponent that year. He’s undecided as to whether he will support her in 2022.
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“I don’t like anybody now,” he said. “I think our freedoms are under attack, I don’t like either party.”
Hirano said the main issues he’s concerned about are the economy and inflation, and government mandated shutdowns like the ones enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. He said he also sees abortion restrictions as a limit on freedom.
“I think Boebert is kind of crazy,” he said. “But I don’t think the other party has any better options. I’m just tired of them attacking each other. I just wish they would do something for our country.”
Hirano used to be a Republican but decided to become an unaffiliated voter after the Patriot Act was passed in 2001, he said. The legislation, born out of the Sept. 11 attacks, expanded the ability of law enforcement to surveil people and increased penalties for terrorism and terrorism-related crimes.
“I just think she’s sometimes off the deep end,” he said. “She sounds like she’s trying to push that we need to be ruled by religious belief.”
He added: “I personally think we need to just clean the slate and try to get better candidates that aren’t so partisan.”
Joshua Burt, 44, Rangely
In 2021, Burt, a former oil rig driller, told The Sun Boebert was sometimes “a little too extreme” but he felt she was a good person and that he voted for her in 2020. He said he doesn’t see her as being too extreme anymore.
“I think the whole Republican Party is not extreme enough,” he said. “It’s time to say ‘no, enough is enough.’ You can’t indoctrinate our children, you can’t push pornography into our schools.”
Burt also said he likes Boebert’s support for the oil and gas industry and her position on immigration.
“She’s done amazing, I love her stand on our gun rights,” he said. “And I love the fact that she keeps calling out these (expletive) morons for what they are.”
Burt said he’s still an unaffiliated voter, but other than voting for Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016, he tends to support Republicans.
“I hope Colorado comes back to the purple where it’s supposed to be,” he said.
Marilyn Morris, 70, Pueblo
Morris voted for Boebert in 2020. This year, she voted for Frisch — mostly, she said, because he was the only other option.
“I don’t like the way she behaves in Congress,” Morris said. “That is not respectful, and I wouldn’t vote for her for that reason alone.”
We didn’t talk to Morris as part of our 2021 story about Boebert and unaffiliated voters. We contacted her for this article — chosen, again, from a list of voters randomly selected from the voter file — because we wanted to get a voice from Pueblo, one of two population centers in the 3rd District.
Morris said she voted for about half Republicans and half Democrats on her ballot this year.
In 2020, Morris said Boebert seemed like the lesser of two evils. But she doesn’t like how Boebert has spent her two years in Washington.
“She’s lying all the time,” Morris said, “so I just don’t trust her.”
Max Lord, 30, Aspen
Since The Sun last spoke with Lord, a music producer, he decided to go from being an unaffiliated voter to registering as a Republican. In 2020 he voted for Boebert, and he’s already cast a ballot for her again this year.
“I actually appreciate a lot of the things she’s doing and I’m happy to have her as our representative,” he said. “She continues to stand up for Second Amendment rights and keeping American traditions and values at the forefront of her campaign.”
Lord also said he likes that Boebert has fought for water rights for ranchers in the district.
“I think very highly of Adam (Frisch), I think he’s a great guy,” he said, “but Lauren represents a lot more of what our district as a whole stands for, not just Aspen.”
Boebert may not be perfect, he said, but he’s glad to be represented by someone outspoken.
“I don’t agree with everything she’s said publicly, but as a whole those negative things are outweighed by the good for me,” he said.
Overall, Lord said he’s tired of the two-party system. While he’s a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, a traditionally conservative viewpoint, he also doesn’t want to see abortion rights taken away.
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Stephanie Cooper, 39, Grand Junction
While Cooper holds conservative values, she won’t be supporting Boebert this election. (She told us in 2021 that she couldn’t remember whether she backed her in 2020.)
“I just feel like she’s more focused on attention than getting stuff done,” she said. “And rather than take the time to actually come to the table with her constituents or anyone who opposes her” Boebert seems to just want “her voice to be heard.”
Cooper said she feels like Frisch has a better grasp on Coloradans’ needs but that his views are still too liberal for her. She plans to write in a candidate to represent the 3rd Congressional District when she fills out her 2022 ballot.
“I don’t plan on voting for many Republicans,” she said. “There are other people out there and other groups out there that I probably align more with. And if I feel stuck on if it’s just between a Democrat and Republican and I don’t agree … I’m not going to vote.”
Anthony Medved, 38, Durango
Medved, a building inspector, told us in 2021 that he couldn’t remember voting in the 3rd District race in 2020, but he definitely is firmly opposed to Boebert in 2022, calling her a “terrible right-wing politician.”
“I think she cares more about her persona than she does actually making a difference in this world,” he said.
Medved said he doesn’t believe Boebert represents Colorado and gives America a “terrible look.”
“She needs to be removed from her responsibilities and I will be encouraging anyone I talk to to vote against her and her radical thoughts and actions,” he said.