After Adam Frisch rose to national fame for nearly ousting the embarrassment that is U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, supporters immediately begged him to run again. Today, Frisch has announced he will do just that, a move that leaves him well poised to turn a solidly red district a slightly finer shade of blue.
But winning won’t come easy, and before the main fight starts, Frisch must first revisit the other challenge he faced in 2022: The Democratic primary.
Winding back the clock, the 2022 primary saw at least a dozen Democrats vying for the opportunity to take on Boebert. The candidates ranged in backgrounds and perspectives, offering a spectrum of choices from moderate to progressive.
In the end, primary voters sent Frisch, a no-nonsense moderate, to narrowly make the cut. But in what would later feel like a habit of narrow races, only a few hundred votes separated Frisch and his closest, more progressive rival, Sol Sandoval.
Sandoval and other candidates ultimately went on to back Frisch in his journey to defeat Boebert. Yet the heavily contested primary race among Democrats still left its mark. With so many players in the game, huge amounts of time, energy and cash were plunked down early on, all just to put a blue mark on the ballot. Given that Frisch went on to miss the general race win by only a few hundred votes, it raises the question of if these resources would have been better spent against Boebert directly, and if it would have been enough to tip the scales.
There’s no way to know if a little more money or early support might have made the difference for Frisch, but for anyone who isn’t a fan of the current representation, it’s clearly not a risk worth taking again. Currently, there are no other major candidates in the race, and if Democrats are serious about having a chance at taking down Boebert, this time it needs to stay that way.
Suggestions to clear the field for a particular candidate is a tricky conversation. There are often intense debates among members of the party as to whether or not this practice should happen. But arguably, there’s a time and a place for each approach: Sometimes, ideological debates make sense and help push the party forward by safely offering voters more options. Other times, it works to undermine the eventual candidate by depleting the necessary coffers, reducing name recognition and tarnishing their image.
For Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, as long as it remains heavily red and represented by Boebert, ideology discussions should be off the table.
Clearing the field for Frisch in the primary is likely to leave some progressives feeling frustrated and unheard. But this is far and away the best strategic option. Frisch has already sunk his teeth into this race, far more than anyone else can reasonably do by the next vote.
He’s nationally and locally recognized, is now supported by top players and, unlike most past opponents, he actually has a real chance to get the job done. Any talks by primary voters of wanting to trade in Frisch for a lesser resourced candidate who might align slightly closer on policy is nothing more than a fool’s errand.
At the end of the day, there’s a time and a place for ideological debates; I’ve even been a part of them. But the Democratic primary in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is not one of them, at least not right now.
So please, Colorado Democrats, for this race let’s leave the messy and expensive primary challenges to those on the right, and let Frisch focus only on taking out Colorado’s trash.
Trish Zornio is a scientist, lecturer and writer who has worked at some of the nation’s top universities and hospitals. She’s an avid rock climber and was a 2020 candidate for the U.S. Senate in Colorado.
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