DENVER — A political newcomer upset five-term congressman U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the state’s primary Tuesday to become the Republican candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
Lauren Boebert is a 33-year-old mother of four who is used to making headlines. She is the owner of Shooter’s Bar and Grill in Rifle, Colorado, which made headlines in 2014 for allowing its wait staff to open carry in the restaurant.
Boebert made headlines again in 2019 when she attended a rally for then-presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke to speak out against his gun policies.
During a question and answer portion of the rally, Boebert challenged O’Rourke on his plans to take assault rifles away from people, something he had brought up during a Democratic presidential debate.
Pretty contentious question from a woman who refuses to give up her guns pic.twitter.com/p9eaY8UMQY— Josh Whitston (@JoshWhitston) September 20, 2019
Then in May, Boebert refused to close her restaurant for the coronavirus pandemic, defying Governor Polis’ executive order as well as a cease and desist order. The restaurant was eventually forced to temporarily close down when its license was suspended.
But perhaps Boebert’s biggest headline yet was Tuesday’s primary upset over Rep. Scott Tipton.
“I didn’t feel that we are being represented effectively, especially us over here on the Western Slope of Colorado in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. We were being drowned out by Denver and Boulder, and so I stepped up to get into this fight for freedom,” Boebert told Denver7 in a phone interview.
Beating an incumbent in a primary doesn’t happen often; along with the name recognition and experience, Rep. Tipton also had the political support; President Donald Trump had endorsed Rep. Tipton for reelection and had even brought him up on stage with him during a rally in Colorado Springs.
Rep. Tipton also had the financial backing; according to Opensecrets.org, he has outraised Boebert by more than a million dollars and outspent her by more than $600,000.
However, Boebert campaigned aggressively throughout the district and took a page from President Trump’s book, using social media to get her message out. Already, she has more than 127,000 Twitter followers and, like the President, tweets numerous times a day about a range of topics.
Now, as the Republican candidate for Congress, Boebert has even caught the attention of the President, who used Twitter to congratulate her on her win.
Congratulations on a really great win! https://t.co/rMpFiV6LvY— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2020
With candidates now pivoting to the general election, Boebert says she is expecting an uphill battle once again when it comes to the campaign spending of her Democratic rival.
“Diane Mitsch Bush has proven that she will spend millions in this district and inevitably lose,” Boebert said. “I’m probably going to get outspent in the fall, but I can do a whole lot more with a whole lot less.”
However, Democrats say Boebert’s win could open the door for Mitsch Bush to win since she will no longer be facing an incumbent.
“For us this is going to be good because Diane Mitsch Bush has a relationship with the folks in Congressional District 3. She was a county commissioner. She’s a former state representative,” said Halisi Vinson, the executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party.
But there’s another reason Democrats are celebrating: In an interview with a conservative website, Boebert discussed the QAnon conspiracy theory..
The group behind the conspiracy theory believes people like former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and other government officials in Washington, D.C. are the puppets of an alleged "deep state" working to undermine Trump and his supporters.
The group has accused various celebrities, like Oprah Winfrey, of child sex trafficking and once claimed that North Korean leader Kin Jong-Un was put into power by the CIA. Almost all of the conspiracy theories have been debunked.
However, when Boebert was asked about the group, she said, “Everything I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it means America is only getting stronger and better and that people are returning to conservative values and that’s what I am for. So, everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger and if this is real then it could be really great for our country,”
Vinson says these beliefs are extreme and have no place in Congressional District 3.
“(Voters) are going to be looking for somebody who is rooted in reality and not in make-believe,” Vinson said.
She’s curious to see how Boebert’s campaign in the general election will affect other Republican down-ballot candidates like Sen. Cory Gardner.
“How do they reconcile someone who is a QAnon believer in conspiracy theories and believes in things that are provenly untrue, who is so extreme for Colorado? How do they reconcile that with their own race?” Vinson said.
For now, Boebert is pivoting her focus on the general election and calling for party unity after the primary, hoping Rep. Tipton’s supporters will rally behind her come November.
“Right now I’m taking this fight for freedom against the Democrats,” Boebert said. “This race is a choice between more freedom or more government control.”