DENVER (AP) — Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert announced Wednesday she is switching congressional districts, avoiding a likely rematch against a Democrat who has far outraised her and following an embarrassing moment of groping and vaping that shook even loyal supporters.
In a Facebook video Wednesday evening, Boebert announced she would enter the crowded Republican primary in retiring Rep. Ken Buck’s seat in the eastern side of the state, leaving the more competitive 3rd District seat she barely won last year — and which she was in peril of losing next year as some in her party have soured on her controversial style.
Boebert implied in the video that her departure from the district would help Republicans retain the seat, saying, “I will not allow dark money that is directed at destroying me personally to steal this seat. It’s not fair to the 3rd District and the conservatives there who have fought so hard for our victories.”
“We have to protect our majority in the House,” she said.
Boebert called it “a fresh start,” acknowledging the rough year following a divorce with her husband and video of her misbehaving with a date at a performance of the musical “Beetlejuice” in Denver. The scandal in September rocked some of her faithful supporters, who saw it as a transgression of conservative, Christian values and for which Boebert apologized at events throughout her district.
She already faced a primary challenge in her district, as well as a general election face-off with Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen city council member who came within a few hundred votes of beating her in 2022. A rematch was expected, with Frisch raising over $7.7 million so far to Boebert’s $2.4 million.
Instead, if Boebert wins the primary to succeed Buck she will run in the state’s most conservative district, which former President Donald Trump won by about 20 percentage points in 2020, in contrast to his margin of about 8 percentage points in her district.
“It’s the right move for me personally, and it’s the right decision for those who support our conservative movement. This is the right move for Colorado, for us,” Boebert said in her video.
Boebert rocked the political world by notching a surprise primary win against the incumbent Republican congressman in the 3rd District in 2020 when she ran a gun-themed restaurant in the town of Rifle, Colorado. She then tried to enter the U.S. Capitol carrying a pistol and began to feud with prominent liberal Democrats like Rep. Ilhan Omar and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Her constituents wearied of her antics, however, and in 2022 almost handed the seat to Frisch in a district that had a tradition of electing low-key pragmatists. This year was even rougher for Boebert following the disclosure of the video from the musical in Denver, for which she apologized.