Boebert’s Colorado 3rd District isn’t that Safe

Ideas and Issues
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January 17, 2021

NY Times

            Pearl River     Newly-minted Congresswoman sees herself as the right’s answer to Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and the so-called Squad of progressive women in Congress. She unseated five-term Republican representative Scott Tipton who came into office on the Tea Party wave, and she was surfing in with the Trump team, despite Trump’s endorsement of Tipton. She then won in November with 51% of the vote against the Democrat’s 46% and a host of other lesser single-party conservative candidates.

Indeed, Boebert made her reputation as someone who draws the press to one stunt after another. She and her husband ran a bar-restaurant called Shooters in Rifle, Colorado, along with other properties, where she encouraged open-carry of firearms and was a pistol-packing mama herself. She confronted Beto O’Rourke on his campaign trail over his promise to get rid of big guns. She’s flirted with QAnon, but now disavows it. She made a scene after the January 6th Trump Days of Rage refusing to go through a metal detector and trying to insist on being armed in the Capitol. She’s 34-years old so in the up-and-coming demographic with four sons back home and is a magnet for mainstream and conservative media, but I wonder exactly how safe the 3rd District is for her or for her brand of out there Republican?

I know a bit about the western slope of the Rockies in Colorado.         My family lived for five years outside of Rangely, Colorado in Rio Blanco County along the White River in an oil camp. My brother was born there. Rifle is in the county just south and is basically a town along an exit of Interstate 70 running from Denver to Grand Junction. It was also one way to get to Rangely going north from there to Meeker and then west to Rangely.   Indeed, a lot of that part of the district is ranches, oil and gas, but that’s not the whole story of the district.

My son and I camped around Durango and Pagosa Springs last summer.         These were not the western towns of my memory. These were towns full of what my Montana friends used to call Patagonia-people, newcomers from the east with money in their new jeans. Sure, in Pagosa there was one fly shop with signs complaining about masks, but they were the outlier, not the rule. These are now towns with bike paths everywhere, along with trendy restaurants and coffee shops. Playgrounds of the rich in ski towns like Aspen and Crested Butte are in the district as is the old Democratic stronghold of Pueblo, the historic mining and steel town.         The election for Boebert had been too close to call by the AP until it became clear that the Democrat was only winning Pueblo in the low 50% range and not the 60%, she would have needed. The 70-year-old Diane Mitsch Bush, a retired sociology professor from Steamboat Springs ran a largely Zoom campaign, while Boebert traveled the whole district throwing caution to the winds.

There’s enough money lying around the 3rd District for campaigners to run hard, and if they are willing to hit the doors and travel the roads, and Boebert keeps following the deep right traps of January 6th and the falling Trump star, this district is not going to stay a safe Republican stronghold for long, and might could flip in 2022, if someone jumps up to the challenge now.