Boebert, Frisch spar over water, legislation and steak dinner

Ryan Biller
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch faced off in Grand Junction earlier this year.
Courtesy of Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Tension bubbled in Grand Junction on Saturday night when U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., clashed with Adam Frisch during a heated debate.

The Western Colorado Candidate Debates, hosted by Club 20 in partnership with Colorado Mesa University and The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, was the backdrop of several political jousting matches on Saturday, though the showdown between Boebert and Frisch — the final debate of the night — was certainly the most anticipated.

Boebert, the Republican incumbent, and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch, sparred from the podium over several issues including climate change, infrastructure, energy and several others.

The first clash of the night, however, did not involve Frisch. The debate got off to a contentious start after Boebert accused the debate’s moderator, Edie Sonn, of being partisan following a request that both candidates agree to engage only in civil discourse, free of personal attacks and inflammatory remarks, throughout the entirety of the event.

Boebert’s source of irritation centered around a tweet that the moderator had apparently sent in 2020.

Seeking a second term, Boebert is challenged by Frisch, a former businessman and city council member who describes the congresswoman as “an anti-American, anti-Colorado show pony who can’t tell right from wrong” on his website.

Ousting the Silt Republican from her seat in Congress, however, could prove to be a difficult task for Frisch, particularly in the conservative-leaning 3rd congressional district of Colorado, a place where a Democrat hasn’t been elected since 2008.

Frisch has gotten about $236,000 from individual donors in Colorado, a fraction compared to the $1.3 million Boebert has gotten.

Despite the obstacles, Frisch has made it clear he thinks he has a shot at winning, accusing Boebert of “angertainment” and “extremism.”

“You’ve failed us and are not doing the work,” Frisch said to Boebert. “You’ve consistently voted against the interests of our farmers and ranchers, our small business owners, our teachers and our healthcare workers (…) I’m curious, congresswoman, are you failing because you don’t care, because you can’t do the job, or because you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong (…) You’re not showing up, you’re shooting blanks when it comes to protecting the citizens and communities of our district.”

Frisch wasted no time when it came to taking shots at Boebert, mentioning the 39 pieces of legislation the congresswoman has either sponsored or cosponsored and how not one of them has passed the House, let alone gone on to become law.

A jab made at Boebert is usually met with a jab in return as Frisch quickly learned.

Over the course of the evening, Boebert made several attacks of her own against her challenger, alleging that Frisch lied about his “lifelong unaffiliated voter” status, claiming that he was previously registered as a Democrat.

Boebert also mentioned the price of Frisch’s home in Aspen, saying that the property was remodeled for $9 million, a hypocritical move for someone who supports affordable housing, according to Boebert.

Boebert took far more digs at Pelosi than she did Frisch though, to which Frisch often responded with, “I am not Nancy Pelosi, I am Adam Frisch.”

Climate change

Of all the issues discussed on Saturday, climate change was the most predominant.

The Colorado River crisis, forest management and electric energy were recurring points of discussion, often within the context of climate change, which only underscored the contrasting ideologies between Boebert and Frisch.

“The United States leads the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions because of our natural gas. We have some of the cleanest natural gas in the world and we need to unleash the full power of the American roughneck right here,” Boebert said. “We have the cleanest energy in the world and the left wants to outsource our energy development to our adversaries.”

In 2019, Boebert introduced a bill to block the Paris Climate Accords, a move that came after a long track record of the congresswoman’s sentiment that climate change is a “power grab by the Democratic elites.”

Despite this, Boebert still expressed that she does believe in clean water and air, stating that people must be “stewards of the land.”

Frisch was far more blatant about climate change, stating that he believes it is happening and is cause for concern.

“There’s no doubt that we’re in the midst of a climate crisis,” Frisch said. “This is why it’s so important that we have healthy forests and so important that we save every drop of water that comes down from the sky, that runs down through our rivers, and we have to figure out how to get as much of that water as possible (…) into our communities.”

Energy became a subsidiary point of discussion and another issue to which little common ground was found.

Frisch spoke about his general support for renewable energy, though remained clear on his belief that the road to being solely dependent on clean energy would be a long one.

Boebert outlined her feelings on the importance of natural gas and went on to express her support for nuclear energy, which she said is the “cleanest.”

Both Boebert and Frisch did, however, seem to agree that diminishing water, particularly in the Colorado River, is a major problem facing Colorado.

“Often I’m asked what my top three issues are and I say water, water, water,” Boebert said. “The West and Colorado have suffered from a historic 22-year drought (…) I’m working to secure funds for more water storage and delivery projects.”

Tensions rose considerably once the candidates began cross examining one another.

Frisch asked Boebert why she didn’t attend the steak dinner hosted by Club 20 the night prior, to which Boebert responded by saying, “dinners aren’t really my priority.”

Through the cross examination and into the closing remarks, the crowd, who was mostly civil through the debate, became more vocal.

Lauren Boebert’s husband, Jayson Boebert, made several jeers directed at Frisch from the audience while Frisch’s supporters often laughed at some of Boebert’s statements, one of the bigger laughs elicited when Boebert accused Frisch of running “covert operations” in Aspen.

“I’m running to be the voice of the people of Western and Southern Colorado. I’ll work with anyone, any party, from any state, at any time to get things done for you,” Frisch addressed the crowd during his closing remarks.

Boebert said in her closing remarks that, “I’ve proven that I have got the work done, I can get the work done and I’ve secured over 340 million dollars in appropriation for our district, our farmers and our ranchers. But Nancy Pelosi is running a con game. Under Pelosi, Democrats are told to campaign as moderates. Make no mistake, there are no moderates in Pelosi’s party.”

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters in Colorado in mid- October. Elections day is November 8.

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