PI Editorial: Boebert would do well to adjust and adapt after 2022 election results

Going into Election Day last week, the conventional wisdom was that Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., was cruising to reelection.

That’s not to say Democratic challenger Adam Frisch wasn’t running a good campaign — given his fundraising and time spent traveling throughout the district to meet with voters, he was clearly invested in flipping the district.

But the reality is that the district has in recent years trended conservative, voting for Donald Trump in the 2020 elections by roughly 6%. Redistricting saw more conservative leaning counties in southeastern Colorado added to the district, meaning it should have been even more of a shoe-in for Boebert this year.

Yet here we are, nearly a week later and Boebert has just over a 1,100-vote lead. Although it’s likely she wins at this point, it won’t be clear until the final votes are tallied and cured midweek. Even then, it’s very likely it will go to a recount, meaning it could be December before the ballot dust settles.

So, what happened? Boebert is pointing to a lack of enthusiasm for Republican candidates for governor and senate being a drag on other candidates. Granted, no Republican for statewide office cracked 45% of the vote, but we don’t think that’s what caused what should have been a cakewalk to be a squeaker.

Given the conversations we’ve had with numerous residents, the volume of letters to the editor we’ve published and the countless stories highlighting this or that ridiculous thing she’s said or done, it’s our hunch that the buck stops with her.

Boebert has spent the past two years basking in the far reaches of the rightwing. That means she has a solid base of fans and supporters, but it also means she’s alienated not just unaffiliated and Democratic voters, but also some who supported Trump just two years ago. The good news for her is that it seems like she just barely avoided turning enough voters to lose this year’s race. 

That’s just a short-term win, though. The bad news is she’s shown just how vulnerable she is to a challenge and will likely face an invigorated Democratic opposition in 2024.

In other words, she is at a crossroads.

Boebert could choose to continue on her current path focused more on national politics and less on the issues important to Colorado’s 3rd District, and face either another razor-thin win or even lose in two years.

Or, she could surprise her detractors and opponents by growing politically. This wouldn’t be easy and would require significant self-discipline from her to not give in to the sectors of the conservative movement that fuel her worst tendencies. But it’s possible.

The United States is full of second, third, fourth and even fifth acts for politicians and public officials. Boebert could be the next one — but only if she owns the results from this year’s elections and takes the harder path available to her.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud and community representatives Mark Fishbein and Danielle Becker.

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