The race for Colorado’s 3rd district seat was much tighter than expected. In fact, the race was razor tight. Only about 500 votes separated the two candidates. Incumbent Republican Lauren Boebert was heavily favored to defeat Democratic candidate Adam Frisch in the conservative district.
But the race was so close that a recount was required. The final count: Boebert won with 163,839 votes (50.1 percent), defeating Frisch who tallied 163,293 votes (49.9 percent). It doesn’t get much closer than that.
Voters growing wary of MAGA
Boebert’s 2022 midterm results contrast sharply with her own 2020 results.
In 2020, Boebert tallied 220,634 votes – almost 60,000 more than in 2022. And in 2020, Boebert defeated the Democratic candidate, Diane Mitsch Busch, by nearly 30,000 votes. There was no recount required in 2020. Boebert and MAGA won comfortably.
Boebert’s 2022 troubles speak to a larger national trend, in which MAGA candidates seem to have reduced appeal.
In swing states, states where Trump was once successful, MAGA candidates were resoundingly defeated. And while Boebert ultimately won her election on a MAGA platform, her performance was shoddy enough that a Democrat came within 500 votes of winning Colorado’s comfortably conservative third district.
The results are comforting, supporting the idea that most people are reasonable; most people are decent. And that a candidate like Lauren Boebert, who is neither reasonable nor decent, would lose support amongst reasonable, decent constituents seemed inevitable and is ultimately comforting.
Now, that’s not to say that whether a person is reasonable or decent depends upon who they vote for – rather that Boebert’s behavior and platforms would gradually debate support amongst conservatives inclined to vote conservative.
Boebert losing appeal
Boebert became a nationally prominent member of the House during her first term. Boebert rose to prominence using a MAGA formula. First, Boebert was a staunch and vocal defender of then-President Donald Trump. Second, Boebert wielded social media like a weapon. And relatedly, third, Boebert had a habit of feuding with her Democratic counterparts. The recipe worked – kind of. Boebert became one of the most well-known members of Congress. But Boebert’s antics have obviously degraded the support she enjoys amongst her constituents back in Colorado.
Boebert became a viable candidate in 2019 when she confronted Beto O’Rourke’s gun buy-back program at a town hall event. Boebert gained further notoriety when her restaurant (Shooter’s Grill) refused to honor the governor’s orders to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. Voters loved Boebert’s politics and her outspokenness. She was awarded with a seat in Congress.
During Boebert’s first term in Congress, things got a little weird. She supported the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education; she opposed Colorado’s red flag laws, which allow the police to remove a firearm from someone deemed dangerous to themselves or others; she believes that the market, rather than the government, should determine how the energy market functions, and how the health care system functions. Boebert also opposes gay marriage; opposes the separation of church and state. To top it all of: Boebert espouses several conspiracy theories including QAnon, which holds that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are operating a clandestine pedophilia ring.
Simply put, Boebert is a menace. And the voters responded accordingly.
Frisch almost scored an upset against Boebert through exploiting her zaniness. Frisch criticized Boebert for her “angertainment.” Frisch also rolled out a moderate platform – vowing not to vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of the House and vowing to serve as a nonpartisan problem-solver – that had surprising appeal in the conservative district. Frisch lost in the end – but just barely. And in losing, Frisch further demonstrated the vulnerability of MAGA.
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.