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Rep. Lauren Boebert switches Colo. districts, avoiding likely tough rematch

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) is switching congressional districts ahead of the 2024 election, a surprise move that means she will avoid a likely rematch against the Democrat she narrowly beat last year.

The decision gives Republicans a stronger chance at holding on to Colorado’s 3rd District as they fight to keep their House majority next year and lets the hard-right firebrand run in a more conservative area, the 4th District on the opposite side of the state.

Boebert appeared to acknowledge the high stakes for her party and her fundraising struggles during a video announcement on social media Wednesday night, saying that “staying in the fight” is vital for “our conservative movement” and promising not to allow “Hollywood elites and progressive money groups to buy the 3rd District.”

Adam Frisch, the Democrat whom Boebert beat by just 546 votes in 2022, has raised over three times as much as the GOP incumbent in his new nomination bid.

Boebert’s departure from the 3rd District eases the path for a more moderate Republican, Grand Junction, Colo., attorney Jeff Hurd, whom the Colorado Springs Gazette endorsed over Boebert this month.

Frisch said in a statement that his focus would remain unchanged no matter which Republican he might face.

“From Day 1 of this race, I have been squarely focused on defending rural Colorado’s way of life, and offering common sense solutions to the problems facing the families of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.” he said.

Congressional candidates aren’t required to live in the districts they represent, but Boebert, who was first elected to Congress in 2020, said she would move to the 4th next year and “proudly represent” it. She is from Silt, in Colorado’s mountainous northwest, hundreds of miles from the 4th’s boundaries.

The district’s GOP incumbent, Rep. Ken Buck, is not seeking reelection, but Boebert enters a crowded primary field, and one opponent attacked her for “carpetbagging” in a statement late Wednesday.

“Seat shopping isn’t something the voters look kindly upon,” state Rep. Richard Holtorf said. “If you can’t win in your home, you can’t win here.”

Buck’s district is the most heavily Republican in the state. President Donald Trump carried it by about 20 percentage points over Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.

Boebert is among the most colorful, outspoken far-right conservatives, and she is a favorite of Trump supporters. She has amassed nearly 5 million followers on social media since winning office in 2020. But her rise in prominence has not been without controversies, setbacks and criticisms.

In January 2021, Boebert, a staunch gun-rights advocate, set off metal detectors outside the House floor and got into a standoff with police after refusing to show the contents of her handbag. A month later, she sat in front of a display of guns during a virtual House committee hearing.

In February, Boebert suggested that God was using her to stand up to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who she implied was one of her “demons.” At another point she said she was “tired” of the separation of church and state, which she said stemmed from a “stinking letter” by one of the Founding Fathers.

A long-simmering feud with another far-right Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), has also burst into public view, with the Georgia lawmaker cursing at Boebert.

Boebert’s personal life has also been strained. The gun-themed restaurant she and her husband were running in Colorado closed down in July 2022. About a year later the couple divorced. Then in October she caused a stir in her district when she and a date were ejected from the musical “Beetlejuice” in Denver after being accused of disrupting the show.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post