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Lauren Boebert easily beats primary challenger Don Coram; Frisch takes lead for Democrats

Coram promised to be a drama-free, get-it-done replacement
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert waves to the cheering crowd during the GOP assembly at the Broadmoor World Arena on April 9 in Colorado Springs. (Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun)

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert on Tuesday took a major step toward securing a second term when she easily defeated her Republican primary challenger, state Sen. Don Coram, in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

The Associated Press called the race for Boebert at 7:36 p.m. Boebert was leading Coram with 64% of the vote compared to his 36%.

Coram promised to be a drama-free, get-it-done replacement to Boebert in Washington. But 3rd District GOP voters decided instead by what appeared to be a commanding margin to stay the course with the Garfield County congresswoman, despite all of her controversies, which have helped make Boebert a national Republican figure.

Boebert raised far more money than Coram heading into the primary election in the 3rd District, which sweeps from the Western Slope into Pueblo and southeast Colorado. She also benefited from about $375,000 in support from outside groups.

Following her decisive victory, Boebert issued a statement:“I’m thrilled the voters showed their confidence in me to continue being their Representative. Hardworking Americans recognize now is not the time to go along to get along, it’s time to stand up and fight for our American way of life. That is exactly what I will continue to do. Conservative Republicans like me are going to help take back the House in November, fire Nancy Pelosi, and do all we can to get our country back on track.”

Boebert thanked God for her victory at a gathering of supporters on the Western Slope.

Coram came out of the gate late. He didn’t truly hit the campaign trail until late May, saying he was trying to balance his duties in the Colorado legislature with his congressional campaign.

“What we saw today in the Jan. 6 hearings tells us that there is trouble on the horizon,” Coram said in response to his loss. “If we don’t get our house in order and elect people with honor and integrity, this nation will not survive.”

Thousands of Democrats switched their party affiliation to unaffiliated to apparently cast a ballot in favor of Coram in the GOP primary, according to state voter records and news reports, but it wasn’t enough to oust Boebert.

John Otten, a 71-year-old lifelong Democrat who became an unaffiliated voter, said he did so because he wanted to vote against Boebert and indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is running for secretary of state. (Peters lost handily Tuesday to Pam Anderson.)

“That was 100 percent my reason,” Otten said in an interview outside of a voting center in Mesa County.

Mary Swindell, a 44-year-old unaffiliated voter in Carbondale, said she voted in the Republican primary because of her frustration with Boebert.

“I do not like our House representative,” she plainly told The Colorado Sun in an interview outside a polling location.

Colorado state Sen. Don Coram speaks during a debate with Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert at the Sky Ute Resort and Casino in Ignacio on May 26. (William Woody, Special to The Colorado Sun file)

Georgine Garbarini, a 66-year-old unaffiliated voter in Carbondale, thought about casting a ballot in the Republican primary but ultimately decided to vote a Democratic ballot.

“I generally don’t like to vote against, I like to vote for,” she said. “But it was a close call.”

Garbarini said she voted for Democrat Sol Sandoval, a community activist from Pueblo, in the 3rd Congressional District primary. Also in the Democratic primary are former Aspen city councilman Adam Frisch and Alex Walker, who is from Avon and has worked in marketing and as a mechanical engineer.

The three-way Democratic primary in the 3rd District remained undecided Tuesday night, with Frisch leading Sandoval by 4 percentage points. First-time candidate Walker was trailing far behind and appeared to be decisively knocked out of the race.

Democrats face a lopsided battle in trying to unseat Boebert in the Nov. 8 election.

The 3rd District, which was partially redrawn last year as part of Colorado’s once-a-decade redistricting process, now leans at least 9 percentage points in Republicans’ favor, according to an analysis of the results of eight statewide races between 2016 and 2020 by nonpartisan redistricting staff.

Boebert won her first term in 2020, when the district was more favorable to Democrats, by 6 percentage points. In the 2020 primary, she upset Rep. Scott Tipton, who first won the seat in 2010.

Colorado Sun staff writer Chris Outcalt contributed reporting from Carbondale. Colorado Sun correspondent Nancy Lofholm contributed reporting from Grand Junction.