The controversial far-right Republican Lauren Boebert was locked in a tight race with fewer than 100 votes separating her and her opponent on Wednesday night, in her bid for reelection to a US House seat in Colorado against the Democrat Adam Frisch, a businessman and former city councilman from the posh, mostly liberal ski town of Aspen.
Boebert’s contest was being watched nationally as Republicans try to flip control of the US House. The Trump loyalist established herself as a partisan flashpoint in Washington in her first term and had been favored to win reelection after redistricting made the conservative and mostly rural district more Republican.
The margin in the race puts it in the recount zone of about 800 votes or less, or 0.5% of the leader’s vote total. Both Boebert and Frisch had 50% of the vote as of Wednesday night with about 97% of votes counted.
Frisch contends Boebert sacrificed her constituents’ interests for frequent “angertainment” in accusing Joe Biden and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, of seeking to destroy the soul of the nation. He vowed to join the bipartisan “Problem Solvers Caucus”, a sharp turn from Boebert’s repudiation of across-the-aisle consensus-building.
Frisch said the close contest wasn’t a surprise.
“I spent 10 months trying to convince donors and journalists and political strategists everywhere that there was a path forward,” Frisch said. “I have this calm belief that that 40% of the Republican party wants their party back.”
“We will have this victory,” Boebert declared at a campaign event late on Tuesday in Grand Junction.
A Republican state senator, Barbara Kirkmeyer, and a Democratic state representative, Yadira Caraveo, were in another tight race in the new eighth district, which stretches north from Denver’s suburbs to Greeley. Kirkmeyer tweeted that she called Caraveo to concede. The Associated Press has not yet called the race.
“While this is not the outcome we hoped for,” Kirkmeyer wrote on Twitter, “I am proud of our team and our campaign.“
Caraveo claimed victory, writing in a statement: “It’s the honor of my lifetime to receive this vote of confidence to serve working families from Greeley to Commerce City in Washington.”
Caraveo is a pediatrician and defender of abortion rights who voted for police accountability after protests that followed the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Caraveo hoped her cultural lineage as the child of Mexican migrants would attract support in a swing district where Latinos comprise nearly 40% of voters.
Kirkmeyer pledged to get tough on crime and unleash the oil and gas industry, which has a significant presence in the district. She once supported a blanket ban on abortion but now says she would respect exceptions if the mother’s life is in danger.