Lauren Boebert was the Tuesday night primary surprise for many with her Republican primary win in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District over five-term incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton.
Boebert challenged Tipton because she felt like he wasn’t effectively representing the district, which looks like a fish hook sprawled across the Western Slope and southern Colorado, ending in the east with Pueblo County.
“We need strong leadership that will be a strong voice for our freedom, not only on the campaign trail but as an elected representative,” Boebert told CPR News in June.
She again echoed those sentiments after she was declared the winner, holding a nine-point lead in unofficial returns.
“I joined this race because thousands of ordinary Americans just like me are fed up with politics as usual,” she said in a statement. “Colorado deserves a fighter who will stand up for freedom, who believes in America and who is willing to take on all the left-wing lunatics who are trying so hard to ruin our country. We are in a battle for the heart and soul of our country. I’m going to win this November because freedom is a great motivator.”
Boebert, a 33-year-old mother of four boys, backs gun rights, President Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda, and small government and limited spending.
Her support for the Second Amendment is as prominent as the firearm she often wears on her hip. Her restaurant, Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, is known for its pistol-packing servers.
She gained national attention for challenging then-presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke at a September 2019 event in Aurora to discuss gun violence.
“I was one of the gun-owning Americans who heard you speak regarding your ‘Hell yes I’m going to take your AR-15s and AK-47s,’” she told O’Rourke. “Well, I’m here to say ‘Hell no you’re not.’”
Boebert also made headlines around the state when, in May, she defied Garfield County health orders by offering sit-down service in her restaurant as COVID-19 kept businesses shuttered.
With her win Tuesday, another aspect of her views has attracted national attention: her openness to the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims President Trump is waging a secret campaign against an international child-trafficking ring run by leading Democrats and movie stars. On a Q-friendly web show, Boebert, based on what she heard about Q, said: “I hope that this is real.”
“It only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values and that’s what I am for,” she went on to say.
Immediately after her victory Tuesday, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for her GOP counterparts to disavow her.
The National Republican Congressional Committee responded by accusing Democratic leaders of advancing conspiracy theories of their own and voiced full-throated support for Boebert.
Back in the realm of policy, Boebert is also pro-energy. Her husband Jayson has worked in oil and gas fields.
“Our natural gas industry has died,” she said. “I'm not for government choosing winners and losers. And when government steps in and says that they're going to subsidize a certain industry, they are choosing who wins and who loses in that area.”
The challenge to Tipton wasn’t really on her radar until she dug into his voting record. She didn’t like what she saw. “He comes home with a very conservative message and goes back to D.C. and votes like a Democrat,” she said. So instead of backing Tipton, she announced her candidacy in December 2019.
Tipton falls on the conservative side of his party, ideologically, according to the website govtrack. And he voted in line with the president nearly 96 percent of the time, higher than the two other Republican members in the Colorado House delegation. Bobert said she would not have voted for the federal CARES coronavirus relief package, something Tipton did do. She also opposed the Farmworkers Modernization Act of 2019, which Tipton voted for because it gives migrant workers a path to legal employment status.
She was able to travel to most of the counties in the district before the governor’s stay-at-home orders effectively took her and others off the campaign trail.
At a League of Women Voters event in early June, Boebert said she grew up in a Democratic home.
“My mom believed the lies, the failed promises and policies of the Democrat party. And because of that, we grew up very dependent on government,” she said. For her, hope came when she earned her first paycheck. “We don't need the heavy hand of the government turning us into a nanny state. We need leadership that believes in America.”
Should she win in November, Boebert has said she will align herself with the Freedom Caucus, made up of conservative and Libertarian politicians in the House. Tipton, who came into Congress on a Tea Party wave, was not a member. (From Colorado, only Rep. Ken Buck is.)
Even though Tipton had the president’s endorsement, Boebert fashions herself as the true Trump candidate. She’s going to attend a Bikers for Trump event near Mount Rushmore over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, according to her campaign. She’ll ride her motorcycle with others and speak at the event.
It will put her in proximity to Trump who also plans to celebrate Independence Day at Mount Rushmore this year.
He congratulated Boebert via tweet Tuesday night.
Read more about Lauren Boebert and Colorado's 3rd Congressional District in our 2020 Colorado Voter Guide.