Colorado 3rd Congressional District: Democratic challenger Adam Frisch

· Oct. 17, 2022, 4:00 am
Former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch, a moderate Democrat, is running against Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert to represent the 3rd Congressional District.Former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch, a moderate Democrat, is running against Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert to represent the 3rd Congressional District.Courtesy of Paul H. Trantow
Former Aspen City Council member Adam Frisch, a moderate Democrat, is running against Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert to represent the 3rd Congressional District.

Adam Frisch on the issues

Adam Frisch, a moderate Democrat and former Aspen City Council member, likes to say he’s not a traditional Democrat. 

“I'm a CU graduate, a Western Slope resident of 20 years,” Frisch said at the Club 20 debate in September. “I'm a conservative, small business owner, a dad and a concerned citizen who was sick and tired of the ‘anger-tainment’ industry, which has been led by Representative Boebert.”

Talking to Colorado Matters, he described himself “as a pro-business, pro-energy, moderate, pragmatic Democrat,” who can build coalitions and get stuff done. If elected, he said he would seek to join the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus.

Frisch is making a centrist pitch to voters, one focused on the district. “We need new representation who will focus on Colorado jobs, Colorado water, and Colorado Energy,” he said at Club 20. “Right now, rural Colorado's interests are getting steamrolled in Washington D.C.”

He said while he’d like to see more renewable energy developed in the state, he’d still rather see oil and gas drilling in Colorado than, say, Venezuela or Russia. 

“We should be very, very proud of Colorado's role producing the cleanest coal and the cleanest natural gas and the cleanest oil in our state, especially in CD-3 here. And that should be honored and respected,” Frisch said at a candidate forum in Pueblo. “I’m all for making sure that we make our transition, but I think we need to be realistic about how it’s going to happen.”

As for water, in Pueblo his pitch was about “competency and focus,” asking the crowd “Who do you want sitting at that table?” when it comes to renegotiating the Colorado River compact. Frisch is also advocating for increased water storage on the Western Slope.

Unlike his opponent, GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, Frisch said he would have voted for last year’s infrastructure bill. “One of my main reasons to go to D.C. is making sure that this district has the resources to come back to the families and the businesses and the communities, to make sure it all doesn't end up in Denver and these other large metropolitan cities,” he said. 

And he has been critical of the Democratic party, saying it has “botched working class America, blue collar America and rural America.” He believes the Federal Reserve and President Joe Biden took too long to realize inflation was not transitory and start to take action. 

“Everything costs too darn much: The gas is out of control, healthcare. And having a strong business background, I think I can add something to that conversation,” he told CPR News in May.

Frisch said he would not support Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker if Democrats retain control of that chamber. And he is calling for more fiscal responsibility, saying, for example, that Biden’s student loan forgiveness is “reckless” and an example of executive overreach. 

As for abortion rights, an issue that is has gained in national importance after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe, Frisch said he would protect abortion access.

Adam Frisch's personal and political background

Despite living in ritzy Aspen, Frisch stresses his rural roots on the campaign trail. He grew up on an Indian reservation in Montana, where his father was a health provider, and he has noted his family still has rural roots in the Midwest.

He’s said he was unaffiliated for decades, only becoming a Democrat in order to run against Boebert. (Boebert, however, has noted that Frisch registered as a Democrat in New York in 1992.) In New York he waited tables before getting involved in money management, including responsible investing and currency markets.

Frisch spent eight years on the Aspen city council and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2019. During his time in city politics he worked on affordable housing and helped send a controversial development known as ‘Lift One’ to voters, who approved it by the thinnest of margins.

Frisch's odds against Boebert

Frisch faces an uphill battle. The last time a Democrat won in the third congressional district was in 2008. The most recent round of redistricting solidified the red hue of the district, which has more registered Republicans than Democrats, although unaffiliated voters are the largest bloc. 

Boebert, who has been a prolific fundraiser, has just under $2 million cash on hand as of the end of September, according to her campaign. Frisch had just over $500,000, as of the July filing.

Frisch has gained some support from Republicans who oppose Boebert. He was endorsed by her primary opponent, state Sen. Don Coram and Republican Marina Zimmerman dropped her write-in campaign, instead urging her supporters to vote for him.

Noting that 36 percent of Republicans did not cast a ballot for Boebert in the primary, Frisch said he sees a coalition that could lead to a path to victory.  

“It's a bipartisan, pro-normal-party coalition that I'm working on. I don't care how people voted in 2016. I don't care how they voted in 2018. I don't care how they voted in 2020,” he said on Colorado Matters. “I'm just focused on letting people know that in 2022, there's one question on that ballot: Who is the best person to represent you and your family and your business and your kids and your community for CD-3?”

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