Who’s running for Lauren Boebert’s seat in 2024?

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Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert at the Colorado Republican State Assembly Saturday, April 9, 2022. Her ex-husband, Jayson Boebert, is to the left.

Updated at 9:03 a.m. on April 20, 2024.

In late December, incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert surprised the political world by announcing she would seek reelection in a different part of the state — swapping the district she represented for two terms for a more Republican friendly one on the other side of the state.

It moves what was considered a toss-up race to one that mostly likely leans R. Boebert’s razor-thin victory in 2022 — just 546 votes  — was the narrowest congressional margin in the country that year. In a district that should have a +9 Republican advantage, it left many thinking she could be beatable in 2024. 

The hard right congresswoman got a lot of coverage in her first term — more for her behavior than her legislative record, which may have helped with the MAGA wing of the party, but could leave her vulnerable with more moderate Republicans, as well as the unaffiliated voters in the district.

More than a year out from the election, she had already attracted multiple primary challengers, including one who garnered support from many traditional Republicans looking to make sure the seat remains in their party’s hands. 

There are also a number of Democrats and third-party candidates who have also announced they’re running for the seat. 

With control of the House likely to come down to a district-by-district fight, one thing is for certain: Boebert’s exit from the race makes it more likely the seat stays red.


Russ Andrews

The financial advisor from Carbondale announced his candidacy last April, intending to primary Boebert. The conservative said he’s running to bring more federal funds to the district. By his count, last term Boebert left over a billion dollars at the table for CO-03, when compared to other districts in the state.

He said that while he might not always be bipartisan, he would reach across the aisle in Congress and try to “turn down the temperature” in Washington.” He pledged to meet with every member of Congress to talk about what legislation they could work on together. 

Andrews contrasted himself with Boebert’s record, arguing he would be a more effective legislator.  “I am older, I am wiser, I’m better educated than Lauren,” he said. “I just have a polar opposite view of what the job responsibility is of a congressional representative.”   As of the end of 2023, he raised just over $342,000 with more than half that coming from himself, and ended with $238,000 cash on hand.

He qualified for the ballot by submitting petitions, as well as attending the district assembly, where he got more than the required 10 percent of the delegate vote.

Ron Hanks

A former state representative, Hanks got in the race after Boebert’s withdrawal and won enough support at the district assembly to qualify for the primary ballot, but just missed out on the top line.

Hanks, who is strongly pro-Trump, attended the rally in Washington, D.C., on January 6th, 2021, but did not enter the U.S. Capitol. He has also attacked the credibility of the election system, and ran an ad that featured him shooting office equipment labeled “Dominion Voting Machine.” 

Hanks made a bid for the GOP Senate nomination in 2022, losing the primary to Republican Joe O’Dea. He also made an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House when he lived in California in 2010.

Hanks told Colorado Politics that he’s running to keep the 3rd congressional district seat in conservative hands, and not see it represented by an establishment or moderate Republican.

He’s from Canon City, which is not in the district, but is reportedly renting a room in Grand Junction. (You don’t have to live in the congressional district to represent it.) During his single session in the legislature, Hanks’ district did include one county, Custer, which was at the time also in the 3rd (it was subsequently moved to the 7th CD through redistricting).

Hank’s time at the Colorado state Capitol involved several controversies. During a discussion on a bill about civics education, he said the Three-Fifths Compromise, which counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for government allocation purposes, “was not impugning anybody’s humanity.” He also reportedly threatened then-Republican Leader Hugh McKean during an evening caucus meeting in 2021.

Jeff Hurd

Grand Junction attorney Jeff Hurd successfully petitioned on to the ballot. Since entering the campaign, he raised over $900,000 and as of the latest campaign finance filing had more than $500,000 cash on hand.

While he’s never held elected office, Hurd was the former board chair of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce.

In a statement, Hurd said that it’s important for the district to have “a sincere and hard-working voice” in Congress and that he “is committed to consensus-building and has a proven track record of being part of the solution, not creating more problems.” 

The Grand Junction native has some big names from the GOP’s old guard behind him. His campaign is co-chaired by former GOP Sen. Hank Brown and former Colorado House of Representatives Majority Leader Tim Foster, and he snagged early endorsements from some local Republican officials as well. 

Curtis McCrackin

Curtis McCrackin filed paperwork to run for the seat in September, 2023, and qualified for the ballot via petition. He’s run real estate and construction ventures in Delta County. McCrackin said he entered the race because of the nation’s debt.

“The biggest issue facing voters in Western Colorado in 2024 is the inflation caused by the excessive spending in the American Rescue Plan Act and the monetary policies that followed raising the interest rates,” McCrackin said in his campaign announcement . 

His campaign is focused on fiscal responsibility, the separation of church and state, preventing government overreach and the “preservation of the Western Colorado way of life,” he added.

He has raised just over $60,000, with more than $20,000 coming out of his own pocket. As of March 31, campaign finance filings showed his campaign is more than $10,000 in debt.

Stephen Varela

The Army veteran won topline billing at the district assembly with 33 percent of the delegate support. A Pueblo resident, Varela currently serves on the Colorado Board of Education representing the 3rd District, a seat he was appointed to via a vacancy committee. He has also sat on the board of a local charter school.

Varela is a former Democrat and switched to the Republican Party in early 2021. (The Pueblo Chieftain and other outlets report he had switched parties more than a dozen times since 2011.)

“As a battle-tested conservative and former Democrat, I’m ready to shake up Washington on day one and effectively advocate for rural Colorado’s jobs and conservative values, heritage, and way of life,” he said in a statement announcing his run. He added he’s excited to “contribute to a new generation of conservative leadership.”

Varela ran as a Republican for state Senate in 2022, but lost to Democrat Nick Hinrichsen. He also ran for chair of the State Republican Party last year before dropping out. Before his most recent move to the GOP, Varela co-founded Rural Colorado in 2020, a political action committee that campaigned against the woman he’s now trying to replace: Lauren Boebert.

Lew Webb

The Durango resident filed to run in mid-February. On Facebook, Webb describes himself as a “political/social conservative, bowhunter/fly fisherman, PATRIOT!!!” He said he's a Safari Club International Board member and current Vice President of the Four Corners Chapter. His father founded the Webb Automotive Group in California.

Webb earned a spot on the ballot via signatures. He loaned his campaign $150,000 and raised just over $2,000 from individuals. As of March 31, he had more than $130,000 cash on hand.


Adam Frisch

In 2022, with little national help, Frisch got within 546 votes of beating incumbent Boebert. It helped build his name recognition in the district and nationally. The former Aspen city council member and moderate Democrat has been traveling the district meeting with voters and attending conferences and events on issues that are important to the district, from water to energy. He has continued to argue that people in the district want a congress member who will deliver and be part of the “pro-normal” caucus and not the “angertainment” caucus. He has pledged to join the Problem Solvers Caucus and address kitchen table issues from health care to the economy.

Shortly after conceding the 2022 race, Frisch filed paperwork for a potential rematch. In the first four fundraising quarters of the cycle, he outraised Boebert. In total, he has raised more than $12 million and had $5.8 million cash on hand, far more than any challenger.

Minor Party candidates

Mark Elworth

The recent Colorado transplant is running for the seat as a Libertarian. He dismissed the recent agreement between the Colorado State GOP and the Colorado Libertarian Party,

“I’ve been talking to the national [Libertarian] Party because the national party talks to me. I don’t talk to the state party anymore because ... they’re like a quasi-pro-Republican party. As far as I can see they’re protecting Republicans,” Elworth said.

The salesman has run as a third-party candidate before in other states. Unlike most of the other candidates, he does not live in the district, but chose to run there because of Boebert. He currently calls the Eastern Plains town of Brush, Colorado, home.

James Wiley

In September, James Wiley of Pueblo filed paperwork to run as a Libertarian. In a campaign release, Wiley said he made the decision after Boebert declined to sign the pledge worked out between the Colorado State GOP and the Colorado Libertarian Party.

“I will be elected by the voters of CD-3 as their Libertarian representative to Congress because the land of our district is filled with Sovereign American people whose rights have suffered immeasurable damage by state actors,” he wrote. He continued, “CD-3 needs activist leaders prepared and willing to demolish the federal government.”

Wiley said he grew up as the child of missionaries in the former U.S.S.R., graduated from Pueblo County High School and received an MBA from CSU-Pueblo.

Gary Swing

A perennial third-party candidate, Gary Swing is running for CO-03 as a Unity Party candidate. He was formerly with the Green Party. Rather than supporting endless wars, he said on his website, he’d focus on eliminating world hunger and ensuring everyone has safe drinking water. He does not live in the district. 

Withdrawn candidates

Lauren Boebert (Republican): The third district's current representative, Republican Lauren Boebert, announced at the end of December that she will not seek reelection again in this seat. Instead she is running for the open seat in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, about 200 miles away. That district, which includes Front Range communities and the Eastern Plains, is significantly more Republican than the one she currently occupies. Boebert won reelection in 2022 by 546 votes, the closest congressional race that cycle, in a district that favors Republicans by 9 points, per the Colorado Independent Redistricting Committee.

Debby Burnett (Democrat): The veterinarian from Gunnison County filed to run in February, but ended her second attempt to get on the ballot in August after failing to “see a path forward for my candidacy under our current system.” She pointed specifically to the cost to run for congress, especially in a district as big as CO-03. Her fundraising was lackluster compared to Frisch.

Anna Stout (Democrat): Grand Junction mayor Anna Stout announced she was ending her run at the end of January, 2024. With Boebert shifting to the Fourth Congressional District, Stout said she no longer had a reason to stay in the race.

“I got in this to remove Boebert from office, and while this wasn’t the way I expected to do that, she is no longer the third Congressional District’s problem," said Stout in a statement.

Stout was elected to the Grand Junction City Council in 2019 and appointed mayor in 2022. She ran unopposed for her seat in 2023. She’s also the CEO of the Royce Hurst Humane Society and has worked as a Spanish interpreter. When she got into the race in July 2023, she said many people encouraged her to run.

“They're looking for a homegrown candidate who has a real track record of service to the community,” she told CPR News.

Stout argued there’s a lack of effective representation in Congress that has been felt in the district.

“This is a congresswoman who has repeatedly failed us. She has not brought broad representation and advocacy for our district. She is very interested in serving her extremist base, but not the whole district that she represents, regardless of who voted for her.”

Jason Aaron Bias (Republican): The first time candidate has no website or social media campaign accounts. According to his Facebook page, he lives in Grand Junction and is a Colorado Mesa University student and works at the Olive Garden. He did not submit petitions or win enough support at the assembly to appear on the ballot.

Joe Granado (Republican): Grando failed to make the ballot after falling short of the required signatures. The Fruita resident started out as a migrant farmworker and values farmland preservation and agriculture issues. Granado said he was inspired to run because he feared Boebert could not win reelection and he did not want Republicans to lose the 3rd Congressional District.

Austin O’Connell (Republican): This first time candidate entered the race in mid-January. He lives in Glenwood Springs and is a teacher. He did not submit petitions or win enough support at the assembly to appear on the ballot.

David Karpas (Republican): Initially Karpas filed to run in the Democratic primary in March 2023 before ending that campaign in June. He raised no money, except for the $6000 he loaned himself. At the end of December, he re-filed to run for the primary, this time as a Republican and using a Denver address. He did not submit petitions or win enough support at the assembly to appear on the ballot.

Robin Heid (Republican): The Montrose resident returned to Colorado in 2022 and filed to run in mid-February, saying he hopes to continue the mantle of Boebert. He failed to win enough support at the district assembly to qualify for the ballot.

“I am running for Congress because RINOs and Pharisees threw Lauren Boebert under the bus and I am not happy about it,” Heid wrote on his campaign website. “More importantly, none of the other candidates seem interested in continuing her mission of protecting (the) Constitution and country from the totalitarians trying to destroy it.”

Heid’s run for public office before. In 1990, he was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Colorado governor. Before that, he also tried to get on the ballot to challenge former Rep. Pat Schroeder as a Libertarian in 1988, but failed.

Heid’s website indicates he’s had a varied career, including four years in the military, and stints as a screenwriter, journalist and skydiver.

Adam Withrow (Democrat): A former Libertarian, Adam Withrow filed paperwork to run as a Democrat in July. He’s from Pueblo and used to work in the construction industry. Most recently, he’s been focused on home-schooling his children. Like many entering the race, he expressed frustration with the current incumbent, as well as the Democratic frontrunner, Frisch. He added he wanted to run to give working people someone they can relate to in Congress.

This story will be updated as candidates enter and leave the race.