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Lauren Boebert Opts Out of Special Election in New Congressional District

Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) may have a headache on her hands with Rep. Ken Buck’s (R-CO) announcement that he’s moving his retirement up ahead of schedule, but that doesn’t mean her own plans have changed.

Though he announced months ago that he would not run for re-election in November, Buck said on Tuesday that he would leave Congress at the end of next week, a surprise move that he attributed to wanting to spend more time with family. The decision triggers a special election in his 4th Congressional District, which Gov. Jared Polis (D) announced would be held on June 25.

The regular GOP primary will be held on the same day. Boebert, who had been planning to throw her hat in the ring for that race, said on Wednesday that she would not cut short her own term in Colorado’s 3rd District in order to enter the special election fray.

“I’m not leaving my constituents,” she told The Hill.

In a statement issued through her campaign, she blasted Buck’s decision as “a gift to the Uniparty” and “a swampy backroom deal to try to rig an election I’m winning by 25 points,” a reference to a February poll that found her vastly outpacing her primary opponents in the 4th District.

“Forcing an unnecessary Special Election on the same day as the Primary Election will confuse voters, result in a lame duck Congressman on day one, and leave the 4th District with no representation for more than three months,” Boebert said. “The 4th District deserves better.”

After Buck’s departure, Republicans will hold 218 seats in the House out of 435. Had Boebert decided to step down to run in the special election, she would have triggered yet another special election, and the balance in the chamber would have been threatened with an upset. (Boebert nearly lost her seat in 2022 to Democrat Adam Frisch, who accused her “running scared” from his campaign this year upon her decision to switch districts.)

“I will not further imperil the already very slim House Republican majority by resigning my current seat,” Boebert declared in her statement, “and will continue to deliver on my constituents’ priorities while also working hard to earn the votes of the people of Colorado’s 4th District who have made clear they are hungry for a real conservative.”

Whoever wins the primary in Buck’s district is expected to win the general election because of its reliably red slant. But the Republican candidate who wins the vacancy nomination for the special election will have their name appear twice on the June 25 ballot, potentially giving them an advantage. Some of Boebert’s primary opponents, including former state Sens. Jerry Sonnenberg and Ted Harvey, have already announced their intentions to simultaneously run in the special election.

In announcing the double-booking of elections on Tuesday, Gov. Polis explained it away as a cost-saving measure. Boebert challenged his reasoning in a recent Spaces event on X.

“Suddenly they’re concerned about that,” she said, according to Business Insider. “First time I’ve ever heard of that in Colorado.”

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