It Really Seems Like Lauren Boebert Is Coming Back to Congress

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

On Tuesday, Rep. Lauren Boebert, who switched districts following her inappropriate behavior at Beetlejuice The Musical and cratering support, will find out if her political career survives the scandal.

She goes into the race as the favorite. There’s been little public polling of the primary, but a Kaplan Strategies survey conducted in late May found the congresswoman at 40 percent, with all of her GOP opponents stuck in the single digits. Her name recognition blows away that of the other Republicans; plus, she has the “Complete and Total Endorsement” of former President Donald Trump. That makes it look like Boebert might just come out on top.

It wouldn’t be the first time the congresswoman has outplayed the GOP establishment. In 2020, she was the underdog owner of an open carry restaurant called Shooter’s Grill in the aptly-named Rifle, Colorado, and she was known for confronting then-presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke over his proposal to confiscate firearms. She further cemented her reputation as an ultra-right agitator for defying the state’s pandemic restrictions and making positive comments about QAnon.

That’s part of why political commentators were shocked when she ousted incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton in the CO-03 primary that June. Trump—who had backed Tipton—immediately congratulated Boebert on her win. She soon became a MAGA darling, floating putting Trump’s face on Mount Rushmore and heckling President Joe Biden when he talked about cancer-stricken veterans during the State of the Union. Back in Colorado, Boebert told a church crowd, “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.”

Some die-hard conservatives loved it, but voters in her district were lukewarm. In another surprise, she won reelection by only 546 votes over Democrat Adam Frisch, who was thought to have had virtually no shot in the GOP-leaning Western Slope.

Boebert Melts Down as Debate Moderator Grills Her on ‘Beetlejuice’ Incident

As Frisch started piling up cash for a rematch, Boebert began curbing her far-right image, turning her focus to water and agriculture issues in the district. She was in the headlines again when she announced she was about to become a 36-year-old grandmother and again when she filed for divorce. But many Republicans in the district were happy to see that she appeared more focused on the issues.

Then came the Beetlejuice incident.

In September, surveillance video showed her vaping and groping her date while sitting in the audience at Beetlejuice The Musical. Soon, she didn’t have to worry only about the prospect of an embarrassing loss to a Democrat; Republican elected officials began endorsing her primary opponent, making it unclear if she’d even make it to November. Her race was poised to become one of the most dramatic contests of 2024.

But Boebert had an answer. In late December, while other Americans were lolling around in a holiday slump, Boebert announced she wouldn’t be running for reelection in her district after all. Instead, she decided to run in the much more Republican CO-04 on the other side of the state.

With her entry into the race, Boebert trampled all over an already crowded field. Republican former Rep. Ken Buck, who previously represented the district, had announced the previous month he wouldn’t run for reelection. He waited until March to announce he would retire, even before his term was up, leaving the seat to be temporarily represented by a lawmaker who will run in a separate special election on Tuesday.

Lately, Boebert has ridden the waves of more controversy. Her ex-husband pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment after the two had an altercation in January, while her son was arrested in connection with a series of car break-ins. But she’s had plenty of wins too. After the Trump endorsement, she launched a charm campaign, making personal phone calls to assembly delegates and showing up just days after emergency surgery for a blood clot to compete for the top line on the primary ballot. She secured that spot and, since then, has raised almost double her five opponents combined.

House polling is notoriously finicky, so there’s always room for a surprise. But the Kaplan poll has given the Boebert camp additional reason for optimism; besides the topline numbers, her favorability, as well as ratings of her character and judgment, have both risen.

If she does win on Tuesday, she’s likely to sail through her general election match-up and right back into Congress. The district where she’s now running is like one of her preferred lip colors—Colorado’s reddest.

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