Rep. Lauren Boebert may soon replace Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene as Democrats’ most hated and demonized House Republican.
With the dust settling on the Greene controversy after Democrats stripped her of committee assignments over her past statements in support of conspiracy theories, it is the gun-toting, high heels-wearing, Beto O’Rourke-confronting Colorado congresswoman who is drawing a steady wave of Democratic critics.
A major sign of Boebert’s power: There are already seven Democrats who have filed paperwork to challenge her in 2022 — a high number unusual for a normal House Democratic primary in any year, but especially this early in the election cycle.
It is a sign of not only how big of a villain she is for Democrats but also of her messaging power.
“Not all of them are equally serious, not all of them will make it to the starting line,” Colorado-based independent political analyst Eric Sondermann said of the candidates. “But it’s telling, obviously, that there is both a hunger out there to defeat Boebert as much as she is a magnet for that attracts a certain segment of Republicans.”
Boebert, who had no previous political experience, defeated five-term Republican Rep. Scott Tipton in a major upset primary last year, becoming almost an instant Republican mirror of Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Her political provocation style combined with an unconventional, for Congress, past and minor run-ins with the law provide ample material for Democrats to chime in on and criticize.
A video of Boebert saying that she plans to carry a gun to Capitol Hill led to outrage from Democrats and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi erecting metal detectors outside the House floor to ensure no members brought a gun to the floor while they voted.
Most recently, Boebert prompted criticism from Democrats for displaying guns on a shelf in the background of her camera shot during a virtual committee meeting this week.
The eclectic group of seven candidates so far in the Democratic primary to unseat Boebert are:
State Sen. Kerry Donovan, who took a dig at Boebert in her campaign launch video: “Real toughness isn’t something you wear on your hip. It’s what you get done for people.”
Gregg Smith, a former high-powered business consultant who was connected to controversial security firm Blackwater who now owns a ranch in Colorado
State Rep. Donald Valdez, who told the Colorado Sun: “With the rhetoric that’s coming from Boebert, I can’t sit here and not engage.”
Pueblo activist and social worker Sol Sandoval
Climate activist Root Routledge, who also ran unsuccessful primary campaigns in previous years
Defense attorney and former state House candidate Colin Wilhelm
Rifle resident Naziha Karima In’am Hadil, who said in federal elections filings that she is homeless
Another reason why the long line to challenge Boebert is unusual is that there is uncertainty about what Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District will look like after redistricting as a result of the 2020 census.
Boebert won her largely rural, western Colorado seat with 51% of the vote to 45% for the Democratic candidate, but redistricting could adjust the boundaries.
“There’s a potential that Colorado District 3 looks significantly different than the district that just elected her,” Sondermann said.
An independent commission made up of four Democrats, four Republicans, and four unaffiliated individuals draw the new congressional boundaries.
“One scenario that I know is being floated around Democratic circles is to add some of the ski towns that are part of western Colorado but are not currently part of the Boebert district,” Sondermann said, which could bring “a significant number of Democratic voters into a district that could tip the balance.”
Democratic challengers to Boebert, win or lose, also have the added bonus of raising their own profiles by running against her.
The biggest challenge for Boebert may not be a particular challenger but proving that she can be an effective lawmaker and representative.
“At some point in time, she’s going to have to prove or demonstrate that there’s more to the portfolio than just the gun issue and just being able to anger and unnerve the Pelosis of the world,” Sondermann said.