Lauren Boebert wins Colorado Republican House primary

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., won her GOP primary Tuesday, NBC News projects, after she decided to run in a different district from the one where she narrowly won re-election in 2022. 

Boebert defeated five other Republicans for the party’s nomination in Colorado’s 4th District, which opened up after Rep. Ken Buck announced this year that he would resign. She will be heavily favored to win the seat in the general election given the area’s rightward lean. 

Boebert, who is in her second term, eked out a 546-vote victory in the neighboring 3rd District two years ago and faced the prospect of a rematch with Adam Frisch, a well-funded Democrat. Former President Donald Trump won the 4th District by 19 points, while he carried the 3rd District by 8 points in 2020, according to calculations from Daily Kos Elections.

Boebert, whom Trump backed, built a national profile as a conservative firebrand after she pulled off a surprising 2020 GOP primary win against then-Rep. Scott Tipton, in part by promising to take on high-profile liberal figures like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. 

“Since the first day I ran for public office I promised I would do whatever it takes to stop the socialists and communists from taking over our country,” Boebert said in December when she announced her decision to run in the 4th District. “That means staying in the fight. But it also means not allowing Hollywood elites and progressive money groups to buy the 3rd District.”

Boebert also said the move would be a “fresh start” after a difficult year for her personally, noting she and her husband had divorced. She was granted a temporary restraining order against her ex-husband in February. She also grabbed headlines last year for being escorted out of a musical for allegedly “vaping, singing [and] causing a disturbance.”

Boebert’s decision to run in the neighboring 4th District also shook up the GOP primary in the more competitive 3rd District, where Frisch, a former member of the Aspen City Council, cleared the Democratic field and won the party’s nomination.

Attorney Jeff Hurd won the GOP primary to face Frisch in the fall, NBC News projects, overcoming a Democratic effort to meddle in the Republican contest and secure an opponent who could be easier to beat in November.

A Democratic outside group launched a TV ad appearing to boost controversial former state Rep. Ron Hanks, according to The Colorado Sun. Hanks has denied the 2020 election results, and he marched to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He also ran unsuccessfully in the GOP Senate primary in 2022. 

The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with House GOP leadership, countered the effort with its own TV ad targeting Hanks. Frisch also appeared to play in the primary by launching a TV ad aimed at Hurd, potentially damaging his standing among conservative voters by suggesting his positions on abortion and Trump are unclear. 

In the deep-red 5th District, Republicans selected political consultant Jeff Cranks, a former radio host, to replace retiring GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn. 

Crank’s victory is a blow to Trump, who had endorsed state GOP Chairman Dave Williams. Crank had support from House Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana and a few other congressional Republicans.

New member of Congress

Boebert also decided not to run in the special election to serve out the rest of Buck’s term, opting to remain in Congress and continue representing the 3rd District. 

Republican George Lopez won the special election Tuesday to replace Buck, NBC News projects, meaning Lopez will soon head to the House and help pad Republicans’ thin majority. Lopez did not run for a full term, so he will serve in Congress for only about six months. 

Lopez, a former state director for the Small Business Administration and a former mayor of Parker, has run for office multiple times, including having made unsuccessful bids for governor in 2022 and 2018. He is a staunch conservative and has taken some far-right positions, including casting doubt on the 2020 election results. He also does not support any exceptions to a ban on abortions.

Tuesday’s primaries also set the matchup in Colorado’s 8th District, which is expected to be one of the most competitive House races in the country this year.

As expected, state Rep. Gave Evans won the GOP primary to take on Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo, who won her first term in 2022 by just 1 percentage point. Evans was the top fundraiser in the GOP primary and had Trump’s endorsement.

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