Yesterday, while I was finishing up my vacation, voters in Colorado somehow managed to make it to the polls to hold their primary elections. Even more surprising was the fact that they delivered some final results in relatively short order despite all of the pandemic madness, absentee ballots and general unrest. One race produced something of an upset when the Centennial State’s Third District Republican congressman, Scott Tipton, fell to his primary challenger. The victor was “pistol-packing businesswoman” Loren Boebert. Her pro-gun, pro-freedom and pro-Trump campaign appeared to resonate with voters, despite the fact that Tipton had largely been a staunch supporter of the President all along. (Associated Press)
Five-term Colorado U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton was upset in Tuesday’s Republican Party primary by Lauren Boebert, a pistol-packing businesswoman, ardent defender of gun rights and border wall supporter who wants to abolish the U.S. Department of Education.
Boebert won after a campaign in which she accused Tipton of not being sufficiently pro-Donald Trump even though the president had endorsed Tipton, and even though Tipton is the Trump campaign’s co-chair for Colorado. Trump congratulated Boebert on Twitter, saying, “Congratulations on a really great win.”
She will run in November’s general election against Diane Mitsch Bush, who won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday by defeating James Iacino.
Tipton was gracious in his concession remarks. He said, “I want to congratulate Lauren Boebert and wish her and her supporters well.”
The fact that Boebert’s campaign did so well by accusing Tipton of being insufficiently Trumpish is something of a surprise. As noted above, President Trump had already endorsed Tipton for another term and even named him his campaign co-chair for the presidential race. Still, Boebert knew how to attract earned media and made the most of it. She opened up her Shooters Grill restaurant in spite of pandemic shutdown orders issued by Governor Polis. She drew early attention in the race last year during a confrontation with Beto O’Rourke over his gun confiscation plans, earning her even more headlines.
Boebert should have a fairly clear path to victory in November, though it’s a race that will merit some attention. While much of Colorado has been sliding increasingly toward the blue side, the Third District sits mostly on the western slopes and is more rural and conservative in nature. Or at least it was until recently. Trump carried the district 52-40 in 2016. Tipton won his race that same year 55-40 after taking 58% of the vote in 2014. But in 2018, Tipton won by a noticeably smaller, 51-44 margin against Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush. Interestingly, Bush will be running once again this November against Boebert.
One fun side note about Ms. Boebert involves her restaurant, the Shooters Grill. There is (or at least was) a prominent sign on the wall reading, “Guns are welcome on premises. Please keep all weapons holstered, unless the need arises. In such cases, judicious marksmanship is appreciated.” The restaurant also hosts certified concealed carry classes.
I somehow doubt that Donald Trump will be put off by these results. He already sent out a congratulatory message to Boebert and he’s unlikely to criticize a businesswoman who has been such an unabashed supporter of his. At the same time, Tipton has remained positive, looking like a team player, so he’ll likely be kept on as Trump’s campaign co-chair and should still have some future prospects in Colorado politics.