Rep. Lauren Boebert was only a few dozen votes ahead of her Democratic opponent late Wednesday as returns continued to pour in for her surprisingly close race.
Boebert, an ardent Trump loyalist who owns a gun-themed bar in Colorado, trailed Democrat Adam Frisch by just 73 votes with 95% of the vote, according to Wednesday night’s returns.
That had the two tied at 50-50, with dueling interpretations of the vote pending. Much of the vote comes from Democratic-leaning counties, local affiliate 9NEWS reported, but the same-day votes in Pueblo counted were expected to boost Boebert – leaving the likely winner to speculation.
The defeat of the top lawmaker, who is a lightning rod in Congress, would have been one of the biggest shocks of Tuesday’s election.
The race pitted Boebert, one of the House’s most prominent and divisive conservatives, against a businessman and former alderman in the liberal Aspen.
Aardent Trump loyalist Lauren Boebert (pictured) faces a fierce race to retain her House seat as it has become increasingly clear that her Democratic opponent has made windfall gains
Frisch and Boebert were tied 50-50 on Wednesday night
At one point, Frisch’s lead had fallen to 73 votes
Frisch pleaded with party donors and influencers to help his difficult run during the campaign, even though he failed to register on computer voting sites. Frisch accused Boebert of fueling “anger” and promised a more centered style.
“I spent 10 months trying to convince donors, journalists and political strategists around the world that there was a way forward,” Frisch said Wednesday.
“And people started believing it a little a month ago, and people started believing it a lot four hours ago.” For Frisch, this was no surprise.
“I have this calm belief that 40% of the Republican Party want their party back,” he told the AP.
“We will have this victory,” Boebert said on his own election night.
A loyalist to Donald Trump, Boebert established herself as a national lightning rod during her first term.
She criticized President Biden’s approach to inflation, crime, reliance on foreign oil and border policy.
Democratic candidate for Colorado’s third congressional district, Adam Frisch, hoped he could sway voters
His midterm election prospects in Colorado’s mostly rural 3rd congressional district appeared boosted by a redistricting that made the district more Republican.
The race was still too close to be announced on Wednesday evening.
At a Tuesday night campaign party at a Grand Junction restaurant and bar, Boebert offered a long prayer to his supporters.
She said, “We’ll have that victory.”
Frisch spent the evening with supporters in Aspen.
Jayson Boebert puts his arms around his wife, Republican Congressman Lauren Boebert, as they pray during election night in Grand Junction, Colorado on Tuesday, November 8
Frisch, a conservative Democrat, argues that Boebert sacrificed district interests, instead focusing on talk show and social media appearances to accuse Biden and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of seeking to destroy the soul of the nation.
Frisch pledged, if elected, to join a bipartisan Caucus of Problem Solvers in Congress, a stark reversal from Boebert’s repudiation of consensus building across the aisle.
Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer and Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo were in another close race in Colorado’s new 8th congressional district, stretching north from Denver to Greeley.
The race was also being watched nationally as the GOP sought to overturn congressional control.
Kirkmeyer, a former Weld County Commissioner, pledges to get tough on crime, free up the district’s oil and gas industry, and limit government spending. She once backed a blanket ban on abortion, but now says she would respect exceptions if the mother’s life is in danger.
Outgoing U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., talks to a TV reporter on election night yesterday
Caraveo is a pediatrician and abortion rights advocate who voted for police accountability after the George Floyd protests.
Caraveo hopes his cultural lineage as the child of Mexican immigrants will draw support in a vibrant neighborhood where Latinos make up nearly 40% of voters.
In other races in Colorado, Democratic state Senator Brittany Pettersen defeated Republican Erik Aadland, an oil and gas industry veteran, in suburban Denver’s 7th District to replace the eight-year Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter warrants.
Aadland received backlash after a video of him questioning the results of the 2020 presidential election was leaked.
Four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Ken Buck in eastern Colorado and eight-term Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn in El Paso County won reelection, as did Democratic Rep. Diana Degette, Jason Crow and Joe Neguse.
Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, left, and her husband Jayson Boebert campaign at an election day rally in Grand Junction yesterday
About 7 in 10 voters in Colorado say things in the country are headed in the wrong direction, according to AP VoteCast, an extensive survey of more than 2,700 voters in the state.
The poll also shows that voters overwhelmingly disapprove of economic conditions in the United States. About three-quarters say the state of the economy is not so good or so bad, compared with about a quarter who rate it as excellent or good. About a third say their family is financially behind.
The Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade’s 1973 abortion decision also played a role in most voter decisions, with about 8 in 10 calling it a factor in how they voted. About a quarter call it the most important factor in their vote.
President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump were both high on voters’ minds during the midterm elections, according to the poll. More than 6 in 10 say Biden was a factor in their vote, and a similar proportion say so of Trump.