Lauren Boebert, a Glock-wearing conservative firebrand, won the race for Colorado’s sprawling Third Congressional District on Wednesday, holding the seat for Republicans as they tried to limit their House losses.
According to The Associated Press, Ms. Boebert, 33, defeated Diane Mitsch Bush, a former state legislator, in the race for the seat held by Representative Scott Tipton, a Republican toppled by Ms. Boebert in the party primary, the first time a challenger defeated a sitting House member in the state in decades. She did so by portraying Mr. Tipton as insufficiently supportive of President Trump.
Though Colorado is trending more Democratic, the Third Congressional District covers a huge expanse of the state’s more conservative Western Slope, where progressive upscale ski towns, such as Aspen and Steamboat Springs, are interspersed with conservative ranching and working-class communities such as Pueblo and Grand Junction.
Ms. Boebert, the owner of a restaurant in Rifle, Colo., where the waitresses openly carry handguns, gained attention for expressing some interest in QAnon, but has since disavowed the baseless conspiracy theory, which maintains that the world is run by a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles plotting against Mr. Trump. Instead, Ms. Boebert has positioned herself as the antidote to what she has called socialist ideology spreading through Washington, represented by lawmakers such as Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York.
The congresswoman-elect gained national attention in 2019 when she confronted Beto O’Rourke, then a Democratic candidate for president, at a televised town hall outside Denver over his pledge to confiscate weapons such as semiautomatic assault rifles. “I am here to say, ‘Hell no, you’re not,’” she told Mr. O’Rourke.
She said she decided to take on Mr. Tipton, a low-profile, conservative congressman, after his office declined to aid a ballot measure preventing Colorado from awarding its electoral votes to the overall national popular vote winner. He did not appear to take the primary challenge seriously and lost.
Ms. Mitsch Bush is a former Routt County commissioner and state lawmaker who stressed her bipartisan record and expertise on water issues, always a major concern in Colorado. She said Ms. Boebert was more interested in achieving political celebrity than working on the issues most important to Coloradans. She also attacked Ms. Boebert for backing the Republican drive to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
Ms. Boebert was dogged in her campaign by the disclosure of a series of run-ins she had with local police over traffic charges and other conduct, including being arrested on warrants for failure to appear in court.
A group opposed to her paid for billboards featuring her mug shot at various locations in the district. But many voters in the district were apparently willing to overlook those transgressions and back Ms. Boebert for her pledge to be an aggressive conservative combatant in Congress.