As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports on a new poll that, if accurate, shows Republicans in deep trouble in a congressional district that was held easily by ousted incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton for a decade:
The survey of 400 likely voters in the 3rd Congressional District found Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat, with 43% support and Lauren Boebert, a Republican, with 42%. Four percent of voters were undecided and three other candidates split the remaining 11%.
The massive 3rd District, which spans all of the Western Slope, along with southern Colorado and Pueblo, hasn’t elected a Democrat in a dozen years. Mitsch Bush lost by eight points there to Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, in 2018.
But Boebert’s shocking primary win over Tipton on June 30 has placed the race in the crosshairs of national Democratic groups, which see an opportunity to flip the seat, and has Republicans on the defensive. A poll showing a tied race is certain to jolt national onlookers and could lead to an increase in outside spending.
All of the usual early polling caveats apply: it takes two methodologically consistent polls to establish a trend, and GQR Research is considered slightly Democratic leaning by leading aggregator and critic of pollsters FiveThirtyEight. CD-3 in 2017 was rated R+6 on the Cook Partisan Voting Index (PVI), but Rep. Tipton consistently defeated his Democratic opponents by wider margins regardless of the national political climate.
If these numbers prove accurate, CD-3 has truly been reshuffled by Lauren Boebert’s surprise GOP primary victory: from the GOP’s congressional firewall in this state after Rep. Mike Coffman was taken out in CD-6 two years ago, into a investment-grade opportunity for Democrats to increase their congressional delegation from Colorado to an historic 5-2 majority. Boebert defeated her complacent incumbent in the GOP primary, but is now failing to succeed Tipton as a viable general election candidate. Boebert’s sophomoric quips that debase her campaign, low-information policy agenda, and at this point indelible branding as a “Q-Anon” curious nutjob have put this seat in play–where Tipton simply, for all his warts, would not have.
For Democrats, the opportunity here is electrifying. But this remains a Republican-leaning district, and even against an unqualified fringe opponent a full-scale effort will be necessary to prevail.
But the game is on. CD-3 is a top 2020 battleground now.