No Surprise: Lauren Boebert Plays Poorly In Pueblo

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

A feature-length story today from Politico’s Jennifer Oldham has one of the more comprehensive recent examinations of what may be the hardest region of Colorado to nail down politically: Pueblo, the diverse working-class southern Colorado population center that might (load-bearing “might” here) play a major role in ousting freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert in 2022:

Since her election last November, in a district that sprawls across a huge swath of the mountains and ranch lands that make up the western half of Colorado, Boebert, 34, has become known as one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken acolytes in Congress. A restaurant owner who had never run for office before she declared her candidacy in late 2019, Boebert tried to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election and made a show of carrying a gun inside the U.S. Capitol in her early days in Congress. On Twitter, she frequently attacks Biden and other Democrats; during the January 6 insurrection, she tweeted out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location to her hundreds of thousands of followers.

Among voters in Pueblo—the largest and most politically unpredictable city in Boebert’s vast district—there is a growing sense of exasperation with the freshman representative not yet six months into her tenure.

Pueblo County, located on Colorado’s dusty, windswept plains two hours south of Denver, is the swingiest part of Boebert’s district—making it a key test of her staying power. The county is nothing like the conservative, government-skeptical towns west of the Continental Divide, where Boebert is from, or the glitzy, liberal ski areas in Aspen and Telluride, which she also represents. While Boebert’s district overall is purple—about 32 percent Republican, 26 percent Democratic and 40 percent unaffiliated, among registered voters—the Pueblo County electorate flips this dynamic, with about 36 percent of voters registered as Democrats, 25 percent as Republicans and 37 percent unaffiliated. Still, big-money donors here often give to candidates from opposing parties, independents regularly vote Republican, and blue-dog Democrats skew conservative. Boebert’s Democratic opponent in the 2020 race won the county by just 204 votes. Biden won by 1,520 votes in November, after Trump had claimed victory by 390 votes in 2016.

In the last decade, Pueblo County has played host to some of the most intense political battles in the state, including the controversial recall of Sen. Angela Giron in 2013 and the pitched battle over a swing state house district that has changed hands repeatedly. Although Pueblo has many of the characteristics of a Democratic stronghold, blue votes run conservative enough in these parts that unsuspecting liberals can make significant and costly messaging errors. In the legislature, Pueblo Democrats have an independent streak on certain issues like gun control that, as annoying as it may be in Denver, represents their constituents faithfully. There’s no way we can do justice to the rich detail in this story about one of Colorado’s trickiest political locks to pick, so please do click through to read it all.

Lauren Boebert, in short, is not the kind of Republican who can appeal broadly to voters in the Steel City. Boebert’s overtly race-baiting virulent anti-immigration platform is thoroughly toxic in this diverse community, and Boebert simply doesn’t understand the issues that matter in Pueblo well enough to speak to them. Boebert’s votes against economic relief in a hard-hit community like Pueblo are a far greater liability than other parts of her district.

The big unresolved question in all of this, of course, is what Boebert’s district is going to look like on the other side of this year’s redistricting process. Colorado’s new CD-8 will result in big changes that will at least need to be rebalanced by alterations to the state’s two large rural districts, CDs 3 and 4. One new map proposed this week by the Colorado Hispanic Chamber of Commerce would move Pueblo County out of CD-3 and into safely red CD-4. However Republicans may feel about that map in general, Boebert would greatly benefit from that change in particular.

CD-3 as we’ve known it for the past decade has been a GOP-leaning district with Pueblo as the anchor of Democratic competitiveness. Boebert’s extreme partisan polarization, as this article explains well, increases Pueblo’s importance in any Democratic strategy to unseat her based on the current map. As long as Boebert must answer to the voters of Pueblo, it’s a pretty safe bet what that answer is going to be.

Buh bye, Boebert.

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11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit! says:

    I hadn't seen that map from the Hispanic Chamber. I like it but you're right, Pueblo would be drowned in a sea of Ken Buck red.

  2. 2Jung2Die says:

    Comment deleted

  3. kwtree says:

    The Politico article reminds me why I love Pueblo.

  4. notaskinnycook says:

    Pueblo will have a screaming fit if they get jammed into a sea of red.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      If Pueblo gets redrawn into the current CD-4 at least they’ll have representation that can focus on the entirety of the Arkansas watershed. From that perspective it would be a good thing. 

      • Rockhound says:

        Sorry, no.  The Ark watershed is huge, going all the way up to Leadville and encompasses the majority of El Paso County.  So I'm sorry but I think you have your facts mistaken on this one.

        • MichaelBowman says:

          I’m well aware of the watershed.  My point being it’s a different watershed (and different side of the Continental Divide) than the majority of the current footprint of CD-3. Lamborn is/will always be useless on the subject so it would be up to the rep in CD-4 to carry the load.

          The downstream challenges of the Arkansas are significant, snd the Pueblo – Lamar corridor should be looked at ‘in the whole’ when we’re dealing with economic development, water, rural development, and cultural issues.

          • Rockhound says:

            Completely agree with that sentiment – in a perfect world, in my view, the Lower Arkansas Valley would have its own Congressional district, as would the San Luis Valley, if only the population figures made it possible.  It'd be best to have someone who is in tune with the needs of the respective areas at least as far as water is concerned, given that both candidates in CD-3 last cycle said very little about transbasin diversions and when they did it was only to tow the ubiquitous "not one more acre-foot" Western Slope line.  

    • MattC says:

      Hmm.

      Would anyone outside Pueblo notice or care?

      No offense to Pueblo – I'm with kwtree on loving Pueblo.

      My point is last year when a teacher was being roasted in Sturtevant, WI for doing her job too well (teaching her students and coworkers about racism, activism, community organizing and democracy in America 2020) almost no one anywhere outside her district noticed. 

      All politics is local. And if it makes anyone anywhere uncomfortable, it can stay that way. 

  5. Rockhound says:

    For those who are interested, the LA Times did a similar sort of article a few weeks ago (focusing on Pueblo's swing county status, etc.).  As a resident on the ground, I find that the Politico article gets things a bit more accurate and does a better job all around, but just in case anyone's interested:

    https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2021-04-29/biden-first-100-days-voters-pueblo-colorado-campaign-battleground

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