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January 05, 2024 02:11 PM UTC

Every Republican Congressional Seat in Colorado is Now Open; Why Do So Many People Want In?

  • 14 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Congressman Doug Lamborn’s retirement announcement means that for the first time that we can remember, all of Colorado’s Republican-held Congressional seats will be open in the same election cycle.

There will likely be at least two dozen Republicans running in a GOP Primary in “safe” Republican districts in CO-03, CO-04, and now CO-05. But why would there be so much interest in jobs that incumbents were so happy to abandon? Let us count the ways…

 

It Pays Well

Doug and Jeanie Lamborn

Lamborn has earned roughly $2.5 million in direct compensation from taxpayers by virtue of serving in Congress since 2007. This doesn’t account for the tens of thousands of dollars Lamborn has paid himself for mileage “reimbursements” out of his campaign account; or the tens of thousands of dollars Lamborn’s campaign has paid his wife, Jeannie Lamborn, for accounting and bookkeeping services. And it doesn’t include his Congressional pension and associated health care benefits.

Lamborn also happily joined numerous Congressional junkets, many of which were sponsored by military-related groups and companies because of Lamborn’s spot on the House Armed Services Committee. Lamborn and his wife also demanded that his congressional staff run personal errands, which was one of several things included in a lawsuit and ethics complaint about his office.

Lamborn isn’t alone in using other means to line his own pockets. Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle) is well know for treating her campaign account as her own personal ATM. Need to pay off some bills? Easy! Just invent a ridiculous expense in the same amount.

 

You Don’t Have to DO Anything

Bling Bling

Quick: Name a signature piece of legislation that Doug Lamborn shepherded through Congress during his nine terms and 17 years in Washington D.C…

Okay, that’s not a fair question. How about this: Name ANY piece of legislation that Lamborn has shepherded through Congress over the last 17 years…

You can look this up, of course, and you’ll find that Lamborn’s name has in fact been attached to a few four pieces of legislation that were eventually signed into law. Here are those four bills:

  1. HR 4725: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 8585 Criterion Drive in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the Chaplain (Capt.) Dale Goetz Memorial Post Office Building.
  2. HR 3375: To designate the community-based outpatient clinic of the Department of Veterans Affairs to be constructed at 3141 Centennial Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the “PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic”.
  3. HR 2366: World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act
  4. HR 4073: To authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to accept the quitclaim, disclaimer, and relinquishment of a railroad right of way within and adjacent to Pike National Forest in El Paso County, Colorado, originally granted to the Mt. Manitou Park and Incline Railway Company pursuant to the Act of March 3, 1875.

In 17 years, Lamborn’s body of work includes renaming a post office; naming a Veterans Affairs Clinic in his district; creating a commemorative WWI coin; and whatever the hell HR 4073 accomplished. 

Please clap.

Reporting for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Ernest Luning relays what Lamborn told KVOR’s Richard Randall on Friday in making his retirement announcement:

Lamborn told Randall that he intends to finish his term by focusing on legislating instead of politics.

“I’m going to work hard, I won’t be doing any politics,” Lamborn said. “I’ll be concentrating on legislating, so maybe I’ll even get more done than before. [Pols emphasis] This will be a good year. It would be a good strong year, but I’ll be watching with interest others who might be coming forward, throwing their hat in the ring. And I know there’s some good people out there.”

Talk about setting a low bar. Lamborn could get more done than ever before in 2024 by simply doing anything at all. More likely, he’ll focus his efforts on pulling a “Boebert” and taking credit for things that he actually voted against. As Dan Boyce reported on Thursday for Colorado Public Radio:

GOP Representative Doug Lamborn, who did not vote for the CHIPS Act, cheered the funding as a particular win for national security. He mentioned the semiconductors produced will end up in military tech from precision missile platforms to modern radar and the latest autonomous systems.

“I absolutely agree with the goals of the CHIPS Act,” Lamborn said. “I just happen to believe that private funding works better than government funding. However, now that the act has taken effect and has become law, let’s make the most of it.”

Yay for this thing I tried to stop but couldn’t!

Brick Tamland and Doug Lamborn (or vice-versa)

Lamborn has arguably been the dimmest bulb in Congress for many years (and there’s plenty of competition there). Lamborn told KVOR that he would focus on legislating instead of politics for the rest of the year, but he was equally bad at politics. Lamborn regularly tossed out completely nonsense claims that were so ridiculous that even the rightest of right-wing news media barely noticed. For example, there was the time in May 2020 that Lamborn accused then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of pushing a coronavirus relief bill in order to secretly release notorious drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman from his Supermax federal prison cell in Florence, Colorado. Most elaborate conspiracy theories are completely devoid of logic, but this one made even less sense than others. As we wrote at the time:

Lamborn probably knows that his “El Chapo” accusation isn’t true, though it’s equally plausible that he totally believes this nonsense. It’s hard to know with Lamborn.

Doug Lamborn, more or less

Lamborn will likely be remembered most for the lawsuit and ethics complaints about his difficult workplace environment, including the fantastic revelation that Lamborn “allowed” his adult son to live in a closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. 

Our favorite Lamborn story, however, comes from 2017 when he physically removed a painting from the walls of Congress that he deemed offensive. Lamborn and at least four other Republicans repeatedly removed this same painting from the wall every time it was found and replaced. This was so dumb and so pointless that it almost HAD to involve Lamborn personally.

Fellow Republicans Ken Buck (CO-04) and Lauren Boebert (CO-03) have been equally useless in Congress. Buck couldn’t even be bothered to attend impeachment inquiries into then-President Donald Trump when they were being held IN HIS OWN HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ROOM.

 

Job Security

Later!

Once you make it into one of these “safe” Republican seats, you can basically hold onto the job for as long as you want. Lamborn’s predecessor, Joel Hefley, served for 20 years.

Republican Ken Buck was elected five times in CO-04. No Democratic challenger ever came within 20 points of defeating him.

And as we’ve discussed many times in this space, the third congressional district (that Rep. Lauren Boebert is abandoning) SHOULD be a safe Republican seat. The last Democrat to hold the seat, John Salazar, was defeated in 2010. 

We’ve long called Lamborn a “political zombie” because of how impossible it was to kill him off. Lamborn wasn’t a prodigious fundraiser and certainly isn’t a charismatic figure, but despite regularly facing serious opponents in a Republican Primary, he always managed to re-secure the GOP nomination fairly easily. In 2022, Lamborn crushed then-State Rep. Dave Williams by more than 15 points.

Lamborn even managed to regularly win re-election despite his own incompetence. In 2018, he nearly failed to make it onto the GOP Primary ballot because his campaign somehow couldn’t manage to collect a measly 1,500 signatures for ballot access. Buck almost accomplished a similar feat in 2022 when some dude named Bob Lewis nearly kept the incumbent off of the Primary ballot via the GOP caucus process. 

 

It Is (Relatively) Easy to Win

The bar is very low in a Republican Primary

We’ve been regularly referencing the results of the 2006 Republican Primary in CO-05 in advance of the ClusterBuck unfolding in CO-04. Take another look at the graphic at right.

A total of 56,092 Republican Primary voters decided on six candidates in that race, with Lamborn capturing 27% of the vote. A measly 15,126 voters put Lamborn in Congress for life, essentially. You would need at least three times as many votes in order to win a competitive State Senate race in 2024 (in a General Election). 

We don’t know what Republican voter turnout will look like in CO-04, but we can make a rough guess based on the last decade of returns in a GOP Primary Election. If there are eight candidates and voter turnout is about similar to 2022, then the winner could cruise toward the General Election with somewhere in the neighborhood of 16,000 votes. For comparison, you could win a city council race in Denver with about 10,000 votes. 

The Republican Primary in CO-03, sans Boebert, will likely get very crowded as well. An open seat in what should be a safe GOP district is too attractive for most local politicians to ignore.

These jobs don’t open up all that often, so you had better be ready to jump when they do. Sure, there’s a lot you could accomplish in Congress, but for Colorado Republicans, the job is the goal.

 

Comments

14 thoughts on “Every Republican Congressional Seat in Colorado is Now Open; Why Do So Many People Want In?

  1. Well, I'm convinced. I hereby announce my candidacy for the CO-4 seat. If elected I pledge to pass at least five laws in the next two decades.

     

  2. Technically, Ron Hanks could decide the fates of CD3 and CD5. With his state senate seat, he has history in both districts.

    I love Hanks. Principled man – honest, articulate. Right now, he's who I will be supporting in CD3.

    I hope to see Daryl Glenn jump into cd5 – but if Hanks goes there I'm likely supporting him there. 

    If the CD3 primary were held tomorrow, Hanks would win (and I'm skeptical of other candidates being able to beat him). CD3 favors the grassroots guy who is authentic – and Hanks has that strongly. However – I think he can win CD5 too – and that could be a better fit based on his service in the state senate.

    1. Hanks would have a much easier time running in CD 5. If he is the nominee in CD 3, Adam Frisch's chances improve significantly although not as great as they were when Bimbobert was running there.

      1. CD3 is one of few districts where money is meaningless. Monster district – you have no choice but to go retail (which I love!)

        Adam Frisch can beat Hanks? Lol.

        Frisch says his wealth is from currency trading. Really? Where’s the ledger on those trades? Because the story seems more plausible that he married a rich woman (from a wealthy family) and rode the coattails hard. But if I’m wrong, feel free to let me know if he knows the difference between the Ringgit and the Dinar.

        $7 million wasn’t given to Frisch because people like him. That $7 million represents the command of Lauren Boebert. Without Boebert, Frisch is lucky to raise $200k. 
         

        Lastly, Frisch’s best friend was the gutless-puke known as Jon O’Dea – the man at the top of the R ticket who antagonized the MAGA movement. Multiple CD3 R’s didn’t show up to vote as a result (many just assumed Boebert would win in a landslide anyways). Frisch won’t have the friendship of dumbfuck O’Dea this time around.

        Lauren would have beat Frisch like a drum. I am overjoyed she’s headed to CD4 tho. It’s the area where she grew up – and frankly, we need her voice on the metro stage. The front range R’s badly lack a spine – and more importantly, Lauren can now command an even larger audience. She’ll be there to help guide whoever emerges in CD3 (and goes onto defeat Adam “Ringgit” Frisch).

         

        1. CD4 is not the area where Lauren Roberts / Bentz / Boebert grew up. Those areas would be Altamonte Springs, Florida, and Montbello neighborhood in Denver ( Degette’s district). When she was 14, the family moved to  Rifle in CD3, where Lauren went to high school. 
          But if you want to see Lala Bobo run in the Bellos, ( where she grew up) , I’m all for it. 
           

          In another post, you said that you thought Ron Hanks was “authentic”. If by “authentic”, you mean a sociopathic, blowhard bully, then Sure, Hanks is authentic. 

          But he changed his name from Loren to Ron, changed his politics from  socially liberal to MAGA monster, carpetbagged his way from California wine country to southeast Colorado , changed his story about where he was 1/6/21 several times. The voters of his Colorado House district had enough of his lies and bullying, and booted him out. 
          If anything, Hanks could appeal to the military voters in CD5. He is authentically a veteran of the armed forces. But he’s still a blowhard, possibly bugfuck crazy bully, and that will come out wherever he runs.
           

          1. Agree about Hanks, tree. And now that CD5 is open to all the hungrycrazy R's in Colorado, it really is a much better fit for Hanks than CD3. Why would any carpetbagger CHOOSE to run in CD3, one of the largest CDs in the US with a fragmented media market. CD5 is basically one county – kinda like running for County Commissioner, I would think. 

            1. In fact, maybe we'll see Boebert change her mind again and run for CD5 – much easier to campaign, especially when you have to go to the theatre a lot. 

        2. Having suffered (as a disabled veteran needing assistance)  bid adios to the new CD-4 reacher/groper/climber boobert. I am glad to see her go. She did NOTHING positive here. Whatever you smoking bruh you need to change. 

          In trumpland folks here aren't inclined to support two silicone tits on a worthless representative let alone a boor….spelling intended. 

        3. Hanks is Boebert without the Bettlejuice groppings.  He's just as much of a crackpot as she is. 

          “Lauren would have beat Frisch like a drum.” Like she did last time around?

          “It’s the area where she grew up” She grew up in a trailer park on the Florida panhandle eating government-provided cheese.

        4. Money is meaningless?  An interesting sentiment.  I'd agree that RAISING money is meaningless — it matters a great deal more how it is spent.

          Spending money freely to drive a grass-roots, deep canvas campaign to find and develop additional voters would be money well spent.  In a Presidential year election, more people are likely to come out.  If the Republicans in the House shut down the government, if the Republicans running in the primary antagonize various portions of the base, and if Donald Trump is the nominee AND convicted AND requires all the nominees to explicitly support him, there will be enough to convince those voters who seldom vote that they will serve their own interests better by avoiding sending more Republicans to DC.

        5. Lauren would have beat Frisch like a drum.

           

          Then why did she turn tail and carpet bag to the other end of the state after nearly getting beat when she was expected to "beat him like a drum" in 2022?

    2. Yeah, who doesn't love a performative jackass who shoots inanimate objects for campaign videos.  Oh and his January 6, 2021 antics.  Color me unimpressed.  But you do you, in your strange world untethered from reality. 

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