DENVER (AP) — A moderate Colorado state senator on Wednesday announced he is taking on Rep. Lauren Boebert in this year’s GOP primary, the first challenge to the firebrand congresswoman by an elected Republican.
Boebert has only been in office one year but become a divisive national figure for her flirtations with conspiratorial conservative thinking, her provocative social media style and for picking fights with Democratic colleagues like Rep. Ilhan Omar. The owner of a firearm-themed restaurant in the town of Rifle, Boebert has already drawn one primary challenger, Marina Zimmerman, a crane operator in the southwestern Colorado town of Arboles who’s never run for office before.
On Wednesday, State Sen. Don Coram, who is far better known and has a decade-long track record of winning races in western Colorado, announced he’d also challenge Boebert.
“I’ve had people reach out to me that think, as I do, that the extreme left and the extreme right are getting notoriety and their voice isn’t being heard,” Coram said in an interview. “I don’t need notoriety, I’m just there to do the job.”
Boebert’s reelection campaign released a statement previewing how she’s likely to run against Coram. “Anyone who has looked at Don Coram’s voting record knows he is a self-serving, super-woke social liberal who would have a far better chance of winning the Democrat nomination,” Boebert said in the statement.
Boebert won a surprise victory in the 2020 Republican primary against Rep. Scott Tipton. Even though then-President Donald Trump endorsed Tipton, Boebert argued she was the stronger Trump supporter. Her win broke with tradition in a district that has historically valued can-do, bipartisan representatives over ideologues and firebrands.
But the district got several points more Republican due to boundary changes in Colorado’s redistricting process last year. While unaffiliated voters are allowed to cast ballots in the primary, it is likely to be an uphill battle challenging a politician as well-known and well-funded as Boebert, who’s raked in millions in donations since arriving in Washington.