Rep. Lauren Boebert, a far-right Republican from Colorado, was locked in a race that was too close to call and inside the threshold for an automatic recount, the Associated Press projected Thursday, leaving in doubt the outcome of a surprisingly competitive election in a conservative congressional district.
With nearly all votes counted, Boebert led Democrat Adam Frisch by 0.16 percentage points, the AP reported. Under state law, a mandatory recount must be completed no later than 35 days after the election, which is Dec. 13.
Boebert’s lead was 551 votes out of nearly 327,000 votes counted, the AP reported. The news agency said it will await the results of a potential recount to call the race.
The race in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District — a wide swath of the state’s west — was a showdown between Boebert, a gun-toting Republican from the working-class town of Rifle on the banks of the Colorado River, and Frisch, a conservative Democrat from the ritzy ski town of Aspen.
Former president Donald Trump won the district by about eight percentage points in 2020, helping pave what had been thought to be a clear path to victory for Boebert in the largely rural district.
But the race ended up closer than many had anticipated. Frisch, a former city council member in Aspen, had framed his campaign as a reprieve from the commotion around Boebert, describing himself as a “candidate to defeat Lauren Boebert.”
“Lauren Boebert is an anti-American, anti-Colorado show pony who can’t tell right from wrong,” Frisch said on his campaign website. “I’ve spent my career as a successful businessman. Now I’m running for Congress to cut inflation and create local economic growth and jobs. I’ll put Colorado First and keep America Strong.”
Since her election in 2020, Boebert has made national headlines for her remarks on matters ranging from gun rights to pandemic restrictions to baseless claims about Democrats. She also came under scrutiny for using campaign funds to pay for her rent and utility bills, and for receiving an eyebrow-raising $22,259 in mileage reimbursements from her campaign.
Last year, a group of Democratic lawmakers called for Boebert to be stripped of her committee assignments after she made an Islamophobic remark about Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).
“You know, we’re leaving the Capitol and we’re going back to my office and we get in an elevator and I see a Capitol Police officer running to the elevator,” Boebert told the crowd at an event in her district last November. “I see fret all over his face, and he’s reaching, and the door’s shutting, like I can’t open it, like what’s happening. I look to my left, and there she is. Ilhan Omar. And I said, ‘Well, she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.’ ”
Boebert later apologized “to anyone in the Muslim community I offended” but declined to publicly apologize to Omar, instead doubling down on her Islamophobic attacks.
In March, Boebert heckled President Biden during his State of the Union address, as he mentioned the dangers U.S. troops face, among them cancer, the disease that his son Beau died of in 2015.
“When they came home, many of the world’s fittest and best trained warriors were never the same. Headaches. Numbness. Dizziness,” Biden said. “A cancer that would put them in a flag-draped coffin. I know. One of those soldiers was my son, Major Beau Biden.”
“American warriors in flag-draped coffins,” the president added.
“Thirteen of them!” Boebert yelled out, referring to the U.S. service members who were killed in the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. She was booed and shushed by others. One Democrat yelled: “Kick her out!”
Amy Gardner and Mariana Alfaro contributed to this report.