CD3 voter reviews mixed bag on Rep. Lauren Boebert’s start
Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting voters throughout Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Through the month of May, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig Press and Vail Daily will be running stories highlighting Democrat and Republican voters in our communities.
Colorado Mesa University political science professor Justin Gollop said never before in his tenure has he fielded so many calls about a local politician.
“I’ve never received as many questions about the Colorado 3rd (District) and the representative as I have,” Gollop, a CMU professor since 2008, said. “It’s been an interesting spotlight on the CD3.”
Normally, this voting district is known for its world-class ski resorts, breathtaking open spaces and cattle ranches. In 2020, its voters elected what’s turning out to be one of the most controversial politicians in modern Centennial State history: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo.
So Colorado Mountain News Media and other regional news partners teamed up to learn more about our voters in CD3, why they voted the way they did and their thoughts on Boebert’s first few months in Congress.
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Through the month of May, the Vail Daily and our sister papers will be publishing Republican and Democrat voter profiles from throughout the district, followed by profiles of voters who are unaffiliated.
Since upsetting incumbent Scott Tipton in the GOP primary and defeating Democratic challenger Diane Mitsch Bush in the general election, Boebert has consistently made national and global headlines.
Driving Boebert’s performance so far as a freshman congressperson are the CD3 voters themselves. The district, one of the largest in the country, encompasses nearly 30 counties and cast almost 430,000 total votes in the 2020 general election.
The voter landscape is so vast, in fact, that some are calling for plans to dismantle and redistrict CD3.
“It’s a toss of a coin,” Gollop said of a possible redistricting. “A lot of proposals are ruling Pueblo out of the CD3, but at this point, your guess is as good as mine.”
Steve Martinson, a retired art teacher and an avid outdoorsman in Moffat County — which had one of the highest concentrations of Boebert votes in the district with 65.59% margin — said if redistricting occurs with a nonpartisan board, time will show that Colorado can do it effectively and find a balance in voters.
“Traditionally, I’ve been a little skeptical about redistricting because it just seems like whoever is in power likes to power grab,” he said. “If it can be done in a balanced and nonpartisan way, I’d be a little more receptive to that. But, you know, the Western Slope is conservative, and that’s going to be the voice for a long time.”
Doug Winters, Moffat County Republican Party chairman and 14th Judicial District chief investigator, said it’s a little disappointing to see the representation from a CD3 redistricting standpoint.
“But it’s my understanding that there’s still an even mix,” he said. “I hope CD3 doesn’t go through a whole lot of changes, to be honest with you. We’ll just see how it shakes out. I know there’s a number of people in our community here who are concerned and interested in the redistricting.”
CD3’s expansive political landscape, however, still makes for broad differences among voters.
“Well, one of the biggest predictors of voting is your partisanship, and (Boebert) clearly falls into this model of supporters and her opponents,” Gollop said. “Republicans generally hold a higher opinion of her performance. Democrats? They’re certainly not as favorable.”
Based on 2020 figures, 220,634 CD3 constituents voted Republican, 194,122 voted Democrat and 14,563 voted for other parties. Interestingly enough, however, there were 84,384 registered voters who opted not to vote in the CD3 race, while there were 133,599 total registered (active, inactive and preregistered) who did not vote in CD3 race.
For now, the numbers favor Boebert.
Just like how former President Donald Trump won his seat in 2016, Boebert won the Republican ticket based on the promise that she’s not a typical Capitol Hill politician, Gollop said. She’d win CD3 by a margin of 26,512 votes.
“I would say they appreciate her ability to buck convention, to challenge the status quo, to tell it like it is, to push issues that they feel have not really had a strong spokesperson for,” he said of Boebert’s CD3 supporters. “She’s shining a light on the challenges that people in especially rural areas are facing.”
Issues range anywhere from gun rights, environmental regulations and rural development.
“Boebert’s really just a fresh voice on these issues that’s outside of the traditional partisan mainstream Republican Party,” Gollop said.
Those in CD3 who don’t support Boebert, meanwhile, see it quite differently.
“Her opponents, they are going to argue that she is a disrupter, but not necessarily in a good way,” Gollop said. “She’s an obstructionist rather than someone who can produce policy. … She’s going to get in the way instead of making things happen.”
But when it comes to Boebert’s goal to retain her Congressional seat in 2022, Bollop said, “The numbers are there.”
“A lot of this comes down to the challenger,” he said. “Is she going to see a challenger from the Republicans and, if so, who will be more moderate Republican? Assuming she works through the primary in terms of Democratic candidates, what does that look like? There’s just so many questions. But in terms of numbers right now, they’re there. We have to consider redistricting, we have to consider challengers. … There is a lot up in the air.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com
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