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Aspen resident Adam Frisch declares candidacy for the Democratic nomination to unseat Rep. Lauren Boebert

Aspen resident Adam Frisch on Wednesday declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to unseat Rep. Lauren Boebert from the 3rd Congressional District, citing confidence in his fundraising ability and political firepower.

“One of our competitive advantages, I think, going forward is a well-funded candidate with moderate views,” Frisch said by telephone Wednesday afternoon.

On Frisch’s announcement day, the former Aspen City Council member was in the middle of a 750-mile road trip through the sprawling House district comprised of more than 750,000 residents who live in such towns as Alamosa, Aspen, Crested Butte, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Pagosa Springs and Telluride, and more populated areas like Grand Junction and Pueblo. His plan was to informally meet with district Democratic leaders and operatives this week; a larger stump tour with public events and rallies will come later, he said.

“It’s a huge district,” he said. “It’s ranching, rural farms and small towns.”

The primary election is scheduled June 28; the general election is Nov. 8.

Frisch said he will run on such campaign platforms as addressing the economy, gas prices, rural broadband, mental health, water rights for farmers and ranchers, and escalating residential rental rates. He did not, however, disguise his primary objective, which is to make Boebert a one-term representative. Boebert was elected in November 2020 and took office in January 2021.

“I believe that one-third of the people who voted for her are sick and tired of her shenanigans and her betrayal of the district,” he said, “and will support a moderate, mainstream candidate who can work on rural issues.”

Aspen resident Adam Frisch announced Wednesday morning his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat, currently held by Republican Lauren Boebert of Rifle.
Courtesy photo

As of Wednesday, there were eight candidates, not including Frisch, seeking the Democratic nomination, according to Ballotpedia.

Boebert’s Republican challengers at this point are Marina Zimmerman of Archuleta County and state Sen. Don Coram of District 6 (Archuleta, Delores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties).

“I am running alongside, not against, any of the other candidates who are working to see Boebert the Betrayer replaced,” Frisch said in his candidacy statement. “We will build a cross-partisan coalition of Democrats, independents, and sensible Republicans to take back our district and protect our democracy from Boebert the Betrayer. Unlike Boebert who has betrayed our district by tearing us apart, I will bring people together to solve problems. We will expose Lauren Boebert for betraying the Constitution and the people of the 3rd Congressional District. We are going to ensure that she loses in November.”

Boebert’s campaign will have deep pockets ramping up to the mid-terms. She raised $800,000 in the last quarter of 2021, lifting her overall contributions to nearly $3.6 million and finishing the year with about $2 million in her war chest, Colorado Politics reported earlier in February.

Second to Boebert in 3rd Congressional District fundraising was Democrat candidate Sol Sandoval of Pueblo, who brought in $208,000 during the last three months of 2021, ending the year with $535,000 raised and $56,000 cash on hand, Colorado Politics reported.

“Our candidacy is certainly based on being able to generate a very large amount of money in a quick amount of time,” Frisch said during the interview with The Aspen Times. “That is how we’re going to be noticed for entering the primary race at this time. And we think the race, at the end of the day, is a mandate on Boebert the betrayer.”

Frisch made no qualms about singling out Boebert and calling her a betrayer.

“My No. 1 goal is to get rid of Boebert the betrayer, which I will keep on saying,” he said.

That rhetoric rings similar to name-calling from both Trump (“Sleepy Joe,” “Crooked Hillary” and “Crazy Nancy,” for instance) and Boebert (who once said that Rep. Ilhan Omar is a “terrorist”).

“It’s impossible for me to out-Boebert Boebert,” Frisch said. “I think it’s fair to say that I and many people believe that she has betrayed this country and betrayed the Constitution, and she’s more focused on tweeting.”

Boebert’s political positions were fairly evident through her Tweets issued so far this week.

Among them on her campaign account were:

— “Planned Parenthood Action has given me a 0% rating. I’m honored.”

— “Governments want to restrict the unvaccinated from every aspect of life but are still happy to use tax revenue from the unvaccinated.”

—“When politicians say something is ‘for public safety’ or ‘public health’ you can rest assured it’s a blanket term for sweeping powers that expand their authority.”

Boebert also got the endorsement of Donald Trump, who won 62.8% of the vote in Mesa County (Grand Junction) during the 2020 presidential election, and 47.9% in Pueblo County. Mesa and Pueblo counties are the largest population centers in Boebert’s district. For the entire 3rd Congressional District, 51.6% supported Trump in 2020 and 46.1% voted for Joe Biden.

In that same general election for CD3, Boebert received 220,634 votes, or 51.4%, while Democrat nominee Diane Mitsch Bush of Routt County received 194,122 votes, or 45.2%.

Boebert won the counties of Alamosa (48.9%), Archuleta (56.5%), Conejos (54.4%) Dolores (75.2%), Hinsdale (57.4%), Huerfano (49.8%), Jackson (78.9%), Mineral (55.5%), Moffat (81.1%), Montezuma (60.5%), Rio Grande (57.5%) and Rio Blanco (82.6%).

Mitsch Bush claimed the counties of Pitkin (73.6%), Eagle (60.3%), Garfield (51%), Gunnision (62.3%), Lake (57.3%), La Plata (56.7%), Ouray (58%), Pueblo (48.1%), Routt (61.9%), Saguache (74.1%) and San Juan (59.3%).

Frisch spent two terms on Aspen City Council, from 2011-18. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics, with emphases in political science and art history, from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Frisch’s website — AdamForColorado.com — also went live this week, noting his time growing up on Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, his volunteer work in Aspen, and his background in business.

“Before moving to the Western Slope of Colorado in 2002, Adam worked on one of the very first socially responsible investing products in the financial markets,” the website said. “He also was a senior executive in the commercial banking industry. He spent extensive time overseas, conducting business in more than 55 countries on six continents.”

Frisch’s wife, Katy, is an elected member of the Aspen School District Board of Education. The couple have a daughter and son both in their teens.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

Democrats Diane Mitsch Bush, James Iacino and Republican Lauren Boebert face off in virtual forum

Given the geographic size of 3rd Congressional District, perhaps the best way to reach voters is via the internet.

That’s what the La Plata County League of Women Voters had in mind with a Wednesday evening candidate forum featuring three of the four candidates for the position. The virtual forum drew just less than 450 live viewers, and is now available on Durango Government Television’s YouTube channel.

Appearing via Zoom were Democrats Diane Mitsch Bush and James Iacino, along with Republican Lauren Boebert. Missing was incumbent Republican Scott Tipton, who also didn’t send any statements to the forum.

The three candidates appearing Wednesday all talked about ways they’d be the better choice to represent the district.

Answering viewer questions presented by Paul DeBell, an assistant professor in political science at Fort Lewis College in Durango, the three candidates made their cases to prevail in both the June 30 primary election and the Nov. 3 general election.

Boebert is an owner of Shooter’s Grill in Rifle. She’s challenging Tipton in the primary, casting herself as a true conservative to represent the district. She’s challenging Tipton’s alleged chumminess with Democrats who currently hold the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Iacino and Mitsch Bush are both challenging Tipton’s alleged lock-step adherence to President Donald Trump’s policies.

Various experience

Mitsch Bush told forum viewers about her government experience as both a Routt County Commissioner and a nearly eight-year veteran of the Colorado House of Representatives.

“Our democracy is in danger,” Mitsch Bush told viewers, adding that she’s a “seasoned, tested, trusted” public servant who has worked across the aisle for her constituents.

“I’ve never been more concerned about the future of our country,” Iacino said. Citing his business experience — the Ridgway resident is a third-generation owner of the Seattle Fish Company — Iacino noted that company has long been a union shop, and said “we need to fight for economic mobility for everybody.”

Boebert also said said “this is one of the most challenging times in our country’s history.”

Boebert said the next 3rd District representative has to be “principled and strong” in defense of free enterprise and against government dependency.

The different views between the Democrats and Tipton’s Republican challenger were on vivid display during the roughly hour-long forum.

Responding to a question about the future of health care, both Iacino and Mitsch Bush said government needs to provide a “public option” to private health insurance. Government should also ensure rural health clinics, with access to mental health and women’s care.

Boebert noted that the current health care system is “broken,” but preferred finding options to open up competition for health care on the Western Slope.

“Nobody is incented to change,” Boebert said.

Some left-right agreement

The candidates did have similar answers to a couple of questions, with some differences, of course.

All favor community-based solutions to affordable housing. Boebert focused more on free markets. Iacino said federal funding should support those efforts. Mitsch Bush said local housing authorities have been effective, but said there needs to be a combination of state and federal efforts, along with public-private partnerships at the local level.

All three candidates also voiced full-throated support for the future of the U.S. Postal Service.

But the Democratic and Republican candidates had more sharp differences than agreement. Answers to a question about police reform illustrated those differences.

“This is our opportunity to effect the change we’ve needed,” Iacino said, noting that military equipment shouldn’t go to local police agencies.

Mitsch Bush said she supports current legislation to outlaw chokeholds and no-knock raids.

Noting that her first husband was a police officer, Mitsch Bush said he knew first-hand the need for training that allows officers to de-escalate confrontations.

“It’s insane that we have to have a discussion about defunding or disbanding (police agencies),” Boebert said, adding that there should be no room for bad officers or racism.

“We need to show compassion and empathy, but never (settle for) looting and violence,” she said.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com.