A hardline gun-rights advocate who is also a strident critic of restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus celebrated a shocking upset of a Colorado Republican congressman who was backed by President Trump.
Lauren Boebert, who gained notoriety for encouraging staff at her restaurant to openly carry weapons, trounced conservative Rep. Scott Tipton by a healthy 10% margin in the GOP-leaning district in Colorado ski country.
“We are going to take our fight for freedom to the Democrats,” she vowed Wednesday morning, adding a photo of her carrying a holstered handgun.
Even though Trump endorsed Tipton, he quickly pivoted to back Boebert in the November general election.
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The win sets up a competitive race with Democratic challenger Diane Mitsch Bush, who lost to Tipton by a modest 8% margin in the 2018 race.
In the most closely watched primary race in the Rocky Mountain State, moderate ex-Gov. John Hickenlooper easily turned aside a liberal challenge. He is a slight favorite to unseat GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in November in a must-win seat for Democrats aiming to take control of the Senate.
In another competitive House seat in Utah, Republicans voters also chose the more hardline right-wing candidate to try to oust conservative freshman Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams.
Former football star Burgess Owens, a frequent guest on pro-Trump television shows will take on the moderate freshman in the Salt Lake City-area district.
Boebert may attract more unwelcome publicity as the Republican electorate continues to lurch to the far right.
She has stridently opposed coronavirus stay-at-home orders and opened her restaurant in defiance of Gov. Jared Polis’s order.
Boebert has also spoken warmly of QAnon, a far right-wing conspiracy theorist that has gained support on the fringes of Trump’s #MAGA movement.
“Everything that I’ve heard of Q, I hope that this is real because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values,” Boebert said during the campaign.
Trump revels in the backing of diehard supporters like Boebert. But their actions and statements reinforce the GOP’s increasing unpopularity in the age of Trump in suburban and swing districts nationwide.
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