Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., on Thursday declared herself the winner of her congressional race even though the election is still too close to call.
Boebert has been locked in a surprisingly tight contest with Democratic challenger Adam Frisch, who led the race on election night. Boebert took a slim lead over the Democrat last week as votes continued to be counted but Frisch cut her lead from 1,122 votes to 551 votes on Thursday as more ballots were cured and counted.
The race remains too close to call, according to the Associated Press. Boebert’s slim lead is well within the 0.5% threshold to trigger an automatic recount under Colorado law and the AP is not expected to call the race until the recount is complete. Under state law, the mandatory recount must be completed no more than 35 days after the election, which is December 13.
But that did not stop Boebert, who went unusually quiet as she trailed in the race, from prematurely declaring victory.
“We won!” Boebert tweeted along with a video. “Come January, you can be certain of two things,” she said, “I will be sworn in for my second term as your congresswoman and Republicans can finally turn Pelosi’s house back into the People’s House.”
I am so thankful for all of your support and I am so proud to be your Representative! pic.twitter.com/4gnmflotiU
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) November 18, 2022
Colorado Sun editor Larry Rickman pointed out that not only is the race headed for a recount, “two counties have not yet sent their final vote tallies.”
Still, tweeted the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman, it would be “extremely rare for a lead of that size to be overturned in a recount.”
Frisch, a businessman and former Aspen city councilman, told the AP that he would not be surprised if he ended up winning but acknowledged he may lose.
“We obviously can’t be surprised if we lose. We’re not that wacko,” he told the outlet.
Frisch added that his unexpected support demonstrates how tired voters in the Republican-leaning district are of Boebert’s Trump-style extremism.
“I think 99% of the story is here,” he said.
Frisch on Thursday filed paperwork to run in the district again in 2024 with the Federal Election Commission, meaning that there may be a rematch even if Boebert’s lead holds up.
Frisch framed his entire campaign around opposition to his Republican opponent’s antics, 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,” his campaign website says. “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.”
Boebert, the gun-toting business owner whose Shooters Grill restaurant was recently shut down, has repeatedly drawn headlines as part of the so-called “MAGA Squad,” which also includes Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., and outgoing Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., who lost his re-election bid in the GOP primary.
Boebert repeatedly pushed election conspiracy theories and was widely criticized for stoking Trump supporters ahead of the Capitol riot and later tweeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s, D-Calif., location during the attack. She later insisted on bringing her gun to the Capitol despite clashing with Capitol Police.
She also came under scrutiny in Colorado after using campaign funds to pay for her rent and utility bills and for receiving an unusually high $22,259 in mileage reimbursements from her campaign.
While Boebert has no legislative accomplishments to show for her first term in office, she faced backlash from Democrats over Islamophobic comments she made 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 supporters at an event last year. “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 not Omar.
She later heckled President Joe Biden during his state of the union address while he was talking about his son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015.
In the summer, Boebert appeared to embrace Christian nationalism during a religious service.
“The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our Founding Fathers intended it,” she said in June. “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk that’s not in the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter, and it means nothing like what they say it does.”
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