February 3, 2023

A little heartburn is a good thing if it leads to healthier choices.

Beginning this week, there will be a ballot recount in the 3rd congressional district. Congresswoman Lauren Boebert defeated former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch by just 550 votes. Although he conceded, the law requires a recount if the margin of votes between candidates is less than 0.5 percent of the total votes cast for the winner. Although the recount is not expected to change the results, the race will remain in the news until December 13, when it must be completed. It’s good; Boebert and the remaining MAGA supporters must be feeling a bit of an upset stomach in this state.

Judging by her Twitter presence, Boebert didn’t take the lessons of the election to heart. She may still be under the illusion that her unexpected photo finish victory was due to a lack of enthusiasm for nationwide top-ticket candidates, as she hinted after Election Day. A new analysis from The Colorado Sun should teach them otherwise; She outperformed all of the statewide GOP candidates in her district except one, gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl.

Republican nominees for the US Senate, Secretary of State, Treasurer and Attorney General all received more votes in Colorado’s Third District than did the congresswoman. While Boebert beat her opponent by a fraction of a percent in CD3, Lang Sias led his opponent by seven percentage points, John Kellner beat his by five, Pam Anderson by three and Joe O’Dea by two.

The 3rd congressional district is one of the few districts in Colorado where Republican voters outnumber Democrats. Thirty-one percent of active registered voters are Republicans, 24 percent are Democrats, and the remainder (44 percent) of voters are non-partisan. In 2020, Boebert beat her opponent Diane Mitsch Bush 51% to 45%. The district has since been redrawn to accommodate more Republicans. In 2022, a strong Republican should have received 55% or more of the vote.

Instead, a significant percentage of right-leaning voters split their ticket, voting for statewide GOP candidates and one Democrat for Congress, or voting for the GOP, leaving an empty bubble for that race.

Boebert was the only Trump-backed candidate in Colorado. An analysis by Philip Wallach, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, found that Trump-backed Republicans underperformed in contests, while Republican candidates unsupported by the former president exceeded expectations.

For example, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp beat Stacey Abrams 53% to 46%. Trump-elected Herschel Walker is tied in the polls ahead of the Dec. 5 runoff. As long as there are no more skeletons falling out of his closet and he isn’t talking, he has a chance, but the GOP would be in a far stronger position had they picked another candidate.

Republican candidates who were not officially endorsed by Trump but who promoted electoral conspiracy theories also fared poorly compared to mainstream Republicans. A Washington Post analysis of 47 contests for congressional and state office found that election deniers fared poorly; only ten of the 47 won, with two races yet to be called.

Here, too, election deniers fared poorly. Republican candidates in state offices or in congressional districts accepted the 2020 election results. Only Erik Aadland, candidate for the 7th congressional district, and Danny Moore, Ganahl’s running mate, said on record that the election was rigged. While they retracted the allegations, their earlier stance cost them votes.

Fortunately, Trump’s announcement of another presidential nomination seems to have elicited a mix of “meh,” “nah,” and “fucking no” from prominent Republicans in the state. You understand his politics here is toxic. If Republicans are to exercise any modicum of political clout in this deep blue state, they must reject Trump’s style, his electoral conspiracy theories, and the man himself. Attention Congressmen.

— Krista L. Kafer is a weekly columnist for the Denver Post. Follow her on Twitter: @kristakafer.

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