How Adam Frisch made Lauren Boebert the biggest surprise of 2022

Colorado’s 3rd congressional district race has left Republicans baffled by how the GOP stronghold has become vulnerable to Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert.

Polls and pundits had expected a “red wave” for Republicans in this year’s midterms, and a conservative district represented by a GOP firebrand seemed like a safe bet for a party expected to win both houses of Congress to turn around But as ballots continue to be counted in Boebert’s district, it could be the one that costs the Republicans their home.

As of 2:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Boebert led her Democratic opponent Adam Frisch by less than 500 votes.

Many were confused by the close race, but Frisch said he expected an upset all along.

“I’ve spent 10 months convincing donors, journalists and political strategists everywhere that there is a way forward,” the mid-level Democrat told the Associated Press just after midnight on Wednesday. “People started believing that a month ago and people believed that a lot four hours ago.”

Adam Fresh Boebert Colorado
On Thursday, Democratic congressional candidate Adam Frisch stayed in a close, tied race against Republican incumbent Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Circuit.
Adam for Colorado

Frisch spent the election cycle appealing to frustrated Republicans and independents in the district, arguing that Boebert was leaving her constituents behind as she made her way into Congress as a rising MAGA star.

At an appearance on MSNBC The ReidOut On Wednesday, Frisch told moderator Joy Reid that Colorado voters want elected officials who focus on the economy and healthcare “and don’t spend most of their time traveling across the country, especially not an inordinate amount of time in Mar- a Lago. Florida, Donald Trump’s estate.

In a Republican learning district, Frisch was merely offering voters a “more conservative, sensible alternative,” said Seth Masket, a professor of political science at the University of Denver news week.

The Cook Partisan Voting Index, which measures how prone a district is to a political party, gives 3rd place Colorado an R+7. (The higher the number, the more a district leans toward that party.)

It would be difficult for any progressive candidate to run in the western Colorado region, where Trump won decisively in both 2016 and 2020. But by campaigning as a conservative Democrat who “doesn’t really push a strong party line,” Frisch was able to mount a real challenge for Boebert, Masket said.

At the same time, “the effectiveness of Frisch’s organization needs to be part of the story,” said Kyle Saunders, a political science professor at Colorado State University.

Saunders tells news week that Frisch’s campaign had touted his mobilization and organizing efforts and said they gave the Democrat a lot of momentum. But because of the fundamentals at play in this year’s midterms — including historical trends, President Joe Biden’s poor approval rating, and inflation — “nobody really paid any attention to them.”

“It’s a lesson for everyone that every single vote counts,” Frisch told Reid this week.

Despite the unexpected turn of events that pulled through Frisch, both Masket and Saunders emphasized that the Colorado race is still “largely about Boebert.”

As 3rd Precinct resident Tom Carpenter told Colorado Public Radio, “I voted for everyone but Boebert. I’ve been a Republican since Carter, and I was just embarrassed about Boebert.” How Adam Frisch made Lauren Boebert the biggest surprise of 2022

Rick Schindler

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