Lauren Boebert blasted into Colorado politics at an Aurora rally with an in-your-face microphone moment and a gun.
She emerged from the crowd at a rally for then presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke of Texas and grabbed the mic to shout, “Hell no, you’re not!” in response to O’Rourke’s pledge to take away assault-style weapons.
That shout from an armed, brash, 5-foot-tall woman in sparkly high heels, tight jeans and a holstered Glock would catch the attention of conservative Republicans and electrify the far-right. It would help launch a newbie political candidate with enough momentum to take down a five-term congressman – something that hadn’t happened in a Colorado primary in 48 years.
But behind Boebert’s meteoric rise — before she became known for owning Shooters Grill, before she went viral, before she entered President Donald Trump’s orbit — is a past neither she nor her campaign is willing to discuss. It’s a history that includes run-ins with the law, an eviction and a failed restaurant venture.
Boebert came on like a western Colorado version of Sarah Palin with her folksy talk about being a mom and her fealty to God and guns. The 33-year-old already knew how to handle a spotlight after opening Shooters Grill, a much-hyped restaurant in Rifle where the staff pack heat.
To move on from gun schtick to politics, Boebert had ditched her dyed-blonde and flannel-shirt persona and adopted Palin-style glasses and long, dark hair. Like Palin, she honed a steady stream of crowd-pleasing, quick-draw insults aimed at anyone who didn’t share her ultraconservative views. Those who did ate it up.
“We’ve never seen a candidate like Lauren – ever,” enthused Edward Wilks, a Rifle gun shop owner, former cop and member of the far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers group. Wilks is so high on Boebert that he is predicting she has what it takes for a shooting-star rise in politics – one that could propel her to the vice-presidency in four years and the presidency in eight.
“She would have the backing of all of America if she chose to do it,” Wilks said.
Boebert climbed to that level of right-wing adulation with a carefully curated story of being a welfare child, an ardent Christian and a successful businesswoman; a petite woman who wears a gun for protection, not as a prop; and a fierce patriot who views herself, like her presidential idol, as a disruptor first and foremost.
Colorado Sun writers Sandra Fish and Sue McMillin contributed reporting, as did staff writer Jesse Paul.