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Lauren Boebert’s narrow victory confirmed by mandatory recount

Democrat Adam Frisch conceded on Nov. 18 after it became clear he couldn’t win
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who was in an unexpected tight race with Democratic challenger Adam Frisch, arrives to meet with fellow Republicans behind closed doors as Republicans hold its leadership candidate forum, where everyone running for a post must make their case to the membership, at the Capitol in Washington, on Nov. 14. (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press file)

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has officially secured a second two-year term in Washington, D.C.

A mandatory recount of votes cast in the Garfield County Republican’s narrow 2022 win over Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen City Councilman, was completed Monday. Boebert’s margin of victory over Frisch shrunk to 546 votes, or 0.07 percentage points, from 550 votes before the recount.

Boebert lost three votes in the recount, while Frisch gained 1 vote. The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said the slight changes were made after bipartisan teams of election judges “readjudicated ballots and reviewed all under or over voted ballots for voter intent.”

In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday night, Boebert thanked her supporters and declared victory in the race for a second time.

“This responsibility (of) being in the majority holds requires discipline and targeted focus,” she said. “It’s time we show how to get real work done for the people. We as Republicans must now show people we deserve to be in the majority.”

The recount in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which spans the Western Slope into Pueblo and southeast Colorado, had to be completed by Tuesday. Frisch conceded to Boebert on Nov. 18 after it became clear that the recount wouldn’t reverse the congresswoman’s small margin of victory.

“The likelihood of this recount changing more than a handful of votes is very small,” Frisch said last month. “Very, very small. It would be disingenuous and unethical for us, or any other group, to continue to raise false hope.”

Boebert’s margin of victory this year was one of the smallest of any congressional race in the country.

Under Colorado law, a mandatory recount occurs when the number of votes separating the two leading candidates is less than 0.5% of the number of votes cast for the leading candidate. When the recount began Nov. 30, Boebert was leading Frisch by 550 votes, or about 0.3% of the 163,842 votes cast for her.

The 3rd Congressional District leans 9 percentage points in the GOP’s favor, according to an analysis by nonpartisan Colorado redistricting staff. Republicans have a voter registration advantage in the district, which has not sent a Democrat to the U.S. House since 2008.

Boebert blamed her small margin of victory on other Republican candidates.

“I don’t know if there wasn’t enough enthusiasm for our top ticket candidates for governor and Senate or what happened there,” Boebert said last month, according to The Wall Street Journal, “but there was a lot of shifting in the votes.”

But a Colorado Sun analysis of votes cast in the 3rd District showed all but one GOP candidate for major statewide office outperformed Boebert in the district this year. The Sun compared the votes cast in Boebert’s race with the results of five major statewide contests in 26 of the 27 counties in the 3rd District, which spans the Western Slope into Pueblo and southeast Colorado.

The Sun didn’t analyze the votes cast in Eagle County because just a sliver of the county – an area in the Roaring Fork Valley where roughly 6,000 voters live – is in the 3rd District. Boebert lost in the Eagle County part of the 3rd District by 44 percentage points, or about 1,800 votes.

Adam Frisch, a Democratic candidate in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, arrives at the Hyatt Regency, in Washington, on Nov. 13. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Associated Press file)

In the 26 counties whose election results were analyzed by The Sun, Boebert beat Frisch by 2,375 votes, or 0.7 percentage points. The only Republican candidate for major statewide office who performed worse than Boebert in those counties was Heidi Ganahl, who lost to Democratic Gov. Jared Polis by 1.62 percentage points, or roughly 5,000 votes.

Ganahl lost to Polis statewide by more than 19 percentage points in the worst showing by a gubernatorial candidate in two decades.

County clerks in the 3rd District will be reimbursed by the state for the cost of conducting the recount.

The Secretary of State’s Office on Monday night also certified the results of the 2022 election. More than 2.56 million ballots were cast, 95% of which were cast using a mail ballot.

Turnout among Colorado’s 3.7 million active, registered voters was 67%. Turnout among the eligible voting population was 59%.

Unaffiliated voters cast 40% of the ballots this year, while Democrats cast 30% and Republicans cast 28%.

In terms of registration, 45% of the electorate is unaffiliated, while 28% are registered as Democrats and 25% are registered as are Republicans.

The Colorado Sun is a reader-supported, nonpartisan news organization dedicated to covering Colorado issues. To learn more, go to coloradosun.com.