Durango-area Democrats said they are on board with Adam Frisch’s decision to concede his race against incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District even before a state-mandated recount begins.
Frisch announced his concession in a virtual news conference Friday morning. Because Boebert leads Frisch by just over 500 votes, an automatic recount will likely be mandated by Colorado’s Secretary of State in the coming weeks.
Frisch clarified in his concession speech that his team is “not asking for this recount,” saying that it is one “that the citizens of Colorado mandate through our election system.”
“We believe in the integrity of elections in our great state of Colorado, and are supportive of this recount to ensure continued faith in the security of our elections,” he said. “However, the likelihood of this recount changing more than a handful of votes is very small.”
After Frisch’s concession, a representative from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office told KDVR that “the recount will proceed regardless of whether or not a candidate has conceded” as long as it is within the 0.5% trigger margin. However, a number of Frisch supporters in La Plata County agree with Frisch’s reasoning that the recount will likely not yield a different outcome.
First Vice Chairwoman of La Plata County Democrats Jean Walter, who was speaking not on behalf of the organization but as “someone who’s gone to the clerk’s office and watched and participated in the vote counting,” said she believes that Frisch made the right call to concede at this point “given Colorado’s superb track record.”
“We set the standard in this country for accurate results, so why have a recount of a half a percentage point?” Walter said.
Anne Markward, chairwoman of La Plata County Democrats, echoed Walter’s sentiment, telling The Durango Herald in a written statement that it is “really unusual to make up even 550 votes by recount.”
In fact, a statewide recount in the primary election for the Colorado Secretary of State race involving Tina Peters and Pam Anderson found only 13 votes difference for each candidate after re-tallying more than 88,000 votes.
“Adam is a numbers guy and fully recognized this,” Markward wrote. “His position appears to be, why waste volunteers’ time and taxpayers’ money to not close the gap?”
Frisch, who campaigned on the basis that Boebert is a right-wing extremist based on previous claims she has made in support of the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory and his perception of her role in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, said in his concession speech that his team prided itself on running an “ethical campaign.”
Carol Cure, the former chairwoman of the La Plata County Democrats, said Frisch’s ethics were reflected in his decision to concede.
“I think it’s the right thing to do, if you know you’ve lost an election, to concede and be a cooperative person rather than like some of the election deniers that go to any and all means to try to say they didn’t lose when they did,” she said.
Markward also commended what she described as Frisch’s “honorable” concession in her statement.
“Frisch would have represented us well,” she wrote.
In his concession speech, Frisch said that despite his likely loss, his “advocacy for western and southern Colorado, rural communities across the country and the people of our great nation will never end.”
Looking to the future, Markward wrote, the closeness of this race despite the Republican Party’s 8-point advantage in CD-3 indicated that “voters strongly rejected both (Boebert’s) showboating and her lack of concrete wins for her constituents.”
“Hopefully she’ll begin representing us all; if not, a good Dem candidate will win in 2024,” Markward wrote.
Cure said Frisch’s campaign was “incredible” and that the outcome of his race is promising for Democrats running to represent the district in the future, even though he lost.
“He went all over this huge district and talked to so many people,” Cure said. “And I really think the majority of people are really just fed up over Lauren Boebert and her antics, which don’t do anything for her constituents.”
Kate Corliss is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a student at American University in Washington, D.C. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.