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Why Lauren Boebert likely won’t lose to a Democrat in November

Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., arranges a Make America Great Again hat and a pair of gold Converse All-Stars basketball shoes on the stage at her primary election watch party June 25 in Windsor. (Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio via AP)
The Republican congresswoman won a decisive victory in the GOP primary in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District

If the results from Tuesday’s primary and special election in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District are any indication, Democrats’ best chance to oust Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has gone up in smoke.

Boebert’s large margin of victory over her five primary challengers and Democrat Trisha Calvarese’s walloping in the special election suggest that the congresswoman will cruise to a win in November.

Yes, Boebert nearly lost her 2022 reelection bid on the other side of Colorado in the 3rd Congressional District. But the 4th District, where Boebert moved to shore up her political future, is far more favorable to Republicans — and the election results this week only reinforce that fact.

Here’s a closer look at evidence pointing to a Boebert win in the fall.

Boebert’s primary victory was decisive

Boebert’s share of the vote in the 4th District Republican primary was holding steady Wednesday afternoon at 43% as the final ballots were being counted. She won in all but six of the district’s 21 counties. One of her county-level wins was in Douglas County, the district’s population center.

The district also includes Loveland and sweeps across the Eastern Plains.

While she didn’t secure a majority, Boebert’s victory was decisive enough to indicate she can consolidate support among Republicans. Her margin of victory over her next closest opponent was 29 percentage points.

“Eastern Colorado, a lot of counties got behind Boebert,” said state Rep. Richard Holtorf, an Akron Republican and one of Boebert’s primary rivals. “It was a surprise. I don’t know what was the motivator for that, probably the Trump endorsement was part of that. That Trump endorsement carried a lot more weight than maybe I anticipated.”

Holtorf said he frequently heard on the campaign trail from voters who said they would never back Boebert.

“But then, when it came time to vote, obviously people voted in favor of her to be their congresswoman,” he said.

State Rep. Richard Holtorf, R-Akron, speaks at a debate for Republican candidates running in the 4th Congressional District. Behind him is Lauren Boebert. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)

850 KOA radio host Mandy Connell, who backed conservative commentator Deborah Flora in the 4th District Republican primary, said she’s not sure it is accurate to say the district belongs, politically speaking, to Boebert now.

“I do think that Lauren obviously won handily,” Connell said.

Connell said she plans to vote for Boebert in November.

Even Boebert’s primary opponents are already throwing their weight behind her heading into the general election.

Former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, now a Logan County commissioner, pledged in a written statement that he would help her win in November. He came in second in the primary, with 14% of the vote as of Wednesday afternoon.

Trisha Calvarese lost by 24 percentage points in the special election

The 4th District is a Republican stronghold.

Former U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican, won his last two elections in the district by 23 percentage points each. The district’s voters backed Republican Cory Gardner by 23 percentage points in Colorado’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton by a 24-point margin in 2018 and Donald Trump by a 30-point margin in 2016.

A nonpartisan analysis of election results in the district dating back to 2016 conducted by state redistricting staffers estimated the district leans 27 percentage points in the GOP’s favor.

By comparison, the 3rd District, which Boebert currently represents, was estimated to have a 9 percentage point lean in the GOP’s favor. Trump’s margin of victory there in 2016 was 8 points.

Calvarese’s big loss Tuesday to Republican Greg Lopez in the 4th District special election to determine who will serve out Buck’s term in Congress reinforces how favorable the district is to the GOP. (Buck resigned March 22.)

Calvarese, a first-time candidate who previously worked as a speechwriter and an intern for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, was trailing Lopez by 24 percentage points as of Wednesday afternoon. And she was losing to Lopez, a twice-failed Colorado gubernatorial candidate with a history of run-ins with law enforcement, in each of the district’s 21 counties.

The AP called the race for Lopez on Tuesday night just 30 minutes after the polls closed.

Still, Calvarese, who is pro-union and supports the Medicare For All policy proposal, is bullish on her chances in November. She blamed her special election drubbing on a lack of money and name recognition.

“I was running another race simultaneously,” she told The Colorado Sun — the Democratic primary in the 4th District that she won Tuesday against a better known candidate in retired U.S. Marine Ike McCorkle, who was running for the seat for a third consecutive time. (McCorkle was the Democrat who lost to Buck by 23 percentage points in 2020 and 2022.)

Calvarese, who attended Douglas County schools growing up, emphasized her own ties to the area in contrast to Boebert, though each of them only moved to the district recently.

Calvarese moved to Highlands Ranch from Virginia in October 2023 to take care of her terminally ill parents.

“I know personally the economic challenges that we face,” she said.

In May, Calvarese shared with Politico the results of an internal poll of a hypothetical general election matchup between her and Boebert. It showed her trailing the congresswoman by 10 percentage points, 46%-36%.

The Keating Research survey, conducted from April 18-24 among 500 likely November voters, indicated that 18% of those polled were undecided or didn’t know who they would vote for in the hypothetical contest. The poll had a 4.4 percentage point margin of error. Keating is a Colorado-based, Democratic pollster with a solid record of predicting races in the state.

Something else to keep in mind: Turnout in the special election Tuesday (about 33%) was much lower than it was in the district’s general election in 2022 (62%).