• Thu. Nov 24th, 2022

Adam Frisch calls Lauren Boebert’s narrow reputation a ‘shot across the bow’ against extremism | TRAIL MIX | columnists

When the results of Colorado’s 2022 general election were released minutes after polling stations closed on Nov. 8, none were more surprising than the initial results showing Democrat Adam Frisch ousting US Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Republican incumbent in the largely rural, Republican-leaning 3rd Congress, defeated district.

Elsewhere on the state ballot, Democratic incumbents rode to wins, including by a margin not seen in statewide races in decades, but few had Boebert’s bid for a second term on their radar.

Boebert won election to the seat two years ago by 6 percentage points after stunning the district’s five-year GOP representative in the primary a few months earlier. The brazen Second Amendment supporter — she used to own a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle — has rushed from one spectacle to the next, from clashing with Capitol Police after setting off metal detectors outside the House chambers to heckling with President Joe Biden at this year’s State of the Union address.

In declaring her candidacy, Boebert said she wants to be the Republican answer to US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, the New York Democrat commonly known as the AOC. Since entering Congress, Boebert has been one of the most vocal and visible members of a cadre of hard-line conservatives.

Her challenger, a wealthy Aspen businessman and former member of the ski resort city council, ran as an antidote to Boebert, saying he would focus on representing the district rather than chasing cable news and controversy.

Frisch stayed in the lead for about 36 hours while the sprawling district’s 27 wards continued to count ballots, but Boebert took the lead two days after the election and held it by the slimmest margin, though on November 18, when officials made the final, reported unofficial results.

On the same day, something almost as surprising happened when Frisch — who was just 554 out of 337,110 votes cast, or just under 0.17 percentage points behind Boebert — resigned the race despite the wheels being set in motion for a mandatory recount under Colorado law.

Noting that the result is highly unlikely to change after election officials ran the ballots through the counters a second time within weeks, Frisch said he didn’t want to convey any sense of “false hope.” He also said he didn’t want the legions of pocket change donors who had flocked to his campaign — and to outside groups who brought in money claiming they would “hold Lauren Boebert accountable” — to continue to give up their hard work. dollars earned chasing a mirage.

“The elections in Colorado are safe, accurate and secure,” said Frisch. “Please save your money for your groceries, your rent, your children and for other important causes and organizations.”

With a handful of vote counts still underway, Colorado’s third CD race is the closest congressional contest this cycle, and Frisch appears to have exceeded expectations — based on the district’s partisan registration, voters’ voting history and other factors, including Boebert’s tenure in office larger margin than any other House candidate in the country.

In an interview with Colorado Politics, Frisch reflected on his campaign, what he hopes the National Democrats will learn from his run, and what might come next. Boebert’s campaign did not respond to a request for an interview with the congresswoman.

“I think one of the reasons we did well is because people saw me as authentic and genuine in an environment that’s not always viewed that way,” said Frisch. “And I know the probability of more than a handful of votes changing in the Colorado state election was almost zero.”

As the count dragged on and prospects for a recount grew, Frisch said he heard from many people urging him to seize the opportunity to keep his campaign going.

“I started getting a lot of support slash pressure from some people with sincerity (who said, ‘You’ve got to fight every last minute. There’s all this passion to ‘defeat Lauren Boebert and extremism’ and I appreciate all of that, but they just didn’t know that it would be a shock if more than 15 votes changed.”

In the end, Frisch said he faced the facts.

“When winners lose, they admit defeat and when losers lose, they blame others and I don’t want to blame anyone,” he said. “I’m a realist. It’s great to have that passion, it’s great to have the support. Some people are probably upset that we’re not fighting, but I just can’t look people in the eye and say, ‘Have faith, we’re going to go through with it.'”

He contrasted that with the message he’d been delivering over the past year as he tried to persuade people to support his run.

“I would look people in the eye and say, ‘I believe we can do this really well,'” he said. “‘If we win, we’ll end up winning by a very, very close margin.’ And we won at the very, very end, almost by a narrow margin. And while the moral victory is great — I think it sent a message across the country, and I know we’ve woken up a lot of people in DC and elsewhere about probabilities that a lot of people have completely screwed up — I just can’t tell people , that they should raise a lot of money for something that had no chance of getting through.

Frisch said he wasn’t surprised he got so close.

“I like math,” he said. “I laid out a mathematical path to victory. Nobody really believed me or us until the end, but I knew we were going to run a very competent campaign, I knew we were going to run a campaign with a great team, which we did I knew that a lot of people in the country were frustrated, apart from what’s happening on Twitter or on cable news networks, who are really into more partisan things… We knew that she was mathematically vulnerable. We tried really, really hard to get other people in to include this conversation — donor class, political class, media class — and very, very few people answered the calls, let alone understood what we were talking about, they are doing it now.

Frisch said he hopes his near victory shows voters have a desire to move beyond the country’s increasingly polarized politics.

“I think our campaign was a big hit in front of the bow for less extremism and less ‘fear,'” he said. Regarding the stretch when it looked like he might defeat Boebert, Frisch added, “I suppose what happened on Tuesday night, Wednesday, there was a big push against Trumpism, but only extremism .”

Frisch, who attended the new member orientation in Washington, DC last week along with other house candidates on both sides in races that were too close, said he was looking forward to returning home.

“Gaining 10 pounds since February and enjoying 23,000 miles was campaign enough,” he said with a chuckle. “We’ll go back, spend Thanksgiving week with family, smell the fresh mountain air, spend some time in Colorado. There are all sorts of ideas, requests, proposals, mandates to try to do different things in different ways – elect for office, run for different things and start different organizations.”

Frisch added: “I love the country. I’d like to see rural America and working-class America be more of a focus for the Democratic Party because I think both parties should be fighting for every single borough in every single borough, and it’s not, and I don’t think that we get the best version of either party when they have a near-monopoly—the Democrats have the urban and the Republicans have the rural, and neither party delivers the best it can. And that’s what I want to focus on.”

As for Boebert’s narrow chance in a race that should have been a no-brainer for the incumbent, Frisch said he hoped his better-than-expected result caught on.

“We learned some lessons from delivering 12 points too many,” he said. “I think a lot of people across the country have done that, on both sides, because I’ve had conversations with both Republicans and Democrats. Whether Rep. Boebert does or not, we’ll see how that plays out.”