Avon resident Alex Walker takes ‘no bull’ approach in run for Lauren Boebert’s seat
Even if he doesn’t win, Walker’s introductory campaign video sends a message about the state of national politics
Alex Walker, a resident of Avon, announced earlier this week that he will challenge Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District with a rather unconventional campaign video.
The video, about two minutes in length, shows Coloradans suddenly being hit with a barrage of turds falling from the sky and excrement spewing from phones and history books.
“We are real Coloradans. We deserve a living wage, small government that actually works and freedom of choice,” Walker says in the video. “Instead, we have bulls—.”
The source of the mayhem is revealed as a Boebert look-alike, who is shown laughing maniacally while gleefully spraying feces across the walls of her office.
“It is not meant to push politics down into the mud. It’s supposed to do what art does, which is make people feel something,” Walker said in an interview Thursday. “And what I feel as a citizen in America right now is that politics are bulls— and instead of sitting back and watching it happen as I have for a few years, and as so many of my friends have, I decided to finally get involved.”
Walker has long employed humor as a coping mechanism, he said. In this case, it’s a tool for processing the political exasperation felt by much of his generation and by Americans of all generations, he said.
At 31, Walker said he has met many people from growing up in Littleton, attending Stanford University, and now living in the mountains that would make for great political representatives.
“None of them have ever considered a career in politics and that is not because they are not generous, hard-working people, it’s because they look at politics and the state of politics today and it’s beneath them,” he said. “And I don’t disagree with them.”
“Cynicism is not worthless … but it’s not great when it leads to malaise,” Walker said.
On his campaign website, Walker calls himself “a queer engineering nerd, writer and moderate who’s tired of the bulls—.” In an interview Thursday, he said he believes in “tolerance,” “small efficient government” and ”personal freedom.“
Boebert, the Republican incumbent, also faces a challenge from state Sen. Don Coram, another Republican who launched his campaign at the start of the year.
Walker is currently based in Avon, outside of the district in which he is running, but the U.S. Constitution does not require U.S. Representatives to reside within the district they represent.
As a Colorado native, Walker said the district’s residents “are folks with whom I have a lot in common because they raised me.”
When asked about his unorthodox campaign strategy, Walker said: “this is the price of admission.”
“When you’re going up against somebody like Lauren Boebert, you have no choice but to swing big,” he said. “Anybody who doesn’t understand that, doesn’t understand the fight ahead.”
Walker admitted that he is fearful of Boebert’s aggressive and oftentimes controversial approach to politics.
“Humor is how I dealt with the death of my brother, humor is how I dealt with coming out of the closet and humor is how I’m going to deal with going national in a really scary fight against a QAnon psycho who will do everything she can to make my life a living hell,” he said.
The Boebert campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr called the video’s use of humor “fun, though disappointing that that’s the nature of our political discourse now.”
“And that may very much be his point,” Scherr continued in a written statement Friday. “I do appreciate a very straightforward and direct message. I doubt he expects to win, but if he can succeed in making our political dialogue more honest … then I’d say he’ll have succeeded.”
Call it what you want, but the video is garnering a lot of attention in Colorado and across the country.
“I was a nobody yesterday morning and we have gotten over a quarter million views on this video,” Walker said Thursday. “More importantly, 90% of our donations over the past 24 hours have come from first-time donors. … In a country where political malaise is the norm, 90% participation by people who didn’t want anything to do with politics the day before, to me, says we’re on the right track.”
Unfortunately, Walker will need a lot more where this comes from if he is to succeed in unseating Boebert, said Eagle County Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney.
“If we didn’t have money in politics, or if we only had local money in politics, it would be a different race,” McQueeney said. “But (Boebert) has a lot of contributions from outside of Colorado and that’s hard to overcome…”
McQueeney said she is not familiar with Walker’s campaign, but wished him luck in garnering enough financial support to “at least put up a good fight.”
Before last year’s redistricting process, Eagle County was more evenly split between Colorado’s 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts with the boundary falling in the Avon/EagleVail area.
Today, it is only the town of Dotsero and a few other random slivers in Edwards and Eagle that are isolated in the 3rd Congressional District along with El Jebel and Basalt in the Roaring Fork Valley. Eagle County residents and community leaders expressed opposition to this change during the fall review process.
State Sen. Kerry Donovan, formerly the leading Democratic challenger for Boebert’s seat, cited redistricting in dropping out of the race last fall, stating that there is “no viable path forward” for her now that she does not reside within the district. But her barriers were strategic, not legal.
The 3rd Congressional District is massive, spanning across much of western and southern Colorado. Walker has his work cut out for him as he begins a tour of the region, which encompasses a variety of communities from tourism hubs like Aspen to agricultural areas along the Western Slope and over to Pueblo.
Walker decided to run as a Democratic candidate, but describes himself as a political moderate. He grew up in a Republican household in Littleton, Colorado. When he came out as gay in his early 20s, his family and community embraced him with open arms.
This was his first exposure to “something that transcended party politics” in an illuminating way, he said.
“It is exciting to see queer representation for our communities,” said Madison Partridge, the president of Mountain Pride, Eagle County’s regional LGBTQ+ support group.
“Representation isn’t everything, but it means a lot to those who’ve long fought for equality and those navigating a world that doesn’t always seem accepting of who they are,” Partridge said in a written statement Friday.
Walker obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University where he served as class president — his only prior political experience. He proceeded to work as an engineer until this recent decision to turn his attention towards politics.
“I don’t think races like this are about policies anymore. I think they are about values because both parties have gotten so extreme in their viewpoints and those viewpoints, by the way, often are internally inconsistent,” Walker said. “For example, Republicans believe in personal liberties when it comes to responsible gun ownership, but do not believe in personal liberties when it comes to abortion. And I think there’s hypocrisy on both sides when it comes to things like that.”
“My bipartisan or even, I would say, nonpartisan policies are meant to reframe some of these issues in a broader framework, which actually makes sense,” he said.
He supports personal liberties when it comes to gun ownership as well as abortion access and a person’s right to choose their own health care in general, adding that “the government has no business telling you what to do with your body.”
Giving subscribers more agency in choosing their health care means providing a mix of strong private and public options, Walker said.
His other priorities include protecting the district’s water rights, conserving public lands and finding solutions to the high cost of living that plagues many communities in Congressional District 3 or “CD3.”
“Cost of living in our district is skyrocketing and we can’t keep up,” Walker said. “Folks in CD3 make 15% less than the average American. That is insane. We are the backbone of American industry. We are the backbone of American agriculture. We are the corridor between the two sides of a fractured Nation.”
“I believe we can turn CD3 into a clean energy superpower and in the process, boost household income by 20% or 25%,” he said.
The policy page of his campaign site promises to “protect legal immigrants” while advocating for “humane borders.” It promises living wages for teachers and increased support with the challenges of remote learning.
“The irony of my campaign is that I’m running to try and be part of a new class of change makers who do not blindly subscribe to Republican ideology or Democratic ideology,” Walker said. “I believe in tolerance. I believe in small efficient government. I believe in personal freedom, and these are things which straddle party lines.”
A big part of making this work within the current structure of the U.S. Congress will be to listen first and, as a self-proclaimed introvert, Walker said he feels ready to do just that.
“I’m thinking about, over the next 20 years, how do I play a meaningful and constructive role in turning Congress into an efficient body? And that’s not about me. …That’s about how I slot into a bigger picture full of people who disagree with me and people who agree with me,” Walker said.
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