Updated: Boebert claims victory over Mitsch Bush in race for 3rd Congressional District
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 10:30 p.m. Final results have not been announced. Results in Pueblo, likely a deciding factor in the race, will not be available until Wednesday at the earliest.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Republican Lauren Boebert holds a narrow lead over Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the race to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in Congress.
Statewide, initial polls show Boebert up 50.7% to 46.1% over Mitsch Bush. An estimated 88% of votes had been reported as of 10 p.m.
In Routt County, preliminary results show Mitsch Bush securing more votes, 9,972 to Boebert’s 5,528 votes, according to tallies from the Routt County Clerk & Recorder’s office.
The Congressional race is indicative of national campaign trends, pitting a Democrat with years of legislative experience under her belt and a history of bipartisan voting against a political newcomer who has based her campaign on a promise to “drain the swamp.”
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Mitsch Bush, a former state legislator and Routt County commissioner, has outraised and outspent her competitor but kept her campaign events virtual during COVID-19 pandemic, citing health concerns. She vied for the same seat in 2018 but lost to five-term incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton.
Boebert, a business owner with no prior political experience, has cast herself as a Trump acolyte. She wears one of the president’s hats at nearly every campaign event she hosts. Like the staff of her Rifle restaurant, Shooters Grill, Boebert often carries a firearm on her hip and is a vocal champion of gun rights. She surprised establishment politicians by beating Tipton in the primaries.
Adding to her reputation as a nontraditional candidate, Boebert has faced questions and news headlines over her arrest record, controversial comments on the QAnon conspiracy theory and inquiries over unpaid taxes on her business.
The 3rd Congressional District is a sprawling, red-leaning district that has been in Republican control for more than a decade. It spans from Routt County in the north down to Durango near the southern corner of the state and across the eastern plains to the city of Pueblo. It spans almost half of Colorado’s land mass and 29 of its 64 counties.
Despite past trends, this has been a tight race. Mitsch Bush has outraised and outspent her opponent, receiving financial aid from the national House Democratic campaign arm in the hopes of flipping the historically Republican district.
Caleb Cade, a spokesperson for Mitsch Bush’s campaign, emphasized the outcome of the race might not be clear by the end of Tuesday. Pueblo County’s results, which are likely to be the deciding factor in the race, are not expected be finalized until Wednesday at the earliest, according to Pueblo County Clerk and Recorder Gilbert “Bo” Ortiz.
Mitsch Bush needs to win big in the county in order to make up for the Republican bastions elsewhere in the district, such as Grand Junction and neighboring Moffat County.
“We’re going to count them as fast as we can,” Ortiz told The Durango Herald. “We’re expecting to be counting votes on Wednesday.”
Boebert’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
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