CD3 voters mixed on Rep. Lauren Boebert’s performance: Week 2
Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting voters throughout Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Through the month of May, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent, The Aspen Times, Steamboat Pilot & Today, Craig Press and Vail Daily will be running stories highlighting Democratic and Republican voters in each community. This week, voters in Moffat County are featured.
Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District is normally known for its world-class ski resorts, breathtaking open spaces and cattle ranches. In 2020, its voters elected someone who’s turning out to be one of the most controversial politicians in modern Centennial State history: Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado.
So Steamboat Pilot & Today teamed up with its sister newspapers at Colorado Mountain News Media and other regional news partners to learn more about the voters in CD3, why they voted the way they did and their thoughts on Boebert’s first few months in Congress.
Through the month of May, the Pilot & Today will be publishing Republican and Democrat voter profiles from throughout the district.
‘Doing a great job:’ Moffat County Republican chair weighs in on Boebert’s first few months in office
In just six months in office, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., has made headlines and been the center of attention on many nightly television shows.
Though some of the publicity may seem negative to outsiders, many Moffat County residents, including Moffat County Republican Party Chairman Doug Winters, are pleased with the work Boebert has done so far and the way she continues to represent the oft-overlooked Western Slope.
“I think she’s doing a great job,” Winters said. “I think she’s doing what she said she was going to do, and I also understand that there’s a lot of things — probably out of her control — that she’s standing up for CD-3 and doing what she said she was going to. In particular, she’s fighting for water rights, the Constitution, protecting our lands and trying to keep our oil and gas and our energy industry going.
“Those are the things, I think, that our community is looking for from her in terms of making sure we’re protected and we’re heard,” Winters said.
Winters, a registered Republican for the last 20 years and a longtime Moffat County resident, was re-elected as the party chairman in the county in February 2021. Outside of his role in the political landscape in Moffat County, Winters has a wide reach in Northwest Colorado as the chief investigator for the 14th Judicial District.
Monitoring Boebert’s rise and her impact at the state and national levels, Winters hopes to see more from the vocal representative.
“From us in our community, what we would like to see her do is continue fighting for our values, fighting for our rights here on the Western Slope, being that voice in Washington that we so desperately need here in Colorado,” Winters said. “I think as long as she keeps doing that, she’ll find some success with that.”
Prior to Boebert winning CD-3’s seat over former Congressman Scott Tipton and eventual Democratic challenger Diane Mitsch-Bush, Winters said the Republican party in Moffat County was divided regarding Boebert, but once she became the nominee, full support was thrown behind her.
“I would say there was a bit of a divide, honestly, but people loved her enthusiasm overall,” Winters said. “That’s ultimately what got her elected. If I’m not mistaken, a lot of those people that were first-time voters or didn’t vote very often, she energized that base. That’s what ultimately got people out to vote, and she had a strong message.
“People were tired of the same old routine that we’re getting, and I think people were ready to see a sort of a change at that point,” Winters added. “She’s delivered in that way.”
Winters said Boebert’s office has been very receptive to Moffat County and is working toward getting the congresswoman into town this summer.
“We want to give the people some face time with her,” Winters said. “We also want to give those that maybe don’t follow her online or through the news to learn about what she’s going to do.”
While Boebert reaches many on social media platforms, she often runs into controversy through Twitter with comments and fights with other politicians, but, for Winters, it’s not something that bothers him or other Republicans in the community.
“I’m not on Twitter, but I know she has more of an online presence than our former congressman,” Winters said. “That’s kind of the wave now; you can reach so many people on social media, and that’s what she’s doing rather than through the conventional ways.”
Former political RINO concerned with direction of CD-3, country under Boebert’s direction
Described as a former political RINO — Republican in name only — Steve Martinson, a retired Moffat County School District art teacher and avid outdoorsman, is very concerned with Boebert’s leadership.
Previously, Martinson was a registered Republican in hopes of having his voice heard in local elections. After years of trying to make some sort of impact in a heavily-conservative community, Martinson made the switch to the Democratic party a few years ago.
“I just didn’t want to do it any longer,” Martinson said. “Pretty much, I’ve been a lifelong Democrat-leaning person for 30 years here in Moffat County.”
Seeing today’s political landscape, Martinson is worried about the direction the country is headed and is concerned about how CD-3 is being represented by Rep. Boebert, who has no prior political experience.
“We’re in a very, very polarized time politically,” Martinson said. “I have my doubts about her being able to work across the aisle. She has such polarizing views, and so being able to compromise and work together, I think she’s going to have an uphill battle.
“I’m certainly not on board with her agenda, but I know that it’s going to be very hard for her to accomplish much,” Martinson continued. “I am concerned with her having no experience whatsoever, and her learning curve is going to be so steep going forward.”
Martinson was interviewed on Colorado Public Radio leading up to the primary election between former Rep. Scott Tipton and Boebert, a Rifle native. In that interview, Martinson said he expected Boebert to win and then win the CD-3 seat outright in November due to her ability to grab headlines and play to her far right-leaning base.
So far, that’s what’s happened with Boebert, who Martinson said hasn’t accomplished much of anything in her first six months.
“Yes, she’s gained some headlines, and I suspect there’s quite a bit of her base that likes to hear the things she’s saying, but as far as making meaningful legislature moving forward, I don’t anticipate that at all,” Martinson said.
Martinson does believe Boebert is representing CD-3 the way her voters would want her to.
“You know, it’s pockets that I think she represents very well,” Martinson said. “I feel like much of the Western Slope believes she speaks for them, but ski-town communities especially are very much on the other side of that. There’s a big divide there.
“She won the vote, so there’s more people that believe in what she’s saying than don’t,” he added.
Now that Boebert has some experience in office, Martinson said it’s time for her to start listening to all constituents in her district, not just the ones who support her.
In recent months, that’s been an issue with Boebert, especially on the Western Slope where she’s kept town hall meetings quiet and tried to meet with just Republican groups.
“She’s right of right in that sense,” Martinson said. “She’s so far in that direction that I don’t see her being able to move toward the middle and listen to many views as much.”
Martinson’s biggest concern with Boebert is her social media usage and the image she portrays. Though Martinson does not follow Boebert on Twitter, he sees the things she tweets and the arguments she involves herself in.
“Traditionally, we would expect more from our representatives — more restraint, a little bit less of amplifying the noise,” Martinson said. “But this seems to be the society that we’re living in now. I am hopeful we can get back to more common dialogue. I do think social media has been a big part in driving this totally partisan politics that we’re in. It’s immediate, it’s quick, it’s fed by algorithms that tell you want to hear.
“It’s a dangerous trend as a whole,” Martinson said.
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