Lauren Boebert says she will switch districts and run for another Colorado seat in Congress next year

In a true Colorado political surprise, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert announced Wednesday night that she will abandon the congressional district she has represented for nearly three years — and seek her party’s nomination in 2024 on the other end of the state.

Boebert said she will run to represent Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, vying to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a fellow Republican.

“Personally, this announcement is a fresh start following a difficult year for me and my family,” Boebert said in a video announcement on Facebook. “I will not allow dark money that is directed at destroying me to steal this seat. It’s not fair to the 3rd District and the conservatives there who have fought so hard for our victories, of which I’m incredibly grateful.”

The switch to another race is allowed by congressional candidacy rules, which only require that a candidate reside in the state, not the specific district. The pro-Trump Republican from Silt, on the Western Slope, was facing significant headwinds in next year’s election to keep her seat in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, where her recent conduct has been criticized as reckless.

Boebert, who turned 37 earlier this month, generated international headlines in September when she was escorted out of a performance of the touring Broadway musical “Beetlejuice” at Denver’s Buell Theatre for inappropriate behavior, as first reported by The Denver Post. She has also been criticized for various controversial statements she’s made during her short stint in office, shocking Democrats across the aisle and repelling even members of her own party.

She has badly trailed Democrat Adam Frisch, a former Aspen City Council member, in fundraising for the race — and is also feeling heat from several candidates in her own party, most notably Grand Junction attorney Jeff Hurd, who want to beat her in next June’s Republican primary. Several high-powered Republican politicos, like former Gov. Bill Owens and former Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, have recently thrown their support behind Hurd.

In the 2022 election, Boebert beat Frisch by just 546 votes in the Republican-leaning district. Her announcement Wednesday caught even some top Republicans off guard, including Colorado Republican Party Chair Dave Williams, who expressed disappointment.

“She is clearly concerned about losing to Jeff Hurd or Adam Frisch and is doing whatever she can to keep her seat in Congress — while jeopardizing our ability to retain Congressional District 3 as well as our slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Williams said. “There were many Republicans counting on her in CD3, and they were let down today.”

Frisch issued a hasty comment on the situation Wednesday night, saying only that his focus on boosting the lives of rural residents “will remain the same.”

“We have one of the greatest name ID, fundraising, and district-wide relationship advantages for any challenger in the country,” he said. “From Day 1 of this race, I have been squarely focused on defending rural Colorado’s way of life, and offering common sense solutions to the problems facing the families of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.”

Late Wednesday, state Democratic Party Chair Shad Murib said Boebert “can run, but she can’t hide.”

“The good people of western and southern Colorado didn’t wait for an election to beat Lauren Boebert — we scared her straight and chased her out of her own district,” he said. “With this carpetbagging move, Lauren Boebert has shown herself to be everything she claims she isn’t: a typical swampy politician looking for a reason to call Washington, D.C., home.”

The 4th District, which covers most of the state’s Eastern Plains, from the Wyoming border to the Oklahoma panhandle, is being vacated by Buck, who has held the mostly rural district since 2015. Several Republicans have already announced their intention to run in that district, where recently redrawn boundaries have taken in suburban Douglas County, south of Denver.

The 4th District is considerably more conservative than the 3rd, according to active voter registration lists filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office. While Republicans outnumber Democrats in Boebert’s current district by around 34,000 voters, that gap is closer to 100,000 voters in Buck’s district.

Republican political analyst Dick Wadhams views Boebert’s announced switch as an admission that “the district was rejecting her, including the Republican Party.”

“When it gets down to it, it’s not about the 3rd District or the 4th District, it’s about her — and her obsession with staying in public office,” Wadhams said. “She’s flitting into the race thinking the sea is going to open up to her. It’s the ultimate arrogance.”

But David Wasserman, a senior editor and elections analyst for The Cook Political Report, said in a post on X Wednesday night that the news was good for “Republicans’ chances of holding onto (the 3rd District), as Boebert was the main reason it was in so much jeopardy.”

He said he would move the race from the “toss-up” category to “leans Republican.”

Boebert said the 4th District “is hungry for an unapologetic defender of freedom with a proven track record of standing strong for conservative principles.”

“I love Colorado’s 3rd District, and I will continue working as hard as I can for the remainder of my term to be a great representative for the district,” she said.