Even before Lauren Boebert officially became a member of Congress — she was sworn in on January 3, just three days before an attack on the U.S. Capitol that her opponents accused her of helping to enable — Democrats were determined to make the 3rd Congressional District representative a one-termer. By February, three rivals had already declared their intention to run against her in 2022, and by July 6, when the Colorado Democratic Party staged a virtual meet-and-greet of officially announced candidates, that total had swollen to seven, even though one of the early candidates, Gregg Smith, has already dropped out.
These candidates vary widely in approach and level of political experience, among many other things. Here's a quick introduction to all seven (in alphabetical order), along with a look at their top policy goals and how overtly they're making Boebert a target:
Intro: Burnett describes herself as "a practicing veterinarian and previous owner of a mixed animal practice" who served as a hospital physical therapist during the pandemic. She and her husband also own "a small agriculture business that depends on sufficient water and a stable climate."
Priorities: "Protecting our environment," "Protecting our farmers and ranchers," "Rebuilding our state."
Focus on Boebert: Burnett's website doesn't mention Boebert's name, but in her self-penned bio, she notes that "as the mother of a teenager, I have seen the destruction of our country’s civic norms these last few years. In our house, we teach her to listen to others, to respect differing opinions, and to value diversity."
Intro: Donovan describes herself as an "educator" and a "state senator" for the state's 5th District, but she doesn't want anyone to see her as hifalutin'. She characterizes herself as "a Colorado native and proud to have the cultural spirit of our great state running in my veins." She notes that she runs her family ranch "just up the road from Edwards," and after a nod to her husband, Shad, she lists the names of her pets: dogs named Maggie, Billy Murray and Gary, plus "our one-eyed cat, Mogwai."
Priorities: "COVID relief, drought relief, more affordable health care, and an economic recovery that doesn’t leave our part of Colorado behind."
Focus on Boebert: Click on Donovan's website and the first thing that pops up is an invitation to receive text and email updates under a banner that reads, in part, "Let’s Unseat Lauren Boebert."
Intro: Like Donovan, Rhodes emphasizes her agricultural bona fides. She points out that she's from a family of ranchers who grew wheat and alfalfa and raised cattle in rural Utah. She's also a single mother who "has had many Human Service roles, including youth diversion, juvenile probation, Child Protection Caseworker and staff in residential youth treatment in locked, staff secure and community settings" prior to launching "a professional development agency, a nonprofit, and a podcast to bring...transformational research to the forefront for children, youth, and families as well as the practitioners and systems that serve them."
Priorities: "Robust food security," "Housing is a human right," "Transformational criminal justice reform," "Community safety + police reform," "Equality + civil rights," "Environmental justice," "Gun violence prevention," "Women's rights + health," "Equity," "Jobs and worker protections, "Universal quality education," "Science in government."
Focus on Boebert: No mention of the current Congresswoman, but Rhodes stresses that she's running her campaign based on "fierce empathy."
Intro: On a website that's like a time trip back to 1990s technology, Routledge offers a bio that includes background on his family dating to the 1800s, as well as details about his own career, which includes work for "both private and public forest products and management organizations...and the U.S. Forest Service in Missoula, Montana, as a project manager in Forest Fire Research at the Northern Forest Fire Lab, and as an operations research analyst in Long Range Forest Planning on the Lolo National Forest." A Vietnam veteran, Routledge has lived in Durango for 25 years and has a 25-year-old grandson who's a "hip-hop rap musician/lyricist."
Priorities: Routledge declares that he's running a "climate insurgency campaign."
Focus on Boebert: A search of the site scores no hits for Boebert's moniker.
Intro: Pueblo's Sol Sandoval Tafoya "is a Chicana indigenous woman and a seasoned community leader who has been fighting for working people for over twenty years." After ten years as a social worker, she took a position with "Together Colorado, a coalition of faith-based organizations" at which she "trained and organized people to advocate for collective bargaining rights for state employees, eliminating the state preemption on increasing the minimum wage, and creating a Paid Family and Medical Leave insurance program. She is currently advocating for health equity with the Colorado Trust," her bio continues, and has two kids and a dog named Esteban.
Priorities: "Equity in education now!," "Healthcare is a human right!," "Stop the climate crisis!," "Protect women's health!" and "Equality for the LGBTQ+ community."
Focus on Boebert: A no-show for Boebert on Sandoval's website.
Intro: Like Donovan, Valdez holds public office; he's the state rep for District 62, which encompasses parts of Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Huerfano, Mineral, Pueblo, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. In his words, "I’m a fifth-generation Coloradan and farmer.... Being a true steward of the land is in my blood. Rural Colorado needs a representative who focuses on our lifeblood that is water, and will put people first on issues like rural health care, education, and economic security." He adds: "I’ve done a lot of fence-mending in my time on the ranch. But sometimes part of the fence just needs to be replaced. That’s why I’m running for Congress."
Priorities: "Pandemic recovery," "Conservation & the environment," "agriculture," "energy," "health care," "Second Amendment" (he's a gun owner but supports responsible gun laws), "education," "women's issues," "infrastructure."
Focus on Boebert: Visit Valdez's website and you'll trigger a button that asks, "Can I count on you to join my campaign to defeat QAnon conspiracy theorist Lauren Boebert?" He later contends that "Lauren Boebert has proven to be a threat to our democracy and her peddling of dangerous conspiracy theories isn’t doing anything good for us here."
Intro: Wilhelm is a Glenwood Springs attorney in practice with his wife, Erin Richards, and wants you to know that his two dogs, Stoney and Margot, are rescues. A native of Michigan, he graduated from Marquette University in 2006 before enrolling at New England Law. There he met Richards, a native of Colorado, where they subsequently decided to make their home.
Priorities: "Climate change," "health care," "unity," "criminal justice reform," "jobs on the Western Slope," "Respect the Second Amendment" (like Valdez, he's supportive of gun reform legislation).
Focus on Boebert: No Boebert name-check, but an unmistakable allusion in this explanation of his reasons for becoming a candidate: "While our democracy is surviving, it is in peril and certain members of Congress are not doing anything to protect it. On January 6, we all saw an attack on the citadel of democracy. This was an insurrection, a failed coup d’état. Make no mistake, of our President's lies to the American public. We are all shocked, but none of us should be very surprised; a small part of each of us saw something like this coming."