Lauren Boebert "Feeling Good" After CD4 Debate, Talks Biggest Moments | Westword

Lauren Boebert "Feeling Good" After CD4 Debate, Talks About Placing Fifth in Straw Poll and Wildest Moments

The Colorado congresswoman spoke to Westword after the debate about her performance against her Republican rivals.
Representative Lauren Boebert took on eight other candidates in the GOP's first primary debate in Fort Lupton.
Representative Lauren Boebert took on eight other candidates in the GOP's first primary debate in Fort Lupton. Evan Semón
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The pitchforks — and arrest records — came out for Representative Lauren Boebert on Thursday night, January 25, as Republican candidates in Colorado's 4th Congressional District went after the "carpetbagging" congresswoman during the first GOP primary debate.

Speaking to Westword afterward, Boebert couldn't have cared less about the political gang-up or her fifth-place finish in the evening's straw poll. In fact, she was hungry for more.

"I was hoping that all of the candidates tonight would have directed their questions to me because that would have been a great opportunity to address the voters," Boebert said. "Certainly not something I'd shy away from."

The debate included numerous moments when other candidates took aim at Boebert and mentioned things about her controversial arrival in CD4 last month. Former Colorado House minority leader Mike Lynch landed the biggest haymaker of the night after Boebert poked fun at him for his 2022 arrest for DUI and possession of a gun while intoxicated that's been in the headlines.

More on that exchange below, as well as other key (and surreal) moments from the debate:      
click to enlarge Boebert and the other GOP candidates meet with District 4 constituents before the debate.
Lauren Boebert and the other GOP candidates met with District 4 constituents before the debate.
Evan Semón

"Could you give the definition of carpetbagger to me?"

Mike Lynch didn't hold back when given a chance to ask any of the candidates a question during the debate, sparking gasps from the conservative crowd.

"Could you give the definition of carpetbagger to me?" he asked Boebert.

"Is this a Mary Poppins question?" she jokingly replied, before diving into her actual answer.

"Yes, I have moved into the 4th District. My boys and I needed a fresh start, that's been very public, of what home life looked like. And I'm sorry to bring that up — I've tried to put it into a very pretty package and bring my ex-husband lots of honor. But since there is nothing private about my personal life, it is out there. And my boys need some freedom from what's been going on. And this move is the right move for me and for them."
click to enlarge A sign for Lauren Boebert at the GOP primary debate in Fort Lupton on Thursday night, January 25.
Roughly 100 people attended the GOP primary debate in Fort Lupton on January 25.
Evan Semón

Boebert added, "And this does serve Colorado's 3rd District. We have an opportunity now to absolutely secure that seat and keep it red and stop the Hollywood money that was pouring millions of dollars — close to $10 million — into that district, affecting even down-ballot races, which is simply not fair. But that money has stopped, and now the Republicans in the 3rd District have a fair fight against their opponents rather than Hollywood elitists and dark money groups who are pouring money into the 3rd District."

Speaking to Westword, Boebert echoed her debate comments and dived a bit deeper into how she was feeling before her district move.

"It's been well documented that there was trouble at home," she said. "I needed to get away, and I think this is a great fresh start for my boys and I, and there's a lot that goes into that."

click to enlarge Rep. Lauren Boebert posing for a picture at the GOP primary debate for CD4 in Fort Lupton.
Lauren Boebert is currently the representative for Colorado's 3rd Congressional District.
Evan Semón

No Love for Lauren

At one point during the debate, the nine candidates who took part — Boebert, Lynch, Richard Holtorf, Jerry Sonnenberg, Deborah Flora, Peter Yu, Ted Harvey, Chris Phelan and Trent Leisy — were asked who they'd vote for if they couldn't vote for themselves. Not a single person said Boebert.

On the flip side, when given a chance to ask candidates questions, multiple candidates fired away at her.

"I'm pretty resilient," she told Westword. "People come after me just about every day, because I've been over the target for quite a few years now. So yes, those arrows get slung my way. But I have the shield of faith. I have the people who motivate me to do what I'm doing. So all of that is a distraction. I am fine to state my case, my policies, my reasoning, my beliefs, my convictions, and continue to fight to serve the people of Colorado."

After the debate, a straw poll was taken to see who had resonated most with the Fort Lupton crowd of roughly 100 people. Sonnenberg wound up taking first place, with 22 votes; Lynch came in second, with twenty votes; Flora was third, with eighteen votes; Holtorf and Boebert were fourth and fifth, with seventeen and twelve votes, respectively.

"Look, we're in Sonnenberg country, and I think tickets were sold out before I even announced my candidacy," Boebert told Westword. "So I'm certainly not affected by a straw poll. But I think it was a really great debate. A lot of ideas on the stage were heard."
click to enlarge Nine of the ten Republican candidates running for Colorado's 4th Congressional District spot posing for a picture.
Nine of the ten Republican candidates running for Colorado's 4th Congressional District seat took part in the debate.
Evan Semón

Arrestee Besties

In what was easily the wildest moment of the night, Boebert and her Republican opponents were asked to raise their hands if they had been arrested. Six of the nine candidates did so, then proceeded to high-five and fist-bump, all while the audience went crazy.

"Do we get to say what for?" Boebert asked twice, laughing. "Maybe it doesn't matter." Video posted online by Westword of the candidates and crowd cheering has been viewed over 850,000 times.

Discussing the topic more, the congresswoman said: "I'm not perfect, by any means; in fact, I've written a book about the many things that have gone wrong in my life. But that is part of the American Dream."

She added, "My arrest was just a simple traffic violation."

Arrest records show that Boebert has also been arrested for harassment, disorderly conduct and failure to appear in court, in addition to the driving charge. Lynch was arrested in 2022 on that DUI-and-gun charge. Holtorf told the crowd he was arrested twice in the past for fighting people who "needed a little attitude adjustment."

"I told my dad both times that I was winning until the cops showed up," he said, sparking laughs.
click to enlarge Lauren Boebert and Trent Leisy in the first primary debate for Colorado's 4th Congressional District
Lauren Boebert's personal life and move to District 4 was front and center at the Fort Lupton debate.
Evan Semón

Pissed About Pro-Life

While discussing the debate with Westword, Boebert said she was particularly upset with the way her GOP rivals discussed abortion at the federal level, with most of the candidates agreeing that they would not support a national ban because it was a states' rights issue.

Boebert, Sonnenberg, Flora and Harvey said they would support a federal abortion bill. The other candidates argued that if the federal government was allowed to ban abortion, the possibilities for what else could be banned would be endless.

"It was unfortunate to hear discrepancy in some core Republican issues, and that's something very, very concerning to me," Boebert told Westword. "I thought we'd all have similar cookie-cutter responses to some of these policy issues, and to hear wavering on something so important [like abortion] is definitely alarming for me, if we think we have to appease the Democrats at the expense of life."

Building off abortion, Boebert drew a line in the sand and said she is always going to do what is needed to support the Republican Party and her views.

"I don't campaign one way and govern another," she explained. "I do exactly what I say. We have state legislators that were here tonight and they say they're no-nonsense conservatives, but when you have a failing grade for your liberty score that is not no-nonsense, that is a compromised representative who is lying to the voters to garner support."

Asked if she was feeling confident after this first debate, Boebert replied: "Never underestimate a mother of four boys."

"Certainly, I think we all want more time," she added. "But I'm feeling good."
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