The 2022 Colorado election's two biggest surprises are ultra-tight races in the 3rd and 8th Congressional districts. In District 3, Democratic challenger Adam Frisch currently leads Republican incumbent and controversy magnet Lauren Boebert by just 64 votes, with the count continuing. In District 8, Republican Barb Kirkmeyer has conceded to Democrat Yadira Caraveo despite trailing by only 899 votes in the latest update from the Colorado Secretary of State's Office.
No matter who winds up ahead in the Frisch-Boebert contest, a recount is all but certain: A Ballotpedia summary of Colorado election law points out that the process is automatically triggered if the margin of victory is less than or equal to 0.5 percent. Meanwhile, the Pueblo Chieftain estimates that around 1,800 votes remain to be counted in Pueblo County alone, most of them cast on Election Day. While that scenario is believed to favor Boebert, since some election deniers pushed for last-second voting, making predictions at this point is a fool's game, since the results so far defy all prognostications.
Here are the vote totals and percentages from the Secretary of State's Office for Frisch and Boebert as of 9:17 p.m. November 9:
Adam FrischAnd these are the numbers related to Caraveo, Kirkmeyer and Libertarian candidate Richard Ward in District 8:
Yadira CaraveoLast week, FiveThirtyEight, considered the gold standard for election analysis, had Frisch winning in only three out of 100 simulated models based on polling data, and for good reason. Frisch had trailed substantially behind Boebert in most surveys throughout the weeks leading up to November 8, and since redistricting had made the area even more Republican than it had been in 2020, when Boebert defeated Diane Mitsch Bush by more than 6 percent, she looked poised to broaden that gap.
But Frisch had a formula for defeating Boebert, as he explained in a July interview with Westword.
"This is one of the top races in the country, because of the handful of extremists in Congress right now, she's the only one who's vulnerable," he said. "We only need to get 10 percent of her prior voters, and a third of them just voted against her" — a reference to the 36.1 percent of the ballots that former state rep Don Coram kept from Boebert in the June 28 Republican primary. "It's an uphill challenge, but it's doable." he added.
A resident of Aspen who registered as a Democrat last December (he'd previously been unaffiliated), Frisch admitted being "self-aware that the average Democratic voter wasn't looking for a white, middle-age straight person from a resort community." But he felt that "if a moderate Democrat could get past the primary, he could build a coalition with Democrats, independents and the rational Republican crowd. So 10 percent of those prior voters is the holy grail of how someone can win."
Caraveo was nearly as much of a long shot as Frisch, according to FiveThirtyEight; as of last week, she was the winner in just eleven of 100 models. But when she spoke to Westword in June, she also had a strategy capable of foiling the pollsters: appealing to the substantial number of Latinx residents in District 8 who may not have participated in previous elections, since most of them had previously lived in Republican-controlled areas.
"We are spending a lot of time reaching out to those voters," she noted. "This is a low-turnout, low- registration area of the state, and I think that has to do with the fact that they haven't had someone who speaks to them and their community for a long time. We're letting them know they're in a new district, a competitive district, and even though your voice always mattered, it definitely matters now, because you can vote for someone who speaks for you. That's why we're reaching out to groups in the Latino community and people who may not have voted frequently before because they didn't feel represented. And now they can be."
That's undeniable now: Caraveo is scheduled to deliver her first remarks as a future member of Congress during a 9:30 a.m. appearance today in Adams County. And while Frisch is a long way from being able to make such a speech, the mere fact that he's neck-and-neck with Boebert qualifies as a legitimate Colorado election stunner.