Politics

Lauren Boebert's Best-Known Opponent Drops Out Over Redistricting Change

Lauren Boebert packing heat and a portrait of state senator Kerry Donovan.
Lauren Boebert packing heat and a portrait of state senator Kerry Donovan. Western Conservative Summit/@KerryDonovanCO
The headline of a November 2 Westword story asked the question, "Did Lauren Boebert Win Colorado Redistricting?" More evidence that she did just arrived by way of a November 5 announcement from state senator Kerry Donovan, Boebert's best-known and best-funded declared opponent for the 2022 election, who's dropping out of the race in large part because redrawn lines now put her home outside the 3rd Congressional District that Boebert represents.

"The congressional maps failed to recognize the complexity of rural Colorado and instead divided communities, protected incumbents and ignored Coloradans’ voices," Donovan says in a statement. "As a result, there is no viable path forward for me to remain in this race, and I have made the decision to suspend my campaign for Congress."

Over the past month or so, Donovan has offered hints that she might be moving in this direction. In early October, after the Colorado Independent Redistricting Committees, a group authorized to rejigger congressional lines by voters in 2018, submitted its final map to the Colorado Supreme Court for approval, she suspended fundraising because neither her hometown of Vail nor her ranch in nearby Wolcott were in the proposed 3rd District. Although a Colorado congressional candidate does not have to live in the district in which she's running, it definitely helps.

On November 1, after the court approved the plan, Donovan released this statement: "Unfortunately, the congressional maps that the Redistricting Commission submitted are a disservice to Coloradans and fail to follow the will of the voters. Make no mistake, these maps throw Coloradans’ voices — especially Latino and folks in rural Colorado — by the wayside, making districts less competitive, protecting incumbents, and splitting communities of interest. The people of the 3rd Congressional District deserve effective, selfless leadership, and simply put, Lauren Boebert is not providing it. Lauren Boebert continues to divide, not unite, spread conspiracy theories, not facts, and work for herself, not her community."


Boebert's campaign hasn't responded to Westword's requests to discuss redistricting. But the new map makes the 3rd even more Republican than it was before, giving Boebert a greater advantage than under the old boundaries.

Granted, Boebert isn't lacking opponents. At least six other hopefuls have announced their intention to run against her. But none of them have the name recognition or political power base of Donovan.

Here's the complete Donovan release:

Kerry Donovan Suspends Congressional Campaign, Pledges to Continue Fighting for Her Community

State Senator Kerry Donovan (D–CO, District 5) and candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District released the following statement:

"It has been an honor and a privilege to earn the support of Coloradans and Americans from all walks of life and I cannot express my gratitude for each and every person who stepped up to help our campaign. With over 60,000 contributions and an average donation of less than $25, we built a grassroots movement that crossed the continental divide, party lines, and ideological differences. We built one of the most powerful campaigns in the country, bringing together tens of thousands of people dedicated to standing up for our democracy and bridging divides to solve the problems our nation faces.


"This campaign was about standing up to hateful and divisive leadership and making sure that the West, which has big problems to solve, was represented by someone who would fight for us, not a headline. While each $15 check in the mail with a memo ‘we believe in you’ or $20 donation at a meet and greet made me more committed by the day, the congressional maps failed to recognize the complexity of rural Colorado and instead divided communities, protected incumbents, and ignored Coloradans’ voices. As a result, there is no viable path forward for me to remain in this race, and I have made the decision to suspend my campaign for Congress.

"Western Colorado is my home and is filled with good people and wonderful memories from this campaign. I will continue fighting for these communities with everything I have. More soon."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts