Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District has produced some of the finest Republican leaders in our state’s recent history.
- Decorated for his Navy combat duty in Vietnam, Greeley’s Hank Brown represented CD4 for 10 years before his election to the U.S. Senate. He later served as president of University of Colorado and the Daniels Fund.
- Wayne Allard won two terms in the U.S. Senate after representing CD4 for six years. The Fort Collins veterinarian defined the role of a low-key politician, often described as “a workhorse, not a show horse.”
- Yuma native Cory Gardner ousted Democrat Betsy Markey to win his first of three terms in Congress. The most recent Republican to win a significant statewide office, he toppled incumbent Mark Udall for U.S. Senate in 2014.
Bob Schaffer (Fort Collins), Marilyn Musgrave (Fort Morgan), and Ken Buck (Greeley) also did the essential, often-unglamorous work of serving their constituents. Each had a demonstrable record of service to the district before running for Congress.
Now consider Rep. Lauren Boebert, who currently represents the Western Slope, San Luis Valley and Pueblo in the Third Congressional District but plans to seek election this fall in CD4 while collecting a paycheck “representing” CD3.
I’m not a frequent Boebert critic, but this decision reveals an irresponsibly self-centered approach to a serious job. Too many politicians of both parties now confuse serving in Congress with starring in a reality TV show.
Boebert’s transition to celebrity-politician was manifest by her disgraceful behavior during a September date night at a Denver theater where she engaged in an extended groping session with her date, quarreled with others in the audience when asked to sit down and stop vaping, and displayed the trademark slogan of self-importance (“do you know who I am?”) upon being escorted from the theater.
Like many Coloradans, I knew little about Boebert when she upset an incumbent in the 2020 Republican primary. Charismatic and vivacious, she had an inspiring story – a high school dropout who supported herself by working unglamorous jobs and ultimately found success and notoriety at the restaurant which she and her husband opened. Wanting Republicans to keep that seat, I donated to her campaign.
After the election, her early association with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was troubling, so it was encouraging that she later parted ways with the Georgia conspiracy pedlar.
The 2022 election brought more surprises. One-third of Republican primary voters favored her opponent. She won re-election by just 536 votes (compared to 26,000 two years earlier) – even after CD3 was reconfigured to be more favorable to Republicans. Had she focused more on constituent services and less on media opportunities, voters surely would have rewarded her.
She justified her plans to jump districts by claiming that she doesn’t want to risk Republicans losing CD3. But that horse has already left the barn, thanks entirely to Boebert. Her leading Democrat opponent has more than $5 million in the bank – a massive head start against any Republican.
If she’s squandered the GOP advantage in CD3, why would CD4 Republicans want to import her baggage – and the Democrat money it attracts?
Obviously, Boebert is making this switch because being in Congress is the best job she’s ever had.
CD4 voters have been through this before. Marilyn Musgrave riled Democrats with her advocacy for defining marriage as solely between one-man and one-woman. Billionaires Tim Gill and Pat Stryker funded relentless attacks on Musgrave, creating parody commercials with an actress dressed to resemble her. Her margin of victory dwindled (13%, 6.3%, 2.5%) until she was defeated in the Obama wave of 2008.
But there’s a big difference between Musgrave and Boebert. Musgrave is a fundamentally decent person who never sought the spotlight but didn’t duck her principles. She always conducted herself with dignity. That’s why her opponents had to create commercials to mock her. By contrast, Boebert’s own behavior mocks what she claims to stand for. I believe in grace and do not wish Boebert ill, but Congress has not brought out the best in her.
Republicans from Weld to Douglas counties and across the Eastern Plains have plenty of well-qualified local candidates to choose from. Let’s make our choice from those who have lived here and served us for decades.