How Lauren Boebert’s district switch affects Colorado politics

Boebert moves to the 4th District to avoid a tough primary

Rep. Lauren Boebert, the controversial Republican from Colorado, announced on Tuesday that she will run for reelection in the 4th Congressional District instead of the 3rd District. This decision came after a bipartisan redistricting commission drew new maps that made the 3rd District more competitive and put Boebert in the same district as fellow Republican Rep. Ken Buck.

Boebert said in a statement that she made the switch to “ensure that every Coloradan has a voice in Congress” and to “stop the radical left from destroying our country”. She also claimed that the new maps were “gerrymandered” by Democrats to “silence” her and her supporters.

However, political analysts say that Boebert’s move was motivated by her desire to avoid a tough primary challenge from Buck, who is a more moderate and experienced lawmaker. Buck, who is the chair of the Colorado Republican Party, has not announced his plans for 2024, but he has said that he will not run against Boebert.

Boebert faces new challenges and opportunities in the 4th District

The 4th District, which covers most of eastern Colorado, is a solidly Republican district that has a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of R+19. Boebert is expected to have an easier time winning the general election there than in the 3rd District, which has a partisan lean of R+9.

How Lauren Boebert’s district switch affects Colorado politics

However, Boebert will still have to overcome some hurdles in the 4th District, such as:

  • Winning over the voters and donors who supported Buck. Buck has represented the 4th District since 2015 and has built a loyal base of supporters and contributors. He has also been endorsed by former President Donald Trump, who remains popular among Republicans. Boebert will have to convince them that she is a better representative for their interests and values.
  • Dealing with the backlash from some of her former constituents and allies. Boebert’s decision to switch districts has angered some of the voters and activists who helped her win the 3rd District in 2020. They feel betrayed and abandoned by Boebert, who they see as a political opportunist. Some of them have vowed to support a primary challenger against her in the 4th District.
  • Adapting to the different issues and demographics of the 4th District. The 4th District is more rural, more agricultural, and more diverse than the 3rd District. Boebert will have to address the concerns and needs of the farmers, ranchers, and oil and gas workers who make up a large part of the district’s economy. She will also have to appeal to the Hispanic and Asian American voters who make up about 20 percent of the district’s population.

Boebert’s district switch has implications for Colorado and national politics

Boebert’s district switch is not only a personal choice, but also a strategic move that has implications for the political landscape of Colorado and the nation. Some of the possible consequences are:

  • Creating a more competitive race in the 3rd District. The 3rd District, which covers most of western Colorado and parts of the central and southern regions, is now more favorable for Democrats after the redistricting. The district has a large number of unaffiliated voters who could swing either way. The Democrats have a strong candidate in state Sen. Kerry Donovan, who has raised more than $1 million for her campaign. The Republicans have not yet settled on a nominee, but some of the potential contenders are state Sen. Ray Scott, state Rep. Matt Soper, and former state Rep. Perry Will.
  • Shifting the balance of power in the House of Representatives. Boebert’s district switch could affect the outcome of the 2024 midterm elections, which will determine which party controls the House of Representatives. The Democrats currently have a slim majority of 222 seats to the Republicans’ 213 seats, with five vacancies. The Republicans need to flip five seats to take back the majority. Boebert’s move could make it harder for the Republicans to hold the 3rd District and easier for them to hold the 4th District, potentially canceling out each other. However, if Boebert loses the 4th District or if the Democrats win both districts, it could give the Democrats an edge in retaining or expanding their majority.
  • Influencing the future of the Republican Party. Boebert’s district switch could also have an impact on the direction and identity of the Republican Party, which is divided between the establishment wing and the populist wing. Boebert is a prominent member of the populist wing, which is loyal to Trump and embraces his style and agenda. She is also a part of the hard-right Freedom Caucus, which often clashes with the party leadership and the moderate members. Boebert’s move could strengthen the populist wing and the Freedom Caucus, especially if she wins the 4th District and if Buck retires or runs for another office. On the other hand, Boebert’s move could weaken the populist wing and the Freedom Caucus, especially if she loses the 4th District or if Buck stays and challenges her.

Boebert’s district switch is a bold and risky move that reflects her ambition and calculation. It also shows how redistricting can reshape the political map and the fortunes of the candidates. Boebert’s move will have consequences not only for herself, but also for Colorado and the nation.

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