The race for the U.S. House of Representatives seat held by Republican Lauren Boebert of Silt is “in play,” her Democratic challenger Adam Frisch told supporters in Walsenburg after a poll showed him closing in on the controversial congresswoman a month before the election.
“A poll shows a statistical tie between us – and she is freaking out,” Frisch, a businessman from Aspen, told around 50 people who showed up at the historic red-brick Walsenburg Mercantile Company building for a breakfast rally with Frisch, the first of three stops Saturday on his just-launched town hall tour.
The poll Frisch was referring to was conducted by Keating Research from Sept. 28 – Oct. 2. Of the 500 likely voters in Boebert’s district whom Keating spoke with, 45% said they intend to vote for Frisch on Nov. 8 and 47% for Boebert. The poll’s ± 4.4% margin of error puts the two in a dead heat in the district, which covers a wide area in southern and western Colorado.
Support for Frisch has grown by five percentage points since July, with 57% of unaffiliated voters and 67% of moderates saying that, with around a month to go to the election, they back him, Keating said in a statement. Boebert was supported by 32% of unaffiliated voters and 24% of moderates, the poll showed.
Boebert has canceled trips out of the district and is “showing back up, getting out of the fancy clothes and back into her jeans and flannel,” Frisch said. “She’s realizing there’s actually a race.”
“She’s electorally weak and this message is finally getting through,” Frisch said. “Everyone’s realizing, in D.C. and in Denver, that this race is in play.”
Zoom forum on Oct. 12
When the meeting was opened for questions from the crowd – something Frisch said Boebert never does – Frisch was asked whether he planned to debate her again.
The two are set to meet virtually in a Zoom forum on Wednesday, Oct. 12, he said, but Boebert has declined repeated requests for another face-to-face match-up. The only debate between the two was in Grand Junction last month.
“I wanted to do a town hall debate” where the public could ask questions, he said.
“I said we can go to Rifle, Colorado – there’s some extra empty space there since her restaurant closed down. I’d be happy to talk about energy, the Second Amendment – anything, anywhere, anytime.”
Boebert’s Shooters Restaurant, where the grill and oven weren’t the only sources of heat – the servers packed handguns – closed in July after the building’s new landlord hiked the rent.
‘Hold her feet to the fire’
Noting that Boebert’s campaign posters feature her picture, her name, and the word “freedom,” retired history teacher Richard Bonacquista urged Frisch to “hold her feet to the fire and ask her what freedoms she’ll grant us that we don’t already have.”
The Colorado Times Recorder asked several people who turned out for a Boebert rally in Walsenburg three days earlier why they support her, and they all replied: Because she defends freedom. Asked if they could be more specific, they mentioned the right to bear arms. One person also spoke of the rights to free speech and assembly.
Politicians “are supposed to defend those – that’s the law,” Bonacquista told the Colorado Times Recorder.
“I can’t figure out what freedoms I don’t have,” he said. “I hunt. My wife hunts. We have guns… But I don’t worry about carrying my gun to show I’ve got freedom.”
Republicans have “monopolized the word ‘freedom’,” Frisch told the crowd. At the same time, too many in the Republican Party “think January 6 was a peace march,” he said.
Asked about his position on LGBTQ rights, Frisch said, “The government needs to let people do what they want to do with who they want to do it and how they want to do it.”
Just before he left for the hour’s drive to Alamosa for the next rally, Frisch was asked about Boebert’s assertion that he had overseen huge budget increases in Aspen when he was on the City Council and would do the same in Congress.
“I have the feeling that the size of the Aspen budget is about 985th among district voters’ concerns,” Frisch replied.
Veterans’ issues, rural health, transitioning to clean energy, education funding, and women’s reproductive rights all come way before it in voters’ minds, but Boebert isn’t focused on those key issues, either because she doesn’t want to talk about them or “she’s failed at them,” he said.