Colorado’s Boebert Could Breathe Easy Under First Draft of Remap

  • Ethics Committee found no cause for discipline after Jan. 6
  • Incumbent Perlmutter would run in a more Republican district

Rep. Lauren Boebert, a freshman who brags about her antipathy toward “left-wing lunatics,” would gain an easier path to re-election under the first draft of new congressional district lines in Colorado.

The state’s preliminary map would shift out of Boebert’s district some areas that have backed Democrats in past elections.

Boebert (R) would no longer have to face voters in the rural, largely Hispanic San Luis Valley, frustrating partisans like Laura Chapin, a Democratic strategist in Denver.

“The Republican party has lost power here because their policies are unpopular. The idea that voters should have their policies blunted because we get a congressional map that’s 4–4 is inherently undemocratic,” she said in a Thursday interview. “In this state that’s not factually accurate.”

National Profile

In Washington, Boebert may be best known for her Tweets during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, announcing at one point that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) had been taken out of the House chamber. The House Ethics Committee investigated and then dropped a complaint about her actions that day.

Boebert supports calls for President Joe Biden (D) to undergo a cognitive test and has characterized herself as “leading the charge” for the president to be censured for what she termed dereliction of duty at the nation’s southern border. She voted against a proposed commission to examine the Jan. 6 events.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) speaks during a June 23, 2021 press conference announcing the introduction of a resolution seeking censure of President Joe Biden related to immigration enforcement. At left is Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga).

Locally, Boebert may be best known as the sidearm-carrying owner of a café in Rifle, Colo., named Shooters.

After stating her intent to carry a Glock to Congress, she applied for and was granted a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Washington, D.C.

Democrats in Colorado previously said her defeat would be one of their top goals in 2022.

Independent Commission

Colorado is gaining a seat, so every incumbent is bound to face a reconfigured array of voters as the congressional delegation increases to eight seats from the current seven.

Map-drawing is done by an independent commission that’s not supposed to consider partisan ramifications. The state Constitution says districts can’t be drawn to protect incumbents or declared candidates.

Predictably, the proposed starting-point lines that Chapin called “absolutely insane, and flat unfair” look fine to Colorado Republican Party Executive Director Joe Jackson. In his view, the preliminary map “did no favors to any party or incumbent.”

One incumbent who might disagree is eight-term Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D), whose home base under the initial proposal would be part of a district that includes what University of Denver professor Floyd Ciruli called the “Republican heartland” of the south Denver metro area.

“Instead of 5–3, it’s 4–4, and an incumbent is in danger,” Ciruli said.

The redistricting commission’s staff released the preliminary maps Wednesday. They’ll be the basis for gathering public comment over the next several months, the commission said in a statement.

After holding public meetings and getting final redistricting data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the maps will be refined by the commission, which then must submit its design for new political boundaries to the Colorado Supreme Court for final approval.

A separate commission that handles statehouse redistricting in Colorado is to get its preliminary maps on June 29.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tripp Baltz in Denver at abaltz@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina May at tmay@bloomberglaw.com; Katherine Rizzo at krizzo@bgov.com

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