(Updates throughout with details about candidate Lauren Boebert and statements from campaign committees.)
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Rep. Scott Tipton lost big Tuesday to restaurant owner and gun rights advocate Lauren Boebert in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 3rd District.
He’s the fourth House incumbent to be denied renomination this year.
President Donald Trump had endorsed Tipton and called him “a great supporter of the #MAGA Agenda” in a December 2019 tweet. But he fell to Boebert, who owns Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colo., where staffers openly carry firearms and menu items include an M16 burrito.
Boebert, who criticized Tipton for voting for a bill that would allow undocumented agricultural workers to qualify for permanent legal status, recently responded to a question about the QAnon conspiracy theory movement by saying, “I hope that this is real, because it only means that America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values.”
The conspiracy theory movement is based on a belief that there is a deep state plot against Trump.
“Our freedom and our Constitutional rights are on the ballot this November and Republicans just sent a loud and clear message that they want me there to fight for them,” Boebert said in a news release after her victory. The release notes her confrontation with then-candidate Beto O’Rourke about guns and when she “defied” Gov. Jared Polis (D) and reopened her restaurant.
Boebert will face former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush (D), who lost to Tipton in 2018 by about 8 percentage points, in a general election that may now be more competitive.
“Not even multiple endorsements from President Trump could save Congressman Scott Tipton from his extreme, QAnon caucus challenger,” Democratic Congressional Campaign Chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said in an emailed statement. “Washington Republicans should immediately disavow Lauren Boebert and her extremist, dangerous conspiracy theories.”
The head of the House GOP campaign arm congratulated Boebert in a statement. “Lauren won her primary fair and square and has our support,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), who leads the National Republican Campaign Committee. “This is a Republican seat and will remain a Republican seat.”
Close Races for Committee Leaders
Tipton may not be the last incumbent to fall this week. His result, in a state that already primarily votes by mail, came as the fates of New York Reps. Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney remain unknown a week after their primaries.
The Democratic committee chairmen are awaiting the counting of mail-in ballots, which begins Wednesday. Engel trails former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman by more than 10,000 votes, while Maloney leads her rematch with attorney Suraj Patel by less than 1,000 votes.
Among the members with notable primaries over the next couple of months are Steve Watkins (R-Kan.), Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.). In the Senate, incumbent Ed Markey is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Rep. Joe Kennedy III.
Four incumbents lost primaries in 2016 and 2018. The most House incumbents to lose in a primary over the past two decades was 13 in 2012, according to Brookings’ Vital Statistics on Congress.
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