Boebert draws Libertarian challenger in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District
BY ERNEST LUNING email@example.com
The Gazette, Colorado Springs
LOCAL & STATE
Pueblo Libertarian James Wiley on Monday said he hopes to deny U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert a third term representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District because the Silt Republican won’t sign a pledge to adhere to the minor party’s principles. Wiley told Colorado Politics that he was compelled to run because of Boebert’s refusal to agree to terms released this summer by Colorado Libertarians as part of a deal struck with state Republicans to avoid potential spoiler candidates in competitive races. “In truth, I will be elected by the voters of CD-3 as their Libertarian representative to Congress because the land of our district is filled with Sovereign American People whose rights have suffered immeasurable damage by state actors,” Wiley said in a release. “CD-3 needs activist leaders prepared and willing to demolish the federal government.” Added Wiley: An entire generation of elected officials will be replaced by radical American idealists prepared to reset and restore our federal governance to its most primitive and most powerless state of origin.” A Boebert spokesman told Colorado Politics that the incumbent is happy to stack her conservative credentials against anyone’s. “We’ll put Congresswoman Lauren Boebert’s unwavering record of pro-liberty and pro-freedom votes up against anyone in the district or entire country,” Drew Sexton, Boebert’s campaign manager, said in an email. “She’s proud to have been recognized by local and national groups for her commitment to freedom, which is why 3rd District voters have and will continue to send her to Congress to fight for those liberties,” Sexton added. A vocal member of the House Freedom Caucus and former owner of a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Boebert won reelection in the Gop-leaning district last year by just 546 votes, the closest margin of any congressional race in the country. She’s already drawn a slew of potential challengers, including the Democrat who narrowly lost to Boebert last cycle, wealthy former Aspen city council member Adam Frisch. Frisch raised more than three times as much as Boebert in the most recent fundraising period, prompting the Cook Political Report to move call the race a toss-up. A poll released by Frisch’s campaign last month showed the two candidates in a statistical tie among likely voters, with Frisch running 2 points ahead of Boebert, within the survey’s margin of error. In addition, Democrat Anna Stout, the mayor of Grand Junction, and Republican Jeff Hurd, a Grand Junction attorney, are running in their parties’ respective primaries. Veteran third-party candidate Gary Swing is hoping to run on the Unity Party ticket, and Mark Elworth Jr. said last month that he’s seeking the Libertarian nomination, though he has yet to file candidacy paperwork. Boebert was first elected in 2020 after upsetting fiveterm Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the GOP primary in the traditionally Republican-leaning district, which covers most of the Western Slope and parts of Southern Colorado, including Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley. Last year, she easily survived a primary challenge, defeating former state Sen. Don Coram, a moderate Republican from Montrose, by a nearly 30-point margin. According to his campaign site, Wiley grew up “as a missionary in the former Soviet Union, where I witnessed the effect that the opportunity of freedom balanced with personal responsibility can have in benefit to a society recovering from communism.” A graduate of Pueblo County High School, Wiley received a business degree from Colorado State University-pueblo and worked in finance before turning to political activism during the 2020 COVID pandemic, he said. While Wiley filed paperwork to run for the seat a week ago — the day before news broke on Sept. 12 that Boebert had been removed from a performance of the musical “Beetlejuice” in Denver for “causing a disturbance” — the firsttime candidate included several references to the headline-grabbing incident in his announcement. Referring to the pact state Libertarians entered into with the Colorado GOP, Wiley said: “Lauren Boebert, aka Beetlejuice, has publicly denounced our pledge and defamed the principles we cherish as unworthy.” Wiley also vowed to serve no more than three terms and pledged “never to vape nicotine at any venue,” including at the Sept. 16 Rob Zombie concert at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre in Greenwood Village. Vaping while watching the performance was among the infractions that led to Boebert’s ouster from “Beetleguice,” according to an report filed by authorities and closed-circuit video obtained by Colorado Politics news partners at 9News.