Only a few weeks after being sworn in, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Rifle, already has a Democratic challenger ready to run against her in 2022.
Glenwood Springs attorney Colin Wilhelm, 37, confirmed Monday he will run for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in a bid to unseat Boebert. Wilhelm, a defense attorney, said he started considering the race on the morning after Boebert was elected.
“I was going to wait to make a final decision until after redistricting,” Wilhelm said. “Then the events of January 6th happened.”
Wilhelm said he was concerned about Boebert’s actions leading up to, during and after Jan. 6, when a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol, ransacking offices and threatening lawmakers who were in the process of certifying the presidential election results. He said Boebert has “some explaining” to do in regard to the insurrection.
Boebert, an ardent supporter of President Trump, was one of several Republicans who objected to President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college victory. Boebert also has faced criticism from some of her fellow lawmakers for tweeting “Today is 1776” on Jan. 6, in addition to later tweeting, “The Speaker has been removed from the chambers.”
“While our democracy is surviving, it is in peril and [Boebert] is not doing anything to protect it,” Wilhem said. “I think she is a danger to our country.”
Boebert’s office did not respond to a request for comment Monday. However, in a press release issued five days after the Capitol insurrection, Boebert stated, “I defended our constitution and I always will. America will persevere because freedom always prevails. But let’s get real — the far-left and their policies are causing harm to our country. I refuse to let their political machine write a narrative that millions of Americans know is false.”
Biden received 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232 and also garnered more than 81 million votes — over seven million more than Trump.
“There was no election fraud. It was a massive lie perpetrated by the president to try to remain in power,” Wilhelm said. “Watching [Boebert] continuing to object made me realize that while our democracy is surviving, it is in peril and she is not doing anything to protect it.”
Wilhelm said protecting public lands, providing rural communities access to quality health care and expanding mental health services across the country would be focal points of his campaign.
“I have policy solutions and plans that I intend to implement that don’t involve just freedom and the Second Amendment,” Wilhelm said. “[Boebert] seems to want to ‘freedom’ everything … but, you know, we need plans and goals to fix things.”
No stranger to state politics, Wilhelm ran for the Colorado House of Representatives in 2018 and 2020 but was defeated by Republicans Bob Rankin and Perry Will respectively.
Will defeated Wilhelm to represent House District 57 after earning more than 63% of the vote. Garfield, Moffat, and Rio Blanco counties, which make up HD 57, also fall within Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Despite running unsuccessfully for state office, Wilhelm believes he had a path to victory in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District race, which includes 29 counties, including Pitkin.
“Not being a member of the state legislature takes me away from some Denver politics, which people don’t necessarily feel is representative of them out here on the Western Slope and southern Colorado,” Wilhelm said. “I feel that I bring a fresh outsider’s perspective and the ability to unify across party lines.”
In the GOP primary, Boebert, who owns Shooters Grill in Rifle, defeated incumbent Scott Tipton, who had held the 3rd District seat since 2011. In the Nov. 3 general election, Boebert bested former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs.