Lauren Boebert squares off with Republican and Democratic challengers in online forum

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert argued for a second term in office while Republican and Democratic challengers looked for holes in the incumbent’s armor during an online forum Wednesday night.

The forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters of Colorado, gave each of the five candidates a chance to say why they’re the best fit for the state’s sweeping Western Slope district. Most of the candidates’ arguments boiled down to a single point: they’re not Boebert.

The incumbent congresswoman, still serving her first term, faces perhaps her most substantial challenge from fellow Republican Don Coram, a state senator from Montrose. But whoever wins in the June 28 primary between the two, must still defeat the Democratic nominee.

The contenders for that title are Adam Frisch, a former Aspen City Council member; Sol Sandoval, a community activist from Pueblo; Alex Walker an engineer living in Eagle, which is not part of the 3rd Congressional District.

Each of the challenging candidates flexed their ability to work across the aisle with those of a differing political persuasion, though Boebert dug her heels into her conservative position, name-checking President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times during the forum.

“Liberal policies are failing this country,” Boebert said. “Every one of my opponents supports liberal policies, I don’t.”

Frisch especially took aim at Boebert’s behavior in office noting that she has failed to work with Democrats during her first term and calling her a leader in the “anger entertainment industry,” frequently mentioning her substantial and often controversial social media presence.

Walker noted that he is disenchanted with both political parties and touted his ability to communicate to young voters and others in Congress.

“I will push back on what is broken in both parties,” Walker said. “Proudly, defiantly and with data.”

Sandoval listed her growing number of endorsements as proof of her ability to work with most everyone.

Coram underscored his bipartisan bonafides, pointing to his track record in Colorado’s General Assembly. Boebert, he noted, has yet to pass a single bill in Congress.

At the same time as lambasting the incumbent’s bombastic style, however, most challengers said they believe the country isn’t as divided as it seems. They cited water and the economy as some of the most pressing issues of the time.

“Water is life,” Sandoval said, also noting that recognizing climate change would be a priority for her in the office.

Walker spoke of renegotiating the 1922 Colorado River Compact, which divides water from the river among the seven states and Mexico that sit in the river’s basin. The finer points of that compact are typically negotiated by representatives of the states, Native American tribes and representatives of the executive branch of the federal government, not Congress.

Boebert spoke of increasing water storage and “delivery projects” to supply clean water.

On other issues the candidates often split along partisan lines. When asked about abortion access, the Democrats spoke of a person’s right to choose what is right for their bodies and stressed the need for privacy and better access. Sandoval and Walker spoke of codifying the right to abortion in federal law. Coram spoke of additional access to contraception and reducing abortions by stopping unwanted pregnancies.

Boebert said she is eagerly awaiting a likely ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court which would strike down the Roe v. Wade, which holds that right to have an abortion is protected by the Constitution.

The right to bear arms is also protected by the Constitution, Boebert noted, when the candidates were asked their position on firearm legislation. She partially cited the Second Amendment.

The incumbent spoke against “left-wing legislation” and repeated a claim that “gun-free zones have proven to be deadly.”

But Walker pushed back on that notion saying that if those with guns stopped crimes from happening, America would be the safest country in the world. Rather, “our gun homicide rate is 25 times higher than that of other developed nations,” he said.

Walker added he supports banning the sale of military assault weapons.

Frisch and Sandoval said they support responsible gun ownership but also red flag laws, background checks. And Coram repeated a need for mental health care.

Experts often note that those suffering from mental illness are rarely any more likely to commit crimes than those who don’t.

During their closing statements the challengers underscored the need for a change in leadership for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, each promising to work to pass legislation no matter the political climate in Washington D.C.

Boebert promised to continue on as a “fighter,” working for her district “while calling out the left for their insane policies.”

The forum came just hours after state officials confirmed they are investigating whether Boebert broke any laws when she reimbursed herself thousands of dollars from her 2020 campaign. The congresswoman has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing

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