DENVER – Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert’s lead has decreased against Democrat Adam Frisch, putting the tight race for a U.S. House seat representing a largely rural swath of Colorado into the automatic recount zone Thursday with some votes still left to count.
Boebert, a conservative firebrand, saw her lead fall to about 550 votes with new results Thursday in a race that’s being closely watched across the country as Republicans try to bolster their advantage in the U.S. House after clinching a narrow majority Wednesday night.
The Associated Press has declared the election in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District too close to call.
Over a week after Election Day and with almost all of the counties reporting results in District 3 as of 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Boebert was still leading over Frisch, but by a slimmer margin. The latest count had Frisch trailing by 551 votes, but the tally was continually updating as counties reported.
In the last batch of Pueblo County votes reported Thursday afternoon, Frisch netted 123 votes out of 914 ballots from rectified signature cures, military/overseas voters, inter-county transfers and ballots held back from last week’s counts to preserve anonymity.
By early evening on Thursday, just a few counties in the district had not yet reported final results: San Juan, Moffat and Otero counties. The Colorado Sun reported that there are less than 200 total outstanding ballots in those three counties combined, which wouldn’t be enough to enable Frisch to change Boebert’s lead.
The margin was within the threshold for an automatic recount triggered under Colorado law, which is less than half a percent of the leading candidate’s votes. For this race, as of the latest count, that threshold was hovering around 815 votes.
More:Is the Lauren Boebert vs. Adam Frisch congressional race in Colorado headed for a recount?
Despite the uncertainty late Thursday, Boebert claimed victory in a tweeted video of her standing in front of the U.S. Capitol.
“Come January, you can be certain of two things,” said Boebert before thanking her supporters, “I will be sworn in for my second term as your congresswoman and Republicans can finally turn Pelosi’s house back into the People’s House.”
While Boebert has gained widespread notoriety and a spot on the so-called “MAGA Squad,” the race heading toward a likely recount is an indication that the Trump loyalist’s provocative style has its political downsides. Until election night, Boebert had been heavily favored to win reelection after redistricting made the sprawling, conservative district more Republican.
Her razor tight margin against Frisch surprised the political establishment as much as her 2020 GOP primary defeat of a five-term congressman that helped put her in office. The one-time owner of a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, Boebert comfortably won the district in 2020′s general election and swiftly established herself as a partisan flashpoint in Washington.
Local and national political operatives had been out knocking on doors and calling thousands of people in the district whose ballots needed to be cured.
Pueblo Clerk Bo Ortiz said that some voters complained to election staff about how they were getting rude calls from people around the country.
In Colorado’s election system, where all voters are sent a ballot a few weeks before Election Day, signature verification is a key step to verify voters’ identities.
Contributing: Associated Press