Lauren Boebert, a rookie politician and gun rights activist who spoke approvingly of the pro-Trump QAnon conspiracy theory, claimed a primary victory Tuesday night against Representative Scott Tipton of Colorado, defeating a incumbent five-period endorsed by President Trump.
Boebert, 33, owns Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, and has garnered attention in recent days for defying pandemic restrictions by keeping his restaurant open. She previously made the headlines for confronting a former Democratic presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke, for her promise during an appearance in the state to seize assault rifles.
“I’m here to say: Hell no, you’re not,” Boebert, who encourages his restaurant employees to openly carry weapons, told him during a town hall meeting in Aurora. Gun rights have been at the center of the state’s political clashes for years after new restrictions were imposed after the mass shootings.
Most recently, Ms. Boebert defied state orders not to open her restaurant until the Garfield County Sheriff obtained an order to cease and desist against her.
During the campaign, he argued that Tipton voted too often with Democrats and that he was not conservative enough for Colorado’s Third Congressional District, a huge area that stretches from Pueblo in the south to Steamboat Springs in the north and up to the western border of the state. A sprawling expanse of about 30 counties, it is primarily conservative and rural, though it includes pockets of more Democratic-leaning areas, such as Aspen.
In December, Trump backed Tipton, a relatively discreet legislator who occasionally works with Democrats on some issues. Tipton is the third Republican in three weeks to lose despite the President’s backing, further affecting his undefeated record of primary victories, which Trump likes to brag about. Boebert had questioned the presidential decision at the time, saying that Trump was unaware of all the facts in the race.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Trump congratulated her on Twitter “for a great victory!”
Mrs. Boebert had introduced herself as a stranger struggling to stiffen her spines in Washington.
“There is a battle for the heart and soul of our country that I intend to help win,” she says on her campaign website. “I am running for Congress to defend our conservative values, address the failed promises of our current representatives, and put the far-left Democrats back in their place.”
His unexpected victory will likely lead Democrats to put more emphasis on the race to try to snatch a Republican seat. The winner of the Democratic primary was Diane Mitsch Bush, a former member of the House of Representatives who lost to Tipton in 2018.
Democrats immediately attacked Boebert on Tuesday night for his refusal to reject the QAnon conspiracy theory move, which holds that traitors to the “deep state” are conspiring against Trump.
Appearing on a radio show last month, he said of QAnon: “I hope this is real because it just means that the United States is getting stronger and better, and people are going back to conservative values, and that’s what I’m there for.”
“If this is real,” he added, “then it could be really cool for our country.”
This month, Republican leaders condemned the offensive remarks about black, Jewish, and Muslim people made on social media by another Republican candidate who had promoted QAnon, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who finished first in a primary for a seat in the Georgia Congress. .
“Washington Republicans should immediately disavow Lauren Boebert and her extremist and dangerous conspiracy theories,” said Representative Cheri Bustos of Illinois, chair of the Democratic Congress Campaign Committee, in a statement Tuesday night. She said Democrats were “well positioned to compete and win this seat.”