Lauren Boebert, the pistol-packing owner of Shooters Grill in Rifle, is moving full-speed ahead with her primary challenge to unseat U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez – unperturbed by President Donald Trump’s endorsement of the incumbent.
“I haven’t looked too much into Tipton’s record of supporting Donald Trump, but I do know, for myself, I have been a President Trump fan from the day he announced. I loved Ted Cruz, until President Trump announced, and I said, ‘Sorry buddy, you have to go,’” she said in a phone interview.
Tipton has been a loyal Trump supporter. The website FiveThirtyEight lists Tipton’s support of the Trump agenda on congressional votes at 94.2%. For Boebert, that’s not good enough.
Before Trump’s endorsement of Tipton via Twitter on Dec. 20 for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Boebert said she doubted the president knew she was running or had even been informed of Tipton’s voting record, which she finds dangerously to the left of the average Republican member of the House.
“I am a huge supporter of President Trump, and honestly, I cannot wait for him to find out I’m running and he gets to meet me because I’m working really hard with him to make America great and to keep it that way,” she said.
Boebert said her main rational for running is because of Tipton’s low media profile, which she says allows left wing House members like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and three other first-term Democratic women in the House, collectively known as “The Squad,” to monopolize the media megaphone.
“I’m just saying there needs to be a response to her (Ocasio-Cortez’s) narrative. And our representatives can no longer sit back utterly silent while this progressive, socialist narrative directs our country. And so we need someone who is equally loud to redirect the conversation in America. Absolutely, conservatives know this progressive, socialist narrative needs to be silenced,” she said of Tipton’s reticence or inability to find the media spotlight.
Boebert’s confrontation of Beto O’Rourke during a September rally in Aurora over his promise to take away assault rifles from citizens, she said, is indicative of her proficiency in catching the media’s eye.
“I heard he was going to have a rally in Aurora, which is three hours from here, and so I drove three hours to Aurora with my Glock on my hip, and I grabbed the microphone and I looked him in the eye, and I said, ‘Hell no, you’re not.’
“You know with that, it was certainly intimidating. Who does this? Who challenges a presidential candidate, but I didn’t really feel like this is an issue to be silent on, and I didn’t see anyone else stepping up to silence him.”
Boebert’s ownership of Shooters Grill, where servers wear unconcealed firearms, helps her gain publicity for her campaign and also exemplifies how she’d differ from the spotlight-shy Tipton.
“My business has been a platform to advocate for freedom from the very beginning. And that’s not how we intended the business structure to be, but that’s what we stumbled upon, and I’m OK with that,” she said.
Boebert also criticized Tipton’s voting record, specifically the Dec. 11 vote to support the Farm Workforce Modernization Act as an example of the congressman’s more liberal politics than the average GOP House member.
She characterized the vote as Tipton joining “Democrats to hand amnesty to 1 million illegal immigrants.” The bill, however, does not provide a path to legal U.S. citizenship for farmworkers in the country illegally. It does provide a path for them to gain legal residency.
Tipton was one of 34 Republicans who voted for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The bill passed the full House 260-165.
Tipton’s staff issued a statement about his support for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, but efforts to reach Tipton for this story were unsuccessful.
About the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, Tipton’s statement read: “The House took a step toward improving how farmers retain seasonal, law-abiding migrant workers who meet specific and stringent requirements when it passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The agricultural community overwhelmingly relies on a predictable flow of low-skilled employees each year who work hard to put food on our tables.”
He added: “What the bill does not do is grant citizenship to these seasonal workers, regardless of what some misleading reports are saying. This bill is NOT an amnesty bill. Instead, this legislation modernizes the process which migrant workers use to enter the U.S. legally.”
Tipton said the main reason for his support of the act is because it addresses “a critical problem” of inconsistent labor supplies for farmers across the country, including the 3rd Congressional District.
The main obstacle for Boebert, she said, is the problem cited by many a challenger to a congressional incumbent: money.
“Of course, we will be out-spent. We are going against an incumbent with millions of dollars, and so we will be out-spent. So, every dollar that we get into our campaign helps tremendously. It helps get us on the radio, and ads, and just all of these things. We are always looking for more funding.”
According to the Federal Election Commission, as of the latest reporting period in September 2019, Tipton’s campaign has so far spent $174,673 and had $412,520 on hand. Boebert had not declared her candidacy as of September, and the campaign had not filed an FEC campaign-finance report.