Republican firebrand Boebert wins House re-election after Democrat concedes

The 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is held in Dallas

By Joseph Ax and Moira Warburton

(Reuters) -U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, the polarizing Republican who gained national notoriety during her first term with her combative brand of politics, won re-election in a surprisingly close race after her Democratic opponent conceded on Friday.

Adam Frisch, a businessman and former city councilman in Aspen, Colorado, said he had called Boebert and conceded the contest, which appears destined for an automatic recount with Boebert leading by fewer than 600 votes out of more than 325,000 cast in the Nov. 8 midterm election.

“The likelihood of this recount changing more than a handful of votes is very small,” Frisch said in a news conference streamed on his Facebook page, adding that he did not want to raise money from supporters for an effort that would not succeed.

Republicans this week were projected to have won a narrow majority in the U.S. House, setting the stage for two years of divided government with Democrats still in control of the Senate. House Republicans will be able to block much of Democratic President Joe Biden’s agenda.

Boebert’s victory gives Republicans 219 seats compared to 212 for Democrats, according to Edison Research, with four races still too close to call.

Boebert rose to prominence in 2020 when she refused to close her gun-themed restaurant in accordance with Colorado’s COVID-19 restrictions, endearing her to many in a mostly rural district in southwestern Colorado where opposition to government efforts to contain the pandemic ran high.

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She went on to defeat a five-term incumbent Republican in that year’s primary and won the seat in the general election.

Along with Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Boebert has developed a reputation as one of the most outspoken supporters of former President Donald Trump in Congress.

She faced calls to resign after she posted on Twitter about the location of several members of Congress during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol.

This year’s unexpectedly close race – she was heavily favored to win after redistricting made her district even more Republican – was one of several across the country that raised questions about the depth of support that Trump and his loyal backers still enjoy with voters.

Boebert, who has echoed Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent, repeatedly refused to say whether she would accept the results of the election if she lost.

On Friday, Boebert wrote on Twitter that Frisch had called her to concede and added, “I look forward to getting past election season and focusing on conservative governance in the House majority. Time to get to work!”

(Reporting By Christopher Gallagher and Moira Warburton; Additional reporting by Joseph Ax and Paul Grant; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Daniel Wallis)