Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Representative Lauren Boebert, a far-right House Republican, announced on Wednesday that she would run in a more conservative district in Colorado — seeking to increase her chances after a strong primary challenger emerged in her district.

The move — from the Third Congressional District to the Fourth — will thrust Ms. Boebert into a crowded primary to replace Representative Ken Buck, a conservative who is not seeking re-election. She has fervently promoted false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald J. Trump. Mr. Buck attributed his decision not to run in part to the widespread belief in his party of these false claims — as well as to the refusal of many of his Republican colleagues to condemn the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.

In a video posted on social media, Ms. Boebert said that the move was a “fresh start,” alluding to a “pretty difficult year for me and my family,” pointing to her divorce. “It’s the right move for me personally, and it’s the right decision for those who support our conservative movement,” Ms. Boebert said.

In September, then in the midst of finalizing the divorce, she was caught on a security camera vaping and groping her date shortly before being ejected from a performance of the musical “Beetlejuice” for causing a disturbance.

A primary challenger has since emerged with significant backers among prominent former Republican officials in the state. Jeff Hurd, a 44-year-old lawyer from Grand Junction, has been endorsed by former Gov. Bill Owens and former Senator Hank Brown. The editorial board of the Colorado Springs Gazette also endorsed Mr. Hurd over Ms. Boebert this month.

Mr. Hurd, in a statement after Ms. Boebert’s announcement, played up the support he has received from Republicans across the state, vowing that he “will fight every day to ensure this seat stays in Republican hands.”

Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District is significantly more conservative than the Third, and securing the Republican nomination would place Ms. Boebert in a strong position to win in a seat where Mr. Buck earned 60 percent of the vote in 2022. Ms. Boebert barely won re-election that year, pulling ahead of her Democratic opponent, Adam Frisch, with roughly 500 votes.

Mr. Frisch, who is running again in the Third District, said that Ms. Boebert’s withdrawal from that race changed little for his campaign.

“From Day 1 of this race, I have been squarely focused on defending rural Colorado’s way of life,” he said in a statement, adding that “my focus will remain the same.”

An earlier analysis by the Cook Political Report had rated the race for Ms. Boebert’s current seat in 2024 as a tossup. By contrast, the race in the general election in the Fourth Congressional District is not considered competitive.

The other Republicans running in the primary to replace Mr. Buck include two former state senators, Ted Harvey and Jerry Sonnenberg; Richard Holtorf, a state representative; Trent Leisy, a Navy veteran and business owner; and Deborah Flora, a radio host.

Mr. Leisy asserted on social media soon after Ms. Boebert’s announcement that she was giving Democrats an advantage in the race for her current district by making the switch.

“Lauren should be a fighter and keep her district red,” Mr. Leisy said, adding that he was “running in a district that I actually live in.”

Charles Homans contributed reporting.

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