Less than two months after Republican candidate Lauren Boebert knocked incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, out of his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in the primary election, Boebert sought to bolster support across Southwest Colorado.
Her trek through Silverton and Durango culminated with a rally in Cortez, in the parking lot next to the Cortez City Market on Saturday evening. The Montezuma County Patriots embarked on their second ride of the day for Boebert, with American flags, Trump flags and police-support flags waving wildly as they honked their horns.
“This is the welcome of a lifetime,” Boebert said to the packed parking lot, before playing a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” over the loudspeaker. When the speaker blew out, the crowd sang the rest of the song.
Two veterans from the crowd led the Pledge of Allegiance, and a member of Boebert’s campaign said a prayer before Boebert got up to speak.
“She’s keeping God in the country, and that’s something we need to come back to,” said Cortez resident and Boebert supporter Eva Martinez.
It is a constitutional right to go to church and worship God, and “the opposition is not letting us” because of COVID-19, Martinez said.
Clay Herrmann, 15, said he supports Boebert because he is a Christian and Boebert is open about her faith.
Another central theme that emerged from voters who attended the rally was Boebert’s alignment with their values, and that she will stand up for them in the U.S. Congress.
“Not a lot of people are willing to stand up today,” said Cortez resident Ken Carlson.
Many supporters listed her fight to protect the Second Amendment and the American people from government overreach as reasons for their endorsement of the political newcomer.
“It’s time the government remembers where its power is derived from – us, the people,” Boebert said.
She condemned politicians who enforce mask-wearing, and said she is tired of rural voices being “drowned out by Denver and Boulder liberals.”
Jim Harper, vice chairman of the La Plata County Republican Central Committee, followed Boebert to each of her events in Southwest Colorado. He said that many of her messages “resonate with people in Western Colorado,” and there was “a lot of energy” at each of her events.
Cheers resounded through the crowd when Boebert said her “boys will not be sent into a socialist nation.”
The use of natural resources in Colorado would be lost if her opponent Diane Mitsch Bush won the election in November, Boebert said. And the single-payer health care system that Bush supports would put businesses like her restaurant, Shooters Grill in Rifle, out of business because of the cost, she said.
Emiko South of Cortez said she is advocating for Boebert because she is “pro-life, pro-business and pro-energy.”
Other voters who attended the rally said Boebert is more vocal and strong in her beliefs.
“Tipton didn’t do anything,” Carlson of Cortez said.
Tipton outspent Boebert 10 to 1 in the primary, but Boebert worked hard to connect with people on rural issues, which are often overlooked both in Congress and the Colorado General Assembly, said local Tricia Hale.
Boebert ended her speech by saying people who don’t typically vote will not receive outreach from campaigners. But there was someone in 2016 who did reach out to those Americans – current President Donald Trump. Boebert said her goal is to make those people heard, too.
“I’m not a politician, I’m one of you,” Boebert said. “I’m not a politician, I got fed up.”