Boebert challenger suspends fundraising, cites redistricting

DENVER (AP) — A leading Democratic challenger to Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in next year’s election, Colorado state Sen. Kerry Donovan, has suspended fundraising for her campaign after the state’s independent congressional redistricting commission approved a map that places Donovan’s residence in another district.

Donovan tweeted this week that she won’t accept donations for now because the proposed map for the 3rd Congressional District, which Boebert represents, doesn’t include Donovan’s hometown of Vail or her ranch in neighboring Wolcott.

The map submitted to Colorado’s Supreme Court for approval places Donovan in the 2nd District, which is represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse. It also changes 3rd District lines to more heavily favor Republicans, based on recent election results, as part of a redistricting process that creates a new eighth district for Colorado.

Federal law requires members of Congress to live in the state they represent, but they aren’t required to live in a district they wish to represent — meaning Donovan can still seek Boebert’s seat without a residence in the 3rd District, The Grand Junction Sentinel reports.

However, congressional candidates who do so almost always face harsh criticism for being from outside the districts during their campaigns.

Donovan, who is term-limited, has raised about $1.2 million for her campaign. Boebert is seeking a second term representing a district that covers much of western and southern Colorado and has raised about $1.8 million so far.

Donovan complained that the proposed map would make the 3rd District less competitive and that the statewide redrawing could produce a delegation that’s split 4-4 between Democrats and Republicans even though Colorado has trended Democratic in recent years.

Democrat Joe Biden won last year’s presidential election by 13 percentage points, and Democrats control the statehouse, the governorship and nearly all statewide offices. Democrats currently hold four of Colorado’s seven congressional seats.

The proposed redistricting creates a new, competitive eighth district north of Denver.

“This new map, if finalized, ignores the will of the voters and makes the district less competitive than it was, and I can’t in good conscience continue to raise money from hardworking Americans for a campaign that lacks, for the moment at least, a clear path forward,” Donovan said.

She added: “Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, please know that I’m not going anywhere, and I will keep fighting with everything I’ve got for the people of Colorado.”

In an interview Wednesday, Donovan emphasized she isn’t abandoning her campaign but is suspending acceptance of donations, noting she has received more than 60,000 individual contributions in a “grass-roots” campaign not accepting corporate political action committee support. She said she will closely monitor what the Supreme Court decides before deciding her next steps.

The redistricting panel of four Democrats, four Republicans and four unaffiliated voters, none of them officeholders, approved the map last week. The panel’s criteria for making its redistricting decisions included race competitiveness and goals such as keeping communities of interest together and ensuring that minority voting rights take precedence.

Boebert defeated five-term Rep. Scott Tipton in the 2020 Republican primary and defeated Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush by a 6.2% margin.

She has closely aligned herself with former President Donald Trump and is a vocal critic of the Biden administration and congressional Democrats.