Boebert is a target when GOP candidates for CD4 debate ahead of primary

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENTAL REPORTER

On May 30, four days before ballots for the June 25 primary election began showing up in voters’ mailboxes, 9News and Colorado Politics held a televised debate with all six candidates running for the Republican nomination for Congressional District Four (CD4) that includes Parker, Lone Tree, Castle Rock, Highlands Ranch, Loveland and most of Colorado’s eastern slope.

All the candidates running for the GOP nomination in CD4 raised their hands to respond affirmatively when asked if they supported Donald Trump on the day he was convicted of 34 felony counts. From left to right (without titles) Mike Lynch, Richard Holtorf, Jerry Sonnenberg, Lauren Boebert, Deborah Flora, and Peter Yu.

The candidates, alphabetically, are CD3 U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, former talk show host Deborah Flora, state Rep. Richard Holtorf, state Rep. Mike Lynch, Logan County Commissioner and former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, and mortgage broker Peter Yu.

According to the Secretary of State’s records, as of May 1, 35% of active voters in CD4 are registered Republicans, 17% are Democrats, and 47% are unaffiliated. The U.S. Census Bureau describes the CD4 population as 80% white, 14% Hispanic, and 2% Black.

Boebert, the leading fundraiser of the group, drew considerably more fire than any of the other competitors from questioners and fellow candidates. 

She was asked whether she presented a stronger risk of losing CD4 to the Democrats than the other Republican contenders for the nomination, because she nearly lost her bid for reelection in CD3 in 2022 and she declined to run from that district again, instead moving to Windsor in CD4.  

Boebert blamed her near loss in 2022 on “50,000 Republicans (who didn’t) show up to vote.” Boebert beat Democrat Adam Frisch, who is also the 2024 Democratic candidate in CD3, by only 546 votes in 2022.

Flora, Sonnenberg, Lynch, and Yu responded affirmatively to the question of whether they thought Boebert could cost the GOP the CD4 seat. Only Holtorf did not agree.

Kyle Clark stated that data indicates that 51% of Colorado’s 150,000 “unauthorized immigrants” have lived in the state for 15 years or more, which, he said, “mirrors federal statistics from the Department of Homeland Security.” He asked the candidates whether they agreed with Donald Trump’s stated plan that, if elected, he would use “local police, the National Guard, and even the U.S. military” to deport 17 million people.

Boebert said she agreed with Trump’s plan.

Lynch said that it was a complex issue, explaining, “We have migrants that come into our state every year to work in our fields. If we blindly start rounding people up…we run the risk of seriously impacting our agricultural community in this state…We need to look at our visa policies and the way we allow people to stay here. As a small business owner, I would love to be able to hire some of these folks.” 

Boebert accused Lynch of “promoting indentured servitude.”

Sonnenberg, who has said he also agreed with the idea of mass deportations, was asked about economists’ statements that “Trump’s plan would deport about 4.5% of the American workforce,” which would cause a recession and inflation because, “Those jobs support jobs that are held by Americans.” Sonnenberg responded, “Mass deportation that I’m talking about is, shipping the ones that have been bussed into Denver, bus them back out.”

On immigration, Flora said that drug cartels “control our border and a vast majority of Mexico.” Flora did not respond to a direct question about how deportation would work in CD4. 

Asked twice what the current Republican-led House of Representatives has done to address grocery prices that have gone up 20% in the past three years, Boebert responded, “When we are selling our resources and not regulating our communities into poverty and not relying on our foreign adversaries for our energy production, we are unleashing our nation’s full potential for economic development and prosperity and it would lower inflation.”

When another candidate asked Boebert what bills she had sponsored that had been signed into law during her two terms in Congress, Boebert named the Pueblo Jobs Act. That bill, which was part of the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act signed into law in December 2023, authorized the U.S. Army to close the Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) no later than one year after the completion of chemical demilitarization and transfer the remaining parcel of land to the Pueblo community for redevelopment. The PCD is one of two remaining military sites in the U.S. that stores chemical weapons manufactured during World War II.

Asked what she thought public education in the U.S. would look like if all parents removed their elementary and middle-school aged children from public schools, as she has suggested, Flora only said she was very proud of her work on “choices other than government-controlled schools.”

Asked why he supported classifying a hospital provider fee as a fee in 2017 rather than a tax that would have required voter approval, Sonnenberg explained that the fee was used “to leverage money from the federal government to take care of those people that hospitals have to take care of,” adding that his action saved rural hospitals from losing that money and potentially closing, which would have left many rural Coloradans without a reasonably close hospital in an emergency.  

All the candidates were asked if they would have voted to overturn the results of the presidential election on January 6, 2021 after the Congress reconvened to certify the election following the insurrection at the Capitol. Only Boebert, who voted to not certify the election on January 6, said she would do the same thing today. The other candidates said they would have voted in favor of certifying President Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race.

The Republican who gets the highest number of votes in the June 25 primary, between the six contenders, will be the GOP nominee for CD4. The winner does not need to win a majority of the votes cast, only one more than the second-place finisher.