Boebert is saved by the Republican panel's choice to replace Rep. Buck.

Denver — On Thursday night, a Colorado Republican panel unexpectedly chose former mayor Greg Lopez to replace U.S. Rep. Ken Buck until the November general election, protecting Rep. Lauren Boebert's bid for another term. After Buck resigned, Lopez will run as the Republican candidate in the June 25 special election as GOP primary candidates vie for his seat.  

The stakes were much larger than a Republican warming Buck's House seat. Seven of the nine special election candidates are also competing against Boebert in the primary. The far-right congresswoman entered the campaign after nearly losing her seat.  

Lopez is poised to win the dark red district, but he will resign after the general election winner takes office in January. Boebert's second- and third-place primary opponents would have benefited from the special election.  

They would have received more media coverage, fundraising, and attention by running in two elections for the same seat. That would have improved their primary odds against Boebert's near-famous name and large campaign fund. That animosity was obvious throughout the six-hour meeting with six votes on Thursday, which narrowed the special election for Buck's seat to Lopez and former state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, one of Boebert's toughest primary opponents.  

Buck was accused throughout the evening of trying to cripple Boebert's campaign by resigning early and handing her opponent an advantage. Boebert previously stated, “The establishment concocted a swampy backroom deal to try to rig an election.”  

Before the meeting, Boebert wrote to delegates to choose a placeholder to avoid “influencing the regular primary election in a way that would taint the entire process and give this candidate an unfair leg up.” Infuriated her primary opponents, including former state Sen. Ted Harvey.  

Harvey slammed Lopez voters on stage after finishing third. They did it to support their own candidates who weren't present tonight, not Greg Lopez. That endangers our nation, Harvey said. Harvey then urged his fans to back Sonnenberg, his main opponent. Sonnenberg sounded unconcerned after Lopez narrowly won the final vote.  

This is not a game for the weak, I understand completely, they made a decision,” he told the crowd. Lopez, the former mayor of Parker, Colorado, made two unsuccessful governorship attempts and pledged to “do the best job that I can and represent this state to the best of my ability.”  

This clears the way for Boebert, a far-right figure with a fiery political flair who is well-known but contentious among conservatives. Boebert has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and current Speaker of the House Mike Johnson despite scandals like a Denver theater tape of her grabbing and vaping with a date.  

Boebert will likely benefit from those votes of confidence in the new district, a vast expanse of Colorado's plains where Trump won 2020 and her opponents are local Republicans. Hugo, Colorado's fairgrounds hosted the committee. Legend and images say then-President Theodore Roosevelt arrived in this 800-person village to eat with cowboys around the turn of the 20th century.  

Late last year, Boebert went east to run in this district after nearly losing her Republican-leaning seat to a Democrat in 2022. This narrow win prompted doubts about whether GOP supporters still liked her Trumpian approach. The congresswoman shifted districts when the Democrat who nearly defeated her far outraised her for a 2024 rematch.  

Some of Boebert's local primary opponents accused her of “carpetbagging.” She rationalized the move by claiming her voice is still required in Congress and her departure from the former district helps Republicans retain the seat and their House majority.  

Boebert could district hop after Buck indicated last year he wouldn't run for reelection, criticizing his party's Trump handling. Buck abruptly resigned and departed Congress on March 22, citing “bickering and nonsense” in the Capitol.  

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