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Lauren Boebert takes part in first debate since switch to Colorado's 4th Congressional District, says she's a 'proven fighter for values you all believe in'

Lauren Boebert, other candidates asked if they've been arrested in Colorado debate
Lauren Boebert, other candidates asked if they've been arrested in Colorado debate 00:53

Rep. Lauren Boebert was on a debate stage in Fort Lupton Thursday that featured a slew of other candidates hoping to secure the Republican nomination in Colorado's 4th Congressional District. The crowded field includes other GOP candidates who are all trying to fill the seat after long-time incumbent Rep. Ken Buck said he'd step down late last year.

GOP debate running in the 4th and 8th Congressional Districts
Rep. Lauren Boebert, left, joined nine other candidates during a debate on Thursday. RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Boebert is currently in Congress representing Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, but after Buck said he was leaving the office she announced she would join the race for his seat. While CD3 primarily covers southern and western Colorado, CD4 is mostly the Eastern Plains, and is a more traditionally conservative district than CD3. Boebert doesn't live in eastern Colorado but is reportedly moving to Weld County.

During the debate local opponents lobbed accusations of Boebert being a "carpetbagger." That included state Rep. Mike Lynch from Wellington, who asked "Could you give the definition of 'carpetbagger?'"

"The crops may be different in Colorado's 4th District but the values are not, and I'm a proven fighter for the values that you all believe in," said Boebert in response.

Boebert was among six candidates on stage at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center who raised their hands when asked if they had been arrested, to raucous applause. The Denver Post reported in 2020 that Boebert has been arrested multiple times.

Rep. Lauren Boebert, far left, said her arrest had to do with a traffic violation. CBS

Lynch was Colorado's House minority leader until he stepped down this week after a 2022 arrest for drunken driving came to light, an issue that was largely met with forgiveness by fellow contestants.

Boebert was caught on video vaping and groping with a date in a Denver theater in September, but the embarrassing episode went unmentioned at the debate. Still, the scandal -- which Boebert apologized for -- may be hard to shake in Boebert's new electoral region, where voters hold tight to conservative Christian values some feel she transgressed.

The congresswoman must rely on her national name and convince skeptical voters that her voice is needed in Congress more than those of her homegrown opponents, some of whom have lived in the district their entire lives and represent parts of the area in Colorado's Legislature.

Boebert focused on her experience in Congress as the key factor separating her from the candidates on stage.

"Everyone will talk like a Freedom Caucus member but there is only one who governs as a Freedom Caucus member," she said. "I am here to earn your support, earn your vote. This is not a coronation."

GOP debate running in the 4th and 8th Congressional Districts
RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

 The debate largely centered on national political issues including border security, abortion and fentanyl, on which Boebert could laud her conservative voting record.

Other candidates besides Lynch who took part in the debate were Jerry Sonnenberg, a popular former state senator, Rep. Richard Holtorf, the Republican whip in the Colorado House, and Deborah Flora, a filmmaker and radio host.

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