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Adam Frisch of Aspen to seek Democratic nomination in bid to unseat Rep. Lauren Boebert

Aspen resident Adam Frisch on Wednesday declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to unseat Rep. Lauren Boebert from the 3rd Congressional District, citing confidence in his fundraising ability and political firepower.

“One of our competitive advantages, I think, going forward is a well-funded candidate with moderate views,” Frisch said by telephone Wednesday afternoon.

On Frisch’s announcement day, the former Aspen City Council member was in the middle of a 750-mile road trip through the sprawling House district comprised of more than 750,000 residents who live in such towns as Alamosa, Aspen, Crested Butte, Durango, Glenwood Springs, Pagosa Springs and Telluride, and more populated areas like Grand Junction and Pueblo. His plan was to informally meet with district Democratic leaders and operatives this week; a larger stump tour with public events and rallies will come later, he said.

“It’s a huge district,” he said. “It’s ranching, rural farms and small towns.”

The primary election is scheduled June 28; the general election is Nov. 8.

Frisch said he will run on such campaign platforms as addressing the economy, gas prices, rural broadband, mental health, water rights for farmers and ranchers, and escalating residential rental rates. He did not, however, disguise his primary objective, which is to make Boebert a one-term representative. Boebert was elected in November 2020 and took office in January 2021.

“I believe that one-third of the people who voted for her are sick and tired of her shenanigans and her betrayal of the district,” he said, “and will support a moderate, mainstream candidate who can work on rural issues.”

Aspen resident Adam Frisch announced Wednesday morning his candidacy for the Democratic nomination to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat, currently held by Republican Lauren Boebert of Rifle.
Courtesy photo

As of Wednesday, there were eight candidates, not including Frisch, seeking the Democratic nomination, according to Ballotopedia.

Boebert’s Republican challengers at this point are Marina Zimmerman of Archuleta County and state Sen. Don Coram of District 6 (Archuleta, Delores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties).

“I am running alongside, not against, any of the other candidates who are working to see Boebert the Betrayer replaced,” Frisch said in his candidacy statement. “We will build a cross-partisan coalition of Democrats, independents and sensible Republicans to take back our district and protect our democracy from Boebert the Betrayer. Unlike Boebert who has betrayed our district by tearing us apart, I will bring people together to solve problems.

“We will expose Lauren Boebert for betraying the Constitution and the people of the 3rd Congressional District. We are going to ensure that she loses in November.”

Boebert’s campaign will have deep pockets ramping up to the mid-terms. She raised $800,000 in the last quarter of 2021, lifting her overall contributions to nearly $3.6 million and finishing the year with about $2 million in her war chest, Colorado Politics reported earlier in February.

Second to Boebert in 3rd Congressional District fundraising was Democratic candidate Sol Sandoval of Pueblo, who brought in $208,000 during the last three months of 2021, ending the year with $535,000 raised and $56,000 cash on hand, Colorado Politics reported.

“Our candidacy is certainly based on being able to generate a very large amount of money in a quick amount of time,” Frisch said during the interview with The Aspen Times. “That is how we’re going to be noticed for entering the primary race at this time. And we think the race, at the end of the day, is a mandate on Boebert the betrayer.”

Frisch made no qualms about singling out Boebert and calling her a betrayer.

“My No. 1 goal is to get rid of Boebert the betrayer, which I will keep on saying,” he said.

That rhetoric rings similar to name-calling from both Trump (“Sleepy Joe,” “Crooked Hillary” and “Crazy Nancy,” for instance) and Boebert (who once said that Rep. Ilhan Omar is a “terrorist”).

“It’s impossible for me to out-Boebert Boebert,” Frisch said. “I think it’s fair to say that I and many people believe that she has betrayed this country and betrayed the Constitution, and she’s more focused on tweeting.”

Boebert’s political positions were fairly evident through her Tweets issued so far this week.

Among them on her campaign account were:

— “Planned Parenthood Action has given me a 0% rating. I’m honored.”

— “Governments want to restrict the unvaccinated from every aspect of life but are still happy to use tax revenue from the unvaccinated.”

—“When politicians say something is ‘for public safety’ or ‘public health’ you can rest assured it’s a blanket term for sweeping powers that expand their authority.”

Boebert also got the endorsement of Donald Trump, who won 62.8% of the vote in Mesa County (Grand Junction) during the 2020 presidential election, and 47.9% in Pueblo County. Mesa and Pueblo counties are the largest population centers in Boebert’s district. For the entire 3rd Congressional District, 51.6% supported Trump in 2020 and 46.1% voted for Joe Biden.

In that same general election for CD3, Boebert received 220,634 votes, or 51.4%, while Democrat nominee Diane Mitsch Bush of Routt County received 194,122 votes, or 45.2%.

Boebert won the counties of Alamosa (48.9%), Archuleta (56.5%), Conejos (54.4%) Dolores (75.2%), Hinsdale (57.4%), Huerfano (49.8%), Jackson (78.9%), Mineral (55.5%), Moffat (81.1%), Montezuma (60.5%), Rio Grande (57.5%) and Rio Blanco (82.6%).

Mitsch Bush claimed the counties of Pitkin (73.6%), Eagle (60.3%), Garfield (51%), Gunnison (62.3%), Lake (57.3%), La Plata (56.7%), Ouray (58%), Pueblo (48.1%), Routt (61.9%), Saguache (74.1%) and San Juan (59.3%).

Frisch spent two terms on Aspen City Council, from 2011-18. He earned an undergraduate degree in economics, with emphases in political science and art history, from the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Frisch’s website — AdamForColorado.com — also went live this week, noting his time growing up on Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, his volunteer work in Aspen, and his background in business.

“Before moving to the Western Slope of Colorado in 2002, Adam worked on one of the very first socially responsible investing products in the financial markets,” the website said. “He also was a senior executive in the commercial banking industry. He spent extensive time overseas, conducting business in more than 55 countries on six continents.”

Frisch’s wife, Katy, is an elected member of the Aspen School District Board of Education. The couple have a daughter and son both in their teens.

rcarroll@aspentimes.com

Boebert makes re-election bid official in Grand Junction news conference

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert holds an end-of-year news conference at the Home Loan Bank community room in Grand Junction on Friday, Dec. 31.
McKenzie Lange/Grand Junction Sentinel

On the last day of 2021, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert made it official, she is running for re-election in 2022.

But while the Republican congresswoman from Silt said she plans to continue to be the loudest voice in the room in upholding conservative principles, Boebert also hopes to push for real reform in Congress if the GOP retakes control of both the U.S. House and Senate in the November elections.

Earlier this year, Boebert along with a slew of other Republicans initially voted against the annual National Defense Authorization Act because it included many things that had nothing to do with funding the military.

That’s because, unlike most states, bills introduced in Congress have no mandate to stick to a single subject. As a result, lawmakers regardless of political party oftentimes pack things into bills that have nothing to do with their titles.

“Every year in Congress, we have to pass a National Defense Authorization Act. It’s traditionally a bipartisan effort, but this year (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and the left, they loaded it with a lot of left-wing, woke nonsense that I couldn’t vote for,” Boebert said at a news conference in downtown Grand Junction on Friday.

“In September, I voted against the first House version of NDAA,” she added. “Now, that’s a big political risk for me because this is about our military, who I want to support every chance that I get. But this was loaded with way too much liberalism.”

Boebert and several other conservative lawmakers pushed back, and got many of those provisions removed from the bill, allowing her to vote for the measure in the end.

One of the issues that brought to Boebert’s mind, however, was the so-called Christmas-tree nature of it all, something that has gone on in Congress for years, putting non-related provisions into bills.

As a result, Boebert said she plans to work with her colleagues to change that practice.

“I am on legislation to do this, but this is not a Democrat-sponsored legislation, so you’re not going to see that come to the floor for a vote this Congress,” she said.

“Hopefully, if we get a conservative majority in 2023, this will be something that we’ll be able to push forward,” she added. “The last time I looked into this, there were 47 states who have single-subject bills.

“If we can have 47 states who have that and term limits, then certainly we should be able to do that at the federal level.”

That new majority, however, needs to be more than just Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate, but conservatives like her, Boebert said.

While Boebert said she plans to work with Democrats if the GOP wins the majority, she doesn’t plan to back off on her push to have President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris impeached.

Until then, Boebert said she plans to continue to do what she’s been doing, being a thorn in Democrats’ side.

“My job in the minority is to make sure we keep the pressure up on the out-of-control administration,” she said. “I want to expose everything that they are doing that is unconstitutional, and that is not benefiting the American people. They have the House, they have the Senate, they have the White House. We’ve seen one-party rule for one year, and it is failing.”

For now at least, Boebert will face a challenger in the GOP primaries in June against Durango resident Marina Zimmerman, although state Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, also is considering entering the race.

The winner of that race will go on to face one of a slew of Democrats who are running, including Pueblo’s Sol Sandoval, Glenwood Springs’ Colin Wilhelm and state Rep. Don Valdez from the San Luis Valley.

This story is being republished in The Aspen Times with permission from the Grand Junction Sentinel. Sentinel reporter Charles Ashby can be reached at Charles.Ashby@gjsentinel.com

Vail’s Kerry Donovan suspends campaign against Lauren Boebert

Kerry Donovan, who has a residence in Vail and a family ranch near Edwards, faced a steep challenge to unseat Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s sprawling, red-leaning 3rd Congressional District.
Dave Zalubowski/AP

Kerry Donovan, the leading Democratic challenger for Lauren Boebert’s seat in Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District, announced Friday morning that she is suspending her campaign as a result of Colorado’s new congressional map.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to earn the support of Coloradans and Americans from all walks of life, and I cannot express my gratitude for each and every person who stepped up to help our campaign. With over 60,000 contributions and an average donation of less than $25, we built a grassroots movement that crossed the continental divide, party lines and ideological differences,” Donovan said in a statement. “We built one of the most powerful campaigns in the country, bringing together tens of thousands of people dedicated to standing up for our democracy and bridging divides to solve the problems our nation faces.”

Donovan, who has a residence in Vail and a family ranch near Edwards, already faced a steep challenge to unseat Boebert in the far-flung, red-leaning district. The state’s redistricting of Colorado’s eight congressional districts only pushed Boebert’s advantage by pushing Donovan into the 2nd Congressional District. Donovan had already suspended fundraising for her campaign last month after the state’s independent congressional redistricting commission approved the new map before submitting it to the Colorado Supreme Court for final approval.

The new map puts most of the Eagle River Valley in the 2nd Congressional District — leaving Dotsero and a few other random slivers isolated in the 3rd Congressional District with El Jebel and Basalt in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Previously, the Eagle River Valley was more evenly split between the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts with the boundary falling in the Avon/EagleVail area. Congressional representatives don’t have to live in the district they represent, according to federal law, just the state their district is in.

Donovan’s departure leaves a host of other Democrats who will be vying for the party’s nomination to run for the 3rd District seat next year, including Glenwood Springs attorney Colin Wilhelm.

“This campaign was about standing up to hateful and divisive leadership and making sure that the West, which has big problems to solve, was represented by someone who would fight for us, not a headline,” Donovan said. “While each $15 check in the mail with a memo ‘We believe in you’ or $20 donation at a meet and greet made me more committed by the day, the congressional maps failed to recognize the complexity of rural Colorado and instead divided communities, protected incumbents, and ignored Coloradans’ voices. As a result, there is no viable path forward for me to remain in this race, and I have made the decision to suspend my campaign for Congress.”

There was no reaction from Boebert on either of her Twitter accounts to the news of Donovan all but exiting the race. The congresswoman based out of Garfield County was generating headlines, however, for a post she shared on Twitter on Thursday night showing her wearing a red dress with the phrase “Let’s go, Brandon” while posing next to former President Donald Trump.

The phrase has become a rallying cry for Republicans in recent weeks as a snub to Joe Biden and his administration.

“It’s not a phrase, it’s a movement,” Boebert wrote in the tweet.

Summit County, all of Eagle County would move into 3rd Congressional District under new redistricting plan


Goodbye, Joe Neguse. Hello, Lauren Boebert?

Summit County could move from the 2nd to the 3rd Congressional District under a preliminary map drawn by nonpartisan redistricting staff and presented to the state’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission on Wednesday.

The third district, represented by Boebert, a Republican from Garfield County, would gain all of Eagle County, as well as Summit, Grand, Park, Teller and Fremont counties and some of western Boulder County. Most of those counties were previously in the 2nd Congressional District, which is represented by Neguse.

The map is a major first step in the state’s once-a-decade redistricting process. It will evolve as the commission gets input from the public and interest groups over the next few months.

The preliminary map is based on 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates because of a monthslong delay in the release of the final population data collected during the 2020 Census. Once the U.S. Census Bureau releases that data in August, redistricting staff will have to adjust the map.

Colorado’s population grew 14.5% from 2010 to 2020, making it one of six states that will get at least one new congressional seat in 2022 due to population gains.

This year marks the first time independent commissions created by Amendment Y and a companion ballot question, Amendment Z, are overseeing the redistricting process in Colorado. In the past, state lawmakers drew the congressional lines, though they often deadlocked and courts decided on the final districts.


Biden takes the helm as president: ‘Democracy has prevailed’

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, as their children Ashley and Hunter watch.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, declaring that “democracy has prevailed” and summoning American resilience and unity to confront the deeply divided nation’s historic confluence of crises.

Denouncing a national “uncivil war,” Biden took the oath at a U.S. Capitol that had been battered by an insurrectionist siege just two weeks earlier. Then, taking his place in the White House Oval Office, he plunged into a stack of executive actions that began to undo the heart of his polarizing predecessor ‘s agenda on matters from the deadly pandemic to climate change.

At the Capitol, with America’s tradition of peaceful transfers of power never appearing more fragile, the ceremony unfolded within a circle of security forces evocative of a war zone and devoid of crowds because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, Biden gazed out on a cold Washington morning dotted with snow flurries to see over 200,000 American flags planted on the National Mall to symbolize those who could not attend in person.

“The will of the people has been heard, and the will of the people has been heeded. We’ve learned again that democracy is precious and democracy is fragile. At this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed,” Biden declared in his speech. “This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day. A day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve.”

History was made at his side, as Kamala Harris became the first woman to be vice president. The former U.S. senator from California is also the first Black person and the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency and the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. government.

Biden never mentioned his predecessor, who defied tradition and left town ahead of the ceremony, but his speech was an implicit rebuke of Donald Trump. The new president denounced “lies told for power and for profit” and was blunt about the challenges ahead.

Central among them: the surging virus that has claimed more than 400,000 lives in the United States, as well as economic strains and a national reckoning over race.

“We have much to do in this winter of peril, and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build and much to gain,” Biden said. “Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged, or found a time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.”

Biden was eager to go big early, with an ambitious first 100 days including a push to speed up the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations to anxious Americans and pass a $1.9 trillion economic relief package. It included a blitz of executive orders on matters that don’t require congressional approval — a mix of substantive and symbolic steps to unwind the Trump years. His actions included re-entry into the Paris Climate Accords and a mandate for wearing masks on federal property.

“There’s no time to start like today,” a masked Biden said. in the Oval Office. Then he swore in hundreds of aides — virtually — telling them, “You’re my possibilities.”

The absence of Biden’s predecessor from the inaugural ceremony underscored the national rift to be healed.

But a bipartisan trio of former presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — were there to witness the transfer of power. Trump, awaiting his second impeachment trial, was at his Florida resort by the time the swearing-in took place.

Biden, in his third run for the presidency, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. Four years after Trump’s “American Carnage” speech painted a dark portrait of national decay, Biden warned that the fabric of the nation’s democracy was tearing but could be repaired.

“I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real. But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we are all created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart,” Biden said. “This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward and we must meet this moment as the United States of America.”

Swearing the oath with his hand on a five-inch-thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Biden came to office with a well of empathy and resolve born by personal tragedy as well as a depth of experience forged from more than four decades in Washington. At age 78, he is the oldest president inaugurated.

Both he, Harris and their spouses walked the last short part of the route to the White House after an abridged parade. Biden then strode into the Oval Office, a room he knew well as vice president, for the first time as commander in chief.

At the Capitol earlier, Biden, like all those in attendance, wore a face mask except when speaking. Tens of thousands of National Guard troops were on the streets to provide security precisely two weeks after a violent mob of Trump supporters, incited by the Republican president, stormed the building in an attempt to prevent the certification of Biden’s victory.

“Here we stand, just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people,” Biden said. “To stop the work of our democracy. To drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen. Not today, not tomorrow. Not ever. Not ever.”

The tense atmosphere evoked the 1861 inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, who was secretly transported to Washington to avoid assassins on the eve of the Civil War, or Franklin Roosevelt’s inaugural in 1945, when he opted for a small, secure ceremony at the White House in the waning months of World War II.

But Washington, all but deserted downtown and in its federal areas, was quiet. And calm also prevailed outside heavily fortified state Capitol buildings across nation after the FBI had warned of the possibility for armed demonstrations leading up to the inauguration.

The day began with a reach across the political aisle after four years of bitter partisan battles under Trump. At Biden’s invitation, congressional leaders from both parties bowed their heads in prayer in the socially distanced service a few blocks from the White House.

Biden was sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts; Harris by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina member of the Supreme Court. Vice President Mike Pence, standing in for Trump, sat nearby as Lady Gaga, holding a golden microphone, sang the National Anthem accompanied by the U.S. Marine Corps band.

When Pence, in a last act of the outgoing administration, left the Capitol, he walked through a door with badly cracked glass from the riot two weeks ago. Later, Biden, Harris and their spouses were joined by the former presidents to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Ceremony.

By afternoon, a White House desolate in Trump’s waning days sprang back to life, with Biden staffers settling in and new COVID-19 safety measures, like plastic shields on desks, in place.

In the evening, in lieu of the traditional balls that welcome a new president to Washington, Biden and Harris appeared separately at the Lincoln Memorial to take part in a televised concert that also marked the return of A-list celebrities to the White House orbit after they largely eschewed Trump. Among those in the lineup: Bruce Springsteen, Justin Timberlake and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

The Bidens ended their evening watching fireworks from a White House balcony.

This was not an inauguration for the crowds. But Americans in the capital city nonetheless brought their hopes to the moment.

“I feel so hopeful, so thankful,” said Karen Jennings Crooms, a D.C. resident who hoped to catch a glimpse of the presidential motorcade on Pennsylvania Avenue with her husband. “It makes us sad that this is where we are but hopeful that democracy will win out in the end. That’s what I’m focusing on.”

Trump was the first president in more than a century to skip the inauguration of his successor. After a brief farewell celebration at nearby Joint Base Andrews, he boarded Air Force One for the final time as president.

“I will always fight for you. I will be watching. I will be listening and I will tell you that the future of this country has never been better,” said Trump. He wished the incoming administration well but never mentioned Biden’s name.

Trump did adhere to one tradition and left a personal note for Biden in the Oval Office. Biden would only tell reporters that it was “a very generous letter.”

Trump, in his farewell video remarks, hinted at a political return, saying “we will be back in some form.” Without question, he will shadow Biden’s first days in office.

Trump’s second impeachment trial could start as early as this week. That will test the ability of the Senate, now coming under Democratic control, to balance impeachment proceedings with confirmation hearings and votes on Biden’s Cabinet choices.

Biden defeats Trump in race for President, says it’s ‘time to heal’

WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States on Saturday, positioning himself to be a leader who “seeks not to divide, but to unify” a nation gripped by a historic pandemic and a confluence of economic and social turmoil.

“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” said Biden in a prime-time victory speech not far from his Delaware home, “and to make America respected around the world again and to unite us here at home.”

His victory came after more than three days of uncertainty as election officials sorted through a surge of mail-in votes that delayed processing. Biden crossed the winning threshold of 270 Electoral College votes with a win in Pennsylvania.

Trump refused to concede, threatening further legal action on ballot counting.

Biden, 77, staked his candidacy less on any distinctive political ideology than on galvanizing a broad coalition of voters around the notion that Trump posed an existential threat to American democracy. The strategy proved effective, resulting in pivotal victories in Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Pennsylvania, onetime Democratic bastions that had flipped to Trump in 2016.

Biden’s victory was a repudiation of Trump’s divisive leadership and the president-elect now inherits a deeply polarized nation grappling with foundational questions of racial justice and economic fairness while in the grips of a virus that has killed more than 236,000 Americans and reshaped the norms of everyday life.

Kamala Harris made history as the first Black woman to become vice president, an achievement that comes as the U.S. faces a reckoning on racial justice. The California senator, who is also the first person of South Asian descent elected to the vice presidency, will become the highest-ranking woman ever to serve in government, four years after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.

Harris introduced Biden “as a president for all Americans” who would look to bridge a nation riven with partisanship and nodded to the historic nature of her ascension to the vice presidency.

“Dream with ambition, lead with conviction and see yourselves in a way that others may not simply because they’ve never seen it before,” Harris said. “You chose hope and unity, decency, science and, yes, truth … you ushered in a new day for America.”

Biden was on track to win the national popular vote by more than 4 million, a margin that could grow as ballots continue to be counted.

Nonetheless, Trump was not giving up.

Departing from longstanding democratic tradition and signaling a potentially turbulent transfer of power, he issued a combative statement saying his campaign would take unspecified legal actions. And he followed up with a bombastic, all-caps tweet in which he falsely declared, “I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES.” Twitter immediately flagged it as misleading.

Trump has pointed to delays in processing the vote in some states to allege with no evidence that there was fraud and to argue that his rival was trying to seize power — an extraordinary charge by a sitting president trying to sow doubt about a bedrock democratic process.

Trump is the first incumbent president to lose reelection since Republican George H.W. Bush in 1992.

He was golfing at his Virginia country club when he lost the race. He stayed out for hours, stopping to congratulate a bride as he left, and his motorcade returned to the White House to a cacophony of shouts, taunts and unfriendly hand gestures.

In Wilmington, Delaware, near the stage that, until Saturday night, had stood empty since it was erected to celebrate on Election Night, people cheered and pumped their fists as the news that the presidential race had been called for the state’s former senator arrived on their cellphones.

On the nearby water, two men in a kayak yelled to a couple paddling by in the opposite direction, “Joe won! They called it!” as people on the shore whooped and hollered. Harris, in workout gear, was shown on video speaking to Biden on the phone, exuberantly telling the president-elect “We did it!” Biden was expected to take the stage for a drive-in rally after dark.

Across the country, there were parties and prayer. In New York City, spontaneous block parties broke out. People ran out of their buildings, banging on pots. They danced and high-fived with strangers amid honking horns. Among the loudest cheers were those for passing U.S. Postal Service trucks.

People streamed into Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House, near where Trump had ordered the clearing of protesters in June, waving signs and taking cellphone pictures. In Lansing, Michigan, Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter demonstrators filled the Capitol steps. The lyrics to “Amazing Grace” began to echo through the crowd, and Trump supporters laid their hands on a counter protester, and prayed.

Americans showed deep interest in the presidential race. A record 103 million voted early this year, opting to avoid waiting in long lines at polling locations during a pandemic. With counting continuing in some states, Biden had already received more than 74 million votes, more than any presidential candidate before him.

Trump’s refusal to concede has no legal implications. But it could add to the incoming administration’s challenge of bringing the country together after a bitter election.

Throughout the campaign, Trump repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, arguing without evidence that the election could be marred by fraud. The nation has a long history of presidential candidates peacefully accepting the outcome of elections, dating back to 1800, when John Adams conceded to his rival Thomas Jefferson.

It was Biden’s native Pennsylvania that put him over the top, the state he invoked throughout the campaign to connect with working class voters. He also won Nevada on Saturday, pushing his total to 290 Electoral College votes.

Biden received congratulations from dozens of world leaders, and his former boss, President Barack Obama, saluted him in a statement, declaring the nation was “fortunate that Joe’s got what it takes to be President and already carries himself that way.”

Republicans on Capitol Hill were giving Trump and his campaign space to consider all their legal options. It was a precarious balance for Trump’s allies as they try to be supportive of the president — and avoid risking further fallout — but face the reality of the vote count.

On Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had not yet made any public statements — either congratulating Biden or joining Trump’s complaints. But retiring GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who is close to McConnell, said, “After counting every valid vote and allowing courts to resolve disputes, it is important to respect and promptly accept the result.”

More than 236,000 Americans have died during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 10 million have been infected and millions of jobs have been lost. The final days of the campaign played out against a surge in confirmed cases in nearly every state, including battlegrounds such as Wisconsin that swung to Biden.

The pandemic will soon be Biden’s to tame, and he campaigned pledging a big government response, akin to what Franklin D. Roosevelt oversaw with the New Deal during the Depression of the 1930s. But Senate Republicans fought back several Democratic challengers and looked to retain a fragile majority that could serve as a check on such Biden ambition.

The 2020 campaign was a referendum on Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which has shuttered schools across the nation, disrupted businesses and raised questions about the feasibility of family gatherings heading into the holidays.

The fast spread of the coronavirus transformed political rallies from standard campaign fare to gatherings that were potential public health emergencies. It also contributed to an unprecedented shift to voting early and by mail and prompted Biden to dramatically scale back his travel and events to comply with restrictions. The president defied calls for caution and ultimately contracted the disease himself.

Trump was saddled throughout the year by negative assessments from the public of his handling of the pandemic. There was another COVID-19 outbreak in the White House this week, which sickened his chief of staff Mark Meadows.

Biden also drew a sharp contrast to Trump through a summer of unrest over the police killings of Black Americans including Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and George Floyd in Minneapolis. Their deaths sparked the largest racial protest movement since the civil rights era. Biden responded by acknowledging the racism that pervades American life, while Trump emphasized his support of police and pivoted to a “law and order” message that resonated with his largely white base.

The third president to be impeached, though acquitted in the Senate, Trump will leave office having left an indelible imprint in a tenure defined by the shattering of White House norms and a day-to-day whirlwind of turnover, partisan divide and Twitter blasts.

Trump’s team has filed a smattering of lawsuits in battleground states, some of which were immediately rebuffed by judges. His personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was holding a news conference in Philadelphia threatening more legal action when the race was called.

Biden, born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and raised in Delaware, was one of the youngest candidates ever elected to the Senate. Before he took office, his wife and daughter were killed, and his two sons badly injured in a 1972 car crash.

Commuting every night on a train from Washington back to Wilmington, Biden fashioned an everyman political persona to go along with powerful Senate positions, including chairman of the Senate Judiciary and Foreign Relations Committees. Some aspects of his record drew critical scrutiny from fellow Democrats, including his support for the 1994 crime bill, his vote for the 2003 Iraq War and his management of the Clarence Thomas’ Supreme Court hearings.

Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign was done in by plagiarism allegations, and his next bid in 2008 ended quietly. But later that year, he was tapped to be Barack Obama’s running mate and he became an influential vice president, steering the administration’s outreach to both Capitol Hill and Iraq.

While his reputation was burnished by his time in office and his deep friendship with Obama, Biden stood aside for Clinton and opted not to run in 2016 after his adult son Beau died of brain cancer the year before.

Trump’s tenure pushed Biden to make one more run as he declared that “the very soul of the nation is at stake.”

Pitkin County election results: Updated numbers from nearly 12k ballots

A look at the update numbers for Pitkin County only results as of Wednesday. Pitkin County Clerk & Record said there will not be another update until the finals numbers are sent to the state within eight days of the election.

There were 11,956 ballots cast of 13,774 active Pitkin County voters. For more information, go to pitkinvotes.com:

RACES

Federal

President

Joe Biden 8,906 (75.29%)

Donald Trump 2,739 (23.15%)

U.S. Senate

John Hickenlooper 8,688 (74.02%)

Cory Gardner 2,890 (24.62%)

U.S. House District 3

Diane Mitsch Bush 8,614 (73.71%)

Lauren Boebert 2,790 (23.87%)

State

School Board District 3

Mayling Simpson 7,953 (71.15%)

Joyce Rankin 3,225 (28.85%)

House District 61

Julie McCluskie 8,332 (73.93%)

Kim McGahey 2,938 (26.07%)

Pitkin County

Commissioner District 3

Greg Poschman 8,903 (100%)

(ran unopposed)

Commissioner District 4

Steve Child 7,459 (71.69%)

Chris Council 2,945 (28.31%)

Commissioner District 5

Francie Jacober 7,603 (72.42%)

Jeffrey Evans 2,895 (27.58%)

Snowmass Village

Mayor

Bill Madsen 898 (54.1%)

Tom Goode 762 (45.9%)

Council
(2 open seats)

Alyssa Shenk 1,104 (37.06%)

Tom Fridstein 608 (20.41%)

Jeff Kremer 511 (17.15%)

Matthew Owens 483 (16.21%)

Gary Warr 273 (9.16%)

Judges

Justice of Colorado Supreme Court

Melissa Hart

Yes 7,412

No 1,564

Justice of Colorado Supreme Court

Carlos A. Samour

Yes 7,211

No 1,633

Colorado Court of Appeals Judge

Ted C. Tow III

Yes 6,821

No 1,807

Colorado Court of Appeals Judge

Craig R. Welling

Yes 6,801

No 1,811

District Court Judge — 9th Judicial Court

Denise K. Lynch

Yes 7,379

No 1,412

LOCAL ISSUES

Snowmass Village Ballot Issue 2A
Extension of property tax for educational purposes

Yes 1,362 (76.95%)

No 408 (23.05%)

Aspen Ballot Issue 2B
Extension of existing 0.3% sales tax for educational purposes

Yes 3,647 (78.7%)

No 987 (21.3%)

Aspen School District Ballot Issue 4A
$94.3 million bond

Yes 6,333 (73%)

No 2,342 (27%)

Starwood Metropolitan District Ballot Issue 6A

Yes 45 (59.21%)

No 31 (40.79%)

Colorado River Water Conservation District Ballot Issue 7A
Property tax for to safeguard western Colorado water

Yes 8,940 (79.58%)

No 2,294 (20.42%)

Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District Ballot Issue 7B
Mill levy extension

Yes 477 (72.27%)

No 183 (27.73%)

STATE ISSUES

Amendment B
Repeal Property Tax Assessment Rates

Yes 8,204 (75.12%)

No 2,717 (24.88%)

Amendment C
Charitable Bingo and Raffles Amendment

Yes 5,241 (46.41%)

No 6,051 (53.59%)

Amendment 76
Citizen Requirement for Voting

Yes 5,241 (46.41%)

No 6,051 (53.59%)

Amendment 77
Local voter approval for gaming limits

Yes 7,442 (68.87%)

No 3,364 (31.13%)

Proposition EE
Tax on nicotine liquids

Yes 9,440 (82.87%)

No 1,951 (17.13%)

Proposition 113
National Popular Vote Interstate Compact

Yes 8,008 (70.94%)

No 3,281 (29.06%)

Proposition 114
Gray wolf reintroduction

Yes 6,909 (61.74%)

No 4,281 (38.26%)

Proposition 115
22-week abortion ban

Yes 2,444 (21.77%)

No 8,785 (78.23%)

Proposition 116
State income tax rate reduction

Yes 5,446 (48.29%)

No 5,832 (51.71%)

Proposition 117
Voter Approval Requirement for Creation of Certain Fee-Based Enterprises

Yes 4,117 (39.55%)

No 6,293 (60.45%)

Proposition 118
Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program

Yes 7,760 (69.89%)

No 3,343 (30.11%)

Trump sues in Pennsylvania, Michigan; asks for Wisconsin recount

WASHINGTON — The Trump campaign said it filed lawsuits Wednesday in Pennsylvania and Michigan, laying the groundwork for contesting the outcome in undecided battleground states that could determine whether President Donald Trump gets another four years in the White House.

Suits in both states are demanding better access for campaign observers to locations where ballots are being processed and counted, the campaign said. The campaign also is seeking to intervene in a Pennsylvania case at the Supreme Court that deals with whether ballots received up to three days after the election can be counted, deputy campaign manager Justin Clark said.

The campaign said it is calling for a temporary halt in the counting in both states until it is given “meaningful” access in numerous locations and allowed to review ballots that already have been opened and processed. Trump is running slightly behind Democratic nominee Joe Biden in Michigan. The president is ahead in Pennsylvania but his margin is shrinking as more mailed ballots are counted.

There have been no reports of fraud or any type of ballot concerns out of Pennsylvania. The state had 3.1 million mail-in ballots that take time to count and an order allows them to be counted up until Friday if they are postmarked by Nov. 3.

The campaign also said it would ask for a recount in Wisconsin, a state The Associated Press called for Biden on Wednesday afternoon. Campaign manager Bill Stepien cited “irregularities in several Wisconsin counties.”

The actions came as elections officials counted votes in several undecided states that are crucial to the outcome of the presidential election.

The former vice president’s campaign meanwhile welcomed the ongoing vote count and a Biden campaign attorney said they are ready for any legal fight. And Michigan Democrats said the suit was a longshot.

Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan, a liberal advocacy group, said Trump only filed the suit to stop The Associated Press and other media outlets from calling the race for Biden.

“This is a Hail Mary,” he said.

The campaign didn’t immediately make public a copy of the lawsuit and it wasn’t clear what in areas they argue they were denied access.

Poll watchers from both sides were plentiful Wednesday at one major polling place in question — Detroit’s TCF Center, The Associated Press observed. They checked in at a table near the entrance to the convention center’s Hall E and strolled among the tables where ballot processing was taking place. In some cases, they arrived en masse and huddled together for a group discussion before fanning out to the floor. Uniformed Detroit police officers were on hand to make sure everyone was behaving.

Mark Brewer, a former state Democratic chairman who said he was observing the Detroit vote counting as a volunteer lawyer, said he had been at the TCF arena all day and had talked with others who had been there the past couple of days. He said Republicans had not been denied access.

“This is the best absentee ballot counting operation that Detroit has ever had. They are counting ballots very efficiently, despite the obstructing tactics of the Republicans.”

Republicans already are mounting other legal challenges involving absentee votes in Pennsylvania and Nevada, contesting local decisions that could take on national significance in the close election.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump said he’ll take the presidential election to the Supreme Court, but it’s unclear what he meant in a country in which vote tabulations routinely continue beyond Election Day, and states largely set the rules for when the count has to end.

“We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court — we want all voting to stop,” Trump told supporters at the White House.

But the voting is over. It’s only counting that is taking place across the nation. No state will count absentee votes that are postmarked after Election Day.

Biden’s campaign called Trump’s statement “outrageous, unprecedented, and incorrect.”

“If the president makes good on his threat to go to court to try to prevent the proper tabulation of votes, we have legal teams standing by ready to deploy to resist that effort,” Biden Campaign Manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said in a statement. “And they will prevail.”

Election law expert Richard Hasen wrote in Slate on Sunday that “there has never been any basis to claim that a ballot arriving on time cannot be counted if officials cannot finish their count on election night.”

Ohio State University election law professor Edward Foley wrote on Twitter Wednesday: “The valid votes will be counted. SCOTUS would be involved only if there were votes of questionable validity that would make a difference, which might not be the case. The rule of law will determine the official winner of the popular vote in each state. Let the rule of law work.”

In any event, there’s no way to go directly to the high court with a claim of fraud. Trump and his campaign could allege problems with the way votes are counted in individual states, but they would have to start their legal fight in a state or lower federal court.

There is a pending Republican appeal at the Supreme Court over whether Pennsylvania can count votes that arrive in the mail from Wednesday to Friday, an extension ordered by the state’s top court over the objection of Republicans. That case does not involve ballots already cast and in the possession of election officials, even if they are yet to be counted.

The high court refused before the election to rule out those ballots, but conservative justices indicated they could revisit the issue after the election. The Supreme Court also refused to block an extension for the receipt and counting of absentee ballots in North Carolina beyond the three days set by state law.

Even a small number of contested votes could matter if either state determines the winner of the election and the gap between Trump and Biden is so small that a few thousand votes, or even a few hundred, could make the difference.

Congressional District 3: Lauren Boebert secures win over Diane Mitsch Bush

Republican Lauren Boebert beat Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the race to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District in Congress.

Statewide, initial polls show Boebert up 51% to 45.7% over Mitsch Bush. An estimated 88% of votes had been reported as of 12:25 a.m. Wednesday.

In Pitkin County, preliminary results show Mitsch Bush securing more votes, 8,614 to Boebert’s 2,790 votes, according to tallies from the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s office at 12:09 a.m.

In a statement released at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, Boebert’s said: “It is an incredible honor and privilege to win this election and have the opportunity to be the first mom to serve Colorado’s Third Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. I am so thankful to everyone who supported my campaign for freedom and prosperity.”

The Congressional race is indicative of national campaign trends, pitting a Democrat with years of legislative experience under her belt and a history of bipartisan voting against a political newcomer who has based her campaign on a promise to “drain the swamp.”

Mitsch Bush, a former state legislator and Routt County commissioner, has outraised and outspent her competitor but kept her campaign events virtual during COVID-19 pandemic, citing health concerns. She vied for the same seat in 2018 but lost to five-term incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton.

“The voters have spoken. I did not get enough votes to win,” Mitsch Bush said in state released at 12:10 a.m. Wednesday.

Boebert, a business owner with no prior political experience, has cast herself as a Donald Trump acolyte. She wears one of the president’s hats at nearly every campaign event she hosts. Like the staff of her Rifle restaurant, Shooters Grill, Boebert often carries a firearm on her hip and is a vocal champion of gun rights. She surprised establishment politicians by beating Tipton in the primaries. 

Adding to her reputation as a nontraditional candidate, Boebert has faced questions and news headlines over her arrest record, controversial comments on the QAnon conspiracy theory and inquiries over unpaid taxes on her business.

The 3rd Congressional District is a sprawling, red-leaning district that has been in Republican control for more than a decade. It spans from Routt County in the north down to Durango near the southern corner of the state and across the eastern plains to the city of Pueblo. It spans almost half of Colorado’s land mass and 29 of its 64 counties. 

Colorado U.S. Senate seat: John Hickenlooper knocks out incumbent Cory Gardner

Democrat John Hickenlooper has defeated Republican Sen. Cory Gardner in one of the closest-watched Senate races in the nation.

Gardner was widely seen as one of the most vulnerable Republicans because Colorado had shifted strongly to the left since his election to the Senate in 2014. Hickenlooper is a popular former two-term governor who relentlessly tied Gardner to President Donald Trump during the race.

“Clearly people are saying it’s time to turn the page,” Hickenlooper said in a Facebook address after his victory. “It’s time to start solving problems and that’s what I intend to do.”

Hickenlooper cited the coronavirus pandemic, health care, climate change and racial justice as some of his priorities in Washington. He also thanked Gardner for his service.

“Lord knows the system in Washington is a broken mess,” Hickenlooper said. “Tonight, I pledge to work my heart out for the state I love.”

Gardner, surrounded by family, cited a list of his accomplishments during his term — including promoting the move of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado as well as fossil fuels and renewable energy investment — and pledged to help Hickenlooper prepare for the Senate.

“He knows I will support him in this transition in any way I can,” Gardner said in a Facebook address after he called Hickenlooper to congratulate him. “Please understand, to all the people who supported our efforts tonight, that his success is Colorado’s success, and our nation and our state need him to succeed.”

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, chair of the Colorado GOP, issued a statement saying, “I want to thank Senator Cory Gardner for his decades of service to our state. Cory has consistently fought for opportunities to make life better for Coloradans by building a pathway for greater prosperity and opportunity for all.”

Gardner struggled to distinguish himself from the president. He touted a sweeping public lands bill he coauthored, a national suicide prevention hotline he launched and various federal goodies he secured for Colorado. But none were enough to escape from Trump’s shadow.

Democrats have won every statewide race since Gardner’s election, with the exception of a board of regents position in 2016.

The election caps a four-year push by Democrats in Colorado, a state that was once known for its status as an evenly divided partisan battleground but has become reliably Democratic under Trump.

Gardner, 46, has been something of the last of his kind, a relic of a barely red-leaning state in which rural and urban areas had equal sway.

Gardner noted on the campaign trail that he was the only statewide elected official not from the fast-growing Denver metropolitan area. Instead, the smooth-talking, sunny-demeanored senator hailed from the small town of Yuma in the state’s rural eastern plains and bemoaned how Hickenlooper catered too much to Denver by, for example, vowing to cut fossil fuel production.

Gardner’s vulnerability in the state was a magnet to more than a dozen Democrats who lined up to challenge him last year as the state’s most prominent member of their party, Hickenlooper, instead mounted a quixotic bid for the presidential nomination. Hickenlooper, who was notoriously uninterested in the mechanics of legislation while he was governor, had said repeatedly he didn’t want to be a senator.

But Washington Democrats saw the well-known former petroleum geologist-turned-brewpub-magnate as the safest bet against Gardner, a champion fundraiser and famously agile and on-message politician. Hickenlooper abandoned his presidential bid and cleared most of the Democratic field as Gardner’s challenger, easily winning the party primary.

Gardner hammered Hickenlooper for being found to have violated state ethics laws by taking a private plane and riding a limousine in Rome. He tried several other lines of attack, too — arguing Hickenlooper was too self-absorbed to represent the state well, had swung too far to the left and had it in for rural Colorado.

Hickenlooper ran what many Democrats saw as an uninspired campaign, notably devoid of his trademark quirky ads that in prior elections had included him skydiving despite his fear of heights and showering while fully clothed to wash negative ads off. Instead, Hickenlooper, 68, spoke generally of a need for “new blood” in Washington and repeatedly hit Gardner for the senator’s effort to overturn the Affordable Care Act.