Boebert GOP challenger Russ Andrews has his own stance on abortion and more

GOP candidate Russ Andrews enjoys the view near Carbondale. He's challenging incumbent Congresswoman Lauren Boebert to be the Republican nominee for the 3rd District, which includes Aspen.
Courtesy photo

Republican Russ Andrews, who’s challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert to be the GOP nominee for Colorado’s gigantic 3rd Congressional District, says his key campaign adviser warned him not to put anything about abortion on his campaign website.

But Andrews prides himself on being a straight-shooter. So, with no prompting, he tells a reporter he believes abortion should be legal up until 22 weeks into the pregnancy. At 22 weeks, he says the fetal heartbeat can be detected, which indicates a viable life outside the womb.

“I don’t mean to sound like one of those men telling women what they can and can’t do with their bodies,” he adds.

His stance differs from Boebert, who says life begins at conception.

He sees this key difference between himself and her this way: “I’m a conservative who can work across the aisle to get my district what it needs. Lauren Boebert hasn’t done that. And she hasn’t given the district the roads, water access, or the money it needs.”

A self-described conservative, some of Andrews’ views are like those further left. When asked if he believes the 2020 election was stolen, he says “no” then details several reasons Trump lost, including, “He behaved like a jackass.”

Like Boebert, he owns many guns “and not just for hunting, although I do hunt elk.”

He sleeps with a 9mm next to his bed as protection against ordinary bad guys but also to defend himself against “governmental tyranny,” which he believes could erupt one day. That concern is “why our Founding Fathers gave us the Second Amendment.”

This breakfast interview in Carbondale’s chrome- and Elvis-adorned Honey Butter diner is just one stop on a jam-packed day. The Andrews live in Carbondale, but they crisscross all 27 counties of the 3rd District. Wife Lori marvels at her 65-year-old husband’s energy as he powers meetings with potential donors, mayors, and unaffiliated voters who outnumber the district’s Democrats and Republicans. Unaffiliated voters are 43% of those registered, according to the Colorado Secretary of State’s tally.

Boebert beat Aspen Democrat Adam Frisch by only 546 votes, and Andrews doesn’t believe she can beat Frisch again.

“And I say that as someone who voted for Lauren,” said Andrews, who plans to campaign in Pitkin and Garfield counties as well as the district’s more conservative areas.

Grand Junction lawyer Jeff Hurd has also decided to run in the Republican primary.

A financial adviser who was educated at SUNY-Maritime as an engineer, Andrews supports finishing Trump’s wall along the Mexican border. He believes climate change is real, but science can ameliorate it before it becomes a crisis. He wants better STEM education in schools. He’s an avid outdoorsman who opposes long trains hauling heated crude oil along the Colorado River and through Glenwood Canyon and describes horrendous damage should a train derail and spill oil into the river. His site offers a detailed plan for repurposing trees killed by beetles, noting that rotting wood contributes to greenhouse gases and, thus, climate change. His site says that he and Lori own 19 guns, including two AR-15s, and they taught their kids to handle guns safely.

He wants more cellphone towers built to provide better service and more coverage.

He and Lori recall driving to Paonia and encountering a woman whose vehicle broke down. None of them could get a cellphone connection. So, the stranded woman gave the Andrews her husband’s phone number and asked them to call him and give him her location when they could get a connection.

Working across the aisle to bring improvements is listed on his campaign site as a policy position.

It’s not just the polls like the Cook Report showing Boebert and Frisch in almost a dead heat that convince Andrews that voters are tired of her. He says he hears from voters who are exasperated with Boebert for not solving these problems and spending too much time “ranting on social media.”

He smiles, “Adam Frisch called what she does angertainment. Isn’t that a great word?”

Of course, there are political strategists who believe angertainment generates money. The Federal Election Commission shows Boebert’s campaign with total receipts of $1,581,903.48. The FEC puts Andrews at $22,483.88 for the period ending June 30. He said that since then, the total has climbed to $40,000. And he wants to raise at least $100,000 by the end of September to show GOP donors and the party itself that his candidacy is viable. Frisch famously campaigned with scant party support in his last race against Boebert and still came close to winning.

Boebert was invited to comment to this article, but her press aide said her travel schedule this week was too busy for an interview.