DENVER – State Sen. Kerry Donovan is suspending fundraising in her effort to unseat Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District after the state’s independent redistricting commission’s map drew the Vail area where she lives out of the proposed district.
The congressional redistricting plan the commission approved and submitted to the Supreme Court last Friday puts Vail in the 2nd Congressional District, which is represented by Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse. Donovan, a Democrat, said in an interview Tuesday she was not pleased with the commission’s map and how it drew the 3rd Congressional District.
“I won’t talk about the motives of the commission; I can only look at the results. And the results show that we made the 3rd [Congressional District] less competitive, and I don’t think that’s what voters were expecting when they supported this idea of a commission,” Donovan said. “And a less competitive seat means that they can’t hold their elected official accountable. If this map stands, I think it’s a sad day for western and southern Colorado.”
The map submitted last week has not been finalized by the Supreme Court, which is taking challenges to the final plan through this week. But the independent commission drew a congressional map that creates a 4-3-1 projected map for Democrats, with the new 8th Congressional District being a tossup based on an average of eight statewide elections since 2016.
That average puts Republicans at a +9.3% advantage over Democrats in the 3rd Congressional District. Boebert won election last November by just more than 6 percentage points. Congressional representatives do not need to live in the district they represent or are seeking to represent.
Donovan said Tuesday the pause in fundraising was done “out of respect to that huge grassroots movement that we’ve built over the past eight months.” She said she wanted to speak more with voters in the district to see what they think of the proposed map.
“I do think that the West deserves a real fight, and the voters deserve to have that real conversation about the future of the West. The commission did make this seat less competitive with the new map, and I don’t think that reflects the Western Slope,” said Donovan, who has represented the 5th Senate District, which spans from the Vail area, west to Delta and south past Lake City, since 2015.
Donovan is one of 10 Democrats who have filed to run in the 3rd Congressional District next year and has by far raised the most money among them thus far, according to Federal Election Commission records. By the end of June, she had raised nearly $1.2 million.
Donovan said Tuesday she and her campaign was taking it “one step at a time” regarding what steps to take next aside from talking to voters.
“This shouldn’t be a safe seat for anyone,” she said. “A political landscape that’s as diverse and evolving as the Western Slope and southern Colorado should be the most competitive seat in the state for the next decade to reflect that changing landscape and the important issues that we have to tackle.”
Denver7's Jon Ewing contributed to this report.