Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert‘s mission to continue serving in the House of Representatives is panning out to be more difficult than some Republicans had originally anticipated.

Instead of seeking re-election to Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, Boebert announced in December that she would be running for the House seat that is being vacated by Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., in the state’s 4th District. In a social media video addressing the switch, Boebert insisted that she would be “moving to the fourth” in 2024.

“It’s the right move for me personally, and it’s the right decision for those who support our conservative movement,” Boebert said at the time. “This is the right move for Colorado, for us.”

Since her announcement, however, Boebert appears to be struggling to make inroads with voters in the solid red district who will be casting their ballots in the state’s Republican primary election this summer.

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Alongside eight other Republican candidates who are seeking to represent the district at the federal level, Boebert participated in a debate last week in Fort Lupton, a city roughly 30 miles north of Denver. There, she attempted to persuade voters that she could best represent their interests in Washington, D.C.

“The crops may be different in Colorado’s 4th District, but the values are not,” Boebert told the crowd of local Republicans who had gathered for the spectacle. “I’m a proven fighter for the values that you all believe in.”

At one point during the debate, candidates were allowed to ask one other candidate a question. At that point, Boebert, who first won election to the House in 2020, was asked by former Colorado House Minority Leader Mike Lynch to give him “the definition of carpetbagger.”

With the audience stirred, Boebert responded, “Is this a Mary Poppins question? So yes, I have moved into the Fourth District. My boys and I needed a fresh start. That’s been very public…”

Further responding to Lynch, Boebert claimed her decision also has the potential to “serve Colorado’s Third District,” insisting that Republicans “have an opportunity now to absolutely secure that seat and keep it red and stop the Hollywood money” from flowing into that district.

Lauren Boebert debate

Following the debate, a straw poll was conducted to get a better understanding of how the Republicans in the room felt about the candidates’ performances. Boebert finished in fifth place, garnering just 12 votes out of the approximately 100 people in attendance.

Coming in ahead of Boebert in the straw poll, according to Colorado Politics, was Logan County Commissioner Jerry Sonnenberg with 22 votes, Lynch with 20 votes, Douglas County filmmaker and radio host Deborah Flora with 18 votes and state House Minority Whip Richard Holtorf with 17 votes.

Sonnenberg, a rancher and former Colorado state senator who announced in December his decision to enter the race to represent the district, told Fox News Digital that he’s “not a negative person,” but recognized the significance of what appears to be Boebert’s decision to jump districts in an attempt to get re-elected.

Jerry Sonnenberg is running for CO house district 4

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“My mama always told me that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you don’t say anything at all, and so I won’t,” Sonnenberg said. “What I will tell you is, I think what sets us apart is integrity [and] honesty. That makes a difference. That’s important in a candidate, and for me, it’s important in a candidate that I would support.”

“I obviously wouldn’t support a candidate that doesn’t have solid roots inside the district or understand the district,” he continued. “I think that becomes a challenge for anybody to carry a constituent’s voice anywhere, quite frankly.”

Furthering his point, Sonneberg said, “It’s similar to a Californian moving into Colorado and wanting to run for office here. They don’t know anything about Colorado.”

“I would use jumping from the third to the fourth district in the same type of venue — that becomes a challenge understanding the district,” he said. “Two totally different districts and, quite frankly, two totally different environments in which someone has to understand.”

Lauren Boebert debate

Prior to entering the race to succeed Buck, Sonnenberg served on the Colorado Farm Bureau board of directors before being elected to the state House in 2006 — where he was the only farmer and rancher in the chamber — and was elected as a state senator in 2014.

Getting to the heart of what “really sets” him apart from Boebert, Sonnenberg said: “I grew up in this district. The neighbors know me, I know the neighbors. I represented the Eastern Plains while I was in the legislature. I grew up in the same house that my father and I were both raised in. I live in that house. I raised my children here.”

“I understand the district and the district understands me. I think that makes for a great partnership when they’re looking for someone to go to D.C.,” he added.

Following the straw poll from last week’s debate in the Centennial State, Georgia GOP Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who reportedly wishes not to involve herself in the contentious Colorado election, said she believes Boebert should be “very concerned.”

“I think she’s got to earn those people’s support. I saw that she came in fifth place in the straw poll over the weekend, which she should be very concerned about,” Greene told The Hill’s Kevin Cirilli.

Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene

In a statement to Fox News Digital, Drew Sexton, Boebert’s campaign manager, said: “Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is focused on earning the support of all 4th District voters. A straw poll of 10 candidates and their supporters that took place in the 8th District where ticket sales closed days after she announced is of no concern and doesn’t provide a realistic snapshot of the district.”

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Downplaying the results of the straw poll in a post to social media, Colorado Sun political reporter Jesse Paul wrote: “I wouldn’t read too much into the straw poll. Fort Lupton, where the debate was held, is in the 8th District, not the 4th District. Debate attendees had to pay to attend. Many family, friends of candidates were there.”

“Very unscientific sample,” Paul added.

Winning the straw poll, Sonnenberg said, was “quite an honor” and a “humbling” experience.

“I’d heard stories of people bringing busloads of supporters in for straw polls. Shoot, all I did was brought my son along. Of course, Boebert had staff there…. She’d probably finish much lower if her staff didn’t get a vote,” he said.

The Colorado Republican primary election is slated to be held on June 25. The general election will take place less than five months later, on Nov. 5.

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