Watch the moment Lauren Boebert was asked to 'give the definition of carpetbagger' in the first GOP debate in her new district

  • Rep. Lauren Boebert faced several GOP opponents in a primary debate on Thursday night.

  • It was her first face-off with Republicans since bailing on her original district.

  • A rival asked her to define “carpetbagger” — someone who runs for an office where they don’t live.

On Thursday, Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert faced several GOP opponents in the first primary debate for Colorado’s 4th congressional district.

It’s not the district she was originally elected to represent in 2020. In December, Boebert abandoned that seat — which covers the western swath of Colorado, where she has lived — to run in a much safer district that covers the eastern portion of the state.

That’s led to accusations of “carpetbagging,” which refers to candidates running for offices far from where they actually live, from the other Republicans seeking to run in the 4th district.

And on Thursday, one opponent — state Rep. Mike Lynch, the former minority leader in the Colorado House — took that critique to her directly.

“Could you, like, give the definition of carpetbagger for me?” Lynch asked during a portion of the debate when candidates could lob questions at one another.

The question appeared to stir up the audience a bit, and Boebert immediately replied: “Is this a Mary Poppins question?” before detailing her previous reasoning for the switch: that abandoning her old district was in the best interest of voters, and that she needed to get away from her ex-husband Jayson.

“My boys and I needed a fresh start,” said Boebert. “That’s been very public.”

Boebert had been facing a bruising reelection bid in her old district, which she won by less than 600 votes in 2022. In addition to the controversial figure she cut on Capitol Hill, she had also faced embarrassment after being caught on video vaping and apparently groping a male companion during a Denver showing of “Beetlejuice.”

Lynch said that he opted to ask the question after Boebert brought up the state representative’s DUI and gun possession arrest in 2022, the recent revelation of which prompted Lynch to step down from his job as minority leader. As a result of that, Lynch was temporarily barred from possessing a handgun.

“I hope you get your gun rights back soon, sir,” Boebert said.

But that wasn’t the only instance in which Boebert’s residency was brought up during the debate, which was held in Fort Lupton, a town northeast of Denver.

In fact, several candidates made either allusions or direct references to it.

Deborah Flora, a conservative radio host, asked Boebert why her previous comments about former state Sen. Kerry Donovan, a Democrat who briefly challenged Boebert in 2022, wouldn’t also apply to herself.

At the time, Boebert said that Donovan, who lived just outside Boebert’s old district, should “focus on where she lives, works and votes instead of trying to increase her political position by pandering to folks she doesn’t even know.”

“Kerry Donovan had no intention of living in the 3rd district. I have been very clear that this is a fresh start for my family, and for myself,” said Boebert, noting that she now lives in the district. “The crops may be different in Colorado’s 4th district, but the values are not.”

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