She emerged from the crowd at a rally for then presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke of Texas and grabbed the mic to shout, “Hell no, you’re not!” in response to O’Rourke’s pledge to take away assault-style weapons.
That shout from an armed, brash, 5-foot-tall woman in sparkly high heels, tight jeans and a holstered Glock would catch the attention of conservative Republicans and electrify the far-right. It would help launch a newbie political candidate with enough momentum to take down a five-term congressman – something that hadn’t happened in a Colorado primary in 48 years.
But behind Boebert’s meteoric rise — before she became known for owning Shooters Grill, before she went viral, before she entered President Donald Trump’s orbit — is a past neither she nor her campaign is willing to discuss. It’s a history that includes run-ins with the law, an eviction and a failed restaurant venture.
Boebert came on like a western Colorado version of Sarah Palin with her folksy talk about being a mom and her fealty to God and guns. The 33-year-old already knew how to handle a spotlight after opening Shooters Grill, a much-hyped restaurant in Rifle where the staff pack heat.
To move on from gun schtick to politics, Boebert had ditched her dyed-blonde and flannel-shirt persona and adopted Palin-style glasses and long, dark hair. Like Palin, she honed a steady stream of crowd-pleasing, quick-draw insults aimed at anyone who didn’t share her ultraconservative views. Those who did ate it up.
“We’ve never seen a candidate like Lauren – ever,” enthused Edward Wilks, a Rifle gun shop owner, former cop and member of the far-right, anti-government Oath Keepers group. Wilks is so high on Boebert that he is predicting she has what it takes for a shooting-star rise in politics – one that could propel her to the vice-presidency in four years and the presidency in eight.
“She would have the backing of all of America if she chose to do it,” Wilks said.
Shaping herself as a disruptorBoebert climbed to that level of right-wing adulation with a carefully curated story of being a welfare child, an ardent Christian and a successful businesswoman; a petite woman who wears a gun for protection, not as a prop; and a fierce patriot who views herself, like her presidential idol, as a disruptor first and foremost.
Colorado Sun writers Sandra Fish and Sue McMillin contributed reporting, as did staff writer Jesse Paul.Read the complete story at The Colorado Sun