Editor’s note: A version of the following story on Lauren Boebert and her battle with Pueblo veterans in her race with Diane Mitsch Bush to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District — including the western two-thirds of Eagle County — first appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder.
Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert is engaged in a full-on war of words with two Pueblo-area military veterans who run a political action committee responsible for billboards questioning Boebert’s “law-and-order” brand and highlighting her multiple warrants and arrests.
Boebert, who is running against Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the race for Colorado’s massive 3rd Congressional District, last weekend tweeted out a Federalist article accusing Rural Colorado United co-founder George Autobee of being an antifa sympathizer, referring to a loose, left-wing affiliation of groups militantly opposed to fascism and right-wing ideology.
“It turns out the spokesperson and co-founder of the group responsible for the mugshot billboards against me is a far-left Antifa sympathizer who appeared alongside Diane Mitsch Bush in a campaign ad last cycle ripping Scott Tipton,” Boebert tweeted, referring to the five-term incumbent Republican U.S. representative Boebert shocked in the June 30 primary.
Autobee fired off a press release on Monday saying he volunteered for Vietnam right out of high school and served multiple combat tours overseas as a U.S. Marine and later as a combat medic for the U.S. Army. Wounded twice and therefore the recipient of Purple Heart, Autobee says Boebert has no concept of service to her country.
“I spent my twenties leading other young men into combat,” Autobee wrote in the release. “Lauren spent her twenties racking up a rap sheet of wanton, reckless, and irresponsible offenses that would disqualify anyone from service on a school board — let alone Congress.”
Asked the basis for Boebert’s antifa accusation against Autobee, Boebert campaign spokeswoman Laura Carno replied with a link to Friday’s Federalist article, which incorrectly makes this assertion in the first paragraph:
“A new billboard campaign popping up in western Colorado advertising a recently launched website attacking 3rd congressional district Republican nominee Lauren Boebert is orchestrated by an Antifa sympathizer, FEC records show.”
The Federalist story goes on to say that “a simple search on Autobee’s Facebook offers an image of the standard anti-Trump liberal who just last week published a post in solidarity with Antifa, the radical left-wing group that encourages the use of violence to pursue its political agenda.”
Asked about the Federalist article, which quoted acting secretary of Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf saying antifa meets the definition of a terrorist group (but misspelled his name as “Wold”), Autobee replied in an email, “I wouldn’t be surprised if Lauren and her campaign team are not familiar with the gentleman in that photo.”
The gentleman in the photo on Autobee’s Facebook page is Dwight Eisenhower, which Autobee posted with the caption, “Vote. Founder of Antifa”. Eisenhower was a five-star U.S. Army general who became the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe that defeated the fascism of Nazi Germany and Italy. Eisenhower later was elected U.S. president.
Pressed on whether Boebert really thinks a decorated combat veteran is an antifa sympathizer just because he pointed out that Eisenhower led the fight against fascism in World War II, Carno replied, “Justifying Antifa with Eisenhower’s heroism is disgusting, and that’s why they are being called out on it.”
Carno also addressed Boebert’s unswerving support for President Donald Trump, who received five deferments to avoid the military draft and service in Vietnam, called Americans who died in war “suckers” and “losers” and denigrated the late Sen. John McCain for being captured after his fighter jet was shot down over Vietnam.
“Lauren is always proud of our veterans, their service, and she always shares her thanks for their sacrifice in protecting our freedoms,” Carno wrote in an email.
Boebert has been widely criticized for her embrace of the far-right, anti-government militia movement and comments sympathetic to QAnon, a fringe conspiracy that espouses the belief that Democrats drink the blood of babies and worship the devil. It has been labeled domestic terror by the FBI.
Autobee’s Rural Colorado United co-founder, Stephen Varela — a paratrooper who served multiple combat tours in Iraq – blasted Boebert for failing to come up with actual policies for veterans in the district to vote on.
“With more than 100,000 veterans living in CD3, Boebert has yet to release any policy platforms regarding veteran’s affairs, health care or the public lands veterans and sportsmen and women so deeply value,” Varela said in the release.
Asked again if Boebert has come up with any concrete health care plans other than her opposition to Obamacare, especially with the U.S. Supreme Court this November set to hear oral arguments in a case that could strike down the law and its coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Carno did not offer any new policies.
“Lauren is on the record that we should never be in the position of taking anyone’s health insurance away,” Carno said. “We must protect coverage for pre-existing conditions regardless of any court decision.”
It’s significant that statewide opposition to Boebert, who hopes to represent 29 of the state’s 64 counties in CD3, is coming out of Pueblo County – the most populous in the district at 168,424 people. Mitsch Bush in 2018 lost to Tipton by about 8% overall in the district and 1.9% in the county, which went to a Republican president (Trump in 2016) for the first time since 1972.