The party-switchers are just a small portion of the overall electorate. Even if all 3,600 former Democrats planned to vote for Coram, they would make up less than 1 percent of registered voters. For comparison, Boebert won her first primary by nearly 10,000 votes in 2020.
But the former Democrats aren’t the only factor. They’ll be joining a population of nearly a quarter-million unaffiliated voters in the district, all of whom are free to vote in either the Democratic or Republican Primary.
The national attention on Boebert’s race could help to draw some of those hundreds of thousands of votes into the contest — and the outcome may well depend on whom they support.
“For unaffiliated voters who really are neutral between the parties, and there are some of those, they may simply decide the Republican party’s the more interesting contest right now,” said Masket, professor of political science and the director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver. ”For primaries — that is something that could have an effect.”
Boebert has grabbed nationwide attention over the last two years for carrying guns, making viral Twitter posts and heckling President Joe Biden over the deaths of service members in Afghanistan during the State of the Union.
That high profile has helped bring in donations and won the loyalty of many in the district’s Republican base. But Coram is counting on a folksy centrist message to win over those unaffiliated voters.
“They are unaffiliated because they are sick and tired of the antics of the far right, and the far left,” he said in an interview. His campaign stressed that he is focused on winning over undecided voters, not convincing Democrats to meddle in the primary.
In some ways, Coram is an ideal candidate, given his political experience and party connections, Masket said. But he added the candidate hasn’t stacked up the kinds of money and endorsements that often push challengers to victory.
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