Republican congressional nominee Lauren Boebert hits the airwaves with her first TV ad of the general election campaign Monday with a biographical spot describing how she broke her family's "cycle of poverty" with a job at McDonald's, her campaign said.
Boebert, a restaurant owner and Second Amendment activist, beat incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in last month's GOP primary and is facing former state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush in Colorado's Republican-leaning 3rd Congressional District seat, which covers the Western Slope and parts of southern Colorado.
“My mom was a lifelong Democrat, stuck in the cycle of poverty. As a kid, I felt helpless buying groceries with her welfare card," Boebert says in the 30-second ad. "At 15, my first job at McDonald’s taught me I could take better care of myself than government ever could. Now, I’m a proud business owner, providing good-paying jobs that help build self-esteem, pride and dignity.”
The ad will air on broadcast stations in the Grand Junction market and on social media, her campaign said, with additional placement "as fundraising efforts allow."
According to paperwork filed by the TV stations, Boebert's campaign is spending in the low five figures to run the ad for the next month.
Mitsch Bush, who lost a race to Tipton in the last cycle, has yet to announce a TV buy since she won the nomination in a Democratic primary against seafood executive James Iacino.
Boebert finished the quarter that ended June 30 with just over $10,000 in the bank, according to campaign finance reports, but she's boasted that she's raising money at a fast clip since upsetting Tipton, a five-term incumbent, and being embraced by President Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives.
Mitsch Bush reported just over $200,000 cash on hand at the end of the quarter.
While Boebert's advertising during the primary focused on her pledge to "stand up to all the left-wing lunatics" — including linking Tipton with notoriously liberal members of Congress — she's also talked about her evolution from growing up "in a house full of Democrats" to her awakening as a conservative.
In an online video describing her childhood in Montbello and Aurora, Boebert said: "My mom was a true-blue Democrat, and she believed all of the lies she was told, that she could not support me and my brothers on her own. She was told that if she went out to try to support us without the help of Democrat politicians, that she would fail. Because of that, we grew up poor. When my mom needed groceries, she would send me out to the store with the EBT card. Not fun."
After moving to the Western Slope when she was 12 — "hope is born here," she said — Boebert said it "felt really great to actually work for my living" after getting her first paycheck from McDonalds, adding, "I did not like the taxes that were taken out of it."
A spokeswoman for Mitsch Bush suggested that the message in Boebert's ad could clash with policies supported by district voters.
"Like Lauren, Diane was raised by a single mom who struggled to make ends meet. It’s why she understands the importance of protecting programs like Social Security and Medicare," Ashley Quenneville, Mitsch Bush's campaign manager, told Colorado Politics on Sunday.
"Diane would never cut Social Security or Medicare to pay for tax cuts for the ultra-rich and corporate special interests. She would fight to expand the Affordable Care Act and protect those with pre-existing conditions, while Lauren would fight to repeal the ACA and take away coverage from over 300,000 Coloradans."
Boebert's campaign told Colorado Politics after this story published that despite attacking Tipton throughout the primary for failing to repeal the ACA, also known as Obamacare, and saying she supports repealing numerous key elements of the law, she has not said she supports repealing the ACA.
Her campaign spokeswoman didn't provide details about Boebert's health care plan but said the candidate is working on developing policy proposals that will "be released as we develop them."
Quenneville, Mitsch Bush's campaign manger, had this to say in response: “Lauren Boebert made it clear where she stands — if elected, she would work to rip healthcare away from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans even during a pandemic, plain and simple.”
UPDATE: This story has been updated to include Boebert's contention that she hasn't said she will repeal the Affordable Care Act, and the Mitsch Bush campaign's response.