Boebert Frisch

Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, left, and her Democratic challenger in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District Adam Frisch

The surprisingly close race in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District remains in a holding pattern on Monday, with U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, the Republican incumbent, still leading Democratic challenger Adam Frisch by a razor-thin margin.

Frisch had led the incumbent in the count through late Wednesday, but Boebert took the lead early on Thursday and has yet to relinquish it.

As of the latest ballot update at 4:57 p.m. on Tuesday, the vote tally in the district remained unchanged, with Boebert receiving 162,040 votes to Frisch's 160,918, a margin of just 1,122 votes, for a roughly one-third of a percentage point difference.

"We're still in this fight. Just in a holding pattern," Frisch said on Twitter. "As ballots continue to be counted, we continue to feel proud of where we stand and what we've accomplished."

"The coalition this campaign built in our independent-minded district is why we are where we are and why — no matter what happens — I'm incredibly proud of how we ran this race and who we invited to be a part of it," he added later.

Frisch said he will attend the House's new member orientation in Washington D.C. this week, saying he plans to "hit the ground running" if he wins the election. 

Boebert, too, acknowledged the waiting game. 

"Waiting this long for election results is going to make firing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House that much sweeter," she said on Twitter. 

At present, the margin is slightly larger than what would trigger an automatic recount.

As of Thursday last week, Mesa and Pueblo counties within CD3 have 1,166 ballots awaiting curing, and that is only two of the 27 counties in the district.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Republican National Committee both have staffers in Colorado working to help voters cure ballots, hoping to push their respective candidates to victory.

That Boebert's bid for a second term in the largely rural, Republican-leaning district, which covers most of the Western Slope and Southern Colorado, remains unresolved days after the election came as a surprise to many.

Republicans are expected to win control in the U.S. House by a narrow majority, though a handful of races that have yet to be called — including in Colorado's 3rd CD — have left the outcome uncertain. 

Thousands of ballots remain to be counted in the Colorado district, though most election officials in the sprawling, 27-county district suspended activity on Friday for the Veterans Day holiday, and so they didn't report new totals. Although ballot processing is set to resume on Monday, most counties in the district aren't expected to post new totals until later in the week.

That's because voters have until Wednesday to "cure" ballots that were initially rejected due to missing signatures or signatures that didn't appear to match the ones on file, or to provide missing ID, in some cases. Additionally, clerks are awaiting the arrival of ballots from military and overseas voters whose ballots were postmarked by 7 p.m. on Election Day.

County clerks are also waiting to process a small number of ballots — numbering around a dozen in smaller counties, though some larger counties have around 100 set aside, election officials say — until they can be counted in the same batches as the cured ballots and the ones received by the Nov. 16 deadline from military and overseas residents.

The routine practice is in place to ensure anonymity for voters, particularly in smaller counties, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office told Colorado Politics. Because the list of military and overseas voters and curable ballots are public records, processing a small number of ballots and posting the results could reveal who those voters picked. To avoid that, each county withholds some ballots to process with them.

An unknown number of ballots are also in transit between various counties in the district, since Colorado law permits voters to submit mail ballots to official drop boxes anywhere in the state, leaving it to local election officials to make sure they're delivered to voters' home counties for counting.

"Lauren Boebert here," the candidate said in a text message to supporters on Friday. "My MUST-WIN race is TOO CLOSE TO CALL and a recount very likely. We need your help to cover legal costs."

A spokeswoman for the Frisch campaign told Colorado Politics that Frisch isn't weighing the prospect of a recount yet but is monitoring the count and believes it's important to wait until all the ballots have been received, including from district residents serving abroad in the military.

"We want to let this process work and be patient," Frisch spokeswoman Madeleine Schmidt said. "Even though it could be a week to get final results back, we would rather wait and have every vote counted."

She added: "The reason why it’s taking so long is that this process is a painstaking process. We have full faith in all 27 county clerks and need to give them the time to do what they know how to do best, which is to have a safe, secure election where every ballot is counted."

The Boebert campaign didn't respond to a request for comment.

According to political operatives' estimates, as many as 5,000 ballots remain uncounted or in transit — potentially enough to hand a win to either candidate, or to push the race into automatic recount territory.

Under state law, an automatic recount takes place when the margin between the apparent winner and the losing candidate is 0.5% or less of the leading candidate's vote total. As of late Friday, that threshold would be 810 votes.

Either candidate can request a recount no matter the margin, if they pay for it.

If that happens, it could delay a final resolution to the race until mid-December.

We're still in this fight. Just in a holding pattern. As ballots continue to be counted, we continue to feel proud of where we stand and what we've accomplished.

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