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In a tight race in Colorado, GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert's reelection bid is at risk

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

One of Donald Trump's biggest allies in Congress is in danger of losing her seat in Colorado. Lauren Boebert was favored to win her majority-Republican district, but it is very close. Colorado Public Radio's Dan Boyce reports.

DAN BOYCE, BYLINE: Boebert easily won her first term in 2020 and quickly established a national reputation as a loud denier of President Biden's victory. But two years later...

BRANDI BANTZ: I don't think I've ever seen any race this close.

BOYCE: Brandi Bantz is director of elections for Mesa County, one of the biggest in this largely rural district. She's been working elections for 18 years. The last time she had checked, out of more than 300,000 ballots counted, Boebert and her Democratic opponent, Adam Frisch, were within about 60 votes of each other. The margin has grown and shrunk as batches of votes have come in. Colorado Mesa University student Harrison Shapiro is among those watching it closely.

HARRISON SHAPIRO: I keep checking the results. And yeah, it's very tense.

BOYCE: Boebert's opponent, Frisch, is a former city councilman in Aspen, a rich liberal enclave in the district where natural gas development and ranching are leading industries. Longtime district residents like John Crouch, who's been active in politics, are surprised Frisch has done so well.

JOHN CROUCH: Yes, I didn't expect that. I thought Boebert would win hands down.

BOYCE: The race is so tight that a recount looks likely. State law says one is triggered in races closer than half a percentage point. A final vote tally is still pending, says Mesa County's Brandi Bantz.

BANTZ: But we have about 800 people that could potentially cure. That could make a huge impact on this race.

BOYCE: Cure, meaning the state double checks with voters who mailed in ballot envelopes where their signatures don't match what's on file. The 800 Bantz refers to are in Mesa County alone.

BANTZ: So all of these here are sitting as rejected for signature discrepancies.

BOYCE: There are 26 more counties in this district, most of them smaller than Mesa. The state has until November 16 to try to contact voters with signature discrepancies. Political parties or any member of the public are allowed to try to track down the voters with these questionable ballots. Their names are on a public list. Again, ballots are still coming in, and there's a chance that Boebert or Frisch will get enough votes and cured ballot numbers won't make a difference. Frisch has made a fundraising appeal to help his campaign cure ballots. Boebert has been uncharacteristically quiet since election night.

For NPR News, I'm Dan Boyce in Grand Junction, Colo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.