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Minnesota-raised Democratic candidate Adam Frisch barely falls short against Colorado Rep. Boebert

Minneapolis Star Tribune 11/28/2022 Hunter Woodall, Star Tribune

WASHINGTON – Adam Frisch nearly pulled off one of the most eye opening upsets of this year's midterms when he tried to unseat a far-right congressional Republican.

But almost winning doesn't earn someone a seat in Congress.

Frisch, who grew up in Minneapolis and graduated from the Blake School, challenged Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert for her Colorado seat. Boebert's first term included multi-day outrage over her anti-Muslim comments about Minnesota Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar.

"We have this huge moral victory, but it would have been nice to have the victory, victory," Frisch said in an interview. "I'm disappointed that we couldn't pull it off. I'm not surprised that we made it this close."

Boebert is a controversial and polarizing figure in congressional politics, but Frisch's odds of unseating her seemed long ahead of Election Day.

The contest wasn't listed as a competitive race by the Cook Political Report on its website, and major Democratic forces were more intent on trying to defend the seats they had with their narrow House majority.

But this year's midterms brought plenty of unexpected turns, including Republicans failing to ride a red wave in House races across the country. While the GOP eventually succeeded in winning narrow control of the House, the race between Boebert and Frisch was among those too close to call on election night.

Days after national attention turned to the seat given how close it was, Frisch went on to concede the race Nov. 18. Results on the Colorado Secretary of State's website show Boebert with a lead of 554 votes.

Boebert tweeted that she was looking "forward to getting past election season and focusing on conservative governance in the House majority."

The Associated Press has not called the race yet, and noted the potential of an automatic recount, though it isn't expected to change the outcome. Minnesota has seen recounts of its own over the years, including the 2008 U.S. Senate contest between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken, where Franken won by 312 votes.

Boebert has readily embraced former President Donald Trump's approach to politics, and is one of the more vocal far-right House members.

"She did not do the job," Frisch said. "She was doing this 'angertainment,' getting on television all the time."

During an August Conservative Political Action Conference speech in Texas, Boebert declared that "President Trump made America great again, and geriatric Joe ran it straight into the ground."

"So it's going to take all of us working together to restore America's glory," Boebert said. "Myself and my fellow warriors in the House Freedom Caucus, we're ready for battle."

Frisch was well established in Colorado before his run for Congress, and said he has lived in Aspen since 2003. His campaign website describes him as "a local businessman, family man, and former city councilman" who was "a workhorse on the Western Slope for two decades."

But the Democrat's roots in Minnesota are deep. Along with family ties in other parts of Minnesota, Frisch said his father worked as an OB-GYN in Minneapolis, and that one of his sisters works as an OB-GYN locally to this day.

Frisch is also friends with Minnesota Democratic Rep. Dean Phillips.

"When Adam called me to discuss running against Lauren Boebert back in 2021, I thought he was a glutton for punishment," Phillips said in a text message.

Still, Phillips said the two "corresponded regularly" on assembling a campaign against an incumbent, as well as strategy. Phillips credited Frisch for creating "the type of campaign message and strategy that tapped into voters' dismay about increasing division - and politics as performance."

"In losing by just a hair, he won remarkable respect around the country and shared an important future roadmap for Democrats in rural America," Phillips said.

In this early aftermath of the midterms, Frisch hasn't ruled out running again against Boebert.

"My main themes are, how do we see fewer extremists sitting in the halls of Congress and how do we see the Democratic party get out of its urban focused shell?" Frisch said. "That can be done by running again, and there's some other ways that could be done as well."

©2022 StarTribune. Visit startribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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