Updated at 7:47 a.m. on 11/4/2020

A Republican political newcomer who defied public health orders during the coronavirus pandemic and fully embraced President Trump will represent Colorado’s largest congressional district.

Boebert declared victory late Tuesday night, and Mitsch Bush conceded the race. The Associated Press called the race for Boebert Wednesday morning. The Republican was winning 51 percent of the vote with 90 percent of the ballots counted.

Boebert campaigned heavily on criticizing socialism and the policies Gov. Jared Polis has put in place to protect residents from COVID-19.

This summer, she reopened the restaurant she owns in Rifle despite a public health order prohibiting indoor dining.

Boebert said the government was taking away residents’ individual rights with the coronavirus restrictions.

“That’s not the proper role of government,” she told a crowd about enacting restrictions during the pandemic. “The proper role of government is to inform us of the risk, and let us make a decision.”

She defeated veteran state lawmaker Diane Mitsch Bush, D-Steamboat Springs, in what became one of the most competitive U.S. House races in the country.

“This is a tremendous victory for the steel workers in Pueblo, for the ranchers in Craig, for the peach farmers in Palisade,” she said during her victory speech. “This is a huge victory for western Colorado, southern Colorado and I am so excited to be on the front lines fighting for you.”

Mitsch Bush urged her supporters to stay active and keep pushing for policies such as affordable health care.

She served three terms as a state representative and ran a socially distanced campaign.

While Boebert held large rallies, Mitsch Bush used Zoom and campaigned digitally during the pandemic.

She painted herself as the more bipartisan candidate.

Boebert will represent the sprawling 3rd Congressional District, which includes the entire West Slope as well as Pueblo and parts of southern Colorado.

She will be the first woman to ever represent the district in Congress.

The district is historically Republican, but an influx of unaffiliated voters made it more competitive in recent years.

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