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Fact-checking the Colorado Republican congressional debate

Some candidates continued promoting false claims about the 2020 election; six of the nine candidates admitted to being arrested
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Posted at 5:43 PM, Jan 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-26 19:43:18-05

DENVER — At Thursday night’s Republican debate for Congress, nine candidates vying for the 4th Congressional District took turns trying to outdo one another on who was the most conservative.

They also played fast and loose with some of the facts.

The moderator asked if the candidates believed the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

“There was election interference for sure,” said Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.

Candidate Trent Leisy has said publicly numerous times that he believes Trump is the “rightful” president.

Fact-checking the Colorado Republican congressional debate

While the former president and his allies continue to claim the 2020 election was stolen from him, they have not been able to prove it in court and dozens of lawsuits they filed have been rejected.

Another claim candidates kept repeating was about the health of the U.S. economy.

“I would argue that ‘Bidenomics’ has been our biggest issue,” said former State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg.

“We have a disastrous economy,” Leisy said.

While Americans remain concerned about inflation, experts say the economy is doing better than expected. A new report by the U.S. Commerce Department shows the economy grew at 3.3% last quarter, the sixth-straight quarter of positive growth.

The candidates told the truth in other areas, though omitted important details.

Boebert, for instance, took credit for the passage of the PUEBLO Jobs Act, which would transfer military land to the community for economic development.

“I have signed the Pueblo JOBS Act into law,” Boebert said.

Members of Congress do not sign bills into law. That’s the president’s job. Boebert quickly corrected herself.

“It was signed into law by Joe Biden, creating 1,000 jobs in Pueblo,” Boebert said.

Indeed, Boebert sponsored the House version of the bill but didn’t give credit to Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper, who sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.

The bill was championed by other members of Colorado’s delegation and was included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved by a bipartisan group of lawmakers.

But the candidates were brutally honest about one issue.

“Have you ever been arrested?” the moderator asked.

Six of nine candidates raised their hands, indicating they have been arrested before.

The audience made up of local and state Republican insiders and activists didn’t mind. The crowd applauded and a couple of the candidates gave each other high-fives.

“We need people that understand people, people that are human and make mistakes,” said State Rep. Mike Lynch, who was arrested for suspected drunk driving in 2022.

Reports of the arrest surfaced earlier this month and eventually led Lynch to step down from as House Minority Leader.

“It's not exactly how you get knocked down or the mistake you make. It is how you get back up on your feet,” Lynch said.

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