Saying she saw "no viable path forward" under a new congressional map, Eagle County Democrat Kerry Donovan on Friday suspended her campaign to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District.
Donovan, a term-limited state senator, raised nearly $2 million and was a leading candidate in a crowded primary field, but she landed in a different congressional district after the state Supreme Court this week OK'd boundaries drawn by an independent redistricting commission.
The new boundaries place Donovan, whose family owns a cattle ranch in Wolcott, in the heavily Democratic 2nd District, which is represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse.
Congressional candidates don't have to live in the district they run to represent, but the newly configured 3rd CD favors Republicans by a wider margin than the existing district and is considered a safe seat for the incumbent.
The district covers most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado, including Pueblo County and the San Luis Valley. While the current district leans toward Republicans by about 6 points, the new district has about a 9-point lean, according to analyses by the commission and national election forecasters.
Donovan suspended her fundraising and tore into the redistricting commission on Oct. 1, calling the new map "a disservice to Colorado," after the panel agreed on the map that was later approved without change by the high court.
She repeated the criticism Friday in a written statement, saying that, while numerous small-dollar donations bolstered her commitment to the race, "the congressional maps failed to recognize the complexity of rural Colorado and instead divided communities, protected incumbents, and ignored Coloradans’ voices. As a result, there is no viable path forward for me to remain in this race, and I have made the decision to suspend my campaign for Congress."
More soon. pic.twitter.com/8Ua8bDCHcq— Kerry Donovan (@KerryDonovanCO) November 5, 2021
Added Donovan: “Western Colorado is my home and is filled with good people and wonderful memories from this campaign. I will continue fighting for these communities with everything I have. More soon.”
A spokesman for her campaign declined to say what she plans to do with the funds remaining in her campaign coffers or whether she plans to run for another office.
Donovan finished the most recent fundraising quarter with $613,725 in the bank, more than 10 times the total reported by any of the other seven Democrats running for the chance to take on Boebert.
Donovan said she received more than 60,000 contributions with an average donation of under $25.
"This campaign was about standing up to hateful and divisive leadership and making sure that the West, which has big problems to solve, was represented by someone who would fight for us, not a headline," she said Friday.
Boebert, the owner of a gun-themed restaurant in Rifle, unseated five-term U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton in the 2020 GOP primary and defeated Democratic nominee Diane Mitsch Bush by a 6.2% margin.
An ally of former President Donald Trump, Boebert has careened from one controversy to the next since before she took office in January. She's hauled in $2.8 million in campaign contributions and finished the most recent quarter with $1.7 million on hand.
Donovan's departure leaves seven Democrats in the primary, including Pueblo community activist Sol Sandoval, Cowdrey veterinarian Deborah Burnett, state Rep. Don Valdez, D-La Jara, and Garfield County residents Colin Wilhelm and Colin Buerger.
Republican Marina Zimmerman, a political newcomer from Arboles, is mounting a primary challenge against Boebert.