Who is Adam Frisch, the man who confronts Lauren Boebert in the 3rd arrondissement

Adam Frisch, the Democratic candidate for the 3rd congressional district, addresses election night at Belly Up in downtown Aspen on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/Special to The Colorado Sun)
Colorado Election News and Results

ASPEN — Win or lose, Democrat Adam Frisch shocked Republican U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert and the National Democratic establishment that gave him little chance of succeeding in Tuesday’s election.

Driving thousands of miles through a district the size of Mississippi, his goal was to meet voters in person and overcome the stigma of being an Aspen millionaire. The race in the 3rd congressional district was still too close to report on Wednesday, but Frisch held a narrow lead in a district that was widely seen as favoring Republicans.

Frisch, a former currency trader whose only political experience was serving on the Aspen City Council, sought to argue that he was a moderate Democrat who would focus on western Colorado and not be part of what he calls the DC Circus.

“I’m a calm, cool, poised person who’s passionate about why I’m doing this and what I believe in. And people just want skill and seriousness,” he told the Colorado Sun then. that his watch party began Tuesday night in downtown Aspen. “The line I used that resonated the most was that people just want the circus to stop and I saw a lot of heads up and down, even when I was in pretty Republican areas.

“Most people, herders and farmers are pragmatic,” he said. “They don’t want the circus. They want someone to focus on them, their business and their community.

Frisch, 55, served two four-year terms on the Aspen City Council beginning in 2011 after failing three years earlier. In March 2019 he lost in his bid to become mayor, finishing third in the four-way race, and said he was going to take a break and reset.

Frisch came out of the pandemic looking for more and frustrated with Boebert’s antics. He announced his Democratic candidacy for the district in February and immediately began canvassing the vast district, which covers the entire West Slope and parts of southern Colorado, including Pueblo.

Since then he has traveled over 23,000 miles and attended hundreds of community events and meetups. He said on Tuesday he has been home about seven days in the past seven months.

Adam Frisch stands among the supporters.
Adam Frisch, the Democratic candidate for the 3rd congressional district, stands with friends and election night attendees as incumbent Lauren Boebert addresses supporters live on her own watch party Tuesday. (Kelsey Brunner/Special for The Colorado Sun)

After winning the June primary, beating Sol Sandoval, a Democratic activist from Pueblo, by less than 300 votes, Frisch and his team embarked on another massive roadtrip.

He seized Pueblo and Mesa counties, the two largest population centers in the 27-county district. But he knew it would take more than that.

Frisch needed to stand before rural voters and let them know his roots, he said, and not just be the Liberal candidate for the glitzy mountain enclave of Aspen. His family’s heritage includes ranching; he had only to inform the voters.

“I just needed to get over the mountain town skepticism, which is totally fair, especially coming from this town,” he told the Colorado Sun on Tuesday night. “I just had to get in front of people. I always knew two or three times the number of voters we need aren’t Democrats who don’t want to vote for her it’s just to convince them that I was the safe enough choice to make them cross the street, if you want. ”

During his Tuesday afternoon stop in Grand Junction, Frisch told The Sun he took a page from former U.S. Representative Scott Tipton, who in 2010 ousted three-term Democrat John Salazar by actively stepping out and meeting people. Boebert upset Tipton to win the seat in 2020, but some voters are now complaining that she doesn’t interact much with the public.

On a recent trip to Alamosa, Frisch said people who came to him expressed surprise that he was talking to them or answering questions because Boebert hadn’t when she was in the area. .

“I think people saw a certain authenticity in me and a pretty good understanding of the issues and they got a chance to learn a lot more about my rural background,” he said on Tuesday evening, awaiting first results.

Frisch was born in Montana on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. When he was 5, the family moved to Minnesota.

Her father, Mel, was an obstetrician-gynecologist who later worked for Planned Parenthood before retiring. Her parents now live in Arizona and made the trip to Aspen for the watch party, along with one of her three younger sisters.

Adam Frisch sits next to his parents as his mother enthusiastically brushes her hand against his cheek.
Patti Frisch touches the face of her son Adam Frisch while watching the updated election results alongside Mel Frisch. (Kelsey Brunner, Special for The Colorado Sun)

While in high school in Minneapolis, he decided he wanted to go to college in Colorado and hoped to become a professional skier. He went to CU but an injury cut short his pro-athlete dream. He got his bachelor’s degree in economics in 1990 and went to New York.

He got a job as a currency trader and did it for over a decade before moving back to Colorado. Frisch made his fortune in New York and met his wife, Katie, who was an investment banker.

The couple, who have two children, moved to Aspen in 2003 and soon became involved in community issues. He first served and chaired the Pitkin County Financial Advisory Board for six years, then in 2009 began working with the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority, which administers the Affordable Housing Program in the region. Its main objective was to find solutions for homeowners associations that have capital reserve fund problems.

In 2008, he lost in his first run for Aspen City Council, but returned three years later to win his first of two terms.

Katie Frisch was elected to the Aspen School District Council in 2019 and is now its Chairperson. Their son, Felix, is a junior at Aspen High School and was on the road with his father for much of the summer.

In the last 11 days leading up to the election, Adam and Felix covered 3,300 miles and made 102 stops.

On the road, he was able to come into contact with herders and farmers in the district because of his family’s Western history. His great-grandfather started a cattle trading business, and one of Frisch’s cousins ​​still runs it.

That, he said, and his tempered personality began to appeal to more conservative voters who were looking for someone to represent them and not someone daring for attention.

After years of stability with Tipton winning five times without much competition, the 3rd Congressional District has been a bit of a mystery in the past two elections. No one has seen Boebert beat the longtime Rep in the 2020 Republican primary.

During her two years in Washington, Boebert made a name for herself by being brash, stoking partisanship and airing her contempt for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

But DC Democratic leaders believed Boebert’s style would still resonate with voters in the 3rd District, and the National Party did not pour money into Frisch’s campaign. He said Tuesday night that he hadn’t gotten much attention from the party or the national media in the past few months, but that suddenly changed.

“People I’ve tried to harass for months and months are finally returning my phone calls,” he said Tuesday night. “We have certainly proven a point on some level that taking the high road, being positive, building a coalition, not disrespecting a group of voters and working really, really, really hard with a group of people who are really, really great is a way to win.”

Adam Frisch looks at a screen displaying the election results.
Adam Frisch, the Democratic candidate for the 3rd congressional district, takes a look at the early election results that threw him ahead of incumbent Lauren Boebert. (Kelsey Brunner/Special for The Colorado Sun)

He reported raising nearly $159,000 from donors giving $1,000 or more after Oct. 19. Boebert raised $67,000 from major donors during the same period.

Nationally, two new Democratic super PACs threw some money at him. Colorado United PAC spent $290,000 and People for Good Sense spent $273,000 on TV, radio and digital advertising in the past month.

Colorado United PAC received $175,000 from PAC founder John Powers of Boulder, who also founded the Alliance Center in Denver, home to several progressive groups. The PAC also received $100,000 from Denver investor John S. Buckley Jr.

People for Good Sense founder and Aspen investor Adam Lewis donated $100,000 and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman donated $50,000.

Frisch would be the first Democrat to hold the seat since Salazar, who served the district for three terms beginning in 2004 before losing to Tipton in the 2010 election.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

Sun reporter Sandra Fish contributed to this report.

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