In the race to unseat far-right Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, something has hit the fan.
Alex Walker, a gay Democrat who hopes to take Boebert on in this year's election, has made a splash with a campaign video that shows fecal matter falling from the skies and ends with him declaring, "Colorado needs a bull, not a bullshitter."
The video has racked up hundreds of thousands of views across various social media platforms since Walker released it in late February, but there's more to his campaign than that. He has serious views on serious issues, and he's confident he can defeat Boebert, who he considers an embodiment of everything that's wrong with the Republican Party, even in the GOP-dominated Third Congressional District of Colorado.
"I feel great about our chances," he tells The Advocate. "This district is the soul of America."
Walker, 31, was the first candidate to file nominating petitions for the Democratic primary in the Third District, while at least seven others are aiming for a spot on the ballot. A couple of candidates are planning to challenge Boebert in the Republican primary as well. The primaries will be held June 28.
Walker describes himself as a moderate Democrat. He grew up in a family of conservative Christians with moderate Republican politics, but his parents are nothing like what the Republican Party has become, he says.
"Today's Republican Party seems to be a cancer that has lost control of itself," Walker says.
The candidate, a political newcomer who has run small businesses and worked in the tech industry, has some conservative views -- he favors small government and lower taxes, for instance -- but he's liberal on others, being a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ equality, voting rights, and reproductive freedom.
"I would never run as a Republican," he says. "It is not a party defined by anything other than disenfranchisement."
He's particularly appalled by Republican attempts at voter suppression -- "I do not understand how the GOP rationalizes its fight to rob citizens of the vote," he says -- and attacks on transgender people. GOP politicians know they've lost the battle on gay rights, so they've moved on to target the trans community, says Walker, who notes that he came out in his early 20s with no problems from family or friends.
Not that every battle has been won for gay Americans, let alone the rest of the LGBTQ+ spectrum; the Equality Act, which would outlaw anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination nationwide, is still pending in Congress, having passed the House but never the Senate. Walker says passing the act would be one of his priorities.
That stance is certainly different from Boebert's, as she has claimed the Equality Act is not about equality but about "supremacy of gays." The first-term congresswoman is known for other homophobic and transphobic comments, such as making fun of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave and saying her pronoun is "patriot."
She's also known for her embrace of QAnon conspiracy theories, although she denies being a QAnon follower, and she and a fellow conspiracy-monger, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, spent the State of the Union address heckling President Joe Biden. She has called for the impeachment of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris over the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, saying Biden "colluded with the Taliban" and that Harris has failed to recognize Biden's "cognitive decline."
The Third District, which covers most of western Colorado, is largely rural and heavily Republican. Boebert defeated a five-term incumbent in the 2020 Republican primary and then beat Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the general election. Due to redrawing of boundaries since then, the district has become even more Republican, Walker acknowledges. But he's still optimistic, although he recognizes that he's in an uphill battle.
The district has a "heavy Republican contingent that is weary of Republican hatred," he says. As for Boebert, he says, "She is the villain that represents the soul of the Republican Party."
"We think we can electrify moderates in America," he adds.
Meanwhile, that campaign video has certainly lit up computer screens. "I was surprised when that got as big as it did," he says. "There's nothing really special about that video except for my honesty."