In her first term in Congress, Lauren Boebert rose to fame as a 'Maga' phenomenon. The pro-Trump Republican was supposed to glide to re-election in conservative western Colorado.

Instead, as the final votes are counted, she's facing a formidable challenge from a middle-of-the-road Democrat.

In September 2019, Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke made a stop in Aurora, Colorado. O'Rourke is the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial nominee

Mr O'Rourke had made gun control central to his campaign, and in Aurora that day he doubled down on his call to ban semi-automatic weapons.

As he spoke, most of the crowd clapped. Lauren Boebert did not. Ms Boebert, 35, a restaurant owner and mother of four, had driven three hours from her home in Rifle, Colorado, to confront Mr O'Rourke.

The moment - caught on video - went viral and became a conservative media talking point. A Republican star was born.

Three months later, she announced her bid to represent Colorado's third congressional district in Congress.

The heckling episode captured much of the style of Ms Boebert, the candidate and, later, Ms Boebert the congresswoman: Combative, unrestrained and bold.

Her 2019 candidacy looked like a long shot. To win the Republican nomination she had to beat a five-term Trump-endorsed incumbent.

Ms Boebert used that energy to relentlessly attack her opponent from the right, telling voters she was the better torch bearer for Mr Trump's Republican party. It paid off.