I am reluctant to add to the many opinions regarding the current state of the Colorado Republican Party. My status as a former chair in a major county compels me to speak about the ongoing drama because of my vantage point regarding how the party should function.
A cascade of events exists to point to how the Colorado GOP got to its current state. What matters is concentrating on how the future can be shaped and how to rebuild.
One incident in 2022 shows precisely how difficult the road forward will be. According to filings on TRACER, the El Paso County Republican Central Committee had approximately $70,600 in its bank accounts as of Oct. 30, 2022. To compare and contrast, other GOP major-county parties throughout Colorado had balances of between $3,000 and $24,000 in their accounts on the same date.
The reason for this difference is that those other county parties spent money to support and elect Republican candidates in their locales. The specifics are a matter of public record on TRACER.
I assure you that if the El Paso County GOP had spent $50,000 to elect Republican candidates, some of them would have been elected. There would have a smaller margin of loss in El Paso County for those candidates who were defeated. But the El Paso GOP did not spend and support.
The restraint that the leadership in El Paso County showed in expenditures for candidate support is why going forward it is reasonable to presume that the Colorado GOP is dead. What they did in effect was exercise a post-primary veto over GOP candidates. They said that “those candidates are not good enough in our opinion, therefore we will not support them.”
The purpose of the Republican Party is to elect Republican-affiliated candidates. If you do not wish to support Republican-affiliated candidates, then what is your purpose in existing?
If you do not wish to support Republican nominees that are chosen by voters, are you not a Republican in name only?
Some will object and mention a number of different reasons why GOP candidates should not be supported, like a lack of total fidelity to the platform. I have sympathy for those arguments, but once the nominee is chosen, then it is time to close ranks behind them.
There are reasons for hope in terms of electing Republicans and conservatives. What I see happening is that people of means will look at the current situation in the Colorado GOP and decide to fund their own endeavors to elect candidates of their choosing who are in agreement with those people of means.
They may or may not agree with the “grassroots” who lead the EL Paso County Republican Party currently. Those people of means will act as they do because they care about Colorado and wish to have less government rather than more.
They want to persuade others that Republican-affiliated candidates have the better agenda for Colorado’s future. They will also travel down this path because, like many Coloradoans, they do not trust the leadership of the Colorado GOP.
What the current El Paso County leadership did in 2022 is far more consequential than most currently realize. If what I predicted comes to pass, then the consequences of their actions of non-support will be larger than is currently seen.
Their actions would amount to a betrayal by the “grassroots leadership” of the grassroots faithful. It would make the dreaded “Establishment” far more consequential than it is currently. No one within the Colorado GOP should desire that at all.
Joe Webb is the former chairman of the Jeffco Republican party.