In Odd Decision, GOP Will Fill Lebsock Vacancy

UPDATE: Just so there is no confusion, State GOP Chair Jeff Hays confirms that Republicans could have made a smarter choice but decided against it:

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Senate President Kevin Grantham

As 9News reports, Colorado Republicans have decided that they will indeed fill the vacancy in House District 34 that was created when the State House voted to expel Democrat Republican Rep. Steve Lebsock last week:

Colorado Republicans announced Friday morning that they have formed a committee to fill disgraced Rep. Steve Lebsock’s seat following his expulsion from the state House of Representatives, saying that “it would be dereliction of duty to punt the appointment to Governor John Hickenlooper” and that they’re doing it because of what they’re calling a “cover up” by Democrats…

…Lebsock, who was a Democrat, covertly switched parties shortly before his expulsion last Friday. Five women filed formal sexual harassment complaints against Lebsock, with allegations ranging from him propositioning them for sex to unbuttoning the top button of a woman’s blouse…

…The Colorado Republican Committee has not announced when the Republican Central Committee of House District 34 will meet to fill Lebsock’s vacancy, but they said it could be later this month.

Because of Lebsock’s last-minute change to the Republican Party, the GOP could have declined to fill Lebsock’s vacancy and left it to Gov. John Hickenlooper to appoint a replacement. It made perfect sense for Republicans to leave this alone for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that HD-34 is not a winnable seat for the GOP. Picking up one more seat in the House has no strategic value for Republicans where the 2018 legislative session is concerned; Democrats will still hold a seven-seat advantage for the final six weeks of the session, and they will almost certainly regain this seat in the November election.

State Republican Party Chairman Jeff Hays

Here’s what Colorado Republican Party Chairman Jeff Hays said about the decision in a statement:

“Statute clearly assigns our vacancy committee the authority and responsibility to fill this seat. After careful consideration, we concluded it would be dereliction of duty to punt the appointment to Governor John Hickenlooper. We owe it to the people of House District 34 to give them the experience of ethical representation, which the Democrats, when they controlled the seat, signally failed to provide.”

By deciding to fill this seat, Republicans are in effect acknowledging the legitimacy of Lebsock’s late registration change. In other words, the GOP is confirming that the State House expelled a Republican legislator last Friday — the first expulsion of a sitting legislator in more than 100 years. Lebsock was a Democrat and his transgressions occurred while he was a member of the Democratic Party, but this decision by the GOP leaves no doubt that the record will forever show that it was a Republican legislator who was expelled in 2018. Furthermore, news accounts of the upcoming vacancy committee will note that it is a Republican Party process, which will likely convince many voters that Lebsock was a Republican lawmaker all along.

Former Rep. Steve Lebsock (R-Thornton)

Republicans are doing all of this for one reason: To provide cover for the inaction of Senate Republicans in their own sexual harassment scandal. Senate President Kevin Grantham steadfastly refuses to take any sort of punitive action in the wake of sexual harassment charges made against Senators Randy BaumgardnerJack Tate, and Larry Crowder, despite the fact that independent investigations deemed complaints against all three Senators to be credible. It is no coincidence that Republicans hold a narrow one-seat advantage in the State Senate; even a temporary removal from office would deprive Grantham of his majority.

After Lebsock’s ouster, the ongoing story of sexual harassment at the State Capitol shifted to the State Senate exclusively. The GOP is desperately sticking with its message that the Lebsock mess involved some sort of cover-up by State House Democrats because it is their only hope to distract from Grantham’s abdication of responsibility. This strategy isn’t really working for Republicans, but they have no other response as the story keeps spinning out of their control.

26 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Diogenesdemar says:

    It makes sense, . . . 

    . . . they’re having to replace a sexual harasser, and Republicans got a Rolodex full of ‘em!

  2. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Hays is wrong about statute clearly assigning anything in this case.  Having said that, I think the courts will ultimately conclude that the vacancy committee is the right process to use, even though expulsion is omitted as a cause for using one in statute.

    In any case, it's going to be a Republican appointed.  The state constitution requires it.

    Art. V, Section 2:

    (3)  Any vacancy occurring in either house by death, resignation, or otherwise shall be filled in the manner prescribed by law. The person appointed to fill the vacancy shall be a member of the same political party, if any, as the person whose termination of membership in the general assembly created the vacancy. [emphasis mine]

  3. unnamed says:

    Have at it Repubs.  You own him.  You expelled a Republican.

    • ModeratusModeratus says:

      Only technically. I'm glad to have the seat, but Lebsock's misdeeds were as a Democrat.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Oh, no…..we showed what we thought of his actions. The nine "nays" on expulsion were your people defending him.

        Remember, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

      • unnamed says:

        Okay nutlid.  You responded to my prior post, now respond to this question:  When it became known that Lebsock had retaliated by distributing that disgusting "manifesto" to his fellow lawmakers and the press, you continued to defend him and said the Democrats who called for his ouster were engaged in a witch hunt. Yet when Lebsock was expelled you then made his retaliation an issue?  Was it not an issue to you before he was expelled?   Also, Lebsock was accused of misdeeds as a Democrat as you are now admitting.  So, how does that square with the Senate Republicans that have committed similar misdeeds as Republicans?  Can you answer these questions?

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        Hey Fluffy, do you think you’re pervy enough for the Republicans to consider you as a replacement?

      • Arvadonian1Arvadonian1 says:

        And when his misdeeds were discovered, he joined a party that was more welcoming of such behavior.

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        Did you really say that, you treasonous numbskull? His deeds were because he was a democrat, and because he chose the party that wouldn't kick him out, his deeds are absolved and he is now a lily white Trumpublican?

        I really have to hand it to you…whoever you are (though I am disappointed to hear mama tell me you are real…it is really difficult to accept that anyone could really be so willfully ignorant) for always setting a new standard of dumb for our amusement. I, for one, appreciate your assistance in building the progressive movement…well done, sir.

         

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          I don't think we can call Fluffy treasonous, Duke .  After all, he has never wavered in his loyalty to Mother Russia and Father Putin.

          He may serve a different master than Americans do, but he serves him well.

          • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

            You are right, V.

            I didn't think that one through, did I? I guess  loyalty isn't based on ones' location…it lies in whatever bosom beats his heart. 

            And his heart belongs to Vlad.

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    “Cover up”? . . . 

    Huh?

    . . . is it a requirement now that every Republican these days reside in a 100% completely fact-free zone?

  5. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Fact?  What is fact, comrade?

     

  6. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    GOP: Gropers Or Perverts. cf., Steve Lebsock

  7. doremi says:

    Republicans may be soulless, but they're not stupid.

    This is NOT a SAFE seat for the Democrats.  Lebsock won be 6% in the last election.  I put that in the swing seat category.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Perhaps it was him and not the politics of the district.

      Perhaps many of constituents had reason to suspect there was something not entirely right about him back in November 2016. Didn't I read someone post that Hillary carried that district by 16%?

      • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

        Hillary won Adams County (which contains Lebsock's former HD34 district) by ~8%.

        I saw Steve Lebsock speak to our Morgan County Dems  last October. Not knowing anything much about him, I thought that he was the strongest candidate for treasurer. He came across as dynamic and knowledgeable. I would have voted for him, absent this scandal. I'm sure many of his district constituents felt the same.

        Politicians are skilled at presenting their best faces to the public.

        • VoyageurVoyageur says:

          People are complex.  Lebsock was a good politician and apparently a capable legislator.  Oh, yeah, and a scumbag with women.  Now, he is a good Republican and can always try for a comeback as Trump's communications director.  I hear the job is open again.

          • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

            A man seated on a bus began to rant in conversation with those seated around him. As his tone darkened and his voice rose, he finally.

            captured the attention of all aboard. 

            When he finally shouted, "Politicians?…All politicians are assholes!!", a man in a very nice suit in the front row stood, turned, and said plaintively, "you know..I take exception with that!" Eyeing him, the first man said, "Oh, what are you…a politician?"

            "No", he replied, "I'm an asshole".

            😜                                                

             

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