“Dr. Chaps'” Opponent Calls For Withdrawal From HD-15 Race

UPDATE: The Washington Post's Abby Ohlheiser keeps the national spotlight on "Dr. Chaps":

A Republican nominee for a Colorado statehouse seat responded to criticism on Monday over his claim that U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) would “join ISIS in beheading Christians.”

Gordon Klingenschmitt, a longtime conservative figure in the state, said in the video embedded below that the statement e-mailed to supporters was just “hyperbole” and that “some Democrats do not have a sense of humor” before offering up an apology to Polis…

In his apology video, Klingenschmitt maintained that he thought policies supported by Polis would “persecute” Christian business owners in the state, adding: “I would never compare you to the ISIS rebels who behead Christians, right? Of course, you would never go in for something like that.”

The state Republican party distanced itself from Klingenschmitt’s remarks, and not for the first time…

Meanwhile, local progressives join the call for Klingenschmitt to withdraw from the HD-15 race:

"Gordon Klingenschmitt's extreme homophobic slurs have no place in any civil discussion of American politics," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. "There is absolutely nothing that can justify these outlandish statements, certainly nothing in Rep. Jared Polis' record of fighting for equality for all Americans."

"Like it or not, Klingenschmitt is the Republican Party's nominee for Colorado House District 15," said Runyon-Harms. "His extreme rhetoric dishonors not just the Republican Party, but other Republican politicians who have endorsed his campaign either directly or indirectly. Sen. Bernie Herpin, who invited Klingenschmitt to deliver a prayer at his recall victory party, should disavow Klingenschmitt–or explain why he will not."

"For years, Colorado conservatives have turned a blind eye to irresponsible extremism," said Runyon-Harms. "Now, one of their worst offenders is receiving national attention just before a major election. Is Gordon Klingenschmitt the new face of the Colorado Republican Party? If Klingenschmitt refuses to withdraw, and his Republican colleagues refuse to ask him to do so, he must be."


Gordon Klingenschmitt.

Gordon Klingenschmitt.

​As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, the story of GOP HD-15 nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt, whose every pronouncement since winning his Colorado House primary has been an absolute disaster for the Republican brand. They were before, of course, but now he's official. Klingenschmitt's Democratic opponent Lois Fornander is now calling for "Dr. Chaps" to pull out of the race:

Lois Fornander is calling for her opponent for the state House of Representatives to withdraw from the election after what she calls "a homophobic attack on Congressman Jared Polis."

Fornander, a Democrat, is set to face Republican Gordon Klingenschmitt in November for the eastern Colorado Springs and El Paso County House District 15 seat…

"Such a statement is far beyond 'hyperbole,' it is inflammatory, irresponsible and repulsive," said Fornander in an email. "Klingenschmitt's attempt to pass off this reference to an ISIS beheading as an attempt at humor is not only disingenuous, it's perverse."

It's interesting to see Fornander call for Klingenschmitt to exit the race, since arguably "Dr. Chaps" represents Fornanders best shot at actually winning the safe Republican HD-15 seat this November. We assume that Fornander and those advising her have considered this, and simply concluded that calling for Klingenschmitt to withdraw from the HD-15 race is the altruistically right thing to do.

On the other hand, there's really nothing that Fornander or Republicans can do to force Klingenschmitt out. As we learned when Rep. Jared Wright's campaign in 2012 went off the rails, leading to not-so-subtle attempts by fellow Republicans to get him out of the HD-54 race, safe Republican seats like HD-15 leave candidates with little to fear no matter what they say or do–within reason, of course, but neither Wright's embarrassing career and financial troubles nor Klingenschmitt's penchant for bug-eyed insanity appear to rise to the proverbial level.

And that could be a problem for Republicans in more than just this one House seat. The next logical step in the Klingenschmitt story, which hasn't been anywhere near fully developed, is his close ties to GOP SD-11 Senator Bernie Herpin. Herpin's recall victory last yearover Sen. John Morse in a district that leans Democratic has made him a major target this year. Herpin's ties to Klingenschmitt include a genuine "Dr. Chaps" prayer at Herpin's victory party, and the subsequent endorsement of Klingenschmitt's House campaign by Herpin's Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition.

Even before this latest, there was a vast wealth of "Dr. Chaps" lunacy on video to make Herpin dearly regret it.

31 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ghostfacekillah says:

    Good for Gordon. The homoagenda is killing America's children.

  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Fornander is appropriately calling attention to Klingenschmitt's nuttiness, and asking voters to consider if they really want to be represented by someone that crazy. It gets her name out there, too, in an environment where the local Dems, along with Republicans, have been slow to promote her candidacy. 

    ghostface: I'm guessing you've never actually talked with a gay person, either. You might want to get out of the basement more.

  3. FrankUnderwood says:

    Fornander cannot seriously want him to withdraw.  I know she has to make the request but it's got to be half-hearted.  If he drops out, there's always the risk they'll nominate a serious candidate.  Better to run against the guy wearing the propeller hat than someone voters will take seriously.

  4. Not Dame Edna says:

    Dr. "Crazy" Chaps bears a striking resemblance to Karl Rove. Except he's crazier.

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      I noticed that too.  Twins, separated at birth?

      • notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

        So it's not just me, Frank and Edna! He does. Let's hope his fortunes follow his "twin'.in the meantime I shall fervently hope that none of the over-the-top whackos the GOTP have nominated take the esablishment's advice and drop out. I'd love to get John Morse's old seat back and Evie Hudak's,too, just to put the cherry on it.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Rove isn't crazy. He was very good at getting his people elected with his creating his own reality strategy. But he got stuck, couldn't see change coming and got run over by it. His 2012 election night meltdown when confronted with the undeniable fact that yes there is objective reality and the reality is your guy lost, was his pathetic final descent into complete irrelevance. He can still raise money among a certain element and that's about it. Zombie like, he, Cheney, McCain and Graham still lurch onto all the talk shows but who, besides the media types they give soundbites to to fill the 24 hour news cycle, gives a damn what they say anymore?

  5. gaf says:

    Lois Fornander's statement was not just a call for Klingenschmitt to step down. It also specifically called out the El Paso County Republican Party, which had remained silent even while the state party was tryng to disown him. Fornander's statement brought additional pressure to where the local party had to come out of hiding and either defend Dr. Chaps or denounce him. El Paso County Republican Chairman Jeffrey Hays chose to double down:

    He's part of our team…..He represents a whole host of views the Republican Party will have so absolutely we want him to win.


    So he is their guy, they want him, he represents them (I imagine Ryan Call is happy about that comment!). Good to know the company they want to keep.

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      Let's hear it for Team Moderatus !!?!!

    • gaf says:

      To be fully accurate here:

      KOAA TV's original transcript on their website had the wording "He represents a whole host of views of the Republican Party so absolutely we want him to win." They now have a new version that the reporter says is the correct, accurate quote: "He's a vote for a whole host of positive initiatives the Republican Party is going to have so ablolutely we want him to win." KOAA did not post a correction alert or mention the quote had been changed.

      On today's new post ("Sorry Ryan Call…"), Colorado Pols also quotes the original version. The point of my previous post, of course, was to point out that Lois Forander called out the El Paso County Republicans so that they had to come out of hiding and respond–which they did by standing behind Klingenschmitt.

      • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

        KOAA's written reporting was barely literate, especially contrasted with retired teacher Lois Fornander's precise writing in her Gazette blog. To quote KOAA's Greg Dingrando:

        We should point out Klingenschmitt won the Republican Primary to even get to the position he's in and it doesn't appear he'll be backing down like the Democrats including his challenger Lois Fornander are asking.

        This is professional journalism?

        No, Klingenschmitt can't be forced out – everyone knows that. However, forcing EPCO Republicans to either defend and rally around, or disavow and distance from Gordon Klingenschmitt is good tactically. Anything that raises awareness, that might make {fiscally -conservative but socially liberal to moderate Republicans- that have gay kids and/or friends} hit "pause" before they automatically vote for all of the "R" candidates is smart politics.

  6. Gray in Mountains says:

    after November, when Chaps loses, he can get a gig with FAUX news. It will be good to see the split screen with he and Rove

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