UPDATE: Interesting choice of words from Coffman’s spokesperson in response to a request for comment from the Associated Press:
House’s statement, about three months after he became party chair, was prompted in part by an email Coffman sent to The Denver Post saying he was resigning Tuesday, but she didn’t explain why.
She declined to comment to The Associated Press. “I think we’re going to pass on commenting,” said Michelle Lyng, a spokeswoman for Coffman. [Pols emphasis]
“I think we’re going to pass” is something we expect Coffman will be hearing a lot in the near future.
On Monday, Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman was one of the Colorado Republican Party’s brightest stars, a newly-elected statewide officeholder who was already being mentioned as a candidate for Governor in 2018 or even U.S. Senate in 2016.
That’s over now.
The completely bizarre attempted coup against State Republican Party Chair Steve House — just three months after his election — that began on Monday night ended on Tuesday evening with House still standing and Coffman’s political career in ruins (click here to read our initial coverage of GOP Coup 2015).
On Monday, House was lured into a honeypot meeting with Coffman in which he was ambushed by several Republicans in a clumsy and ill-considered attempt to force him to resign. Less than 24 hours later, House issued this statement via the State Republican Party:
The rumors started last night, when I was scheduled to meet with Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. When I arrived to our meeting, I was surprised to see that former Congressman Tom Tancredo and Pueblo County Chair Becky Mizel were also in attendance. The purpose of the meeting was initially unknown to me and I believed it was a routine strategy discussion by the Attorney General and myself. Congressman Tancredo confronted me about not hiring former state Sen. Ted Harvey as the Party’s executive director, and demanded that I resign my post. If I refused to meet their demand to resign, they threatened that a potential lawsuit may be filed and that false rumors that I have been unfaithful to my wife would be made public. [Pols emphasis]
Neither I, my family, nor anyone else serving our Party deserves this type of treatment.
In my frustration, I sent the Attorney General a text stating that I would resign, because I did not want my family, nor our Party to be dragged through this. No individual, myself included, is more important than the Party. After speaking with my wife and my closest advisers, I informed the Attorney General that I will not resign. [Pols emphasis]
No one should be bullied out of running for office, or serving as a leader in our Party. It is clear that our Party has some challenges ahead and that is what I was elected to address. These types of divisive and bullying tactics are why so many Americans are sick of politics as usual.
My biggest fault is probably the belief that I could unite all factions of the Party. Unfortunately, there are some who are more concerned with their own personal gain than doing what is best for our Party as a whole. These are the same exact people who fought against past chairmen, and they are going to try to take out the next chair as well.
As the state Chairman of the GOP, I represent over 1 million registered Colorado Republicans. I will not give in to a vicious and vocal minority that seeks to bring down the Party from within. That is why I am committed to staying on as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, to ensure success in 2016 and beyond.
This is an absolute disaster for Cynthia Coffman, and here’s why: Nobody in their right mind is ever going to trust Coffman again. Nobody is going to want anything to do with her politically. She’s Richard Nixon spying on his own political party. Linda Tripp. Salvatore Tessio.
Coffman just tried to oust her second Republican Party Chair in three months, which is bad enough, but the level of betrayal and iciness she displayed is despicable. Take a look at what Coffman wrote in January when she formally endorsed House for GOP Chair over Ryan Call, who had helped her get elected in 2014:
As I worked alongside Steve, I saw a uniquely talented leader whose passion for conservatism and our party is infectious. His speeches are inspired and motivating. His ideas are forward thinking and common sense. I was so impressed that I asked Steve to speak on my behalf on the campaign trail. After my election as Attorney General, I brought Steve in to serve on my transition team. These experiences convinced me that Steve House should be our next party chair… [Pols emphasis]
…Even more important to me is Steve House’s gift for bringing together people who have diverse beliefs, identifying their common interests while respecting their differences, and moving them forward to achieve a shared goal. I believe our party still is fractured among different groups, all of whom call themselves conservatives and Republicans. I struggle with the fact that grassroots supporters feel alienated from the party organization and can’t find a way back into the family that once welcomed them. I want a leader who respects all of our voices and creates an environment that leads to victory. [Pols emphasis]
Yeah, wow! On Monday night, Coffman lured House — the same guy she praised so effusively just a few months ago — into a meeting that was supposed to end with his resignation. When House refused to resign, Coffman took things one step further, telling Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post that House had informed her he would resign. She told this to Bartels on Tuesday morning, by which time Coffman had to have known that House was not, in fact, resigning as State Party Chair. She stabbed House in the back twice in the span of about 12 hours.
It is clear that a lot of people underestimated Steve House as this drama unfolded. A lot of people made a lot of bad decisions that are backfiring on them now, but none will fall as far and as certainly as Cynthia Coffman. It is baffling that Coffman would have agreed to take part in this nonsense, particularly in targeting someone thought to be her friend and political confidant. Coffman will never be able to muster enough support to run for higher office — not now — and we’d almost guarantee that she will face a Republican Primary if she seeks re-election as Attorney General in 2018.
Thus ends Cynthia Coffman.