As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, Friday’s announcement of Colorado Senate Republican minority committee members left one telling name off the list–Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, whose copiously-documented and repeatedly confirmed record of sexual harassment at the Colorado Capitol erupted in scandal in the 2018 legislative session:
Sen. Randy Baumgardner, the northwest Colorado Republican who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal during this year’s session, won’t have a lot of things to do when he returns to the Colorado Legislature next month.
That’s because the Hot Sulphur Springs lawmaker, who faced a failed expulsion attempt because of those complaints and is expected to face it again next session, wasn’t named to any of the Legislature’s 10 main standing committees…
“I’ve talked with (Baumgardner), and he is comfortable with (the decision),” [Senate Minority Leader Chris] Holbert said. “This is a continuance of where we’ve been. There’s been no change.”
While that’s technically true, it’s a considerable oversimplification of events from this year’s legislative session. The allegations against Baumgardner were investigated more than once, with the first investigation being disparaged by GOP Senate leadership who ordered a second probe. But before that second investigation’s findings could be disclosed, GOP leaders rushed a vote on the resolution to expel Baumgardner ahead of that report’s release. It was only after that second investigation was released, and some delay following even that, when Senate President Kevin Grantham finally took the step at the very end of the session of removing Baumgardner from his remaining committees.
Although Republicans were in control of the chamber, it remains possible that the further validation of the accusations against Baumgardner via this second investigation could have resulted in a different outcome for the motion to expel Baumgardner had it been disclosed before the vote. Any way you slice it, Republicans including the new Minority Leader helped protect Baumgardner from being expelled, and that is why he is still in the Senate.
We’ll give Chris Holbert a measure of credit for keeping still-Sen. Baumgardner at arm’s length from the women who work at the Colorado Capitol in the 2019 session, ostracism that could and probably should motivate Baumgardner to take his tired act back home to Hot Sulphur Springs.
But not very much credit, and we hope Holbert understands this is a big reason he’ll never be Senate President.