Everyone Wants to be GOP Party Chair (Even Ken Buck)

Ken Buck to the rescue?

Colorado Republicans were positively demolished in the 2018 election cycle, losing their slim majority in the State Senate and giving up all four major statewide offices to Democrats (Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State). Republicans desperately need new leadership to guide their wounded flock out of the political wilderness in 2020, which means the soon-to-be-vacant role of State Party Chair is suddenly the most sought-after job in the state.

As 9News reports, there’s a new name atop the list of people vying to succeed Jeff Hays as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party:

Four sources with knowledge of the process on Wednesday told 9NEWS Congressman Ken Buck will run for chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

The replacement for outgoing party chairman Jeff Hays, who is not seeking another two-year term, will be selected by roughly 500 party insiders at a State Central Committee meeting on March 30.

Buck is presumably making his intentions known because the line for the job is already getting pretty long. Among those who have expressed interest in taking the reins of the State GOP are former Jefferson County Republican Party Chair Don Ytterberg; former State Senator Tom Wiens; current Republican Party Vice-Chairman Sherrie Gibson; El Paso County Republican Chair Joshua Hosler; and State Rep. Susan Beckman of Littleton.

The jockeying to become the next person thrown under the bus Chair of the Colorado Republican Party has always been filled with intrigue, back-stabbing, and complicated rivalries. The job itself isn’t nearly as important as it is made out to be — the 2002 passage of Amendment 27 basically neutered the influence of State Parties in Colorado — but the mythology of the position persists for the GOP.

Buck and others appear to be looking at the chairmanship as a stepping stone to a statewide run in 2022 (Bob Beauprez, you’ll recall, was GOP Chair before running for Congress and Governor). It’s easy to understand the narrative when you consider that Colorado Republicans can’t really do much worse than they did in 2018. As long as the next GOP Chair doesn’t plunder the bank accounts or get somebody killed, they’ll be able to claim ownership of whatever resurgence Republicans can muster in 2020.

“The Republican Party is dead.”

Rep. Ken Buck (7/31/17)

Nevertheless, it is unusual for a sitting Member of Congress to be attempting to take the lead of the State Republican Party. Beckman would likely resign from the legislature if she succeeds in her bid for Chair, but it’s not clear that Buck would do the same. As 9News reports:

Colorado Republican Party spokesman Daniel Cole said he was unaware of any reason why a currently elected official, on the state level or federal level, could not simultaneously lead the state party. Cole could not recall a recent time when the chair of the state GOP was also in elected office.

State Party Chairman used to be more of a volunteer role until Republicans turned it into a full-time salaried position for Dick Wadhams in 2007. It’s hard to see Republicans being interested in the idea of Buck serving as Chair while maintaining his seat in Congress, but that’s not Buck’s biggest problem.

Buck’s biggest hurdle to becoming State GOP Chair is that he already declared the patient to be deceased. Here’s what Buck wrote in a guest commentary for the Denver Post on July 31, 2017:

The Republican Party is dead.

At one time, the blood of the people coursed through its veins, enlivening the party with their values and virtues, their goals and dreams. The party became its own energizing force, compelling people to sacrifice for a higher moral purpose.

But today’s Republican Party abandoned these people. It no longer represents their values. It no longer has a vision for a better America. And no one is stepping up to provide that vision.

Yikes! Good luck walking that one back, Congressman.

The Republican Party is dead. Long live the Republican Party.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    My guess is that if Buck became chair, he would keep his congressional seat and oversee the operation but have a fulltime paid executive director on the ground in Colorado. I'm sure the Colorado Chapter of the Party of Trump has the cash lying around to pay a fulltime director.

    Perhaps if his federal job hiatus continues after the GOP state reorg meeting, Moderatus would be willing to work as executive director.

  2. deathpigeon says:

    I'd only be happy with Ken Buck taking that job if he resigned from Congress b/c of it.

  3. davebarnes says:

    When are you going to spell Dickwad Hams name correctly?

  4. ParkHill says:

    The Republican Party chair will be in charge of managing the GOP during Trump's 2020 efforts, which means it is a position with huuuge grift opportunities. Buck is just another corrupt Republican looking for oligarch money or a Golden Parachute.

    I don't see any other utility to the position of Party Chair. I mean, unless the chair is going to dump Trumpism and bring the Republicans back to mainstream American values, the Party has pretty much degenerated into old, white, rural voters and evangelicals. 

  5. mamajama55 says:

    Buck barely reports to work as it is. He has more absent votes than most other reps. 65 out of 1325 votes "absent". He doesn't introduce or cosponsor bills, especially bipartisan ones. He voted no on the Farm Bill.

    All he does is draw a salary, posture for extreme right wing anti-immigrant positions, and suck up to Donald Trump. He's a waste of space.

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    There have been a number of people pointing out that those elected as Republicans in 2010 and after may find working conditions in the House a bit more challenging while serving in the minority — less easy access to corporate and PAC campaign cash, fewer plum committee positions, fewer committee staff positions to push minions into, less opportunity to impact legislation (or even CLAIM to impact legislation), fewer important people stopping by the office to schmooze.

    Buck may think he'd rather drive around in Colorado and take occasional trips out of state rather than fly back and forth to DC and occasionally drive around his district.

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