A story from the Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson is roiling Colorado Republican Party insiders today, with allegations of criminal demands on party officials to ensure an underperforming state senate candidate appeared on the June 30th party primary ballot despite not qualifying–and the finger is being pointed squarely at Colorado GOP chairman Ken Buck:
Colorado Republican Party Chair Ken Buck, a U.S. representative from Windsor, pressured a local party official to submit incorrect election results to set the primary ballot for a state Senate seat, according to an audio recording of a conference call obtained by The Denver Post.
“You’ve got a sitting congressman, a sitting state party chair, who is trying to bully a volunteer — I’m a volunteer; I don’t get paid for this — into committing a crime,” [Pols emphasis] Eli Bremer, the GOP chairman for state Senate District 10, told The Post on Wednesday, confirming the authenticity of the recording. “To say it’s damning is an understatement.”
The district in question is Senate District 10, currently held by term-limited (and apparently ceilinged in his political career) Sen. Owen Hill. Longtime El Paso County Republican bit player Rep. Larry Liston pulled down the lion’s share of support at the district assembly, enough to keep challenger David Stiver under 30% and off the ballot.
But as Swanson continues, that’s when Ken Buck intervened:
“Do you understand the order of the executive committee and the central committee that you will submit the paperwork to include Mr. Stiver and Mr. Liston on the ballot, with Mr. Liston receiving the top-line vote?” Buck said on the call.
“Uh, yes, sir, I understand the central committee has adopted a resolution that requires me to sign a false affidavit to the state,” Bremer replied. [Pols emphasis]
It’s pretty simple: David Stiver only got 24% of the vote at the district assembly, therefore the party chair for SD-10 cannot legally sign an affidavit stating that Stiver got 30% and met the legal qualification for the ballot. The Colorado GOP central committee apparently decided that because attendance at the socially-distanced GOP assemblies was down this year, the result keeping Stiver off the ballot was “unfair.”
The problem with that is, if the assembly process is valid at all, as Eli Bremer was being asked to swear it was, the law is the law. If a former district attorney doesn’t understand that, who would? It’s another case where ignorance, never a valid defense against breaking the law yet the only defense Buck can offer, makes the perpetrator look even worse.
And as we learned during Donald Trump’s impeachment, lawbreaking doesn’t faze this lawman.