Yesterday afternoon, Colorado’s Congressional Redistricting Commission voted to 11-0 to remove Republican Danny Moore from his position as chairman of the commission, with Moore himself abstaining. This vote came just a few days after a news story disclosing Moore’s history of second-guessing the results of the 2020 presidential election, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic as the “China virus,” and alleging that a shooting last year in Denver involving an armed security guard working for a local TV station was a “setup confrontation.”
As 9NEWS reports, Moore’s fellow commissioners rejected his protestations that the attacks on him were somehow racially motivated, or that he was merely offering these allegations about the 2020 elections for “debate”–meaning his colleagues shouldn’t consider them reflective of Moore’s judgement:
During the meeting, Moore suggested his demotion and the media reports about his posts stem from racism. Other members disagreed.
“This has nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin in terms of how we operate as a commission,” commissioner Simon Tafoya, a Democrat, said…
“Had I known that you felt this belief with respect to the election having been stolen, I would not have supported your candidacy of chairman of this commission,” commissioner Lori Smith Schell, who is unaffiliated, said in the meeting. [Pols emphasis]
AP reporting via the Grand Junction Sentinel makes the point well:
Commissioner Lori Smith Schell said she would not have supported Moore as chair had she known about the social media posts, but supported allowing him to remain as a commissioner.
“Your race is not an issue in this discussion … your belief that the last presidential election was stolen, and the last Colorado election was tainted … are what is at issue,” Schell said.
The scrutiny came as the newly appointed commission faces months-long delays in receiving U.S. Census data that are threatening to derail the high-stakes redistricting process ahead of the 2022 election. It also injects partisan controversy into the commission, which was billed as a way to tame the politics around the redistricting process. [Pols emphasis]
The immediate problem with Danny Moore continuing as chairman of the redistricting commission seems to be that he had lost the trust of the rest of the commissioners, including fellow Republicans, by blindsiding them with his history of questioning election results and embracing unfounded, socially repellent conspiracy theories. That the commission supported allowing Moore to remain as a regular member acknowledges the simple fact that Moore is far from alone in those beliefs, however baseless they may be. Moore’s misguided views on the election are unfortunately the view of a majority of Republicans, and for that reason he must be considered representative of Republicans. As a board member of the Leadership Program of the Rockies, Moore is in regular contact with the highest echelons of Republican leadership in the state.
Obviously, if belief in these bogus conspiracy theories is disqualifying from serving as the chairman of the state’s congressional redistricting commission, it’s not a great look for Republicans even if Moore is allowed to remain as a member. But at a certain level, we’re forced to acknowledge that finding Republicans who don’t believe these fictional narratives may not be easy–and those who pass this litmus test might not look, for good or ill, like what the Republican Party has become.
No commission can solve these larger fundamental problems. They can only work around them.