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September 22, 2021 09:23 AM UTC

Lawsuit Against Colorado Could Allow GOP To Dump Open Primaries Before Next Election, Says GOP Lawyer

  • by: Michael Lund

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At Saturday’s Colorado GOP state central committee assembly in Pueblo, party leadership voted against the long-debated proposal that Republicans opt out of primary elections, which allow unaffiliated voters to participate in the selection of party nominees

But the state’s Republican governing body overwhelmingly agreed to file a lawsuit against the state challenging the legality of Proposition 108, the 2016 referendum approved by voters which established open primaries in Colorado.

The much-anticipated vote for opting out of primaries required an almost-insurmountable threshold of 75% approval of the entire central committee membership, not just those present at the meeting.

Activists in favor of opting out traveled the state over the past six months, lobbying committee members. Dueling op-eds appeared in publications and endorsements for and against the measure were tallied in anticipation of Saturday’s vote.

In the end, the opt-out proposal failed with only 33% approving (172 votes of the total membership of approximately 525) and 45% opposing the measure (241 votes).

Proponents of opting out of the state’s open primaries believe that the process favors meddling by dark money groups and Democrats, while nominating candidates who compromise on the GOP platform and principles.

Opponents believe that opting out of the primaries would disenfranchise Republican voters and turn moderates and unaffiliated voters — the largest group of Colorado voters, at 40% of the electorate — away from the party.

Vote to Fund Lawsuit Nearly Unanimous

The committee then considered a resolution to sue the state of Colorado in order to challenge Proposition 108.

Such a court challenge might take two forms. One would be to challenge a clause that opponents claim is unduly and unconstitutionally burdensome, requiring 75% approval of the entire state central committee.

Another option might be to challenge the statute in its entirety, based on a precedent Supreme Court ruling in a California case from 2000 which states that political parties, as private organizations, have First Amendment protections of freedom of association, and can exclude the participation of outsiders to that organization.

A companion motion was also considered by the GOP central committee for funding the legal challenge against the state. In previous years, similar motions have failed due to concern among committee members about the cost of the challenge.

On Saturday, however, both the motion to sue the state and the resolution to fund the legal challenge passed with near unanimity.

When contacted for comment, GOP executive committee member and national committeeman for Colorado, Randy Corporon, said that he was encouraged by the broad support for challenging Proposition 108 in court, and presented alternative legal strategies — as well as his own preference — for challenging the statute.

What I would be interested in seeing the Republican Party do is to try to overturn the whole law based on the (75%) threshold, so that we could start fresh,” explained Corporon. “…There’s never any harm in filing a complaint that asks for alternative forms of relief. So, you can ask for one or both and not really incur a negative consequence. For instance, overturning the entire proposition based on the freedom of association argument, you could still challenge the impossible threshold and you wouldn’t lose anything by doing both. … I would love to see, if they do pursue litigation, that they go after the whole thing.”

But Corpron said, that despite the strong support from the governing body to initiate a lawsuit, it is not a sure thing.

“There are no decisions that have been made,” Corporon said. “The biggest limitation on the party taking action in the past to try and overturn Proposition 108 has been the cost.”

Corporon has offered to represent the GOP in its case against the state at a reduced rate, as has John Eastman and the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank with which Eastman is affiliated.

Eastman, former President Trump’s lawyer and a constitutional attorney and professor, has announced his intention to sue the University of Colorado at Boulder for defamation and other claims, after CU’s response to Eastman’s involvement in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election results and his appearance at the Jan. 6 Washington D.C. rally which inspired the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Corporon is representing Eastman in his effort to sue CU.

And so I have certainly said that I would do whatever I — you know, the party has a tremendous lawyer in Chris Murray — but I would do whatever I can, including utilize resources from my law firm at a reduced rate,” said Corporon. “John Eastman and the Claremont Institute have expressed a willingness to look at ways that this could be legally funded. … So, that that all has to be sorted out, but there are good lawyers who specialize in that area that I’m sure could make that happen. Because what we don’t want to do — and what no one wants to do — is to drain the resources of the party from its primary purpose of electing Republicans to focus on this issue. So I’ve certainly made it clear that I’d be willing to try and help, if that is asked.”

RelatedTrump Attorney Eastman to Represent State GOP in Suit Against CO Open Primary Law, Says GOP Activist

Corporon also said that he’s confident, given the timeline of upcoming primaries scheduled for next June, that judicial intervention could provide timely relief for the GOP’s complaint and allow a more desirable process for Republicans to choose their nominees.

If the winning argument is that the government has no business telling a private organization who they can affiliate and who they want making decisions about their business, then a judge wouldn’t have to craft a remedy for the Republican Party,” explained Corporon. “Absolutely, it’s the kind of lawsuit that could be filed within a couple of weeks and that a court would very likely pay very quick and close attention to for that very reason. It’s a constitutional issue. It can have tremendous impact on the midterm election. … Every judge establishes his on his or her own criteria. But you’ve seen before … when a challenge gets filed on a statute or an election outcome or even something that’s been passed by voters, courts jump on it. You usually get quick hearings and quick rulings. And I can’t imagine that the same thing wouldn’t happen here.”


Wadhams Wouldn’t Be ‘Surprised’ if Majority of CO GOP Governing Body Votes To Exit Open Primaries

CO GOP Efforts to Opt Out of Open Primaries Complicated by Proxy Votes, Quorum Requirement, Potential Court Interventions

ACLU Attorney Agrees With GOP Activists: Strict Rules for Opting Out of Open Primaries Could Be Struck Down

ACLU Attorney Agrees With GOP Activists: Strict Rules for Opting Out of Open Primaries Could Be Struck Down


Bid to Opt Out of Open Republican Primaries in CO Is Close to Success, Now With Help From Tancredo, Say Organizers

As They Debate Dumping Primaries, CO Republicans Tell The World They’re Losers


27 thoughts on “Lawsuit Against Colorado Could Allow GOP To Dump Open Primaries Before Next Election, Says GOP Lawyer

  1. "Corporon says . . ."  Keeriste on a cracker!

    Is Jenna Ellis available? . . .

    . . . Perhaps, the whole team of crack CCU Constitutional Law professors?


    1. Even though a majority of the Colorado Republican Party governing board voted AGAINST precisely what they are asking a judge to do.

      Paging one of those Activist Judges. 

  2. How is the GOP a private organization?  It has no say in who its members are.  If Hillary Clinton wanted to join tomorrow while stridently advocating for the position of abortion at or after birth, the GOP would have no ability to stop her.


          1. Nice try at censorship, Duke. I’ll speak when and where I want.

            I was actually replying to kwtree, not to your ego. It’s not my problem that Pols doesn’t always place replies where they belong.

            1. Censorship? 

              You flatter yourself.

              I was merely hinting to you that you have not said and likely will not say anything I regard as significant.

              So, I encourage you to butt out. However, this is America,  and you may dribble your insipid drivel wherever you like, of course, and continue to believe you are the smartest guy in the room.


              whatever…it is hard to imagine anyone more irrelevant.

              Maybe Fluffy.


              1. Funny thing, Duke. You love to put things in peoples’ mouths, like I’m the “smartest guy in the room.”

                Re-read the above, Duke. As for me “sucking up” to Michael, not a chance. He’s already earned the status and kudos here.

                If that was a contest, Michael Bowman would win it going away. 

                “hard to imagine anyone more irrelevant….” Look in the mirror before you call out others. When we met back in the mid-1980s, you actually had thoughts that would grab attention in a good way. Now, not so much.

                1. Opinion noted.

                  Oh… one more thing.
                  Your insinuation is always that someone; me, kwtree, Dio, Genghis…misquotes you or doesn’t understand you when you mutter some of your “conservative” crap. But you just gave yourself away. Show me where I put words in your mouth. I did not quote you. Your projected attitude, on so many levels, informs my opinion that you assume you are smarter than the rest of us.
                  Your sucking up to Michael notwitstanding
                  I have been writing here for over 15 years, whoever you are, and I don’t give a flip what you think about me or anything I used to say. You won’t even tell us who you are.

                  1. This entire subdiscussion seems entirely petty and silly.  

                    Instead of getting into a measuring contest, can somebody just let me know what I am overlooking?  Because the way I see it, I don’t see how the GOP can argue it is a private organization given its utter lack of control or any sort of say over who its members are. 

                    And I ESPECIALLY cannot see how Randy Corporon (who IIRC is a “a country without borders isn’t a country” argument proponent) can argue that an organization without borders is a private organization. 

                    1. Don’t waste your time asking these two guys stuff, you really should ask Dave Barnes (who’s somehow been completely overlooked in this, “who’s the smartest?” competition) these very difficult questions, . . .

                      . . . unlike either Duke or CHB who both seem just merely bright and knowledgeable, or anyone else here for that matter, Barnes almost always – always – just seems to know what day it is! (Plus, bonus, he really seems to enjoy sharing his bottomless wisdom!) You think Duke or CHB have the slightest clue about international, or even just national, nut butters day? You can bet your buttered nuts that DB does!?

                      Uncanny, isn’t it?

                    2. What you are overlooking is the depth to which the GOP has lost its identity. I keep seeing much head scratching amongst the brethren. The GOP is tangled in the tentacles of a serious WTF moment. Hence my comment to you.

                      The Dems I know had some of those moments during the first Obama term. Obama chose to listen to Larry Sommers, Jamie Dimon and the like and we (my brand of Democrat) were scratching our heads, too.

                      Times have changed, Elliot. Nothing means what it used to because of the contextual upheaval around us. And we had best get used to it.

                    3. I’m not a lawyer and don’t play one on tv (and was an R for 30 years) but Elliot’s argument seems sound. I would have used PewPew as my example and her theoretical support for the New Green Deal as the cause, but I get his point. 

  3. "while nominating candidates who compromise on the GOP platform and principles……"

    What a crock of barnyard manure! Anyone with half a brain knows that the Colorado Republican Party's platform and "principles" is Donald Trump 24/7, as defined by party leadership.

  4. If the state has no role in determining who is a Republican, imagine the elections AND subsequent public service of a “no labels” system.  If there were no primaries by party, just a qualification as a candidate by signatures and a “jungle primary” to narrow to the top 4 or 5 candidates and a ranked choice or simpler “approval” election determined the public servant.  There could even be the re-emergence of constitutional conservatives instead of Trumpists and their supporters.

    Or think of how much easier reapportionment would be if there was no consideration of “competitiveness.”

    1. Nah.
      What if the "party" board chose the nominee who could be on a general ballot with the R.  More or less, how it used to be. 

      Reapportionment based on partisan affiliation is … pointless.


  5. Silly Republicans. They're obviously trying to keep left-leaning Us from sandbagging their primaries. What makes them think left-leaning Us would give up the opportunity to choose the best Dem candidate to go up against theirs? It's not like Us get to vote once on each side. I guess it's just too hard for them to admit they've been choosing piss-poor candidates themselves.

    1. GOP actions suggest they don't believe their candidates have been extreme enough because of U voting. Really?! How many flat earths do they need to jump off before the universe circles them back to look at themselves?

      1. I was surprised, kinda, by the news that most of the Horde members think they are in the majority….somehow. Maybe their information cocoons are just so unbelievably small.

  6. "What you are overlooking is the depth to which the GOP has lost its identity."

    That's not really news and it's not just the Republican Party. Once upon a time, the Democratic Party was known as the Party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion because it was a coalition of anti-Prohibitionists, Roman Catholics and Southern segregationists still pining over the "Lost Cause." Fortunately, the Democratic Party evolved at around the same time as the GOP moved in the opposite direction.

    If you want an inflection point, it was circa 1964 when LBJ signed the civil rights legislation and Barry Goldwater announced that he was "going hunting where the ducks were" meaning tailoring his campaign to Southern racists.

    Since then there has been a deep dive to the bottom. While Goldwater prided himself on not being a racist himself (his family's department stores had a non-discrimination policy back in the 1950s) he was not beyond pandering to racists.

    Nixon, of course, tried to sugar coat it by labeling the Southern Strategy and talking about "law and order" and "neighborhood schools" in segregated neighborhoods.

    Reagan launched his 1980 general election campaign in Meridian, Mississippi. Nuf sed? (Although to Reagan's credit, his Treasury Department did revoke Bob Jones University tax exempt status because of its racists policies.)

    Then there was Trump who boldly went where no race-baiting politician had gone before. (Question: does anyone know whether Trump's Treasury Department reinstated Bob Jones University's tax exempt status?)

    Trump has simply pushed it further than his predecessors did..

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