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December 21, 2021 11:01 AM UTC

2021 Leaving Mesa County GOP Mad, Sad, And No Less Crazy

  • by: Colorado Pols
Clockwise from bottom left: Mesa County commissioners Scott McInnis, Cody Davis, Janet Rowland, and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland has a good story today catching up on the ongoing controversy in Mesa County, as a criminal investigation into a breach of election system security facilitated by Clerk Tina Peters continues in uneasy silence following FBI and local law enforcement having executed search warrants on Peters and several alleged co-conspirators just over a month ago.

While the world awaits the results of that investigation, Mesa County Republicans have settled into two firmly opposed camps: those who agree with the all-GOP Board of Commissioners that Clerk Peters messed up, and those who believe that conclusion makes anyone who agrees a mortal enemy of the God-given freedom to not accept election results one doesn’t like. And as you can expect, that conflict is playing hell with party unity:

What state investigators quickly pieced together was that Mesa’s Clerk and Recorder, Republican Tina Peters, had let an unauthorized person access the voting machines and be present for a secure software system update. That individual made copies of hard drives and took pictures — and now those images were up online.

What happened after the news broke, McInnis said, was a cascading series of mini crises. The machines were decertified, leaving county commissioners to quickly replace them before the November election. And then there were all the legal questions — and fights — to navigate.

“It’s been a major disruption in the administration office of the county. It’s been a major consumer of legal hours in our legal department. We have nine attorneys or something like that, but so it’s been a major disruption in this county.”

All of that legal time and other safeguards comes with a cost, which McInnis estimated could top a million dollars for what he called Peters’ “little fishing expedition.”

Tine Peters supporters rally in Grand Junction.

Unfortunately for Commissioner and Republican politician so locally beloved he got a canyon named after himself Scott “McLobbyist” McInnis, Mesa County Republican Party chairman Kevin McCarney has come to a somewhat different conclusion:

“It creates a problem for us as a party,” said Mesa County GOP Chair Kevin McCarney. “Having the county commissioners and the county clerk at each other’s throat, is not a good look for us. And it’s both sides’ fault. I’m not gonna lie. Both sides are at fault in this.” [Pols emphasis]

Chairman McCarney is in a tough position, of course. A large percentage of rank-and-file Republicans believe despite the lack of any evidence that the 2020 elections were stolen, so to acknowledge that what Peters did was wrong would put him on the wrong side of that noisy (especially in Mesa County) contingent. At the same time, the Colorado Republican Party’s chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown has advised Republican candidates to not wade into Peters’ case citing the likelihood of a crime having been committed. Even Rep. Lauren Boebert came away from an ethically questionable meeting with the Mesa County DA Dan Rubenstein assured that the investigation against Peters was being conducted appropriately.

With all of this in mind, how can “both sides” rationally be to blame here? It’s this: the all-GOP Mesa County Commissioners may be at odds with her today, but they supported Tina Peters when it suited them politically–just like they supported Lauren Boebert. Politicians who are more loyal to Donald Trump than they are to upholding American democracy are what led American politics to their acrimonious present state, of which “MesaGate” is just one symptom. And in that context, every Republican politician who benefited from Trump’s movement shares the blame.

That’s probably outside the scope of Chairman McCarney’s comprehension.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s what’s keeping Scott McInnis awake at night.


22 thoughts on “2021 Leaving Mesa County GOP Mad, Sad, And No Less Crazy

  1. Kevin McCarney and I go way back. Just this week a FB "memory" reminded me of that.  Here is the "memory" and my current comment:

    Amusing that this would pop up today in my memories! Kevin McCarney, who accuses me of "gaming the system" because I am an unaffiliated voter, was an unaffiliated voter 8 years ago, and now is the chair of the Mesa County Republican Party. Hey, Kevin, can you say hypocrisy?

    8 Years Ago

    8 Years Ago

    See your memories



    Claudette Konola

    Dteicceoulmbierm 1a9,1 c2g0e13  · Shared with Your friends


    I got an interesting E-mail today, informing me of Kevin McCarney's FB post today For those of you who do not recognize the name, Kevin McCarney leads Freedom!Colorado, formerly known as Western Slope Conservative Allince. He was once a Vice Chair of the local GOP:

    Dear Facebook Friends:

    I am sure many of you noticed my lack of activity recently.

    Here’s why.

    Yesterday, after much mulling over, I walked into the Mesa County Election department and changed my Party Affiliation from Republican to Unaffiliated.

    There are several factors driving this decision.

    One is the complete lack of leadership shown at every level of the Republican Party.

    Second is the surprising trend to vilify strong Conservative voices within the Party.

    Third is the unbelievable lineup of Moderate Candidates being offered up to Mesa County, one of the most conservative Counties in Colorado. Couple this with an active campaign to dissuade people from running in races or challenging (God Forbid) Incumbents and you have the very definition of Democrat Lite.

    One of the strongest factors in this decision was my interaction with East Slope Republicans who have been led to believe they have the right to insert themselves into the decisions of Mesa County Voters. These party leaders have lined up behind an Incumbent of questionable integrity and have spread lies regarding one of his opponents. These lies have been propagated by “Republicans” right here in Mesa County.

    If the Republican Party is okay with this Incumbent and these people, then it is time to split myself off from them.

    So State Representative Jared Wright, Tom and Shari Bjorklund, Chris Holbert, Brian DelGrosso, Libby Szabo, I salute you for making a difficult decision much easier. With Republicans like these, it will not be long before the demise of the Party will be upon us. You who have judged a person you have never met; you who have spread reprehensible lies about an honorable man; you who have lied and continue to lie to your Constituents; you are the face of the Republican Party. How proud you all must feel.

    However we have to add to the list, so Congratulations Ryan Call, Colorado Republican Party Chairman, Lois Dunn Mesa County Republican Chair, and Linda Sorenson, Delta County Republican Chair, for your example of how the wonderful world of machine politics work.

    I would imagine this post will cost me some “friends” on Facebook. Boo effing Hoo…

    Those who wish for my support, be on notice, my voice will not be silent in the coming months. If you vote outside the Conservative values you ran on, you will hear from me.

    Proud to be unaffiliated, the gloves are coming off.

    Kevin McCarney

    December 18, 2013"



    1. From the same day:

      My in-box has been interesting today. Tim Fenwick calls himself a Tea Party of One. Here are his thoughts about the JJ Fletcher change of party status. (It names even more names.)



      Jim ‘JJ’ Fletcher, (U) candidate HD 54, and several other prominent Republicans took a stand this Tuesday. They changed their Party affiliation from Republican to Unaffiliated. Some of the others were Max Smith, past, First Vice Chair of Mesa County Republican Party, former Board member HD 54; Kevin McCarney, past, Second Vice Chair of Mesa County Republican Party; John ‘Rusty’ Price, former candidate for HD 54, former HD 54 Chair, and current member of Mesa County Planning Board. All of them long time, hard core supporters of the Repubs here in Mesa County. They and the others include Precinct Coordinatorst and activists that represent thousands and thousands of hours donated to Republican causes. Several other people who left the Repubs behind joined in by filling out their paperwork to change affiliation.


      Each and every one came to the same conclusion I did about 6 weeks ago. The Republican Party has turned into a moderate, weak kneed, ill advised, poorly run, political failure. The leaders now in control are liars, spin artists and total control freaks that have been exposed, highlighted and called out.


      A Tea Party friend sent my last email of Fletchers change of affiliation to Ryan Call (Chairman of Colorado Republican Party (the same guy I exposed for drunk driving, scofflaw that missed his court appearance)). Mr. Call responded to him, (find the entire email attached as a file) he said;

      “Dear Sir,

      I have done nothing to discourage J.J. Fletcher in his primary challenge against Rep. Jared Wright. In fact, I've gone out of my way to meet with him and his campaign supporters beginning over a year ago,~~”

      Mr. Call has met once with Mr. Fletcher, for 10 minutes after a luncheon here in GJ before scurrying off to a political announcement for another candidate. He has never met with his supporters unless he thinks one phone call with one person to discuss by laws is going out of his way. He has instead, refused to answer his phone, ignored emails, and ignored the By Laws of HD 54 in allowing an election to be recorded that was not in standing with said By Laws. The election that placed the Board Members onto HD 54 was not called properly, not attended properly (according to BY Laws) and was therefore, not a legal election. The people that silently called the election (they failed to inform all members from Mesa County) then placed their own choices of supporters for Jared Wright on the board. When those facts were brought before HD 54 Board at the first meeting following the unannounced election meeting, Fletcher supporters were told it was too late to change the results, they had been recorded by Call and the Republican Party, and the election was closed. I have a voice recording of that meeting to verify my statements. Ryan Call then stood behind the election and refused to discuss it further, according to Mrs. Linda Sorenson, Chair of Delta County Repubs and Chair of HD 54.

      In the Caucus session for the 2012 election for HD 54, several delegates were appointed outside the By Laws by Mesa County Republican officials (they appointed elected officials from Mesa County which left alternate delegates in the cold). It resulted in a stacked Delegate count and swayed the caucus election for Jared Wright. To end the use of ‘special’ Delegates, Rusty Price sought to change the By Laws to end that practice and increase the small number of overall Delegates. BUT, the By Laws HAD to be changed before the end of the year 2013. He started attempting to change them in April 2013; he was met with resistance by the Delta Republican Chair and HD 54 Chair, Linda Sorenson. Meetings were not called that were promised, emails, phone calls were ignored and only when Fletcher and the rest changed affiliation, on the same day in the evening after 5:00PM, did Mrs. Sorenson attempt to call a meeting to listen to By Law changes. A vain attempt to close the barn door behind the horse leaving. I have voice recordings of the meetings I attended, the arguments Price put to Call and the rebuke Call gave to Price.

      The Board sits, illegally, valid only in the eyes of Mr. Call and the rest of the ‘controlling’ Republicans. They sit with one intention, to re-elect their incumbent, the liar, Mr. Wright. They realize it is easier to re-elect an incumbent than to fight a political battle with a ‘green’ candidate, no matter how qualified he might be.

      Lois Dunn, current Chair (and past Chair) of Mesa County Republicans was interviewed by local Channel 5 about the affiliation change. She poo pooed the action, saying “It’s not just easy to change the By Laws, because we are under all these regulations, and we have to go with statute, we have to go with the State Party, and then we come down to the County, and so the By Laws that were proposed didn’t meet all that criteria.”

      Now, let me ask you, if the By Laws couldn’t be changed, why was Mrs. Sorenson calling a meeting to have them changed? (her email upon request)

      I think someone is spinning, I wonder if they could knit me a sweater? With all that spun stuff, it would really be warm, stinky, but warm!!

      The Republican Party seems to be filled with Liars, Bumblers, and people intent on holding control at any and all costs. They can, will, have, and are spinning events, bending truths and ignoring the facts.

      Can you understand why I left, why these good people left the Republican party? Or as Fletcher put it,

      “I didn’t leave the Republican Party, they left me!”

    2. laughPlease all, please none, or…just tell the truth – it’s so much easier to remember. There’s also something about hanging out in the middle of the roadmeans that one is likely to get run over..,

        1. I didn't leave the Democratic Party.  It left me.

                                    –Me, 1976

          I didn't leave the Republican Party.  It left me.

                                       –Me, 2008.

          1. I went thru this too, but in reverse order. The GOP left me in 1984 when they became the Southern Baptist Party.

            The Dems left me in 2008 (or thereabouts) when they became the Socialist party.

            So now, I'm stuck happily in the mushy middle.

            1. I hear you, Dano.

              But the Dems did not really become the Socialist Party until 2016 when the Bernie Bros wrote the platform and the Free Stuff Movement began.

              Obama was actually more of a center-left candidate and president. Perhaps that explains how he got re-elected.

              1. Umm, wasn't it 1932 when the Democrats elected FDR?

                You know, as in Socialist Security?

                The Republican Party has long been the party of the super-wealthy. The Democratic Party has long been the party of social insurance. On the political spectrum, they are far to the right when compared to European politics. 

    1. davebarnes — if so many people were concerned about Kamala Harris buying cookware in France, I'd think there would be some interest in Mesa County Republicans buying a small teapot:   "All of that legal time and other safeguards comes with a cost, which McInnis estimated could top a million dollars."

  2. I still think republicans are our enemy…they are telling us they are our enemy…I believe them…we are way past saving the republican party…they have become quite a collection of crooks and criminals…all of them…I say that because of the silence of any kind of moderate or normal republican…but it seems they have purged any and all normal republicans…changing to unaffiliated from a republican, does nothing…these folks are still attached to their former cult…and they will bend and break at the first sign of trouble…republicans are no longer true Americans…they have crossed over to authoritarian pushing thugs…and I will push back…

    1. "silence of any kind of moderate or normal Republican……." Spoken like someone who isn't paying attention. I guess you don't follow the actions of Reps. Cheney and Kinzinger on the January 6 special committee in the US House.

      I watched Rachel Maddow last night. She did a long story on some Republicans in WI and their actions to try and steal the 2020 election. She also featured a Republican state senator in WI who is publicly calling out the dipshits in her party for their "fraudit" to steal the election for Trump.

      1. I’m not a regular consumer of Rachel (more of an O’Donnell and Nicole Wallace guy) but I did catch her show last night. Great reporting.  What a bunch of dipshits. They’re never going to be able to get the Orange Kook-aid stain off their upper lip. 

      2. Kinzinger and Cheney are conservative republicans, not moderate at all…they are law abiding…that is all…and you make assumptions you cannot prove…head banger…

    2. I don't buy the "enemy" meme Sunmusing.  A lot of people including Republicans confuse "opponent" with "enemy".  An enemy can also be an opponent but an opponent isn't always an enemy.  I think the problem with identifying people as the enemy is that it creates us or them mindsets which fosters extremism on all fronts.  You can work with opponents on things of mutual concern but working with the enemy makes you a traitor to your cause.  If we ever want to dig out of this hole of polarization that our country is in then we need to be the ones to shift the focus to a more collaborative framework.  The nation can't be healed with more heated enemy encounters.  We're on the brink and resisting another Hilter is OK but assuming every Republican is the enemy isn't going to let us live in peace and prosperity together.

      1. I am not confusing enemy from opponent…I had a lot of republican friends, who I never would consider as an enemy…they are long gone…purged from the great white extremist cult, formerly the republican party…when someone, grabs my mask, they are not opposition….when someone tells me they are going to kill me, that is not opposition…when someone tells me they are going to use force to get what they want, that is not opposition…lauren boebert, is not opposition, she is the domestic enemy we have been warned about…so, where are these people of whom you speak?

        1. Well said, sunmusing.

          “The loyal opposition” was a term that was once used in both directions. The Republican party no longer fits that description. Of course, there are many individual Republicans who are still loyal to the United States, but they are not running their party. They have no leader…and they will not defeat Donald Trump by committee. Not in a party with such a prediliction for blind obedience to an individual.

          The disaffected “conservatives” on this site, and others, still don’t understand  something I learned sitting across the table from people like Cory Gardner, Ken Wonstolen, and Craig Meis. They consider US the enemy. We are fools to consider them otherwise.

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