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February 01, 2022 03:34 AM MST

Watch Out Hugh McKean: The Nevilles Bite Back

  • by: Colorado Pols

9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger takes note this morning of a potentially major development in the ongoing intra-party power struggle between the Republican Party’s corporate wing and the hard-charging conservatives who have either wrecked the party or kept the MAGA flame alive depending on who you talk to:

Austin Hein.

No peace among the clans–Austin Hein, the previous communications director for Rep. Pat Neville, the former House Minority Leader who stepped aside in disgrace in 2020 for his successor Hugh McKean while leading the House GOP caucus to its smallest minority since the 1950s, has filed to challenge McKean in House District 51 rather than let McKean serve out his last term in peace.

This open challenge from a close ally of the Neville political clan–and by extension the Colorado Republican Party’s conservative wing, which has evolved from single-issue gun rights politics to a more generalized “America First” Donald Trump personality cult faction–shows that the bad blood between McKean and this faction of the party that manifested in a failed attempt to unseat McKean as Minority Leader last year has not in any ebbed.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the “no compromise” gun rights advocacy group which has long been the principal organizing entity for this faction of Colorado Republicans, has always exercised the most power in Republican primaries–at key moments in the last decade, weighing in decisively in favor of candidates who go on to lose their seats in the general election. Rather than being a team player for the Republican coalition, RMGO relishes its role in Republican primaries, valuing ideological purity on their single issue even over winning itself.

The rub here, of course, is that House Republicans need their Minority Leader focused on a strategy to win back seats in the upcoming midterms, and he can’t do that–or at least can’t do it as well–while fighting off a primary challenge of his own. Not to mention that when McKean conceded on the House floor last month that Joe Biden won the 2020 election,” he committed an unpardonable offense in the minds of a majority of Republican primary voters.

Now we’ll find if, having won a few battles on his right flank, Hugh McKean loses the war.


11 thoughts on “Watch Out Hugh McKean: The Nevilles Bite Back

    1. Yes, there should never be a district without Democratic candidate. You never know what strange things can happen to disqualify someone, Covid, Jail time. 

      If nothing else you can work on campaign skills. Maybe try some unusual messaging.

      1. The rabbit dies. There's a misstep in an airport restroom. The GOP candidate is found in the room with an underaged prostitute and syringe fill of meth. Many things can happen.

        Remember when Beau Biden declined to run for US Senate in 2010 because it meant taking on long-time family friend Mike Castle? Then along came Christine O'Donnell who cast a spell on the state GOP. Voilá, now we have Senator Chris Coons.

  1. Redder on Red competition ought to be fun to watch.

    The outcomes may not be pleasant [see Boebert, L.] or particularly productive [see Brat, D.]. But on the whole, this could be good news for Alec Garnett.

  2. "Dice are rolling, the knives are out, would be leaders are all about."

    With apologies to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Here's hoping they can purify themselves by getting rid of McKean and installing a true conservative.

  3. McKean should be safe in 51, where the "old boy" network is still strong. McKean is one of them; Hein definitely more in the "boy" category.

    As for a Dem, it's been over two decades since a Dem got within 10% in 51. Hard to recruit in that turf, especially when the party considers it a lost cause.

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