The bombshell news Monday that state Sen. Kevin Priola has defected from the Colorado Republican Party and joined the Democratic majority in the chamber provoked a furious reaction from Republicans, who immediately commenced organizing a recall campaign against Sen. Priola despite the impending November elections (where Priola is not on the ballot) being a much greater strategic priority. As we’ve discussed, Democrats are thrilled at the prospect of Republicans occupying themselves with vengeance against their own instead of winning Democratic seats up for election in November.
But it’s not just political arithmetic driving Republican ire over Priola’s defection. For Republican Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson, Priola’s switch to the Democrats and subsequent endorsement of incumbent Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold was apparently a deep philosophical betrayal that sent Anderson into a rage on Twitter:
Full stop. We’re pretty sure that Anderson meant to say she stands “on the front lines AGAINST people who challenge the legitimacy of the elections,” not “on the front lines WITH” such people. After all, that’s the reputation she has leaned on throughout this campaign despite the lip service to conspiracy theorists Anderson engaged in to win the GOP primary.
But unfortunately for Pam Anderson, this “Freudian slip” is all too accurate:
That’s Pam Anderson in the center of this photo from the Colorado GOP’s “Unity Rally” at Mile High Station in Denver on August 9th. Standing just behind Anderson in this photo is Randy Corporon, a Republican lawyer and radio host who is the target of a defamation lawsuit from Eric Coomer of Dominion Voting Systems over baseless allegations of fraud from the 2020 presidential election. After GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl selected election denier Danny Moore as her running mate, Anderson put out a statement condemning “any candidate running for statewide office [who] would open the door to allow this false rhetoric to continue”–but then as you can see in the photo above, kept right on campaigning with Ganahl.
Anderson faces the same problem managing the GOP’s anger at former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams for appearing in a public service announcement with Griswold to combat election misinformation. In today’s Colorado Public Radio story about the recall campaign getting underway against Williams in part over these PSAs, Anderson had to tread carefully:
Anderson said she doesn’t object to the contents of the ad, but is disappointed Williams was in it with her opponent this close to the midterm election.
“I don’t have any issues with the message,” said Anderson. [Pols emphasis] She said informing the public that elections are safe and secure is critically important and a major element of her own campaign. But “my concern is the timing of two declared candidates for office and the taxpayer funds that are being used for that. It’s a form of electioneering.”
And again, here’s the problem: if “informing the public that elections are safe and secure” really is “critically important” as Anderson says, why is she spending all of her time attacking people who agree–while campaigning with the very election deniers she claims to oppose?
What Pam Anderson is really angry about is the increasingly untenable contradiction at the heart of her entire campaign for Secretary of State, which Priola helped expose this week by leaving the Republican Party. Anderson, like GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, want to campaign as Republicans without owning what the Republican Party has become in the era of Donald Trump.
And in both cases, it’s not working.