All Together Now: GOP’s Toxic “Unity Tour” Goes On

GOP “Unity Tour” last Wednesday in Windsor. Highlighted from left: Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson, Lt. Gov. candidate Danny Moore, U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea.

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown.

Earlier this month, Republican candidates for office at all levels gathered at Mile High Station, an events venue in downtown Denver owned by multimillionaire U.S. Senate candidate Joe “Horse Sushi” O’Dea, to declare their unity heading into the height of election season. Standing together on one stage were candidates like O’Dea and Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson, who have made much of their supposed rejection of election conspiracy theories, along with Republican National Committeeman Randy Corporon who is the target of a defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems for his baseless promulgation of slanderous conspiracy theories about that company’s products.

Being a “unity rally,” there was no public discussion about the ostensibly major disagreements between Republicans on the stage, but Republicans can’t make those conflicts just go away just by ignoring them. In fact, as Heidi Ganahl discovered when she tried for some months early in her campaign to rebuke the press for asking “divisive questions” instead of simply answering them, when it becomes obvious that you don’t want to talk about a certain thing, that thing instantly becomes the only thing anyone wants to talk about.

But as the Fort Morgan Times’ Brian Porter reported from another “GOP Unity” event in Windsor last week, nobody seems to be getting the message:

A unified message from a unified ballot of candidates will be the formula for success in November’s general election, Colorado Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown told those gathered Wednesday at the party’s Family Barbecue…

Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. Representative and the top state offices were presented during a meet and greet event at Sundance National Resort & Golf. The issues of importance are similar in many campaigns, the candidates said, and some indicated their campaign volunteers are broadening scopes to support and elect several candidates…

Danny Moore, who is running as lieutenant governor on the ticket with governor candidate Heidi Ganahl, was among those seeking state offices to speak, taking issue with the state’s crime and education standing measured against other states.

“Our kids can’t read [at grade level]. Our kids can’t do math,” he said. “When I moved here, Colorado was the safest place in the country to live. It is not anymore.”

Now first of all, we’ve already discussed at length this absurd sweeping statement from Ganahl’s campaign that kids “can’t read” and “can’t do math”–and we’re curious if the added “at grade level” in brackets above was the reporter, you know, helping out so that Moore’s statement wasn’t quite as laughable on its face.

But more importantly, Lt. Gov. candidate Danny Moore’s embrace of election conspiracies led to his removal from the chairmanship of the state’s congressional redistricting commission–and rather than walking his prior statements back after being selected by Ganahl as her running mate, Moore doubled down on his conspiracy theories in a Colorado Springs Gazette op-ed. In response, Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson put out a statement condemning Ganahl’s campaign for “allow[ing] this false rhetoric to continue.”

With all of this in mind, last Wednesday would have been the perfect moment for Anderson to call out Danny Moore. After all, he was right there on stage with her!

But of course that’s not what happened:

Pam Anderson complained her opponent, Democrat Secretary of State Jena Griswold, spent half of COVID funds on “herself with commercials.” She called for Griswold to pay back the funds being spent on commercials with former Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

We wrote last week about Anderson’s petulant complaining over Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s public service announcement with her GOP predecessor Wayne Williams, even though Anderson admits there’s nothing wrong with the ad’s content opposing election misinformation. And at the same time Anderson is complaining about election misinformation PSAs, she’s standing on stage with some of Colorado’s most infamous and unrepentant election deniers in a show of “unity.” We thought this glaring contradiction was a reason why Moore wasn’t on stage for the first “unity rally” at Mile High Station, but now that they’ve taken the stage together it’s not a question she can hide from any longer.

This is equally true for Joe O’Dea, whose headlong flight to the middle since winning the Republican primary took its own header after O’Dea sabotaged himself on abortion by claiming ownership of 2020’s soundly defeated abortion restriction ballot measure Proposition 115. O’Dea has been running on a message pretty much directly cribbed from ex-Sen. Cory Gardner’s narrowly successful 2014 campaign, as a “different kind of Republican” who puts “country before party.” That makes O’Dea’s headlining the GOP’s “unity tour” alongside decidedly immoderate Republicans like Danny Moore, Randy Corporon, and former FEC United employee-turned GOP state House candidate Stephanie Wheeler (standing next to O’Dea in the photo above) highly inadvisable to say the least.

For candidates fighting an uphill battle to win in spite of their party’s deep unpopularity, the absolute last thing they should be doing is “unifying” the unpopular party’s brand with their own. This is such a basic rule for this kind of campaign that it’s honestly bewildering to see it so cavalierly disregarded. Either there’s a dynamic they’re counting on that isn’t evident in any poll we see today, or the Colorado Republican ticket is chaining itself together and heedlessly running for the cliff.

Show us evidence of the former if you have it.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JohnInDenver says:

    If the "divisive questions" and observations only come from OUTSIDE the carefully curated media selections of the Republicans, then it won't matter.  at least, that is what seems to be happening. 

    George Will's WAPO column praising O'Dea for saying that Trump lost and Biden is legitimately elected might rattle a few minds … but the true Republicans aren't reading the Washington Post Opinions page other than perhaps jumping to a Hugh Hewitt or Gary Abernathy column. Or pointing with glee at any column that shows "even the Washington Post doesn't like Biden."

    All of them can express concern about crime going up and education going down — and they all agree by apparently NOT having a specific program to explain how they can change those trends. And every one of them is against inflation at the grocery store and gasoline pumps. So, "unity."

  2. Moderatus says:

    Despite some disagreements, Republicans are unified in their commitment to Colorado. We want freedom and affordability for everyone.

    It's such a simple strong message that Colorado Pols is terrified of it and have to pick away at it. The voters are ready for change.

    • Genghis says:

      We want freedom and affordability for everyone.

      False as a simple matter of fact, but hey, keep on parroting.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Sorry, M, but most in this crop of Republican candidates don’t support “freedom” for pregnant women to have control of their lives. These candidates also want a religious theocracy in the US with the “fertilized egg is a human person” and a “fetus is a baby” to become part of the state religion, along with Christian nationalism.

      • Moderatus says:

        Democrats have turned abortion into a litmus test, except when they need to hold on to power and welcome Kevin Priola. There will be a compromise on abortion someday and it won't be abortion on demand until the moment of birth. Your position is the untenable position.

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Actually, Moderatus, the "fertilized egg is a human person/fetus is a baby" is the untenable position. Colorado voters have fully stated four times since 2008 that they don't want your religion in their bedrooms. 

          You easily forget that one of the founders of the modern conservative movement, the late Senator Barry Goldwater, was pro-choice. Colorado does it right, leaving the decisions up to women, their families, their doctors, just as Goldwater envisioned.

        • spaceman2021 says:

          Reproductive rights is a winning issue, Moddy, and you can't stand that.  Reap what you sow, snowflake

        • unnamed says:

          Trying to control womens' bodies and making Government small enough to fit into peoples' bedrooms is an untenable position.  Even you know that.  Which is why you're crying about it on this blog.  The fortunes of your death cult are waning thanks to their stupidity.


          Also, thank you for obliterating the last of your bench by alienating Kevin Priola.

  3. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    You want freedom but you all support a wannabe dictator and are fine with him shitting all over the law whenever he pleases.

    You want affordability but you all opposed the inflation reduction act, which cuts prescription drug costs.

    Hey wait, I just found two reasons you all don't want freedom and affordability.


  4. unnamed says:

    Nutlid, maybe your sorry excuse for a party should put forth workable ideas and stop pandering to election deniers and insurrectionists, before shits-for-brains like you throw out hollow slogans that most Coloradoans can see right through.

    Btw, how did you feel about your party failing to flip that seat in NY?   The one everyone thought they had in the bag.


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