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January 03, 2023 10:58 AM UTC

Race for State GOP Chair More Muddled than Ever

  • by: Colorado Pols
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams (R-MGO) may have made the best decision of his political career.

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, a potential top candidate for State Republican Party Chairperson has decided to remove his name from consideration:

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams says he has decided not to make a bid to chair the Colorado GOP.

“I have some family milestones that I want to focus on,” he told The Unaffiliated, “and the effort needed to bring the factions in the party together is going to require more attention than I could provide.” [Pols emphasis]

Reams said he is “not supporting any candidate at this time.”

The background: Reams told us last month he was leaning toward making a bid to lead the Colorado Republican Party because he felt he had a good shot of uniting the fractured GOP. He still has four more years as sheriff, however, and he wasn’t sure if he could do both jobs at the same time.

As the Sun notes, Reams was sounding very much like a candidate for Chair just a few weeks ago, though how that would have made sense given his full-time job as Weld County Sheriff was not clear. Colorado Republicans tried this route in 2020 when Congressman Ken Buck tried (and failed) to do two jobs at the same time.

Casper Stockham

So who might be willing to take control of the State GOP now that the disastrous term of Kristi Burton Brown has come to an end? The list of candidates is neither long nor impressive.

Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez says he is “actively evaluating” a campaign for GOP Chair, and former Chair Dick Wadhams has been pushing the idea of Holly Osborn Horn — who ran John Kellner’s failed campaign for Attorney General in 2022. The “Boot Barn” faction of the GOP lists Aaron Wood and Vicki Tonkins as candidates on its website. Wood is the organizer of a group called “Freedom Fathers,” while Tonkins is a longtime fixture in the El Paso County Republican Party who might well be the worst possible option for Colorado Republicans.

Oh, and perpetual (losing) candidate Casper Stockham is also running. If Stockham can somehow end up being the only candidate on the ballot, he’ll have a 50-50 chance of winning.

Republicans won’t elect a new State Party Chairperson until March, but by this point in 2021 there were already several full-scale campaigns underway (including those of Burton Brown and former Secretary of State Scott Gessler). The lack of movement as of today is an ominous sign for a Republican Party in desperate need of adult supervision after the 2022 Bluenami wiped out virtually every candidate with an ‘R’ next to their name.

It’s hard not to notice the parallel with this GOP problem and the circus in Congress over the normally-perfunctory vote to elect a new House Speaker. Whether in Colorado or Washington D.C., Republicans can’t seem to get out of their own way.


5 thoughts on “Race for State GOP Chair More Muddled than Ever

  1. The quality of people who want that job is just continuing to decline. They'd be better off choosing "George Santos" rather than anyone who is saying they want the job.

    Stockham must be so excited.

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