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February 28, 2023 3:32 pm MST

Debate Diary: The Wacky Race for State Republican Party Chair

  • by: Colorado Pols

A free-ranging debate between six candidates for Colorado Republican Party chair last Saturday was sponsored by the Republican Women of Weld County, a group that does a pretty good job of wrangling Republican candidates for all sorts of different candidate forums. The moderators were Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun and Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman.

The venue was Ben’s Brick Oven Pizza in Hudson, Colorado, where about two dozen old white people gathered to hear the six candidates for State Republican Party Chair lay out whatever it is that they think can prevent the no-longer-slow death of the Colorado GOP following a 2022 election beatdown of epic proportions.

The candidates are:

♦ Erik Aadland, who ran for U.S. Senate on a platform of election denial in 2022 before switching horses to CO-07, where he was thoroughly dismantled by Democrat Brittany Pettersen.

♦ Casper Stockham, who ran for State GOP Chair in 2021 and lost. Stockham has also run (and failed to win) races in CO-01, CO-06, and CO-07 in recent years. Statistically-speaking, this might be Stockham’s year if only because you’d think he’d have to win something eventually.

♦ Aaron Wood, who is fairly new to organized politics but is certain that everyone else, especially outgoing party chair Kristi Burton Brown, is doing it wrong.

♦ Tina Peters, the former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder who is a betting favorite to be in prison before the end of this year for a long list of alleged crimes related to breaking into her own election computers in an attempt to find the little ballot-eating smurfs that live inside the server.

♦ Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Willams, the far-right “edgelord” former State Representative from Colorado Springs who got his butt kicked by America’s least charismatic Rep. Doug Lamborn in a Republican primary for Congress last summer.

♦ Kevin Lundberg, a former State Representative and State Senator who has won more races himself than the rest of this field combined. Unfortunately for fans of sanity, Lundberg was a right-wing lunatic years before it was popular to be a right-wing lunatic–so it’s not like he’s bringing a different perspective to the race.

Let’s start with the obvious: there are no winners in this pack. As former State Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams observed recently, “every one of these six candidates would drive the party into deeper oblivion with their conspiratorial, exclusionary and politically naïve agendas that are already repelling a rapidly changing Colorado electorate.”

As you’ll discover, every one of the candidates who participated in this debate proved Wadhams right.

Let’s get to it. Anything not included in direct quotes is paraphrased in the interest of time.


After the obligatory prayer, pledge of allegiance, and rambling introduction from some muckety-muck who is most definitely NOT a woman (which is odd since this debate isn’t being hosted by the Republican Dudes of Weld County), we jump right into two-minute opening statements.


2022 CD-7 loser Erik “Oddland” Aadland.

4:30: Erik Aadland, who has been unsuccessful thus far in Colorado politics but is always the winner when it comes to alphabetizing, speaks first. He talks about his Army background and working in the oil and gas industry – specifically mentioning his work building an oil pipeline in Israel.

Aadland talks about being the Republican nominee for CO-07 in 2022 – he doesn’t mention losing by 15 points to Democrat Brittany Pettersen – and adds that he got his name onto the ballot via the caucus process. This is a curious thing to say, since Aadland initially tried (and failed) to seek ballot access via the petition route and went through the caucus process as a last resort.

Aadland says Democrats are “destroying our state” and declares that “Any Republican is better than any Democrat.” It might be a good rhetorical approach for this group, but as we’ve seen in recent elections, voters seem to think just the opposite. Aadland concludes by saying that he wants to get elected to start rolling back the Democratic agenda. There is no mention of what he wants the Republican Party to do instead – it’s just all about saying ‘NO’ to Democrats


6:50: Casper Stockham is up next; he has come prepared with lots of acronyms. After briefly talking about a career in the Air Force, Stockham tells the crowd that listing off “bullet points” won’t solve the GOP’s problems.

Naturally, Stockham IMMEDIATELY launches into a bunch of bullet points. He says the GOP needs to tackle what he calls the “PMI Challenge,” which stands for “Purpose,” “Message,” and “Image.” Nobody mentions that the last two are basically the same thing.

Stockham then talks about his plan to fix the GOP, which he calls “Operation OUST.” He adds that the other candidates running for GOP Chair have copied parts of his plan as their own. “OUST,” BTW, stands for “Outreach, Unite, Support, and Training.” Stockham has definitely been reading too many marketing textbooks from 1997.

He concludes by talking up his political roots from the Tea Party movement of 2009-10.


Dave Williams (top) and Aaron Wood

8:50: Next up is Aaron Wood, who looks like he just came from a “Just for Men” photoshoot along with former State Rep. Dave Williams. Both men have dark black beards that have definitely seen a bottle of hair dye at some point.

Wood introduces himself as a “Christian Conservative” who is “pro-freedom, pro-family,” and pro-lots of other things. He asks the crowd if they ever thought they would be so involved in local politics that they would be showing up at a pizza restaurant on a Saturday. This politics thing is apparently new to Wood, and he seems to think it is new to everyone else. Judging by the average age of this crowd, he is probably incorrect.

Wood tosses out a couple of rehearsed lines that don’t make a whole lot of sense:

“We don’t rely on the big donors, because we ARE the big donors.” Um, sure.

“I’m looking at a future Republican Party that isn’t run by politicians, bureaucrats, and consultants.” But, in theory, isn’t the goal here to ELECT MORE POLITICIANS?

Wood says he got involved more actively because of women he knew who were organizing around mask mandates, and so he created a group called “Freedom Fathers.” Why he insisted on breaking GOP politics into gender-based groups is not explained.

Wood concludes by saying, “My goal is simple: To rebuild the Republican Party.”

That DOES seem simple!


11:00: Tina Peters is in the house! Peters is wearing a white jacket and an enormous red button with her name in big white letters.

She starts by saying that she took an oath to protect the Constitution of Colorado and the Constitution of the United States. She doesn’t mention breaking that oath a few years later.

Like Wood, Peters has a lot of applause lines that don’t quite compute:

“I just want to let you guys know we are not a blue state. We are a red state.” Not so much, but whatever.

“They’ve been selecting our leaders, and I proved that. I showed that they cheated our elections here in Colorado.” Who is “they?” Peters doesn’t elaborate.

“I had 48,000 live views on my podcast last Monday night.” Someone might want to explain to Peters what a “podcast” does (hint: it doesn’t involve video).

“I firmly believe that this is our last chance to save Colorado.” Well, that must be depressing for Republicans. If this is their last chance to save Colorado, and these six candidates are all that is standing between the GOP and oblivion…well, maybe everyone should go home and start packing.

“I don’t need a job. I’ve got people offering me jobs all over this fine country.”

Peters suggests that she has been endorsed by Trump, then says, “I’m not looking to be a celebrity.”

Se says to watch “Selection Code,” “the true story of what I’ve given up for this country – not what you might hear from the mainstream media.”

Peters says she already has a staff in place, including attorneys who will work to close off the Republican Primary from Unaffiliated voters.

Tina Peters’ mug shot.



12:50: Dave Williams says he’s running because he’s tired of losing. He pointedly criticizes the “consultant class,” which seems to be a common theme.

Williams says that Democrats are “morally bankrupt” and that the real reason Republicans don’t win is because they don’t tell the truth about their opposition to abortion rights and fears about election integrity. He is convinced, he says, that there are a lot of Colorado voters who would stand with Republicans if they would just clearly articulate their right-wing beliefs.

“Our issues do win,” says Williams. “We just need to boldly articulate it [sic].”

Williams agrees on closing the GOP Primary. He concludes by saying that Republican policies have been proven to be attractive to voters “over several centuries that we’ve been in existence.”


15:00: Kevin Lundberg rounds out the opening statements. He says when he first ran for public office 25 years ago, he was motivated by his three children. Now, he says, it’s about his three grandchildren. Lundberg is clearly the best speaker of the bunch, telling a story about meeting with charter school students recently during a “career day” who asked him about why they would want to pursue a political career.

Lundberg wants to “Build a new unity, but not a unity for unity’s sake.” Somewhere off-camera, Casper Stockham is furiously scribbling out a new acronym.


17:12: The first question is about why Republicans lost so many races in 2022 and what the candidates here would do to fix those problems.

Stockham goes first.

“The reason we lost is because we have a PMI problem,” he begins. “The solution is ‘Operation Oust.’”

Stockham is nothing if not dedicated to his message…regardless of whether it is comprehensible. His main arguments otherwise are that Democrats are defining Republicans and the GOP is not doing enough outreach to younger voters and minority communities.

“We don’t have enough numbers to win. That’s why there is infighting.”

Stockham says he is endorsed by “the Ethiopian community.” He says his endorsement list “looks like America” and his opponents’ endorsement lists “look like the Grand Old Party.”


18:30: Aaron Wood promises to always be honest, and says Republicans lost because they put “unprincipled and weak candidates” at the top of the ticket. “We’re losing trust with real conservative voices throughout our state.”

Wood talks about standing in the foyer of his church with voter guides, and laments candidates who are “weak on abortion, and weak on the family.”

Wood also keeps saying that he is “pro-freedom,” as opposed to all of the other people who are…anti freedom?

Wood’s basic message is that Republicans will win by unapologetically promoting unshakable right-wing principles.


19:35: Peters starts with a verifiable falsehood: “I believe if you tell the truth, you never have to worry about what you said.”

“It’s not your fault that we lost the election in 2022,” says Peters. “It’s not your fault that I lost the election in 2022.” Peters says there was a “GOP poll” showing that she was “up by 47%” and that she lost her Primary Election race for Secretary of State “because of the machines.”

“How many of you have read the third report?” asks Peters. “Mesa County report number three?”

Nobody has read that, Tina.

“I would challenge you all to read Mesa County report number three and watch ‘Selection Code.’ It’s not your fault.”

And, that’s all Peters has to say about 2022.


20:33: Williams says the reason Republicans lost is because they failed to provide a contrast with Democrats. He blames the “consultant class” that wants to “move the party to the left.”

Williams singles out 2022 U.S. Senate nominee Joe O’Dea for saying he would have supported a vote to codify Roe v. Wade. “Why in the hell would any swing voter actually want to vote for the Republican Party when they would get more of the same from Democrats.”

Williams keeps insisting that Republicans can win by being more conservative, and he says the proof of this is in prior election results. His main example seems to be that Donald Trump carried Pueblo County in 2016.


21:40: Lundberg inadvertently points out the problem with this entire six-person field of candidates. “I don’t disagree with anything that has been said up here,” he says before adding that the difference is how each candidate will implement the changes that nobody has bothered to articulate.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” he proclaims. Lundberg’s main point is that the Republican Party needs to agree on a set of core principles. How this gets more Republicans elected in 2024 is not discussed.


22:45: Aadland starts by saying that it is clear that Colorado voters voted against their own self-interests in 2022. Always a good strategy to BLAME THE VOTERS.

After talking about inflation, crime, the “national security crisis on our southern border” and “our broken education system,” Aadland says, “Democrats did everything they could to make me look like a right-wing extremist…and voters rejected that.”

Because none of this makes any logical sense, Aadland immediately proclaims that right-wing candidates are the way to go in Colorado. “We have the best policies, we have the best candidates, and we have the right way forward.”

But…didn’t you just say that voters rejected this approach?

Aadland concludes with some boilerplate crap about unity.

Let’s summarize the answers to what SHOULD be the most important question here today: Why did Republicans lose in 2022 and what will fix those problems? None of the candidates so much as hinted at answering the second part of that question, but here’s what they said about part one:

Stockham: Not enough acronyms

Wood: Not enough right-wingery

Peters: The machines

Williams: Not enough right-wingery

Lundberg: Agrees with what everyone else said

Aadland: Too much right-wingery


24:00: Jesse Paul gives each candidates 30 seconds to respond to what others said, which is pointless since everybody said pretty much the same thing. Paul also suggests gently that each candidate provide some actual details.

24:15: Stockham says “To expand our base, we have to outreach and we have to unite.”

Round and round and round we go! Where we’ll stop…everyone in the room already knows.

Stockham says something about “history in the making” when he brought the head of the NAACP to meet with the Tea Party. “That’s how we do it.” Okay.


24:50: Aaron Wood: “I’m not saying that every candidate was a political windsock, but we had plenty that were.”

Wood says he was proud to volunteer for Aadland, but embarrassed to try to answer for Joe O’Dea. He bemoans candidates who went the petition route for ballot access instead of through the caucus system.

“I spent eight hours on a Saturday working with my neighbors and my fellow Republicans to get…not our people on the ballot.”

Hey, those are his words, not ours.


25:25: Tina Peters begins thusly: “The machines.”

She talks about testifying recently at the state legislature regarding “taking the wireless out of the machines.”

“I saw a woman who is a dual citizen from Brazil,” she continues. “She was literally crying, mopping up tears on her cheek, while she was telling this story about how they were cheated by the machines in Brazil.” After a pause, Peters adds, “And Venezuela.”



26:15: Williams says that “for the longest time, consultants have lied to us” about “watering down our values.”

“But here’s the truth: Swing voters are not driven by ideology. Otherwise, they would affiliate [with a political party].”

Williams has a simple idea for attracting swing voters. “If we call out the Democrats for being morally bankrupt, we’re going to earn their trust.”


26:50: Lundberg points out that he ran nine races for the state legislature and Congress, and won six of those contests.

“What I learned was, it’s not up to the state party to win the race. Matter of fact, I saw very little help [from the state party].” Lundberg’s point is that Republicans need to work more closely with the grassroots activists.


27:30: Aadland says Republicans have a “trust issue” with voters. “We need to roll out a long term strategy that everyone in this state, including Republicans and Independents, can get behind.”

Let’s summarize these follow-up answers:

Stockham: Outreach and unite

Wood: Joe O’Dea sucks

Peters: The machines

Williams: Consultants suck

Lundberg: More grassroots outreach

Aadland: We need a plan


Inspiring stuff!


28:00: Ernest Luning asks a simple question: Who do you believe won the 2020 election, both nationally and in Colorado, and what difference does that make for 2024?

28:40: Wood talks, again, about being bold with its policy positions.

“Trump won, plain and simple,” he says. “Nobody wanted Joe Biden to be President.”

Wood then laments that Republicans used electronic voting machines at the state GOP assembly in April 2022 rather than paper ballots.

“If there was no lie and there was no cheat, expose that and show that this is what the gold standard actually is.”


29:00: Peters asks for the question to be repeated, as though it makes any difference whatsoever to what she is going to say next.

After hearing the question again, Peters tells people to watch ‘’ She reiterates to people that they need to inform themselves by watching ‘’ We’re pretty confused now.

Peters says she thought there were problems with the election across the country, “But I did not believe that there were problems in my county.” This is a typical refrain, which we heard from GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl in 2022 as well. There were lots of problems…but not here!

Peters says that “Trump did win” and that she realized there were indeed problems in her county when the 2021 election for city council wasn’t swept by right-wing candidates. She adds, naturally, that she was cheated in her race for Secretary of State.

Peters concludes by saying the $250,000 recall she paid for in July 2022 was conducted “illegally” because the Secretary of State refused to count paper ballots. This has been debunked plenty of times – Colorado does not recount paper ballots. That rule, in fact, was mandated by a REPUBLICAN Secretary of State.


31:00: Luning asks Peters to clarify if Trump or Biden won nationally in 2020. Peters answers with a story about “when I so-called ‘lost’ the Primary [for Secretary of State].” She laments that Pam Anderson, the GOP nominee in that race, didn’t do anything to go after Democratic incumbent Jena Griswold. She then adds that Mike O’Donnell, the third Republican in the SOS Primary, “was a plant.” She doesn’t provide details.

Peters eventually gets to the question, saying Trump won in 2020 because “she saw” that he had more support. She immediately pivots to saying that she doesn’t believe John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, “who had a stroke and can’t even put a sentence together, won against a doctor [Dr. Oz].”


32:31: “I was one of the only few elected Republicans that publicly said that Joe Biden was not a legitimate President,” says Williams. That this sentence would be considered by Williams to be a selling point tells you everything you need to know about the race to lead the State Republican Party.

Williams believes Trump won in 2020. He says the only kind of ballot harvesting that should be happening in Colorado is “legal ballot harvesting.”

Williams concludes by saying that the next Party Chair can’t really do anything about any of this anyway, which is both true and a very weird place to start being factually-accurate after everything else that has been said.


33:28: “My answer to the question is, ‘I don’t know,’” says Lundberg. “And that’s the problem.”

Lundberg says that he “thinks” that Biden did not legitimately win, but that he doesn’t really know.

Lundberg says elections need to be transparent, secure, and accurate, before concluding, “And they are none of the above in Colorado.”

“As State Chairman, I will look at the facts and the evidence,” he concludes. “And that’s where it really counts.”


34:30: “Clearly Biden won, by hook or by crook,” says Aadland, pointing out (correctly) that continuing to rehash 2020 does nothing to help the Republican Party.

This is not at all what Aadland has said previously.


35:25: Stockham says that every prominent Democrat said in 2016 that Trump was an illegitimate President. This is not close to being true.

Stockham says he wants to turn the GOP’s “election integrity committee” into a “task force,” because changing the title will do…something.

He concludes by channeling Ronald Reagan: “Trust but verify, that’s my plan.”

To recap on the question of “Who do you believe won the 2020 election and does it matter still?”:

Stockham: Doesn’t really answer either part

Wood: Trump won in 2020

Peters: Trump won in 2020 and she was cheated in 2022

Williams: Trump won in 2020 and he said publicly that Biden was not a legitimate President

Lundberg: “Thinks” Trump won, but he doesn’t know

Aadland: Says Biden won and the party needs to stop talking about 2020


36:30: Luning gives each candidate 30 seconds for “follow up.”


36:45: Wood says Republicans need to be bold and stand on their platform.


37:10: Peters says she disagrees with Aadland and that we need to learn from the past “because there is a lot going on.”

It looks like she is going to sit down, then she stops and says, “Senate Bill 22-153: Where was our GOP Chair? I’m standing in a silk, sleeveless shirt and sport coat in front of the Capitol against Senate Bill 22-153.” She adds that SOS Jena Griswold “hates us.”

Peters then says there needs to be “an audit of GOP funds” because she doesn’t believe money went to “election integrity.”

“I think I know a little bit about election integrity, and [money] didn’t go to anybody I know.”


37:54: Williams says it is a false premise to say that the GOP is obsessed with 2020. Then he talks about how the GOP should continue to be obsessed with 2020.


38:36: Lundberg says he has been “Following this issue since 2002.”

“I’m not an election denier,” he adds confusingly. “An election denier is somebody who denies the evidence that is out there.” Lundberg says he believes in the integrity of the election, but that we don’t have election integrity in Colorado.

So…Lundberg is not an election denier but does happen to deny the outcome of elections. Also, he was talking about the 2020 election back in 2002. Got it.


39:30: Aadland says people are disengaged from discussions about election fraud because of the way Republicans talk about it. His point (maybe) is that Republicans should talk better about election fraud?


40:15: Stockham says that after Trump was elected, “They destroyed Washington D.C. in the process of protesting against him. Setting buildings on fire, just causing havoc. People died in that process, and we need to push back.”

“So I’ll be pushing back against the Kyle Clarks of the world and all the others that talk about how we are the ones who are denying elections when they are the ones who have been destroying cities across our nation.”

Washington D.C. was destroyed in 2016. You heard it here first!


41:00: Now we’re moving to individual questions. Paul asks Peters about how she might continue to serve as Chair if elected, given the very real possibility that she is in prison later this year because of a variety of allegations related to breaking into her own county’s election system.


41:12: Here’s the full answer from Peters:

“Thank you for that. I’m going to read you Psalms 37-32-33: ‘The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, intending on putting them to death. But the Lord will not lead them in the power of the wicked, nor let them be condemned and brought to trial.’ Someone sent me that this morning; I thought it was real apropos. So, the trial has been moved to the fall. They’re going to keep kicking the can, because they do not have evidence against me. And I think it’s going to prove out.

“If, in two years we come to trial, I am going to be very, very happy. I would like to go to trial, because I want to expose these machines. I want to expose that they deleted 27,000 election records off of the Mesa County server. I want to talk about the law that they are breaking about having wireless devices in the machines – there was 36 of them in Mesa County. And I want to talk to them about how they flipped the votes, so read report number three for that one. Watch ‘Selection Code.’ I encourage you, it will be an education. Thank you.”


42:30: Paul asks Williams if he voted for Doug Lamborn in the General Election (after losing to Lamborn in the CO-05 Primary Election) and about whether Republicans could be comfortable with Williams as Chair given his attacks on so-called “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only).

Williams says that establishment Republicans will be comfortable with him because he’ll treat everyone fairly “according to the rules.”

He says that Lamborn “had his support.”


Ex-Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

43:30: Luning asks Lundberg about running for State Treasurer and Congress and losing, and why Republicans would be concerned about his ability to help win races.

Lundberg says that he ran 9 races and lost 3, then provides a very honest assessment of losing to then-Rep. Jared Polis in CO-02 and failing to emerge from a Republican Primary in a race for State Treasurer.

“I know what it’s like to win, and I know what it’s like to lose,” says Lundberg. “And I know what we need to do to win.”


44:35: Luning asks Aadland about losing in CO-07 by 15 points and what that says about his ability to lead the GOP to victories in 2024.

“I went into that night thinking we were going to win, because we had multiple polls showing that we were in a dead heat,” says Aadland. “In the last week there was a poll showing we were up by four points.”

There were NO public polls showing anything of the sort. If Aadland really did have some internal polls showing this, then he should probably promise that he will never hire that same pollster if he is elected State Party Chair.

Aadland complains about being outspent in his congressional race, but adds that he thinks he “ran a very successful campaign.” Other than, you know, the part about succeeding.

Aadland concludes with generic rhetoric about outreach and policies and yada, yada.


45:50: Paul asks Stockham about the fact that he has lost every race he has ever attempted and why Republicans should vote for him as State Chairperson.

“You just described the Republican Party,” says Stockham. “We’ve all lost races.” True! But some of the other people on stage have also actually WON some races.

Stockham talks again about how Republicans have a “PMI problem.” He says he has a plan for that and has addressed this issue “in the inner cities.”

Stockham concludes by saying that even though he didn’t raise a lot of money when he was the GOP nominee in CO-07 in 2020, he was still very competitive compared to other Republicans.

For the record, Stockham lost to Democrat Ed Perlmutter by 21 points in 2020 (59-38).


47:00: Luning asks Wood about being relatively new to politics and how that would translate to being Party Chair.

Wood responds with a good joke about how he has never lost a race, which gets the most enthusiastic response from the crowd thus far. Wood then gets into his background in business and marketing. He claims to have increased sales for an independent auto broker from $20 million to $100 million.

His answer, more or less, is that the GOP should be more focused on grassroots leaders and everyday Republicans rather than…people who supposedly know what they are doing. Given the recent election losses for the GOP, it’s hard to argue against him here.


48:30: Now we’re moving to a lightning round of sorts. The first question is about whether each candidate supports Trump as the Presidential nominee in 2024, and if not, who else they might stand behind.

All of the candidates talk about remaining neutral should they win the race for Chair. Williams, Lundberg, Wood, and Peters support Trump. Aadland says he would support whoever wins the nomination; Stockham says the same thing, while adding that he is “Ultra MAGA.”


50:40: Next question is whether a state party should pick sides in a Presidential election before an official candidate wins the nomination.

Everyone answers that neutrality is important and that the party should not take a position on a candidate.


52:15: Next question: Did you vote for any Democrats in 2022?

Everybody answers that they voted straight Republican down the ticket, with two exceptions: Both Williams and Lundberg say they did not support Joe O’Dea for U.S. Senate because of his unintelligible position on abortion.

Given a chance to elaborate, Wood implies that he regrets voting for some Republicans. Stockham says he held his nose to vote for O’Dea.

Lundberg comes back to a recurring theme that Colorado Republicans need to clearly explain what they expect from a Republican candidate in terms of platform and policy positions. We’re basically heading toward a purity test.


56:15: Next question: Do you support sending mail ballots to all registered voters in Colorado?

“I don’t believe in mail-in ballots,” says Peters. Williams, Wood and Stockham agree.

Aadland doesn’t really answer the question. Lundberg says he called the bill that created mail-in ballots in Colorado the “voter fraud act” when he was in the State Senate in 2013.


59:00: New question: Open or closed Primaries? All of the candidates are probably going to say closed – meaning no participation from Unaffiliated voters.

There are some minor differences about whether candidates believe in trying to opt-out of such a process or filing lawsuits, but everybody agrees that they would like to return to a closed primary system.

Peters claims, without evidence, that there are a lot of Democrats who are moving to the Republican Party.


1:06:30: New question about how to keep Republican counties from moving toward Democrats.

Lundberg talks about not trusting the election results and repeats his regular answer about finding a baseline to establish candidates who are the true Republicans in the field.

Aadland says the problem is that Republicans aren’t effectively communicating their message, particularly to younger voters.

Stockham says that Republicans first need to identify the problem, which is a long way of saying he has no idea. Before concluding, Stockham says he does have a plan. This seems like a good time to discuss that plan, but Stockham decides otherwise.

Wood complains about affordable housing programs, adding a dig about former GOP Chair Dick Wadhams that doesn’t make a lot of sense. Wood seems to be saying that affordable housing is creating too many Democratic voters, or something.

“It comes down to elections, man,” says Peters. Indeed it does. Peters uses this opportunity to defend Vicki Tonkins in El Paso County.

Williams says the same stuff about true Republican principles, etc.


1:14:00: Luning asks how the candidates plan to raise money, given that Colorado won’t likely be a national target for major donors.

Lundberg says fundraising should be mostly from grassroots donors. Aadland jabbers about a vision and a long-term message. Stockham wants every Republican in Colorado to donate $10 a month.

Wood complains about big donors who aren’t hardcore Republicans and why would the GOP want their money anyway. Peters says she loves fundraising and would make a budget first. Williams says “It comes down to trust,” which is basically now his answer to every question.


1:18:00: Luning asks if candidates would take a salary, and how much money they would expect.

Everybody says they would take a salary. Stockham, Wood, and Williams think it should be performance-based, but Williams notes that the State Party doesn’t have enough money to pay anyone right now anyway. Lundberg says he will not take a six-figure salary, but otherwise seems fine with the paycheck.


1:20:00: Next question about whether candidates agree with the State Party assigning outside supervision to the El Paso County GOP election.

Stockham says he is okay with outside supervision. Wood, Peters, and Williams say no. Lundberg and Aadland don’t really answer.


Perennial GOP candidate in search of a paycheck Casper Stockham.

1:21:30: Who would you support for Chair if not yourself?

Stockham and Wood duck the question. Peters says she has someone in mind but wants to keep it a secret; she seems to say that she has approached one of the other candidates to serve in some sort of executive role if she is elected.

Williams says he likes Wood, Peters, and Lundberg.

Lundberg refuses to answer. Aadland says the other candidates, except for Wood, have all united against him.


1:23:45: Paul asks for three specific metrics to quantify a successful Chair.

Wood answers with some ‘invest in people’ marketing nonsense.

Peters says she’ll initiate a lawsuit to close the Primary and raise money, then talks about educating local volunteers.

Williams says the ultimate measure is winning elections, which seems like the obvious answer.

Lundberg dances around and says of the state legislature, “We need to win SOME seats back.” Leadership!

Aadland says winning is the only metric that matters.

Stockham says he’ll increase Republican voter registration numbers beyond one million.


1:30:00: Closing statements!

All of the candidates just repeat the same basic messages they’ve pushed for the last 90 minutes: Defining a ‘real Republican,’ better messaging, firmer positions on issues, Democrats are destroying Colorado, blah, blah.

Williams goes with the “definition of insanity” speech. Aadland says he fasted for seven days and prayed about whether or not to run for Chair.

Stockham says he has a plan that has been “field tested with the Heidi Ganahl campaign.” You mean, the one that lost to Gov. Polis by 20 points? That campaign?

Wood says none of the candidates “deserve” this position, which makes this an absolutely perfect place to conclude.

For more perspectives on Saturday’s debate, the Colorado Sun and 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark both recapped.


25 thoughts on “Debate Diary: The Wacky Race for State Republican Party Chair

  1. Did Williams legally change his middle name to Let's Go Brandon or something? Does anyone actually think using it in any type of campaign is witty or compelling? Rhetorical questions both. Somehow I expect him to have a chance in this race. Argh.

    1. They're idiots.  So, yes they think that using it in a campaign is witty and compelling, by their low standards.  But, their supporters are that dumb too.


  2. In addition to Representative Bottoms, the GOP is offering a couple of Bears as candidates for state chair. Outreach to wide-stance conservatives?

    1. Reminds me of what I like to call Craig's Law: the probability of a politician resigning from office reaches 1 when the politician's wife does a television interview in which she states that a male hooker incorrectly described her husband's wang.

  3. These idiots, all of them, sitting in Weld County (Motto: If we don’t get our way, we wanna’ be Wyoming’s scrotum) and not one of these fools talked about Jesus lovin’ all them beautiful oil wells and fabulous gas stoves, and the Anti-woke White Christian Nationalist Patriots who defend their holy rural lands with righteous AR-15s against all sorts of marauding brown-skinned people (a select few of who might be sorta’ OK, in their proper place during working hours at the JBS plant, but otherwise, Nah.) and the government school drag queen union educators writing gay agenda textbooks teaching all their children to hate, hate, hate real Christian Americans and real Christian American history???

    Shit, it’s like none of these six people know anything of much importance to Real Republicans about being proud Real Republicans! I think they probably all just showed up hoping for some free pizza and Bud Light.

    1. 11 March is when the Republicans will choose the next hapless leader, Dano. And everything that's wrong with the Colorado GOP was neatly encapsulated in that room. Talking points but no real answers to how they would return their party to its former "glory". Oh well. If you can't dazzle them with brilliance…

      1. "return their party to its former 'glory'"

        Like 25 or 30 years ago when they had the likes of Hank Brown, Joel Hefley, Bill Owens, Mike Coffman, Chuck Berry, Norma Anderson, Tom Norton, Tony Grampas, Gale Norton, and yes, even Dan Schafer and Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

        To get there, they would need to bring back Wad Dickhams as chair, and stop slaughtering their RINOs. 

    2. I think the Republicans finish their election on Saturday, March 11. 

      Before Tina Peters waived her right to a speedy trial and successfully requested a delay, the meeting was going to be in the middle of the seven days scheduled for trial.  I thought that would be interesting. 

      And I'm sorta surprised no one asked where the state party headquarters ought to be.  Currently Located in: Independent Financial building at 5950 S Willow Dr, Greenwood Village, CO 80111, it doesn't seem to be an ideal location for the militia wing of the party.

  4. Aadland did say the one thing that the R’s should be focusing on, Biden won and they need to stop focusing on the 2020 election.

    Of course, nothing will come of that and Aadland himself is just as batshit crazy as the rest of them.

    In the end, the Colorado Republican Party will continue to focus on the crazy and further their spiral into irrelevancy. Regardless of who becomes party chair.

  5. A problem for any candidate in a state that is solidly controlled by the other party is that the most helpful answer to any of these questions would be along the lines of "I will work cooperatively with the majority party to pass some bi-partisan projects, such as <new national park, better utility regulation, improved transportation, etc.>" But that answer gets you a loss in the primary.

  6. Jesse Paul's "real job" is writing …. his take on the forum is in today's Colorado Sun

    He mentions the chair debate was "moderated by The Colorado Sun and Colorado Politics" — but doesn't name individuals.

    One point elaborated a bit more than the excellent, blow-by-blow review above: Affordable Housing.

    Wood alleged that affordable housing projects are being used as a way to turn Republican areas blue. “You look at the affordable housing projects and the multifamily housing that’s been popping up in Douglas County — I’m sure the same is true in Jefferson County and Weld County, all across our state — it’s to pack people in,” he said. “And if you pack in people in affordable housing, guess what you’re going to get? Democrat control in your counties.”

    Nice to know Wood is fluent enough in MAGA speech to slip in the erroneous grammar of "Democrat control."

    1. My other favorite quote from the debate and the article

      “You want to know why we don’t win? It’s because we don’t tell the truth,” Williams said.

      "I lie all the time! You're all liars too! Hire me to be in charge of whatever the fuck is going on here." – Dave Letsgobrandon Williams (paraphrased)

      1. " Hire me to be in charge of whatever the fuck is going on here."

        Now THAT is damn funny Chickenheed! Made me laugh on a day that I really needed one…

  7. Who gets to vote?

    Is it too late to register?

    All of them are fine candidates.  As a voter who leans a different direction, I will be glad that one of them will be too busy chairing to do any real politiickin.

    They should be honest about their agenda, close their primary, and seek candidates who are only the most true Republican.

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