We wrote on Sunday about former State Rep. Dave Williams emerging as the “winner” of the race to become the next Chairperson of the Colorado Republican Party. Our analysis of Williams’ victory was decidedly grim for the GOP; judging by a roundup of news articles related to Saturday’s State Republican Party Chair election, we weren’t alone in that assessment.
Writing for The Bulwark, former Colorado Republican Tim Miller sees Williams’ election as another stop on the state GOP’s train ride to oblivion:
…the GOP’s most wild-eyed members are determined to run things even further into the ground. This weekend they handed the keys to the party to a tiny cloister of extremists more interested in owning the libs than fixing their losing brand…
…In his speech accepting the new role Williams said, “We are the party that elected Donald J. Trump, and we are not going to apologize for that anymore.” (Minor fact check: Donald Trump lost Colorado twice, most recently by 13 points).
Pro-Trump, anti-gay, anti-vax. Determined to change the party rules to prevent independents from participating. This doesn’t seem like a path to success in a blue state. But maybe Mr. Let’s Go Brandon sees something I don’t.
Miller once worked for Bill Owens, the last Republican in Colorado to be elected Governor. As former State Party Chair Dick Wadhams told Miller:
You might’ve worked for the only Republican Colorado governor in your lifetime.”
Wadhams was equally pessimistic in speaking with Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
Colorado Republicans on Saturday elected Dave Williams, a former state lawmaker from Colorado Springs who insists that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election, to lead the state party for the next two years.
“We need a wartime leader who will boldy articulate our conservative, America-first agenda while going toe-to-toe with the radical Democrats every chance we get,” Williams said in a combative speech before the first round of voting at a party meeting in Loveland.
Williams takes control of a Republican Party riddled with infighting and reeling from a string of losses in a state whose voters elected Democrats to every statewide office in last year’s midterm election.
“It’s just going to be a wasteland at the Colorado Republican Party for the next two years.”
— Former Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams on the GOP Chair election
Sandra Fish of The Colorado Sun noted that Williams was more than happy to name names when it came to talking about of all of his perceived enemies:
Williams pledged Saturday that the party will go to court to prevent unaffiliated voters from participating in the GOP primary election. A similar effort by individual Republicans failed in federal court in 2022.
“Right now there are efforts to eliminate the caucus by the consultant class and a wealthy unaffiliated millionaire who hates our party,” he said, referencing Kent Thiry, the former DaVita CEO.
Williams also criticized past party leadership.
“Our party doesn’t have a brand problem,” he said. “Our party has a problem with feckless leaders who are ashamed of you and ashamed of our conservative values.” [Pols emphasis]
Fish adds that Williams also promised to overhaul the staff at the State Republican Party:
“Everyone’s going to have to go through a rehiring process, they’re going to resubmit their applications,” Williams said.
Inspiring stuff! Who’s ready to get yelled at?
Bente Birkeland of Colorado Public Radio has more on Williams’ airing of grievances:
“Here’s the truth that the fake news media, crooked politicians, and the failed consultants won’t tell you,” Williams said in his speech at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Loveland, “our party can win again, but only if we first reject their failed leadership and go on offense.”
Williams, who is Latino and lives in Colorado Springs, served six years in the state legislature before mounting an unsuccessful primary challenge against congressman Doug Lamborn last year. He tried to include the anti-Biden slogan ‘Let’s go Brandon’ as his nickname on the ballot, but was denied by a judge.
Saturday’s GOP reorganization meeting was held in the shadow of ongoing electoral losses. Democrats currently hold every statewide office and five of Colorado’s eight congressional seats (and came within 546 votes of claiming a sixth).
If it makes you feel any better — and if you are a Republican, it should not — Colorado is far from the only state to have selected an election denier as a State Party Chairperson. Idaho, Kansas, and Michigan recently went in the same direction, and Florida selected a former Trump staffer to lead its state party.
It was just a week ago that Ernest Luning wrote for the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political website that Republican state chair candidates were vowing “to learn from losses” suffered in recent election cycles.
Maybe the “learning from losses” part comes later.