UPDATE: Republican operative Kelly Maher signals her genteel displeasure:
Ten years ago, Maher was the MC of Magpul’s so-called “Boulder Airlift” protest of the 15-round magazine limit along with a host of RMGO-backed politicos.
But as you can see, times have changed. Probably had a lot to do with losing most elections since then.
A seemingly innocuous email blast from newly-minted Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams yesterday afternoon sparked controversy that continues to rage this morning–not due to any particularly offensive verbiage in the message itself, but who the Colorado Republican Party is choosing to promote:
What’s the “email below,” you ask?
In order to fully appreciate the significance of the Colorado GOP promoting events for far-right “no compromise” gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, it’s necessary to understand RMGO’s long and often hostile relationship with the party over the past decade and longer. As an organization, RMGO has historically had no sense of loyalty whatsoever to Colorado Republicans, to the extent that they have routinely attacked Republican candidates considered insufficiently devoted to the cause of eliminating all restrictions on gun ownership.
RMGO’s “friendly fire” played a role in the defeat of swing-district Republican candidates like ex-Rep. Cole Wist., and their subsequent attempt to recall the Democrat who beat Wist was an unmitigated disaster. Dave Kopel, an attorney specializing in gun rights, called RMGO’s former executive director Dudley Brown a “direct mail fundraising scam artist” and a “parasite” in a 2019 interview condemning the recall attempt against now-Sen. Tom Sullivan, correctly predicting it would only boost Sullivan’s career.
In the 2020 Republican primaries, RMGO-supported candidates were roundly defeated by candidates backed by the Republican Party’s “corporate wing,” a shift that was widely heralded as the end of the “Neville era”–with the subsequent downfall of House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and another round of historic punishment in the 2020 general election. The next Minority Leader, the late Hugh McKean, was much less friendly to RMGO, and was primaried unsuccessfully in 2022 by Pat Neville’s vengeful former aide.
That’s the low point of influence RMGO found itself at until Dave Williams, who in the embrace of the fringe position on every conceivable issue also embraces RMGO’s fringe position on guns, got himself elected to be the next Colorado Republican Party chairman. Williams’ victory from the rubble of the GOP’s epic shellacking in 2022 effectively reverses years of attempts by corporate Republicans like Bob Beauprez to purge RMGO’s frequently embarrassing candidates before they got elected to safe GOP seats.
And for what? RMGO promised to turn the Capitol into a “circus” over this year’s package of gun safety bills, only to be outnumbered by supporters of the legislation in half-empty hearing rooms. RMGO Executive Director Taylor Rhodes promised a circus, but only managed to assemble one clown and a bag of popcorn. RMGO wields more power within the GOP than ever, and at the same time less influence with the voting public than ever.
That appears to be just fine with the party’s new leadership. And for Republicans who hoped 2022 was the bottom of their flagging political fortunes, it is a freshly compounding disaster.