Dave Williams’ GOP Gets To Work Wrecking Itself

Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams.

As Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports today, with the Colorado Republican Party now firmly under the control of far-right chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams, one of the first orders of business is the long-sought goal of closing the Republican primary to insufficiently “America First” unaffiliated voters:

“The Colorado Republican Committee wishes to explore a lawsuit against the State of Colorado, which would challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 108,” stated the letter, written on behalf of the party by attorneys with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. The legal fund would defray the costs of legal action.

In 2016, Colorado voters approved Proposition 108, which allowed unaffiliated voters, now the state’s largest bloc, to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. The law does have a provision allowing a party to opt out of the open primary system and instead pick its candidates through a caucus process, but 75 percent of the members of the state central committee must support the move…

“We must work to close the primaries so that only Republicans choose our Republican nominees,” he said. “We cannot afford to let Democrats become unaffiliated so that they then can meddle in our primaries, like they did with (Rep.) Lauren Boebert. We must defend and protect our caucus assembly.”

Williams’ choice of Rep. Lauren Boebert as an example of the supposed harm of semi-open primaries is on the one hand ridiculous, since whatever attempt mounted last year by Democrats in CD-3 to tip the GOP primary to Don Coram failed miserably based on the results. On the other hand, examples Williams didn’t cite of who would benefit from closing the party’s primaries are much more telling: close allies like former Rep. Ron Hanks, who dominated the state assembly before going on to lose to Joe O’Dea. Former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters likewise won the top line at the 2022 GOP assembly. Not to mention Williams’ own dismally failed run against Rep. Doug Lamborn. These are the candidates who would directly, perhaps decisively benefit from excluding unaffiliated voters from the primary. None of them can win a primary under the current rules, and last year none of them did. But after the “establishment” Republican picks all went down in November of 2022, they feel perversely vindicated.

The intent of the proponents of 2016’s Proposition 108 was to encourage “moderation” in both parties by allowing presumably neutral unaffiliated voters to take part in the primary process. But for the ideologically strident far-right activists in control of the Colorado GOP today, that’s the exact opposite of how they want primaries decided, and a threat to their newfound control. At the same time, pursuing a legal challenge against the law instead of simply taking advantage of the existing provision to close the primary with a 75% vote of the central committee is a clear sign that Williams doesn’t have the support he needs to go the simpler route.

Make no mistake: as much as the Colorado GOP leadership elections themselves, the weighty decision of whether to close off the party from unaffiliated input in their primaries is a crucial inflection point for the party’s immediate and long-term future. Closing the primary would insulate and empower far-right candidates like Hanks and Peters, but then those candidates would have to stand in the general election where they would face certain annihilation at the hands of Colorado’s leftward-trending electorate. There has rarely been a clearer proposition for short-term gain and long-term pain.

If Republicans are more interested now in ideological purity than victory, and that seems to be Dave Williams’ bent, closing the primary makes sense. It’s catastrophic to anyone who wants Republicans to be competitive in future Colorado elections.

Maybe there really aren’t any left.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Colorado Pols after the 2022 elections:  It’s hard to imagine the Colorado Republican Party doing worse than they have done under KBB.

    Dave Williams in 2023:  Hold my Beer!!!!

  2. Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

    You mean they will not let folks like me – a former Dem who is now a card-carrying unaffiliated voter – vote in their primaries anymore?   

    And after I helped spare them further humiliation in 2022 by voting for Heidi “Furries” Ganahl, Joe O’Dea and Pam Anderson over their more exotic primary opponents.


    • unnamed says:

      And after I helped spare them further humiliation in 2022 by voting for Heidi “Furries” Ganahl, Joe O’Dea and Pam Anderson over their more exotic primary opponents.

      That would be why they wouldn't want you to vote in their primaries.  They like publicly debasing themselves.  Also, I don't know how much humiliation they were spared with Heidi vs. Greg Lopez at this point.  The other two, maybe.  But not her.  That's for sure.

  3. IndependentProgressive says:

    As an unaffiliated voter, if the Trumpist Party wants to end my ability to chose a Republican ballot for the primary (if for some strange reason I wanted to), then they should pay the full cost for conducting that election.

    • Dano says:

      I too am unaffiliated. I tend to vote GOP in primaries so I can vote against the worst of the Trumpsters. However, I think the last Republican I voted for in a general election was Donetta Davidson for Sec. of State.

  4. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    "Let the nut-jobs flow." 

    The caucus process isn't much either for allowing "Republicans to pick Republicans." I posted a while back about the last couple timers I attended my R precinct caucus here in Lakewood, prior to passage of 108.

    There was no discussion about candidates and no voting. The candidates had already been selected by the higher-ups. The only thing to do was to choose who would cough up money to pay for attending assemblies as a delegate.

  5. davebarnes says:

    I really don't care if the G☭Pers do it.
    I can always do what I did before: change party registration to suit my mood.

    Sometimes I vote in a primary because I have positive views and sometimes I just want to ratfuck.

  6. Southwest Denver Dem says:

    When 45% of the electorate is unaffiliated, shutting them out of primaries is disenfranchisement of almost half of Colorado voters. So much for the will of the voters. But the fewer the voters, the better for the GOP. So, that works for them.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      They can do it but should pay the costs of their charade for every county in the state that runs them.  Public shouldn't pick up this tab.

      • Lauren Boebert is a Worthless POS says:

        yes  This  yes

        Political parties have a constitutional right (i.e., right of association) to do what they want, subject to certain extreme exceptions being impermissible (i.e., the Texas all-white primary was declared unconstitutional in the 1950s).

        But we don't have to pay for their charade.

        Here's a suggestion:  why doesn't Dave collect the names of everyone who wants to run for every office in every partisan race in Colorado and send the list to Mar-A-Lago. There can then be a six-week period of time for the ass kissing and the "donations" to be made after which there can be a televised event at which Orange Caligula can announce, "You're nominated!"

  7. Washopingmylastpostwouldbemylast says:

    Dave is a genius, and it's all so simple!  The candidates for office chosen by the smallest number of ideologically identical electors are always bound to have the broadest support, and therefore the best chance, in any general election, right???  OK, maybe it's just simple.

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