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June 20, 2023 11:58 AM UTC

Ex-GOP Chairman Joins Chorus of Dismay Against Dave Williams

  • by: Colorado Pols
Former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.

Former Colorado Republican Party chairman and longtime political consultant Dick Wadhams is not generally speaking a figure who inspires much in the way of sympathy. Both as party chair and campaign manager for such high-profile losing efforts as Bob Schaffer’s 2008 U.S. Senate campaign against Mark Udall, Wadhams presided over a pivotal period of decline for Republicans that presaged the party’s massive losses beginning in the 2018 elections and continued through last November.

Although Dick Wadhams isn’t all that great at winning, in recent years he has become an increasing source of criticism over the far-right faction of the party that bedeviled his chairmanship–a faction now in firm control of the party under far-right conservative firebrand Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams. Up until this weekend’s op-ed from Wadhams in the Colorado Springs Gazette’s paywalled political blog, we hadn’t seen any direct criticism from Wadhams of his successor in the job.

Ex-President Donald Trump with Colorado GOP chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams (R).

As of today, the gloves are off, and the schism of a generation within the Colorado Republican Party is on:

The Republican state chairman, Dave Williams, a MAGA stolen-election conspiracist who refuses to acknowledge the destructive impact Trump has had on Republican candidates, is now openly attacking Republican elected officials who do not conform to his own narrow ideology.

Williams recently attacked U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn and former Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, which is virtually unprecedented for a Colorado Republican state chairman. Interestingly, Lamborn overwhelmingly defeated Williams in the 5th Congressional District Republican primary election in 2020…

Williams now brags about an “agreement” he has reached with the Colorado Libertarian Party that would allegedly prevent Libertarian candidates from being “spoilers” in competitive races such as the 8th CD. But Williams essentially grants veto power to the Libertarians to say which Republican are unacceptable to them as potential Republican nominees.

Williams specifically named O’Dea as someone whom the Libertarians might object to and would therefore be unacceptable as a Republican nominee.

In the context of what Williams sells as the biggest beneficiary of his controversial deal with Colorado Libertarians to give that minor party a say in the selection of Republican candidates, the close CD-8 race, Wadhams warns how a Libertarian “veto” over Republican candidates could produce a nominee who can’t compete with incumbent Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo. Wadhams goes on to condemn Williams’ “virtually unprecedented” public attacks on fellow Republicans, and the “narrow ideology” Williams relies upon to justify his continuous friendly fire.

Early this morning, Williams provided his answer–again, via the Colorado GOP’s official mouthpiece:

When former GOP chairman Steve Curtis went down for election fraud, Curtis didn’t have to endure public attacks from his former employer. We can only conclude that criticizing Dave Williams is a greater offense to today’s Colorado Republican Party than voter fraud. Williams seems hell-bent on tearing apart whatever remains of the Republican coalition in Colorado, and alienating everyone who doesn’t want to participate in Williams’ intra-party purity purges. It’s not just about Dick Wadhams or any individual critic, it’s about Williams’ leadership going unchallenged no matter how bad the situation gets. Williams’ preposterous excuse last week that he is “deliberately” not raising money is just the latest sign that things are indeed very bad.

It can’t go on forever. There are enough Republicans in Colorado who still entertain the hope of regaining political competitiveness that a replacement–or alternative–to Dave Williams’ self-destructive Colorado Republican Party looks increasingly likely, perhaps along the lines of the “Peak Republican” shadow campaign organization set up last year to supplant the thoroughly dysfunctional El Paso County GOP. And the objective for Colorado Republicans for 2024 won’t be to win…so much as save face.

We wouldn’t open our wallets to fund that either.


14 thoughts on “Ex-GOP Chairman Joins Chorus of Dismay Against Dave Williams

  1. Ah, but back in the day Wad Dickhams was a force to behold.

    I remember the 1996 Senate race when he took a man whose nickname was "the Potted Plant" in Washington and made him a senator by bashing the Democratic nominee as "MillionaireLawyerLobbyist Tom Strickland."

    And the Potted Plant was re-elected six years later.

    He was also responsible for getting the one and only Colorado Republican governor elected and re-elected since 1970.

    And, of course, Colorado went for Dole in '96 and Bush in '00 when Dicky was still calling the shots.

    I dare Brandon Williams to achieve even one of those Wadhams accomplishments.

    1. I agree with you that Dick Wadhams record of achievement is far better than anything Mr. Williams can claim or bring to the table. Let me add more. Wadhams managed John Thune's senate campaign that unseated U.S. Senator Tom Daschle in South Dakota. He also took over a failing U.S. Senate campaign in Montana and won the race (I don't remember the year or the candidates name). Say what people may about Dick Wadhams, he is an accomplished political consultant and a good political mind. 

      Pols, my sense about the first paragraph of this thread is you think Dick Wadhams as state chair had control over who the Republican Party would nominate. The state chair has almost zero control over who the party nominates. The difference between Wadhams and Williams is the fact Williams is attempting to change that and put himself in control the nominating process. The cancer within the Republican Party was already invasive and at work when Dick Wadhams became chair. He never had a chance of reversing it.

      Mr. Williams also thinks its his role as chair, a position elected by a few hundred people, that he should dictate national policy positions for Republican office holders, including Congressman Doug Lamborn and former Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, who were both elected by hundreds of thousands of voters. Williams chastised those two for supporting the idea the new Space Command should remain in Colorado Springs rather than relocate to Alabama because Colorado has pro choice laws. Mr. Williams has forgotten that both Messrs. Lamborn and Suthers were elected to represent their constituents and their constituents want Space Command in Colorado Springs. He is connecting two issues that are completely disconnected. Perhaps he would agree to banning assault weapons because we have TABOR!

      1. "Perhaps he would agree to banning assault weapons because we have TABOR!"

        There you go! Flawless MAGA logic!

        Here's a better suggestion for Dave Williams. If he doesn't like Colorado's pro-choice laws, he can always move his ass to Alabama.

        1. Screw that.  Williams should continue doing what he’s doing, where he’s at, [as one poster noted on another thread] as Colorado Republican Party Chair for life!

          Someday? Hell! Please don’t stop digging that whole Dave, there are thousands of us liberal voters who are already thanking you!

        2. If he doesn't like reproductive choice, or how public schools teach children, I'm totally fine with him never reproducing any offspring at all.

  2. Thanks for the post Pols. Shouldn't you guys follow this one up with a "Dems in Disarray" post to even things out. Oh wait. Dems aren't in disarray. They have the throttle wide open and are cruising for a Polis presidential run in 2028.

  3. Gilpin Guy: 

    SURELY Jared Polis has better things to do than a quixotic quest for a 2028 Presidential election. 

    Beyond the precedents set by all of the other Colorado politicians in their runs for a Presidential nomination….

    Beyond the lack of regional allies (what's he done for Democrats in any bordering state?) or leadership role in any national wing of the party….

    Beyond the attraction of raising his family (kids born in 2011 and 2014) instead of being an "absent Dad" ….

    Even beyond the reputed delights of Iowa State Fair food, New Hampshire living rooms, and incessant fundraising….

    If Biden/Harris get re-elected in 2024 and then do a good job and get lucky with events, Harris will have a solid claim.  Re-elected in 2024 and Biden winds up resigning, Harris is a lock.  Re-elected in 2024 and events make Dems look bad, the not-Democrat candidate will have the edge. Not re-elected [there's a disastrous thought], the chance the Democrats come back in 2028 with a White guy at the top of the ticket strikes me as far-fetched.


  4. Ex-GOP folks saying things might as well be Democrats saying things according to current Colorado GOP leadership. I would like it to matter, but I don't see it making any sort of difference.

  5. Just in case you think Wadhams has become something OTHER than a mouthpiece for Republican talking points, he explained:

    There is no doubt the 8th CD could be a real opportunity for Republicans to win in 2024. Caraveo has been a reliable vote for the inflationary and job-killing agenda of failed President Joe Biden.

    Reality has a bit of a different take:

    "inflationary" — Biden has the US in better shape than most other countries in the OECD.  "06 June 2023 – Year-on-year inflation in the OECD, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), decreased to 7.4% in April 2023, down from 7.7% in March 2023 (Figures 1 and 3). Between March and April 2023, inflation declined in 27 of the 38 OECD countries. "  The US rate?  4.9%.

    "job-killing" — The American Independent summarized the record here: “Today is a good day for the American economy and American workers. We learned this morning that the economy created 339,000 jobs last month,” Biden said in a statement. “We have now created over 13 million jobs since I took office. That is more jobs in 28 months than any President has created in an entire 4-year term.”… Only Bill Clinton saw more jobs created when he was president, but it took place over his two terms in office, from 1993 to 2001.

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