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June 27, 2023 03:12 PM UTC

Waiting For Dave Williams' Next Lead Balloon

  • by: Colorado Pols
Former Sen. Kevin Lundberg, GOP chairman Dave Williams, indicted ex-Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R).

It’s been a wild few months for newly-elected Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams, whose brief term in office has been marred by growing dissent, infighting, intraparty score-settling…basically anything except what the Colorado GOP should be focused on, raising money and organizing to reclaim seats in the 2024 elections. Axios’ John Frank is just the latest to itemize the compounding fiasco:

The Colorado Republican Party appears to be spending more energy attacking its own members than challenging rival Democrats. [Pols emphasis]

Why it matters: The GOP is looking to regroup after “extinction-level” losses in the 2022 election, but it’s struggling to find a path to winning seats in Congress and the state Legislature.

State of play: Former state Rep. Dave Williams promised to bring a firebrand approach to the job when activists picked him as the party chairperson in March. Except his first fight is against Republicans he doesn’t see as strong conservatives…

Williams laughably tried to suggest that he was “deliberately” not raising even enough money to cover the party’s basic expenses. The party’s desperate financial situation compounded questions raised at the state capitol earlier this year over Williams drawing a paycheck as a legislative aide while basically never appearing inside the building during the legislative session. But it’s Williams’ open attacks against Republicans he perceives as ideologically impure–and in the case of Rep. Doug Lamborn, in the service of Williams’ personal political vendetta–that have by far cost Williams the most among his fellow Republicans. Williams had originally hoped for funding via indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and her “MyPillow”-set benefactors, but that hasn’t happened as Peters’ legal troubles escalated. What responsible Republican donor would pay to subsidize what Williams is doing?

As for Williams’ much-hyped deal with the Libertarian Party to keep spoiler candidates out of competitive races? Much of the goodwill initially generated by that announcement dissipated after Williams made it clear that his “deal” would only in apply in cases where Williams wanted it to apply, directly threatening 2022 GOP CD-8 candidate Barb Kirkmeyer with a Libertarian spoiler if she chooses to run again. With that, Libertarians could kiss their integrity goodbye, fully revealed as a tool co-opted by Williams for Williams’ own purposes.

As Libertarian and longtime conservative columnist Ari Armstrong writes for Complete Colorado, whom we rarely link to as a right-wing propaganda mill, this is not an arrangement any ideological Libertarian should want any part of:

Since I left the LP, I’ve spent hours arguing with Libertarians about the “spoiler effect.” What Libertarians used to tell me is that the only wasted vote is one cast for a candidate you don’t believe in and that Republicans have no moral right to Libertarian votes. Times have changed.

Now, by explicitly working with Republicans to protect Republican candidates, the Libertarian Party has positioned itself as a de facto wing of the GOP and allied itself with social conservatives. This, to my mind, is a complete betrayal of libertarianism. Libertarianism is supposed to be neither left nor right, to be liberal in the classical sense, to be “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” to be as opposed to conservative variants of statism as to progressive variants. Now the Libertarian brand is just Republican Lite.

In just a few short months, Williams has turned much of the local Republican donor, pundit, and consultant base against him–and criticism is expanding beyond the occasional column from usual suspects like Dick Wadhams. In addition to the everpresent possibility of a Steve House-style “palace coup,” Republican donors could choose to expand statewide the “shadow party” organized in El Paso County last year as an alternative to the dysfunctional county GOP led by Williams ally Vickie Tonkins.

As we’ve said before, this is not a tenable situation for Colorado Republicans. Williams lacks the basic management skills to run a complex operation, to say nothing of the attention span to focus on mundanities like fundraising and field organizing. Williams’ combative style leaves him with few friends to spin his failures when he needs them most. And every day the Colorado GOP limps along with no money or plan of attack for 2024 is opportunity lost.

If there is to be an intervention ahead of 2024, the clock is ticking.


3 thoughts on “Waiting For Dave Williams’ Next Lead Balloon

  1. I keep wondering about the wisdom of allowing the Libertarians to determine if the Republican candidate is “right” enough or not. 

    Seems like Democrats are going to be able to exploit the horns of this dilemma: 

      * the “Republican” opponent is whacked enough to earn an endorsement of the Mises Caucus of the Libertarian Party — in which case “moderate” Republican and Unaffiliated voters will be less enthusiastic; or

      * the “Republican” opponent did NOT get the Libertarian endorsement, in which case the Libertarians will run a candidate, and the Williams-aligned MAGA folk will be much less likely to vote for the “Republican.”

    Am I missing some 4th dimension chess strategy going on here?

    1. What you're missing is that they'll just lie about the candidate's moderate chops when it comes to the general election. So, the RWNJ Libertarians and Republicans could agree on a candidate, who then advances to the general. At that point, the pivot happens, and all of a sudden, the candidate is posing with Pride flags and talking up how tolerant and nice they are. They'll use buzzwords to appeal to moderates and liberals, while embracing RWNJ policies.

      Exhibit A: Thornton mayoral incumbent Jan Kulmann, who is out there on social media hugging people at Pride rallies and showing up at Juneteenth celebrations, promoting bike to work – nevermind that she voted against laws that would benefit LGBT and people of color, and is a paid shill for the oil and gas industries. 

      She's also promoting herself as a victim of the mean old  liberals, saying that they sicked "Danny Kulmann" on her. Danny Kulmann is actually  Dariush Namazi, who, as they say, "has issues". Jan Kulmann understands this, but still likes to promote herself as the victim of Woke Aggression. I'm sure this will also carry over to the general. 

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