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December 05, 2023 01:13 PM UTC

New Head Clown Needed for House Republican Circus

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  • by: Colorado Pols
Assistant Minority Leader Rose Pugliese (R-Colorado Springs)

The Colorado legislature will reconvene in about a month (January 10, 2024, to be exact), and it will likely kick things off with a different clown in charge of the circus that is the House Republican caucus.

The current Chief Clown is House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, but Lynch has been widely expected to run for the open congressional seat in CO-04 being vacated by the retirement of Ken Buck. The Colorado Sun confirmed that rumor again today in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter.

Lynch could theoretically remain Minority Leader while simultaneously running for Congress, though we wouldn’t suggest trying to do both with such a compacted schedule leading up to the June Republican Primary Election (CO-04 is such an overwhelmingly-Republican district that the winner of the June Primary should have no trouble in a General Election). 

Derp

The bigger issue is that Lynch can’t really remain Minority Leader when he’s going to be running for Congress against at least one of his fellow lawmakers. State Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron) announced his candidacy for CO-04 in November; assuming both Lynch and Holtorf remain in the legislature, it would create a lot of problems for the GOP caucus to have the Minority Leader openly feuding with another Republican. 

The obvious option would be for Assistant Minority Leader Rose Pugliese to lose the “assistant” in her title and become the new Head Clown. Pugliese was selected by her fellow caucus members to her current position before she even stepped foot on the House floor (she was first elected to the House in 2022), so this sort of promotion was inevitable at some point.

Of course, being the Minority Leader of this current crop of clowns is absolutely the worst political job in the state. Colorado Springs Republican Scott Bottoms already thinks that he is the leader of the 19-seat Republican caucus and is pretty sure that he’s very good at what he does (spoiler alert: NOPE). Bottoms and his sidekick, Rep. Ken DeGraaf, together form “The Unambiguously Lame Duo” and generally spend most of their time talking about wacky conspiracy theories while bragging about how much taxpayer money they are wasting with pointless rants on the House floor. 

Despite his giant cowboy hat, Lynch couldn’t corral Bottoms and DeGraaf in 2023, so Pugliese likely won’t have any luck herself. But if Pugliese doesn’t end up with the Head Clown job, then Bottoms will absolutely do everything he can to stop the legislature from functioning altogether.

This is all quite the conundrum for House Republicans. It appears that things will keep getting worse before they get any better.

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