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January 22, 2024 11:13 AM UTC

Richard Holtorf Lights Himself on Fire, Attempts to Douse Flames with Gasoline

  • by: Colorado Pols

On Friday at the State Capitol, Rep. Richard Holtorf (R-Akron) lit himself on fire with a bizarre speech about his own experiences with abortion rights.

Over the course of the following 24 hours, Holtorf attempted to douse those flames by pouring gasoline over his head. Repeatedly.

If you missed what kicked all of this off, legislative Democrats on Friday put forward a resolution recognizing the anniversary of the 1973 passage of Roe v. Wade, which of course was since overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022. House Republicans responded by standing together in the well of the House of Representatives while Republican Rep. Brandi Bradley read a predictable statement affirming Republican opposition to abortion rights.

And then things got weird.

Holtorf decided to step up to the microphone himself to tell a long story about how a college girlfriend had an abortion and that he gave her money to help her out:

When I was in college I had a girlfriend and she was a beautiful young woman. And we had the unfortunate experience of her getting pregnant. I’m Catholic, so you know my position on life. But I had to respect her rights. Because she said she didn’t want to keep her baby. And that’s hard. That’s hard for a man who respects women. But I respected her rights. And actually gave her money to help her through her important critical time so she could live her best life. 

This was a stunning admission from Holtorf, who went on to say with a straight face: “I also believe in women’s rights.” It’s hard to overstate how out of character this is for Holtorf, a staunch anti-abortion Republican who just last year called abortion rights supporters “godless heathens” and in 2020 sponsored a (failed) measure to implement a 22-week abortion ban in Colorado.

Lest there is any confusion about Holtorf’s actual words, here is the video of his entire 9-minute speech on Friday (you can read the full text of his comments at the end of this story below):


Now, here’s where it is important to remind you that Holtorf is also a prominent member of the ClusterBuck Republican Primary race for Congress in CO-04. Perhaps someone even reminded Holtorf of this fact at some point later in the day on Friday.

Whatever it was that motivated Holtorf to tell his personal story about a former girlfriend’s abortion, there is absolutely NO QUESTION that this is a politically-devastating thing to admit in a Republican Primary in what is the single reddest congressional district in Colorado. This is an easy attack for any of Holtorf’s CO-04 opponents to make; it will undoubtedly come up in the first CO-04 candidate forum on Thursday, hosted by the Women of Weld County.

Before the end of the day on Friday (at about 11:00 pm), the hamster wheel in Holtorf’s head spun out a silly statement that the candidate posted to Facebook. As 9News explains:

My comments today in the House chamber have been gathering a lot of attention in the liberal news media as they spin this story. [Pols emphasis] I want to set the record straight. I also have a deep respect for women and my lived experience in the attached video illustrates this fact. I voted “NO” on this Senate Joint Resolution today…

…I have always tried to lead by example and share not only my triumphs in life, but also my mistakes. I share my deepest regrets to ensure that others can hear my story and make the best choice, which is life for those who can not speak for themselves, the unborn. I would ask that those with questions watch my remarks in the attached video in their entirety. I believe you will gain much needed context. My message today is to respect women and choose life!

Ah, yes: The liberal media is unfairly reporting ON THE EXACT WORDS THAT HOLTORF BARFED OUT IN PUBLIC. There is no spin required here; the story is obvious. 

On Saturday, Holtorf took his attempted explanation a step further. Holtorf doubled-down on his “librul media” attacks. He also claimed that he didn’t actually pay for an abortion, but gave his girlfriend money for…something else? Holtorf thinks this is an important distinction (it isn’t) mostly because he has nothing else to say in defense of himself. Again, 9News has the full statement:

“9 News’ Kyle Clark leads the troupe of disgusting liberal media outlets in making false statements and spinning my deeply personal story. In my remarks on the house floor today,

I was advocating to choose life as I railed against the Democrat’s Roe v. Wade Anniversary Day resolution. To clear up the liberal media spin, we must review the historical truth which the media novices failed to even take the time to inquire about in their reporting. When I was young man in college, my girlfriend became pregnant. I headed off to Fort Lewis, Washington to do my ROTC Advanced Camp training for the summer and upon my return was greeted with terrible news. My girlfriend had made the unfortunate choice to have an abortion despite my objections as a pro-life Catholic. The liberal media took my comments completely out of context claiming I paid for an abortion. These comments are reprehensible and this shoddy reporting is amateur at best and grossly inaccurate. [Pols emphasis]

The truth is my girlfriend asked for financial help when I returned from military training later that summer. I did what any honorable man who respects women would do and I supported her. Later in life, as a young Army Lieutenant, my girlfriend at the time, who was not ready for marriage, chose life by putting our beautiful baby girl up for an open adoption. I live every day thanking God that we made this choice for life because I got to watch my daughter grow up from a far [sic] and am grateful my daughter always knew her biological father. This amazing woman, who I love with all my heart, is now a mother with a beautiful 3-year-old grandson of mine. They are living their best life because her mother and I made a choice for life decades before. The liberal media has shown their novice bias by deceitfully diving headfirst into the dark depths of lies. These snake oil peddlers will not shake my resolve as they stoop to attack my character and pro- life stance. I will always stand strong and advocate for the pro-life movement. The lesson here is to respect life and encourage women to choose life.” [Pols emphasis]

Screenshot from Richard Holtorf’s congressional campaign website that buries the lede but lays the evidence out in front for all to see.

In this explanation, Holtorf also mentions that he later impregnated a different girlfriend; the couple decided to give that child up for adoption, and Holtorf now has a 3-year-old grandson as a result. Hopefully this was not news to Holtorf’s wife and his five daughters.

None of this is the least bit complicated, no matter how much Holtorf wishes it were. On the House Floor on Friday, Holtorf called the pregnancy of the first mentioned girlfriend “an unfortunate experience” and pointed out — all on his own and with no provocation from anyone else — that he “actually gave her money to help her through her important critical time so she could live her best life.” Nobody asked Holtorf to talk about this or to answer questions about how it contradicts his oft-repeated anti-abortion policy views…because nobody knew this story until Holtorf brought it up unprompted at the State Capitol.

Adding to the cognitive dissonance is that Holtorf even posted the entire video of his House Floor speech on his congressional campaign website and encouraged his supporters to watch for themselves. Why would you do this? It’s a useless question, frankly. Why is Holtorf doing any of this?

The truth, as we noted on Friday, is that Holtorf’s House Floor speech was actually a very good illustration of why it is so critical to protect and preserve abortion rights in this country. That’s surely not what Holtorf meant to be the takeaway from his personal story, but no amount of “librul media” blaming can erase the words that came out of his own mouth.

The truth shall set Richard Holtorf free…probably from the burden of being elected to Congress in CO-04.


Transcript of Richard Holtorf’s abortion speech on Friday Jan. 19:

[RICHARD HOLTORF]: Thank you to my esteemed colleagues. The resolution today, I believe, has nothing to do with gun violence. So I’m going to speak specifically about the resolution. Roe versus Wade anniversary day. Because we want to stick to the bills and the resolutions. I know that better than anybody. Now. We talk about health care versus life. And everyone wants to gush and tell stories. So I’m going to tell one about life. You see, my mother was pregnant with me. She had cervical cancer and all the medical practitioners back in 1964 said, ma’am, you have to have an abortion. There is no way you can bring that child to term because of your cancer condition. These are American doctors. Because at that time, my father- My Spanish father naturalized as American- and my mother and my two brothers had left Spain and moved back to California where most of my mother’s family lived.

So a woman had to make a choice. Between life. And health care. Well, ladies and gentlemen, as I stand before you today, do you know what choice she made? Now let me tell you the journey that had to be taken for me to be born. Because we had to go back to Spain. Because in this country, the medical practitioners said we will not allow. Your baby will not support this condition. You must abort your baby. And my mother made a choice, and she said no. She chose life for her child over an abortion. And. Yes, Representative Herod is correct. Mothers give birth. Women have babies. They have that special gift, that beautiful biological gift that God has given them now. So we packed up and went back to my city of birth, where my Spanish family still lives today. And do you know what happened when we got there? The medical practitioner said we can absolutely support your baby being born and going full term, and after that, we’ll perform the hysterectomies that American doctors have said is absolutely necessary and we will be getting cancer treatment. You have a statistical probability of life. But the cancer may take you. So every time we talk about this, I think about my mom’s story. If we’re going to tell stories about our mother. I am so thankful that my mother chose life over abortion. This is a very difficult conversation. But I am a pro-life legislator and I believe in life.

I also believe in women’s rights. I have five daughters. So it’s extremely complex. So let’s talk about the next part of this little story. When I was in college I had a girlfriend and she was a beautiful young woman. And we had the unfortunate experience of her getting pregnant. I’m Catholic, so you know my position on life. But I had to respect her rights. Because she said she didn’t want to keep her baby. And that’s hard. That’s hard for a man who respects women. But I respected her rights. And actually gave her money to help her through her important critical time so she could live her best life. What she decided was not with me in a future with me.

But this story does have a happy ending. Because you see, later in life, when I was a young army officer and another beautiful woman who attended University of Kansas High School, friends later became boyfriend and girlfriend and started a very serious relationship. Because in your 20s those things happen. We also had this misfortune. Because it was unplanned. But we made a choice. We chose life. You see, we were both Catholic. And we knew that we had made a mistake in the eyes of God. And we had to live up to it. So what did we do? And this is about choices and choice for life. We decided, she decided that she was not going to keep the baby for herself. She decided that we were not going to get married because I asked her, let’s just get married. Let’s just get married and make a family. But I had to respect her choice. As a woman because she said no. Does anybody see the reoccurring theme here?

So, we went to Wichita. We looked into Catholic Charities and we arranged an open adoption. Adoption is a choice that oftentimes gets suppressed, and it’s a way to give a family who can’t have children a child. And it’s a beautiful choice for life. I’ve lived it. We want to talk about lived experience. I have so much lived experience, you have no idea. But we won’t talk about it all this morning so you can thank me later. But let me tell you something. The Catholic Charities were wonderful. My girlfriend and I took our beautiful daughter to term. One of the hardest things I ever did was give that girl away. But here’s the beautiful thing in that open adoption arrangement. My daughter Naomi, I got to see her every year. She got to know who her father was. She got to know me and know why she acts the way she does. Because she’s a lot like her daddy. Her hair color’s the color it is and where she comes from. And that she’s a quarter Spanish. So she’s she’s Hispanic. And she needs to know that. And like her father now, she speaks Spanish because of me and teaches Spanish. And embraces our Hispanic and our Latin culture 100%. Now I have the privilege this next Monday of my daughter that I speak of. And my grandson, Manny, coming to see me in Colorado. Think about that. What that means when you choose life. I’m here. She’s here and my grandson is here. Now I will tell you these are very difficult times.

[SPEAKER MCCLUSKIE]: Representative Holtorf, you have one minute remaining.

[HOLTORF]: Thank you, Madam Speaker. I fully expected to get that one minute warning. I will tell you that in every case we need to think about life. I cannot support this resolution because I am a product of that choice. So as my beautiful daughter, who’s 31 years old now and has teaches school. And my grandson, Manny, who would never be on this earth, who’s a beautiful young three year old boy. That is my only biological grandson. Thank you for your time. I will not take the remaining 23 seconds.


14 thoughts on “Richard Holtorf Lights Himself on Fire, Attempts to Douse Flames with Gasoline

  1. Does the fact that both Holtorf and Lynch are self-immolating mean that the non-Boebert support in CO-4 is going to go to Sonnenberg as the primary alternative to Ms. Beetlejuice rather than her getting to compete against a crowded field?

    1. Sonnenberg was and still is the favorite to win CD4.

      For Holtorf, I can only wish for him that he celebrates National Condom or Vasectomy Day next. He’s reproducing too frequently, IMHO. And given his propensity for giving way too much information, perhaps he will go on the record talking about the lack of sensation as a reason why he didn’t use contraception in the first place.

  2. Hey, if Republican Representative Scott DesJarlais (TN-4) can get elected and re-elected as a pro-life Republican after enticing both his wife and his mistress to terminate their pregnancies, why can't Holtorf?

    Besides, Holtorf can chalk his actions up to "youthful indiscretion" which is how former Representative Henry Hyde once described his long-term extramarital relationship while in his mid-40's. 

    Words are subject to interpretation.

  3. my girlfriend became pregnant

    lol "became"

    Hey, it just happened, you guys. Didn't have anything at all to do with Buckwheat Dick letting his little willie go commando during the ancient congress of the vacillating burrow snake.


  4. Holtorf (and Lynch) can be gathering the district's sentiments until 26-April, the deadline for the "Secretary of State to certify the names, specify the offices for which nominations are to be
    made, and set the order of the June 25th Primary Election ballot."

    Fundraising reports between now and then ought to be interesting.

  5. re: "Holtorf doubled-down on his “librul media” attacks."

    The "librul media attack" seems to be correct.  At least, a quick Google search can find NO mention of "Holtorf" and "abortion" in either of the Gazettes, Colorado Politics, or indexed conservative radio shows.  Or among the Colorado "pro-life" organizations. 

  6. I'm curious how Holtorf doesn't see the impossibility of his statements.

    Either we think abortion should be illegal and folks who decide to have abortions are criminals 


    We think people can make their own decisions on abortion and we respect their choice and this does not make them criminals.

    As a legislator, if we say "I personally respect a woman's right to choose" then pushing for legislation that criminalizes abortion then we don't actually respect a woman's right to choose.

    If he means to say "I personally think abortion is wrong but it shouldn't be a crime" then say that.

  7. He is a slut.

    That is what I got from this.  He says he's a Pro-Life Catholic…but is he a no-sex-before marriage Catholic.

    These people kill me (figuratively at this point….but it could be literally if we aren't careful).

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