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April 01, 2024 12:10 PM UTC

Gabe-ish Evans Couldn't Close The Deal Against Janak "Dr. Nick" Joshi

  • by: Colorado Pols
Former state Rep. Janak “Dr. Nick” Joshi (R).

Jason Salzman at the Colorado Times Recorder has the first coverage from the surprising outcome Saturday at the Republican assembly for the ultra-competitive CO-08 congressional seat, in which Americans For Prosperity-endorsed state Rep. Gabe-ish Evans failed to eliminate his primary opponent former Rep. Janak Joshi, setting up a race to the right ahead of the June 25th primary election that Evans had hoped to avoid:

Evans got 61.78% (118 votes) and Joshi received 30.37% (58 votes). A third candidate, businessman Joe Andujo, garnered 7.85% (15 votes) and will not be part of the primary contest. A small number of provisional ballots didn’t affect the outcome, according to Sherri Peif, the chair of the Congressional District 8 Republican Party…

Today’s outcome sets off a battle between Joshi and Evans that could get heated. Americans for Prosperity, a deep-pocketed conservative group that backs Evans, launched an attack against Joshi prior to the assembly, raising questions about his medical licensing, according to podcaster Julie Hayden, who discussed the issue with Joshi on her and Chuck Boniwell’s March 27 show. Joshi surrendered his medical license but still calls himself a physician. Both Hayden and Bonniwell support Joshi.

Joshi’s appeal to CO-04 assembly delegates was cringeworthy, though in this room it appears to have gone over well:

[Joshi] joked about his Asian heritage to make his point.

“Folks, you know, everybody wants to be a chief in Washington D.C.!” exclaimed Joshi during his speech. “And nobody wants to be an Indian. I am that Indian! [Pols emphasis] … Send this Indian to Washington D.C.”

We know some of you would like for your head to just explode already to relieve the pressure, but keep reading. And remember that these jokes are indeed funny to some people, just not you.

For as much as we tend to dunk on them in this space, there’s no disputing the influence of a number of far-right talking heads including the infamous Julie Hayden and Chuck Boniwell over the Republican party faithful. All the way back in February, just before AFP pulled their support from Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, Hayden and Bonniwell weighed in to slam Evans for his ties to Americans For Prosperity and boost Joshi:

HAYDEN [00:42:52]: I don’t think when you think Americans for Prosperity, you think courage. No. You think greed, right. And power grabbing. I mean, that’s what they did. They proved to be totally wrong, and wrong enough that they’ve acknowledged $70 million later. Okay. So what they are, though now doing is pouring their money into places like Colorado to try to get, Jeff Crank elected in CD-5. Right? And he’s gonna, if Americans for Prosperity, depending what they give him, that’s could make a difference in that race. The other person they’re supporting in CD3 is Ron or Jeff Hurd. Okay, that’s the old Lauren Boebert district. As we all know, Ron Hanks would be the grassroots candidate that we support. And then in, CD-8, which is where we live, Americans for Prosperity also is supporting Gabe Evans.


HAYDEN: Yeah, another RINO. And the person we like is Janak Joshi. So if Ameri – just just think this, if Americans for Prosperity are supporting them, they’re a RINO. They’re an open borders uni-party establishment RINO. Otherwise Americans for Prosperity wouldn’t be supporting them. And here’s why. Because Americans for Prosperity knows that even if Trump were to get elected, they could thwart everything he tries to do in Congress. Right? And that’s why this is great. Matt Gaetz at CPAC was saying, that’s why it’s so important that we don’t elect people like Jeff Crank or like, yeah, Jeff Crank, Jeff Hurd or Gabe Evans…

If you thought that the drama playing out over AFP’s endorsements in other races might somehow not affect AFP-endorsed Gabe Evans in CO-08, the only realistic opportunity Republicans have to flip a seat in Colorado in 2024, unfortunately for Evans you’re mistaken. So far Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams, despite having turned AFP’s endorsement into a stick to beat his CO-05 primary opponent Jeff Crank with, hasn’t been asked to reconcile his blanket condemnation of AFP with their support for Evans. But with Hayden and Bonniwell broadcasting the answer to that question and now Janak Joshi holding on to bedevil Evans all the way until June 25th, Williams probably doesn’t have to. Joshi is a much more natural fit, or if you prefer misfit, for Williams and his faction of MAGA absolutists in control of the state party.

During his time in the Colorado House, Rep. Joshi earned a reputation as one of the less credible members of a shrinking and already fringe-defined House minority. Joshi frequently invoked his career as a physician on the House floor without ever acknowledging that he surrendered his medical license after being admonished for failing to meet standards in the treatment of an elderly patient. After being edged out of his HD-16 seat by the better-known and equally skeezy Larry Liston, Joshi went on to lose a Colorado Springs City Council race in 2017 before taking a break from electoral politics.

Rather than make any firm predictions about Joshi’s competitiveness in the primary or the general election, what we can say with certainty is that Joshi is going to at the very least delay Gabe Evans’ broadly-expected Cory Gardner-style flight to the center on a whole range of issues that Joshi wants to highlight to attract GOP primary voters. From abortion to relitigating the 2020 presidential election, Joshi is eager to engage on all these subjects Evans would rather not as he looks to appeal to swing voters in Colorado’s most evenly-drawn congressional district. It’s very similar to the dynamic in the 2022 GOP primaries for governor and U.S. Senate, in which primary candidates disfavored by the Republican Party’s “corporate wing” forced the anointed contenders to reaffirm their conservative credentials.

And then as you recall, they couldn’t take it back.

For all of these reasons, the failure to eliminate Janak Joshi from the CO-08 primary is a much bigger problem for Evans than the margin at the assembly might suggest. Try as he might to stay above the fray, Gabe Evans is on the wrong side of the defining schism among Colorado Republicans today. Neither Joshi nor the Colorado GOP appear incentivized to make this easy for Evans.


5 thoughts on “Gabe-ish Evans Couldn’t Close The Deal Against Janak “Dr. Nick” Joshi

  1. I have no notion of the Republican party's processes. But I'm wondering how many delegates COULD have attended the HD-8 meeting.  Seems to me it would be more than 118 + 58 + 15 votes.  Does 191 votes show a burst of enthusiasm for either of these candidates or the race in general?


    1. It's actually CD-8, not HD-8 or CD-4.

      As for the math, JiD, you know that for most Republicans math is hard to do.

  2. Here is the winning issue for Joshi:  excessive, job-killing governmental regulations in the health care professions.

    Why do doctors have to be licensed? It's the nanny state in action!  Caveat emptor!  

    If you go to a doctor, you have personal responsibility to find out if the doctor is qualified or not.

    Let Adam Smith's fist do its magic in the market place!


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