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June 12, 2024 11:29 AM UTC

Dave Williams is Ruining Things for All Other Dave Williamses

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  • by: Colorado Pols
Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams, aka “Evil Dave”

There is a lot of money being spent in Colorado’s fifth congressional district in a late effort to make sure that Republican State Party Chairman Dave Williams does not win his June 25th Primary race against fellow Republican Jeff Crank. This is both about Williams the congressional candidate and Williams the State GOP Chair, because Williams has systematically destroyed whatever was left of the Colorado Republican Party since taking over that job in March 2023.

Williams’s latest effort — denigrating the LGBTQ community in Colorado — has created the kind of backlash that might at last get him removed from his post atop the Colorado GOP. It has also led to a lot of really bad national press, including this latest column from Michelle Goldberg of The New York Times:

These messages, which have rocked Republican politics in Colorado, are the latest demonstration of how Donald Trump’s MAGA movement has thrown state parties into turmoil. But they’ve also set off a furious backlash from within the party, an indication that beneath a veneer of pro-Trump unanimity, old-school Republicans are locked in a power struggle with the fanatics, trolls and conspiracy theorists Trump has empowered. It’s a strange dynamic: A bloc of conservatives who’ve mostly capitulated to Trump is still fighting Trumpism, as if the two things can be separated…

…In this battle, Williams’s anti-gay provocations have become an unexpected flashpoint. Mainstream conservatives might “agree with him on gay issues,” said Dick Wadhams, the state Republican Party chair from 2007 to 2011. But “I don’t think they like the tone, the hateful tone of what he put out,” he said, and “they think his conduct has become embarrassing.” Republican leaders from across the state have called for him to step down, and since he’s refused, some have begun a drive to remove him. [Pols emphasis]

[Before we move on, it’s important not to gloss over this rather amazing quote from Wadhams, who takes the first available exit off of the high road. For more than a year, Wadhams has been blasting Williams at every opportunity, while also acknowledging that he supported Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 — basically agreeing with the MAGA forces that made Dave Williams as State GOP Chair a possibility. Wadhams says here that “mainstream conservatives” might agree with Williams “on gay issues,” but just don’t like that Williams was so loud in his attacks on the LGBTQ community. Wadhams should maybe stop talking.]

“Buena Vista” Dave Williams, aka “Good Dave”

Anyway, it seems that the political shrapnel from the Dave Williams administration is also wounding other Dave Williamses in Colorado. As Elliot Wenzler writes brilliantly for The Steamboat Pilot & Today:

The growing number of people who loathe Republican Dave Williams is starting to become a big problem for Republican Dave Williams.

That’s because there are two Republicans named Dave Williams who are running for office in Colorado.

There’s the divisive chair of the Colorado GOP, who is running for Congress. Then there’s the other Dave Williams — the one whose name is saved in some of his friends’ phones as “Good Dave Williams” — a moderate Republican who lives in Buena Vista and is running for a state House seat in the High Country, and who wants nothing to do with his notorious counterpart. [Pols emphasis]

Buena Vista Williams faces a tough battle in the race to represent House District 13, a position currently held by House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Dillon Democrat. With such a well-known opponent and a slightly left-leaning district, Williams will need support from moderate voters to have a chance at success. But the infamous other Dave Williams may make that difficult.

“It hasn’t been helpful to be honest with you,” Buena Vista Williams said.

That’s a hell of a lede. The entire story is well worth a read because of how it came about and the way that others describe the two Williamses. Since friends refer to the Buena Vista version as the “Good Dave Williams,” we’ll go ahead and label the State GOP Chair as “Evil Dave Williams.”

Unsurprisingly, the latest national news on “Evil Dave” has been a real headache for “Good Dave”:

Buena Vista Williams said he hasn’t been confused for state party Williams many times, but that it’s started to happen more over the past few days, including a television reporter asking him his feelings on calls for his resignation. It was a wrong number. Now, he’s considering accelerating his plans to start sending out announcements on his candidacy.

“I’m certainly not the favorite,” he said. “Having some negative name recognition does us no favors.” [Pols emphasis]

Some friends in Republican circles have been confused when they see Buena Vista Williams’ name appear on their phone, leading some to save his number as “Good Dave Williams,” he said.

“All you can do is laugh about it.”

Journalist David O. Williams

First off, who is the lazy television reporter who randomly called “Dave Williams” in search of the GOP Chair? “Dave Williams” is a very common name; a quick check of registered voters in Colorado turns up 430 different people named “David Williams.” Did the reporter in question just start calling all of them?

In retrospect, this story probably should have been first reported by David O. Williams, who writes for Vail Daily and other publications in Colorado.

“Good Dave” wasn’t going to beat House Speaker Julie McCluskie in November regardless of the misdeeds of any other Dave Williamses. But we can absolutely sympathize with anyone who is accidentally confused with “Evil Dave.”

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