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June 27, 2024 11:33 AM UTC

This Week Goes from Bad to Worse for Dave Williams

  • by: Colorado Pols

There may be no person in Colorado more excited for this week to end than Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams.

On Tuesday, Williams was absolutely hammered by Jeff Crank in the race for the Republican congressional nomination in CO-05; Williams lost by a 65-35 margin despite maneuvering the State Party to assist his campaign with an endorsement and tens of thousands of dollars for direct mail. On Wednesday, a group of Republican Party officials submitted a petition demanding that Williams call a meeting of the party’s state central committee to hold a vote on deciding whether or not to oust him as State Party Chairman.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

“He has 10 days to call that meeting,” Todd Watkins, the El Paso County GOP’s vice chair, told Colorado Politics. ” If he does not call that meeting in 10 days, we will call it.”

Watkins said organizers turned in 113 signatures from members of the state party’s roughly 440-member governing body, meeting the requirement under party bylaws to force party officials to convene a special meeting within 30 days. Under the bylaws, it would take an affirmative vote from 60% of those in attendance to remove a party officer. 

The petition’s organizers believe they have more than enough support to vote Williams from office, Watkins said. [Pols emphasis]

“We request that the special meeting be held in person, with closed paper ballot voting, on a Saturday, and at an acceptable time and place, so all (central committee) members will be able to attend,” the petition read.

Williams didn’t respond to a request for comment after Watkins delivered the petition. Previously, he told Colorado Politics that he has no plans to step down and intends to keep his job.

Watkins took over as the public face of the effort to boot Williams after the Jefferson County GOP’s executive committee censured the county party chair, Nancy Pallozzi, for launching the petition drive without clearing it with them first.

For months Williams has been battling back efforts to remove him as State Party Chair. That movement gained momentum in early June after the State Republican Party — at Williams’s direction — attacked LGBTQ Coloradans by calling on people to burn Pride flags (a call that some people apparently heeded).

Williams has thus far been able to keep the pitchforks at bay; a few weeks ago he appeared to outmaneuver a push that started in the Jefferson County GOP when Chair Nancy Pallozzi called for Williams’ removal but was then censured by her own executive committee for not asking permission first. As official news broke of State Party expenditures being made for Williams’s congressional campaign, more county parties — including Denver Republican Party — then joined the calls to toss Williams out.

Even if it is true, as Watkins says, that Republicans have the signatures to force a vote to remove Williams, it’s important to remember that for a variety of reasons, Williams is not without his supporters — a group that includes some very loud voices in his corner (such as El Paso County GOP Chair Vickie Tonkins). Williams has apparently said that he would not oppose a vote to remove him, as Marshall Zelinger reported for 9News last week, but his deputies at the State Party don’t seem inclined to follow along. As Luning continues:

State Republican Party Vice Chair Hope Sheppelmann told Colorado Politics on Wednesday that there’s a possibility the petitioners can air their grievances at a recently announced central committee meeting set to take place later this summer, but only if the petition passes muster.

“Yes, there’s a special meeting called for Aug. 31, and the signatures will first need to be verified and adjudicated with the State Executive Committee before their request will be added to the special meeting agenda,” Scheppelman said in a text message.

Watkins said the party officer’s proposal is counter to state GOP bylaws.

“We’re following the black-and-white letter of our bylaws,” he said. “If the petition is submitted, then you call the meeting. You need 25%. We got that. Let’s go.”

Watkins and friends might have been able to get 25% of the required signatures to call the vote, but it’s a much harder lift to convince 60% of the governing body to actually pull the plug on the Williams administration.

The more relevant question at this point might be whether or not Williams even wants to continue serving as State Party Chairman now that his real motivation for that job — directing resources toward his own congressional campaign — is no longer an issue. Williams went radio silent on Tuesday and hasn’t spoken publicly since being drubbed in the Primary Election, which is not in itself all that unusual; losing sucks. On the other hand, Williams does need some sort of paid job, and he might have difficulty finding new employment in political circles given his slash-and-burn tactics over the last two months (which started with a ridiculous call for all Republicans to literally abandon public schools in Colorado).

At the moment, it appears that Colorado Republicans are headed for a knock down, drag out fight over the future of their Party Chairman. Success will be tough to define, however; Williams is more of a symptom than an underlying cause of the Republican Rot in Colorado, which has no shortage of boobs among its ranks.

Even if Republicans succeed in ousting Williams…then what? That’s not a job we’d be eager to take.


One thought on “This Week Goes from Bad to Worse for Dave Williams

  1. I love this term “party’s state central committee”.

    Reminds me of the good old Andropov days. He was in office for only 15 months—until his death. And Dave has been in office for 15 months. Coincidence or совпадение?

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