Ryan Call changes tune about his opposition to at least one recall campaign

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call.

Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call.

Appearing on KNUS 710-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger Show Saturday, Colorado GOP Chair Ryan Call emphasized his support for Colorado’s 2013 recall campaigns, when, in fact, Call flat out opposed at least one recall effort.

“From a tactical perspective, frankly, the worst thing that I could do is to get to the head of the column and say that this is a Republican initiative,” Call told Sengenberger Saturday in explaining why he didn't take an earlier or higher profile stance in the recall campaigns. Call pointed out that Republicans would have had a harder time winning over Democrats and independents if the recall campaigns were perceived as GOP-led.

This contrasts with what Call told Fox 31 Denver at the time about his decision not to support the recall campaign of Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak:

Call: “This recall election would undermine our efforts in the governor’s race, the U.S. Senate race and to win a senate majority if voters perceive that Republicans are trying to win a majority through recalls.”

“The job of the Republican Party is to get Republicans elected when there are regular elections,” said Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call. “And there are already a lot of things competing for our time, attention and resources. [BigMedia emphasis]

Hudak recall organizer Laura Woods, now a GOP state senator who went by the name "Laura Waters" at the time, told KNUS radio host Peter Boyles that Call obstructed their efforts.

In a similar vein, shortly after his victory in a Colorado Springs recall election, newly elected State Sen. George Rivera said Ryan Call put “a little cold water on our parade” during recall campaign. Rivera is also a Republican.

But at the time of the recalls, and in his KNUS interview Saturday, Call also said that he supported recall campaigns once a Republican candidate was in place, and he spent state-party resources to support Republican candidates in their recall campaigns.

“The principled purpose and objective of the Republican Party is to support Republicans in elections,” Call said in 2013.

Republicans will decide whether to retain Call as State GOP Chair March 14. He's being challenged by former GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve House.

Excerpt of comments by Ryan Call on KNUS’ Jimmy Sengenberger Show Feb. 28, 2015. Begins one hour into the show.

Call: Generally speaking, recalls are reserved for fraud or embezzlement or a serious abdication of a lawmaker’s constitutional duties, but it’s important that those recalls, if initiated, be initiated by the citizens and not be driven simply out of a partisan interest. Our job from the party, as I saw it, and this was not my decision alone. This was discussed at length by our state party’s executive committee, and we determined that rather than set the precedent that the state party, as a partisan objective would go out there and try to foment or start recalls, our job was to support the citizens if the recall went forward. And that’s what we did. But there is always a concern. And what we found also, for example, in the work that was done in the recalls of Scott Walker in Wisconsin. When voters believed it was a grassroots-initiated citizen-originated recall election, they were successful. But if there was a perception in the public that this was simply a partisan power grab, that this was done by Republicans in an effort to win back seats or to try to obtain a majority, then Democrats and unaffiliated voters who are so critical if we are going to be successful—support among those key demographics and segments of the electorate completely collapsed. It was important that the strength of the recalls was led by the grassroots, supported by the party as one of many groups and individuals that were out there supporting it. From a tactical perspective, frankly, the worst thing that I could do is to get to the head of the column and say that this is a Republican initiative.

Sengenberger: But I heard some people say that you were actively trying to prevent these recalls from happening. Is there any truth to that?

Call: Not true. Not true. I was actually in very close contact with representatives from the Liberty Call committee…. Think about it, in a county like Pueblo, where Republicans are outnumbered two-to-one by Democrats, if was perceived to be a Republican initiative…

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ElliotFladen says:

    There is a difference between changing tune on TACTICS and changing tune on PHILOSOPHY 

    • mamajama55 says:

      I was heartened by Call's refusal to back the mean-spirited, fact-free, AFP and NRA funded recall efforts. It seemed like a principled stand. Even if the only principles were that voters should try to take majorities only in regular elections. As it was, Pueblo and the State of Colorado spent half a million running these recall elections outside of the regular election process. Call seems to be standing up for the democratic process here. He should have been clearer about that at the time. No need to apologize to the crazies.

      So sad that he feels he has to back away from that principled stand now.

      • ElliotFladen says:

        I don't think the stand had anything to do with principle.  I think it was purely tactical in that it was viewed to be an overly risky position at a time when risks were thought as not needing to be taken.  

        As for the notion that recalls are anti-democratic, given the unions actions against Governor Walker of Wisconsin, are you sure you want to take that position? 

        • mamajama55 says:

          Walker could be proven as unfit to hold office (corruption, vote suppression, lying about his qualifications, etc) even without his overreach into taking away collective bargaining rights of public employees.

          The legislators recalled in Colorado had done nothing wrong, no corruption, no malfeasance of any kind. They simply voted for something which the gun manufacturing industry and its paid lobbyists didn't care for. 

          So yes, I'll still take that position.


          • ElliotFladen says:

            You don't believe that there is a legitimate argument that they lied about the gun issue and overreached on the same while being lobbied to take away second amendemnt rights of Colorado citizens?

            Ultimately the distinction you are trying to draw here seems to be based less on anything substantive and more on policy preferences. 

            • BlueCat says:

              Please illustrate lies.

            • mamajama55 says:

              Officials should be recalled when they are proven to have acted criminally, or have acted contrary to their state or Federal Constitutions. Walker did this; Giron and Morse did not. 

              Nobody's second amendment rights were taken away, gunhead hyperbole notwithstanding. You know this, Elliot – you're just standing up a straw man. 

              And yes, I do think that the recall process itself is fundamentally undemocratic, and should not be used for routine policy differences. I would like to see this written into the Colorado Constitution, which is somewhat vague on the subject. 

              If there is proven criminality, as with Walker (the cited article is one of several pending charges or ongoing investigations), voters are legitimately entitled to "throw the bum(s) out". 

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