On Monday the GOP lost its only decent potential candidate for U.S. Senate when Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) made it official that he would seek re-election in CD-6 rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016. Trying to find another potential Senate candidate while avoiding a bitter GOP Primary would be enough to worry about for one week, but that’s almost a secondary concern for Republicans as the State Party implodes.
On Sunday, the State Republican Party announced that Chairman Steve House had selected Tyler Hart as his new Chief of Staff, and Republican insiders are furious about the decision. Apparently there is widespread concern that House chose someone with little political or campaign experience to serve as his right-hand person. It probably doesn’t help that Hart comes from the Tea Party wing of Republican activists, but based on her resume alone, Hart seems like a strange hire; you can see from the press release that Hart’s professional experience doesn’t appear to make a ton of sense given the role House envisions for her:
“Tyler’s responsibility is to execute the vision I have laid out for the Party,” House said. “She will do this by working with candidates, elected officials, county chairs, volunteers and staff to win elections and advance policies to empower Coloradans.”
Hart’s operational duties will include meeting with activists and organizers, messaging and communications, fundraising, outreach, training, managing the schedules of the chairman and vice chairman and supporting elected officials, candidates, and volunteers. She will also support county leadership and their needs by working with Joy Hoffman, the Colorado GOP’s Chair of Chairs, and the Republican National Committee’s team led by Ian Lindeman.
The decision to place Hart in such a high-profile position within the State Party was quickly followed by the resignation of State Party Executive Director Shana Kohn. The Republican National Committee (RNC) has since pulled its Colorado-based staff from the State GOP, re-deploying them to the “RNC Victory” program (to ensure that the State GOP has no control over staff decisions).
Colorado Republicans had a pretty good year in 2014, but it wasn’t enough to save the job of State Party Chair Ryan Call, who was defeated by House over a litany of concerns about how Call was operating the State GOP. Three months later, Call looks like Karl freakin’ Rove by comparison.
This rapidly-widening rift among Colorado Republicans makes it increasingly difficult to prevent a complete free-for-all for the Party’s U.S. Senate nomination in 2016. “Time heals all wounds,” as the saying goes, but this particular wound looks like it is going to fester for quite awhile.