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January 23, 2017 02:25 PM UTC

Athanasopoulos attacks Hays as race for GOP state chair heats up

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Hot red-on-red action! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Breaking news Monday afternoon via the AP’s Nick Riccardi, incumbent GOP chairman Steve House will not run again. Also reportedly not running for governor in 2018. The Denver Post’s John Frank reports:

Steve House announced Monday that he would not seek another term as the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party — nor make a bid for governor in 2018.

House served a tumultuous two years as the party’s leader after his historic ouster of the incumbent chairman in 2015 with the backing of the more conservative members of his party.

Months into his term, House faced an unsuccessful coup attempt led by Attorney General Cynthia Coffman that involved accusations of extramarital affairs and threats. And he came under fire in the 2016 election for his perceived bias against Donald Trump, drawing serious death threats.


GOP State ChairOn Facebook last week, Colorado GOP state chair candidate George Athanasopoulos accused his opponent, Jeff Hays, of being a “former Amycare supporter.”

Athanasopoulos, a former GOP congressional candidate, is referring to a bill (S.B. 11-200), sponsored by former State Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Colorado Springs), that set up Colorado’s health insurance marketplace, Connect for Colorado, which offers Obamacare-approved insurance plans to consumers.

But did Hays, chair of the El Paso County Republican Party, really support S.B. 200?

In an interview last week, Athanasopoulos couldn’t cite evidence of Hays supporting S.B. 200. But he did talk a lot about Hays’ close ties to Amy Stephens, even after S.B. 200 had become law.

Athanasopoulos pointed to a 2012 Colorado Observer article identifying Hays as Stephens’ “fundraising committee chair.” And a 2012 Gazette blog post names Hays as a “Stephens consultant.”

During her 2012 primary, Stephens’ opponent Marsha Looper accused Stephens of welcoming Obamacare to Colorado.

Looper had the support of grassroots Republican activists who fumed throughout the year (and to this day) on talk radio and elsewhere about Stephens’ betrayal of conservative principles by backing “Amycare.”

Stephens pointed out to reporters at the time that her bill was endorsed by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and other conservative entities–and that she wanted to keep Obamacare out of Colorado.

At one point during her bitter primary battle against Looper, the Stephens campaign established a “STEPHENS TRUTHTEAM” to argue that if Colorado didn’t set up its own healthcare exchange, the federal government would do so. And Stephens’ campaign pointed out that Obamacare doesn’t cover abortions.

In a 2012 letter-to-the-editor signed “Jeff Hays,” Hays apparently endorsed Stephens. The letter was penned to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Hays: I’ve seen good leaders and bad during my Air Force and business careers, but the best had three primary characteristics: integrity, competency, and energy. Republican House Majority Leader Amy Stephens has all three in abundance….

Amy Stephens applies her abundant energy in leading her colleagues, listening to constituents, mentoring new representatives, and raising support for her fellow Republicans. She fights for her values and for the people of Colorado. Her honors and awards are numerous, but she values the affirmation of her constituents and the respect of her colleagues far above any plaque or title.

Integrity, competency, and energy — three hallmarks of successful leaders and three reasons to support Republican Amy Stephens for HD19.

Hays, who’s an Air Force veteran, did not return an email seeking comment about the letter and his past position on S.B. 200.

Athanasopoulos’ Facebook post called Hays a “corporatist” and an “advocate for Colorado’s ill-fated Medicaid expansion.”

Athanasopoulos: “Former Amycare supporter, advocate for Colorado’s ill-fated Medicaid expansion, and Amy Stephens’ fundraising committee chair, Jeff Hays, has announced his candidacy to become Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party…

…Jeff is a corporatist. He helped bring Obamacare to Colorado and is now surrounding himself with supporters who advocate for bigger government, as long as it’s their brand of bigger government.

Hays and Athanasopoulos are the only candidates who’ve announced they’re running for Colorado GOP state chair, who is elected by statewide Republican leaders at a convention.

The current chair, Steve House, is expected to announce today whether he’ll be seeking another term. If he chooses not to run again, Colorado GOP Vice Chair Derrick Wilburn may enter the race, Wilburn has said.


17 thoughts on “Athanasopoulos attacks Hays as race for GOP state chair heats up

    1. Because hoping the other side puts up a loon which will make them unelectable worked out so well during the 2016 Presidential elections for you? 

      1. Underestimating the gullibility of GOP voters was the mistake.  Thinking that GOP voters would shy away from a narcissistic psychopath who brags about sexual assault was a mistake.  Assuming that the GOP would stick to any of its self-proclaimed morality was a mistake.  

        Don't try to pin this on us.

        Trump is the GOP's mistake, no one else's.  

              1. Oh, no, that wasn't about all Libertarians, just you.

                So, I'm saying you're a Republican lapdog with "Libertarian" on the little heart-shaped tag on his collar. 

                /not fooled

                /nobody else is

  1. So long Steve House you worthless piece of shit! Now maybe Colorado Republicans can start winning like the rest of the country. And take your floozies with you!!

    1. Damn straight!!!   All our people have to do is ride out the storm of paid protestors and ignore them, even if they are their constituents.  Only pay attention to the real Americans.

      1. Colorado Republicans ran good in 2014. Oops, my bad. Those wins came when Ryan Call was party chair. Then the competent chair (Call) got the big boot out in favor of………….. (place whatever name or reference here that you want for Mr. House).

  2. I've known and argued with Jeff Hays for years.  And I was in EPCO during the Amycare fights.  George Athanasopoulos is mixing issues.  In short, Jeff didn't support Amycare, what he instead supported was the right of the GOP to sanction a party official who criticized Amy Stephens.  

    Background: In the summer of 2011, El Paso County GOP had a County Party Chairman named Eli Bremer, a vice chair named Dave Williams (currently a state rep), and a secretary named Sarah Arnold (married to Matt Arnold of Clear the Bench; I think she was still going by Sarah Anderson at the time).  During the run-up to Amy Stephens pushing the current exchange model (dubbed in liberty circles as Amycare), Sarah ended up making remarks critical of the same (or Amy Stephens herself…I can’t remember which) as Amycare was viewed as violating core conservative principles.  This triggered a series of events where Sarah got reprimanded by the El Paso County GOP with some arguing Sarah was in the right because principle came first and some arguing that Sarah was in the wrong because it wasn't the place of party officials to criticize elected officials of the party.  For further background see here:

    (for what it is worth, I was one of Anderson's supporters in this fight although the two of us currently do not particularly like each other)

    At this time, my facebook page was a bit of a debate hub and the debate in El Paso County over this spilled out onto my page.  It was around this time I had gotten to know Jeff Hays. Without getting into whether Amycare was good policy or bad Jeff strenuously argued with Matt Arnold (again, Sarah's future husband) and other activists that the county party had the right to sanction Sarah.   His argument, again, wasn't based on anything within Amycare itself, instead it was based on the idea that if you want to be an official of a party you need to obey its protocol and rules.  If anybody is curious about Jeff's argument on this for historical purposes or wants to verify that I am telling the truth, they can go read his comments (with time stamps present) here:

    and also here:

    (NOTE – these posts are privacy set to my friends only. I don’t feel comfortable changing that setting years down the line, but some people here are FB friends with me and should be able to see them). Anyway, because Jeff took the side of sanctioning Sarah Anderson (soon to be Sarah Arnold) with five years to forget the details memories got jumbled and he got associated with supporting Amycare itself as the Anderson fight was somewhat of a proxy fight over Amycare for some of the activists that I believe make up a portion of  Athanasopoulos's base.  But again, that isn't really accurate.  Hays wasn't supporting Amycare, he was just supporting the right of the GOP to insist its party officials not criticize its elected officials using party imprimatur.  


    1. If Athanasopoulos runs as lame a campaign for party chair as he ran for 7th District Congress last year, and gets himself elected, the party is in for another House-style world of hurt.

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