Details are still coming out about the internal strife within the Colorado Republican Party that led to rumors that current state party chair, Steve House, was about to resign.
House has refuted the rumors, claiming that Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and former Rep. Tom Tancredo were trying to force him to leave the office.
Coffman called the accusations “rumors and lies” and that it is a personnel matter for the party’s executive committee to handle.
I will let the excellent political reporters in Colorado get to the bottom of this particular incident and issue.
For me, this simply underlines how difficult it is to lead the Republican Party in Colorado, especially as chair of the party. And it’s been that way for a while.
When the highly accomplished and successful field general Dick Wadhams took the position, he ran into frustration because 527s ran campaigns independent of the party’s platform, leading to a fractured overall strategy.
Later, when Ryan Call won the chairmanship, he inherited and even further split party without any real statewide momentum.
His reward for leading the party during a major upset of Mark Udall and the reclaiming of the State Senate was to be ousted by Steve House earlier this year.
And now House, only months in the saddle, is accusing one of his biggest supporters in Cynthia Coffman, as one of the key conspirators trying to oust him.
There are some telenovelas that would love this much intrigue and drama.
Beyond the drama and how much Sen. Michael Bennet must be enjoying this, is the real problem that Colorado Republican Party faces in its future.
In the age of 527s, party chairs coordinate less than they used to, but they still can be an important figurehead of leadership. They signify the unity, or in this case the lack thereof, within a party.
While millions of dollars may flow outside of the party, a decent amount of press and internal caucus work still flows through the party. With only a few months until the 2016 Presidential Primary, this isn’t exactly what national GOP leaders want to see in Colorado, a key swing state.
Beyond the difficulty with the 2016 presidential primary, I cannot imagine that many potential Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate or any other major office can feel confident that they can unify this party in any way.
One of the key reasons that Sen. Cory Gardner was able to defeat Mark Udall was that he did not face a brutal primary. If he did and was forced to the right, he likely would not have been able to recover to the center to win the general election.
With a party this split, does anyone think that Senator Bennet’s eventual opponent will get that luxury? I know I do not.
Internal drama does not spell disaster for the Colorado GOP, but it does spotlight the problems that will hinder any future success until someone can finally unify the party.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning “Colorado Inside Out” on Colorado Public Television.