DENVER (CBS4) – A fight within Colorado’s Republican Party that involves accusations of an extramarital affair and blackmail could have a ripple effect on future candidates and elections.
The infighting involves big name Republicans in Colorado and it could have implications for not only statewide elections, but national races. Colorado is a swing state that will not only be key in deciding the presidency next year, but control of the U.S. Senate.
“It’s an ugly, sticky, yucky situation,” said former Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.
Tancredo has been a magnet for controversy. He, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Pueblo GOP Chair Becky Mizel are being accused of blackmail. The head of the Colorado Republican Party, Steve House, says the three told him if he didn’t resign they would tell everyone he cheated on his wife, which he says he didn’t.
House released a statement saying, “I will not give in to a vicious and vocal minority that seeks to bring down the party from within.”
“Did we confront him with what we were concerned about? Yes. Did yes we absolutely suggest he should resign? Yes,” Tancredo said. “We did not extort him.”
Tancredo doesn’t deny infidelity came up in the conversation, but says other more serious matters took precedence.
“Why not talk about these concerns you had with him,” CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd asked Tancredo.
“Our advice has been not too,” he responded.
“Saying there are serious charges but we can’t talk about it, that doesn’t cut it,” said former Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams.
Whether the accusations are true or not, Wadhams says the damage has been done.
“I think this has the potential to seriously harm this party long term, and so much is at stake in 2016,” Wadhams said. “I think it’s time for Attorney General Coffman and Congressman Tancredo to put up or shut up — come forward with your charges.”
But that’s unlikely. Coffman sent Boyd a statement saying she was being inundated with information raising very serious questions. Like Tancredo, she also didn’t say what that information was, but said sweeping it under the rug would have been irresponsible. She says there were no threats.
There are no plans on either side at this point to pursue criminal charges or a lawsuit. The state party is just hoping the issue will blow over before 2016, but it certainly highlights the divisions within a party that has struggled with infighting.