DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Republican Party chairman on Tuesday accused state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo of trying to force him from his position and warning he may face a lawsuit and false allegations of infidelity if he refused to leave.
“No one should be bullied out of running for office, or serving as a leader in our Party,” Chairman Steve House said in a statement.
Coffman called the allegations “rumors and lies.”
“This matter belongs in a confidential session with the party’s executive committee, and that is where it is headed,” she said in a statement. “It is a personnel matter and I am honoring the prescribed process. I am not going to comment on all the rumors and lies.”
Coffman would not comment further. Tancredo did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.
Coffman, a Republican, was one of House’s biggest supporters in his election to state party chair in March when he defeated incumbent party Chairman Ryan Call.
House said he was pressured to resign Monday for not hiring former state Sen. Ted Harvey as executive director of the party. House was told of threats against him, he said, during what he thought was a strategy meeting with Coffman. Tancredo and a county party official were there, too, House said.
Call’s defeat was surprising because Republicans racked up victories around the state, including the election of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in what was one of the most competitive races in the country. Gardner defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.
Republicans also took control of the state Senate for the first time in 10 years. But some establishment Republicans were critical of Call, who they saw as spending too much time on national matters instead of local races.
The resignation rumors swirling around House suggest continued infighting within the state party ahead of critical 2016 elections. Colorado is viewed as an important swing state in the presidential race, and Republicans also want to unseat Democratic U.S. Michael Bennet.
Before Call, state party Chairman Dick Wadhams didn’t seek re-election in 2011 after two terms because of disagreements with tea party groups.
House said he remained committed to helping his party through 2016.
“Unfortunately, there are some who are more concerned with their own personal gain than doing what is best for our Party as a whole,” House said. “These are the same exact people who fought against past chairmen, and they are going to try to take out the next chair as well.”
– By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer
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