U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), who entered the race yesterday to be the leader of Colorado’s Republican Party, threw his unequivocal support behind Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s re-election bid in 2020, calling the first-term senator a “bubbly ray of sunshine that puts a smile on the face of the Republican Party. “
But key Colorado Republicans have been frowning, even snarling, at Gardner lately, potentially making Gardner a flashpoint in the race to select Colorado’s next Republican leader.
Some Republicans are calling for Gardner’s ouster from the 2020 GOP ticket. Pueblo County Republican Party Treasurer George Mayfield wants someone to challenge Gardner in a primary.
And GOP activist and KNUS radio host Chuck Bonniwell called Gardner a
“total [whore] for the Chamber of Commerce,” a “Mitch McConnell stooge,” and, “just like” U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a “traitor to every [position] he held in 2010.”
But Buck doesn’t see it that way.
BUCK: “To criticize Cory is, I think, short-sighted,” Buck told KNUS radio host Randy Corporon, who was subbing for host Peter Boyles today. “We need the majority in the senate.
“I think Cory is that bubbly, ray of sunshine that puts a smile on the face of the Republican Party. And I really think we are fortunate to have him…. I am absolutely going to support Cory Gardner, President Trump, and the rest the Republican ticket. And I really think that this is going to be an outstanding year for the Republican Party.”
Buck’s view is shared by former Colorado Republican leader Dick Wadhams.
Buck generated headlines in 2017 for calling the Republican Party “dead,” run by “special interests” and “weak-kneed senators.”
Asked how he could hold this belief and now seek to be the leader of the GOP in Colorado, Buck responded with this:
BUCK: “When you see a problem, you go forward and you solve that problem. I love the principles of the Republican Party…We have to bet back to those. I’m not going to walk away from the Party. I’m not going to say, “I’m taking my marbles and going home because I disagree with people.”
Buck said he’d remain in Congress if he won the race to be state chair, saying he’s gotten the approval of the House Ethics Committee to hold both jobs.
Buck said he’d change the model of how the state party is run, with the elected chair acting more as a “chairman of the board” and “holding people accountable and raising money,” but not rolling up his “sleeves and getting into the details of the political machinery.”
Complete Colorado reported that others eyeing the state party chair are “Don Ytterberg, CEO of Advanced Surface Technologies and former Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District; former State Representative and Senator Tom Weins; Sherrie Gibson, current Colorado GOP vice-chairman; and Joshua Hosler, current El Paso County GOP chairman.”
State Rep. Susan Beckman, a Littleton Republican, is also apparently running, Corporon said on air.