Republican leaders expressed cathartic disagreement yesterday over whether to support a move by Colorado’s Republican Party to recall a state lawmaker for backing a gun-control bill, after the lawmaker, whose his son died in the Aurora theater massacre, campaigned on the issue.
The dispute prompted a top Colorado Republican to say it would be a “wise move” to remove the former leader of the Colo Republican Party from his chairmanship of a key GOP fundraising committee.
Colorado’s GOP House minority leader, Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, made the comment on KNUS radio during day of intense infighting among conservatives, which opened wounds, inflicted by Republicans on themselves, that have been festering under the party’s skin for at least a decade here.
The pain was evident on Twitter, where warriors representing factions of the Republican Party put aside restraints and publicly denounced one another’s stances.
After a conservative radio host Chuck Bonniwell slammed Tyler Sandberg, who was former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s campaign manager, for telling a news site that Trump has a “less than zero” chance of winning in Colorado, Sandberg tweeted, “Chuck, take my advice, put down the meth pipe.”
But the proposed recall campaigns, opposed by the deep-pocked oil and gas industry and other corporations, were the focus of most of the day’s debate.
Former Colo GOP Chair Ryan Call came out against the recall of State Rep. Tom Sullivan of Aurora, which led to this conversation on KNUS 710-AM’s Chuck and Julie Show, with Neville and hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden:
HAYDEN Patrick, because here is another thing: so, [Ryan Call] runs the IEC. Why? Is there something that can be done about that because this is a guy who — just to explain to folks, the IEC is a, I guess, an Independent Expenditure Committee and brings in money–
BONNIWELL All the money! Most of it, because he has no limits.
HAYDEN –all the money — to help the Republican Party. So I guess this is the question: how — why is he still there? And if he’s going to be making these kind of remarks, can we get rid of him?
NEVILLE Well,I mean, that’s a tough one. And I don’t want to speak for Steve House or Chairman Buck. You know, I do think they’re trying to make the right moves. But the way the bylaws are written on the IEC it’s –. I don’t know if they can remove him. I’m not sure. I think that would be a wise move. But I think they have to serve their term and then they can replace him. But, the other things they can do is just start a different IEC.
HAYDEN Oh, there you go!
NEVILLE They don’t have to keep the current formula one. I mean, that’s kind of the same thing I did when I took over leadership. They wouldn’t hand me the keys to the 527 I had and the IEC that they had, so we just started a new one, started fundraising into that. [It] takes a little more effort. It’s not always preferable to do it that way, but they can definitely do that. I do think there’s commitment from both Ken [Buck] and Steve [House] to change the way things are working with that IEC. So, I’m hopeful to see that, but yeah, he’s — that’s a problem. As long as he’s still in there, that’s a problem.
BONNIWELL I thought Steve’s remarks [supporting the recall campaigs] were pretty good on the recalls.
HAYDEN Well, yeah!
BONNIWELL I thought they were right on point!
HAYDEN I mean, this is Ryan– Ryan Call is going directly against Steve House. Steve House has been — out in public — very supportive of the recalls, for all of the reasons above, right? Number one, they’re helpful strategically. Number two, it’s a citizen’s right, and if they don’t like it, they can do it. And what the heck! It might even work!
HAYDEN So, Steve House — I think — has been very supportive. And it is just weird to me that Ryan Call — who was ousted as the Chairperson of the Party — all of a sudden, now, sees it upon himself to be scolding Ken Buck and Steve House and everybody else.
NEVILLE Right! And, I mean, Ken Buck even mentioned it in his speech [to the central committee of the CO GOP] for the Chairman’s race. So, you know, he mentioned the word — he said, I think, similar, along the lines of, “We need to learn how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.”
HAYDEN That’s right!
NEVILLE And, you know, that got a huge applause line for that. So, they’re on board And I think they’re trying to do the right things. It’s really frustrating. It’s like they just know who the go-to guys [are who] they can go to, and Ryan Call is probably the first call they make.
HAYDEN [Hayden points out how Ryan Call’s position, coming from someone with a history in the GOP and with credibility among journalists, is used by Democrats and the mainstream media to divide the Republican Party] Like you said, he’s their go-to guy, and then they can turn it to beat other Republicans over the head with.
NEVILLE [Neville points out that Ryan Call has said that the Democrat recall targets were actually accomplishing what they ran on, when in Neville’s opinion, the Democrats in the general assembly were hiding from their legislative agenda.]
BONNIWELL Well, how can any of us who are kind of grassroots people that say, “Hey! You know, I really want the Republicans to do well this year! –you know, “I’ll contribute a few hundred dollars or whatever it is to the IEC because I can do that. But I know the money’s going to Ryan Call!” I mean, why would I — why would anybody do that?
NEVILLE [pause] Your guess is as good as mine. I mean, if that’s the case — if he’s still on there — it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So, that definitely has to change. I do think Ken and Steve are working on that. It’s just — it’s very frustrating when you see what happened this session, and I lived it and saw it all — what was going on, day in and day out, and saw the overreach. It was more than overreach. It was a total hostile takeover of the state of Colorado. And [I was] trying to fight it tooth-and-nail, and then Ryan Call comes in and says, “Oh, no. No, we’re just [unintelligible].”
HAYDEN “That’s cool!” We’re all good with that!”
BONNIWELL And that’s, of course, what Ryan is good at — is giving up! And it’s just –the fact that he’s kind of hid himself back into the IEC, now he’s going to be hard to remove because, who is in the IEC? Well, the Brownstein firm is in the IEC, South — the Metro Chamber of Commerce, the — you know, the usual suspects happily control all of the money, while they expect all of the schmucks to do all the work. And when we do the work on the recalls, and they mock us and belittle us, and Cole Wist kind of goes, “Well, the RMOG [mispoke — referring to RMGO] controls the Republican Party.” Does he really think that’s helpful for his–? He was the second in charge.
NEVILLE It’s tough to say. I don’t know his motives. He’s obviously — he’s obviously bitter!
HAYDEN There you go.