The mysterious implosion of the county GOP party in Colorado Springs may hamper Republican efforts to fortify itself against a blue wave that appears to be heading our way again next year.
With so many of the state’s Republicans congregated in El Paso County, Colorado, (157,208 registered Republican voters), and the rapidly growing number of Trump-hating independents and Democrats pooling in previously-thought-of swing areas of the state, the GOP must orchestrate a phenomenal turnout of voters around Colorado Springs–or it has little chance of winning Colorado’s U.S Senate race next year, say analysts.
Hence, the importance of having a functional Republican Party entity in El Paso.
So the sudden resignation Tamra Farah, the leader of El Paso’s Republican Party, less than ten days before their biggest fundraiser of the year and amid allegations that leading donors refused to work with her, is certainly a cause for concern among Colorado Republicans across the state.
Tension among leaders of the Republican Party in El Paso, which includes Colorado Springs, has been evident for many years, but GOP infighting “came to a head” in recent months, State Rep. Dave Williams (R-CO Springs) told KNUS, a conservative radio station, Wednesday.
“I put this squarely at the feet of the establishment,” said Williams on air, referring moneyed Republicans who generally support more moderate candidates.
Williams alleged that establishment Republicans initially supported Farah but backed off, but he wouldn’t name the individuals involved.
“This is not a grassroots problem,” said Williams on air, referring to the faction of the Republican Party that backs more right-leaning candidates and usually has less financial backing.
“I don’t think [Farah] wanted to play games anymore with helping out insiders and their friends and their buddies,” said Williams on KNUS.
Williams, who called Farah the “best we’ve had in a long time,” put the much of the blame for some of El Paso’s recent problems on former El Paso County leader Josh Hosler, who came out against recall a election led by a gun group in El Paso County.
Hosler did not return an email from reporter Erik Maulbetsch seeking comment.
As Williams puts it, Hosler did not have the “best bedside manner,” and this contributed to the resignation of Farah, who wrote in her good-bye letter, “I expected some challenges, but find the level of opposition to my chairmanship within our central committee to be deeply disappointing, particular in a time when the call for unity has been strong and essential.”
Over the years, said Williams, his fellow El Paso Republicans have focused on their “own agenda, their own profile, so to speak.”
The good news for Republicans: Williams said he is working with the El Paso GOP secretary, the last elected officer remaining, to “plot a course of trying to get a new chairperson in there.”
El Paso GOP Vice Chair Mary Bradfield resigned this year because she’s running for statehouse.
Last year in El Paso County, Democrat Jared Polis got 109,000 votes vs. 155,000 for Walker Stapleton, a 44,000 vote GOP advantage. In 2016, Trump beat Clinton in El Paso by 179,000 to 108,000, a 71,000 vote advantage. In 2014, Udall got 73,00 vs. 141,00 for Gardner, a 68,000 vote advantage.
The recent resignations at the top of the state’s largest red county match similar activity at the state party, which saw second-in-command Chief Operating Officer Steve House step down earlier this week after just five months in office, and rumors of party chair Congressman Ken Buck’s retirement continue to circulate.
CTR investigative reporter Erik Maulbetsch contributed to this report.