In what some are calling yet another utterly-dysfunctional move by the El Paso County Republican Party, which is already in chaos, an outspoken right-wing state legislator was selected last week to serve as a liaison between the Trump Campaign and Republicans in El Paso County, which has the most GOP voters of any county in Colorado.
Sate Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colo Springs) was picked by El Paso County GOP Chairwoman, Vick Tonkins, to “work hand-in-hand with the experts advising and working in the field with President Donald Trump, Senator Gardner, and the State GOP,” according to an El Paso GOP news release.
But Williams isn’t the lawmaker that should be associated the GOP in Colorado, as it tries to win over independent voters who swing toward Democrats on social issues, in particular, say Williams’ critics, adding that the ultra-conservative lawmaker is the last face Republicans want connected to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.
Williams has been a divisive figure in the El Paso Republican circles and across the state, denouncing gay rights throughout his career. He opposed civil unions, for example, referring to them as “homosexual marriages.” Sounding like Trump, who’s invited Williams to the White House, he once said at the Colorado Capitol, “People have been murdered, mayhemmed, [and] raped” by immigrants in sanctuary cities. Williams has gone even further, introducing legislation that would hold lawmakers legally responsible for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in so-called sanctuary cities.
The appointment of Williams comes on the heels of serious budget shortfalls, leadership resignations, accusations of ineptitude, and backstabbing that some say could upend the El Paso Republican Party’s ability to perform its most basic functions (caucus process, GOTV) relating to next year’s critical election. And critics say the state GOP has refused to intervene to help solve financial and personality problems there.
Depressed turnout in El Paso County, where so many of the state’s Republicans congregate (157,208 registered Republican voters), would likely be the death knell to Republican hopes statewide.
With the rapidly growing number of Trump-hating independents in Colorado–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.
But in a news release, El Paso GOP Chairwoman Tonkins said, “As the only Hispanic millennial Republican in the State House, and with strong ties to local and state parties, as well as the Trump Administration, Rep. Williams is the best person for the job.”
“Voters are ready to reject the radical agenda of Democrats in Colorado by supporting President Trump,” Williams told the Colorado Springs Gazette last week. “From job-killing oil and gas regulations to giving away our electoral college votes to California, the Democrats know their crazy record doesn’t come close to the real results the president is delivering for our state. It will be an honor to help restore balance to Colorado by mobilizing Trump supporters to get out the vote in our state’s largest Republican count.”