Last week’s appointment of John Marshall as president of Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction kicked up some dust on both sides of the Continental Divide.
State Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), the former House Republican leader in the Colorado legislature, attacked Marshall’s appointment and insulted a league of GOP patriarchs during his weekly appearance on the Chuck & Julie podcast.
Neville’s tirade against establishment Republicans also targeted: former CU president and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Benson, former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, former U.S. Representative and candidate for governor Bob Beauprez, former governor Bill Owens, and U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ).
Benson, Brown, and Marshall were specifically described as having “driven our brand down as Republicans.”
Co-host of the show and CO GOP Executive Committee member, Chuck Bonniwell, identified bipartisanship as the common factor among these men who have negatively impacted the GOP’s brand, but specifically named Marshall in his charge.
Neville’s rant is another in a long line of divisive dramas recently playing out among Republicans in Colorado.
Seen as a leader of CO grassroots conservatives, Neville and his Tea Party alumni associates have waged a scorched-earth campaign with traditional, establishment Republicans and high dollar consultants for years with dueling PACs, and in district courts, in leadership elections, in county and state party offices.
Neville recently relinquished the reins of his legislative caucus, and many have fingered his tenure as House leader as a primary reason for the decline of the state party’s power and influence.
In an exchange with the radio hosts, Marshall, who has worked at Mesa University since 2007 when he was appointed Development Director, was characterized by Neville as unworthy for the CMU position, a failed political operative rewarded by cronyism:
PATRICK NEVILLE [00:00:00] We’ve destroyed our brand over the last decade. We’ve got all the folks who’ve lost elections that seem to now be super-rich consultants, or, you know, university presidents these days.
HOST JULIE HAYDEN [00:00:12] Tell us about John Marshall, who ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the universe for Bible pray? I mean, I remember covering that. And it was just like embarrassing almost. […]
PATRICK NEVILLE [00:00:28] Oh, yeah. Yeah, so, he was appointed recently to CMU president. He was, you know, famous for being Bob Beauprez’s campaign manager in his first failed gubernatorial bid. And I think before that he was Governor Owens’ policy analyst. And so, it just cracks me up, you know, to see the same thing with CU, whether it was Benson, or Hank Brown before that. [scoffing] You know, it’s just — “Okay, these are the guys that we’re picking for university presidents. I guess that’s the place where if you can’t make it as a consultant losing elections and making millions, then go to a university. […] And those those folks are what have driven our brand down as Republicans. […] Republicans, they’re just — what do they stand for? All they do is yell at the other guy and say, “We’re not as bad as the other guy!” But then when it comes down to actually real changes or, you know, lowering taxes, people split off. Or even at the federal level, trying to repeal Obamacare, John McCain splits off and we can’t get that done even though he ran a campaign on, “We’re going to repeal this thing!” and “It’s terrible!” […]
Meanwhile, back on the western slope, Anne Landman, publisher of an eponymous blog subtitled, “What’s really going on in western Colorado,” has been reporting on the appointment process for weeks.
In a post tagged with terms such as ‘CMU,’ ‘Cronyism,’ Embarrassing Republicans,’ ‘Homophobia,’ and ‘OGREs,’ Landman characterizes Marshall’s appointment as an “annointment” and gives background to his tenure at CMU and his qualifications.
Most recently, Landman posted the following on Marshall’s appointment:
“Colorado Mesa University’s Board of Trustees today appointed John Marshall as the next president of CMU.
Marshall, who formerly worked as a Republican political operative, was hired at CMU in 2007 by Tim Foster as ‘Development Director,’ a job that at the time paid $100,000/year with no experience in academia. He was widely considered one of Tim Foster’s many Republican crony hires at CMU.
One student called the appointment ‘Cronyism at its finest’ saying ‘I’m sure this was decided before Foster even stepped down…and the “search” was, well, just a farce.'”
An audio recording of Patrick Neville’s appearance on the Chuck & Julie podcast can be accessed below: