“Our country was founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” said Todd Rogers, chair of the Pueblo County Republican Party. “Every single part of that has been attacked over the last year. This campaign is all about getting that back or at least stopping it.
“We are putting up a wall. We are drawing a red line. It’s not going to happen anymore.”
The Pueblo County Republican Party’s 1776 Faithful Freedom Campaign is a three-year effort by the party to engage local Republicans at a “small-donor” level to gain control of city and county governments.
The words “Faithful” and “Freedom” are in part a response to COVID-19 restrictions enacted city and statewide, Rogers said.
“We have been told we can’t go to work,” Rogers said. “We have been told we can’t leave our house. We have been told we have to wear this. We have to wear that. It’s not even, ‘We have to wear a mask.’ We have to wear two masks or three masks… The faith, we have been told we can’t go to church. We have been told we can’t sing.”
Pueblo County, a county long known for its steel mill in the City of Pueblo’s historic Bessemer neighborhood, has a history of involvement in worker’s unions and Democratic support dating back to the New Deal Era. From 1932 to 2020, the county voted for the Republican U.S. presidential candidate in just three elections; 1956, 1972, and 2016.
While Rogers said he understands Pueblo County’s historic support for the Democratic Party, he believes the Democrats no longer represent the people of Pueblo County.
“My dad worked at the Mill for 27 years,” Rogers said. “He was part of a union and I get that. I understand that, but we need to get people to understand the issues that actually affect their lives and the issues that affect our lives are better schools, safer streets, and lower taxes, more opportunities for small businesses to open up.”
The 1776 Faithful Freedom Campaign strategy to seek small donations from several supporters within the local Republican party will require the party to expand its base.
Rogers said the party is focused on courting Hispanic and Latino voters, who represent 51.2% of Pueblo residents, according to data from the Census Bureau.
“Latinos are an important part of this community because they are this community,” Rogers said. “They are the heart of this community. The problem is, whether they work in a position where it’s a union or parents always thought they had to vote Democrat, because the Democratic Party is not the same as it used to be.”
“If you talk to Latinos, they want better schools,” Rogers said. “They don’t want to defund police. They want better, safer streets. They don’t want to have shootings down the road. They don’t want that. They want their kids to be educated. They want opportunities.”
Rogers said the party is working with Colorado Hispanic Republicans as a part of their outreach.
In addition to Latino voters, the Pueblo County Republican Party is also looking to win back the support of registered Republicans who have grown disenchanted with the U.S. Republican party’s more controversial figures, including former U.S. President Donald Trump and current CO-3 Rep. Lauren Boebert.
“(Trump) was flamboyant, and he had his character,” Rogers said. “We know who Lauren Boebert is. I love her to death. She’s a personal good friend. I have worked hard for her for two years. Yes, she is a very polarizing personality, but that’s okay. That’s who she is. She is that person. Pelosi is that person and that’s okay, they are allowed to be that person.”
The Pueblo County Republicans are focusing on “issues” and not “personalities” when talking to moderate Republicans during the 1776 Faithful Freedom Campaign.
While a small amount of money made from the campaign may eventually be used to fund national candidates, like Boebert, around 90% percent will fund city and county elections, Rogers said.
“Will some of this money be used for Lauren Boebert at a certain percentage; yes it will,” Rogers said. “Will the majority of this be used for city council members? Yes it is, because that is where we make the most difference; local. We mow our own grass. That’s how we make our house look better.”
The 1776 Faithful Freedom Campaign will not endorse primary candidates, only candidates running in upcoming general elections. For general elections, the party plans to field a competitive candidate in every city and county race and support each candidate through the campaign.