More than 250 people signed a petition to remove El Paso County GOP Vice Chair Karl Schneider from his seat, but a censure vote called last Saturday failed. Schneider has clashed repeatedly with Chair Vickie Tonkins, most recently publicly opposing a controversial proposal to amend the organization’s bylaws to allow party members to be exiled from the GOP for not aligning with the Republican Party platform.
The petition to remove Schneider was to be presented to the El Paso County GOP at its Feb. 5 redistricting meeting, where the bylaw proposal change was also discussed, according to the petition’s author.
According to a meeting attendee, a motion was made to censure Schneider, but failed on a tied vote of the nearly 200 members present. Another source familiar with the proceedings at the meeting says Schneider was not permitted to speak in his defense.
Kim Fuchs, a Colorado Springs resident, started the petition to “recall” Schneider through the petition website Change.com. In the online petition’s description, Fuchs calls for “serious people to solve serious problems.”
“(Schneider’s) recent behavior at the GOP executive meeting on Jan. 10 showed a lack of professionalism and maturity,” the description reads. “This kind of distraction is keeping the Republican party from moving forward with vital business.”
The description goes on to accuse Schneider of falsely stating that a “militia” showed up to a December GOP executive meeting. Fuchs maintained, through the petition description, that the uptick in attendance at the meeting were merely “concerned citizens that are waking up and getting involved to save our country, state, and nation.”
El Paso County GOP bylaws do not include a formal mechanism for recalling officers, but instead require a supermajority of central committee members to vote for removal. Section 6.04 states: “Any elected officer of the Central Committee may be removed from office any time for whatever cause the Central Committee may deem sufficient by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of those present at a meeting of the Central Committee at a meeting called for that purpose.”
The petition had 254 online signatures as of Jan. 31. In a written update, Fuchs said the petition was presented to Schneider on Jan. 24. Fuchs commented that Schneider allegedly declined to provide a response to the petition. Fuchs also wrote that the petition signatures would be presented to the El Paso County Republicans at the Feb. 5 meeting.
Schneider previously filed a campaign finance complaint alleging Tonkins failed to properly report all the contributions received during its 2021 Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser headlined by conspiracist Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA). Following the Secretary of State’s determination that the complaint has merit, the Attorney General’s office initiated a lawsuit with the Office of Administrative Courts, which is currently ongoing.
Attempts to reach Schneider and Fuchs were unsuccessful. El Paso GOP Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins likewise did not respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. This article will be updated with any responses received.
Colorado Times Recorder reporter Erik Maulbetsch contributed to this article.