State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, who’s running to represent Colorado’s new congressional district, is trying to out-Trump her fellow Republicans. She claims to have been a Trump supporter longer than any other GOP candidate in her race, but one of Kirkmeyer’s opponents, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, says that’s not true.
“I am the only candidate in this race who supported and campaigned for Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 primary and general elections,” wrote Kirkmeyer in an email to supporters about a week before the March 1 caucuses.
Actually, Saine tells a conservative media figure that she too supported Trump and walked door-to-door for Trump in 2016 and 2020.
And there’s proof: 2016 news reports listing Saine among a minority of state GOP legislators who signed a letter stating that they fully supported Trump. The letter was released shortly after former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and other Republicans withdrew their support for Trump, only to reverse themselves later.
Saine responded to Kirkmeyer’s claim on the March 30 “Chuck and Julie” podcast.
Saine told co-hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden that she was not only among the first Republicans “out of the gate to endorse Trump,” but also that she “did walk for him in 2016 as well.” Saine, who backed Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at the Republican National Convention in 2016 due to the preferences of GOP voters who sent her to the convention, said she was one of the “few lawmakers to stand up nearly right away.”
Bonniwell elicited the comment about Kirkmeyer from Saine when he asserted that Kirkmeyer didn’t always support Trump.
“Barb Kirkmeyer, she was saying the other day how she’s a big Trump supporter,” said Bonniwell on air. “I was going, ‘Wait a minute. When we had you on the program, oh, I don’t know, three or four years ago, she didn’t like Trump at all, and she’s described herself as a Reagan Republican,’ but I was kind of like, ‘Wow, that was a new shift.'”
Bonniwell, who is a Saine supporter along with his co-host Hayden, did not provide a recording of the program where Kirkmeyer allegedly made those comments.
“People like Trump all of a sudden when it’s an election year, right,” said Saine on the show, adding, “When you say Trump’s name in a room of Republicans, usually applause breaks out. So obviously the American people believe in the Trumpian policies, and I said it before, Julie and Chuck, I’d rather have mean tweets and cheap gas.”
Asked at a forum last month to talk about her favorite president, Kirkmeyer named Reagan. But she also brought up Trump.
“I will also say this, even though it might be a little bit controversial in some places: Donald Trump was a darn good president,” Kirkmeyer told the audience at the March 25 forum, sponsored by KHNC radio. “And you know, he got a really bad rap in some places. And I had the opportunity to hear Donald Trump in person. And the speech that he gave to the National Association of Counties, and … and he just had everybody in the palm of his hand. And it was just incredible to be able to sit there and listen to him.”
The 2016 letter signed by Saine stated: “As an elected official and Republican leader, I fully support the Republican nominee for President Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump presents a unique opportunity for America to move in a decidedly different direction. With the Supreme Court at risk, this is the time for those in leadership to stand strong and unified.”
The letter was not signed by Kirkmeyer, but it isn’t clear that Kirkmeyer had the opportunity to sign it.
Kirkmeyer’s campaign didn’t return a call seeking to know why she thinks she’s the “only” Republican in the race who campaigned for and backed Trump in 2016 and 2020.
Evidence of Saine’s continued support of Trump is found in a photo of her, along with other GOP legislators, celebrating Trump’s 2019 acquittal in his U.S. Senate impeachment trial.
The other candidates running against Kirkmeyer and Saine in the Republican primary are Tyler Allcorn, a former Green Beret, and Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann. Allcorn didn’t respond to an email seeking comment, and Kulmann’s campaign spokesman, Zack Roday, declined to comment on this story.
The winner of the Republican primary for Colorado’s 8th Congressional District seat will take on state Sen. Yadira Caraveo of Thornton. The district is situated in suburbs north of Denver, and it’s expected to be among the most competitive congressional races in the country in November.