Republican Steve Reams, the master of ceremonies at a GOP debate yesterday, leaped off the stage to cut off congressional candidate Lori Saine as she rushed to join the debate.
“I’m Lori Saine, and I accepted the invitation,” announced Saine as she approached her opponents on stage.
But Reams hit the floor and chased Saine to the aisle where she joined the ticket-holding onlookers.
The confrontation occurred after event organizers barred Saine from the debate because, they say, she missed the deadline to RSVP.
Saine says she asked to be included later, and it’s a bad “look” for Republicans to exclude a fellow Republican.
The sideshow got surprisingly little reaction from the audience, despite Reams’ jump from the stage and the pre-debate hullabaloo over whether Republicans should have allowed Saine to join the debate.
But Saine’s brush with civil disobedience was easy to miss. It was over in a blip, and Saine could barely be seen — much less heard — as she was nabbed by Reams in the cave-like Grizzly Rose bar, where the event, organized by the Republican Women of Weld, took place. Reams may have been leaping off the stage to get a note about the program, for all the audience could tell.
So the debate, featuring Saine’s three opponents for Colorado’s new congressional seat went on, uninterrupted.
Ironically, the question at hand as Saine made her entrance beneath the debate stage was, would the candidates “support and endorse” the Republican nominee regardless of who wins the primary. This would include the candidate who was being chased away at the very moment moderator George Brauchler was asking the question. All the candidates affirmed their support for the GOP nominee.
The debate continued from there, and the assembled Republicans got solid information about 75% of candidates who will be on the June 28 primary ballot.
To give you a sense of what 100% of the candidates would have said, I’ll report on the lightning-round answers not only from the three candidates who appeared today but also from Saine, whose answers I collected in the back of the room after the debate ended.
Debate Question: Would you have voted to censure Liz Cheney, the Wyoming GOP congresswoman who joined Democrats in investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection?
Former Green Beret Tylar Allcorn: No. “I don’t believe in censorship.”
Thornton Mayor Jan Kullman: No. “The First Amendment gives us the right to free speech.”
State Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer: No. “I believe in freedom of speech as well.”
Saine (interviewed in the back of the room): Yes. “I would have voted to censure her.”
Debate Question: Who do you believe won the 2020 presidential election?
Kullman: “Unfortunately, Biden won the election.”
Allcorn: “Whether you like it or not, Joe Biden is currently sitting in the Oval Office. And he shouldn’t be.”
Kirkmeyer: “Joe Biden won the election.”
Saine (interviewed in back of the room): “Trump.”
Debate Question: Name a living, breathing Democrat that you admire.
Kirkmeyer: State Sen. Rachel Zenzinger.
Allcorn: “I haven’t come across one that I admire.”
Kullman: Northglenn Mayor Merideth Leighty.
Saine (interviewed in back of the room): “I’m friends with everyone in the 2020 state house delegation. Just because we are diametrically opposed politically doesn’t mean we can’t walk out and have lunch.”
Other debate questions covered topics ranging from crime and gas prices to term limits and Hispanic voters. Watch the entire debate here.
After the debate, attendees voted for their favorite candidates on a ballot that included Saine’s name with the note: “Not present. Invite not accepted.”
This appears to explain why Saine rushed the stage saying, “I’m Lori Saine and I accepted the invitation.”
The results of the vote were: Allcorn got 17, Kulmann 50, Saine 53, and Kirkmeyer 62.
The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul tweeted that “not much can/should be gleaned from these numbers.”
Still, Saine said, “Beating two of the candidates while off stage isn’t bad.”
The winner of the June 28 GOP primary will take on Democrat Yadira Caraveo to represent the district, which is situated in suburbs north of Denver, and it’s expected to be among the most competitive congressional races in the country in November. An eighth congressional district was assigned to Colorado after the 2020 Census.