Appearing on a Denver radio show on New Year’s Eve, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel was asked by host Randy Corporon if she had any idea why Republicans were “wiped out” in Colorado. After acknowledging that the state has been trending more Democratic in recent years, she said lots of candidates avoided talking about the abortion issue. She blamed that on consultants, some of whom she believes “took advantage” of candidates to make money rather than implement the most effective strategies.
KNUS Host Randy Corporon: We got wiped out here in Colorado…You’ve put a committee together to look at the outcome, mistakes that were made, things that we did great, things that we could do better. Any sense at all about Colorado yet? I know you’ve got 50 states to think about.
Ronna McDaniel: Colorado’s been in a tough state; it’s becoming more and more blue. You’ve had an influx of Californians come into your state. And here’s what I’ll say, Randy. When we stick with our platform and we stick with our principles, we win voters. And that’s what people want to see from the Republican Party. And I think we need to — in a post-Dobbs world — really be able to articulate why we’re pro-life and why we stand for mothers and babies and why we stand for the word ‘woman’ being used and not obliterating the word ‘mom’ from our vernacular. And these are things that from a value set of our party, we need to be able to articulate and push back on the Democrats, especially as we saw what happened in the pandemic and our kids being locked out of the classroom and forced to wear masks. And so I think we have to talk about economic issues as a party, but we also have to talk about family and values and the things that we stand for. And I think when we do that, we do well.
I think a lot of our candidates chose to ignore those issues this election. Their consultant said, ‘Oh, don’t talk about being pro-life. Let’s not talk about that.’ I disagreed. I put out a memo saying the opposite. I said, If Democrats are spending $30 million against you on an issue, you should be able to articulate what you stand for. And I think voters respect that when you’re honest about who you are and what you stand for. And I think going forward, that’s that’s one piece of advice I would give our candidates. I’m going to create a best practices manual for our candidates going forward.
A lot of our candidates were taken advantage of. We have great consultants, but we have consultants who take way too much of the media buy. They make more money on TV, so they forego a ground game, they forgo an absentee email program or chase program. We really need to help our candidates have the best messaging and also not be taken advantage of by consultants. Because you know what? Nobody knows who the consultants are. At the end of the day, they don’t know their names. They make a lot of money and we need to help our candidates navigate that better.”
McDaniel didn’t specify which Republican candidates in Colorado or elsewhere she was referring to in her answer to Corporon’s question, but of the major statewide candidates, Joe O’Dea, who ran for U.S. Senate, had the least extreme position on abortion. After winning a difficult primary battle against state Rep. Ron Hanks, who calls abortion murder, numerous political observers thought that O’Dea’s belief that abortion should only be banned after 20 weeks would help him in his campaign. The Bennet campaign nevertheless hammered him with ads on the issue, while at the same time, the anti-choice base struggled with voting for him, some preferring the Libertarian candidate who told the Colorado Times Recorder he entered the race specifically to be the “only pro-life candidate.”
McDaniel did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment about which candidates prompted her answer. This article will be updated with any response received.
During the campaign, McDaniel visited Colorado to campaign on behalf of O’Dea as well as gubernatorial hopeful Heidi Ganahl. She and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Rick Scott appeared at an event in Thornton where they posed for pictures with each candidate.
Corporon’s interview with McDaniel has significance beyond talk radio content. As Colorado’s Republican National Committeeman, Corporon is one of the state party’s three voters who will choose to either re-elect McDaniel or pick from among her challengers, currently Trump attorney Harmeet Dhillon and MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell.