Republican Party chairs aren’t supposed to show a preference for candidates within their own party. Yesterday, however, Colorado Chair Dave Williams flat-out warned state Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer, who lost a nailbiter in last year’s race for Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District (CD8), that if she runs again, she’ll face not only incumbent Democrat Yadira Caraveo but a Libertarian Party candidate as well. That could lead to a repeat of the scenario from 2022 in which Libertarian Richard Ward earned several thousand more votes than the 1,500 vote difference between Caraveo and Kirkmeyer.
What makes Williams’ threat so notable is that it stems from an agreement he himself negotiated with the Libertarian Party. Per the terms of this deal, Williams has promised his Republican Party will run candidates who are sufficiently conservative as to meet with the approval of a far-right faction within the Libertarian Party called the Mises Caucus.
Republican candidates who don’t “pass muster” with the Mises Caucus may face an additional “spoiler” Libertarian candidate who, as last year’s CD8 race proved, have demonstrated an ability to draw enough votes to impact the election results.
Williams has framed this agreement as a way to prevent potential future spoiler candidates from blocking Republican wins. In this case, however, he appears to be weaponizing the agreement to prevent a Republican he (or perhaps the Libertarians) consider insufficiently conservative, from entering the GOP primary in the first place.
Williams: “I can assure you that if Senator Kirkmeyer wishes to run for Congressional District 8 again, I am fairly certain the Libertarian Party will likely field a candidate.”
Goodman: “You can bet on it!”
Colorado Libertarian Party Chair Hannah Goodman acknowledges she can’t prevent someone from running, but says the delegates at the party’s state convention could vote against a nomination. She then noted that she is a Mises member and that since her caucus has supermajority control of the state party’s voting members, she is confident of being able to them “voting their principles.”
Prior to confirming Williams’ threat to Kirkmeyer, Goodman claimed the state senator introduced a bill to end the caucus nomination process for party candidates as retaliation for the Libertarians running Ward in CD8 last year. Watch the extended exchange here:
Goodman: “I was very excited that we were able to kill the bill that would have ended the Colorado caucus system, because that would have deeply, deeply affected third parties, including the Libertarian Party. I believe the senator that introduced did so in retaliation for the Libertarian Party being what she calls a spoiler in her CD8 race.”
Wark: Any comment on that, Dave?
Williams: “I can’t say that I disagree. All I can I all I can assure you is that if Senator Kirkmeyer wishes to run for Congressional District 8 again I’m fairly certain the Libertarian Party will likely field a candidate.”
Goodman: You can bet on it!
Wark: “I love it. I love it!”
Multiple attempts to reach Sen. Kirkmeyer for comment were unsuccessful. This article will be updated with any response received.