In an email sent yesterday to party leaders, the Colorado Republican Party explained its process for making endorsements in GOP primaries: the party is endorsing state Chairman Dave Williams for the 5th Congressional District (CD5), which is located in the Colorado Springs area.

For primary races in which multiple candidates made the ballot via the assembly process, Vice Chair Hope Scheppelman announced in the email that the state party will use a questionnaire and consultations with district officers to make its decision. This means Gabe Evans and Janak Joshi in CD8, and Ron Hanks and Stephen Varela in CD3, are all eligible for a state party endorsement. This process eliminates Jeff Hurd, who is also running in CD3, along with Curtis McCrackin, Lew Webb, and Russ Andrews, all of whom chose to gather signatures rather than go through assembly.

Likewise, Jeff Crank, Williams’ opponent in the CD5 race, chose not to participate in the assembly process and therefore can’t receive the state party’s endorsement. 

The basis for this new selection process is Resolution #10, which was passed by delegates at the state assembly. The party emailed the resolutions to its delegates on April 5, the first day of assembly weekend, meaning that those candidate who gained their ballot access exclusively by gathering signatures, such as Crank and Hurd, didn’t have an opportunity to weigh the benefits of a party endorsement against the risk of a hybrid signature/assembly route in which they would have to earn at least 10% of the delegate vote. 

Reached for comment, the Hurd campaign characterized the party’s actions as embarrassing and “swampy.”

“Jeff is proud of all the grassroots and Republican Party support he has earned so far,” said a campaign spokesperson. “As the only candidate who can beat Adam Frisch and keep this seat red, it’s embarrassing the state party is choosing to potentially meddle in the primary. It would be a great disservice to the party and the loyal Republican activists to have change the rules and further divided our party. As the party of law and order, these blatant swampy tricks to prop some candidates over others makes a mockery of our party and the political participatory process. We are confident the party and its hardworking grassroots won’t stand for this sort of nonsense, instead allowing the primary to roll out so the strongest candidate can emerge- ready to beat Adam and the Democrats.“

Scheppelman did not respond to an email seeking to know whether the party has any concerns about the optics of endorsing its own chairman or about other candidates being shut out of a potential endorsement before the new rules were approved. This article will be updated with any response received. 

Today at its monthly fundraising luncheon, the party is featuring a number of candidates it describes as “some of Colorado’s finest conservative candidates.” The list includes Chairman Williams, U.S. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), and first-time candidate Dagny Van Der Jagt, who is running against former District Attorney George Brauchler to be the GOP’s nominee for the new 23rd Judicial District. All three primary candidates have been automatically endorsed according to the party’s new rules.

Greg Lopez, who is already the nominee for the CD4 special election to replace outgoing Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) for the remainder of his term, will also speak. Additional speakers include Hanks (CD3) and Joshi (CD3), both of whom could still potentially be endorsed by the party depending on their questionnaire answers and the opinions of their local district officers. Joshi was listed alongside the initial party invitation, prior to this second version, which added Boebert.

According to the invitation, “Chairman Williams will speak about his tenure as Chair, his work in the legislature, and how he will work hard to drain the swamp and take back our country in the 5th CD.”

Read the full text of the email below:

The near unanimous majority of the 2024 Republicans State Assembly & Convention, while being authorized by Colorado Revised Statutes 1-3-106, voted to endorse 2024 Republican primary candidates who successful achieved ballot designation through our Party caucus & assembly process.

You can read what the convention delegates adopted below:

Resolution #10: Endorsement of All Assembly Candidates

Whereas dark money groups, leftwing agitators, and RINO saboteurs are trying to eliminate the caucus and assembly process through ballot initiatives, legislation, and open primaries while encouraging candidates to bypass Party delegates by paying for petition signatures and not submitting themselves to a vote of an assembly, Be It Resolved that the Colorado Republican Party endorses and supports only those candidates in the primary election who have gone through the caucus and assembly process while subjecting their candidacy to a vote of their respective district assemblies. Be It Further Resolved that county Parties, and any other district central committees, are also allowed to endorse and support candidates that have gone through the caucus and assembly process while subjecting their candidacy to a vote of their respective district assemblies. This resolution only applies to candidates who have successfully achieved ballot designation through their respective assemblies, and where any assembly that may have had multiple candidates achieving ballot designation, it will be the discretion of the state officers, in consultation with the central committee officers of the assemblies in question, who may choose to apply this endorsement to every candidate, a single candidate, or none. 

Party endorsements were automatic after the adoption of this resolution for any single candidate who achieved ballot designation through the Party caucus and assembly process with no other candidates achieving the same. 

These candidates, for example, include people like Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, 4th Judicial District Candidate Dave Willson, State House Candidate Bill Jack, or State Senate Candidate Tim Arvidson. 

Party endorsements for multiple candidates who may have achieved ballot designation through the Party caucus and assembly process are to be determined.

Pursuant to the adopted resolution, the State Party will consult with other district officers, as well as sending a questionnaire to those assembly candidates, before any endorsements are made. 

The candidates who fall into this category include people like Gabe Evans vs Janak Joshi in CD8 or Kristi Burton Brown vs Saundra Larsen in State Ed Board CD4.

Leftwing dark money groups are doing everything they can to eliminate your ability to go to any caucus and vet candidates face to face during a Party assembly… and, sadly, petition candidates help them to undermine our grassroots process, which is why the convention delegates chose to reward faithful Republican candidates who were willing to look Party delegates in the eye and answer the tough questions on how they will advance our conservative values in government instead of buying their way onto the ballot with paid petition gatherers.

We hope this helps answer any questions you may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any comments or feedback.

For the Caucus & Assembly,

Hope Scheppelman