When movers and shakers of the Colorado Republican Party meet in March to decide who will lead them into the 2020 election, the stakes will be high.
Their standard-bearer, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Yuma, will be up for re-election, and he has been considered vulnerable since the day after the 2018 election, in which Republicans suffered their most devastating defeat in modern state history.
And there will be an effort to regain ground in the state Senate to provide some sort of check on Democratic Gov. Jared Polis and the near super-majority that Democrats hold in the state House.
“I’m tired of losing,” said Marla Spinuzzi Reichert, chairwoman of the Pueblo County Republicans. “More of the same is not the answer. We have to go in a bold new direction.”
What that “bold new direction” is may depend on who the next state party chair is. While there’s debate about how much influence the chair has in shaping the party’s platform and image, the selection will offer a window into the thinking of the brain trust of the state GOP and how they will go about recuperating from their 2018 losses.
Political observers and Republican insiders suggest there are two distinct paths forward for the GOP. One is to begin outreach to the independent voters who rejected Republican candidates due in large part to their displeasure with President Donald Trump. The other is to focus on the party’s base, which has not kept up in size with the growing number of Democrats and unaffiliated voters in the state.
“One is mathematically sound — the other is not,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of the conservative political nonprofit Compass Colorado.
Joe Amon, The Denver PostState Rep. Susan Beckman was the first to announce her candidacy for chair of the Colorado Republican Party.
As of Friday, at least three high-profile Republicans have announced their candidacy: U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who represents most of eastern Colorado; Sherrie Gibson, the party’s current vice chair; and state Rep. Susan Beckman, who represents Littleton.
Many more are likely to announce, Republicans interviewed for this article said. Closer to the March 30 meeting, the party will set a nonbinding deadline for candidates to submit their names.
On paper, the chair and other elected leaders of the state party are responsible for hiring the executive director, recruiting candidates, fundraising and speaking on behalf of their members. However, each past chair has made the role bigger or smaller depending on their style.
Beckman said she views the role as that of a “workhorse, not a show horse.”
She decided to run before Jeff Hayes, the current state chair, announced his plans not to seek another two-year term.
She said in an interview with The Denver Post that she wants to focus on the party’s infrastructure and recruiting new Coloradans into the party.
“We were out-strategized, outworked,” she said. “It’s been a wake-up call for all of us. We need to unite and work together as a team to support our candidates. We had the best candidates. Infrastructure is what …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Politics