Huffpost Denver

Dick Wadhams Will Seek Third Term As GOP Party Chair

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Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams will seek a third term as leader of the state party, he announced Tuesday in an email to supporters.

Wadhams, who was once hailed as one of the Republican Party's star strategists, has faced criticism in the months following the 2010 midterms elections. Anonymous GOP staffers called him "astonishingly ineffective," and "an impediment to success" for his perceived failure to vet the party's candidates.

In what was a great year for Republicans nationwide, Democrats captured the two headline races--for U.S. Senate and Governor--in Colorado.

The Chairman's 2010 performance has also been panned by members of the Tea Party movement, who have criticized him for turning his back on inept GOP nominee Dan Maes.

Wadhams defended himself in an interview with the Colorado Statesman by arguing that it's not the party's responsibility to vet candidates:

Those who want us to vet candidates are asking for me or a small group of people to ultimately be the gatekeepers to who could get into the process and run. It's nonsensical. A year ago I was having the hell beat out of me... Because they thought I was playing kingmaker and recruiting [Gubernatorial candidate] Jane Norton to run.

On Tuesday, Wadhams acknowledged some failures in the 2010 season, but argued that Colorado Republicans had a lot to be content with as well. He pointed to victories in the Secretary of State race, the State Treasurer Race, two congressional races, and the GOP's recapturing of the State House as evidence of the party's strength.

"I want to serve as state chairman during the 2012 election cycle because of the extraordinary opportunities Colorado Republicans have to dramatically impact our state and nation," he said in his letter to Republicans."

Former Senate Candidate Tom Wiens is rumored to be interested in the committee chairmanship, and is gaining traction among Tea Party groups.

On Tuesday, former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Tom Tancredo announced that he was returning to the Republican Party after running as a third party candidate for governor, and that he would not be supporting Wadhams's bid for the chairmanship. “I would not support Dick,” Tancredo told the Colorado Statesman.

"I don’t believe Dick bridges the gap between, let’s call them Liberty groups and traditional Republicans,” he explained. Tancredo said he would support State Senator Ted Harvey for GOP chair.