An entertaining trio of Republicans (former Congressman Tom Tancredo, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, and GOP state chair candidate Steve House) appeared on KLZ 560-AM's Grassroots Radio Colorado Monday, and their conversation encapsulates the riptide of disagreement enveloping the GOP in our state.
Host Kris Cook started by asking Coffman and Tancredo what they're looking for in a state chair.
"I want someone who's charismatic," said Coffman, explaining that she asked House to join the race because she thinks he can unify the Republican Party.
"No more shenanigans, that's what I'm looking for. No more under-handed dealing," Tancredo told Cook. "I don't want any more outside pressure from Washington DC and from the establishment in determining the direction of the party in the state of Colorado. I want a clean Republican Party. I look forward to it. I haven't seen it in so long, you almost wonder whether it can exist."
Tancredo went into detail about the shenanigans that occurred, in his view, in Costilla County, CO, in the months leading up to Saturday's GOP State Chair election. A Republican there reportedly claims her efforts to form a County Committee were undermined by Ryan Call,the current leader of Colorado Republicans, in an effort to assemble votes for Saturday, when GOP activists from across the state will choose Ryan Call or Steve House as their next leader.
House called Costilla County a "good example," of the problems with the state Republican Party, but he went on to say Republicans aren't capitalizing on their voter advantage over Democrats and empowering state counties to be "franchises" of the state party.
Tancredo said he wants to "clone" Pueblo Country Republican Chair Becky Mizel, who he said got the highest percentage of GOP turnout across the state.
"What did she get for her effort?" asked Tancredo. "Grief from Ryan Call...She has the chairman of the Republican Party actually in bed essentially with the chairman of the Democrat (sic) Party down there going after her, even legally."
Cook told Coffman with a laugh that she was going to put her in the hot seat, to which Coffman said, "I'd expect nothing less."
Cook said that the endorsement by Cynthia Coffman's husband, Rep. Mike Coffman, of Ryan Call, in contrast to Cynthia Coffman's endorsement of House, must make for an "uncomfortable Sunday dinner."
"We talk about that a little," answered Coffman. "I'll invoke the marital privilege on some of it. Mike, like a number of his colleagues, feel indebted to the state party because they got elected in a tough year this last election. I happen to think that people like Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman got elected because they are good candidates. And they brought in money from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee. It frustrating for me to hear people play upon fear now and say if we don't continue with the current party administration then we won't have that money. It will somehow dry up, mysteriously leave Colorado. Kris that's just not true. I can say as someone who's been through an election myself and a number of elections with my husband, and I've observed fundraising. That's not going to happen."
"The fight we're having in this state over the direction of the Republican Party is certainly going on in other places and at national level, and they don't play nice," observed Tancredo. "I can tell you that."
From there, the three continued, rehashing the recall elections, trashing Ryan Call, and more.