One thing is clear in the home stretch of the battle between Ryan Call and Steve House to be the next leader of Colorado's Republican Party: The race could have used a few more reporters like the Colorado Statesman's Ernest Luning covering it. As it is, "coverage" of the race has mostly been left to a bizarre and sometimes toxic shooting gallery of talk radio, Facebook, more Facebook, progressive bloggers (including yours truly), whisperers, and more whisperers. Honestly, this situation, set against a backdrop of intense GOP anger and madness, doesn't serve Republicans or the rest of us.
The candidates have spoken directly to lots of the Republican activists who will be voting Saturday, which is good, but the race for Republican chair is an excellent example of what won't be covered at all by real journalists as the profession fades. And we all lose from that.
Luning has provided the most even-handed and in-depth coverage of the Republican leadership race, and he's out with a new story yesterday that included new allegations against Steve House, who's challenging Ryan Call. Luning reports:
A group of former Adams County Republican officers circulated a letter on Wednesday slamming House for his tenure leading the county party and calling his character into question.
The letter, signed by former county chairs Patty McCoy and Clark Bolser, former vice chair Patty Sue Femrite and county finance chair Maria del Carman Guzman-Weese, alleged that House quit the post half way through his term in order to run for governor after promising he wouldn't do just that. What's more, the Adams County group charged, he left the county GOP in a shambles and it was Call who came to the rescue to rebuild it.
"Steve definitely has charisma and personal ambition, and he certainly knows how to give a good speech," the group wrote. "He's personally likeable. But his record of unfulfilled commitments, multiple broken promises, and overall poor performance as County Chairman left many of us in Adams County disappointed, extremely frustrated, and with unwelcome extra work during a critical time."
Steve House spokesman Mike McAlpine denied the accusation, telling Luning it was dirty politics, and that Adams County Republicans had actually helped flip the Colorado Senate in 2014.
In any case, in addition to his reporting this flap, Luning nicely summarizes the House-Call contest as we head into Saturday morning, when the final vote will occur at Douglas County High School in Castle Rock.