Colorado GOP elects militant, vote-bucking new leader

The Colorado Republican Party elected a combative former state official who vowed to be a “wartime” leader as its new leader on Saturday, joining several other state GOPs this year that have elected far-right figures and electoral conspiracy theorists to their top posts .

The Colorado move comes as the party teeters on the brink of political irrelevance in a state that is rapidly moving left.

Former State Assemblyman Dave Williams, who unsuccessfully tried last year to insert the phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” in his name on the party’s main ballot and – wrongly – insisted that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election, was found dead selected by the party’s executive committee from a field of seven.

Williams surpassed the required 50% threshold on the third ballot after being supported by one of his competitors, former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who failed to surpass 10%. Peters faces seven felony charges for her alleged role in illegally accessing voting machines in her county. She has denied the allegations and has become a prominent national figure in the electoral conspiracy movement.

Williams, a three-year state representative from a conservative district in the city of Colorado Springs, unsuccessfully challenged Rep. Doug Lamborn in last year’s Republican primary. The Colorado Secretary of State rebuffed its efforts to include a popular conservative phrase disparaging President Joe Biden in his name on the ballot. A judge agreed that Williams could not be known as Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams.

In his speech to nearly 400 hardcore Republican activists and party leaders, Williams reiterated the issues he raised during his campaign — that the party’s recent poor performance in Colorado is simply because it’s not fighting hard enough, and not one Separation between its activists and the majority of the country’s electorate.

“Our party doesn’t have a branding issue,” Williams told the group. “Our party has a problem with useless leaders. … We need a war leader.”

Resisters have recently won three more party leader positions — in Idaho, Kansas and Michigan — and while his party reels from a brutal 2022 election year.

Republicans lost every statewide election last year by double digits and have achieved their lowest share of the state legislature in Colorado history. They have not won a major statewide race since 2014 and lag far behind Democrats and independent voters in registration.

Like six of the seven candidates who ran, Williams supported trying to overturn an electoral measure that requires the party to require unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in their primaries. All candidates except Kevin McCarney, a former Mesa County party leader, have expressed skepticism that Biden deservedly won the 2020 election.

Ultimately, Williams’ main rival was Erik Aadland, a combat veteran and political newbie who led an unsuccessful race for a congressional swing seat in the Denver suburbs last year. Though he has also questioned the 2020 election results, he advocated discussing the election in less aggressive language, basing his speech on Saturday on how “love trumps hate.”

Still, he also spoke pugnaciously about how the party should move forward after Williams’ selection.

“We are being begged by a radical left that wants to destroy this country and we need to come together and win elections,” Aadland told the crowd. Colorado GOP elects militant, vote-bucking new leader

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