Once more into the fray, Colorado Republicans

After months of political silence in Colorado following the 2022 disappointment of no red wave, Republicans gathered in Loveland for the organizational meeting of the Colorado Republican Party on March 11, 2023.

I attended in solidarity with my husband Peter who was supporting our friend who was there for the most-important part of the meeting: the election of a new chairman.  Turned out later that our friend did not win, which was disappointing.  Never fun to lose nor watch a friend lose.

But the more things change the more they stay the same.  Disappointment is an inevitable part of politics as much as the agony of defeat is a part of sports.  We don’t like these realities, but someone is always going to be disappointed.  Conversely, someone else is going to be thrilled with a win.

Before Saturday’s outcome was announced, the morning was filled with energy and excitement that were exhilarating, even for the bleary-eyed.  There was something comforting about seeing life going on in Colorado, politically, after all the disappointment Republicans had experienced with losses to Democrats short months before.

Also, no one seemed to be recalling old fights and hurt feelings within the state party, although some deep differences had not really been resolved.  However, candidates did speak a lot in their nomination speeches about the need for members to come together to fight Democrats, and about the importance of unity.

Another theme nearly every candidate mentioned was that Republicans in Colorado must close the primary so that only Republicans can vote in it.

GOP voting members and guests had traveled to Loveland on Colorado’s eastern plains for the meeting from nearly all of the state’s 64 counties.  Many had gathered the night before in a few hotel suites to meet and greet, and possibly to make political deals.

The convention center on Saturday was colorful, people wore cowboy and cowgirl hats, farmer caps, MAGA caps.  One woman wore a cap with a sparkling “USA” above the bill.  One gentleman wore a black derby.

The demographics reflected the demographics in the state, roughly — that is, mostly White people with some Black and Brown people, about equally male and female.  A few handicapped individuals attended too.

In the lobby, the Colorado Hispanic Republicans had a table right next to the Log Cabin Republicans, a group that represents LGBT conservatives and allies.  There was also a table where young Republicans could sign up to get together for social events. 

It was a very festive morning.  Then came the actual meeting and the business at hand, after an invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance.

As credentialing began, Priscilla Rahn, the vice chair running for reelection, took the podium.  She began with a rendition of “God Bless America,” singing a cappella.  The room joined her in song.  She spoke about her time and efforts as vice chair, including work with an Ethiopian community in Aurora.  Outreach, diligence, tomorrow.  Every waterfall starts with a single drop.  “Let us continue to build our party one shared heart and mind at a time.”

Next, Congressman Ken Buck spoke and said, “When we leave tonight, we’re going to be united and we’re going to kick some butt . . . Thank you for trusting me to go to Washington, D.C.”  He reflected on how he really likes being in the majority, how the world is going to be a better place as Republicans are in the majority, and how Democrats don’t understand the way of life in Colorado.

Outgoing Chair Kristi Brown took some time to thank the party for giving her the opportunity.  “I am inspired to keep fighting.  Some fights are worth never giving up on.”

She reported that at least seven school boards were flipped in Colorado in 2021.  “Are we going to take back some more boards and flip them for Republicans . . . I’m confident we can flip more boards.”

Brown also reported that Republicans turned out at 77 percent in 2022.  “We need to bring more voters to our side.”  Brown mentioned the fight to close the primary, and then she reflected on small wins where the party stood strong.  She said, “We’re going to keep the pressure on [Governor] Jared Polis.  We’re going to keep the pressure on the state legislature . . . I’m still hopeful for Colorado.”

My husband and I left the meeting less hopeful because of our friend’s loss, but I had the opportunity to congratulate our new Chairman, Dave Williams, via social media a short time later.

Do I think Republicans will come together and fight Democrats?  Will we have unity?  Well, we all ventured into the fray again for a day, and enjoyed it despite some of us feeling the sting of disappointment.  Oddly, the day seems like a good sign of great things to come.

CS Boddie writes for Meadowlark Press, LLC.

Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.

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