The state GOP is partying like it’s 2002, the last time the party was so broke it didn’t pay salaries.
According to a May 2023 filing with the Federal Election Commission, as first reported by The Colorado Sun, the Colorado Republican Party raised less than $15,000 in April and made no payroll expenditures. By comparison, the state Democratic Party raised nearly $92,000 that month and supported half a dozen staff members.
The dearth of donations is not surprising given the new leadership. Back in March, the party faithful chose former state Representative Dave ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Williams, a far-right MAGA 2020-election denier to head the Colorado GOP. He has since invited ankle monitor-sporting Tina Peters to join the leadership team hoping she would bring along her “national network of well-funded friends.” Judging by the latest financial disclosure, sugar daddy Mike Lindell has yet to open his wallet.
Williams has been trying to fundraise via email with ridiculous, hyper-partisan subject lines like “Democrats Defend Perverts,” “They hate you,” and “Democrats’ Witch-Hunt of Trump.” Put these in all caps add excessive punctuation and funky syntax, and they could be Trump tweets. It is impossible to take them seriously.
Back in March, Williams said the Colorado GOP’s election losses were not due to a “brand problem” but “a problem with feckless leaders.” The statement hasn’t aged well. Now it’s a both/and predicament.
The Colorado Republican Party was once the party of ideas and it can be again. In the future when the economy goes soft, inflation and crime rates remain high, and new property taxes come due there will be an opportunity for the GOP to gain legislative seats and to take the 8th Congressional District. To take advantage of the moment, the party must dump the Trump fixation–it’s an anathema to most Colorado voters—and offer real governing solutions.
Assuming a Williams team can effectively rebrand, and that’s unlikely, the party will need funds to communicate its message across the state. Right now it doesn’t even have a good website. Compare the Colorado GOP’s website to its Democrat counterpart. The latter contains significantly more useful information and doesn’t appear like it was created two decades ago. The amateur-hour website contains nothing to inspire interest or confidence in the GOP.
Instead of pictures of Williams and useless petitions, the site could explain how Democrat initiatives have contributed to a rise in inflation, property taxes, health care premiums, crime rates, and urban camping; or how government shutdowns harmed school children, businesses, and families; or how Democrats have contrived to reduce TABOR refunds in their new ballot initiative; or how several bills signed by Polis violate 1st and 2nd Amendment rights and are headed to court; or how GOP solutions reduce crime, taxes, health care premiums, inflation, debt, and unemployment; or how state House Minority Leader Mike Lynch and state Senate Minority Leader Paul Lundeen and their GOP colleagues fought the good fight this past legislative session.
A few paragraphs on just one of these topics would be an improvement. But that requires staff. Staff requires pay. Pay requires fundraising. Fundraising requires effective leadership and a winning message. Right now the Colorado GOP is batting 0 for 4. Williams should step down.
Krista L. Kafer is a weekly Denver Post columnist. Follow her on Twitter: @kristakafer