Politics

4 of the five candidates running for the leadership of the Republican Party in Colorado still cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election.

Four of the five candidates vying to be the next leader of the Republican Party in Colorado remain skeptical of the 2020 presidential election results. This is despite all acknowledging that there is no evidence of a level of fraud or wrongdoing that would alter the outcome.

“I think deep in my heart that there was fraud,” Rich Mancuso, one of the candidates, said during a recent forum. “But I do not have evidence of that.”

Last year’s election results became a major focus of the battle to replace outgoing Colorado Republican Party chairman Ken Buck, who is also the United States’ representative for Windsor. Buck is stepping down two years after leading the state party and after the 2020 election cycle in which Republicans lost more political control in Colorado.

The one who takes over from the buck will inherit a state party in crisis. Period The registered Republican Party voters in Colorado are declining. Conservatism has waned in the corridors of power in the state. There are major cracks about the best way to reverse the downtrend.

Some, like former state party chairman Dick Wadhams, say the last thing Colorado Republicans should focus on right now is rigging the 2020 election when there is no evidence of its spread. Instead, the Republican Party should figure out how to control the state Senate. Jared Police retired from his job and reclaimed one of the two state Senate seats from the Democrats.

“I don’t understand why we’re spending any time, energy or money, honestly, on any of this at this point,” said Adams. “I don’t think it is beneficial for our party to keep focusing on this.”

Supporters of President Trump gathered at all four corners of the University Boulevard and Highlands Ranch Parkway on election night, November 3, 2020, waving flags and playing music. (John Lipa, Colorado Sun Special)

Candidates running for the leadership of the Republican Party in Colorado seem to acknowledge the potential danger of focusing on the past, even as they continue to raise questions about the outcome of the 2020 election.

“As we complain more and more without evidence, without evidence, we have made us look fools in the eyes of the media and the Democrats,” said Mancuso, who has run for Congress for many years.

“I think there is a high probability that the election was stolen from Trump in Nevada,” said Scott Gessler, a former Colorado secretary of state and another running for party president, during a recent forum with Mancuso and the other candidates.

“We have, I think, huge problems nationwide,” he said. (There was no evidence of major problems in the 2020 elections across the country.)

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When he introduces himself on Republican Party forums, Gessler often shows that he worked as a national expert on election integrity for the Trump campaign.

Christy Burton Brown

Christy Burton Brown, who is currently vice president of the Colorado Republican Party, is less assured of the false accusation that there was so much fraud that stole the presidential election from Donald Trump. But she still doubts the result.

“We need more answers,” she said. “A lot of people want us to take a hard-line stance and say,“ We ​​know something. ”But there is not enough evidence to prove it one way or the other. However, I think there are still very valid questions being asked about the 2020 elections.

Casper Stockham, whose candidacy for the Republican leadership came after several failed congressional campaigns, said he was concerned about the challenges facing election results across the country. This makes him believe that something went wrong last year.

He said, “I don’t know if the elections were stolen.” “But I feel it was like that.”

Jonathan Lockwood, a Republican communications consultant, is the only contender for the leadership role who has categorically denied fraud or irregularity in the 2020 election that would have altered the results. He said casting doubt on the vote was “irresponsible” and that the Conservatives should focus on “moving forward”.

“If the Republicans do not accept the fact that Joe Biden won this election and are not prepared to say that, then we are in a state of corruption,” he said.

Lockwood is often attacked by other conservatives because he wrote in an opinion piece in the Denver Post before the November election that he would have voted for him. Democrat Joe Biden In 2020, Lockwood also faced criticism for criticizing the former US Senator of Colorado. Corey Gardner.

After losing Gardner, the Republican, in November, Lockwood tweeted that he was happy to see the senator “get the shoes from Coloradoans”.

Election officials handle ballot papers for the 2020 elections at the Douglas County Clerk’s Office in Castle Rock, CO, October 30, 2020 (Kevin Mohat, exclusive to The Colorado Sun)

(Buck said he trusted the election processes in Colorado and held a forum with Republican county clerks to reassure Republican voters. But he also signed on to The lawsuit filed in the US Supreme Court by Texas That attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election).

Adams suspects that the state presidential candidates talk a lot about the 2020 elections and the unfounded allegations of mass fraud and irregularities because that’s what the party base wants to hear. He acknowledged that “the majority of Republican activists in Colorado may disagree with me” that the Republican Party needs to move forward.

“I think the state presidential candidates are responding to this reality,” said Adams.

Frank Tionyson, who leads the Republican Foothills club and will help determine who will be the next Republican president, said complaining of rampant election fraud and irregularities without evidence made the Republicans look like they were losers.

“Until you can prove something, it’s just rumors,” he said.

More: Read more political and government coverage from The Colorado Sun.

At the same time, though, he wants to make sure people feel confident that their votes will be counted. Although Tionyson doesn’t think Republicans should focus on him, he doesn’t think talking about election fraud is a problem.

He said, “I think the people who want to focus on it, let them focus on that.”

The five Republican leadership candidates in Colorado last week also discussed how Republicans bounce back after bloody riots at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 that followed a speech Trump gave urging huge crowds to march into the building. Teunissen was leading a forum of candidates and asked if the riots had harmed the reputation of Colorado’s Republicans.

Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the West Wall of the U.S. Capitol Building on Wednesday, Jan 6, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)

“Violence is not appropriate in the pursuit of a political goal,” Burton Brown said. But she also said that Democrats and the media were trying to exploit the riots “to take away our right to freedom of expression.”

Burton Brown said, “They said because few people decide to be violent, so everyone who was there on the sixth day is a violent person.”

Gessler condemned the violence, but said there were “false media accounts” about the mob. “If you look at President Trump’s words, he didn’t incite violence,” Gessler said.

Mancuso said he does not believe the image of the Republicans has been tarnished in Colorado. “The media in this country is our enemy,” he added.

Stockham described the riots as “folly.”

He said, “Most of the people – even the people they have in prison now, (who) are holding them – were taking selfies in the chairs, and they weren’t tearing things apart.”

Lockwood only said that Republicans had a real problem stemming from the January 6 riots. “I find it silly for someone to say that this has not tarnished our brand and reputation. Thousands of voters have left the party because of this issue. This is more dangerous than I think a lot of people in the party are taking it.”

Lockwood added, “There is no place for the events of January 6 in our country.” “… it wasn’t just crap, it was bloody.”

The State Party Central Committee will choose the next Colorado Republican president on March 27.

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