Archive for category State GOP Chair

Bob Balink and Duncan Bremer Weigh In

Bob Balink, El Paso Treasurer and former El Paso County Clerk & Recorder, and Duncan Bremer, former El Paso County Commissioner, have weighed in with a precise tactical nuclear strike about what putting people like Jon Hotaling and Dudley Brown (more about him in a moment) in charge of the State Republican  Party would mean, including a number of angles that, not surprisingly, I hadn’t considered.

Primaries don’t have to be divisive. The can make both the winner and loser stronger candidates, can generate interest, and can help the party define itself. But the sort of behavior that Hotaling et. al. engage in makes one wonder if there ought to be a maturity exam for graduating high school.

As for Mr. Brown, he’s also closely associated with Jon Hotaling.  Well, birds of a feather.

I have my own experience with Dudley “Just Call Me ‘Zool'” Brown, one that is apparently not dissimilar from that of other candidates who didn’t return his questionnaire. With the same unerring instinct for alienating those who agree with him, Dudley decided to chime in on a completely unrelated FB thread to torpedo my own candidacy:


This was in the general election, fer cryin’ out loud.  A number of friends – people who are actually familiar with my politics – jumped to my defense, of course, but I’m a big boy, and schoolyard taunts from people of Dudley’s stature don’t particularly bother me.   But this sort of behavior – along with its entitlement mentality – transplanted to the Party HQ is going to start costing us elections.

Before we elect Ted Harvey State Chairman, it’s time for him to tell his posse to stay home.

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Hotaling Letter a Fraud

Well, it turns out that being first isn’t always being right.

The letter sent out over Jon Hotaling’s name, using the PO Box address of the Colorado Christian Coalition in Denver turns out not to have been written by Jon Hotaling, but by someone playing an extraordinarily dirty game for relatively low stakes.

As mentioned before, the letter was received by a number of members of the State Central Committee, one of whom scanned the letter.

I suppose if you blog enough, this sort of thing is bound to happen, but that doesn’t really excuse it.  Dirty politics is one thing, but this is fraudulent through and through, and it was through misfortune and over-eagerness that I got caught in it.

My apologies to Jon Hotaling directly, and to Ted Harvey, for having run with a story that was evidently calculated by someone to damage their reputations.

Since there’s no benefit to leaving a fraudulent letter posted on the net, I’ve removed the post, and posted Hotaling’s reply , and will embed it here when it’s done processing over at SlideShare.


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Jon Hotaling & Ted Harvey

For some people, you just can’t be socially conservative enough to vote for. Not Jeff Crank:

Jeff, of course, is the head of the Colorado branch of Americans for Prosperity.  Hardly RINOs, that’s one of the national organizations that’s help Tea Parties achieve success.

Not Ken Buck.

And now, apparently, not Mark Waller.   Yeah, that Mark Waller, the Representative who’s held down the fort on little things like taxes, TABOR, spending, and coming from Colorado Springs, doesn’t exactly have the social views of Arlen Specter.

And it’s all over a bill that isn’t even about abortion.

Rep. Waller introduced HB-1256, which was intended to provide legal recourse to women whose unborn children were killed in automobile accidents. It was intended only to address this lacuna in the law, had nothing whatever to do with abortion, and went out of its way to make sure that was understood. It’s a gap in the law that even pro-choice Democrats understand, and the bill, according to Waller, had broad bipartisan support.

The architects of this fratricidal strategy are Mark and Jon Hotaling, the social absolutists’ less-effective answer to the Koch brothers.  Mark headed the Colorado Christian Coalition at the time they produced the above flyer about Crank, and Jon has a long association with Colorado Right to Life, a group that was effectively tossed out of National Right to Life for being too radical.

Colorado Right to Life, the Judean People’s Front (or is it the People’s Front for Judea?) of Colorado politics, decided that since the bill didn’t address abortion, it had to be killed.

RTL issued the following mailer, calling the bill “monstrous:”

They then went on to say that the correct bill would have just implemented the Personhood Amendment, leaving this letter for Rep. Waller:

Since the bill was written not to touch existing abortion law in any way, it also didn’t touch parental notification. But that didn’t stop RTL from using that inaccuracy to whip up opposition to the bill, creating such a political hot potato that Rep. Waller finally had to pull it.

If that’s all it was, it would be another self-defeating act by Colorado Right to Life.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Remember, Jon Hotaling has a long history with Colorado Right to Life. The same Jon Hotaling who:

was manager of (State Senator Ted) Harvey’s short and unsuccessful race against 6th District Congressman Mike Coffman and Wil Armstrong in 2008.

Sen. Harvey still owes Hotaling almost $20,000 for his work on that campaign.

And here’s what he recently had to say about Mr. Hotaling:

Rumors persist that Harvey, if elected chair, will hire the Hotaling brothers to run the state party office. That, his detractors fear, would also mean the party’s candidates would be screened to pass ultra-conservative principles. If so, that might doom the party to failure in more moderate races.

“If only we could be so lucky to hire Jon Hotaling, nobody has a better track record for winning campaigns than he does. Jon would have to take a pay cut to work for the party”, said Harvey.

Look, politics, especially in a middling-size state like Colorado, is a small pond. And the higher you go up the pyramid, the more people know each other. There’s nothing the matter – necessarily – with Harvey using a friend of his to manage his campaign.

But this is absolutely not the sort of thing we want out of a State Political Director. There is a legitimate debate to be had about abortion, but state level-politics requires coalition-building and teamwork, not casting out everyone who doesn’t agree with you 100% on particular issue.

I know plenty of people who, unlike me, voted for the Personhood Amendment, and still voted for me – twice – for State House of Representatives.  They don’t want to purify the party, or use good bills like Rep. Waller’s to push their position, to the exclusion of progress on another front.

So, given that, I think it would benefit the party, in advance of next Saturday’s vote for State Chairman, to know his answers to the following questions:

  • Will Harvey condemn these style of attacks on Republicans?
  • Will Harvey commit to not hire Hotaling?
  • If he does hire Hotaling, how will we know that it isn’t payment for his Congressional debt?
  • I’m on record in this space arguing that parties are coalitions, and that coalitions need to be big enough to win majorities. Not every election, not all the time. But big enough so you have a chance to implement your ideas and promote your ideals.

    Moreover, Ted Harvey has secured considerable – although far from universal – Tea Party support, by focusing not the social issues, but economics and the promotion of liberty. He has a chance here to make a concrete promise that would give credibility to that campaign claim, and to show that those really are his priorities for the state.

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    …and Ryan Call Enters

    As Dick Wadhams bows out – hopefully to pursue managing a winning Senate or even Presidential campaign – outgoing Denver County Chairman Ryan Call enters the race.  Ryan will be touting Denver’s success in the last elections, its return to relevance after a brief hiatus, and experience gained from being the legal counsel for the state party over the last few years.

    I will point out that Ryan is a friend of mine, and that we worked closely together in the 2009-2010 election cycle, when he was Denver Chairman and I was one of the Vice Chairmen, as well as our candidate in HD-6.  I saw how hard Ryan worked to make this election cycle a good one for Denver’s Republicans, and to leave us with a basis to build on.

    Probably the most important point for me is that in my own discussions with Ryan, I’ve come to believe that we share a basic conception of what the party chairman’s job is.  I’ve elaborated on that before, so I won’t go over it again, and Ryan’s more than capable of making the case for himself.   But I will mention that his emphasis on politics as a “team sport,” and the need to build coalitions around ideas and issues is something I place a lot of stock in:

    It’s no small challenge to be a principled Republican in Denver, but that experience has taught me that while we may not always agree on everything, politics is a team sport….

    One of the strengths of our Party is that we are all a group of principled and independent-minded individuals.  That sometimes makes it a challenge to build consensus and agreement, but I believe we need a broad and welcoming Party in order to win elections and govern effectively – the stakes are just too high for us to be divided.  Although there is room within our Party for certain disagreements on specific matters of legislative policy, we share certain common values about what is right and wrong, and a commitment to those core Republican principles of limited government, personal responsibility, and freedom and opportunity that unite us as Colorado Republicans.

    The only way that can happen is if the chairman isn’t perceived as being a part of one faction or another, and I think Ryan’s managed that well here in Denver.  I know of both Tea Party members and old-timers who were impressed with the way he handled the job. The party’s vote totals – with some percentages the highest they’ve been since the early 90s – should be read as a broadening of the coalition here in town.

    Now, some of Ryan’s hard work can be seen in a different light, and when I put the question to him, he responded that he knew that he’d have to delegate responsibility at the state level in a way that he didn’t at the county level.  Certainly, he’ll have resources and institutional memory to draw on at state that Denver just didn’t have available.

    The circumstances facing the state party are substantially different from those facing Denver: the new chairman will be expected to deliver victories, not merely let the party compete in a dignified manner.  A chairman can only deliver those victories with recruiting and building a staff he can rely on, and it would certainly be reasonable to ask how he intends to go about building and leading that staff, not only serving on it.

    Of course, these would be fair questions for any of the candidates.  There are two other prominent candidates for state chair right now, State Senator Ted Harvey and Larimer County Chairman Larry Carillo. Being State Chairman is fundamentally different from being an office-holder, and state is much bigger than Larimer County.

    Between now and the State Central Committee meeting in March, there will hopefully be a number of candidate forums.  I understand that R Block Party will be hosting two, details below, at which all three candidates are confirmed.  I don’t think readers here need any urging from me to show up and ask questions.

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