What are your greatest political accomplishments and failures, and how do you plan to apply those lessons learned in your role as GOP Chairman?
The 2014 election results were not only a major accomplishment for me, but for our entire Republican Party. Not only did we take back the State Senate for the first time in ten years, and add to our membership in the State House of Representatives, we also won three of the four statewide races and held all four of our Congressional seats—including the reelection of Congressman Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District by a wide margin, considered by many to be the most competitive Congressional district in the country.
Of course, the biggest prize in 2014 was defeating an incumbent Democrat U.S. Senator for the first time since the 1970s, a decisive blow to President Obama and his radical liberal agenda.
These victories didn’t just happen. They are the result of years of hard work from the State Party, grassroots activists, county leaders, staff and local candidates and elected officials. After the disappointing losses in 2012, I met with Republicans from all walks of life across our state on what the Party needed to do to win in 2014 and beyond. The result was our 365 Plan, which created a year round field program that opened county-based regional offices to register new voters and contact and work to persuade voters to vote for our Republican candidates earlier than ever before. Under the plan, we also invested significantly in data, new media initiatives, and technology to contact voters throughout the state.
As a result of our work, The Denver Post reported: “In Colorado, the GOP shifted the Ground Game.” If we want to win in 2016, we must build on these successes.
We must improve our communication and effective collaboration with our local county party leaders, local candidates, and grassroots activists and groups. Everyone must feel like their voice and perspectives are being heard, and we are working to address their local, specific needs and concerns. While we saw great success and seamless coordination in certain counties, working to rebuild trust and a greater level of communication in every county and with every group who shares our conservative values and understands that America cannot afford another Democrat in the White House.
What do you think the role of State Party is in a Presidential election year?
The State Party works closely with our County Parties to provide training and resources to help promote and conduct precinct caucus meetings, and assist our county and district party leaders in running effective and completely fair and transparent county, local district, and congressional district assemblies to designate our candidates to the primary election ballot. The State Party is responsible for running the Colorado Republican Party State Assembly, which will elect delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention.
This year, thanks to the relationships and the credibility I’ve worked to develop around the country for our State Party, we have also been selected to co-sponsor the third official Republican primary debate in October. We have already begun working with CNBC and the Republican National Committee on this exciting project, which will once again put the entire state and the Colorado Republican Committee on the map!
We can’t wait until our nominees are chosen to start the ground game effort, and that means starting this spring and early this summer in hiring locally-based campaign staff in coordination with our county party leaders, opening a number of county-based and regional campaign offices, running voter registration and neighborhood canvassing efforts.
After the voters of our Party have chosen our nominees in every race, including our presidential nominee, the State Party will then work on voter persuasion and get-out-the-vote. Just as we did in 2014, the State Party will have to use all of our resources to help get out the vote for not only our presidential nominee, but ALL of our Republican candidates up and down the ballot. This means we must have a concerted effort to raise funds, hire staff, open additional county-based regional campaign field offices, pay for campaign literature and slate-pieces, and build on the ground game strategy that made us so successful in 2014.
Where do you see the GOP having the greatest opportunity for gains in 2016?
Colorado is a purple and independent-minded state, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. While this creates unique challenges to Colorado, it also makes significant opportunities.
With the right leadership leading our Party, the Colorado GOP not only has the opportunity to win back the White House, but to defeat Senator Michael Bennet, retain control of the State Senate and win a majority in the State House of Representatives.
What makes you better than the other guy (go ahead, just tell us)?
Effectiveness in this position all comes down to relevant experience and relationships built over many years. While I like Steve, he has neither the experience nor the knowledge of what it takes to successfully run the Colorado Republican Party. In a troubling post on Facebook, Steve said “the primary job of the chair is not fundraising.” I disagree. Without robust fundraising, there will be no money to accomplish the great things we did in 2014. Simply having the title of Chairman without a track record of performance doesn’t make you automatically entitled to the confidence of donors. Without robust fundraising, we will not be able to support our Republican candidates, pay for staff, mailers, data and technology to contact voters, social media, or open the many county-based regional offices that are required to have a successful Party operation.
As chairman of the Adams County Republican Party, Steve raised less money than any other chairman in recent history for Adams County, and resigned his position as county chairman before the real heavy lifting of the election began. I am concerned that is an indicator that his concentration will not be on raising the funds and that he lacks the record of performance and relevant experience necessary to do the job effectively.
I will continue to be a full-time Chairman, one who is entirely focused on the success of our candidates, Republican elected officials and our Party.
What part of your professional/political experience will be the most valuable to you as GOP chairman?
While having an election law background helps not only the Party but many of our candidates navigate the tricky legal aspects of campaign finance and running for office, I believe the most valuable experience I bring is the many years working in grassroots and volunteer positions with conservative organizations, in positions of leadership within the College Republicans, as a precinct committeeperson, six years as a county party officer, many years as state party legal counsel, and the past four years as State Chairman. I can draw on over 17 years of hands-on experience and relationships that will allow me to anticipate and effectively address problems, and learn from past mistakes to improve our Party’s operations and performance as we head into an exceptionally competitive presidential election cycle with Colorado as a top-tier battleground state.
What goals as chairman are most important to you personally?
Continue building and growing our Party among Hispanics and other minorities, youth and young professionals, and women, and rebuilding the trust and confidence of our grassroots activists to join a sense of unity and common purpose is vital if we hope to win elections and govern in a conservative manner successfully.
Which famous political figure most influenced your life?
While Abraham Lincoln and Calvin Coolidge are my favorite Republican presidents, and Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk are the most influential authors that reflect my conservative views, I believe the thoughtful, principled, conservative leadership shown by Senator Hank Brown throughout his career in Colorado embodies the kind of statesmanship and selfless service I hope to emulate.
What’s the most interesting fact about you that few people know?
I love riding my Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Millennials are a major demographic who tend to lean away from conservative politics, but there are a many independent or undecided younger voters who could be included in our Party. What will you do as to reach out and make them feel welcome and included?
A large group of young leaders has endorsed my campaign for Chairman. In a letter to the State Central Committee, these young elected officials, College Republicans, grassroots activists and community leaders wrote they are supporting me because I “know how to reach out to young people.” And I do. This election cycle, we have invested in new platforms and social media to contact young voters, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
The #IVoteRepublican social media campaign I introduced at the 2014 State Assembly made over 1 million impressions. The campaign utilized videos of a young mother, a snowboarder and a musician who all vote Republican, and it was a huge success.
Not only did I get my start in youth politics through College Republicans, as State Chairman I worked with the College Republicans, Young Republicans and campaigns to create the Tomorrow’s Leaders Program. The program encouraged hundreds of students to volunteers thousands of hours to help Republican candidates, register voters, get out the vote and become more engaged in the Republican Party. I am committed to continuing our efforts to reach Coloradans from all walks of life, and demonstrate the GOP is the Great Opportunity Party!
There are many factions within the Republican Party: conservatives ranging from very socially conservative to very fiscally conservative, libertarians, etc. How will you work to bring those different pieces together to build a stronger, more functional Republican Party?
One of the many reasons we won in 2014 is because we all worked together to help our candidate succeed. While there will always be differences among the conservative members of our Republican and liberty-oriented coalition, I will continue meeting and working with Republicans from across the state and political spectrum to ensure we are focused on advancing our common conservative cause.
Please list your elected official endorsements (not that PeakNation, you aren’t important, but there’s a greater likelihood of readers knowing elected officials).
- Senator Cory Gardner, US Senate
- Congressman Scott Tipton ( CO-3 )
- Congressman Doug Lamborn ( CO-5 )
- Congressman Mike Coffman ( CO-6 )
- Secretary of State Wayne Williams
- Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler
- State Treasurer Walker Stapleton
- Representative John Keyser, HD25
- Representative Kevin Priola, HD5
- Representative Don Coram, HD58
- Representative J. Paul Brown, HD59
- Representative Tim Dore, HD64
- Representative Jon Becker, HD65
- Senator Larry Crowder, SD35
- District Attorney Pete Weir
- District Attorney Thom K. LeDoux
- District Attorney Brittany Lewton
- District Attorney Brett Barkey
- District Attorney James Bullock
- District Attorney Dan May
- Bill Owens, former Governor of Colorado
- John Andrews, former state Senate President
- Scott Gessler, former Secretary of State
- Mark Hillman, former state Senator Majority Leader and state Treasurer
- Bob Balink, El Paso County Treasurer
- Steve Bosley, CU Regent
- Glen Gallegos, CU Rengent CD 3
- Jill Repella, Douglas County Commissioner, former candidate for Lt. Governor
- Nancy Sharpe, Arapahoe County Commissioner
- Rich Sokol, Treasurer of South Metro Fire & Rescue Authority