BY FREDA MIKLIN
More than150 people showed up before 7:00 a.m. on May 4 at Maggiano’s DTC, the home of the Arapahoe County Republican Breakfast Club, to hear GOP state chair Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) tell them what it will take to get their candidates elected in the fall. Brown talked about typical activities like making phone calls and knocking on doors. She told the party faithful that tying President Biden to inflation and the increase in crime was the key to getting GOP candidates elected.
KBB started out by touching on the recent leak of the draft of a U.S. Supreme Court (USSC) ruling that says that the 1973 Roe Vs. Wade decision “must be overruled,” and gives as one of its reasons, that “the Constitution makes no reference to abortion.” It also says, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.” The GOP chair made no reference to the content of the draft decision, only that, in her opinion, “a liberal progressive operative” leaked the document. National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg, long recognized as the most knowledgeable reporter in the country on the USSC, was quoted on May 8 as saying that, “the leading theory” about the leak is that it came from “a conservative clerk who was afraid that one of the conservatives might be persuaded by Chief Justice John Roberts to join a much more moderate opinion.” To date, no evidence of who leaked the document has been uncovered.
Looking toward November, KBB said, “We have an ideal opportunity this year to redefine and brand ourselves as Republicans (because) what people think a Republican is hurts us in Colorado.” She said that having “no incumbents at the top of the ticket in Colorado” can be seen as an opportunity to redefine the party to the voters as more than one that complains about the Democrats. Instead, KBB said that her party’s message should be, “No matter how bad things look, no matter how high inflation is getting, no matter that we are the number two state in the nation for fentanyl overdose deaths and number one in the nation for auto theft, no matter that violent crime and murder rates are rising in Colorado, we have solutions to build a better future and our candidates are the face of that across the state.” She encouraged the party faithful to have “a mix of realism and optimism,” noting, “It’s going to be a huge fight in Colorado. We’re not going to walk into any of these seats.” She also said of the Democrats, “Liberals want to work to destroy democracy” and “burn it all down.”
Noting that the April 9 GOP state assembly “was a little crazy,” KBB said she liked that “there was a lot of anger and energy in that room,” and that half the people there were new to being engaged with the Republican party. The chair said there was an opportunity to encourage the new folks because, “We are the big tent party,” and their energy should be focused “against the Democrats who control our state and are putting their thumb down on our children in schools and what our kids should think and what they should wear and when they can go to school and when they can’t…”
KBB noted that Jefferson and Arapahoe Counties have signed up and are training hundreds of election judges for the June 28 party primaries, adding, “We are those people who believe so strongly in election integrity.” As Republicans, she said, “We know we’re right,” but unless the GOP wins a majority in the state assembly, which is very possible, because the Democrats’ “Socialist Progressive party has left them behind,” it won’t matter. Republicans, she admonished, need to stop arguing and complaining amongst themselves, instead show “that we have real solutions…for Colorado,” although she didn’t provide any examples.
As KBB finished her talk, retired ophthalmologist Dr. Larry Spivack stood up to say, “I don’t come to a lot of these meetings. I’m glad I came to this one so I could hear what you have to say. When you talk about the big tent Republicans, you are speaking directly to me… I’m an independent who leans Republican. I want to vote for Republicans but I feel excluded from that big tent…as do a lot of people who are in my circumstances. The rhetoric is just too (strong). If you want to get people like me, we’ve got to turn down the rhetoric on both sides. People in the room don’t want to be considered neo-Nazi racists because they are Republicans…The average Democrat is not a flame throwing socialist that wants to destroy the country and hates the country. You can’t say that because it turns off the people in the middle. So, if Republicans want to win statewide elections in a purple state, nominate people who can beat the incumbents. Don’t be satisfied with having somebody who espouses the rhetoric about how horrible the other side is. Nominate someone who will talk about the issues.
After considering Dr. Spivack’s advice to refrain from harsh rhetoric, the party chair responded, “The average Democrat on the street is a normal person like the rest of us…When I say Socialist Progressive, I’m talking about the elected Democrats who control Colorado.”