BY FREDA MIKLIN
On December 19, Kristi Burton Brown, 35, Colorado Republican Party state chair, announced that, “after spending some time reflecting in prayer and talking with my family over Thanksgiving,” she would “not be seeking an additional term as Chair of the Colorado Republican Party,” after serving for two years, beginning in March 2021.
In numerous reports about Burton Brown’s decision to step down, no one has publicly criticized the job she did. The general belief seems to be that the GOP had good and some great candidates, but could not overcome its overall standing with the state’s unaffiliated voters.
Burton Brown was the first woman to win election to that job in nearly five decades. She beat out four men for the position two years ago–Scott Gessler, former Colorado Secretary of State and Jonathan Lockwood, a communications consultant, along with Casper Stockham and Rich Mancuso, both former GOP congressional candidates. Stockham, who finished third in 2021 behind Burton Brown and Gessler, announced his intention to run for the position again, on December 7, before Burton Brown’s plans were known.
In an interview after his announcement, Stockham said, “The party has lost its purpose. The purpose of the parties should be to help more people. If we help more people, we will get more people into us, we will get more people wanting to be a part of the party, so our numbers will grow.”
Also mentioned as possible replacements for Burton Brown have been Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, an unlikely choice since she is presently under indictment in Mesa County, Colorado Springs State Rep. Dave Williams, who is considered far right, and Greg Lopez, unsuccessful candidate for the GOP nomination for Colorado governor in 2022 who stated publicly that, if elected governor, he would pardon Clerk Peters for the crimes for which she has been indicted.
When Burton Brown became state GOP chair, the party claimed 28% of the state’s registered voters, compared to 30% for the Democrats, and 40% unaffiliated.
As of December 1st, the GOP has 25% of registered voters, the Democrats have 28%, and the share of unaffiliated voters has increased to 46% of the total.
In her statement announcing her retirement from the position, Burton Brown pointed to the “Commitment to Colorado” that the party adopted, leading up to the November 2022 election, in the hope that it would “show Coloradans and those who haven’t typically voted Republican that our candidates want to work for them and make their lives better.” That plan focused on three points: 1) make Colorado affordable; 2) prioritize public safety; and 3) expand educational choice.
When the votes were all counted, Coloradans rejected the GOP’s candidates for U.S. Senate, both congressional seats where there wasn’t an incumbent (all incumbents from both parties were re-elected), all four major statewide offices, and the majority of general assembly races, only a few of which were even close. There has been wide speculation on the reasons for that result, but state party chairs make their bones on results, not reasons.
Burton Brown leaves her position with the prediction that, “Democrats policies (will) continue to undermine our basic freedoms and liberties and are making this state less affordable, less safe, and a harder place to live and raise a family. Coloradans will eventually recognize that fact and look to Republican leaders and candidates as the antidote to this failed, far-left ideology.”