1:11pm

Fri March 25, 2011
State Politics

Republicans to Select New Chair amid Party Bitterness

Colorado Republicans will select a new party chair during the state committee meeting on Saturday. But whoever succeeds two-term chairman Dick Wadhams will lead a troubled party.

Many in the GOP have used the words “divided” or “polarized” to describe the state of their party in the months leading up to and following several key losses in last November’s election including a seat in the U.S. Senate and the Governor’s office.

“They’re really trying to find their soul so to speak. There’s a lot of angst among a lot of the Republicans across the state,” says Colorado Statesman Publisher Jody Hope Strogoff.

Five candidates, including State Senator Ted Harvey, party legal counsel Ryan Call, party vice chair Leondray Gholston, activist Matt Arnold and one time Michigan Congressional candidate Bart Baron are all seeking to replace Wadhams. Harvey and Call are seen as the front runners.

“Both of them have lots of endorsements from elected officials and a lot of legislators are going for Ted Harvey and it seems to be really split. Again, I think it echoes the way the state party is in general,” Strogoff said.

Democrats also selected a new party chair earlier this month. Pueblo native and long-time congressional aide Rick Palacio replaced three-term chair Pat Waak.