The head of the Colorado Republican Party touted the party’s slate of candidates as “problem-solvers” committed to lowering the cost of living and reducing crime, as the party prepares an election season push to snag offices currently held by Democrats.
“Unfortunately, the Democrats have consistently refused to solve Colorado’s worst problems, and they continue to make them worse,” GOP Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown said at a Tuesday’s news conference outside the Mile High Station event venue in Denver.
She said Democrats shut down schools unnecessarily, “hiked taxes and fees,” and allowed violent crime to rise.
“Colorado voters are independent-minded people, people like us who want the right to make choices in our own lives. Unless we’re doing something that hurts someone else, we should have the freedom to make our own way. People across the state tell me that Democrats have stifled these choices,” Burton Brown said.
Republicans were marking one year since they unveiled their “Commitment to Colorado” legislative package of over 40 bills they said prioritized affordability, safety and expanded educational choice. Five of those bills passed the Legislature.
“As we stand here today, we are in no better position on those issues than we were a year ago due to the partisanship we witnessed in the legislative session,” Senate Minority Leader John Cooke said. Cooke and House Minority Leader Hugh McKean said they are optimistic that voters will elect a Republican majority in the General Assembly that will enact a more conservative agenda.
Republicans did not roll out a new agenda on Tuesday but reaffirmed the party’s pillar issues as affordability, education and crime reduction, once again calling out fentanyl.
Mostly, however, the news conference was an opportunity for Republican candidates to offer their stump speeches and present a unified front that toes the party line, after a bumpy summer that saw failed Republican candidates push false claims of primary election fraud.
“I’m proud to stand up and support every candidate here today as the professionals, entrepreneurs and problem-solvers that will bring their background and experience to the table to address the most challenging issues that Colorado faces today,” secretary of state candidate Pam Anderson said.
Anderson defeated indicted election denier Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters in the primary, and can now focus on differentiating herself from incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold instead of playing defense to the headline-grabbing Peters.
“This office should be held by a fair referee that will remain above the partisan fray,” she said. “We need a secretary of state that will stand shoulder to shoulder in the field with all of our competent local election officials to increase transparency and combat disinformation robustly, and not just in an election year.”
U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea used his time to criticize the major climate, health and tax bill Democrats in the Senate passed over the weekend. He called the legislation, which Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tiebreaking vote for, a tax that “goes against everything we believe here in Colorado.” He did not mention the climate change and clean energy provisions in the bill.
“Working Americans right now, in a recession, can’t afford a tax. That’s my main beef with it. We don’t need to be spending more money and collecting it from working Americans here in Colorado,” he said.
The nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget determined that once fully phased in, the legislation would actually cut net taxes by about $2 billion per year due to expanded credits for climate and energy.
Gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, attorney general candidate John Kellner, treasurer candidate Lang Sias, 7th Congressional District candidate Erik Aadland, 8th Congressional District candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer, Board of Education candidate Dan Maloit and Advance Colorado president Michael Fields also spoke.
In a response to Tuesday’s GOP press event, the Colorado Democratic Party asserted that Tuesday’s event and rhetoric was an attempt to distract voters from the party’s stance on things like abortion and climate change.
“The Colorado GOP is out of touch with what Coloradans need, and is only offering a far-right, failed agenda: taking away the freedom from women to make their own decisions, denying climate change, and growing tax cuts that benefit the wealthy and make things tougher for working families,” Chairwoman Morgan Carroll said in a statement.