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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I attended the GOP dinner & pep talk from Dick Wadhams last Friday night. It had special significance for me since it was a building my father built, 6265 E. Evans.

It was the most positive GOP event I've attended in many years. It seems to me Dick will make a big, big differece in attendance at the 2008 GOP neighborhood caucuses and the elections that fall. With his leadership we should be able to make Colorado a red state once again!

The Denver Post seems to agree, this is on their editorial page today:

GOP party post goes to a pro

He was urged to run for state Republican party chairman by GOP politicians of every stripe. He upstaged Sen. Wayne Allard at Allard's own retirement announcement, and even though his most recent client went down in flames (and cost Republicans control of the U.S. Senate), Colorado GOP leaders are treating him as a conquering hero returning to his roots.

Can one man save the Colorado GOP? What if that one man is Dick Wadhams?

Wadhams, the local political consultant who went national, is running for state party chair. Insiders ooze with excitement, talking about Wadhams as a "nuts and bolts kind of a guy" who can unite and energize an organization in disarray.

The task will be considerable. Wadhams will inherit a party fractured along multiple fault lines. Aside from traditional schisms between social conservatives and business-oriented Republicans, there are divisions on state fiscal issues (starting with Referendum C) and such matters as abortion and same-sex marriage. More generally, the party has fallen out of step with the Colorado majority.

In just over two years, the GOP lost control of the state House and Senate, the governor's mansion, a Senate seat, two congressional seats and the treasurer's office. In 2008, the party at risk of losing its remaining Senate seat and presidential electoral votes that Republicans have held in every election but one since 1968.

Wadhams is a campaign manager by trade, and as GOP chair, the Allard Senate seat will be his first order of business. He'll have to operate at a time when the power of state parties has been weakened by reforms that shift big campaign money away from the parties to 527 groups, which operate independently.

As party chair, Wadhams will be allowed only limited interaction with the 527s. He can alert them to information that's already in the public domain, but of course so can your aunt and uncle. Anything that involves "expenditures" is off-limits by law. And "almost anything can be considered an expenditure because you're using resources to accomplish a task at hand," said state GOP attorney John Zakhem.

Wadhams says the GOP can be unified if Republicans return to their roots as defenders of small government, fiscal conservatism and private property rights.

"The Republican Congress went awry and we paid the price," Wadhams said, referring to the thumping that Democrats gave Republicans last November. "Sometimes those purges aren't bad."

Wadhams' own candidate, Sen. George Allen of Virginia, was among those who went down for the count.

With no opposition, Wadhams will take over the GOP reins in March. The work is already piling up.

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