Hazlehurst: Your city, my city, our city

John Hazlehurst

Whither goeth the Colorado Republican Party? That’s a difficult question. Lauren Boebert tossed five-term Republican Congressman Scott Tipton to the curb last year while Kristi Burton Brown recently took down former Secretary of State Scott Gessler to become Republican Party chairwoman. Boebert is passionately pro-gun, while Brown has been a noted anti-abortion crusader since she was 20. Is this the new face of the staid old GOP — young, female and fiercely partisan, ready to fight the godless, gun-confiscating, abortionist, job-killing Democrat socialists?

Maybe so, but it doesn’t look as if Colorado Springs voters have boarded this particular train. In the April 6 non-partisan city council elections, our staunchly Republican city decided upon a “Council of Elders.”

As reporter Pam Zubeck pointed out in the Indy, the Business Journal’s sister publication, “While seven of the 21 candidates were younger than 40, none captured a seat. Rather, voters preferred the older candidates. At 57, [newly elected councilor] Dave Donelson will be the youngest member of City Council.” Seven of nine members are male and five have served in the armed forces. Are there any partisan flamethrowers among them? Sure doesn’t look like it. The four newly elected members (including Mike O’Malley, who was appointed to District 6 after Andy Pico resigned to take a seat in the state legislature) seem thoughtful, serious and definitely mature!

Meanwhile, Brown and Boebert appear to be star-struck — by each other. Boebert endorsed Brown’s candidacy, while Brown applauded Boebert’s political chops, as Madeleine Schmidt reported in Colorado Times Recorder.

“Perfect representation of her district, built her life there, has a story there, the people in her district identify with her and her life,” Brown told KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky. “And she got out there, did old-fashioned campaigning, and some pretty awesome modern twists to how she ran her campaign, and you see her walk away with a big win.”

The Brown/Boebert mutual admiration society won’t support any fiery young women to run against Congressional Republican incumbents Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn — or will they? Lamborn nearly got knocked off the Republican ballot by 32-year-old conservative activist Calandra Vargas at the 5th Congressional District Assembly in 2016, so he might be vulnerable to an attack by the “Killer Bs.”  At 65, a mere youth among the House octogenarians, he’s unlikely to retire. Too bad for qualified youngish-women whom local Republicans have voted for in recent years, including El Paso County Commissioners Cami Bremer and Carrie Geitner. 

Ken Buck’s 4th Congressional District is as Republican as the 5th, maybe more so. A Weld County native who served three terms as District Attorney, Buck should be able to fend off any threat from the right — but after

Tipton’s sudden flameout, who knows?

Meanwhile, Boebert has already raised more than $600,000 to fund her run for re-election in 2022, as has her likely opponent, Colorado State Sen. Kerry Donovan, 42. A Colorado native, Donovan’s a rancher who raises Highland cattle on her 400-acre Copper Bar Ranch, and was a member of the Vail Town Council before being elected to the Senate in 2014. 

The Repubs are already in attack mode. Colorado GOP operative Joe Jackson claimed her “far-left policies would guarantee that hardworking families would see their taxes increase and ensure the Democrat’s anti-energy, job-destroying Green New Deal would finally become law.”

Sure, whatever — but Donovan has a shot. If Boebert prevails and the national GOP takes the House and Senate, then the Killer Bs could become the Killer Bosses. They’ll unleash a swarm of hard-nosed ambitious young women to replace the self-satisfied men who still 

define the party. And if in the process they offend and further alienate Dems and independents, too bad! 

But here’s the big future wild card — reapportionment and a probable new Congressional seat. The job will be done by a voter-mandated independent commission, which suggests that the new 8th Congressional District will be fair game for both parties. Such districts tend to elect moderates such as Mike Coffman or Jason Crow, not extreme partisans. We’ll see whether the B’s throw their weight behind a potential winner, or go with a fellow traveler of the extreme right. 

In any case, it’ll be fun to write about them — as a stodgy old man, I’m tired of writing about other stodgy old men...

John Hazlehurst, whose great-grandfather came to Colorado in 1859, is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a reporter/columnist for the Indy since 1997 and the Business Journal since 2006.