Ryan Call bidding for second term as GOP chairman
DENVER — Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call has secured the support of all four Republican congressman and a majority of the party’s elected officials in his bid for a second term, officially announced Tuesday and first reported by FOX31 Denver.
Call, elected to replace Dick Wadhams after the GOP lost both the governor’s and U.S. Senate races amidst 2010’s national GOP wave, engineered improvements in the party’s infrastructure and doubled its fundraising haul in a single cycle — but Republicans didn’t notch any significant wins in 2012, as Republicans saw Obama win the state and Democrats win back a majority at the statehouse.
Call emailed the state party’s central committee on Tuesday informing them that he’s officially seeking a second term through 2014, when the GOP aims to defeat both Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall.
According to Call’s email, 200 of 317 members of the GOP central committee are already supporting him.
It’s unclear if anyone from the party’s ultra-conservative right flank will bother to challenge Call for his job.
Call has the support of all the party’s top elected officials, including: Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora; Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma; Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs; Rep. Scott Tipton of Grand Junction; Secretary of State Scott Gessler; Treasurer Walker Stapleton; and Attorney General John Suthers.
With Democrats likely to benefit from Colorado’s growing Latino population and other demographic trends, Republicans face a tough road ahead. The state GOP must address its conservative base that’s propelled right-wing candidates through primaries who have then struggled to appeal to a state that’s moving to the left.
Call is clear-eyed about the challenges, but still optimistic.
“We have a lot of work to do, but I think the future is still bright for Republicans,” he told me a week after November’s election.
Unlike his punchy predecessor, Call hasn’t made a habit of attacking the state’s top Democrats in the pages of the Denver Post; and, to the contrary, he’s been open about his disappointment over partisan fights at the Capitol in which GOP lawmakers have hurt the party’s standing with various groups, namely Latinos and gays.
After 2012’s losses, Call told me he may be more aggressive in criticizing Hickenlooper and Udall — the GOP’s top targets in two years.
“We will be much more engaged early in the cycle, holding lawmakers accountable, holding John Hickenlooper accountable,” Call told me in November. “You might start seeing more assertive party leadership. But I think it needs to be in drawing contrasts on the issues, not in name-calling.”
The new Democrat-controlled state legislature, where more partisan legislation may make its way to Hickenlooper’s desk, could offer Call additional ammunition.
In his email Tuesday to the GOP’s central committee, he outlined a plan to heed the lessons of 2012 — specifically, to use the scientific, constant campaign approach typified by Obama For America as a model.
“Our Party cannot begin campaigning six months before an election and expect success,” Call wrote. “Our voter registration, coalition outreach, and voter persuasion efforts must be year-round, and we are now in a financial position to accomplish that goal.
“And because we must always be looking to the future in developing talented candidates, there is no such thing as a non-partisan election. The Republican Party will play an appropriate role in helping to recruit, train and support candidates for every race—from school board to Governor.
“As we look ahead to the 2014 election and beyond, we are committed to dramatically increasing the Party’s investments in technology, data collection, voter file and information management.”
Democratic counterpart also seeking second term
Also Tuesday, Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio officially confirmed his intention to seek a second term.
Palacio took the reins from former Chairwoman Pat Waak after the 2008 election.
“I’m proud of our many successes in this past election, and I hope to help our party build on that success,” Palacio said in a press release. “Our momentum from the past two years is tremendous: a tipping-point win for President Obama, holding the state Senate while dramatically taking back the House majority, and successfully calling for competitiveness to help define our legislative districts.
“We have important elections in 2014 that will direct our state’s future, and Democrats will do everything possible to share our vision for moving Colorado and the country forward.”