Website calls for Colorado GOP chief’s ouster
July 31, 2010
DENVER (AP) – Colorado Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams has had his hands full trying to fend off a party defector from entering the governor’s race. Now there’s a website calling for his ouster as party chief.
An unknown group has started the website http://www.dumpdickwadhams.com/ and an online petition calling for Wadhams to be dumped as GOP chairman. The site includes a clip from a recent show on Denver’s KHOW radio on which Wadhams and former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo argued over Tancredo’s decision to run for governor.
Tancredo switched his affiliation from the GOP to the American Constitution Party and announced his candidacy Thursday. He has said he believes neither GOP candidate can defeat Democrat John Hickenlooper in November.
Wadhams has lambasted Tancredo, saying his move may cost Republicans the race.
But the website blames Wadhams for the party’s woes. It says in five months, he “has taken Colorado from a likely Republican win in 2010 to a likely loss that threatens the future of the GOP.”
The site also blames Wadhams for Bob Schaffer’s loss in the 2008 U.S. Senate race. Wadhams managed Schaffer’s campaign while serving as party chairman.
Wadhams didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press on Friday. He told The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction on Thursday that the people behind the website are cowards for not identifying themselves.
A Chesterbrook, Pa., company that set up the site didn’t return e-mails, the paper said.
“Our bylaws require the officers (of the party) to be neutral,” Wadhams told the Sentinel.
He said his role as GOP chairman is to provide the most open and fair process possible, which he has done.
Colorado Republican candidates have made news lately for lively infighting and missteps. There were allegations of misbehavior by GOP gubernatorial candidates Scott McInnis and Dan Maes – McInnis for allegedly plagiarizing essays for a foundation that paid him $300,000 and Maes for campaign finance violations.
There was also a spat between GOP Senate candidates Jane Norton and Ken Buck touching on gender issues. Buck was caught on tape saying people should vote for him “because I do not wear high heels.”
Wadhams’ current troubles are in stark contrast to his earlier political successes. In Colorado, Wadhams managed Wayne Allard’s successful 1996 and 2002 senatorial campaigns, and the campaign of Bill Owens, who in 1998 became the first Republican elected governor in 24 years.
Wadhams is also credited with engineering John Thune’s defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
The outcome was different in 2006. Wadhams was managing the campaign of former Virginia Sen. George Allen when the candidate blew a comfortable lead in the polls and lost his re-election bid after referring to an aide of his opponent, the son of Indian immigrants, as “macaca,” regarded by some as a racial slur.