Weekend GOP fundraisers show ongoing divide among El Paso County Republicans
El Paso County Republicans held a fundraiser in the backyard of former senate candidate and former El Paso County GOP chair Eli Bremer’s home in Colorado Springs Saturday night.
Congressman Doug Lamborn, gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganhal and Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson were among the guests. With the state GOP’s top brass in attendance, the event looked primed to raise a lot of money and support heading into November’s midterm elections — with fundraising focused on congressional candidates Steve Monahan, Erik Adland, and Barb Kirkmeyer.
“There was a heavy appetite particularly by our elected officials and candidates to do an end of the summer party. They wanted to do something that actually supported our Republican candidates,” Bremer said.
"The local GOP has not shown that they are going to show support to our candidates. And so this is a way that everybody can come together."
But there was one problem. The fundraiser wasn’t organized or endorsed by the El Paso County GOP.
And Bremer's fundraiser was held on the same night as the county party's annual Lincoln Day Dinner, their biggest fundraiser of the year. That fundraiser also took place in Colorado Springs and featured guest speaker Congresswoman Lauren Boebert.
CPR requested permission via email to attend the Lincoln Day Dinner, but was denied.
Colorado House District 17 (Southwest Colorado Springs) candidate Rachel Stovall attended both events. She even wore different outfits to abide by the dress codes for both of them.
“When you work at it, you can talk to all of the stakeholders around different sides of an issue,” Stovall said. “And, I think that it’s very important for us to bridge whatever divide.”
The rival fundraisers are a sign that Republicans in the county are still divided
In 2020, Tonkins made a controversial post about COVID-19 being a hoax on the party’s Facebook page. Numerous party lawmakers, officials, and members called on Tonkins to apologize and resign. That apology never came and she was re-elected as county party chair.
District 3 El Paso County Commissioner Stan Vanderwerf believes Colorado Republicans are still united despite disagreements.
“We’re all passionate about what we believe in and sometimes that passion gets into some conversations that are sometimes intense,” VanderWerf said. “We believe deeply and passionately in our values. While we have different points of view and you can see this play out in the public domain, we’re all patriots and we all do find ways to work together one way or another.”
Bremer also announced the founding of 'Nine PAC'
An Olympic pentathlete, Bremer used the fundraiser to debut a new federal political action committee to support candidates who support Title IX and ‘biological women’s right to compete’. He co-chairs the committee with former All-American swimmer Riley Gaines, who was also in attendance.
The PAC required its donation recipients — Aadland, Kirkmeyer and Monahan — to make a verbal pledge that they will work to prevent trans women athletes from participating in women’s sports or using women’s locker rooms.
Gaines has been outspoken about her disapproval of transgender athletes competing in NCAA women’s events. She competed against
Gaines has been outspoken about her disapproval of transgender athletes competing in NCAA women’s events. She competed against University of Pennsylvania transgender swimmer Lia Thomas at the NCAA Championships.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to clarify the mission of Nine PAC and to correct the name of school Lia Thomas attended.
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