GOP Party Chair Dave Williams will run for retiring Rep. Lamborn’s seat. More contenders expected

· Jan. 8, 2024, 4:47 pm
STATE-REP-WILLIAMS-REPUBLICANS-LEGISLATURESTATE-REP-WILLIAMS-REPUBLICANS-LEGISLATUREHart Van Denburg/CPR News
Former Republican state Rep. Dave Williams.

A number of Colorado Republicans are expected to jump into the race to replace Colorado Springs Rep. Doug Lamborn, who announced last week he would not seek reelection this fall.

Chair of the Colorado State Republican Party Dave Williams was first out of the gate after Lamborn’s announcement. 

"Our district deserves a new Congressman with a proven conservative record of always fighting for regular workers and families while never selling out to corrupt DC establishment power brokers who always find ways to get more power and taxpayer money for themselves at the expense of hardworking citizens,” Williams said in a statement Monday morning announcing his run. 

He also sent a message through the state party’s email saying he would run for what has traditionally been a safe Republican seat, as well as continue to head the state party.

Williams, who served in the state House of Representatives, said it would not be difficult to know what kind of Congress member he’d be given his past positions. He  said he’d expose Democrats engaged in election interference, though he offered no proof. He also said that he’s “100 %” pro-life and pro-Second Amendment.

He also primaried Lamborn in 2022, coming in second in the 4-way Republican primary with 33.5 percent of the vote.

Another long-time politician from the area, former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, said he’s gotten encouragement from a number of people and he’s thinking, “how I can best serve the citizens of this community and our nation,” and is discussing a run with family and supporters.

“The floodgates will open, no doubt,” said Dave Wasserman, senior editor of the Cook Political Report, who writes on House races. He noted that Lamborn had been primaried several times in the past. “It’s possible that some of his detractors could vie for the open seat.”

But more interesting to him is the type of Republican that emerges from this GOP stronghold.

“It’s not just about which party controls each seat, but is there someone from the more traditional, conservative wing of the pre-Trump wing of the party or is the next person in line someone who is really a hard core believer in Trump. And that will go a long way toward determining the balance of power in the House, not just on a partisan basis, but in terms of policy.”

It's a question that has been percolating for some time in El Paso County GOP politics and leadership, with a split between traditional Republicans and the hard-right, Trump wing.

El Paso County is home to a deep bench of Republicans who have run for federal office before, including Eli Bremer, who joined the crowded Republican Senate primary field last cycle, Darryl Glenn, former county commissioner who ran for Senate and primaried Lamborn in 2018, and Jeff Crank, who primaried Lamborn in 2006 and 2008. Additionally, a number of current and former state and local elected officials have expressed interest in the seat.

Most recently, Glenn and WIlliams ran for mayor of Colorado Springs. Both ultimately lost, though Williams did move on to the two-person runoff election.

One other candidate has filed paperwork to run in the GOP primary so far. Cory Parella, who lists an Aurora address, is running. He’s a former candidate for state House District 42 and is CEO at Hearthstone Entertainment Agency.

Typically open seats have been rare in the state, but this year Colorado is looking at three. Both Lamborn and GOP Rep. Ken Buck are retiring at the end of the term, while GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert is running for election in a different district.

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