5th Congressional District: Republican Dave Williams

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
Colorado Republican Part Chair Dave Williams at the 2024 Republican 4th Congressional District Assembly. April 5, 2024, at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

Williams, who’s currently chair of the state GOP, secured top billing on the GOP primary ballot by winning just over 70 percent of delegates at the district assembly. But his run has been marked with controversy over how he has handled his dual roles as candidate and party leader.

This is Williams's second run for the seat, after losing a primary challenge to Lamborn two years ago. In that race, he made headlines for suing, unsuccessfully, to have “Let’s Go Brandon” printed as his nickname on the ballot and for attempting to have Lamborn criminally investigated.

Williams represented an El Paso County district in the state House for three terms, leaving in 2022. At the statehouse, he introduced bills to ban abortion, punish local governments that provide services to undocumented immigrants and protect business owners who refuse potential customers because of their religious beliefs. All of those measures failed to advance in the Democratic-controlled House.

In 2023, Republicans picked Williams to lead the state party. In taking the reins of an organization that has suffered years of steep election losses, Williams promised to lead it in an increasingly hard-line direction.

As chair, Williams has publicly attacked sitting Republican members of Congress and the statehouse when they have deviated from the party line. He’s also leading an ongoing legal fight to close the party’s primaries to unaffiliated voters and engineered an early endorsement of Trump before Colorado’s presidential primary. 

Perhaps most controversially, the party has also changed its rules to start endorsing Republicans in contested primaries, a move that has sparked outcry from longtime party members and candidates who don’t get the nod.

The party has officially endorsed Williams in his primary and sent mailers disparaging his opponent, Jeff Crank.

Williams responded to emailed questions from CPR News about his positions on issues voters in the district said are most important.

On democracy and good governance

During his time in the legislature, Williams tried unsuccessfully to give voters the power to request election recounts and he remains critical of Colorado’s election laws.

“Ultimately, we need to reform the system to ensure only legal votes are counted by cleaning up the voter rolls, stopping illegal ballot harvesting, and ending no-excuse mail-in voting,” Williams wrote in an email to CPR News, “while allowing any citizen the opportunity to examine all the paper ballots that were cast.”

Williams is a staunch advocate for false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Trump. He’s a supporter of former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters who is awaiting trial on charges that she broke the law while violating the security of her office’s election equipment.

During a recent debate Williams said reining in government corruption is a top priority. 

“There are so many slick talk politicians who will go to you, shake your hand, tell you what you want to hear so that they can get into power. And once they actually get into power, they make friends or they already had friendships with dark money groups with billionaire puppet masters who have an agenda.” 

Williams declared Trump’s recent fraud conviction a constitutional crisis, writing in a party statement that the justice system has been rigged against the former president.

On immigration

Williams, who is Latino, describes himself as an America First congressional candidate who will work to “stop the madness at the southern border.” He said the border must be closed and asylum seekers should remain in separate countries.

During his time as a lawmaker, Williams introduced numerous bills to punish local governments that don’t help enforce immigration laws, although none passed. If elected to congress, he would continue efforts to “defund sanctuary cities while allowing for prosecution or civil litigation against sanctuary city politicians who enable this kind of lawlessness.”

Williams said that people in the U.S. illegally should be deported to their country of origin regardless of how long they have lived stateside. He also promotes eliminating birthright citizenship so immigrants “aren’t incentivized to come to America illegally."

As for the legal immigration system, Williams said during a recent debate that the U.S should discard the diversity visa lottery and shift to an entirely merit-based system. 

“No more should we have a lottery system where people can just come in. We need people legally coming in who can contribute to this country and be productive members of our society.”

On the economy and cost of living

Williams said that stopping government spending is the best thing the country can do for economic growth, as well as cutting regulations and red tape.

“People have less money and less purchasing power when the government prints money out of thin air and when government interferes in voluntary transactions between people and businesses,” Williams wrote. 

The 5th congressional district is facing a deep housing shortage, with affordability for homebuyers in Colorado Springs ranked at an all-time low. Williams wrote that the federal government could help alleviate the local crunch through efforts to “rein in federal reserve policy that creates damaging booms and bust cycles, and reform the legal system to cut down on frivolous lawsuits against home builders.”

“This country was built on free enterprise, free market capitalism,” Williams said.  “The more we get government out of it, the more we cut burdensome regulations on business owners, you're going to see an increase in jobs, and you're certainly going to see an uptick in the economy.”