Having just launched his late-in-the-game bid to lead the state Republican Party, longtime Douglas County party activist Mark Baisley already has withdrawn. Baisley briefly announced his exit in the same forum he had used to announce his entry into the race two days earlier, Facebook:
Folks, I am withdrawing from the Chairman’s race. Or to put it more accurately, I have decided that I will not accept the nomination at the Colorado Republican organization meeting three weeks from today.
A reality that I did not have three days ago that I know in full today is how much the 400+ members of the Colorado Republican Committee were already struggling with their decision and that adding my name to the mix was not helping. Bottom line is that I believe my stepping in to the race at this point is not good for the party.
So, I guess I want to say thanks to those who have encouraged me and an apology to those for whom I made matters more difficult. The chairmanship is an important job and has become a very large task. I will work to support the success of whomever you guys choose.
So, he got push-back. Who in the remaining field — 2016 7th Congressional District candidate George Athanasopoulos, outgoing El Paso County Republican Chair Jeff Hays, and Mesa County Trump campaign Chair Kevin McCarney — would benefit most from Baisley’s departure?
Comments posted to Baisley’s exit annoucement included thank-yous from vocal supporters of Athanasopoulos, who has pitched himself as the anti-establishment candidate against Hays. For example, El Paso County GOP activist and Hays critic Kanda Calef posted a “Thank you, Mark!” — suggesting Baisley’s candidacy would have split off support for Athanasopoulos.
Current state GOP chair Steve House announced in January he is not seeking another term.