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Robert Blaha plays Trump card in endorsement of Kevin McCarney for state GOP vice chair

Author: Ernest Luning - March 30, 2017 - Updated: March 30, 2017

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Robert Blaha, chair of the 2016 Colorado Trump campaign, listens to a question during a Republican U.S. Senate primary debate on May 17, 2016, in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
Robert Blaha, chair of the 2016 Colorado Trump campaign, listens to a question during a Republican U.S. Senate primary debate on May 17, 2016, in Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Scattering Trumpisms throughout, Robert Blaha, chair of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 Colorado campaign, endorsed Grand Junction activist Kevin McCarney for vice chair of the state Republican Party, McCarney’s campaign announced this week.

McCarney, who chaired the Mesa County Trump campaign, is running against Colorado Springs organizer and strategist Sherrie Gibson in the state GOP’s biennial leadership election on Saturday at Englewood High School.

“Mesa County turned out bigly to elect President Trump. Kevin’s help in Mesa was a large part of that success. Not only did he turn out big crowds to support candidate Donald J. Trump in one of Colorado’s large Republican counties, he had a yuge part to play in hosting several large events for Trump and his family,” Blaha wrote in his endorsement.

McCarney and the Mesa County GOP played a big role helping organize an Oct. 18 Trump rally in Grand Junction, and the presidential candidate’s son, Donald, Jr., addressed supporters about wildlife issues in the city on the Western Slope in September.

“We are certain he will bring that enthusiasm and know-how with him to serve Republicans well as Colorado’s next vice chair,” Blaha wrote.

Colorado Trump campaign officials weighed in on the race for state chair last month, endorsing former El Paso County GOP chair Jeff Hays over former congressional candidate George Athanasopoulos.

The third state party office on the ballot at Saturday’s central committee meeting is uncontested — incumbent party secretary Brandi Meek is unopposed seeking a second term.

Colorado Republican Party state vice chair candidates Kevin McCarney and Sherrie Gibson listen to a question at a debate on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at the University of Denver. (Photo by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)
Colorado Republican Party state vice chair candidates Kevin McCarney and Sherrie Gibson listen to a question at a debate on Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at the University of Denver. (Photos by Ernest Luning/The Colorado Statesman)

Gibson, who served last year as chief of staff for El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn’s successful primary campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat, has racked up some endorsements of her own, including Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, incumbent state vice chair Derrick Wilburn, former state vice chair Mark Baisley, and the county GOP chairs for Fremont and Pueblo counties. The CU and CSU College Republican organizations are also backing Gibson.

McCarney’s other endorsers include state Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis and both current and former offices with the Mesa County Republican Party. Key leaders involved with West Slope Tea Party and Patriot groups are also supporting McCarney.

ernest@coloradostatesman.com

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.