Ernest LuningErnest LuningApril 1, 201719min1286

Colorado Republicans elected former El Paso County chairman Jeff Hays as state party chair at the GOP’s biennial reorganization meeting on Saturday in Englewood. “You know how you spell fun? W-I-N!” Hays said as he accepted the nomination in a packed auditorium at Englewood High School, invoking a catch phrase Hays learned from former Air Force Academy football coach Fisher DeBerry. Republicans in the crowd shouted out the letters along with Hays.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 14, 20177min586

Three former legislators won election to county party offices on Saturday as state Democrats and Republicans conduct their biennial reorganization meetings. Denver Democrats elected former state Rep. Mike Cerbo, D-Denver, to a two-year term as the county party’s chairman, Adams County Republicans tapped former state Rep. JoAnn Windholz, R-Commerce City, as vice chair, and El Paso County Republicans picked former state Rep. Catherine “Kit” Roupe, R-Colorado Springs, as their secretary.

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 11, 20172min494

Republicans in Colorado’s conservative mega-hub have new leadership today, electing Colorado Springs business entrepreneur and self-described political outsider Trevor Dierdorff and his slate to the top posts in the El Paso County GOP.

In balloting this afternoon, the county party’s Central Committee overwhelmingly voted for Dierdorff as their new chair over Lana Fore, a former state party secretary, and Charlie Ehler, a longtime local GOP activist.

Josh Hosler — also a relative newcomer to politics who lost a GOP primary bid in House District 15 in northern Colorado Springs last June — was elected vice chair by a wide margin, as well. Hosler defeated Anita Miller and former Colorado Springs state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, the pot-stirring televangelist known for making national headlines with his controversial comments.

Former Colorado Springs state Rep Kit Roupe was elected the county party’s secretary.

All three on the self-announced slate won lopsided victories, leaving little doubt as to committee members’ sympathies. Dierdorff took 63 percent of the vote to Fore’s 27 percent and Ehler’s 10 percent. Hosler got 55 percent of the vote to Klingenschmitt’s 30 percent and Miller’s 16 percent (figures were rounded). Roupe won 72 percent of the vote against write-in candidate Kathryn Porter.

Current county party Chair Jeff Hays is not seeking another term as he instead mounts a bid to become the state Republican chair.

El Paso County’s Republican Party is the state’s largest county GOP and wields considerable influence within Republican ranks at the Capitol and across the state.

Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirFebruary 10, 20177min404

Lana Fore is well known in Colorado Springs Republican circles as a contrarian conservative activist who operates well outside the mainstream of the El Paso County GOP. Just how far outside the mainstream she really is, however, only came to light this week when opponents of her bid to be the next county Republican chair uncovered some eyebrow-raising revelations about her past and shared them with the party’s central committee.

In advance of this Saturday’s vote by the committee to pick the county party’s new leadership, Springs-area attorneys and longtime GOP loyalists Duncan Bremer and John Buckley sent an email to the central committee’s several hundred members on Monday disclosing the findings of a private investigator they hired.

The upshot, as noted in their email:

…If Ms. Fore becomes Chair, will her history of financial trouble (deferred sentence for writing multiple bad checks, multiple bankruptcies including one in 2014-2015) strengthen our party’s ability to convince donors to entrust their money to the County Party?…

Buckley and Bremer’s letter includes a link to the investigator’s three-page report detailing his findings. The data also suggests that Fore, who says she is 46 years old and was born in Sunnyvale, Calif., may have used various aliases, including Lana Kaye Kirkland, and two other Social Security numbers over the years. The findings also indicate: that authorities in the bad-check case against her in Putnam Co., Florida, agreed not to prosecute if she made restitution; that in addition to her 2014 bankruptcy, she filed for bankruptcy in 1994; that she went through a foreclosure on her Colorado Springs home with her then-husband in 2008, and there were multiple civil judgments against her in actions brought by creditors in the 1990s. has independently verified one court document detailing a bad-check case against Lana Kaye Kirkland in Putnam Co., Florida.

What happened next raised even more eyebrows: Fore followed up with an email of her own to the central committee, denying the allegations — and contending it was all due to a case of mistaken identity:

Dear John Buckley III and Duncan Bremer,

I received your libelous email against me.  I’m sorry to throw a kink in your attempt to keep true conservatives out of party headquarters, but your allegations against me are false.  In the early 90’s, my wallet and identity were stolen.  The woman who stole my identity is listed in the documents that you so carelessly and unethically provided to the entire central committee.  Any of the charges listed in the documents are against that woman, not me.  I will bring evidence of this with me on Saturday, if anyone cares to see it.

And that wasn’t the end of it. Buckley and Bremer (a former county commissioner) shot back with another email to central committee members that read in part:

…Help us make sure that we understand you correctly.

1. If some other woman wrote bad checks in your name in 1993, why did prosecutors pursue charges against you, as opposed to that other woman?  Are you saying that some other woman impersonated you in court and agreed to pay restitution in your name?

2. Even if there was another woman involved, yet the DA still chose to prosecute you, why were there five civil judgments against you in 1994 and 1995 unrelated to the criminal charges? Were these incorrect as well? Was this other woman also involved in those cases?

Reached Thursday for comment, Fore acknowledged the 2014 bankruptcy but repeated her assertion that the rest of the allegations against her stem from a stolen wallet and an assumed identity.

“I’ve never been in front of a judge. I’ve never paid anyone restitution,” she said. “It’s news to me.”

She denied ever having lived in Florida, saying when she wasn’t in Colorado or California, she was living overseas.

“I’ve lived in 27 countries,” Fore said, including Spain, Germany and Nigeria.

How it’ll all shake out in Saturday’s vote of course remains to be seen. Fore, who entered the race late in the game, is vying for the chairmanship with Springs business entrepreneur Trevor Dierdorff and military retiree Charlie Ehler.

Current Chair Jeff Hays is leaving the post as he mounts a bid to become the state Republican chair.

While being county party chair is widely viewed as the proverbial thankless task — like chairmanships at every level in both major parties — the position also is coveted for its influence on party politics statewide. El Paso County’s Republican Party is the state’s largest and plays a prominent role in all things GOP in the state.


Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJanuary 27, 20176min548

El Paso County long has been the mother lode of the state’s Republican Party. The county’s GOP is the largest of any county’s Republican Party in the state, and the county’s lopsidedly Republican Denver delegation long has played a pivotal role in legislative ranks at the Capitol. You get the idea: As the El Paso County Republican Party goes, so goes…a lot.

Which is why it matters who’s in charge at 205 Sutton Lane in Colorado Springs. And now that El Paso County GOP Chair Jeff Hays is running for state party chair, there’s room for a new regime to set the tone and pace for the county party as well as to have an influence on politics statewide.

With just over two weeks to go before the Feb. 11 election for a new county chair, two hats are in the ring for the top spot:

  • Trevor Dierdorff, a self-described “political outsider” and local business entrepreneur, is part of a unified slate seeking to win the county party’s top three posts;
  • Charlie Ehler a retired Air Force master sergeant, is a veteran party activist who has spent time in the trenches with the GOP rank-and-file.

Seeking the vice chair’s post on the slate with Dierdorff is Josh Hosler, a former legislative candidate who fell short of winning the party’s nomination last spring in the House District 15 race. Also on the slate is former state Rep. Kit Roupe, running for county party secretary.

Up against them so far, aside from Ehler, is only ever-controversial televangelist and former state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who is seeking the vice chair’s post, as we reported earlier this week. Ehler, however, says he is not on a slate with Klingenschmitt or anyone else.

Both Dierdorff and Ehler stake out the standard conservative stances on the issues that matter in GOP circles and in El Paso County politics — taxes, guns, abortion and so forth. No notable distinctions between them on that score.

For Dierdorff, whose campaign Facebook page can be found here, the priority, as stated in a recent campaign email, is “to unify and grow the party so that we are able to win as many state seats in 2018 as possible for the Republican Party.” He touts his business acumen — the Colorado Springs Business Journal named him the “best networker” in the city’s business community last year — and in a conversation with us this week he quipped: “I’m a businessman; I’m a political outsider. But unlike President Trump, I’m not a billionaire, and I’m not on Twitter.”

Ehler, whose campaign Facebook page is found here, told us this week that he also wants to unify the party — and would do it by moving past the cliques that so often dominate local party politics. He says, “Down here in El Paso County, there are seven or eight groups that are all vying for influence in the party. I want to tear down the walls between those people.”

In a post on his campaign’s Facebook page, Ehler elaborates:

I have a vision to build upon the success in our party by broadening our appeal to Republicans in general, not just the activists. While the activists accomplish much, the group is too small a slice of the community, making it always too few hands for the amount of work we must do. This burns people out and they eventually just drift away. We must find a way to fix this problem or we will never quite blow away our competition like we should.

Dierdorff, meanwhile, touts a pretty prominent roster of endorsements for a professed political outsider; it includes Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams and Colorado Springs Mayor and all-round GOP heavyweight John Suthers.

The 550-or-so members of the county party central committee will have the final say, however. We’ll know soon who won their hearts and minds.


Jennifer KernsJennifer KernsApril 9, 201612min415

A vacuum of well-known GOP leaders willing to step up and run for U.S. Senate in Colorado has created one of the largest fields of candidates in state history seeking to oust a sitting Democrat U.S. Senator. More than a dozen GOP candidates including state senators, county commissioners, veterans and entrepreneurs are vying to topple Sen. Michael Bennet. During any other election year, it might be a tall order. But in the 2016 presidential election year, toppling one of the state's top Democrats might not be such a struggle.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 31, 20165min350
Former state Rep. Jon Keyser, R-Morrison, on Thursday afternoon became the second Republican U.S. Senate candidate to submit petitions to the secretary of state’s office in hopes of winning a spot on the June primary ballot. “Our campaign is dedicated to uniting a new generation of conservative activists with those who have been fighting on […]

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Jared WrightJared WrightMarch 30, 20162min407

By TCS Publisher and Editor in Chief Jared Wright @_JaredWright_ DENVER — Good morning and happy budget caucus Wednesday for those representing the people in the state House today. Good luck to you and to us as you huddle in your parties' chambers to decide the eventual fated use of our tax dollars. With just 42 days left in Colorado's legislative session, it's bound to be a wild ride as contentious bills continue to stack up — been this way as long as I can remember, saving the "good stuff" for last. Meanwhile, Colorado's congressional delegation continues to enjoy their recess, out on the playground to campaign, town hall or otherwise maintain their political careers, a task relegated to the weekends for state legislators. "I was convinced that eventually I would die of heart disease, that we'd run out of time and out of treatment, the technology wouldn't keep ahead of my disease. And now all of the sudden, when you get the new heart, your life opens up before you again." — Dick Cheney Now, your substrata feed straight from the politics pipeline ...