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‘You are the swamp’: Conservative leaders demand Mitch McConnell step aside, cite failure to support Darryl Glenn

Author: Ernest Luning - October 12, 2017 - Updated: October 12, 2017

Glenn-Convention-4-W.jpg
In this April 9, 2016, photo, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn speaks at the Colorado Republican State Convention in Colorado Springs. On Monday, July 17, 2017, Glenn declared he was running for the 5th Congressional District held by Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)In this April 9, 2016, photo, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn speaks at the Colorado Republican State Convention in Colorado Springs. On Monday, July 17, 2017, Glenn declared he was running for the 5th Congressional District held by Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

A group of nationally prominent conservative organizers on Wednesday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senate leaders to resign, charging they’ve failed to pass any substantive legislation even as the GOP controls every branch of government.

“Republicans were given full control of the federal government,” the leading conservatives wrote in a lengthy letter to McConnell. “They – you – have done nothing. Worse, it is painfully clear that you intend to do nothing because, as is most apparent, you had no intention of honoring your solemn commitments to the American people. You were not going to ‘drain the swamp.’ You are the swamp.”

The group also rips McConnell for refusing to back Darryl Glenn, last year’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Colorado, and other “good conservative GOP nominees.”

The letter was signed by Senate Conservatives Fund President Ken Cuccinelli, For America Chairman Brent Bozell, Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin, For America President David Bozell, Freedom Works President Adam Brandon, and Richard Viguerie, a leading figure in the conservative movement for decades.

“It is time for you and your leadership team to step aside for new leadership that is committed to the promises made to the American people,” the conservatives write, addressing McConnell and his deputies. “America is too good for you to lead it.”

The authors pile on the criticism, enumerating top Republican campaign promises the Senate hasn’t fulfilled.

“You and the rest of your leadership team were given the majority because you pledged to stop the steady flow of illegal immigration. You’ve done nothing,” they write. “You pledged to reduce the size of this oppressive federal government. You have done nothing. You pledged to reduce, and ultimately eliminate the out-of-control deficit spending that is bankrupting America. You have done nothing. You promised to repeal Obamacare, ‘root and branch.’ You’ve done nothing. You promised tax reform. You’ve done nothing.”

While the House passed legislation in May to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, several attempts have run aground in the Senate, even though Republicans control the chamber by a 52-48 margin. GOP lawmakers said last month they were turning attention to a massive overhaul of the tax code, although initial proposals have been met with mixed assessments from crucial Republican senators.

Calling the Senate’s inability to repeal Obamacare “the greatest single betrayal,” the letter’s authors criticize McConnell and the other Republican leaders — “Senators John Cornyn, Roy Blunt, John Thune and John Barrasso” — for plenty more, including “not reigning in spending and debt, not restraining then-President Obama’s massive expansion of government, not reducing the power of the bureaucracy (especially the IRS), not only failing to secure our borders but fighting for amnesty and open borders […]”

But the letter’s authors reserve some of their harshest language for what they term McConnell’s “vicious, continuous, merciless attacks on grassroots Republicans, but most especially conservatives” — including Glenn, who didn’t receive any support from the National Republican Senatorial Committee or various leadership PACs that poured funds into other Senate races.

“You have abandoned good conservative GOP nominees for no other reason than that they were conservative,” the authors write. “One need look no farther than the last election cycle when you abandoned the Republican grassroots’ Colorado Senate candidate — Air Force Academy graduate, African-American veteran and twice-elected official Darryl Glenn.”

With only two vulnerable Democratic-held Senate seats on the ballot last year — Colorado and Nevada — the conservatives fault McConnell for pouring some $25 million into a losing Nevada race while ignoring Glenn, who lost to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet by 5.7 points.

“[Y]ou refused to spend any money on behalf of Darryl Glenn in Colorado simply because he was conservative,” they charge, although they also erroneously assert that Glenn “lost by three percentage points.”

Cuccinelli’s Senate Conservatives Fund helped the underfunded Glenn win a five-way primary in June with an early endorsement and around $500,000 worth of outside spending on TV advertising supporting Glenn.

Glenn announced earlier this summer that he’s challenging U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, in what has already grown to be a crowded primary. Along with Glenn, state Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs City Councilman Tom Strand and retired Texas judge Bill Rhea have also announced they’re running in the heavily Republican 5th Congressional District.

In Colorado, GOP committees in Denver and Jefferson and Adams counties have adopted resolutions calling on congressional Republicans to get rid of Obamacare by Nov. 1 or find new leadership teams who can finish the job.

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. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


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