If you were in Keystone on Saturday, hopefully you were skiing, but elsewhere Colorado Republicans met in an attempt to heal an inter-party rift that formed as a result of Referenda C&D. From The Denver Post:
The Colorado Republican peace summit Saturday turned into a war of words between the party’s gubernatorial candidates – revealing that a deep rift remains in GOP ranks over Referendums C and D.
In separate interviews and speeches at the state Republican Party central committee meeting, U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez and former University of Denver president Marc Holtzman traded jabs over how they handled the campaign and its aftermath.
National and state Republican leaders, meanwhile, pleaded with the party faithful to re-unite and confront a common enemy: Democrats…
…the speeches by Holtzman and Beauprez showed the wounds of the past campaign season remain raw.
Holtzman repeated his assertions that Beauprez had straddled both sides of the ballot measures. Beauprez accused Holtzman of misleading people about his solid opposition. “I raised C and D, not so much to cry over spilled milk, but to demonstrate that this was a important issue facing Colorado,” Holtzman said after his speech to the Republican State Central Committee. “I was going to take a leadership stand, and he hid in the tallgrass.”
Beauprez said Holtzman was attempting to make an issue where there isn’t one. “The only place there’s a mystery in anybody’s mind is his,” Beauprez said. “He’s trying to create a wedge where there isn’t a wedge. Not only there, but in so many other places.”
Division among Republicans is worth watching because of what it may mean to the hopes of Holtzman and Beauprez as they campaign towards a Republican primary in August. Holtzman is hoping to capitalize on his opposition to C&D and reach out to the fiscal conservative base of the Republican Party, while Beauprez is trying to hold off those efforts after doing little to oppose C&D himself. The winner of the Republican primary only needs about 175,000 votes, so if Holtzman can make his case stick that he is the true conservative in the race, it could spell trouble for Beauprez.
Governor Bill Owens also plays a role here after alienating hardcore conservatives in supporting C&D last fall. Owens is a vocal supporter of Beauprez, which may or may not be beneficial in the long run.