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County Political Parties Campaign for Leadership Positions, GOP Battles for the Future

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It’s election season for officers in both Democratic and Republican county parties around the state.

And with Republicans still reeling from electoral defeats last November, the GOP could see some struggles about the future of the party and who should take control.

That certainly seems true in El Paso County, where two slates, led by Cami Bremer and Kay Rendleman, are set to face off this weekend for control of the state’s largest county Republican party.

Bremer says as chair, she would pay closer attention to the party’s volunteers and would work to recruit minorities, young people, and women.

Bremer was state Colorado Springs Representative Larry Liston’s campaign manager in 2008, and ran her father-in-law Duncan Bremer’s Fifth Congressional District campaign in 2006.

“My slate doesn’t want to just talk about reaching out to groups that are underrepresented in the party, but actually represent those pieces that are missing from the Republican Party right now,” Bremer says.

Rendleman, an administrative executive for former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Colorado Springs Representative Kent Lambert’s 2004 campaign manager, says her slate has the edge in experience.

“I am the only candidate that’s held leadership roles in campaigns–both in swing districts and also against incumbent Democrats,” Rendleman says. “I’m the only candidate in the race that has chaired Republican organizations, including a Republican county party.”

The bad blood stirred up within the party from two knock-down, drag-out primaries in the Fifth Congressional District may play a role, though both Bremer and Rendleman downplay the effect of that tension on this weekend’s elections.

Republican activist George Ross, a third candidate for El Paso County GOP chair, is not well-known and isn’t given much of a chance by party members.

Current El Paso County GOP chair Greg Garcia is leaving the position to focus on his job at Merrill Lynch.

There’s already been a shakeup in the Douglas County Republican Party officer elections, as incumbent chair Kelsey Alexander was unseated by party activist John Ransom in a three-way race. Former state Republican Party finance committee chair Mark Baisley was elected DougCo GOP vice-chair.

The election of Ransom and Baisley marks a defeat for the more socially conservative wing of the Douglas County Republicans, led by state Senator Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch.

Elections for the two major Denver parties aren’t expected to be nearly as contentious.

Former Denver Young Democrats chair Cindy Lowery is running unopposed for Denver Democratic Party chair, according to party secretary Dan Willis. Outgoing Denver Dems office manager Jennifer Jacobson is the lone candidate for vice-chair, Willis says.

On the Republican side, state GOP legal counsel Ryan Call is the lone candidate so far for Denver Republican Party chair.

The Denver GOP will also create two new vice-chair positions during party elections on Saturday: state House District 6 GOP nominee Joshua Sharf, restaurant manager Toby Hurd, and Air Force Captain John Kennedy are the three main candidates for those positions, according to Call.

State party elections will be held next month; both Colorado GOP Chair Dick Wadhams and Colorado Democratic Party Chair Pat Waak are expected to be re-elected.

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