Taking the Lead in '12: State Dems Elect a New Chairman, While Wadhams Talks Up Ken Buck, Women, and Latino Voters

March 7 2011, 1:00 PM

Like others before him, Dick Wadhams, the Colorado Republican Party chairman who will soon leave his post, chalks up Ken Buck's loss in last year's U.S. Senate race to his failure to appeal to a "narrow slice of the electorate": unaffiliated women voters. Speaking to a Republican group in Pueblo over the weekend, Wadhams pointed out that unaffiliated women voters matter almost as much to political elections as Latinos (Pueblo Chieftain). Wadhams said Buck made missteps that gave his Democratic opponent, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, just enough to "mis-portray" Buck as an extremist, but Wadhams nevertheless believes Buck has a future shot at statewide office.

While Wadhams made his case, state Dems held their Central Committee meeting in Denver to elect a replacement for chairwoman Pat Waak, Pueblo native Rick Palacio (Denver Post). Waak's outgoing advice: Listen to the voters, find the best candidates, "don't be afraid to ask for money, and have a thick skin." Palacio will need it: Battle lines for the 2012 election are literally being drawn in the redistricting process, which has become contentious, with state House Minority Leader Sal Pace accusing the GOP of manipulating the new plan "so that we’re stuck with narrowly drawn, gerrymandered districts for the next 10 years" (Colorado Independent).