The recent midterm elections were a mixed bag for Republicans. While they made gains in the state House, Tea Party darlings Ken Buck and Dan Maes faltered in their respective bids for U.S. Senate and governor. In fact, Maes’ campaign, marked by numerous scandals and gaffes, nearly relegated the local GOP to third-party status. One of the top political quotes in Colorado this year, according to National Journal, touched on that matter: “Somebody should talk to Dan, because I think he’s the third-party candidate now,” said former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, who switched to the American Constitution Party ticket to run against Maes and Governor-elect John Hickenlooper (via The Colorado Independent).
That’s the kind of talk that has Dick Wadhams, chairman of the state Republican Party, wavering over whether to run for the job again. While there’s no clear successor, The Colorado Statesman reports that a movement against Wadhams is building over various issues, such as his failure to vet Maes and, conversely, his perceived lack of support for Maes, as well as his failure to aid Buck when Buck’s statements (or misstatements) were making headlines.
As Tea Party candidates question Wadhams’ performance, other rumored candidates for chair—such as former state Senator Tom Wiens, who appears to be gaining support with tea partyers—are contemplating a run. Even Maes says he’s received requests to try and replace Wadhams. But there are also Wadhams loyalists, who point to his successes, such as gaining two congressional seats for the GOP for the first time since 2004 (Cory Gardner in the 4th District and Scott Tipton in the 3rd), as well as winning the offices of secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general.