Sent: Friday, September 10, 2021 3:17 PM
Subject: Why I decided to Vote No on Opt Out and why you should too
This is Stu Parker. I'm Chair of the Douglas County Republicans. You may have had the opportunity to see me if you joined the debate on the Opt Out topic, held by the Colorado Hispanic Republicans last night. CLICK HERE for video of the debate.
I’m writing you today to implore you to truly consider all of the errors in strategic planning that are attached to the bylaw proposal to opt out of the State primary system. My apologies for the long email. There are numerous, salient points that must be considered prior to the 9/18 SCC meeting.
I realize that making this statement will unleash the fury of ad hominem attacks and misinformation about me and my beliefs by the pro-side of this debate. One has to wonder why there is a resort to Leftist tactics in order to try to advance their cause. Why they’ve tried to tear down every good conservative who has had a dissenting opinion from theirs? How does this mesh with their claim they want to unite the Party?
We all agree on the premise of the opt out argument, that UA’s should never have been allowed to partake in Party primaries. I disagreed with it in 2016. I disagree with it now. Sadly, there are many selling a strawman argument about the opt out; that one is either for their idea or is a “Democrat Operative”, hell bent on destroying the Republican Party.
There is another truth. This is that the Opt Out proposal is pure suicide for the Republican Party of Colorado. Many want us to believe that this is a simple binary choice of open or closed primaries. That simply isn’t true. The opt out proposal is fraught with dangers that make the only logical option is to VOTE NO.
Let me go elaborate on the dangers:
Republicans left off the ballot: If not done to the letter of the law, we leave open the chance that a partisan Secretary of State could use any technicality to claim that Republican candidates were not chosen properly. This would provide the option to disallow their names being added to the ballot, a devastating occurrence. Don’t listen to those who claim it cannot happen. It’s very possible. Remember that the same people who have been disparaging the State Party want you to believe they trust the Party to run these assemblies perfectly to avoid this.
Cost (financial and human): Even if run correctly, where are we going to find the money to run these nominating events where it won’t take dollar for dollar away from general election funds. Unlike Virginia and other cited examples by the opt out effort, Colorado’s stringent campaign finance laws is an undebatable impediment to this effort. The costs become even more untenable if the fantasy that tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Republicans suddenly activate and want to be involved in this difficult process. Where will the money come from to pay for the potential larger venues required for assemblies with thousands of participants?
There is a made claim that the GOP can set up polling stations to allow for voters to keep enfranchised. Where will the dollars come from to inform 1+ Million Republicans? How many volunteers will we need to find to staff these stations? We all know that the reality is that we can only ask so much of volunteers. Are we going to take up these precious assets when we need their time more urgently knocking on doors for the general election. Finally, what is the cost to the campaign to have poll watchers at each site. We’ve all been involved in contentious assemblies where candidates are at odds on issues and how things are run. This will tax these campaigns and take up more of their much-needed general election funds. This becomes exponentially difficult when a candidate is trying to manage a State House campaign from $400 maximum total contributions.
If the thought is that the Party should file a lawsuit on the Constitutionality of the law, there simply is no money available that would allow the COGOP to fund this effort without diminishing its effort to elect candidates. There are many good conservative lawyers on the opt out effort. Pooling their time, they could provide pro bono or a massively discounted effort for the good of the State. This is the only viable option for such a campaign. The opt out is also the wrong order to go after this law. It’s like jumping out of the airplane and then trying to decide whether a parachute was needed.
Going against the voters: When the Democrat-led Legislature ignored the voters’ will about Prop 112, the oil & gas ban in 2018, we all rightly shouted that the Left cared nothing for the will of Coloradans. We will show great hypocrisy in ignoring the overwhelming will of the voters and their 2016 voter in favor of 107/108. We must find another way to battle this.
Losses due to open primary? What do you think when someone extrapolates a few plucked data points and makes some overarching conclusions that determine a controversial strategy effort? If you thought of Dr. Fauci and the CDC, so did I. But this is what is happening regarding the claim that our losses in 2018 and 2020 are due to the primary. One would have to ignore the many facts that also led to Republican losses, which include:
- 2018 was a mid-term election which we all know is never good for a sitting President’s Party.
- 2018 was a massive blue wave election across the country and like it or not, Trump was not popular among the voters we needed to win down ballot.
- Polis spent $20+M of his own money that allowed the Dems to spend their money on the other races that year. He also funded hundreds of walkers who didn’t just help his campaign. Polis did this against one of the worst campaigners of our lifetime. Our candidate had no coattails to help any other who was on the ballot. This candidate was not the “elites’” choice, nor the “establishments’ ”. This was the grassroots’ choice. I know this, because I was disparaged by so many grassroots people at the State Assembly for volunteering and supporting a different candidate.
- We lost CD-6 and Rep. Coffman, who had staved off the effects of the gerrymandering for the 3 previous cycles. His battle was not just against the Democrats, but so many in our Party who disparaged, tore down and refused to vote for him. I don’t know about you, but I would have much rather had Coffman than Jason Crow who sits in that seat now.
- 2020 was also another year that was affected by the President’s unpopularity of many UAs and even some suburban female voters. This was certainly one of the issues that felled Cory Gardner. Gardner was not helped by the fact that so many Republicans mercilessly disparaged him consistently leading up to the election.
- I’m still waiting to be shown the proof that 2020’s open primary caused the loss of a true conservative. I know that there has been an example cited in a primary race that was decided by 13 points. The eventual Republican still won. We still have that GOP seat. The claim that it cost us representation is simply untrue.
We must have honest, realistic, and factual conversations about the multitudes of issues we face.
We need UAs: Have you seen the latest registration numbers? The GOP makes up less than 26% of active voters (D=29%, UA = 43%). Like it or not, we need to capture 55% of the UA vote if we want 50+1% GOP representation. Imagine your UA neighbor who receives one primary ballot that has on Democrat candidates on it. Now imagine that they find out from the Democrats or their neighbors that Republicans told them their opinion is worthless and that we don’t give a whip about them? What is the chance we will pull them back into our camp for the general election? Another question is, why are we afraid of UAs? The majority still lean center-right, as does most of the country. There is no doubt that we can share with them the morality, the compassion and the effectiveness of conservative ideals and policies. This is a change in how we message, not a change in our policies. We must win this bloc. We can win this bloc. We cannot cower and run from them.
Finally, disenfranchising our own: It is simply a fantasy to expect that we will suddenly have tens of thousands of Republicans desire to get involved in a new nominating process. We all know dozens of good, true, and reliable Republican voters. You know, the ones who spend their free time not thinking about politics like we do. They get involved when it’s time to sign a petition or to vote in a primary and general election. Imagine them not receiving a primary ballot. Despite our best efforts, they didn’t catch that there was no more state-run primary for them. They learn from the Dem or UA neighbor that the Republican Party only wanted the few, activist Republicans to make decisions for them. How long before they stop answering their door with the smiles they do today during out GOTV efforts.
In conclusion, this is a pure suicidal idea. If successful, Republicans in California will have far more influence on policies than we will have in our Great State. We must play 3D chess. Stop overreacting to pure passion and emotion and start strategizing with reason. Support all Republicans and stop dividing and disparaging Republicans through name calling and labeling. That’s what the Left does. Not us!
The pro-Opt Out side is right. We should not continue to do the same things. Our messaging and out outreach efforts must tell voters how conservative principles are, in fact, the answer to the problems we face. Doing so and making the real efforts to support all Republican candidates through next year’s general election will result in the outcomes we all expect.
I urge you to join me and VOTE NO! on September 18. G-d bless. See you next Saturday.
Douglas County Republicans
The views of this email are my personal views. I am not expressing the stated opinion of the Douglas County Republicans organization.