Colorado GOP keeps Wadhams as chairman |

Colorado GOP keeps Wadhams as chairman

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. ” Colorado Republicans have overwhelmingly decided to keep their party chairman, despite a bruising 2008 of electoral defeats.

Chairman Dick Wadhams was re-elected 310-50 Saturday by local Republicans gathered for a biennial meeting in Castle Rock. Wadhams defeated former Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone.

Stone had argued it was time for a change in the Colorado Republican leadership after the party lost the presidential race, plus a House seat and a Senate seat, last fall.

President Barack Obama became the first Democrat to carry Colorado’s nine electoral votes since President Bill Clinton in 1992.

The Colorado GOP also lost two seats in Congress. In an open Senate contest, retiring Republican Sen. Wayne Allard was replaced by a Democrat, former Rep. Mark Udall. And in the 4th District, three-term incumbent Republican Rep. Marilyn Musgrave lost to Democratic challenger Betsy Markey.

Wadhams said his re-election as chairman came because the state party is in good shape despite last year’s defeats.

“Despite the outcome of the last election, I think the party was pleased with the fact we are no longer in debt,” Wadhams said, adding that the state party was $600,000 in the red when he took over in 2007.

Wadhams’ term lasts until 2011. He said his top priority would be promoting Republicans to challenge Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter and Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010.

So far, though, no big-name Republicans have announced they’re certain to run for those seats. Wadhams dismissed the notion Republicans are shying away from those contests.

“It’s way too soon,” Wadhams said. “We’ll see in a few months who’s going to be in those races.”

The Colorado GOP also elected its first black statewide officer Saturday. Arapahoe County Republican activist Leondray Golston was elected vice chairman.

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