Pitkin County Republican officer picks Libertarian Lee Mulcahy over GOP candidate

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times

A prominent member of the Pitkin County Republican Party recently resigned from an officer’s seat to continue his support of a Libertarian candidate for state Senate.

Aspen resident Maurice Emmer stepped down as secretary of the Pitkin County Republicans, according to party Chairwoman Frieda Wallison. His resignation followed a request by Wallison to decide whether he wanted to remain as secretary or serve on the steering committee of Lee Mulcahy, the Libertarian candidate for state Senate District 5.

“I didn’t ask him to resign,” Wallison said. “I didn’t want him to resign.”

It wouldn’t have worked for Emmer to remain in both positions, Wallison said, because there is a Republican candidate for the state Senate seat. Don Suppes, of Orchard City in Delta County, has the Republican nod. Vail Democrat Kerry Donovan also is running.

Mulcahy is a well-known Aspen activist who was endorsed at the Libertarian Party’s state convention in March. Mulcahy is critical of both major political parties. He said in May that he formed a 12-member steering committee that included Emmer.

“It’s a conflict,” Wallison said of Emmer’s dual allegiances. “You can’t do both.”

Serving as a party officer requires supporting the slate of Republican candidates in the county, Wallison said. Serving on Mulcahy’s steering committee is “not consistent with supporting our candidates,” she said.

If an officer in the county Republican Party would have endorsed President Obama in the presidential race of 2012, they couldn’t have served in a party post, Wallison said.

“It’s exactly the same thing,” she said. “You can’t do both.”

Wallison sent Emmer a recent email explaining her position and a request that he pick one role or another. He replied the next day that he was resigning as secretary, she said. Emmer was the secretary for about two years, Wallison said.

When reached Wednesday afternoon, Emmer said, “I’d rather not comment on it.” He said he is a friend of both Mulcahy’s and Wallison’s.

Emmer noted that he is “generally active in Pitkin County Republican” activities. When asked if he remained with Mulcahy’s steering committee, he said, “Nothing’s changed.”

Emmer, a retired tax attorney, ran for mayor of Aspen in 2013 and was third in a six-candidate field. He suggested soon after that election that he would run again in 2015.

Mulcahy previously said he values Emmer’s input on his steering committee because he has a “brilliant mind.” He suggested in a statement issued Wednesday that Emmer’s inability to serve as Republican secretary because he supports a Libertarian candidates is similar to Mulcahy being banned from Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Institute property because of disputes with those entities.

“I like Comrade Frieda and volunteered under her command numerous times,” Mulcahy said in his statement, “but why can’t a young man reach out to the elders of his community for wisdom and guidance without them getting banned?”

“This endless Aspen bullying needs to stop,” Mulcahy continued. “Why can’t we all just get along without more fences?”