Delegates and attendees wait in line to enter the Colorado Republican Party’s state assembly in Colorado Springs on April 9, 2022. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)
Aaron Wood, a conservative activist based in Highlands Ranch, on Monday announced his candidacy for the top leadership position in the Colorado Republican Party.
The current chair, Kristi Burton Brown, announced last month she would not seek a second term. The party suffered historic losses in the November elections, failing to win a single statewide office and losing ground in the Legislature, which prompted an intense debate among members about the party’s future.
Wood, who calls himself a “Christian Conservative, a marketer, a business leader, a grassroots activist, a husband, and a father,” is the founder of Freedom Fathers, a group of men who want “to ensure Christian conservative values remain strongly rooted in our society.”
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He most recently gained attention as one of the organizers of the Save Colorado Project, a far-right faction of Republicans that on Nov. 30 held a press conference outside Boot Barn in Greenwood Village, near the state GOP headquarters.
“This is a declaration that real Colorado Republicans reject the ongoing center-left candidate selections positioned in front of us by the state GOP,” Wood said at the opening of the event. “After publicly rejecting America First, top-line candidates, our Republican chair, Kristi Burton Brown, promised her center-left candidates were the solution to winning in Colorado. She was wrong and so were those that supported this approach. And for 15 years now the Colorado Republican party leadership has repeatedly dismissed inspiring grassroots candidates.”
Wood expressed admiration for then-Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters during the event, at which Peters also spoke. Peters, one of the state’s most prominent election deniers, is under felony indictment related to a security breach in her own elections office.
Anil Mathai, a former Adams County GOP chair, also spoke at the event.
“We have a Republican Party that is full of whores,” Mathai said, according to Colorado Politics. “They listened to the consultants, right? They keep telling you about messaging, right? They are liars — they have done something different. They have not held to the Republican platform, which is conservative. They’ve not held to the U.S. Constitution. And then you wonder why these asswipes can’t win a race.”
Wood is running on a platform that includes a call to “allow only registered Republicans to vote in Republican primaries.” Currently in Colorado unaffiliated voters can cast a ballot in either of the major-party primary elections, which some party purists complain can erode core party principles.
Wood would end party support of Republican candidates who petition onto a ballot without going through the caucus and assembly process. He would also, in line with the preference of election deniers, eliminate “electronic voting in party business and elections.”
The race for state GOP party chair has been notable for its failure so far to attract candidates widely viewed as viable. Colorado Republican strategist Sage Naumann told The Denver Post “only the insane, incapacitated or incompetent” would consider taking the position.
Three-time congressional candidate Casper Stockham announced his candidacy for the position. Other Republicans who have been mentioned as possible contenders for the leadership spot include Peters, former governor candidate Greg Lopez, and former state Rep. Dave Williams.
The state GOP’s central committee will select the chair in March.
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