In at least one Republican-majority county, it now appears that claiming the 2020 election was stolen and that the Republican Primary election selections were rigged weren’t isolated incidents, nor are the accusations of rigging in the past.
The El Paso County Republican Party, led by Chair Vickie Tonkins, has filed suit against the Colorado GOP because the GOP has indicated it will take over the El Paso County process of reorganizing itself and electing new leadership.
On the same day, February 11, and at the same time, it now appears that there will be two competing El Paso County GOP events; each claiming that the other gathering is illegitimate and each claiming to be the “real” election.
Tonkins, who is seeking her third term as chair, and her supporters are holding court at Sand Creek High School. The Colorado GOP, which says it has assigned the election to a neutral third party, is holding its election on in the Northgate area.
Attorneys who filed the suit on behalf of the El Paso GOP say that based on state law and the county party’s bylaws, saying they are seeking to prevent the state party’s “effort to commandeer official meetings and decisions”, which they say belong to the local party and its current leadership.
This is not the first discord between the county GOP and the Colorado GOP. The state GOP primary nomination process in June 2022, an assembly hosted by the El Paso County GOP, was marred by accusations from candidates and supporters that other Republican candidates had rigged the nomination process.
This is the start of a busy spring of reorganizing for both political parties, as they do what is referred to as “biennial reorganization” processes. County parties for Democrats and Republicans hold officer elections in the first couple weeks of February. State Parties meet in March and April.