Two incumbent Republican members of the legislature from Colorado Springs responsible for a lot of negative press lost their seats in yesterday’s primary elections, results that seem likely to manifest in further GOP infighting down the road–even as some more socially well-adjusted Republicans breathe a small sigh of relief today. The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Rachel Riley reports on the long-awaited ouster of Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt in the SD-12 primary:
“I work hard to establish God’s kingdom, not my own, and, as you know, God’s will is not always done in this world,” Klingenschmitt told dozens of supporters beneath model airliners hanging from the ceiling…
Klingenschmitt fielded handshakes and pats on the back from throngs of supporters encouraging him to keep faith.
“I thank God for the opportunity to run a clean race on my side, even if that was not reciprocated,” he said in an interview. “I’m disappointed that people can lie, steal and cheat and violate their cadet honor oath and still win elections. I kept my cadet honor oath, and I ran with integrity, and I hold my head high.”
On Facebook, Colorado’s most (in)famous Republican lawmaker, who freely accused his detractors of being possessed by demons, implied gay scoutmasters should be “drowned in the depths of the sea,” and claimed Rep. Jared Polis wants to behead Christians like ISIS, sounds like he’s finally ready for the Second Coming:
In all my endeavors I have tried simply to establish the kingdom of God on this earth. In Luke 19, Jesus commands us to occupy until he comes. But in verse 14 of the parable of the talents, the citizens did not want God’s appointed steward to rule over them. At the end of the story, the King returns and takes his throne. I look forward to His return, and I want only Christ to rule my heart and world. Maranatha. Come quickly, Lord.
Over in House District 16, once-and-future Rep. Larry Liston is celebrating his hard-fought win over incumbent Rep. Janak “Dr. Nick” Joshi. The Liston vs. Joshi race featured some of the nastiest red-on-red attacks in any Colorado election this primary season, and as the Gazette’s Ellie Mulder reports, don’t look for them to kiss and make up anytime soon:
Liston told The Gazette in early June that he entered the race because he heard complaints about Joshi’s lack of community involvement.
“People know me and they trust me,” Liston said in the June 15 interview. “They appreciate the fact that I run a clean, above-board, issue-oriented campaign and not a sleazy gutter campaign like my opponent.”
Meanwhile, the Committee to Elect Janak Joshi created the website larrylies.com.
“We wanted to show people who is telling the truth,” Joshi said in the interview. “We have all the evidence of everything we’re saying. That’s why we have this web page, so people can go and check it out themselves.”
Joshi’s campaign positively threw the kitchen sink at Liston, attacking him on bipartisan votes like the state’s health insurance exchange, dubiously using photos of Liston from “Hummer” skits at the legislature against him, a huge violation of decorum–and even finding a senior citizen willing to accuse Liston without any supporting evidence of beating her up.
In response, Liston had his own legislative record, Joshi’s lack of engagement in the district, and (of course) the fact that “Dr.” Joshi lost his medical license before being elected to the legislature–a fact that for whatever reason Joshi managed to keep from media scrutiny for his entire House career.
In both Chaps’ and Joshi’s cases, these are lawmakers whose base of support was always on the far right of the Republican political spectrum. Although defeated last night in what appears to be only a partly successful attempt at an intraparty “purge,” the hard right isn’t going away. Whether these men or new “whacktivist” contenders, you can be assured that they’ll be back. They’ll be angrier than ever. And they’ll win seats.
For today, though, you can celebrate a couple of baby steps toward relative sanity.