Colorado SpringsElection 2018Hot Sheet

State Republican Party and Walker Stapleton christen Colorado Springs “victory office”

Author: Conrad Swanson - September 6, 2018 - Updated: September 6, 2018

StapletonWalker Stapleton addresses the Colorado Republican State Assembly while accepting his nomination for governor at the Coors Events Center in Boulder on April 14. (Photo by Andy Colwell/Colorado Politics)

The path to Republican victories in the November elections runs through El Paso County, party representatives and candidates said Wednesday as the Colorado Republican Party set up shop in downtown Colorado Springs.

“I need your help,” GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton told about two dozen local Republicans at an event christening the state party’s newest satellite location. “I need your help to make phone calls, to talk to Democrats, to talk to Independents, to get out the vote, and this is the place to do it.”

Stapleton’s campaign is out-financed six to one by Democratic candidate Jared Polis, according to recent campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s Office. But Stapleton said he is undaunted.

Even so, El Paso County Republican Party Chairman Josh Hosler urged those in attendance to open their wallets and purses. The state party’s new shop is located inside the county party’s headquarters.

“The biggest thing right now is money for these candidates,” Hosler said. “Get your checkbooks out, start writing checks and volunteering at the county level.”

Stapleton was joined by his running mate, state Rep. Lang Sias, and Ken Montera, a candidate for an at-large seat on the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The state party’s new shop, called a “victory office,” will be at their disposal and the disposal of all other GOP candidates, party spokesman Daniel Cole said.

But, of course, Stapleton, the state’s current treasurer, leads that charge.

“He’s the top of the ticket,” Cole said.

If voters approve that ticket, Stapleton said as governor he will reorganize the state’s transportation priorities, especially considering the toll lane under construction between Colorado Springs and Denver.

Crews broke ground Tuesday on the $350 million project to widen the Interstate 25 “gap” between Monument and Castle Rock. That work is paid for by state, local and federal funds and will add toll lanes to the 18-mile stretch.

Critics have called those tolls a double taxation. Previously Stapleton said he would veto any proposal that would include toll lanes throughout that gap.

But Wednesday, Stapleton said it is too late to halt the toll lanes because removing them would mean the revocation of federal funding.

In the future, however, Stapleton said as governor he could change the outlook of the Colorado Department of Transportation Commission, a group appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate, to avoid additional toll lanes.

“I will look to appoint commissioners with perhaps a different perspective on how those lanes can and should be managed,” he said.

The Colorado Springs campaign office is one of 10 across the state, Cole said. They’re meant to better consolidate and more efficiently allocate Republican volunteer efforts.

“They’re the nerve centers of our ground game,” he said. “They’re designed to supplement the county parties and operate in coordination with the county parties.”

The office will employ a single paid field director to start, Cole said. That employee will coordinate phone-calling and door-knocking campaigns, among other tasks.

Already, thousands of calls have been made and 100 volunteers are trained and ready to work, Hosler said.

Other “victory offices” are now open in Adams, Mesa, Arapahoe, Larimer, Douglas, Boulder, Pueblo, Weld and Jefferson counties, a Stapleton campaign spokesman said.

Conrad Swanson

Conrad Swanson