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A dozen county Republican parties join move to oust Colorado GOP Chairman Dave Williams over Pride Month attacks

Ernest Luning

Jun 10, 2024

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams addresses delegates to the state GOP assembly on Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Pueblo. Williams is facing calls to resign and a move by county GOp leaders to remove him after he blasted out an email attacking the LGBTQ community's Pride Month and called for the burning of Pride flags.

(Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

A move to fire Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams following the state GOP's attacks on Pride Month gained steam Monday as a dozen county Republican parties added their names to a list of petitioners calling on state party officials to force Williams from office.

An organizer of the push told Colorado Politics she plans to deliver a letter to Williams on Tuesday demanding that the party call a special meeting of the state GOP's governing body to consider whether to remove him.

Williams, a candidate in this month's primary for the El Paso County-based seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, told Colorado Politics he relishes the chance to defend the state party's recent messages targeting the LGBTQ community, including a mass email titled "God Hates Pride" and a call for supporters to "burn all the Pride flags."

Jefferson County GOP Chair Nancy Pallozzi said she's gathered signatures from more than 25% of the membership of the party's state central committee, enough to require Williams to schedule a meeting within 30 days to determine his fate.

"Chairman Williams has made it clear that he will not step down, so the alternative is to call this special meeting to put this decision up to the 400+ voting members of the (state central committee)," Pallozzi said in a statement.

The committee is made up of county party officers, bonus members from larger counties and Republican elected officials.

While she declined to say how many committee members have signed the online petition she began circulating on Friday, Pallozzi expressed confidence that more than the required 60% of the body's members support replacing Williams.

"We've got what we need," Pallozzi said. "Now, it'll be the state central committee that takes over and decides what happens."

By late Monday, Pallozzi said, GOP executive committees in 12 of the state's 64 counties had committed to the effort: Mesa, Garfield, Delta, La Plata, Pueblo, Otero, Huerfano, Las Animas, Eagle, Teller, La Plata and Elbert. She told Colorado Politics that she expects to add more counties to the list later this week after their leaders have a chance to meet.

Williams, meanwhile, slammed critics he accused of "preparing to wage civil war within the Republican Party" over what he characterized as the "pervasive evil agenda" behind Pride Month, the LGBTQ community's annual observance.

"Rest assured, your State GOP leadership team looks forward to having this debate anytime," said Williams in an email to supporters on Monday, adding that the state party plans to air the names of Republicans who support his removal.

"We especially look forward to the list of so-called Republicans who plan on signing the petition for a special meeting to defend the Pride Month agenda," Williams wrote, "as we will be sure to publicize it and notify all convention delegates and their respective central committees of their support for Pride Month."

Under state party bylaws, if a sufficient number of central committee members call for a special meeting, GOP officers have to give sufficient notice but must convene within 30 days — likely landing the meeting somewhere between Colorado's June 25 primary election and a July 7 meeting of the Republican National Committee, before the following week's kickoff of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee.

Pallozzi said she'll ask the state party to schedule the meeting "in person, at a central location, at a reasonable time" and prior to the RNC meeting.

"We will schedule any meeting fairly and allow for members to participate," Williams told Colorado Politics in a text message.

Accusing his detractors of siding with "the transgender agenda against kids," Williams called it "most frustrating" that the Republicans calling for his removal don't work as hard to oppose Democrats. "These same establishment insiders only seem to fight this hard against grassroots Christian conservatives," Williams added.

Pallozzi rejected Williams' allegation that she and other critics were somehow defending everything anyone associated with Pride Month supports.

"That is not true in any way," Pallozzi told Colorado Politics. "I truly believe we need to educate people so they understand it better, but this email wasn't the way to do it. It was very evil and hateful, and that's why we're here today. There are ways to educate the public without offending everybody. It needs to stop. That's not who we are here in Colorado."

In a video embedded in the email, Williams credited his unyielding position to his Christian faith.

"What I care about is protecting our children, what I care about is advancing biblical principles, and what I care about is what the Lord has to say," Williams said in the video clip from a recent candidate debate. "If that costs me the election, if that costs me everything, so be it, because my reward isn't here."

Referring to this month's primary election, Williams added: "I'm not looking at June of 2024. I'm looking for eternity. That's where I'm headed. And if I do everything right, and I get crucified for it, so be it, because I'm not greater than my master, Jesus Christ."

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