I’ve been an active and involved Democrat for a long time. Based upon that, you’d think that I’d be thrilled with the side show and train wreck that was the Republican state assembly earlier this month. You’d be wrong.

In our two-party system, things only work well for all Coloradans when both parties function properly. It is in all of our best interests when different philosophies and priorities are reflected by two parties that understand and follow operational norms and the rules of law. The Republican assembly did neither.

The most successful candidates for both U.S. Senate and secretary of state expressed anti-government rants that suggested an election official who violates state election laws is a hero who should be celebrated instead of a criminal who should be prosecuted.

State Rep. Ron Hanks will have the top line in the primary to challenge Sen. Michael Bennet next fall. He is a first-term representative who attended the Jan. 6 march on the U.S. Capitol. He has been an ineffective legislator whose only contribution has been to delay action on a variety of proposals with boorish behavior. His most prominent election issue has been to perpetuate the disproved contention that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters received the top line in the primary for secretary of state. Peters has been indicted for felonies related to both malfeasance and violating judicial orders. In what weird world would violation of election laws make someone qualified to be the chief enforcer of Colorado’s election laws? Most current county clerks in Colorado are Republicans who have defended the integrity of our elections and know that our elections are fair and accurate.  

While the Republican state assembly was an embarrassing exercise of the official state party, I don’t think it reflects what most Colorado Republicans really think or believe. Over my 40 years at the state Capitol, Republicans were in the majority most of the time. I worked with hundreds of Republican legislators who were thoughtful public servants who participated in the legislative process to pursue their philosophies and goals. The efforts of current party activists to undermine public trust is not what the vast majority of those elected officials, or rank and file Republicans, believe.

Peters is not the only Republican running for secretary of state. Former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, who also has served as the director of the County Clerks association and is a nationally recognized elections expert, has petitioned onto the ballot. Unlike Peters, she has defended the legitimacy of the 2020 elections and is running to continue Colorado’s leadership role to make voting easy and accessible for everyone.

While I’d never suggest that Democrats and their processes are perfect, the 2022 Republican Assembly is an embarrassment for Colorado Republicans. But it’s excessive and outrageous tenor and results are bad for all Coloradans.  

Greg Romberg had a long career in state and local government and in government relations. He represented corporate, government and trade association clients before federal, state and local governments. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie.