Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer on Tuesday released a roster of county organizers he says are already at work recruiting volunteers and building a grassroots campaign to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.
The Bremer campaign's "County Ambassador" program includes leaders in 24 of Colorado's 64 counties, covering nearly 90% of the state's Republican voters, his campaign said.
“For the past 15 years, Colorado Democratic campaigns have run roughshod over Republican campaigns on early buildout of ground operations,” Bremer said in a statement.
“Historically, Republicans have waited too long to engage and energize local activists at a broad level. To be successful in Colorado, a statewide Republican candidate must invest early in ground operations across both the population and geography of our state. We intend to go toe-to-toe against the Democratic campaign machine in a way they have never seen before.”
The list includes former county GOP chairs, former county commissioners, a former candidate for statewide office and a former state Senate president.
Bremer, a former El Paso County GOP chair and 2008 Olympian, is one of six Republicans running for the 2022 nomination to take on Bennet, who is seeking a third term in next year's election.
Other Republicans in the running include Fort Collins developer and former city councilman Gino Campana; state Rep. Ron Hanks, R-Cañon City; former oil and gas executive Erik Aadland; former congressional candidate Peter Yu; and first-time candidate Juli Henry.
Kevin Grantham, a Fremont County commissioner and former president of the Colorado Senate, said in a statement released by the Bremer campaign that he picked up the phone to join Bremer's team as soon as he heard he was running.
"I’m ready to win, and that’s why I didn’t have to think twice about supporting Eli and helping run his ground operations," said Grantham, who is organizing Fremont County for Bremer's campaign.
One of Bremer's county ambassadors drew national attention in 2014 when he questioned whether the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., "really happened."
Tom Ready, a dentist and former chairman of the Pueblo County GOP, defended floating a theory that the shooting had in fact been a hoax designed to promote gun control during a debate when he was running for county commissioner.
"Whether it's true or not, it's called an open discussion," Ready said, though he later apologized for the comments.
Joe Webb and Mike Fassi, past chairs of the Jefferson and Larimer county Republicans, respectively, are organizing their home counties, as is former Crowley County Commissioner Matt Heimrich.
Brita Horn, a former Routt County treasurer and candidate for state treasurer, is working her home turf.
Bremer's organizers in larger counties also include Jill Johnson in El Paso County; Garry Kirkland in Arapahoe County; Caitlin Dougan in Douglas County; Cyn French in Weld County; Patti Reece and Laureen Guiterrez in Mesa County; David Brittain in Denver County; and John Cousin in Boulder County.
Among the campaign's ambassadors in smaller counties are Carrie Couey in Garfield County, where she is the county treasurer; Soquel Ross in Elbert County; Don Suppes in Delta County, where he is a county commissioner; Byron Pelton in Logan County; Diane Home in Kit Carson County; Wendy Buxton Andrade in Provers County; David Paul and Marc Deitweiler in Teller County; Donna Sporleder in Huerfano County; Larry Don Suckla in Montezuma County; and Jeff Rector in Rio Blanco County.
Gino Campana made his run for U.S. Senate official Monday morning, releasing a video to introduce himself to voters statewide.