Steve House GOP reorg

Steve House, center, talks with Republicans at the Colorado GOP's biennial reorganization meeting on March 30 at Englewood High School.

Steve House, a former Colorado Republican chairman and the current state GOP CEO, says he's considering a run against U.S. Rep. Jason Crow in the suburban 6th Congressional District.

House, an Adams County businessman, told Colorado Politics he'll decide whether to challenge the freshman Democrat by the end of July.

Crow, an attorney and Army Ranger veteran, unseated five-term U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman last year in the Democrat's first run for office. He's raised $1.03 million so far for his 2020 re-election bid.

It wouldn't be House's first run in a primary for a battleground seat. In 2014, he ran for governor but failed to make it out of the state convention. He also considered running for governor ahead of last year's election but decided against it.

The Aurora-based 6th District wraps around the eastern side of the Denver metro area, including portions of Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties. Voter registration in the district is nearly evenly divided between Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

House has been handling the state GOP's day-to-day operations as an informal CEO under an organizational plan proposed by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck before Buck was elected chairman in late March.

Casper Stockham, a Republican who declared last month he wants to run against Crow, said he would welcome House to the race but wants to know how long House has been considering the congressional run.

"There's definitely going to be a primary, for sure," said Stockham, who lost 2016 and 2018 bids against U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette in the neighboring 1st Congressional District.

Stockham's said he expects as many as "five or six" Republicans to jump in the primary for Crow's seat.

"I'm excited. It doesn't matter who's running. It's going to come down to outreach, and I think I'm the candidate who has the best grasp on the community outside of the Republican circles," he said.

Stockham insisted, however, that House will have to face questions from Republicans who backed Buck in a close race for state Republican chairman — based in part, Stockham said, on Buck's plan to install House to run the party.

"If Steve is running, he's going to have to answer the question: 'What did he know, and when did he know it?' Because we elected Ken Buck to be the state chair and Steve to be the CEO of the party. If he's not going to be the CEO of the party, then that was all a sham," Stockham said.

"I voted for Ken and Steve as a team, not Ken and Ken. A lot of people feel that way."

Buck declined through a party spokesman to comment on House's potential run for Congress and didn't respond to a request for comment on Stockham's question.

House told Colorado Politics the state party has been working on ways to reach unaffiliated voters rather than just arguing with the opposition.

"We've been reacting to Democrats, as opposed to thinking through a strategy that unaffiliated voters would be interested in. They care about issues like health care and education, and stuff like that. Reacting to what the presidential candidates are saying is not helpful to the unaffiliated voters at this point," House said.

"Right now, we've got to talk about what's really happening in America, what's important to people. When someone asks us about health care, it's not about, 'Well, Medicare for All is a dumb idea.' It may actually be a dumb idea that leads us to no access to health care, but there are some better ideas — the Maryland health care plan put in by Gov. [Larry] Hogan is a really good idea. Why aren't we actually doing that in Colorado? That's how we're going to pivot into what are the right things to do."

Months after he was elected Colorado Republican chairman in 2015, House survived an attempt by some of his most prominent early supporters — including then-Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo — to pressure him into resigning.

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