The El Paso County Republican Party has taken one step backward and then two steps forward in its search for a new chair.
Longtime Republican activist, retired Air Force master sergeant and former U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Ehler, who announced his bid to head the party this month, withdrew his candidacy this week, citing health complications.
Now, Ehler is throwing his support behind Tamra Farah, another longtime GOP operative, who announced her campaign this week.
While Ehler had been the only official candidate on the party’s ballot, Farah will have competition in Wendy Miller, another party member who recently announced her candidacy. Party members will vote on a successor to current chair Joshua Hosler next month.
Farah said she’s been active in politics and public policy for about seven years and has worked as campaign manager in Robert Blaha’s unsuccessful attempt to unseat U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in the 2012 Republican primary.
She is married to Barry Farah, who unsuccessfully ran last year for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.
The purpose of the Republican Party is to promote freedom and opportunity for all, Farah said. She said she’s a big believer in small government, lower taxes and increased choice in education.
In addition, Farah said the best way to provide more affordable health care is to increase competition.
Farah touted her public relations and communications experience, having worked for three years at Americans for Prosperity’s Colorado operation. She served as communications and deputy state director for the organization, which is financed by conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.
Considering her experience and ongoing relationships with donors, Farah said she can deliver on the party’s fundraising needs.
Party spokeswoman Cassandra Sebastian has said a party chair is expected to raise an average of $180,000 each year.
Farah said part of that process is being “genuine and sincere” and persuading donors that the party has “a strong vision and also a tactical plan to accomplish that vision.”
“It’s an investment,” she said.
Alongside fundraising, Farah said she particularly wants to boost participation with women voters by welcoming them into the party, the principles of which “provide them with the most freedom and opportunity to live their lives as they see fit.”
Attempts to contact Miller to discuss her bid for the head of the county party were not immediately successful.
Ehler said the party would likely succeed under the leadership of either Farah or Miller, but he’s supporting the former because of her fundraising and organizational experience.
Sebastian said she’d be surprised if “anyone else jumps in (the race) at this point.”
The winner will have a challenge ahead, she said.
“Colorado is a battle state, we know this,” she said.