Several veteran Colorado Republican candidates are launching a training and support program that aims to accomplish something they haven't been able to do — win some elections.
Casper Stockham, Laurel Imer and Nancy Pallozzi are the organizers behind America First Republicans, a nonprofit they say will provide support for grassroots conservatives who aren't getting what they need from the GOP.
"This is not a third party," Stockham told supporters at a packed organizing event Dec. 16 at the group's Adams County headquarters. "This is a training, support and activist organization to get Republicans elected to office. But we’re not looking for the establishment to pick candidates for us. We’re going to pick our own candidates."
Stockham said the group plans to train at least five candidates and 50 community volunteers in its first year.
Between them, the group's three founders have run for — and lost — four campaigns for Congress, two for the Colorado House of Representatives and one for the State Board of Education.
Pallozzi also spearheaded an unsuccessful attempt last year to recall state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, the Lakewood Democrat who beat Pallozzi in a 2016 state House race.
Weston Imer, who managed his mother Laurel's unsuccessful state House race this year and got national attention four years ago when he co-chaired the Trump campaign's Jefferson County operation at age 12, is also listed as a founding director of the organization.
Stockham, who ran twice against U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette and lost a bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter this year after first attempting to challenge U.S. Rep. Jason Crow, said the group will try to replicate the success of organizations that boost Democrats, like Emerge Colorado, which supports women candidates.
"We're going to do the same thing, but we're going to be teaching our students the Constitution," he said. "Ours is going to be based on America — why it's great to be here, how you can prosper here."
Starting next month, Stockham said, the group will offer a weekly training program for “conservative, solid Christian candidates who want to run for office."
The group also plans to offer instruction in marriage and relationships, policy and "life skills."