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Far-right group pushes for change in state GOP leadership

After widespread losses in Colorado during the midterms, the group repeated unsupported election fraud claims at their press conference outside Boot Barn.

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — From the parking lot of a western wear outfitter, a far-right faction of Colorado’s Republican Party called for a change in state party leadership Wednesday.

The group, calling itself the Save Colorado Project, demanded state GOP leader Kristi Burton Brown step down to make way for leaders who would support more candidates aligned with their views, rather than the recent candidates they classified as centrist left. 

Organizers of the press conference said they weren’t allowed on the nearby business park that houses the Colorado GOP headquarters, so they decided to host the event in the parking lot of the Boot Barn next door.

“We have a Republican Party that is full of whores,” Anil Mathai, former chair of the Adams County GOP, said. “They keep listening to the consultants, right. They keep telling you about messaging.”

“They have not held to the republican platform which is conservative. They have not held to the US Constitution and then you wonder why these a--wipes can’t win a race,” he said.

After widespread losses in Colorado during the midterms, the group repeated unsupported election fraud claims. One of the keynote speakers, indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, accused Burton Brown of suppressing polls showing she was in the lead in her primary race for secretary of state. Peters was indicted for election tampering and official misconduct in her role as Mesa County Clerk.

“We can’t afford to let evil run our country, our lives,” she told the crowd of dozens gathered in the Boot Barn parking lot. “I would never vote for someone who doesn’t acknowledge that there is fraud in our elections.”

The calls for Burton Brown’s resignation are the first since the massive GOP losses on election day.

“Get Kristi Burton the liar out,” Rich Wyatt with Mountain Republicans said. “She’s against our country. She’s against Republican politics, and she hates America.”

Wyatt was once the star of a Discovery Channel show "American Guns," as the owner of Gunsmoke Gun Shop in Wheat Ridge. In 2018, he was sentenced to 78 months in prison for conspiracy and tax fraud. He told the crowd Wednesday that his charges were politically motivated by former President Barack Obama and former United States Attorney General Eric Holder.

A spokesperson said Burton Brown wasn’t available for an interview with 9NEWS Wednesday and didn’t provide a statement. She did appear on KNUS radio that morning, telling host George Brauchler she was taking time to make her decision.

“I don't think rushing into a decision is ever a good choice in life, or very rarely should I say, so I'm having a lot of conversations with people, and I'll make sure people know what I'm doing, likely some time in December,” Burton Brown said.

As for the protest outside her office, the GOP leader told Brauchler people were allowed free speech and could say whatever they wanted.

Aside from a change in leadership, protesters also demanded Colorado change to a closed primary, claiming open primaries have changed the types of GOP candidates on the ballot.

“Shut down stupid open primaries,” Mathai shouted to the crowd. “It is up to Republicans to pick Republican candidates. What the hell were we thinking to allow Democrats to pick our candidates?”

In actuality, Independent and Republican voters select candidates during Colorado’s open primaries. 9NEWS Republican Political Analyst Kelly Maher said closing primaries won’t solve her party’s problems.

“If you can’t compete in an open primary, how is anybody going to expect that you can compete in an actual general election,” Maher said. “These people are saying that they want to take their ball and go home, and what they’re not realizing is there is no ball.”

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