Colorado Republicans announce they are contributing ,000 to support Dave Williams’ campaign.
Colorado Republicans announce they are contributing ,000 to support Dave Williams’ campaign.

Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams speaks outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, DC, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, on the day the court heard arguments in Colorado’s ballot disqualification case against former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Colorado Republican Party spent nearly $20,000 to support its chairman’s campaign against a fellow party member for one of the few vacant seats in Congress, federal campaign finance records show, but the party’s treasurer denies it ran out of money.

Party chairman Dave Williams, a former state representative, is seeking the Republican nomination for the 5th Congressional District seat in El Paso County, running against longtime conservative activist Jeff Crank.

US Representative Doug Lamborn announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election. This means that a seat has become vacant in the predominantly Republican district for the first time in nearly 20 years. The primary election will take place on Tuesday.

But the fight goes beyond the usual debate over who is the right Republican for the job, as the party has lifted rules against endorsing candidates in primary races and has given institutional support to a group of its preferred candidates, including Williams.

At a recent crank event, supporters cried foul while waving pro-Williams attack mailers paid for by the party to denigrate a fellow Republican. A Republican consultant has also filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging that Williams is using the party’s coffers as a “slush fund” for his campaign.

The latest filing, released around 1:30 a.m. Friday, was the first to provide a dollar amount of support from the state Republican Party to Williams’ campaign. The $19,445 was listed as coordinated party spending. This type of spending, according to the FEC, generally occurs when the party pays for goods or services in coordination with a candidate but does not give the money directly to the candidate.

However, it lists both the party that made the expenditure and the one that received the money. Tom Bjorklund, treasurer of both the Colorado Republicans and Williams’ campaign, said in a text message that the state party “hasn’t lost a single penny.”

“Rest assured, Republicans are in the black,” Bjorklund said. “The party has not lost any money, and our financial statements and subsequent disclosure documents will show a net gain for Republicans in Colorado.”

Williams’ next campaign finance filing, due July 15, will clear up any questions, he said.

Williams himself did not comment on this story. He told 9News earlier this week that “there have been no direct expenditures by the party to me or any of the other candidates.”

In a statement, Crank campaign adviser Nick Trainer called the spending “just another example of Dave Williams’ deception and blatant lying.”

“He claims to have the best interests of Republicans in mind, but he is using the party’s limited resources to enrich himself personally rather than beat Democrats,” Trainer said. “… Dave Williams is a corrupt liar and on Tuesday, voters in El Paso County will reject him.”

Crank’s campaign has raised about $510,000 through early June, double Williams’ total of $251,000, which includes a $100,000 loan. Williams has also faced a flood of outside money against his candidacy, with one group spending more than $1.2 million to oppose him.

By Everly