Colorado

Republican Group Supporting Civil Unions Changes Direction, Decides on Involvement in Primary

Organizations

UPDATE AT BOTTOM OF POST

Coloradans for Freedom, a pro-civil union Republican organization, has made the move to endorse and campaign for candidates in the upcoming primaries after vowing they would not earlier this year.

Recently, Coloradans for Freedom sent out a fundraising request to supporters across the state, on behalf of  Senator Jean White. The letter urged constituents to donate and contribute to the pro-civil union Republican Senator from District 8, in order to assure her a GOP primary victory next week. White faces off against challenger Representative Randy Baumgardner from House District 57, who voted against civil unions in the last legislative session.

“Coloradans for Freedom is committed to seeing Republicans maintain control of the House and regain the Senate, however we want to see those majorities comprised of politicians who support civil unions,” the appeal noted.

However, a few months before the fundraising request , the group’s spokesperson Mairo Nicolais told The Colorado Statesman that Coloradans for Freedom would not be involved in any primary races, and that they had no interest in “creating conflict” in the Republican party.

“We are not going to try and strong-arm anyone or pick fights. We will not be involved in primaries or anything of that nature,” Nicolais said. “Our primary focus is to provide a resource for people who believe in [civil unions] or want to know more about it.”

Despite exclusively throwing support behind Senator White, the letter noted that “with control of the state legislature in the lurch, conservatives should not be fighting conservatives — especially over a common-sense issue that is all about individual freedom and personal responsibility.”

When contacted by Media Trackers and asked to comment, Rep. Randy Baumgardner said that, as a candidate, he cannot tell people what to do or what not to do. Rather, Baumgardner said that giving your word, and keeping promises were very important to him.

“If [Coloradans for Freedom] changed their minds at the eleventh hour to end up supporting candidates in the primary, it just tells me that they are not a very reputable group,” he said. “Doesn’t seem like people would be able to put their trust in that.”

Coloradans for Freedom was formed late last year, and made its first public debut in a Denver Post article detailing their mission and goals. Founder and spokesperson, Mario Nicolais, described those to be “provid[ing] resources to people interested in the conservative argument for civil unions.”

While Coloradans for Freedom said they did not intend to actively campaign for extended periods of time, Nicolais assured that they would stay for as long as was necessary, saying that “we hope this bill passes. We hope there’s not a need for us going forward, but we’re planning to be around for as long as it takes for civil unions to become law.”

Even after the defeat of the civil unions bill in early May, the group does not seem to be planning on leaving the state political scene.

“When the civil union bill died, it also ensured that the mission of Coloradans for Freedom, a conservative Republican organization advocating for civil unions, would live on” Nicolais wrote on their web page.

Despite multiple contact attempts by Media Trackers, Coloradans for Freedom has yet to reply to requests for comment.

UPDATE

In the comments below, Mario Nicolais is disputing whether or not we attempted to contact Coloradans For Freedom. Below is a screen shot of two emails to Coloradans For Freedom from June 13th and 14th.

Follow Kyle Forti on Twitter: @kyleforti