- Courtesy El Paso County GOP
- Trevor Dierdorff stepped down as GOP chair.
fter El Paso County Republican Party Chair Trevor Dierdorff resigned earlier this month, Vice Chair Josh Hosler said he wouldn't ascend to chair. Nevertheless, after changing his mind, he was elected to succeed Dierdorff at a raucous meeting on Sept. 18.
Hosler's election came after a tumultuous time for the local party. Elected in February, Dierdorff announced in early September he'd resign to focus on his business and family. That was after Dierdorff was charged with careless driving causing death when he backed into Platte Floral owner and family friend Mel Tolbert, 79, on a downtown street on March 28. Tolbert died days later. District Attorney Dan May immediately dismissed the charges against Dierdorff.
The process to replace Dierdorff was messy to say the least. The Executive Committee meeting drew dozens of members, some of whom expressed concerns about a plan by former chair Eli Bremer to sidestep the group's bylaws and have the Executive Committee choose Dierdorff's replacement.
According to the bylaws, the vice chair becomes the chair with the Executive Committee's blessing. But since Hosler had said he didn't want the job, the bylaws instructed Hosler to call another Executive Committee meeting, which in turn would call the Central Committee, a group of hundreds, to meet within 30 days. The bylaws say the Central Committee would then choose the next chair.
But Dierdorff named Bremer as spokesman for the process, and Bremer, chair from 2011 to 2013, had said in a letter to GOP members that the Executive Committee, not the Central Committee, should choose a new chair. Some saw the attempt to sidestep the bylaws as a move by Bremer to hand-pick a new chair, though Bremer told members he was merely trying to save the party the expense of a Central Committee meeting.
Bremer asserted in the message to GOP members that the Executive Committee has "the legal capability to ascend a new chairman," that this is "not in doubt," and that his process would essentially "deputize the Executive Committee" to act in place of the Central Committee, though that is not the procedure outlined in the bylaws.
But as the meeting unfolded, led by Dierdorff, members voted overwhelmingly to install Hosler as chair, and he accepted the job.
Some party insiders say Dierdorff didn't pan out as the aggressive fundraiser some had hoped, and a party employee resigned a few days after Dierdorff's announcement citing a lack of money to pay her. Bremer later disputed the party has money problems.
"While the procedure was controversial on how they elected the vice chair to chair, the outcome shows that the Bremer family no longer holds the power they once did," Kanda Calef, a former Republican party member who attended the meeting, tells the Indy.
Eli Bremer's father, Duncan Bremer, served as an El Paso County commissioner and has performed legal work for the party. The elder Bremer spoke at the Sept. 18 meeting urging members to follow his son's procedure, which gave rise to pushback from many of those on hand.
Eli's wife, Anna Camille "Cami" Bremer, is running in Commission District 5, which covers most of Colorado Springs, a seat now held by Peggy Littleton who is barred by term limits from seeking a third term.
Four candidates had expressed interest in running for chair — Robert Blancken, Karl Schneider, Sheryl Glasgow and Charles Elder.