How John Zakhem became the lawyer for the “all things Republican” in Colorado is no accident. His recent role in the dust up about Secretary of State Gigi Dennis’ rule changes affecting unions and small donor committees represents the continuation of activism in the Zakhem family.
John’s father is Sam Zakhem, a man with a long history in the Republican Party.Sam Zakhem, an immigrant from Lebanon born in 1937, began his political career in 1974 when he was elected to the state House. In 1977, he served as the chair of the Finance Committee. He later served in the state Senate.
In 1996, Sam Zakhem was one of five Republicans who ran in the primary for the 6th Congressional District after the retirement of Republican Dan Schaefer. The winner of that race was Tom Tancredo, with 25 percent of the vote. Sam Zakhem pulled in 17 percent.
After his election defeat, Sam Zakhem was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to serve as Ambassador to Bahrain, a position he held until 1989.
In 1997, Sam Zakhem was nominated by beer baron Pete Coors to be chairman of the Colorado Republicans, a bid he eventually lost. Not by a vote count, mind you. The eventually winner, Steve Curtis, was declared by “acclamation” after a ballot-counting fiasco lasting hours ending with Zakhem conceding (some things never change).
Sam Zakhem also ran for the 7th Congressional District in 2002, the first year the district existed. He ended up losing in a four-way primary. Bob Beauprez was the winner with 38 percent of the vote. Sam Zakhem received 19 percent.
Where is Sam now? From his Board member biography for the Congressional Education Foundation, located on K Street in Washington, DC:
Ambassador Zakhem is the President of Zakhem International, LLC and the Vice President for Middle Eastern Operations; MedLink International, Inc.
Zakhem’s other business endeavors include, but are not limited to, a stint as the Vice-President for Economic Affairs at the Rocky Mountain Orthodontics Co. in Denver, CO, and a position as a Cost Analyst for Ford Motor Co. in Detroit, MI.