This time two years ago, Colorado Democratic Chairman Chris Gates was facing dissatisfaction from county chairs and Progressive party members about state party affairs even though Democrats had just won the state house and senate and the US Senate seat. He eventually lost his seat by three votes to challenger Pat Waak.Next year, the Democratic Party will be re-organizing and there were rumors that First Vice Chair, Dan Slater was going to compete against Pat Waak for chairmanship. Although there has been very little grumbling about Waak’s performance, a segment of former Gate supporters still seek retribution.
On Sunday, Slater put those rumors to rest. From Dan Slater’s comments in DemNotes:
Some of you know that I’ve been pondering a run for State Party Chair. Many have approached me to run for that position, and I’ve sought out the advice of a number of you on the intelligence of such a decision. The response to such a thought has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, I am concerned about the message a challenge of our current Chair would send to Colorado’s voters. In 2004, I supported the incumbent based in large part on the strength of our victories here in Colorado that year. While I have some differences of opinion with Pat about the direction this Party should take as we approach the pivotal 2008 elections, it would be hypocritical for me to challenge Pat in the face of our advances in 2006.
This was not an easy decision. I strongly felt I could have run a race with Pat that would be largely positive, focusing on tomorrow, not yesterday. However, I simply think many people would view the simple fact that an incumbent Chair was being challenged as a negative act in the first place.
I do want to thank the many, many people — nearly 100 — who gave me advice and input during this decision-making process. Your kind words have meant a lot to me, and I am certain we can still accomplish many of the goals that we have discussed. I spoke to Pat this morning, and I know she and I are committed to making our leadership team continue to deliver victories for Democrats in 2008 and beyond.
Pat Waak said she was hoping to serve for a second term. “I think we have accomplished a lot these past two years,” she noted, “we had a successful election, the party is out of debt and we have built a strong infrastructure.”
The Colorado Democrats are in harmony? Well, maybe just for a week…the Executive Committee meets next Saturday in Colorado Springs.