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As the 2012 race in Colorado's always hotly contested 4th congressional district officially kicked off this week, Republicans in Larimer County, the most populous county in the district, are suffering through another humiliating chapter in the unfolding history of incompetence and corruption that plagued the county party under the recent direction of Larry Carillo. Police issued a felony theft arrest warrant for the former party chairman Tuesday, accusing him of stealing more than $17,000 to pay bills and gambling debts. Carillo is alleged to have unwittingly set up payments to a company created by the department of Homeland Security to fight online gambling and money laundering. Carillo paid more than $27,000 in online gambling debts while he was party chairman.
In what you could see as a sign of the times, the Larimer County Republican Party has announced a contest to remake its logo and is asking for design submissions. As the entire nation witnessed during the last election cycle, however, it ain't easy for conservatives to speak convincingly about change, and the Larimer logo contest announcement is predictably awkward.
Larimer County Republican insiders nibbled away at conventional wisdom regarding Colorado Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry's prospects in the coming gubernatorial primary.
Republican leaders addressing the crowd at Friday night's second-annual Larimer County GOP shrimp-boil fundraiser and straw poll event in Fort Collins steered clear of social issues like abortion and gay marriage that have featured prominently in Larimer County politics of the past. They focused instead on calls to rein in government spending and pass more pro-business legislation. That message, peppered throughout with references to Ronald Reagan and aimed chiefly against the Obama administration, suggested the steep challenge these candidates face in winning office in 2010.
Conservative Republican and CD 4 hopeful Tom Lucero hosted a campaign breakfast Tuesday in Loveland at a strip-mall cafe and ended up talking to eight likable, earnest people there about the need to affect major cultural change if they were ever going to restore a sense of personal responsibility in the United States and succeed in abolishing income taxes and the Internal Revenue Service. "We have to replicate Obama's Chicago-style politics, Saul Alinsky's 'Rules for Radicals,' if we're going to beat the [Democrats]," he told the small group of almost-all retirees. They nodded in agreement but said nothing. Lucero faces a tough slog between now and Election Day 2010, and he knows it.