Arapahoe GOP turns out in red, white and you!

The Colorado Statesman

With the theme “Red, White and You” showcased throughout the evening, Arapahoe County Republicans proved an extra colorful lot as they gathered for their annual Lincoln Day Dinner at Aurora’s Red Lion Inn on July 28.

“We’re energized, enthusiastic and rarin’ to go for victory in November!” proclaimed Arapahoe County Republican Chair Joy Hoffman at the onset. “Our candidates and volunteers are absolutely fabulous!” And abundant.

State Rep. Cindy Acree of Aurora and the Hon. Hank Brown, former U.S. Senator and former president of CU.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

It took almost a half hour for emcee Hoffman to list them all. Among the guests at this year’s event were two sitting Republican congressmen, Mike Coffman of Aurora in CD 6, and Cory Gardner of faraway Yuma in CD 4 (a part of which now includes eastern Arapahoe County); former United States Senator Hank Brown, with a long resumé of public service, seated at a front row table adorned with little post-it pads that mocked President Barack Obama with its teaser, “Gas or groceries”; and statewide elected Republican officials represented by the always engaging Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who received a rousing applause when introduced. There were too many state senators and representatives to mention by name, mayors from some of Arapahoe County’s major cities and municipalities, local city council members and county commissioners, a former and possibly future CU Regent (Norwood Robb and Brian Davidson respectively), the Republican candidate for DA in the 18th Judicial District (George Brauchler), lots of precinct workers and party activists, two Democratic Party “trackers” who were on hand to monitor the remarks of Coffman and Gardner, and did we mention the large number of candidates for just about every local and state political office?

Gayle Novak, owner of The Summit Restaurant in Aurora, Candy Figa, president of the Cherry Creek Republican Women, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Sharpe of District 2, and Barbara Robb.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

“Red, White and You” is about helping and recognizing our candidates,” Hoffman duly noted.

With remarks from Brown and the two congressmen slated for later in the evening, guests were first entertained by former state Sen. Tom Wiens, a rancher from neighboring Douglas County whose skills as an auctioneer are laudable.

Mitt Romney’s Colorado Coalitions Director Jeff Hunt, Monica Owens, who heads up Women for Romney in the state, and Gen. Jim Hall, who retired from the Colorado Air National Guard as a Brigadier General in 1981 and was awarded the Air Force Legion of Merit. Jim was inducted into the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame in 1985 and remains a constant source of inspiration to all who know him.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Arapahoe County Republicans were having the auction, Wiens explained, “in order to take back our country and state. We need to raise some money!”

Sheriff Grayson Robinson and Rep. David Balmer.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

And that they did.

Among the items that were successfully bid on were 18 holes of golf with Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson and his undersheriff at a still-to-be determined golf course, which sold for $300; a tour of the Arapahoe County Detention Center and yummy dinner at the jail, which was purchased by Hoffman for $200 but not before she suggested that the bids would likely be much higher if the prize were instead state Rep. David Balmer being cuffed and held there; a high flying’ package donated by Arapahoe County GOP Vice Chair Jay Ledbetter that included barn storming in his private plane (with the promise that the lucky recipient could fly it themselves), which sold for $400; lovely quilts stitched by some Arapahoe County Republican women, which elicited a $125 bid from Rep. Gardner so he could use the quilt as a “Pelosi protection devise”; two tickets for a Denver-Tampa Bay football game; a CU package donated by Allott which included four tickets to the CU-UCLA game, two CU caps and t-shirts, one stadium blanket, a CU water bottle, a Ralphie plush stuffed toy, two CU golf balls, a CU pennant and a lapel pin, all of which went for $300; gift certificates at local restaurants, including The Summit; dinner for eight at the Wiens ranch with the meal served personally by Tom and cooked by his lovely wife Diana; and several Romney t-shirts, which brought in between $25 and $125 each, depending on their size.

Arapahoe County GOP Vice Chair Jay Ledbetter and auctioneer (and former state Senator) Tom Wiens.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Afterwards, Gardner led off with brief remarks, the gist of which blasted President Obama for not uniting and lifting people upwards, but dividing the nation and “bringing us down.”

The three ladies who made the dinner happen: Mary Wenke, Andi Allott and County GOP Chair Joy Hoffman.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Coffman, whose wife Cynthia and mother Dorothy were in attendance, touched on his military background and his love for his hometown of Aurora, which had been tragically affected with the recent shootings.

Brian Davidson, Republican candidate for CU Regent At-large, and supporter Norwood Robb, a former CU Regent himself.
Photo by Jody Hope Strogoff/The Colorado Statesman

Hank Brown, who began his political life in the state legislature before embarking on a career in Washington, D.C., first as a congressman and then as a U.S. Senator, didn’t mince words when it came to Obama and the current economic situation at home.

“What a heart-breaking thing,” Brown said, “to see a candidate set one race, one sex, one group against each other.

“It’s the basis of his whole campaign,” Brown lamented, “to develop hate to get him into the White House.”

Brown, who has a degree as a certified public accountant in addition to his law degree, denounced Obama’s viewpoint that you have to deficit spend in order to solve the country’s economic problems.

Under Obama’s tenure, Brown pointed out, $5 trillion has been added to the national debt, which amounts to approximately $63,000 in deficit spending for every family of four in the country.

In addition, Brown decried, Obama has increased unfunded entitlements (including Obamacare), and now the unemployment rate in the country is at a record high. Obama believes that the best way to help the middle class and poor is to develop a welfare state, the former Senator continued.

Under Obama, Brown noted, there’s been the largest increase in food stamps in the history of the country, and 30 percent of American families receive some sort of welfare benefits.

Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, fought to cut out waste, control spending, have common sense regulations, and lower tax rates. “Recovery under Ronald Reagan was spectacular — Obama’s so-called recovery is the weakest in last 80 years,” Brown said.

Brown concluded his remarks by accusing the president of trying to build his majority by handing out government money in order to get political contributions.

“They know they’ll get favors by the government when you contribute to a campaign. It’s how you get corruption by making Americans dependent on a welfare state,” Brown said.

Jody@coloradostatesman.com