Meet Steve Barlock, Co-Chair for Trump in Denver Running for Governor

Gubernatorial candidate Steve Barlock.
Gubernatorial candidate Steve Barlock. Courtesy of Steve Barlock
Steve Barlock, an independent Denver-area real estate broker who co-chaired the 2016 Mile High City campaign for now-President Donald Trump, is running as a Republican for governor here in 2018. In the following in-depth interview, he goes into detail about his reasons for seeking the office, shares his frustrations with entrenched powers on both sides of the political spectrum, and touts himself as a candidate of the people dedicated to being to Colorado what Trump is to the United States as a whole.

There is no shortage of prominent challengers for the office. Among the declared Democrats who've participated in our interview series to date are former state senator Mike Johnston, onetime Colorado treasurer Cary Kennedy, Congressman Jared Polis and entrepreneur Noel Ginsburg; Representative Ed Perlmutter briefly threw his hat into the ring before dropping out of the race. On the Republican side, candidates/interview subjects include 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler and businessman (and nephew of Mitt Romney) Doug Robinson.

For his part, Barlock doesn't have a typical political background. For instance, he's one of the state's finest dart players, and his connection to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch comes through his mom having babysat for the family. However, he sees his status as a newcomer to the process as an asset that allows him to look at the state's problems with fresh eyes. Indeed, his biggest issues include several that other candidates with whom we've spoken haven't mentioned, including the financial condition of Colorado PERA (the Public Employees' Retirement Association), the potential sale of Colorado assets in order to keep the state in the black, and a greater emphasis on hydro-electricity.

Here's what else he had to say.

Westword: How do you introduce yourself to potential voters? What do you tell them first?

Steve Barlock: I introduce myself as a candidate running for governor, for the Republican nomination. And I go right into the issues, why I'm running for governor, and it's basically because of my background over the last year and a half. The Republican Party in Colorado has been taken over by an elite group, I would say, and I'm not happy how that went. It doesn't allow the common voter to get a candidate they can choose....

I've grown up in Colorado. I'm a fifth-generation Coloradan. I go back to the 1860s in Central City, with miners and even a tenor in the taverns up there. On my mother's side, I have a politician in the 1880s. They used to call him Honest John. That's as far as my political dynasty goes, except for a few judges. And at least in my political dynasty, I have a politician who was actually called honest. There have been a few Honest Johns in Colorado history, but he was one of the first. I appreciate that part of my family history.

You've talked about attending Christ the King school with the Gorsuch family.

Yeah. We lived in Hilltop near Christ the King, and my family knew Anne Gorsuch and the rest of the Gorsuches. Mom actually drove them home and took care of Neil and the sister [Stephanie] and J.J., who was my classmate, the youngest brother. We were good friends, and Neil would come over to the house and pick them up. It was part of my religious background, going to Christ the King, and I'm very happy that I had that education in my life.

click to enlarge Steve Barlock speaking at the Western Conservative Summit. - FACEBOOK
Steve Barlock speaking at the Western Conservative Summit.
You subsequently worked as a coach and teacher for Denver Parks and Rec.

Yes. This gentleman who worked at Parks and Rec, a good Republican supporter named Jim Perros, his son taught tennis at Crestmoor Park, and he taught me for years. They needed an assistant up there, and at age thirteen — we had to wait until I was thirteen to get paid to be an assistant, because that was the law at the time — I became an assistant coach there, and I coached all the way through college and a little after....

You graduated from Metro State with a degree in finance. Tell me how your career developed from there.

I was happy enough to become a real estate broker right out of school. At the end of ’96, if you had a degree in real estate or finance or law, you didn't have to go hang your sign with anybody. You could be an independent broker. I've never hung my sign with anybody. I've always been an independent broker, and I'm very happy that I've helped many families and individuals get their dream of a home. But we've moved away from the American Dream of old. The American Dream of old was actually to own your house free and clear, and I don't think that in today's world, any millennial believes they'll own their home free and clear — and I think that's quite sad. The way our real estate market's booming so much, it is a bubble, and it's going to burst eventually — and we need to be prepared to help our citizens when that happens. We've had a real estate bust in the last ten years, and we definitely need to be prepared if that comes back.

When did you first get involved in politics beyond participating as a voter?

This will come up, so I'll say it right now. I worked on John Hickenlooper's first nonpartisan election for mayor of Denver. That was a nonpartisan election, and the reason I was part of it was because I sat down with some very influential people, friends and family. A lot of them are Republicans, and I was more of a conservative in that group. We were looking for a businessperson to help in Colorado, help Denver. And John stated he was a conservative businessman, someone who was known to Denver and could win. So we backed him, and I worked by butt off for him — headed the volunteer coordination and was quite happy with the outcome. Sat by John, sat by Mr. [Michael] Bennet on the phones. They would answer the phone, and one of the questions would be, "Do you have strong Republican values?" And we'd go down the line: "Of course we do, of course our campaign has strong Republican values."

Afterward, I was really disappointed when John came out and said, "We're going to search America and find the best and brightest to bring here to run Denver." That really started turning me off of John right there, because I thought Colorado had some of the best and the brightest back then, and definitely does now. So I want to be able to represent them and be all in for Colorado, unlike John, who reached out and brought people from all different parts of the country to run Colorado like they wanted to. Like they were running Chicago, like they were running California, like they were running New York. All those people were brought in, and they put Colorado at risk....

I sort of have a problem now that John and Michael Bennet are so far over there and doing their own thing and the people who supported them are still staunch Republicans, but they've created this crazy monster in Bennet and Hickenlooper.

Were you disappointed in Hickenlooper's policies both as mayor and governor? Did he not fulfill your expectations of what a conservative businessman would do in those offices?

There's definitely a few things. And the swamp on the Democratic side has just pushed us into a bad place. We are in such a great economic boom in this town. It's fantastic. But unfortunately, knowing Colorado's history, whenever we've been in a boom, theft has occurred. And I believe the people who've backed John Hickenlooper have robbed this state blind. If you look at Michael Bennet and how his background has happened, the money that was wasted and stolen.... I say stolen — it was lost in the stock market. But somebody made money off them losing that money, from Denver Public Schools, their pension fund. By doing that and causing millions of dollars to be taken from Denver Public Schools' pension plan, Bennet has actually corrupted PERA and caused it not to be fully funded.

One of my biggest concerns in the campaign is making sure we honor our obligations to the citizens of Colorado, and PERA is in danger, and we have to make sure it's fully funded. If it requires us to tighten a bunch of programs, selling off state assets that we may have obtained by gambling money, maybe.... With the Colorado lottery, we've bought a lot of property, we've bought a lot of parks. If we have to sell those assets to make sure our obligations are met to our citizens, then we may have to do that. But I prefer cutting wasteful programs.

Did you work on any other campaigns between the Hickenlooper campaign and the one on behalf of Donald Trump?

In fact, no. I was a conservative with great Republican values like my grandfather had, but we were also in business. So stating that you're a Republican was not the greatest thing when you wanted to do business, and there are a vast variety of people in Colorado. Actually, most of the Republican candidates, I never liked. I definitely couldn't support them. I definitely didn't like the Clinton family growing up, or Obama, when he came along. But finally, two years ago, when he first came down the steps, we saw Donald Trump and realized that he wasn't part of what we believe to be a crooked system. So we looked at him come down the escalator, and we liked him. The whole family discussed it, and we said, "We're going to support this guy. We're going to register Republican." We were all conservative, but we thought, "This is a guy we can finally back." And so the whole family, being independents, we all registered Republican...and I went to my first caucus ever.

[At the caucus], I saw groups of people I'd seen before, political activists, getting together and pushing people toward [Texas Senator Ted] Cruz. And I was like, "How is my vote going to count if we get bombarded by this Cruz group?" And I was able to become an alternate delegate in my county. Now, in Denver, the caucus system and the regular caucus are separated. But for the state, those happen on the same night, and I feel bad for all the Trump supporters who went there and got totally overrun by this Cruz slate that was made in 2015. It was basically made out of politicians and supporters and special interests. They really rammed it down, took out all the opposition they possibly could. But I squeaked by as an alternate and just ran into all these politicians.

What really drove me is that I had a friend — I won't use his name, but he's running for treasurer — and I asked him for help in CD-1. I said I wanted to become a national delegate and I wanted my vote to count. And as a politician already, I thought his goal would be to help this individual, this voter, achieve his goal: help the community, help the Republicans. Well, I guess I was a little naive then. He told me to show up at a later time — said, "Just show up." And basically they ran roughshod through all of District 1, and he became a delegate and I didn't become anything. But at least you can be a congressional delegate and a state delegate. And for the state delegates, I thought, I've got to figure out how to get noticed a little bit more, I need to go out and shake hands and meet people, and that's exactly what I did. And I'd met friends from the county, and they also had a plan. We went out and shook hands and met everybody and said, "Give us an opportunity. Donald Trump is going to become president."

We had a large enough base of Trump supporters that went in, almost all as alternates, and I was able to convince people to give me a chance to help Donald Trump become President of the United States. So I was an alternate at the national convention. And it was a pleasure to talk to Trump supporters — but we have this swamp here in Colorado of elitists who claim to be unbelievable conservatives, and unless you're their type of conservative, they don't want to talk to you. That was the people who were all planned and made up in the fall of 2015, right before they changed the caucus rules. It was a bunch of politicians and a bunch of caucus people, and they directed how Colorado was going to act. They didn't do what the people wanted, and they didn't look at the trends....

click to enlarge Steve Barlock at Donald Trump's inauguration. - FACEBOOK
Steve Barlock at Donald Trump's inauguration.
How did you transition from being a delegate to helping run Donald Trump's campaign in Denver?

Since I did so much and constantly supported Donald Trump, I was offered a spot as Denver co-chair. And it was a great spot. I met many people right off the bat. But I was working with people from the Colorado Republican Party who weren't Trump supporters. They were still for Cruz, and they were trying to convince me that Trump's a lost cause and I just needed to support the rest of the party, the down ticket. And I said, "No, the down ticket needs to support Trump, because if they don't support Trump, we won't win. If the down ticket doesn't support Trump, nobody's going to win." And it proved that way. Darryl Glenn didn't support him. Dropped out, came back, damage was done: He had no chance.

I was a paid employee through the RNC,and I believe the RNC had some people who wanted to put me in a corner. I said no. I was expecting to be a co-chair as a volunteer position anyway. I said, "You guys offered me a paycheck anyway, but you're trying to put me in a corner, and I'm not going to take your paycheck anymore. I'm going to stay on here as a volunteer coordinator." We were the only office paid for strictly by the Donald Trump campaign. All the other offices in the state were through the RNC, and the RNC charged Donald rent. And our office was one of the least expensive of all of them. I think one tiny office in a smaller county was paid less. So I stayed on, and the most phone calls I got were people who weren't happy with the way the anti-Trump movement was happening in Colorado. I just took them under my wing.

We had a plan. We thought Colorado was going to be really tough to win, and it turned out it was. But we wanted to do what we could to help Donald Trump throughout the nation. So we worked really hard in our office, and we confused Hillary by having an office in a very liberal part of town. We were reaching out to that millennial vote — that millennial vote that's aging, buying houses, getting a little more conservative in their outlook. We reached out to them, and we almost won the state. We lost by 2.8 percent, and considering we were down in the polls by twelve or thirteen points two to three weeks beforehand, I feel we did a good job, and we definitely made Hillary spend her money unwisely in the State of Colorado. She withdrew funds from North Carolina and Michigan, and had people from North Carolina come to work in Colorado. We made it that Colorado wasn't a sure thing, and by pulling in coalitions like Sportsmen for Trump, we were able to reach more people than just in Colorado.

Do you think Trump might have actually won Colorado if the Republican establishment hadn't been so against him?

110 percent. There's no doubt about it. The spots that we didn't think would perform overperformed, and the traditional locales that were controlled by the never-Trump movement were the ones that disappointed.

Was it your experience in the Trump campaign that got you thinking about running for governor?

It definitely was. My hobby is darts. I love playing darts. I've been rated the top player in the state three times in the last six years, I'd say. And darts is a great environment. It has people who are ditch diggers to people who are rocket scientists. It's a vast variety of people across Colorado and across the nation; our Colorado group travels across the nation and plays tournaments.... I talked to Nigel Farage when he was in town, and I told him he was my second-favorite guy from the island over there, across the pond. And when he asked me who my favorite was, I told him, Phil Taylor. And Nigel Farage says to me, "Phil the Power Taylor. Oh, my God. My brother's a darter. That's great." My hobby, it's spread across the world, and it's the common man's sport — and that's who I'm trying to get as my voter: the common man who came over for Trump. Because they felt their vote actually meant something this time. Unfortunately, our party has gotten too elite, and we need to get it back. The Republican Party is a party for the independent person, and I'm definitely an independent person who believes in fewer taxes and less government control, and that the government should protect us but not tell us how to live our lives.

For the darters, I went around the state after the election and I met people through my group that I'd never met before, that weren't darters. I was invited to parties and I was introduced as a Trump guy, I was introduced as, "This is the guy who's actually standing up for us." And I was thanked over and over by people who I didn't even know were Republicans. And they weren't: They were Independents and Democrats. I just had such an overwhelming sense of pride by having all my friends, acquaintances and their acquaintances come up and say, "We followed you. We know what's been going on. We loved seeing you on the news every now and then. You were always on the media. We backed you. We supported you." We had people I didn't think had a cent to their name, and they were able to scrounge up the maximum donation for Donald Trump. They were like, "We've never done anything like this before, but we believe in you. And we're so happy, because we believe in Trump now, too." And that's what makes me so happy. Because it's not this typical group of politicians that work with special interests, who are deeply embedded in our political business system where it's getting to the point where we're booming so much that it's so easy for this state to turn corrupt and lose money and get in trouble. We can't risk being in financial trouble. We are living on such a good streak right now. We have to protect ourselves from opportunists, and we have to watch out for con men in government. And I'm so happy that Donald Trump is a good businessman and he knows how to stop those people for the nation, and I want to do that for Colorado.

I consider myself a very good judge of character. There are people I just don't get along with. They don't sit the right way with me. And I really think we need someone in government who can sit with those people and investigate. There should be no sacred cows. Everything in government in Colorado should be considered for review, and I want to make sure our nonprofits are kept absolutely clean, because I believe that corporations are using nonprofits to get around the campaign finance laws. It's wrong, and we need to protect these nonprofits. They're supposed to be doing something good for the community and not being political.

click to enlarge Steve Barlock and supporters at the State Capitol on July 4. - FACEBOOK
Steve Barlock and supporters at the State Capitol on July 4.
During Donald Trump's first months as president, there's been a lot of controversy and there have been a lot of opinions about him. How do you feel he's doing? And do you think he would have accomplished more if there hadn't been such an effort to oppose him?

I feel that because he's draining the swamp — and I want to drain the swamp in Colorado, definitely — there will be backlash. And that backlash has deep pockets. Their main purpose in life is to make his life a living hell. But Donald Trump is working hard for the American people, and he is as loyal to America as any individual has ever been. He's a true patriot, and I want to be a patriot for Colorado just as much as he's a patriot for the United States.

In terms of the issues that are most important to you, you've already talked about preserving PERA. When it comes to the possibility of selling of open space or park lands, I imagine folks from the environmental lobbies would be up in arms about the idea of selling off such properties. What would you say to convince them that your approach is the right way to go?

First of all, I hope we can cut enough wasteful programs for that to never happen. I don't want it to go that way. But if we can't pay off our debts — if it's time to pay off our debts and we come up against a large budget shortfall, where we can't get out of it — we cannot risk the promises made to our people. And if selling state assets is the way to get out of it, some people are going to cry about it, but we have to honor our obligations. I'm trying to live a debt-free lifestyle, and I encourage all Coloradans to do it, too. Like I said, I believe in the old American dream of owning a home free and clear, and that should be the goal of all people — to be financially secure and not in debt. We're a debtor nation right now, and we need to put on the brakes. In Colorado, we're moving so fast and there are so many opportunities to corrupt the system, we need to sit back and elevate the way we're going.

I use the analogy of a pit stop. My cousin's a race car driver, and he drives a number-three Barlock Legend in Legend Series racing. So we need to take a pit stop in government, just like when you take a pit stop in racing. You fill up your gas tank and you may need new tires because they may be bald. You protect yourself in the race, because you want to have the opportunity to win, and you need to protect yourself. If you're on worn wheels, you can hurt other people and you can hurt yourself and you can take yourself out of the game completely. And that's what Colorado's going toward. We're running on bald tires right now. We need to take a break and refuel and make sure our engine is working properly. I'm not going to say I'm just a problem preventer. I'm going to be a problem avoider. I don't want to see Colorado hurt by problems that have hurt the state throughout its history. We're called a boom-and-bust state for a reason, and right now, we're in a great boom. It's a cycle, and we have to be ready for a bust and be able to fight it off.

You always talk about the importance of protecting Colorado's water.

It is important. I notice we've got bills about reservoirs, but we're only adding 10 percent for energy. I think we have great natural resources in the mountains and water. We should have hydro-dams coming all the way down, Gravity, you know. And when you say fish travel upstream, there are many ways now that scientists in the western parts of the United States and up in Canada have adapted hydro to salmon and other fish. So the impact on the environment, I'm definitely aware of that. But hydro-electricity is clean energy, and saving our Colorado water is very, very important to me. We can kill two birds with one stone. I'm very proud of seeing we're having scientists work on smaller hydro-electric things in canals and things like that. So we're on the verge, but I think the public needs to be more aware of this and be more supportive. I'm tired of going out to our western plains and seeing birds killed by big windmills. I hate seeing dead carcasses of birds on farms, and I know other people do, too.

You've talked about infrastructure being a big focus for you. Obviously, upgrading infrastructure is very expensive. How would you pay to do it?

It's cutting wasteful spending. Boulder has a nonprofit that received a grant from the city — taxpayers' money — to research straws, and the waste of straws. There are hundreds of these programs that are just wasteful. They're paying off political promises with these nonprofits. So the first thing we need to do is dig deep, and like I said, there are no sacred cows. Everything is going to be reviewed. We need to get our budget in working order, and our fast pace has gone so quickly that money is leaving us like a sieve, and we need to figure out how to plug that up.

Everything goes back to PERA. We've got to fund that first. We need to figure out where the money that's supposed to be there has gone, and why did it leave. We need to follow the money and see what's wasteful. I know there's a lot. For our infrastructure, we budgeted for that from the very beginning of us becoming a state. We always budget for it, but we're at such a fast boom, people aren't realizing that our government hasn't been keeping up the obligation of keeping our infrastructure. That's mostly the blame of the Democrats. If you look at the infrastructure projects, those are a way to pay off their buddies in the swamp. Instead of keeping up with infrastructure, it's, "We're going to do this huge project, and who's going to get the bid?"

I'm against the ditch on I-70. I don't think it's good for us. I don't think it's cost-effective as a citizen of Denver. I don't believe it creates a fair environment for competition. I'm also against the bond deal that's going on. I believe that when we're in such a prosperous growth in Colorado, that bonds are an easy way to have money taken and stolen from the taxpayers. If you look back in the history, especially during the downturn in the ’80s, there were bond deals left and right that went to the courts for theft, basically — for stealing from Colorado taxpayers. We need to protect them. So I'm against the bond deal. We need to pull up our bootstraps and work within our means. Every politician always says, "We'll give tax breaks." Well, I wish we still had a 7.2 percent tax in Denver. That's what I grew up with, and nothing around the state was ever above that. Now we have a pot tax in Boulder that's ridiculous. All these little taxes are being added, and there are all these roundabout ways that we're regulating everything and requiring permits and all this — and these are taxes the people haven't voted for in TABOR. And I really want to support TABOR. I'm against unjust taxes, and tax breaks aren't supposed to pick winners and losers. And rebates on energy.

I'm all for clean energy. We are a leader in Colorado. We have great outdoors, and that's what we're all about — keeping our environment clean. But when we have to give tax breaks to companies to come into Colorado to compete with other people in Colorado, I'm against that. I'm against picking winners and losers, such as solar panels being tax-free in the state of Colorado. Why are you picking your choice of energy and getting a tax break for doing that? I'm against giving tax breaks on electric cars and overextending our infrastructure bill to provide for these electric cars on the highway. We'll have technology to make them great, but we don't need globalists around the world to make Colorado the testing place for these cars. And we are a global testing ground for unproven education systems. I believe we need to budget our education system better; we need to be fairer to teachers. But I feel our teachers' unions in Colorado are some of the worst things for teachers, because they don't work for the teachers. They work for the administrative branch of the education system in Colorado. Their leaders always get good jobs when they get votes, and I think they lie to teachers. I think ProComp [Professional Compensation System] has been so hurtful for teachers that it has to stop, It's a way the government can help the budget for their education system, by coming down on teachers harder in the years when they can be rehired or let go. It's one of the things I'm against. I'm all for working with teachers, students, families and taxpayers to find a reasonable budget for education. I do want the best for the students in Colorado, but we can't budget ourselves out of existence and hurt the state.

Do you think education in Colorado is properly funded right now and savings can be found by eliminating waste in the ways you've talked about in other areas? Or do you feel there should be more investment in education?

The first thing we have to do is to stop Colorado from being a testing ground for social engineers to experiment in. I went to Manual High School, and we have a mayor and we have another candidate who's running for governor who went to Manual High School [Cary Kennedy] — so at least we can say our education system was working back then. We'll see about in the future. But we cannot just be going for every little trend, every little social experiment, and wasting money on it. Also, I'm all for people learning their trades, but when we set up trade schools, is that to regulate that trade? I'm against regulation of trade. I'm all for people being able to apprentice and learn a trade, but if we start schooling and having these big trade schools, where is that going to stop? How far are we going to go to regulate those and charge people taxes for licensing and permits?

click to enlarge Steve Barlock showing his Colorado love. - COURTESY OF STEVE BARLOCK
Steve Barlock showing his Colorado love.
Courtesy of Steve Barlock
Where do you stand on immigration? As governor, would you like to cooperate as much as possible with the federal government on that issue?

That's a way to get our school budgets down: Stop illegal immigration in this state. I will enforce all illegal-immigration laws, and I'm not for any sanctuary cities — and I'm not supportive of countries being able to buy property in Colorado that are supposedly sending us refugees. Doing real estate, I have to represent my clients to the best of my ability to get what he wants. And what he got was a check from Juárez, Mexico, and the people who bought this property, they said they'd spent millions of dollars over the past six months running around buying up little beat-up properties up the corridor. Now, I've got to go, "Why is that happening?" And it's because we have marijuana, and they want to export it out of the state — but they also want to bring in drugs and illegal immigrants to take advantage of our system. I'm tired of that.

The most recent incident, with the killing of an inmate by an illegal immigrant, sickens me, and we need to get this under control. My grandparents immigrated here; they spoke many languages, but they chose to make English their own. That's part of the whole thing. We need to make English the language in Colorado, and our bilingual programs need to be more accelerated in getting these families to speak English. When I was growing up, we had the great movement to end illiteracy for African-Americans, in sports and going to college. We had a great movement in the ’80s for ending illiteracy around the country for people of whatever background. But a ton of these illegal immigrants who partake in the school system — my brother was a schoolteacher, and he taught in a predominantly bilingual school that I'd say was 80 to 90 percent illegals. They'd send papers home in Spanish, but these people are illiterate. So we need to figure out what to do about that. We're wasting money because of that, and maybe how the system ends up working, we need to teach these people how to read, and hopefully in English. But I would say, how we're doing this nationally, if they're a criminal, they need to be deported and we need to end this sanctuary city B.S.

You mentioned marijuana earlier. Do you agree with some of the things Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said about the need to crack down on recreational marijuana in states that have legalized it? Do you envision helping federal regulators coming in and shutting down some of the businesses in Colorado?

Donald Trump supports states' rights. Our state's citizens have made marijuana the law. And until a federal judge says that Mr. Sessions is correct and says, "Enforce that law," I will go by our state law, which is voted for by the people of Colorado. I'm always for the people of Colorado. I'm all in for Colorado. So we made that law. Donald Trump supports states' rights. So until a higher court comes down and says we have to enforce this, the law is that we have marijuana in this state.

This campaign has a lot of well-known candidates with a lot of resources. How do you hope to stand out from the pack and compete on the Republican side and in a general election?

Since Perlmutter dropped out, we now know that the Democratic Party throughout the nation is going to back Polis, and back him hard. Everybody else is just a back-stop in case he messes up. I'm not afraid of any of those other opponents, because I know how politics works. They're basically there to give their point of view and get voters to support them, so that when they throw their support to Polis, it will follow. Now in Colorado, we have two dynasty families, the Bushes and the Romneys, coming in on the Republican side [Doug Robinson is Mitt Romney's nephew; presumed but thus far undeclared candidate Walker Stapleton is a Bush-family relative]. And like I said, I'm a native Coloradan: I know what the Bush family did to Colorado, with Silverado in the ’80s. When people say you can't judge people by their family, we're Republicans. We have strong family values. So, yes, we judge people by their families every day. So for him to say he's an outsider from his family, that's B.S. to me.

But we're not going to be dominated. It showed in the election, by these dynasty families: the Clintons, the Bushes, the Romneys. They're trying to make political moves away from the way the American people have voted. I'm fortunate enough to have my name recognized not only to all those gentleman who are in the race, but by all those voters, because of all the hard work I've done over the last year. They know me. I was just told by a news reporter that [the other candidates] don't fear anyone else. They fear me, because they don't know who supports me. And I can tell you right now: I'm supported by the American people and the people of Colorado who support Donald Trump. And that has a lot of big pull behind it. That's who I'm going after. That's who I'm going to fundraise with — the individuals who come up to me and say, "Thank you." These candidates have been bred for this position, most of them, for eight to ten years, even. They've been bred by the party. But I'm for the people. I'm totally the grassroots candidate, and that's what we'll work on. I don't need to compete on their playing field. They'll have theirs, and I know which candidates they'll support. I've been told there's a chosen candidate and they hope I won't take votes away from them. Well, I hope they won't take votes away from me. My goal is just to be me, go out and meet people. And people in Colorado and people in the Republican Party, they all have different interests. They all have different beliefs about what the party should be. So I'm open to talking to all of these people. I'm not going to try pushing any globalist agenda down their throats. We're going to make it a party for the people and by the people, and I'm one of the people.

You mentioned earlier that the Trump vote in Colorado was a lot higher than the polls showed, particularly in the weeks before the election. Do you think there are a lot of Trump voters out there who'll back you but who may not show up in polls? Do you feel you'll have more support than most people expect?

Definitely. I have a such a great cross-section of Coloradans in my life and that we talk to. I think we'll be strong. Now with Proposition 108 [which allows independents to vote in party primaries], we still don't know how that's going to play out and how the parties are going to react to it. But I'm all for that proposition, especially since I was an independent before becoming a Republican to support Donald Trump. I'm all for 108. I think it can grow the Republican Party, and with Polis being the next Bernie Sanders character, I believe Denver has a lot of conservative Democrats who will come over during the election. And for a candidate like myself who's not on the extreme right, like the candidate who did not vote Republican in the last election — I won't use his name, but we all know who that is; he's dropped $3 million of his own on this election, if you need more hints. [Republican candidate Victor Mitchell says he didn't vote for Donald Trump in the 2016 election.] But those conservative Democrats, financial Democrats who are all about business, they'll look at a character like Polis, a Bernie Sanders wannabe, and they'll say, "There's no way we'll support him." So I'm reaching out to all the Republicans and all the independents through 108, and I believe we'll have a landslide victory this year, since the Democrats are going full-boat Bernie Sanders in this state.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts