Colorado Republican leader resigns

 January 25, 2024

The top Republican in Colorado's state House, Mike Lynch, resigned Wednesday over drunk driving. 

Lynch lost the support of his fellow Republicans after failing to disclose the September 2022 arrest, which wasn't known to the public until this month.

"It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision, but I firmly believe that our caucus is stronger when we stand and fight together for the people of Colorado," Lynch, 54, said.

Resignation and apology

Lynch became minority leader of the Colorado House weeks after his arrest.

When the story broke last week, it caused an uproar in Denver.

Lynch survived an initial no-confidence vote that split Republicans 9-9, with Lynch voting to keep his job. One Republican was absent because she just had a baby.

Republicans were still planning to oust Lynch when he tendered his resignation Wednesday morning. In a contrite statement on the House floor, Lynch urged his fellow lawmakers to learn from his mistake.

"I would like this to serve as a message to my fellow members to be careful and not get behind the wheel when impaired," Lynch said.

"Please learn from my lesson," he said.

DUI arrest

A state trooper stopped Lynch for speeding on Interstate 25 on Sept. 30, 2022. His blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit, and he had a gun on him.

When asked to take a sobriety test, Lynch told the trooper to call one of his connections in state police, then backtracked.

“As soon as the window came down I could smell the strong odor of an unknown alcoholic beverage,” the trooper wrote in his report.

Lynch was charged with DUI but quietly pled guilty to driving while ability impaired, a lesser offense, and gun possession while drunk.

He was sentenced to 18 months' probation and 150 hours of community service.

Congressional candidate

Republicans have just 19 members in the state House, compared to 46 Democrats.

Lynch will remain in the state legislature, but not in a leadership position.

There will be a caucus vote on Thursday to elect a new minority leader.

Lynch is running for Colorado's 4th Congressional District.

Congresswoman Lauren Boebert (R-Co.) is also running for the seat, which is being vacated by Ken Buck (R-Co.)

It's hard to see how Lynch can continue running for Congress, at this rate. He should probably focus on winning back the trust of Coloradans.

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Thomas Jefferson
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