OBSERVER VIDEO: Mesa County GOP Infighting Gets Physical

June 13, 2012
red gloves
atlnav / Foter

GRAND JUNCTION – A longstanding feud between Republican history buffs – Garry Brewer and Jerry Hunsinger – erupted during a board meeting of the Mesa County Republican Party last month, and escalated Monday when Hunsinger obtained a temporary restraining order against Brewer.

The duo might have set a new historical standard for party infighting when Brewer, a member of the Mesa County GOP Central Committee, apparently swatted Hunsinger, a former law enforcement officer and airline pilot, shocking Republicans at the meeting.

Brewer and his wife Mesa County Assessor Barbara Brewer were upset by so-called “Tea Party activists” videotaping the May 9 meeting at party headquarters and decided to leave. Walking out, he allegedly slapped Hunsinger’s back – and said, “Got your email, bub.”

Caught in the skirmish and smacked on the head was Jeanne Chazen who was seated next to Hunsinger.

Chazen, wife of county GOP Treasurer Martin Chazen, initially identified Brewer as the culprit. The accusation was echoed by Hunsinger, who is married to county GOP Secretary Phyllis Hunsinger.  Brewer blamed Hunsinger in a police report he filed shortly after the incident.

“(Brewer) is a bully, he’s belligerent,” Hunsinger told The Colorado Observer. He described feeling pain, turning abruptly and deflecting Brewer’s hand. But, Hunsinger said that he did not hit Chazen.

“The whole thing was in self defense,” said Hunsinger. ”He finally ran into somebody – me – who won’t be bullied.”

Martin Chazen said his wife was ill and could not comment for the story. Brewer did not return calls, but his attorney Erik Groves, a former lobbyist, told The Colorado Observer that he will fight the restraining order in the county district court on June 25 and prove that his client is not at fault.

Brewer went to the Grand Junction Police Department within 30 minutes of the incident on May 9. According to the report, Brewer said that he and his wife left the meeting because of the “confrontational attitude of some Tea Party members.” He claimed to have “placed his hand” on Hunsinger’s shoulder and said he got the emails.

Disputing Brewer’s version of events, Hunsinger talked with police on June 1, and brought three witnesses including one who brought a video that recorded a loud slap and pandemonium as people had rushed to the back of the room.

Groves, however, said he intends to have the case thrown out and assert that Hunsinger shoved Brewer.

“I’m practically speechless,” responded Hunsinger, who said 15 to 20 people saw Brewer strike him. “This is complete crap.”

The attorney said there was no previous pattern of threats by Brewer, but Hunsinger had written emails calling Brewer, “a low-life piece of shit” and “crooked son-of-a bitch.”

Hunsinger said he sent the emails to a fellow member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, who may have forwarded them to Brewer, a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. Hunsinger wrote the emails to voice his opposition to merging the two groups.

“I am a Confederate, always have been. Combining the two diametrically opposed ideologies is of no interest whatsoever to me nor will I ever be part of a ‘camp leadership team’ that supports such crap,” declared Hunsinger in one of the emails.

Establishment vs. Newcomers?

Hunsinger and several Republicans said Brewer is part of the “old guard” who opposes the “new blood” in the party, infused mostly by people associated with the Western Slope Conservative Alliance (WSCA), a coalition of tea party and conservative groups.

The WSCA infusion in the party has irked members of the GJResults/Tea

“What began as a Conservative umbrella group has taken on all the trappings, attitude and presumptive power of a political party,” stated a GJResults website post on Saturday. The criticisms leveled at WSCA included the “pursuit of power” and “individual ambition, greed, group infighting and absolute control on public display, all done in the name of the Tea Party.”

GJResults Tea Party board member Carolyn Patton accused the WSCA of being “a shill group” for the establishment GOP and a fake tea party.

Patton asserted that Republicans formed WSCA in 2010 to claim that a Tea Party supported former Congressman Scott McInnis for governor and Rep. Scott Tipton in the 3rd Congressional District. The GJResults Tea Party, she said, had endorsed Republicans Dan Maes for governor and Bob McConnell for the congressional seat. Tipton is now seeking re-election.

Members clarified that the WSCA supported Tipton, but not McInnis; it’s a non-profit organization that promotes public awareness of issues and policies through rallies, monthly meetings and forums. In contrast, they said GJResults has been nearly invisible on the political scene.

“We support Tea Party candidates – not candidates who owe a political party,” said Patton, who said GJResults members are independents, Democrats and Republicans.

The animosity toward the WSCA is evidenced by the fact that the GJResults Tea Party filed papers last month with the Secretary of the State’s office to reserve the trade name, “Western Slope Conservative Alliance Tea Party.”

“We did that to stop them from actually using the name Tea Party because the WSCA is not a Tea Party,” said Patton.

Several of the original members of GJResults have left the group, such as Karen Kulp and founding member Tim Fenwick. Patton said that Fenwick had received a “vote of no confidence” by the board of directors because they opposed school board candidates that he supports.

Kulp said she knew it was time to leave when GJResults members were told to comb through trash cans to find evidence to use against the people opposed by the group.

Now active in the WSCA, Kulp said she and others “got involved in the Republican Party to make a difference rather than sit on our asses for four years and do nothing.”

“There isn’t a lot of infighting in the party,” said Kulp, but there has been “old guard” resistance to the new Tea Party activists, many of whom are members of WSCA and had party leadership positions including Mesa County GOP Chair Ruth Ehlers.

“This whole thing is totally and absolutely ridiculous,” said Ehlers of the media coverage. “We as Republicans must concentrate on getting (President Barack) Obama out of office.”

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

10 Responses to OBSERVER VIDEO: Mesa County GOP Infighting Gets Physical

  1. A Gragert
    June 13, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Thank God someone wants to tell the real story! Now let’s knock it off already and get busy getting Obama out of office!

  2. June 13, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    It is interesting to note that GJ Results, who claims to be the original “Tea Party” group in Grand Juction, did not incorporate until 2010. The Western Slope Conservative Alliance incorporated in 2009, and has had an incredible impact on Western Slope Elections and grassroots Conservative activities since that time. GJ Results is composed of Democrats, Liberatrians, and Republicans. Western Slope Conservative Alliance is obviously a Conservative coalition committed to restoring foundational Constitutional principles to government and helping to elect Conservatives to office at all levels. GJ Results…well…they…actually, I have no idea what they do other than post comments on the GJ Sentinel website and gripe about the WSCA and GOP.

  3. J J
    June 13, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Marjorie, How about holding the LARGEST Tea Party on the Western Slope, (in the thousands, not 160, like WSCA’s “Flop in the Park) and holding ALL POLITICIANS’ “feet to the fire”, unlike WSCA, which “licks the boots” of traitorous politicians like Scott Tipton, who votes habitually to usurp our Constitutional rights, time after time…
    J J

  4. Terry Reighly
    June 13, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Unbelievable. Attacking a man from behind?! Shows the character of the man. I have been attending WSCA events for years. Have yet to see anything put on by that other group. They are clearly very insecure to try and stop the WSCA from using the tea party name. Like I said, the WSCA has acted as the only tea party group for years and have done more to bring independents and disenfranchised Republicans into the fold than anything or anyone else! The last tea party the WSCA put on in May was so impressive-Victoria Jackson had the whole crowd on their knees praying at the end and it was extremely positive. The hate that comes from GJ whatever is a sad statement about where out country is at and how intolerant the other side is that aways cries for more tolerance! I’m sticking with the WSCA!

  5. American Patriot.
    June 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    GJResult.Tea Party organized and sponsored the first Grand Junction Tea Party with over 3,000 in attendance and we were one of the founding groups of Western Slope Conservative Alliance. We did not incorporate the first year because we expected and were promised a rank and file vote at WSCA to elect a board. That never happened and it hasn’t happened to this day. We tried for a year to get along and to make the umbrella group work but when WSCA adopted bylaws prohibiting rank and file members participation in board elections and removing the requirement for US citizenship to sit on their board, (bylaws available on request from GJResult.Tea Party), we resigned our membership in that group. Now a simple check with the news media will tell any reader who organized and sponsored Mesa Counties first Tea Party in Lincoln Park on April 15, 2009. WSCA did not incorporate as a group until a month after that Tea Party. (Sec of state records).

    • American Patriot.
      June 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Since that time our leadership has faced false police charges filed by the former pres of WSCA (documentation avail on request at GJResult.Tea Party. WSCA’s board is a self appointed board whose sitting members use it as a springboard to achieve power within the Republican Party. They could care less about Taxed Enough Already. They serve only their ambition and greed. The problem is they do it using the TEA Party name. Recently one of their members appeared on Ch 11 (KKCOTV) threatening “Tea Party action” against our Mesa County Libraries. They declared themselves to be a Tea Party on May 4, this year and all they’ve accomplished so far is to get into a physical altercation at a public meeting and have caused the Tea Party name to appear on local police reports twice in as many weeks. We wasted a full year trying to work with these people and it appears they can’t get along with anyone. No one locally believes anything they say.

  6. WSCA Tea Party
    June 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    There is a new TEA Party in Mesa County, Colorado; Western Slope Conservative Alliance Tea Party and we’re seeking individuals to serve on an interim Tea Party board to help establish the new Tea Party. If you’re interested, please contact us at “Western Slope Conservative Alliance Tea Party | Turning Colorado Red”

  7. vera
    June 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Just an FYI, I used to get the email blasts from WSCA and I have saved this thinking at some point they might say they didn’t endorse McInnis. they did and here is the proof.

    For those of you who do not receive the WSCA email blasts, below in quotes is an excerpt from their latest email blast dated Mon, March 15, 2010

    “In our last email, when we announced the endorsement of Scott McInnis by the WSCA Board of Directors, we failed to list an ** next to Sandy Peeso’s name. Sandy also abstained from the Board vote due to the expectations of the organization that she represents- that she not publicly support or endorse a candidate in the primary, as a representative from her organization

  8. Judy
    June 15, 2012 at 3:28 am

    Such fighting among similar thinkers. Wonder why we have wars?

  9. June 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Hmmmm, how wise of us all!!!!! Let’s fuss over who was in the stew pot first, the celery or the onions! In the meantime, the fire is being turned up on HIGH to cook us all!!!! It is a black eye to patriots who are struggling to help encourage Americans to vote against the current fellows in the White House. Sure, let’s be petty and fuss among ourselves so we will have someone, OTHER THAN OURSELVES, to blame if Obama is re-elected. Simply, because those who could’ve stopped him were busy acting like children in the sandbox!! The Delta-Montrose TP groups have their problems, but are getting things done!!! Grow up GJ patriots!! Your personal problems are nothing compared to what they will be if we don’t get Obummer out of office! If we can’t stand together as patriots and reclaim our Nation, maybe we will prefer living under Marshal Law conditions and Communism! Those among us who are excited about Sharia Law, raise your hand! It “ain’t funny, America”! Get over it and get rid of this administration, TOGETHER. BLESSINGS, JOYCE


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