Longtime chair of Eagle County Republicans out in shakeup
Longtime chairwoman Kaye Ferry dismissed last week; Tony Martinez now has the job
Kaye Ferry since 2007 has served as chairwoman of the Eagle County Republican Party. That tenure has ended, but a new project has begun.
The membership of the Eagle County Republican Central Committee on June 23 voted to remove Ferry from that position. She’s been replaced by Tony Martinez, acting treasurer of the local party.
According to a press release, Ferry was removed in part for not maintaining “pre-primary neutrality.” Ferry disputes that claim.
In a Monday telephone conversation, Martinez called the move “sudden and surprising.”
Martinez said “there was a frustration that had been building” among party members that local Republicans hadn’t been able to find candidates for vacant county elective offices.
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“Committee members felt we should be winning elections,” Martinez said.
Moving ahead toward the November general election, Martinez said local party leaders plan to get through primary election season, get nominees in place, then evaluate its options.
“For us going forward, the focus remains on the candidates, and finding qualified individuals to step up and fill the roles of county officials,” Martinez said.
There’s currently just one Republican in county elective office, Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek.
Matt Solomon of Eagle is a Republican seeking election to Colorado Senate District 8. Democrat Dylan Roberts of Avon is also seeking the seat.
The new district is all or parts of 10 counties, including most of the northwestern corner of the state. It includes Gilpin and Clear Creek counties east of the Continental Divide.
Solomon said he’s known Ferry for many years, and is “sad to see her go. She is a kind, strong woman who’s done an awful lot of good.”
Solomon said he’s “optimistic” Martinez will do a good job in his new role and “support all of our candidates in Eagle County.”
Ferry may be done with the county’s GOP hierarchy, but she isn’t done with politics.
Ferry noted that the county’s electorate used to be split about one-third each between Republicans, Democrats and unaffiliated voters. Voter registration records now show that about 52% of the county’s roughly 33,500 registered voters don’t associate with either of the major political parties. Of the remainder, 9,316 are registered Democrats and 6,674 are registered Republicans.
Ferry said it’s time for people in the middle of the political spectrum to come together. To that end, she and other county residents are working to create a new, non-partisan group to encourage better dialog.
The group has scheduled an Aug. 18 candidate debate. The event is set for 6 p.m. at the Eagle County administration building in Eagle.
Ferry said being replaced in the county’s Republican party organization “gives me some freedom” to pursue more centrist politics.
Solomon said that’s his goal, too, adding he hopes the group can find some success outside of the established parties.