Denver Post columnist Krista Kafer worries that crazy people now control the state GOP. The man who was just elected state chairman, Dave Williams, had his name legally changed to add “Let’s Go Brandon” as his middle name.

She writes:

After the Colorado GOP chose former state Rep. Dave Williams as party chair, many sane Republicans wonder if there is a place for them within the Colorado Republican Party. By sane, I mean rational, evidence-based thinkers who get, at a minimum, that Trump lost the 2020 election, vaccines save lives, and Trump’s repellent, mendacious style has hurt Republicans’ standing in a once purple state.

Williams, an election denier and conspiracy theorist, believes Trump won in 2020 sans evidence. He alleged without proof that 5,600 dead people voted in the 2020 Colorado election. Despite 300 years of vaccine science and millions of saved lives, Williams is a proud anti-vaxxer. Upon beating out six contenders for chair (all but one of the conspiracy theorists or tinfoil hat-lite variety), Williams stated, “Our party doesn’t have a brand problem. Our party has a problem with feckless leaders who are ashamed of you,” implying that GOP leaders lost because they were insufficiently Trumpist, an assertion belied by evidence that such candidates fared worse in Colorado and around the country.

Speaking of feckless, Williams tried and failed to have the tacky phrase “Let’s Go Brandon” added to his name on the ballot for the 2022 primary against Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Williams has vowed to be a “wartime leader” leaving many of us to wonder if mainstream Republicans are a battlefield target. Former Minority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives Mark Waller queried Williams via social media about the future, “I have been called a RINO and told I no longer belong in our Party. I don’t believe the election was stolen, and I believe the events of January 6th were a disgrace to our Country and our Party. I am also a proud Republican who believes in our foundational principles. Please let me know if I have a place in our fractured Party.”

Some Republicans have determined that there is no place for the sane, and they do not want to be associated with the lunatic fringe. Popular center-right KOA radio host Mandy Connell and the former Republican University of Colorado Regent Sue Sharkey are no longer affiliated with the party. They are two of the more than 133 Republicans who changed their voter registration since Williams won, according to an analysis by 9 News reporter Marshall Zelinger.

As I noted in a previous column, Republicans have been lagging behind unaffiliated voters since 2014 and behind Democrats since 2017. Today, Republicans account for 24% of Colorado registered voters. If sane Republicans leave the party, the con artist-crackpot contingent will gain more influence and visibility, prompting the flight of other mainstream Republicans. Unmitigated, this could trap the Colorado GOP in a death spiral just when the party should be rebounding as Trump sinks into ignominious insignificance.

Colorado isn’t alone. In Michigan, the state GOP picked Kristina Karamo for party chair. A rabid conspiratorialist, she has yet to concede her loss in the Michigan secretary of state race. The Kansas and Idaho GOP chose election deniers to chair their state parties. In Arizona, former chief operating officer for Trump’s campaigns, Jeff DeWit, beat out other contenders with the endorsement of uber-Big Lie proponents like failed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, state Sen. Wendy Rogers, and the former president. Fortunately, the contagion has not spread to other states.