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Colorado GOP leader Lynch nearly ousted after drunk driving, weapon revelations

January 22, 2024, 4:45 pm

Mike Lynch speaks following a special legislative session at the Colorado Capitol on Nov. 20, 2023 (Sara Wilson/Colorado Newsline).

Colorado House Minority Leader Mike Lynch survived a vote to oust him as the Republican caucus leader Monday morning, following reports last week that the Wellington lawmaker was arrested in 2022 on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol.

Lynch is running for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District seat.

The blind vote of no confidence was split 9-9, with Rep. Stephanie Luck absent. In the event of ties, the vote fails.

Before the vote, Lynch defended himself and said that the circumstances of his arrest do not require a resignation from his post.

“I do not believe that it has adversely impacted my ability to be a good minority leader. I think we’ve done great things in this caucus. We’ve had more cohesion than I’ve seen in the past and I look forward to that continuing. If I believed that this event, which occurred outside of this building and outside of the session, had an impact and was detrimental to my ability to perform this job, I would gladly step aside from this job,” he said.

Lynch was pulled over for speeding and arrested in September 2022 for suspicion of drunken driving and being in possession of firearm while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 150 hours of community service. The Denver Post first reported the incident last week.

He was then elected as minority leader a few weeks later, in November 2022.

“With the arrest and the probation and then serving as minority leader — actually getting elected as minority leader — while on probation, I don’t think these are quality ethical standards. I think there is a right thing to do here … to keep the integrity of the Republican caucus,” Rep. Scott Bottoms, a Colorado Springs Republican, said as he called for the vote of no confidence.

Rep. Brandi Bradley of Littleton said the incident has “tarnished” the reputation of the caucus and Lynch’s removal would be an act of accountability.

There was contention after the vote over whether Luck, who recently had a baby, was properly notified of the caucus meeting. Some lawmakers sought a revote, but the meeting adjourned without one. Luck’s vote would have broken the tie.

Lynch’s future is not certain. The caucus can meet again and take another vote on the matter.

Editor’s note: This story first appeared on Colorado Newsline, which is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

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