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Republican Minority Leader Lynch steps down in wake of drunk driving, gun arrest

January 24, 2024, 10:36 am

Mike Lynch at a press conference in 2022 (Faith Miller/Colorado Newsline photo).

Colorado House Minority Leader Mike Lynch resigned from his leadership position Wednesday morning, one week after news broke of his 2022 arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

“I am stepping down because it is the right thing to do, because I have become a distraction for my caucus and that is getting in the way of the hard work that we have to do in this building,” the Wellington Republican said on the House floor.

The 19-member Republican caucus will decide on a new minority leader Thursday morning.

Lynch was arrested in September 2022 after he was pulled over for speeding, as first reported by The Denver Post. He was charged with suspicion of driving under the influence and having a gun while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 18 months of probation and 150 hours of community service.

Since then, he said, he has stopped drinking. He urged lawmakers to not make the “same mistake” he did by getting behind the wheel after drinking.

He did not disclose that arrest and probation status, however, to the caucus when he was selected as minority leader in November 2022. Most members did not know about the arrest until last week when it came out in the media.

On Monday, Lynch narrowly survived a vote of no confidence from the caucus. Rep. Scott Bottoms, a Colorado Springs Republicans, tried to call another vote on Tuesday morning, but there was not a quorum and the caucus chair did not gavel it in. It was a tense gathering as Bottoms, Rep. Brandi Bradley and Rep. Ken DeGraaf decried the process of Monday’s vote, which they say excluded Rep. Stephanie Luck unfairly.

“I look forward to working with the new leadership, to collaborate and forge a path forward that will lead to a better, safer, and stronger Colorado. Together, we will continue to fight for the principles and values that define us as Republicans and fulfill our duty to the people we serve,” Lynch said in a statement shortly after his floor announcement.

Lynch is also running in the Republican primary for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Ken Buck.

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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