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The O. Zone: O, for f__k’s sake, way past time to try to reclaim my good name

June 20, 2024, 1:12 pm
GOP Chair Dave Williams (Pols altered pic)

Sometime back in 2015, Ernest Luning, my former colleague at the Colorado Independent and Colorado Statesman, forwarded me a press release from Dave Williams, a young conservative in Colorado Springs running for state House District 15 in that reliably Republican part of the state.

I nervously laughed it off as the next right-wing nutter to follow in the footsteps of the court-martialed religious extremist Gordon Klingenschmitt in that seat – someone who would hopefully fade into obscurity sooner rather than later and not seriously sully my name.

Buena Vista Dave Williams

Fast forward to 2024 (Williams parlayed a controversial state house stint into an even-more controversial Colorado Republican Party chair stint), and it’s time to reclaim my good name.

To be clear, I was three years out of Denver’s Manual High School when Williams was born in New Mexico in 1986 and just a couple of years from landing my first byline (a sports story on Fox News fixture and former Utah congressman Jason Chaffetz) in the long-defunct Rocky Mountain News, where I first included my middle initial “O” in my byline.

Wendy O. Williams

My thinking at the time was exactly this: “Dave Williams is far too common a name not to include the ‘O’”, even if it led to confusion at the time with the late, great Plasmatics front woman Wendy O. Williams. At least it would not, I concluded, ever lead to confusion with the, some might argue, equally late, great Drowning Pool front man, Dave Williams, who used to wear a T-shirt reading “Worship Satan and Smoke Crack”.

But I digress.

Drowning Pool Dave Williams

The O in my byline stands for Ormsby, which I guess is like Smith in Scotland, but it easily subs for Opposition, as in I’m bitterly opposed to everything Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams stands for – writing “God Hates Pride”calling for the burning of pride flags and his coopting of a God he believes hates LGBTQ people. Williams even compares himself to Jesus.

I want nothing to do with that shit, and the last time I had an opinion piece in the Vail Daily – during a school-board election in 2021 – I was proud of helping to successfully daylight a stealth campaign of hate draped in religious fervor. Seems to me God loves that kind of pride.

I’m old enough to remember Colorado’s national notoriety as the “Hate State” in the wake of 1992’s Amendment 2, and I thought we’d moved past that awful time in our history. Guess not.

Anyway, all of this has led to some statewide recognition of the confusing number of people in Colorado politics with the name Dave Williams (just three that I know of, if you include me as a policy and politics writer). Now it turns out Buena Vista businessman Dave Williams, chair of the Chaffee County Republican Party, is running against Democratic Speaker of the House Julie McCluskie of nearby Dillon this November.

Reportedly saved in some cellphones as “the Good Dave Williams”, — and very clear in condemning state party chair Dave Williams — I reached out to Buena Vista Dave to request an interview, and he said to circle back after the Tuesday, June 25, primary election. While he does not have a primary challenger, Buena Vista Dave (I don’t know him well enough to call him the Good DW yet) said he’s working hard for those who do. So, “hopefully, after next Tuesday evening, I will be the ONLY Dave Williams running for office,” BV DW wrote me in an email.

That’s a reference to the man the left-leaning political blog Colorado Pols has taken to calling “the Evil Dave Williams” (after years of derisively referring to him as Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams) as he uses the state party machinery to advance his own run for Colorado’s 5th Congressional District seat (Colorado Springs and surrounding El Paso County). Williams faces a stiff primary challenge from political consultant podcaster Jeff Crank.

Speaking of naming beefs, Colorado Pols was justifiably a little cranky when conservative Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz bought the Colorado Statesman and renamed it Colorado Politics, where I used to be a writer (my one and only 2020 pre-primary Lauren Boebert interview!). I sometimes still write for Anschutz, and I’m occasionally featured in Pols with headlines like “Dave Williams is Ruining Things for All Other Dave Williamses”.

The O Zone by David O. Williams
David O. Williams

For the record, he may be trying to ruin the lives of many people who believe in religious, sexual and reproductive freedom, but Dave Williams has not yet ruined things for me as a journalist because journalism was ruined at least 15 years ago by forces even more evil than Evil Dave Williams.

I appreciate the concern, though, of Pols’ podcasters Jason Bane and Ian Silverii, who on Tuesday gave me a shoutout on their Get More Smarter Podcast

Bane: “The only thing that makes me a little bummed out about this whole story is I don’t know why David O. Williams of Vail Daily didn’t do this first [write about negative splash back on Buena Vista Dave Williams].”

Silverii: “Oh my God, that would be so meta. Or at least [Vail Daily owner Ogden/Swift political writer Elliott] Wenzler could interview David O. Williams and wonder, ‘Hey, has this caused you any trouble or is the middle name initial enough to get you off the hook?’”

Bane: “David O. Williams, great reporter for Vail Daily.”

Silverii: “An embarrassment of riches on the Western Slope for political reporters.”

Thanks, guys, always nice to get some shine from the Front Range way out in here in the hinterlands of Vail. As a freelancer, however, I do write way more for Colorado Times Recorder, including this recent Dave Williams story filling in what I considered some notable gaps in Vail Daily reporting, than for the Vail Daily. Maybe the O should stand for Ombudsman.

I’m also found more frequently on the Front Range Colorado Newsline website, writing about statewide issues. But my real jam is RealVail.com, and hopefully, someday, the confusingly named Rocky Mountain Post website that I own.

As for that Dave Williams focus group you want to host, by all means, I’m in, O or no.

Editor’s note: The O. Zone is a recurring opinion column by RealVail.com publisher David O. Williams. 

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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