Pence addressed Pitkin County Republicans’ dinner in 2016

Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to attend the Republican Governors Association meeting in Aspen, July 24-25 at the St. Regis, according Bob Jenkins, chairman of the Pitkin County Republican Party. The Pitkin County Republicans typically coordinate their annual Lincoln Day Dinner in late July around the governors’ gathering and often tap its high-profile speakers for their event.

In 2016, Pence was the presumed but not confirmed nominee for vice president when Jenkins “acted as his driver,” he said, taking him from the airport to the St. Regis, the site of last year’s governors’ gathering in Aspen. Pence would return the favor the next day by speaking to local party members during the 2016 Lincoln Day Dinner.

“He was a speaker last year at the Lincoln Day Dinner though not the primary speaker,” Jenkins said, adding that Pence “did not attend the entire event.”

This year, the dinner will likely be held the day after the RGA’s gathering, though details are still being finalized. “We’re hoping to get another governor for Lincoln Day from the Republican governors meeting,” depending on who is available, Jenkins said.

First, a panel of Republican governors, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota, will meet in an open-press event in conversation at the Aspen Institute on Tuesday, July 25, according to a source who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the governors.

Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said as of Tuesday he had not been contacted about a governors retreat in July.

VP on a pre-midterm push

Currently, the Republicans’ hold on gubernatorial seats is at a 95-year high, according to the RGA’s website. During the past year, that reach grew to 33 Republican governors across the U.S.

“In 2018, at least 36 gubernatorial elections will occur, including nearly 20 open-seat contests,” it said.

The vice president’s swing through Aspen in 2017 is part of a busy “cross-country summer campaign tour amid rising fears that the GOP, reeling from a barrage of Trump-fueled controversies, is headed for a midterm election disaster,” according to a story on Politico, a political news website.

Pence already has formed a political action committee, the story noted, which not only will enable him to raise money for Republican candidates in 2018 but is considered “an unusual move for a sitting vice president.”

The vice president is expected to attend both the Republican National Committee summer conference, which takes place in Chicago, and the RGA meeting in Aspen, according to Politico, which added, “both of which will be major draws for party leaders and contributors.”

Pence, a former Indiana governor, wasn’t the only high-profile politician to address the Pitkin County Republicans in recent years.

In 2012, after surviving a contentious recall effort in his home state, Walker of Wisconsin addressed a capacity crowd in the Hotel Jerome ballroom for the Lincoln Day Dinner, delivering a 29-minute speech.

“Our reforms make our government work better,” Walker said then, citing the elimination of teacher tenure and competitive bidding for insurance within the public sector as examples of how the Badger State was able to carry a budget surplus. Critics have complained Walker’s policies came on the backs of the working class.

Walker, during his speech to Pitkin County Republicans, assailed the Affordable Care Act, calling Obamacare “an egregious act.” He also wasn’t afraid to let loose; when told the evening’s dress code was “boots and bling,” he joked that had he known earlier, “I would have worn my Harley boots.”

Walker is current chair of the Republican Governors Association.

Twitter, @Madski99