Updated Jan 24, 2024 - Politics

Colorado House GOP leader resigns post after trying to hide DUI and gun charges

Colorado House Minority Leader Mike Lynch at an legislative event in May 2023. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado state Rep. Mike Lynch, the top Republican in the House, resigned his post Wednesday just days after reports surfaced about his 2022 arrest and attempts to hide being charged for driving while intoxicated and gun possession.

Why it matters: The revelations eroded the standing of the minority GOP caucus' and created turmoil for days. And for Lynch, the political fallout all but crushes his congressional bid in the 4th District.

Driving the news: Lynch (R-Wellington) announced his decision on the House floor in an emotional speech that came after his Republican colleagues twice attempted to oust him in no-confidence votes this week.

What he's saying: "It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision, but I firmly believe that our caucus is stronger when we stand and fight together for the people of Colorado," Lynch, 54, said in a statement.

Catch up fast: Lynch became minority leader just weeks after being stopped by a State Patrol trooper on Sept. 30, 2022 for speeding at 90 mph in a 75 mph zone on Interstate 25, records show.

  • The trooper smelled alcohol on his breath and a test later registered his blood-alcohol level at 0.16 which is double the state's limit. He was also in possession of a gun at the time.
  • Before his arrest, Lynch asked the trooper to call the lobbyist for the State Patrol before reversing himself and asked to "keep the press out of this," video of the arrest shows.

What's happening: He pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired, a lesser offense than the initial charge, and gun possession while drunk. He received 18 months probation; other charges were dropped.

Of note: Lynch, who remains on probation, did not disclose the arrest, which became public Jan. 17 in a Denver Post report.

Between the lines: House GOP lawmakers held a no-confidence vote on Lynch's leadership Monday that ended in a 9-9 deadlock with one member not voting.

  • Republican lawmakers pressed the issue again Tuesday as some colleagues asked him to resign in a meeting attended by Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams.

What to watch: Lynch did not mention any plans to step down from his job or exit the congressional race.

What's next: Republican lawmakers in the House will meet Thursday to pick a new leader.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include more details about Lynch's arrest and resignation.


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