Shelli Shaw, one-time candidate for Colorado’s House of Representatives and chairwoman of the La Plata County Republican Central Committee, has announced her resignation from the role of party chairperson. The party’s First Vice Chairwoman Kelly Hegarty is also stepping down.
Neither provided a specific reason.
Shaw faced removal by a vote of the party’s precinct captains Jan. 29 and had previously rebuffed a request for her resignation.
“My goal was to take you through Caucus and Assembly before my stated March 19, 2024, resignation date; however, I believe that for the party to move forward into this important election season, it would be best if I step aside now,” Shaw wrote in an email to party members Thursday afternoon. “That way our focus, time, and energy will be directed in the right place and not at each other. You deserve better than that.”
The announcement seemingly brings to a close Shaw’s brief, albeit raucous foray into Republican politics in Southwest Colorado.
Shaw, a far-right conservative who moved to Durango in 2021, unsuccessfully challenged Democratic Rep. Barbara McLachlan for the 59th House District seat in 2022. In February 2023, she was elected chairwoman of the party, beating out the sitting chairman Dave Peters.
In April, the party announced that Reps. Lauren Boebert and Matt Gaetz, both ultraconservative members of Congress, were slated to speak at the party’s Lincoln Day Dinner fundraiser in November. Neither ultimately showed up, as negotiations to prevent a government shutdown were ongoing.
The executive committee informed The Durango Herald that reporters would be barred from party events in September, and officials stopped responding to most phone calls or emails from reporters at that time. The party held a short-lived series of protests outside the paper’s offices, accusing the Herald of bias.
Shaw did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
In December, the party chairwoman made headlines again when she refused to certify the 2023 election – despite no evidence, or even substantial claims, that any fraud had occurred. Shaw has previously cast doubt on the 2020 presidential election, despite the absence of evidence indicating that any malfeasance impacted the results.
In early January, the Herald received multiple anonymous tips that Shaw was moving and had been asked to step down. Documents left anonymously at the office revealed internal strife among the party’s leaders.
Members of the executive committee sent Shaw a letter on Jan. 2 requesting her resignation after learning that she intended to move and her house was on the market. Party leaders wanted her to step aside and allow the former chairman, Peters, to take over to avoid a change in chairs mid-election cycle.
In an email sent to Republicans around the region the next weekend, a member of the executive committee said that Shaw refused to resign and called on party members to attend a no-confidence vote on Jan. 29.
Shaw sent an email to a precinct captain Jan. 8 stating her intention to resign effective March 19, but said she would respect the result of the Jan. 29 vote.
However, she has since changed her tune.
“It is with a heavy heart that I write my final ‘Updates from the Chair,’” Shaw wrote Thursday. “Through much reflection, I am resigning from my position as Chair of the La Plata County Republican Party effective immediately.”
When reached for comment Thursday, Peters, who is a member-at-large of the executive committee, said he was not sure whether he would take over Shaw’s role and said he had just learned of her resignation.
“I just saw the same email you did,” he said. “I really can’t comment any further without going through the executive committee.”
In a separate portion of the email, the party’s First Vice Chairwoman Kelly Hegarty also announced her immediate resignation.
“Many of you know my plan to resign, and I recognize that now is the right time,” she wrote. “Your remaining team of Executive Officers is very unified, and they have great qualities and talents.”
She did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Jan. 2 letter requesting Shaw’s resignation was signed by four members of the seven-person executive committee: Treasurer Holly Hott, Secretary Hope Scheppelman, “Bonus Member” Dave Peters and “Bonus Member” Lisa Zimmerman. Other than Shaw, Hegarty was one of two members not to sign the letter.
Shaw is rumored to be moving to South Dakota, and her house is still for sale.