Mike Lynch remains as House Minority Leader despite DUI arrest

Colorado House Minority Leader Mike Lynch faced a vote of no confidence from his fellow Republicans on Monday, after it was revealed that he was arrested for driving under the influence and having a gun while intoxicated in 2022. However, the vote ended in a tie, allowing Lynch to keep his leadership position for now.

Lynch’s arrest came to light last week

Lynch, who represents District 49 in northern Colorado, was pulled over by a state trooper on Sept. 12, 2022, for speeding on Interstate 25 near Fort Collins. He failed a roadside sobriety test and was arrested for DUI and possession of a weapon while under the influence. He had a loaded handgun in his car, which he said he forgot to remove after a hunting trip.

Lynch’s arrest was not made public until last week, when The Denver Post reported it. Lynch said he regretted his actions and apologized to his constituents and colleagues. He also said he completed a diversion program and had his charges dismissed.

Lynch faced a challenge from his own party

Lynch’s arrest sparked outrage and criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. Some of his fellow GOP lawmakers called for his resignation, saying he had lost their trust and respect. They also questioned his ability to lead the minority caucus and run for Congress.

Minority Leader despite DUI arrest

Lynch is a candidate for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District, where he hopes to challenge incumbent Republican Lauren Boebert, who recently switched from the 3rd District. Lynch has been a vocal critic of Boebert, accusing her of being too extreme and divisive for the district.

On Monday, Rep. Scott Bottoms of Colorado Springs, who represents District 15, made a motion for a vote of no confidence on Lynch during a Republican caucus meeting. The vote was split 9-9, with one lawmaker absent and Lynch voting to retain his post. In case of a tie, the motion fails.

Lynch defended his leadership and refused to step down

Lynch argued that his arrest did not affect his performance as the House Minority Leader. He said he had led the caucus with integrity and unity, and had advanced the Republican agenda in the legislature. He also said he had the support of many of his constituents and donors.

“If I believed that this event, which occurred outside of this building, outside of this session, had an impact and was detrimental to my ability to serve this job, I would gladly step aside,” Lynch said. “I don’t believe it does.”

However, Lynch’s opponents were not satisfied with his explanation. They said he had damaged the reputation and credibility of the party, and had given the Democrats an advantage in the upcoming elections. They also said he had violated the law and the oath of office, and had shown poor judgment and leadership.

Lynch’s future is still uncertain

Lynch may have survived the vote on Monday, but his future is still uncertain. The lawmaker who missed the vote, Rep. Stephanie Luck of Penrose, who represents District 60, said she would have voted against Lynch. She tried to join the caucus meeting remotely after the initial vote, but the meeting was adjourned over protests from Lynch’s detractors.

Luck said she planned to file a formal complaint against Lynch with the House Ethics Committee, and to request another vote of no confidence. She said she hoped more Republicans would join her in holding Lynch accountable.

“I think it’s important that we have leaders who are above reproach, who are honest, who are trustworthy, who are law-abiding,” Luck said. “And I don’t think that Mike Lynch meets those criteria.”

Lynch also faces a tough primary battle against Boebert, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump and other prominent conservatives. Boebert has not commented on Lynch’s arrest, but has previously called him a “RINO” (Republican in name only) and a “swamp creature”.

Lynch said he was confident that he would win the primary and the general election, and that he would continue to serve as the House Minority Leader until then. He said he was focused on the issues that matter to the people of Colorado, such as the economy, education, health care, and energy.

“I’m not going to let this distract me from doing the job that I was elected to do,” Lynch said. “I’m not going to let this define me or my career.”

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