Rumors continue to swirl about the Clinton-esque scandal that is staining the reputation of the Colorado GOP. Questions mount as fractures deepen between grassroots activists. Did three high profile Republicans really attempt to blackmail state Chairman Steve House over an affair to force him to resign over who he hired for a staff position? Did House lie in his statement denying infidelity? And who is this “Julie”—the name that has been floating around in hushed conversations at GOP meet-ups?
The alleged sexcapades play a part in a larger, sordid affair—a scandal that puts the career of Colorado’s State Attorney General, Cynthia Coffman, on the line. House accused Coffman of attempting to blackmail him over an affair for refusing to hire former state senator Ted Harvey as the new executive director of the Colorado Republican Party.
The blackmail accusation itself leads to more questions. Would the State Attorney General risk her career over a single staffing decision? Or was there something more?
“If I refused to meet their demand to resign, they threatened that a potential lawsuit may be filed and that false rumors that I have been unfaithful to my wife would be made public,” House said in a press release last week.
House was the first person to go public with allegations of an affair— in what Coffman supporters say is a desperate attempt to blunt the threat of a lawsuit. In turn, the House camp told local media that they did not plan to file “criminal charges” against Coffman over the alleged blackmail.
Meanwhile, after feeling like she is being thrown into an unwanted spotlight by her alleged former lover, House’s mistress reports that the state attorney general never wanted Harvey as the executive director. This now creates new questions about the party chair’s integrity.
The “other woman” reached out to Politichicks to share her story. She is a Republican activist, well known in political circles, who even sang the national anthem at a Mitt Romney rally during his presidential candidacy.
Julie Naye, a divorced mother of four children, admitted to having an intimate relationship with the Republican state chairman. She said that a close friendship developed with House the year before his election, culminating in a physical affair just before Christmas in December of 2014. The last time she spoke with him was last week.
Naye first knew House as a Facebook friend and then conversed with him at subsequent political events. She characterized their relationship as having a heartfelt connection. Naye spoke of House with fondness, describing the relationship as light on romance. She defined it as a close friendship that evolved into something more. According to Naye, they built a bond between them in which the two shared personal, intimate details of their lives.
“I had no expectations of a future with him. I thought this would eventually end and we would remain friends,” said Naye. She shared that House was easy to talk to and that they had a special trust between them. “I wasn’t looking for him to take care of me. And he had a wife. I trusted him to be kind to me and stick around as my friend.”
She became more guarded when confronted about her feelings for House. “I care about him a great deal, like you would care about a close friend with additional feelings,” she stated, carefully choosing her words.
Naye shared how their friendship crossed the line into a sexual affair. She said that she had experienced a traumatic event in which House was there to comfort her. She had just arrived home after traveling and discovered her house sitter hosted a party without permission. Partygoers stole over $3000 worth of money and possessions. Feeling violated from strangers entering her bedroom and rummaging through her belongings, she contacted House. Naye went to see him, crying and upset over what had happened.
She described the submission to their sexual desires as an organic evolution of their friendship.
“I made a conscious effort to make sure he never feared me outing him,” Naye said.
Her responses sounded protective during inquiries about House’s role and behavior during the affair. She was quick to point out that he never asked her on a date or made inappropriate physical advances. Naye had mostly kind things to say about House, with the exception of calling him out for lying to the press.
However, Naye confessed that she lied to help cover the affair. She said that House texted her with instructions to deny their relationship to his friend who would be phoning her. Naye said that she was unaware at the time that this friend was also a private investigator.
The day after she denied the affair, Naye received a flurry of text messages from Republican power house and former Douglas County (CO) Republican Party Chair John Ransom. The text messages, polite at first, became more aggressive in pressuring her to talk to him. She wanted to know who gave Ransom her phone number and how he knew to talk to her about the affair. Ransom’s Facebook page shows that he is host of Ransom Notes Radio and the Finance Editor for townhall.com.
Naye explained that she came forward at this time for several reasons. She expressed concern about the number of people who already knew her identity—between the call in which she denied her affair, Ransom’s texts, and learning that her name was being circulated at Republican functions. She wanted to be able to tell her story rather than someone else tell her story for her. And she wanted the truth to be revealed.
When confronted on why anyone should believe her when she admitted to covering up the relationship, Naye responded,
“This is torturous to me because I have great loyalty to people I have given my word to. Yet on the other side, I have all these people that are fighters for truth, who work on fact and truth, and operate on the Constitution. The Constitution is in my blood and soul.”
She stated that she would never have gone public if not for the fact that House was the one to release allegations of an affair, in what she called “preventative posturing.” She described herself as fiercely loyal with no intention of going public until House allowed their relationship to be exposed as part of an offensive attack accusing others of blackmail.
Pressed on what she knew about the meeting in which House alleged the blackmail attempt, Naye shared information from a phone conversation that occurred immediately following the meeting. “He was more panicked about the allegation of the affair than about the other stuff,” she stated. “There was a lot of other stuff, but he didn’t go into detail. He said something about putting the party at risk for a slander suit, but didn’t state that as a fact, only as concerns.” To Naye’s knowledge the slanderous statements were made in front of media—“radio people.”
She said that House never said anything disparaging about Ted Harvey to her, but that he told her the Attorney General did not want Harvey appointed as the new executive director. Naye recalled hearing other people at GOP events discussing Coffman’s wish for Harvey to not be hired in the state party. House’s recent public accusations do not align with this history.
At the end of the interview, Naye offered an apology for her part in the affair, directed to House’s wife.
“I am sorry to Donna. There was no intent. It was not premeditated. The reason I am very sorry to Donna is that my ex-husband was unfaithful to me. I should have known better. It was a poor choice on my part.”
However she refused to apologize for denying the affair to House’s friend. “I will not apologize for protecting Steve’s confidence because I gave my word.”
“I am not playing victim. I did this. I am taking full responsibility for my actions.” Naye said.
With this new twist, it begs the questions: What is the real conflict between Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and Colorado Republican State Party Chair Steve House; and should House lose his chairmanship if he is found guilty of spinning an elaborate web of lies?