Gordon Klingenschmitt—“Dr. Chapps”—is running a very successful against-the-grain campaign for Colorado House District 15.
Gordon Klingenschmitt—also known as “Dr. Chapps”—is running a very successful against-the-grain campaign for Colorado House District 15 in Colorado Springs. Klingenschmitt, an Air Force Academy graduate and former U.S. Navy chaplain, is unabashedly pro-liberty, pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-Israel. As one might imagine, this has earned him the unabashed hatred of the left.
Outside of politics, Klingenschmitt is known for being court-martialed—but ultimately vindicated—for conducting a public prayer “in Jesus’ name,” which was at the time against U.S. Navy regulations. His subsequent efforts to get the policy changed were successful but he sacrificed his military career in the process. He left the Navy and formed the Pray in Jesus Name organization which supports religious freedom.
The Colorado Springs Independent newspaper called Klingenschmitt “more than extreme.” As a strongly leftist media outlet, the Independent prefers his opponent, 66-year old retired teacher Lois Fornander, a long-time party activist. She describes herself as pro-gun-control (and pro- recalled state senator John Morse), pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage and anti-school-voucher.
In other words, they are polar opposites. Strangely, the Independent does not describe Fornander as “more than extreme” on the left side of the political spectrum.
The district favors Republicans by a 2:1 margin. In 2012, the Democrats didn’t even run an opponent. In the Republican primary Klingenschmitt faced David Williams, who one might describe as a socially conservative libertarian. It was a hard-fought race. Klingenschmitt credits has grass-roots volunteers and donors for the victory, his first in politics.
As a political newcomer, Klingenschmitt has done some things that shock experienced political insiders. For example, most politicians will not even mention the name of their opponent. It’s a taboo almost raised to the level of a phobia. Klingenschmitt not only mentions Fornander by name, he’s even run her picture in email communications to his supporters.
His willingness to speak the unspeakable in support of his beliefs have on occasion made him a lightning rod for criticism. Klingenschmitt wrote in an email to supporters that "Democrats like Polis want to bankrupt Christians who refuse to worship and endorse his sodomy.” That earned him the undying enmity of the gay lobby and some distancing statements from GOP party officials.
One can imagine the parallel to Jesus calling the religious establishment of his day a brood of vipers.
But these “controversies” are side-shows created by left-wing special interest groups shocked that someone would so openly speak against their orthodoxy.
Yet with an established direction as an advocate for religious freedom, including cable TV and radio, why did Klingenschmitt decide to run for public office?
In part, he says, he was frustrated with being ignored by left-wing Democrats in office. His organization has delivered more than 4.5 million petitions to Congress, including 1.2 million against Obamacare. Another motivation is that he is a life member of the NRA and advocate for the Second Amendment who also helped in the Morse recall campaign.
His political views, he says, are like those of the Founding Fathers. He stands for the Bill of Rights—all of them, not just the First and Second, which have been the focus of his activism. He believes in less government and more freedom.
He’s received endorsements from a number of prominent social conservatives. Again unlike the usual politician he lists on his website not only well-known public figures like retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, but also a long list of ordinary citizens.
The leftist Democrats who currently rule Colorado will hate having Klingenschmitt in the legislature. But all politics is local and his constituents will love him.