DENVER — Colorado Republicans were breathing a sigh of relief after state Rep. Laura Bradford announced Friday that she would remain in the GOP, following a two-week kerfuffle that imperiled the party’s one-vote hold on the state House.
Mrs. Bradford had hinted she would switch to unaffiliated after House Speaker Frank McNulty initiated an ethics investigation into her behavior during a traffic stop. All was forgiven Friday after the probe cleared her of any wrongdoing and Mr. McNulty said he would reinstate her as chair of the Local Government Committee.
Mrs. Bradford was pulled over Jan. 25 on suspicion of drunken driving, but the officer said he did not test her because she invoked legislative immunity, which prohibits legislators from being arrested on misdemeanor charges during the session.
Mrs. Bradford denied that she had invoked the immunity privilege and insisted she had asked the officer several times to test whether she was driving under the influence.
Frustrated by the lack of support from her fellow Republicans, Mrs. Bradford raised the possibility of leaving the GOP, which would have left the House with a 32-32-1 tie between Republicans and Democrats.
Given that Democrats now hold the Colorado Senate and governor’s seat, the move would have delivered a body blow to the GOP. In a stunning turn of events, however, Denver police held a press conference Jan. 31 to announce that the officer was mistaken and that Mrs. Bradford had in fact asked to be treated like anyone else.
“I am happy that the Ethic Committee dismissed the complaint against me, and I am ready to continue working on behalf of my constituents on the Western Slope,” she said in a statement Friday.