New Member Hires Conservative Radio Host as Chief of Staff
Rep.-elect Tim Huelskamp has hired a conservative talk radio host with no Hill experience and a track record of advocating against abortion and gay marriage as his chief of staff.
The Kansas Republican hired Jim Pfaff, who hosts the Denver-based Jim Pfaff Show, to be his top staffer in Washington, D.C., Pfaff said in a phone interview Wednesday.
Pfaff has advocated at the state level against gay marriage, abortion and Democratic policy initiatives and garnered praise from former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed, who told a Colorado newspaper last year that Pfaff is “one of the greatest grass-roots organizers in the country.”
But Pfaff said he is quitting the radio show and advocacy to focus on managing Huelskamp’s office when the Kansas state Senator takes over the first district House seat held by Sen.-elect Jerry Moran (R).
“I’ll be stepping away from all of that stuff,” Pfaff said Wednesday. “My goal is to help make sure that Tim’s staff is running very well and I will be putting my entire focus into that.”
Pfaff’s hiring follows an attempt by Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) to hire conservative talk radio host Joyce Kaufman as his chief staffer. West backtracked after comments Kaufman made about illegal immigrants and other issues came to light, and instead hired former Capitol Hill and State Department staffer Jonathan Blyth.
Pfaff said he met Huelskamp through his work with the Christian nonprofit Focus on the Family and was persuaded to leave advocacy because he believes in Huelskamp.
“I believe in Tim and Tim’s going to be an excellent choice for the first district of Kansas,” Pfaff said, adding that Kansas is his ancestral land, because a great-great-grandfather lived there.
Pfaff has not been shy about making his opinions public. On his radio show, he has interviewed politicians such as former Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) and Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck (R). At times, he has dedicated the 90-minute program to topics such as “Auditing the Senate” and alleging campaign fraud by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). Pfaff has alleged that Polis’ campaign used a government vehicle to place political signs.
For years, Pfaff has headlined protest rallies and written opinion pieces for newspapers and his website, OpinionTimes.com, which advertises “news and opinions from a Christian Conservative perspective.”
That site and the site for his radio show were live Wednesday morning, but after Pfaff spoke with Roll Call on Wednesday afternoon, both were taken down.
But cached versions of the websites, as well as his Facebook and Twitter feeds and several past interviews, show ample examples of Pfaff’s political advocacy.
A December post on his radio show’s page reads, “Silly me! It’s the warming that makes us cold,” and links to an article about climate change. Another post from November reads, “Poor widdo Al Gore. I guess that big time payout on Cap & Tax wnt (sic) pay off after all. Political corruption takes a blow.” The post links to an article about how the Chicago Climate Exchange would end climate trading.
In October, he wrote a column on his website supporting former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, who ran unsuccessfully as the American Constitution Party candidate for Colorado governor.
Before going on the air with the show last year, Pfaff headed the Focus on the Family-affiliated coalition that in 2006 promoted passage of an amendment to the Colorado constitution that defined marriage between a man and a woman and defeated a referendum that would have allowed domestic partnership benefits.
He has served as president of the Colorado Family Institute, which advocates for faith-based public policy issues in the state. “I am a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” Pfaff told a Colorado paper last year. “That is where I stand.”
In an interview posted on YouTube in 2007, he said there’s a “major assault” on the family in Colorado and his goal was to “try to stem the tide.”
“The church has to decide that they want to change things, so we will be doing voter registration and other efforts in the churches to let Christians know that when they make their voice heard, they make a big difference,” he said.
More recently, he headed the effort in Colorado to thwart President Barack Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.
He was also Colorado state director of the fiscal conservative group Americans for Prosperity and spoke at a protest on the Colorado State Capitol steps railing against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the economic stimulus bill.
“In my opinion, Obama, Pelosi and Reid are the Bernie Madoff Democrats who want to take our money and use it for their purposes and we’re here to say, ‘No more,’” Pfaff told the crowd last year.
Pfaff’s style matches that of his new boss. During his 14-year tenure in the Kansas state Senate, Huelskamp sponsored an amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of its state funding and pushed for amendments to the state constitution to ban gay marriage and guarantee individual gun rights.