When Steve House decided to challenge Ryan Call for chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, his initial goal was to get enough votes to spare himself from embarrassment.

But the former gubernatorial candidate easily defeated Call, despite Call leading the party in 2014 to its most successful election in more than a decade.

Meanwhile, Colorado Democrats re-elected Rick Palacio as their party chairman, although in November Mark Udall became the first incumbent U.S. senator in Colorado in 36 years to be ousted by voters, the party lost control of the state Senate and a once-seemingly invincible governor won by only 3 percentage points.

The chairmen’s races this year are yet another example of Colorado’s political peculiarities. Hurt feelings and an us-versus-the-establishment mentality can outweigh the celebrations on election night, and 35 percent of the voters don’t even belong to any political party.

Throw in strict campaign-finance limits and the explosion of independent, outside money that can’t be coordinated with the state parties — and the result is a lingering question about how much power the parties wield anymore.

“There is so much beyond the control of a state chairman that you can’t do anything about,” said Dick Wadhams, former two-term chairman of the Colorado GOP.