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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Election Day is here! Remember, friends, if you still have a ballot at home, DO NOT put it in the mail. Click here for a list of locations where you can drop your ballot off before Tuesday’s 7:00 p.m. deadline. Jesse Paul of the Denver Post catches you up on everything you need to know about Election Day in Colorado.
While there are plenty of local races that are generating a modicum of interest, the big Election Day news will come from several other states around the country. CNN details some of the biggest questions awaiting answers, while NPR breaks down some of the more important contests worth watching:
The marquee races of 2017 are in Virginia and New Jersey where term limits mean that voters are picking new governors. While both races may have begun with an emphasis on statewide issues such as property taxes and education policy, in the closing weeks both have morphed into the latest test of President Trump’s influence down the ballot…
…While Democrat Phil Murphy is highly favored to win in New Jersey, the contest between Republican Ed Gillespie and Democrat Ralph Northam has grown increasingly narrow. The outcome in Virginia could play a big role in shaping each party’s message in the 2018 midterms. For Republicans, a victory by Gillespie could encourage congressional GOP candidates to fully embrace Trump’s style of populism next year. Should Northam prevail, it could quell the ongoing debate in Democratic ranks about the extent to which the party should nominate more liberal versus centrist candidates.
Several interesting ballot measures will also be decided tonight. In Maine, voters are being asked to approve a Medicaid expansion plan; a measure in Ohio seeks to level prescription drug prices with those offered by the Veterans Affairs medical system; and voters in New York will decide on whether to hold a constitutional convention to rewrite or amend the state’s constitution.
Big cities such as New York, Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Seattle will also elect new Mayors on Tuesday.
► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton has some strong words for elected officials dealing with PERA reforms. As Ernest Luning explains for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:
Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a GOP candidate for governor, is criticizing fellow Republicans who participate in the state’s public employee pension plan, saying some are blocking reform because they’re “on the take” and unwilling to vote against their own financial interest…
…Contrary to how the media has portrayed it, Stapleton maintained, it isn’t a matter of a Republican bashing unions or public employees. Instead, he said, it’s often those benefiting from PERA who won’t make the hard choices.
“The reason that reform has been so intractable is because it’s the haves vs. the have-nots,” he said. “Those who are on the take vs. those who aren’t. The message that I’ve come face-to-face with in statewide office is, there are a lot of Republicans who are on the take as well. There are a lot of Republicans who are a member of PERA’s defined-benefit plan. And when you ask them to take a vote against their economic self-interest, there are some principled Republicans, like (former Senate President) Bill Cadman and (Senate President) Kevin Grantham, that are willing to take that vote. But there are many Republicans who are not willing to take that vote, and that is why reform has been so slow in coming.”
You don’t need to be a fortune teller to know that Stapleton’s “on the take” comments are likely to come up again and again in the 2018 campaign.
► President Trump is using Sunday’s mass shooting at a church in Texas to call for tighter restrictions on immigration…which has absolutely nothing to do with what happened near San Antonio. Trump does say that tougher gun laws would not have stopped the Texas massacre, however. As the Washington Post reports:
“If you did what you’re suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago. And you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun or a rifle in his truck go out and shoot him and hit him and neutralize him. If he didn’t have a gun, instead of having 26 dead, you would have had hundreds more dead.”
We can’t help you sort out this logic.
Meanwhile, it appears that a gun background check might have helped prevent the Texas shooter from purchasing weapons.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► This play from Sunday’s NFL football game between the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks is a perfect visual for what it must feel like to work for President Trump. In this case, Redskins’ quarterback Kirk Cousins plays the role of Trump:
Kirk sacrificed Rob Kelley to the football gods pic.twitter.com/It59NVW1eW
— Danny (@recordsANDradio) November 5, 2017
► Attorney General candidate Michael Dougherty is proposing holding a series of debates between Democratic candidates in all 22 of Colorado’s Judicial Districts.
► ProgressNow Colorado is touting a new video that plays off of an infamous 2014 ad for Cory Gardner’s Senate campaign:
With debate stalled in the U.S. Senate over a measure to reauthorize federal funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which lapsed due to congressional incompetence last month, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released a “sequel” to Sen. Cory Gardner’s 2014 campaign ad in which Gardner cited “cancellation letters” for health coverage as a reason to repeal the Affordable Care Act…
…ProgressNow Colorado’s new video spot, “Mailbox Pt. 2,” features a young man from Colorado directly addressing Sen. Gardner about the importance of reauthorizing the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The video’s setting closely parallels Gardner’s original 2014 “Mailbox” ad, in which Gardner holds up a letter he claims was a notice of cancellation for his family’s health coverage. In truth, Gardner was able to renew his family’s coverage with coverage meeting the Affordable Care Act’s standards, just like the overwhelming majority of Coloradans who received such notices during the ACA’s implementation.
►Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton is taking the traditional campaign approach of refusing to utter the name of his chief opponent in a GOP Primary, former Congressman Tom Tancredo.
► Former El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark has a new job as the state director of rural development in Colorado for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
► The City of Lafayette approved a six-month moratorium on oil and gas drilling operations.
► A new rule aimed at reducing the amount of methane released into the air as a result of oil and gas operations drew lots of supporters in Durango.
► A new poll shows that supporters of President Trump are not convinced that things are any better in the United States. From NBC News:
One year after Donald Trump’s shocking election upset, many Americans who live in the key counties that propelled him to victory remain unconvinced that the country is better off now that he’s in the White House, a new poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows.
The poll, which sampled residents of 438 counties that either flipped from voting Democratic in the 2012 presidential election to Republican in 2016, or saw a significant surge for Trump last year, found that a third — 32 percent — believe the country is better off now than it was before Trump became president.
But a plurality — 41 percent — say the country is worse off now than it was when Trump became commander in chief. An additional 26 percent say the state of the nation has remained about the same.
And overall, slightly more than half — 53 percent — say they do not think Trump has a clear agenda on how to address the major issues facing the country.
Remember — these are Trump supporters talking.
► The Chris Christie era is about to come to a close in New Jersey. It didn’t go well.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► As Politico reports, former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault wandered around the White House taking pictures with her wedding party earlier this year.
► Don’t worry, South Korea. President Trump says “it will all work out.”
► It (still) sucks to be Sen. Cory Gardner in 2018.