Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 8)

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone! It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► The State Senate is on the verge of grinding to a halt because Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham is completely abdicating responsibility on taking action against members of his caucus accused of sexual harassment. Both the Denver Post and Aurora Sentinel published editorials on Wednesday afternoon that were highly critical of Grantham’s inaction.


President Trump appears to be wavering on his proposals for imposing strict steel and aluminum tariffs. As the Washington Post explains:

President Trump said Thursday he would soon announce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, but he said he would be “very flexible” and exempt Canada, Mexico and an unspecified number of other allied nations, including possibly Australia.

Trump’s remarks at a midday Cabinet meeting came as his White House was enveloped in an air of uncertainty over when Trump would effectively launch a trade war with the tariffs and how many countries would be affected by them.

Trump reiterated that the tariffs would be 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum imports, but he promised flexibility in how the government levies them…

…Republican congressional leaders and even some of Trump’s own advisers were scrambling to convince the president to hold off on his announcement and abandon his plan for tariffs, warning of severe domestic economic ramifications and possible retaliation from global trade partners.


► Florida lawmakers approved a mixed bag of changes on gun control, as NBC News reports:

Florida’s House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to approve a gun and school safety bill that would raise the age to buy all firearms to 21 and impose a three-day waiting period for most gun purchases — and potentially put guns into the hands of some educators…

…The bill passed by the Florida House also provides new mental health programs for schools and provisions to keep guns away from people who show signs of mental illness or violent behavior.

The measure also prohibits “bump stocks,” devices which allow semi-automatic firearms to fire faster, and which police said were used in an Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead.

It also would create a so-called guardian program that would let some school employees and teachers carry handguns if they go through law enforcement training and if the school district decides to participate in the program.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says he is unsure about whether he will sign the legislation because of his disagreement over the provision that would put guns into the hands of teachers and support staff.


► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is taking a lot of heat from Democrats over his support for legislation that would weaken oversight of the banking industry. Critics say the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act would significantly weaken the Dodd-Frank Act that was passed after the last recession.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Annnddd…Here Comes Victor Mitchell

Look at all them boxes

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell submitted his petition signatures for access to the GOP Primary ballot today. Here’s a section from the press release, which takes pointed shots at fellow Republican candidates Walker Stapleton and Mitt Romney’s Nephew:

The Victor Mitchell campaign today turned in 26,085 petitions to the Secretary of State, more than any other Republican running for Governor. Previously, media reports said that incumbent State Treasurer and Bush family scion, Walker Stapleton, submitted 21,000 petitions. Doug Robinson, the wealthy retired investment banker and relative of George and Mitt Romney, reportedly submitted 17,000 petitions.

Four boxes of signed and notarized petitions were wheeled into the Secretary of State’s office by the Mitchell campaign’s legal representative, Attorney John Snow, of the Hackstaff and Snow law firm that supervised the petition drive, with the assistance of the Lincoln Strategy Group.

Here’s what the candidate himself had to say about his petition drive:

I saw the petition drive as an outstanding opportunity for grassroots politics that engages with real voters. We wanted to collect the most petitions to show our commitment to winning this campaign, just as we’ve approached our Facebook social media campaign,  where we have more friends and followers than any other gubernatorial candidate, by a wide margin. We did it and there will be many more big wins in the days ahead. Just watch.

Is “just watch” a new slogan, or just an oddly-abrupt way to end a statement? Either way, Mitchell appears to have been very careful in making sure they had enough signatures for ballot access as the third Republican campaign to drop off boxes with the Secretary of State’s office. On the Democratic side of the race, only Michael Johnston has submitted petition signatures thus far; Jared Polis and Donna Lynne (and Noel Ginsburg) are expected to submit signatures, although Polis is also going through the caucus route for ballot access.

For Mitchell, turning in more than 26,000 signatures is an important validation of a campaign that has been relatively quiet thus far (except for that excellent appearance on “The Get More Smarter Show“). Mitchell has already committed $3 million of his own money to his campaign, the bulk of which is likely now earmarked for a barrage of television and digital media ads in advance of the June Primary.

Senior Staff Attrition Rate Higher than Trump Poll Numbers

Top White House economic adviser Gary Cohn resigned from his post on Tuesday, adding to an historically-bad attrition rate among senior staffers in President Trump’s administration. According to an analysis by CNN, 35 top staff members have left the White House since January 20, 2017:

According to calculations made by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas at Brookings, there has been a 43% attrition rate among senior staffers within the Trump administration. That’s massively higher than any recent past president; Bill Clinton had the second highest first-year turnover, with 11%.

Here’s more from the Brookings report:

I find Trump’s turnover is record-setting, more than triple that of Obama and double that of Reagan. In looking at why Trump has experienced such high turnover, I argue he has valued loyalty over qualifications and suffered from a White House that has functioned in a chaotic manner. Both features have made it difficult to retain staff and have contributed to the governance difficulties he has encountered. If history is any guide, staff recruitment and retention during his second year could prove challenging as well.

Trump was asked about the turnover in his staff on Wednesday, and as you might have guessed, he said that everything was fine:

“Many, many people want every single job. You know, I read where, ‘Oh, gee, maybe people don’t want to work for Trump.’ And believe me, everybody wants to work in the White House. They all want a piece of that Oval Office; they want a piece of the West Wing. And not only in terms of it looks great on their résumé; it’s just a great place to work.”

Meanwhile, two new polls show Trump’s approval ratings are solidly below 40%. Numbers from Quinnipiac University give Trump a 38% approval rating (with 41% calling Trump the worst U.S. President since the end of World War II). Monmouth University has Trump slightly better, with a 39% approval rating.

In short, the attrition rate for senior White House staff is at 43%. Trump’s approval ratings are at 38%. Both numbers are very bad.

Decriminalized Magic Mushrooms, Anyone?

Colorado Public Radio reports on an initiative Denver voters may soon have the chance to approve–and depending on how pharmaceutically colorful your own adolescence was, it might bring back fond memories:

After a few rousing chants of “free the spores,” a small group of roughly 20 citizens filtered into the Denver city and county building Monday for a meeting with city officials and emerged knowing they may soon have the all-clear to gather signatures on a measure to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms.

The group calls itself Colorado for Psilocybin after the fungi’s scientific name. Their proposed measure would do away with felony charges for people caught with mushrooms, and make them the lowest enforcement priority for Denver police…

A 2005 appeals court decision in New Mexico effectively legalized the cultivation of psilocybin. Last year, Oregon reduced possession charges for many illegal drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor. California voters approved a similar measure in 2014.

Another state may beat Colorado to the ballot: California may vote on a similar measure later this year.

Although to the uninitiated any drug identified as “psychedelic” conjures up visions of wild-eyed naked hippies running through the forest in hot pursuit of elves/gods/whatever it is they’re seeing at the time, in truth the effects of psilocybin mushrooms are quite mild with little to no danger of lethal overdose or addiction. It’s certainly nothing you would want to operate machinery under the influence of, but on objective scale of public safety hazards, magic mushrooms rate low enough that in the era of legal marijuana it’s just not something to get worked up about–not to mention the benefits some users cite from consumption.

If this passes, the next generation of hippies might have yet another reason to include Denver on their gap year world tour! Please trip responsibly.

Cary Kennedy’s Big Night Narrows Democratic Primary

Cary Kennedy.

AP reporting via Denver7 on the results of yesterday’s Democratic precinct caucuses, in which former Treasurer Cary Kennedy outperformed–and solidified her position in what is increasingly a two-person primary:

Democratic voters attending Colorado’s non-binding party caucuses have selected former state treasurer Cary Kennedy as their top choice for governor.

The Colorado Democratic Party said Wednesday that Kennedy received 50 percent of more than 23,000 votes cast Tuesday night.

U.S. Rep. Jared Polis followed with nearly 33 percent. Former state Sen. Mike Johnston had nearly 9 percent, according to preliminary results.

Kennedy’s campaign was rightfully jubilant in a press release last night:

With support of 50% of the statewide caucusgoers, Kennedy’s total was higher than all the other candidates combined. With this victory, Kennedy is in a strong position to win the primary and receive topline at the State Assembly. Kennedy won 9 of the 11 biggest counties: Denver, Boulder, Jefferson, Arapahoe, EL Paso, Douglas, Weld, Mesa and Pueblo. Kennedy won the majority of delegates in key rural and suburban counties, showing her ability to win not only the primary, but to win the general election in November.

“I am so grateful for the incredible showing of support. I could feel the momentum building as I traveled the state.” said Kennedy.

It was a great night for Kennedy, who chose the assembly route to the ballot instead of a petition campaign and frankly needed to own her chosen path to the ballot–against what would still be well-organized caucus campaigns from her challengers taking the petition path. Getting to 50% in a five-candidate field indicates momentum for Kennedy among base Democrats that can’t be ignored.

By contrast, Mike Johnston’s paltry 8.8% showing in yesterday’s caucuses shows how little relative momentum he has in the primary among Democratic base voters, despite the fact that he has consistently raised respectable amounts of money. Johnston’s alienation of public education supporters in particular during his time as a state lawmaker is clearly reflected in his poor results last night, and further defines Johnston as a candidate with narrow, insider, and (dare we say it) corporate appeal.

In short, there’s still time for the unexpected to occur, but yesterday’s results for us are fully consistent with the trend we’ve been observing for some time in the Colorado Democratic gubernatorial primary: moving toward a two-person race, between a popular, capable, and experienced public servant in Cary Kennedy, versus one of the state’s best-known progressive leaders and innovators, Rep. Jared Polis.

And it’s shaping up to be one of the most gripping primaries Democrats in Colorado have had in many years–maybe since Polis’ own election to Congress back in 2008. Whatever happens, the next few months will make for some lively blue-on-blue interplay.

We’re looking forward to blogging it.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 7)

It’s not officially Springtime just yet, but it sure feels that way. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Democrats turned out for their Party caucus in huge numbers on Tuesday. In the race for Governor, Cary Kennedy appears to have the early lead among caucus-goers with 50 percent of the vote, compared to 33 percent for Jared Polis. According to the Colorado Democratic Party, more than 23,000 Democrats turned out for Tuesday’s caucus, which amounts to a nearly 400% increase from the last mid-term election year (2014).

Elsewhere, Democratic turnout for Tuesday’s primary election in Texas has Republicans worried. As NBC News reports:

Democrats hoping for a blue wave in November were buoyed, if not jubilant, Tuesday as Texas voters cast the first ballots in this year’s midterms in closely watched primaries for Senate, House and governor.

While final turnout numbers were not as strong for Democrats as heavy early voting had suggested, more than 1 million party members in Texas cast ballots — the first time Democrats topped that figure in a primary since the 2002 midterms…

…Democratic turnout was up 84 percent from the last midterm primary, in 2014, while Republican turnout increased about 14 percent, according to data from the secretary of state’s office. GOP turnout was the highest since the 2010 midterm.


► Colorado Senate Democrats renewed their call for a hearing on an expulsion resolution for Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who faces multiple charges of sexual harassment. Senate President Kevin Grantham, meanwhile, continues to respond to allegations of harassment by three Republican Senators in the absolute worst manner possible.


President Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is resigning over disagreements about Trump’s proposals for expansive new tariffs on steel and aluminum. Wall Street did not react well; the Dow took a sharp dive in early trading on Wednesday.

As the New York Times reports, Cohn’s resignation is a major indicator of a growing rift on trade in the Republican Party


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Trump’s Top Economic Adviser Resigns

I’m out!

As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump’s top economic adviser resigned on Tuesday, leaving the White House after losing a major battle with other aides over the implementation of protectionist tariffs on steel and aluminum.

White House National Economic Council Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, leaves a Trump administration that has pivoted sharply from last year’s business friendly tax cuts towards a much more protectionist approach.

In the past week, Trump has said he will impose tariffs that hit imports from Canada, Germany, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Turkey, South Korea, and a range of other countries, threatening to escalate the penalties if any nation dare to retaliate.

This came after Cohn spent months trying to steer Trump away from tariffs and trade wars, with Trump eventually being outmaneuvered by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, trade advisor Peter Navarro, and ultimately Trump himself.

Larry Kudlow is the early favorite in the clubhouse to succeed Cohn.

GOP Harassment Intransigence Untenable, Catastrophic

Senate President Kevin Grantham.

As KUNC’s Bente Birkeland reports and we discussed in some detail yesterday the historic expulsion of Rep. Steve Lebsock from the Colorado House last Friday has shifted attention in the widening crisis over sexual harassment in the Colorado General Assembly to the Colorado Senate, where two Republican Senators have been accused of their own serial bad behavior–allegations that, like those against Rep. Lebsock, were found credible by an outside investigator.

But as the whole nation’s attention suddenly turns to Colorado as the new model for holding perpetrators of sexual harassment in positions of power accountable, there’s a problem.

The men in charge of the Colorado Senate don’t want to make history. They like the status quo.

The leader of Colorado’s Senate said that last week’s historic decision in the House to expel a legislator amid sexual harassment allegations would have no bearing on how similar cases in the Senate are resolved. Senate President Kevin Grantham said the House made a tough decision to remove a fellow legislator from the Capitol.

He added that a criminal conviction would be the standard for expelling a legislator from the Senate…

Grantham said an investigation that finds allegations of sexual harassment credible is not enough for him to support the removal of a lawmaker. He said criminal charges would be.

“If we’re going to talk about expulsion, then there still has to be criminal acts and indictments and convictions,” said Grantham. [Pols emphasis]

As of yesterday, Senate Democrats are publicly ramping up the pressure on Grantham with a daily demand to introduce for debate the resolution to expel Sen. Randy BaumgardnerDenver Post:

For the second time this week, Democrats in the Colorado Senate called for Republican leadership to allow debate on the resolution they sponsored to expel GOP Sen. Randy Baumgardner over accusations of sexual harassment…

She said Baumgardner’s actions created an intimidating, hostile and offensive workplace environment.

“For this reason, the members of the Senate Democratic caucus ask that the Senate resolution we prepared and submitted for introduction … be promptly introduced and brought to the floor for debate,” Sen. Irene Aguilar, a fellow Denver Democrat, said the day before.

First of all, let’s dispense with the absurd notion that a criminal conviction is now or should ever be the standard for taking disciplinary action in cases of sexual harassment. That’s simply not the standard in any other workplace in Colorado, where investigations with far less independence and thoroughness are routinely the basis for corrective actions up to and including termination of employment. To declare a criminal conviction, or even criminal charges, to be the minimum standard for intervening in a case of sexual harassment gives members of the Colorado Senate protection that no one else enjoys–not even, as of last Friday, their colleagues in the House.

The Democrats and Republicans in the House who voted for expulsion rejected Grantham’s argument.

“This wasn’t a criminal investigation; this was a workplace investigation,” said Rep. Polly Lawrence, R- Roxborough Park.

Grantham’s off-base call last week for Denver District Attorney Beth McCann to investigate for criminal violations fell flat precisely because of what it represented: a moving of the goalposts after GOP Senate leadership decided they didn’t like the results of the independent investigation into Republican Senators. Grantham and accused Senators like “Handsy” Jack Tate might not like it, but sexual harassment that falls short of a criminal act most certainly does exist.

And Senate President Kevin Grantham just declared that in his chamber, sexual harassment not rising to the level of a criminal act may be carried out by Senators with impunity. Or at least, unlike any other workplace in Colorado, without getting fired.

Folks, this is a political disaster of the likes rarely seen at any level of government. Republicans already lose women voters by significant margins in Colorado elections, a gap that has made the difference between defeat and victory in close races (see: Bennet, Michael).

This a mistake that could help ensure a whole generation of women never, ever vote Republican again.

Mike Coffman Sure Knows How To Pick ‘Em

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports on the latest meta-scandal to hit Colorado Republicans since Donald Trump’s election–new questions about political moonlighting by locally-based appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency:

A group of U.S. House Democrats wants EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to explain why two of his employees were given permission to do outside political work while on the payroll of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The officials under scrutiny are John Konkus, who works in the public affairs office, and Patrick Davis, an EPA senior adviser in Denver and the former director of Donald Trump’s campaign in Colorado.

According to a letter sent Monday by the House Democrats, Davis was given approval in February 2017 to work as the sales director for a company called Telephone Town Hall Meeting, which does outreach for legislators, political campaigns and other causes.

Now, being a curious reader you might rightly wonder what the former Colorado campaign director for Donald Trump’s qualifications might be for the role of “senior adviser” at the EPA. After all, the EPA as it’s been known since its creation is…well, a little different than Trump’s vision. But as it turns out, you don’t have to look any further than Rep. Mike Coffman’s glowing recommendation of Patrick Davis:

In an April 17 letter to Pruitt, Coffman said Davis had applied for the job and that the congressman urged “your favorable consideration of Patrick for this important post within the EPA.”

Coffman said that Davis’ consulting work exposed him to the issues facing Region 8 and that he had built “thousands of relationships in the region,” ranging from governors and senators down to state legislators and mayors. Davis also built similar relationships in EPA due to his work as part of the beachhead team, according to Coffman.

Coffman also said Davis has “close alignment” with the Trump administration’s priorities.

“His record in this regard is well established and he is ideally suited and capable of communicating and carrying out President Trump’s and your priorities as the EPA Region 8 Regional Administrator,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

First off, knowing what we know today about Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s “priorities,” that says a mouthful!

But in Coffman’s case, Patrick Davis’ moonlighting scandal is doubly problematic. Back in 2007, then-Secretary of State Coffman stumbled into one of his more significant political scandals when his subordinate employee Dan Kopelman was found to be operating a voter data business on the side from his position as technology manager in the Elections Division. Coffman was forced to demote Kopelman under a heap of bad press, which thankfully for Coffman didn’t overly complicate his election to Congress the following year.

Doesn’t seem like Coffman learned his lesson, but each disgraced crony is a new opportunity.

Yup, It Definitely Sucks to be Cory Gardner

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) turns that smile upside down.

Burgess Everett of Politico picks up on a theme we’ve visited time and again here on Colorado Pols: It’s no fun to be Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). Take a look at what Everett has to say in a story subtitled “The lonely existence of Cory Gardner”:

Senate Republican campaigns chief Cory Gardner might’ve had the easiest job in Washington — if only Hillary Clinton had won.

Instead, the centrist-minded Coloradan has found himself in one of the toughest predicaments in town: leading the Republican battalion in what’s instead shaping up as an anti-Trump Democratic wave election, while at the same time trying to cut legislative deals with some of the senators he’s campaigning hardest to defeat. Gardner is going to need bipartisan accomplishments to survive his own swing-state reelection race in 2020.

It’s not exactly what the sunny, glad-handing pol was signing up for when he put in for the job just before the 2016 election.

“He’s a brave man,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a former National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman and now the party whip. “I admire him for being willing to take on the challenge.”

Talk about damning with faint praise — calling Gardner “brave” in a political sense is code for saying that he’s absolutely screwed.

Gardner campaigned hard to be the head guy at the NRSC at a time when it looked like Democrat Hillary Clinton was going to be President and Republicans would get to run against her for the next several years. The NRSC job was tantalizing enough that Gardner and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis once proposed serving as co-chairs; Gardner ended up getting the job all to himself, and there probably isn’t a day that goes by where Tillis doesn’t say a silent prayer of thanks for how this all worked out.

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Associated Press)

Things have not gone well for Gardner since he first got the NRSC job in November 2016. We don’t really need to elaborate on why it has been tough to be a Republican since Donald Trump moved into the White House, but it’s important to note that longtime GOP supporters and donors have been just as upset with Congressional Republicans who only managed to pass a single piece of significant legislation in 2017 (a tax plan that Gardner doesn’t discuss). Gardner’s fundraising struggles have been well-documented, and he’s still trying to rebuild burned bridges after NRSC staffers were caught stealing donor lists from their counterparts at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Money has been so tight at the NRSC that Gardner has continually danced around the issue of giving back $100,000 from disgraced Nevada casino mogul Steve Wynn.

It’s telling that the normally-verbose Gardner is not exactly enthusiastic about Republican chances in 2018, as Politico explains:

Though Gardner never admits that his party’s prospects have declined due to Trump’s unpopularity and the failure to score top-tier candidates in states like Montana, he is realistic about the challenges he faces. When pressed on how many seats Republicans might be able to pick up, he does a brief impression of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with his Kentucky drawl, saying that predicting Senate races is a fool’s errand.

“I would not [put a number]. I am optimistic about every single one of these races. Part of that is just because of who I am,” Gardner said, noting how rarely the GOP has built majorities of more than 55 seats in the past century. “We have to contend with history.” [Pols emphasis]

History will show that 2017 was a positively terrible year for Gardner, and 2018 isn’t looking much better. Gardner’s 25% approval rating demonstrates an erosion of support on all sides; the last public poll for Gardner showed that only 38% of Colorado Republicans approved of his performance.

Gardner isn’t up for re-election until 2020, but the 2018 election will go a long way toward determining what’s left of his political future.

Colorado GOP Tells Business Community To Cram It

As the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports, mark this down as another example of why Colorado can’t have nice things:

Colorado Senate Republican leaders threw cold water Monday on a new, business-backed transportation-funding plan, saying they now believe there’s enough money in the budget for roads this year and next that lawmakers won’t have to ask voters for more.

A trio of business organizations — Colorado Concern, the Colorado Motor Carriers Association and the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Corp. — are pushing a proposal that could generate billions of dollars by increasing the specific ownership tax on new and existing vehicles and pair that new revenue with as much as $300 million annually from the state budget…

However, leaders in the Republican-led Senate left no doubt during their weekly media briefing Monday: No such ballot referral from their body would be forthcoming. Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, said he’s told groups seeking a new source of revenue for roads and transit that they should prepare to work through the petition process rather than the Legislature to get something on the ballot. [Pols emphasis]

We don’t expect there to be unanimous agreement on the need for a tax increase to pay for backlogged transportation needs across the state. The point of the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), which obliges elected leaders to run a statewide ballot campaign for most some revenue increases, is not that there will never be a need to raise taxes. In theory, the idea is that tax increases can happen as needed as long as the voters approve it.

But if Republicans won’t even refer a measure to ask the question, how can voters approve anything? Yes, the business lobby could run a ballot petition drive, though under 2016’s Amendment 71 constitutional amendment ballot questions have become substantially more difficult to qualify for the ballot. The biggest reason Republicans in the legislature don’t want to run a ballot measure, aside from the usual ideological mental blocks, is their own desire to float billions of dollars in new bond obligations–which the DBJ correctly notes could blow holes in future budgets if today’s rosy economic forecasts don’t pan out.

Either way, this is just another example of the business community’s generous support for Republican candidates for office coming back to bite them. The overwhelming consensus outside a narrow segment of conservative ideologues is that yes, the government needs more revenue for roads. Not rearranged or borrowed revenue, more revenue.

All you’ve got to do is convince a bunch of guys who want to “drown government in the bathtub.”

Who you helped elect.

Stapleton Tops Republican Field in New Poll

The Republican-leaning polling outfit Magellan Strategies is out with new numbers in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Unsurprisingly, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton leads the rest of the field by a comfortable margin:

Via Magellan Strategies

These are the first publicly-available polling numbers in the Republican Primary since a University of Colorado poll in late 2017 that showed former candidate Tom Tancredo leading the field with 25% (followed by Stapleton at 8% and Cynthia Coffman at 6%). With Tancredo out of the race, the Magellan poll of likely Republican primary voters shows Stapleton on top in every voter subgroup, with Coffman the only other GOP candidate in double digits.

But the Magellan poll also shows some troubling numbers for Coffman. While Stapleton has a 33/13 approval/disapproval rating among likely Republican primary voters, Coffman is already upside-down at 20/21. The Republican base has never been particularly fond of Coffman; this poll is just more evidence of the uphill battle she faces one day ahead of the party caucuses.