Democrat Noel Ginsburg Ends Gubernatorial Campaign

So long, Noel Ginsburg

In December 2016, Denver businessman Noel Ginsburg became the first official Democratic candidate to enter the 2018 race for Governor.

Today, Ginsburg is ending his campaign.

Ginsburg would have been the fourth Democratic candidate to attempt to petition his way onto the Primary ballot before today’s deadline; when Ginsburg wasn’t able to beat Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne to the Secretary of State’s office, his campaign was likely dead.

Thanks in part to his ability to write big checks to his own campaign, Ginsburg held on as a candidate for longer than we would have expected. Ultimately, it seems that Ginsburg tired of hitting himself up for more money.

In an open race for Governor with no shortage of quality candidates, the little-known (politically, anyway) Ginsburg was always going to have trouble standing out in the crowd — particularly with his not-so-inspiring message — but he gave it a good run.

Oh, Hey, Donna Lynne is Still Running for Governor

Fresh off the Twitter machine this morning:

Lynne submitted her petition signatures one day before the deadline, which puts her behind Democrats Michael Johnston and Jared Polis but potentially ahead of Noel Ginsburg in the line for verification from the Secretary of State’s office. Lynne’s campaign didn’t specify a number for how many petition signatures were submitted, but they’re going to need every one of the “more than double” of the required amount if she’s going to sneak her name onto the June Primary ballot.

Johnston First Candidate for Governor to Make Ballot

Phew, that was close.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) office announced today that Democrat Mike Johnston is officially on the June Primary ballot for Governor…but just barely:

Johnston on Feb. 21 became the first gubernatorial candidate to turn in petitions to the Secretary of State’s office for review. As a statewide candidate, he was required to gather 1,500 valid signatures from Democratic voters in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts for a total of 10,500 signatures.

He submitted 22,585 signatures and 12,698 were deemed valid.

Johnston’s signature validity rate was just 56%, which is another reminder of how dicey it can be for statewide candidates to attempt to make the ballot via the petition route. The SOS breakdown of signatures per congressional district shows that Johnston just squeaked by in CD-5, Colorado’s most Republican-heavy district, with 1,543 valid signatures.

Johnston’s validity rate should be frightening to other gubernatorial candidates who may soon be dealing with a Jon Keyser-level problem. Republican Walker Stapleton submitted about 21,000 signatures — approximately 1,500 less than Johnston — and a similar validity rate would have Stapleton teetering on the edge of not making the ballot.

Ruh-roh, Donna Lynne

Keep in mind that Johnston and Stapleton were the first members of their respective political parties to submit petition signatures; each successive candidate must have enough valid signatures beyond those already deemed sufficient for candidates before them. For someone like Republican gubernatorial hopeful Mitt Romney’s Nephew, who turned in just 17,000 total signatures, there is very little margin for error. Republican Victor Mitchell (26,000 signatures) and Democrat Jared Polis (33,000 signatures) have a bit more breathing room, though Mitchell is in more trouble because he’s third in line for signatures on the GOP side.

The deadline to submit petition signatures for ballot access is March 20 (next Tuesday). Two other Democrats — Donna Lynne and Noel Ginsburg — have been circulating petitions but have yet to turn anything with the SOS office. Both Lynne and Ginsburg are probably in big trouble at this point, but there’s still hope for the campaign that gets their signatures submitted first; it’s unlikely that the fourth-place Democrat will have enough extra signatures beyond those already scooped up by Johnston and Polis.

Gubernatorial candidates can still make the ballot through the caucus/assembly process if they fail to meet the signature threshold, but only Polis and Stapleton have been making any real effort to court delegates thus far (Democrat Cary Kennedy is going the caucus/assembly route only). The campaigns for Mitt’s Nephew, Mitchell, Lynne, and Ginsburg are essentially over if they fail to meet the petition requirements.

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.

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.

The Petition Race for Second Place

Republican Walker Stapleton (left) and Democrat Michael Johnston.

Last week two candidates for Governor announced that they had submitted petitions for ballot access to the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) office. Democrat Mike Johnston was the first to push his signatures across the finish line on Wednesday, with Republican Walker Stapleton following on Friday. Campaigns on both sides of the aisle are now under significant pressure to submit their own petition signatures; the longer you wait to turn in petitions, the more trouble you will likely have in qualifying for the ballot.

The SOS office still needs to check the signatures submitted by Johnston and Stapleton, so we won’t know for a week or two whether either candidate successfully met the 10,500 signature threshold (1,500 must come from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts). What we do know is that other candidates seeking to make the Primary ballot through the petition process are already at a disadvantage.

Valid signatures collected by a candidate cannot be counted twice, so anybody whose name gets counted on petitions for Johnston or Stapleton cannot be used toward the 10,500 threshold for other candidates — no matter when the signatures were collected. For example, registered Republicans who signed a petition for Stapleton to gain ballot access can no longer be counted toward the petition totals of other Republican candidates, such as Victor Mitchell or Mitt Romney’s Nephew. To put it another way, Mitchell and friends must now submit valid signatures from 10,500 registered Republicans who were not already on Stapleton’s list. Gubernatorial candidates Jared Polis and Donna Lynne face the same challenge on the Democratic side (although Polis will also likely participate in the caucus/assembly process, giving him another option for ballot access).

Trouble with petition signatures have been major issues for statewide campaigns (particularly Republicans) in recent years. During the 2016 U.S. Senate race, Republicans Jon Keyser and Ryan Frazier nearly failed to make the ballot because of a dearth of valid signatures compounded by the inability to double-count voters who had already signed petitions for Republican Jack Graham. Both Keyser and Frazier ultimately got their names on the Primary ballot after protracted legal challenges, but the uncertainty surrounding both campaigns torpedoed fundraising and organizing efforts and effectively crippled their chances of winning the June Primary. In 2006, Republican Marc Holtzman failed to make the ballot in the Republican gubernatorial primary, which left an open road for Bob Beauprez to become the GOP nominee.

The deadline to submit petitions to the SOS for ballot access is March 20.

Tancredo Wants No Part of the Blue Wave

Tom Tancredo sees the same numbers as everyone else.

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo was the frontrunner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination until this afternoon, when he abruptly dropped out of the race altogether.

If you’re wondering what in the hell just happened, the answer is deceptively simple: Tancredo decided the 2018 race for Governor was not winnable for Republicans. Here’s the money quote via Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

“It appeared to me the goal — winning the general, that was the main goal — and it does not appear to me to be feasible.”

The 2018 election is shaping up to be a catastrophic event for Republicans, and everyone sees it coming. In the House of Representatives alone, there are 35 Republicans who are just walking away from office and not even trying to run for re-election — including some of the most powerful and influential committee chairs on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been open about his concerns that Republicans might lose both the House and the Senate in November.

Here’s another key quote from Luning’s story:

“I can’t do this and risk taking resources away from other Republican races.”

Remember that Tancredo joined the race for Governor well before the November 2017 election that officially started to panic Republicans around the country. Tancredo ran for Governor in both 2010 and 2014; he knows what it is like to run a statewide race more than just about anybody in Colorado, and he is absolutely not afraid of challenging the GOP establishment. But Tancredo is also at the end of his political career, and he doesn’t want to be blamed for a 2018 loss that may be unavoidable for Republicans.

Polis, Tancredo Top Polls in Governor’s Race

Earlier today we wrote about polling numbers from the American Politics Research Lab (APRL) at the University of Colorado showing absolutely putrid approval ratings for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). The APRL poll also included some questions about the 2018 race for Governor, and the results seem to square with everything else we’ve been hearing for the last several months.

American Politics Research Lab, January 2018


The only other publicly-reported poll numbers about the race for Governor came in October via the Braynard Group. The Braynard (no, autocorrect, not “Barnyard”) poll showed Tom Tancredo atop the Republican field of candidates at 22.1%, with Walker Stapleton the nearest elephant at 8.5%. Braynard put the percentage of “undecided” voters in the GOP Primary at the same 54% as the APRL poll above.

Across the aisle, the APRL poll represents the first publicly-reported numbers on the 2018 Democratic Primary (we’re not counting the mini-results from Cary Kennedy’s campaign). This new poll has Jared Polis atop the Democratic field with 24% support, with Kennedy a distant second at 6% and a whopping 58% listed as “undecided.” We can’t speak to specific numbers here, but the general idea of a Polis/Kennedy race at the top of the Democratic Primary fits with rumors we’ve gleaned about internal polls.

Fundraising Numbers for 2018 Governor’s Race

UPDATE (3:10pm): Walker Stapleton finally figured out how to use the Internet. We’ve updated the numbers below…


The fundraising numbers for the Q4 (2017) reporting period are in – most of them, anyway – giving us our first glimpse at the level of support for the various campaigns seeking one of Colorado’s top jobs in November.

Let’s break down the numbers for Colorado’s top candidates for Governor…

We haven’t broken out self-funding numbers like this in the past, but with so many candidates drawing from their own checking accounts and not even trying to fundraise in a traditional manner (see: Victor Mitchell, Jared Polis, etc.), it is more important than ever to distinguish self-funding numbers that can be included in the total “contributions” for the quarter.

We also haven’t broken out the numbers from various Independent Expenditure Committees (IECs) that have been formed to (essentially) support individual candidates. Walker Stapleton can expect more than $750k in support from “Better Colorado Now.” There is also more money in an IEC for Cynthia Coffman than the she has raised herself.


Democratic candidates for Governor are outraising Republicans by significant margins; Michael Johnston, Donna Lynne, and Cary Kennedy all raised more than $250k in Q4. Democratic candidates are also spending considerably more money than Republicans, which indicates more comprehensive and well-organized campaign operations.

On the Republican side, former Congressman Tom Tancredo isn’t bringing in a lot of cash – but he’s also the only candidate in the field whose public profile is robust enough to run a viable campaign without raising a lot of money. The most alarming numbers belong to Coffman, who only cracked the $100k mark because of a $15k transfer from her Attorney General campaign coffers. Both Tancredo and Coffman were expected to seek ballot access via the caucus/assembly route, and their relative inability to raise money essentially precludes them from trying to petition onto the ballot.

Second-tier gubernatorial candidates such as Mitt Romney’s Nephew (R) and Noel Ginsburg (D) are only going to be competitive to the extent that they are willing to continue writing personal checks to their campaigns, although Mitt’s Nephew will benefit from a hefty IEC (“Build Colorado’s Future”) while he spends the bulk of his campaign warchest petitioning onto the ballot.

Stapleton Touts Fundraising Record in Governor’s Race

Walker Stapleton

As Joey Bunch reports today for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, the campaign for Republican Walker Stapleton is leaking out fundraising numbers that would represent a record haul for a candidate for Governor in Colorado:

Stapleton will report about $750,000 for the quarter, the most any of the 18 candidates has raised in any quarter so far…

…Walker’s campaign roll call of donors for the quarter includes corporate titans, small business owners and household names — Phil Anschutz (disclosure: He owns Colorado Politics and lots of other stuff), real-estate mogul and philanthropist Larry Mizel, beer magnate Pete Coors, car king Greg Stevinson and Dan Ritchie, a civic mainstay in Colorado who has led the University of Denver and the Denver Center for Performing Arts, after he was CEO of Westinghouse Broadcasting.

Stapleton seeded his campaign with $250,000 of his own money when he finally announced his gubernatorial intentions in late September, so it is likely that an official announcement of his Q4 fundraising numbers is intended to portray that the campaign has more than $1 million in the bank.

If Bunch’s reporting is accurate, Stapleton’s Q4 numbers would represent a record quarter for any statewide candidate in Colorado. This doesn’t include the $785,000 that Bunch says has been raised by “Better Colorado Now,” a political action committee that exists solely to promote Stapleton’s candidacy for Governor (Stapleton waited until late September to announce his campaign in part so that he could exploit a campaign finance loophole that let him assist in raising money for the “Better Colorado Now” PAC).

The nearly $2 million set aside to support Stapleton isn’t going to scare off Tancredo, but Stapleton’s fundraising numbers are certainly geared toward shooing away the rest of the GOP field. As Bunch noted today:

Stapleton’s haul in the last quarter would be more than [Doug] Robinson, [Victor] Mitchell and former candidate George Brauchler had raised in outside donations, combined, in previous quarters. And [Cynthia] Coffman’s finance co-chairman during her 2014 run for attorney general, Lanny Martin, is part of Stapleton’s PAC, too. [Pols emphasis]

The fact that Stapleton appears to be the candidate of choice for the moneyed Republican establishment is certainly no surprise; the June Republican Primary has long been setting up as a battle between Stapleton (and his money) and the more grassroots campaign of firebrand Tom Tancredo.

Campaign finance reports for Q4 are due to be filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office by January 16.

Tom Tancredo Talks Colorado Pols and The Big Line

Tom Tancredo knows where to go for his Colorado political news.

As Jason Salzman noted earlier this week, Colorado Pols was recently a topic of conversation on 710 KNUS radio with Julie Hayden and Chuck Bonniwell, and apparently this wasn’t the only time Pols came up for discussion last month.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo was a guest on The Peter Boyles Show on 710 KNUS radio on December 29, where he twice mentioned Colorado Pols and The Big Line’s odds for Governor in 2018.

At around the 13:00 mark, Boyles asks Tancredo about his campaign for Governor:

BOYLES: What are you going to do [in the 2018 race for Governor]:

TANCREDO: Well, of course I’m going to win. As a matter of fact, I saw yesterday…Colorado Pols, which is a liberal blog, listed all of the Republican candidates and gave their estimation of our chances of winning the General Election, and I had the best chance of winning. And it was 30% [laughing]. But I was ahead of everybody else – every other Republican.

Later in the interview, at around the 26:00 mark, The Big Line comes up again:

BOYLES:  Who do you want to run against?

TANCREDO: Jared Polis. Oh, yeah. To tell you the truth, I think that’s my best chance. And according to Colorado Pols, they said he had a 50% chance of winning.

BOYLES: You always want to fight the best fighter.

TANCREDO: Yeah, I think he’d be the best.

What’s the moral of this story? Keep reading Colorado Pols, of course.

What Are These People Smoking? Jared Polis Everywhere Edition

ADAPT activists protesting in 1985, when Rep. Jared Polis was 10 years old.

Over the weekend, we promoted to the homepage a reader diary on a protest event we were actually unaware of before it occurred on New Year’s Eve: a trip by a group of activists with disabilities from Atlantis ADAPT, the storied grassroots team who has been fighting since the 1980s in Denver for better accommodations in transportation and public spaces generally, to the small Eastern Plains town of Yuma in hopes of talking to Sen. Cory Gardner about his recent vote for the Republican tax cut bill.

Readers might remember that is the same group who occupied Sen. Cory Gardner’s downtown Denver offices last summer, attracting nationwide news coverage and helping erode public support both for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and Gardner personally after their live-streamed arrest by Denver police. Suffice to say that ADAPT activists are very good at drawing attention to the issues they fight for.

Now, we don’t generally pay much attention to the local conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics, operated by conservative consultant group EIS Solutions, since they’re pretty far from what you’d call an accurate news source and in general just don’t write very well. But after we promoted the post in question written by reader mamajama55, Peak Politics got a little weird:

Over the New Years weekend, the left crowed that it had camped out in Yuma, Colorado hoping to share their opinion on the tax reform bill (that’s helping millions of middle class Americans, btw) with Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (at his house, with his kids), and it was likely paid for at some place along the liberal food chain by U.S. Rep. Jared Polis… [Pols emphasis]

Wait, Rep. Jared Polis funds ADAPT? We suppose it’s possible, given that they’re a longstanding local activist group engaged in work on issues Polis might naturally support. But there’s nothing we’ve seen to suggest any special relationship there, and given that ADAPT was protesting when Rep. Polis was literally a little kid (see photo above), it’s reasonable to assume that they were perfectly able to plan their New Year’s action and pay for the gas to get to Yuma without anybody’s help.

But where did Peak Politics get this idea, you ask? That’s where this gets even more stupid:


Top Ten Stories of 2017 #7: The House That Blew Up

Like smoking, lawn darts, and bars on cribs spaced just far enough apart for babies to stick their heads through, oil and gas development in Colorado wasn’t always considered to be a problem. It wasn’t controversial for several reasons–in addition to the lack of public knowledge of the health and safety risks. For decades, Colorado’s “split estate” mineral rights law establishing property rights under the surface of the land in addition to the rights of landowners on the surface operated without major conflicts. Colorado’s wide open spaces gave drillers plenty to explore, and the population centers along the Front Range didn’t have the most easily-accessible minerals underneath them.

But over time, two things happened: the increasingly urban Front Range started to expand into energy-producing areas, and a maturing technology for extracting oil and gas known as hydraulic fracturing put minerals under residential communities within economical reach. Because under Colorado law mineral rights have parity with the rights of surface landowners, within regulations controlled by the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission drillers are routinely allowed to override local zoning and place heavy industrial operations in the immediate vicinity of homes and schools.

As the political battle between concerned residents of local communities threatened by drilling and the energy industry has heated up in recent years, the industry has spent lavishly to influence Colorado’s political leadership on both sides of the aisle. This has resulted in gridlock at the Colorado legislature on the issue, especially for the last seven years under an avowedly pro-energy Democratic governor and frequently split control of the General Assembly. When citizens turned to the state’s initiative process to get relief by popular vote, the energy industry bankrolled 2016’s Amendment 71 to make it prohibitively harder to get constitutional measures on a statewide ballot.

Entering 2017, the fight over oil and gas drilling in Colorado was simmering but hardly boiling over. The success of Amendment 71, and the likelihood of no real movement on the issue until after Gov. John Hickenlooper leaves office, combined with the much bigger threat of the Trump administration over this and so many other issues left supporters of better protections feeling defeated.

On April 17th, a recently-built home in Firestone north of Denver suddenly exploded, killing two people and severely injuring two others inside. The home was totally destroyed in the explosion, which also damaged nearby homes and caused a fire that took hours to extinguish. Investigators determined that a flow line connected to a disused well owned by Anadarko Petroleum had not been properly disconnected from the well. Raw methane gas, lacking the telltale additive to warn of high concentrations by smell, began to flow again through this line, accumulating undetected in the basement of the home until being ignited accidentally by the homeowners with tragic results. After the explosion, more underground plumes of methane in the immediate area were discovered and vented.

The Firestone home explosion immediately brought the issue of oil and gas production near homes back to the fore. In this case, homes were built near abandoned wells from which methane had seeped, but that certainly doesn’t absolve the industry of responsibility of not just properly capping old wells but ensuring all infrastructure in place for energy extraction is rendered safe before homes are built over them. And obviously, if the industry is this careless with abandoned flow lines, it invites basic questions about how careful the industry is with everything else they do.

But in Denver, the industry’s sway over leadership on both sides of the aisle ensured little would change. A limited set of reforms announced by Gov. Hickenlooper in August fell pitifully short of addressing concerns, as the Denver Post reported:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is asking oil and gas operators to pony up money to plug the 700 to 800 “orphan wells” in the state, but is shying from taking stances on more contentious policies, such as how close new homes can be built to existing wells.

The governor also won’t force the energy industry to allow state officials to compile a publicly available map of all oil and gas pipelines. Instead, he said he wanted to enhance the 811 call program to ensure homeowners can use their telephones to access pipeline information for site-specific areas. Hickenlooper said industry officials were concerned a comprehensive statewide map could lead to people illegally tapping pipelines to siphon off gas. [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper’s thoroughly ridiculous contention that scavengers might “siphon off gas” if the public is made aware of oil and gas pipelines running through their neighborhoods, and that this concern somehow trumps the rights of residents to know where these potentially deadly gas lines are located in relation to their homes, perfectly symbolizes the tone-deaf approach of his administration on oil and gas drilling–arguably Hickenlooper’s greatest failure in office. There is simply no way to overstate how offensive this was to concerned citizens in Firestone and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, the industry attempted to vilify gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis by proxy in municipal elections in Greeley this fall, linking his donations to city council candidates with his support for better protections from drilling. That attempt turned disastrous after one of the candidates backed by the industry was revealed to be a convicted felon and whose seat on the Greeley City Council is now in doubt. It’s fair to say that Polis, who doesn’t support a “statewide fracking ban” but has supported initiatives for local control and wider setbacks from drilling, is not under the industry’s thumb. As a result Polis is set to face the most shrill attacks imaginable from the industry and their many supporters next year–to include lots of affected hand-wringing from pro-energy Democrats during the upcoming gubernatorial primary.

It has been our contention since before John Hickenlooper won the governor’s race in 2010 that at some point, Colorado Democrats will face a seminal choice–to continue alienating their base of support and swing votes in impacted communities by currying favor with the oil and gas industry in this state, or to face them down on behalf of affected communities once and for all. We believe based on our years of experience that the political risks to Democrats standing up to oil and gas are much smaller than conventional wisdom suggests, and indeed that much of said “conventional wisdom” is a fabrication of the industry’s bought-off mouthpieces in both parties. On the other hand, this issue has done more to anger the Democratic base in Colorado than perhaps any other in recent years, making the benefits of a new approach easy to recognize.

What’s it going to take for Democrats in Colorado to remember where their loyalties should lie?

The right candidate. And an election to prove it.

Top Ten Stories of 2017 #8: Big Crowd for Governor and the Return of Tom Tancredo

Rep. Jared Polis (D) looks like the candidate to beat in the race for Governor.

Colorado voters will choose a new Governor next November, and if 2017 is any indication of what to expect, then the 2018 election is going to be a wild ride.

For the third time in the last four cycles, there will be no incumbent on the ballot for Governor. Numerous candidates from both sides of the political aisle have been preparing for this open race since late last year, but few could have foreseen the twists and turns that defined 2017. Both Democrats and Republicans saw potential frontrunners enter and exit the race this year, dramatically shaping and reshaping what should easily turn out to be the most expensive gubernatorial race in Colorado history.

There has already been so much movement in the race for Governor, in fact, that many of the projected top candidates 12 months ago aren’t even in the field anymore. Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) looked like the Democratic frontrunner when he announced his candidacy in April, but he changed his mind after a few months of campaigning and decided to run for re-election in CD-7 instead. Republicans thought they had a top contender in George Brauchler, but the Arapahoe County District Attorney proved to be completely inept as a candidate and officially shifted his sights to Attorney General in October.

Perhaps no name better encapsulates the strange turn of events in the Governor’s race than that of Republican Tom Tancredo, who is again running as a Republican after losing the GOP nomination to Bob Beauprez in 2014 and serving as the nominee of the American Constitution Party in 2010. Tancredo’s surprise candidacy makes a certain kind of sense in retrospect; as we’ve written before in this space, the Tanc might be better-positioned in 2018 than he was in either of the previous cycles in which he sought the top job in Colorado. The fact that Tancredo is even able to return to the big stage in Colorado creates plenty of uncomfortable questions for Republicans, not the least of which is the fact that he appears to be an early favorite to capture the GOP nomination.

As we turn the calendar to 2018, Tancredo and Democratic Congressman Jared Polis are well-positioned to capture their respective party’s nominations, but they both have several hopefuls hot on their heels. We’ve answered a lot of questions about the gubernatorial race with a busy 2017, but many more remain:

Walker Stapleton

Will Walker Stapleton ever appear in a photo where he doesn’t look bewildered?

Can Mike Johnston turn his national fundraising haul into local support?

Can Cary Kennedy convince Democrats that she is more than a policy wonk?

Why is Republican Cynthia Coffman such a supremely-terrible candidate?

Will Donna Lynne figure out how to do this campaigning thing?

How many personal checks will Victor Mitchell write to his campaign?

Can Democrat Noel Ginsburg Move Colorado Laterally?

Will anyone ever remember the name of Mitt Romney’s Nephew?


The Colorado Governor’s race was as busy in 2017 as any off-year in recent memory. The June Primary is just six months away, so get ready for a hectic half-year of campaigning.

Felon Elected to Greeley City Council – Opponent Sues

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Eddie Mirick was just elected to the at-large seat on Greeley’s City Council.  Mirick  has a 1978 felony conviction for forgery, which he lied about when he filled out the paperwork to run for City Council.  The charter of Greeley, a “home-rule” city, specifically does not allow anyone convicted of a felony to be elected to City Council. Yet Mirick was elected, and City Council members have seated him, and are letting the court decide whether he will be allowed to serve.

Mirick’s eligibility to serve on City Council will be decided in District Court, pending the result of a lawsuit filed by the campaign manager of Mirick’s opponent, Stacy  Suniga.

Mirick (3rd from left) on Greeley for a Stronger Economy’s FB ad

The makeup of Greeley’s City Council will affect the balance of power between oil and gas interests vs. the public health of residents, in one of the most fracked cities in America.

Mirick is a veteran, and lives with physical disabilities. He is active in charities and community groups. And he strongly supports oil and gas development in Greeley.  Mirick benefitted from over $65,000 spent for cable TV ads from a shadowy Denver group: “Greeley for a Stronger Economy (GSE)*”.  Mayor John Gates, and two other candidates for Greeley City Council:   appointed member Brett Payton, who won his seat against opponent Lavonna Longwell by a grand total of 2 votes. (after recount), and Ward 3 candidate Michael Fitsimmons were also promoted by GSE advertising.