TUESDAY UPDATE: As of this morning, still no returned ballots for the Coffmans or Sen. Gardner.
Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) once promised to spill the beans on his choice for President “when ballots go out.” Denver Post reporter Jon Murray followed up with Coffman’s campaign recently to see if and when the Congressman would make his choice at the top of the ticket, and we’re still waiting:
We don’t care what your friend says; it’s not socially acceptable to still be wearing your Halloween costume today. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Got ballot? If you don’t — or if you know someone who still hasn’t received a ballot — then you had better do something about it. Go to JustVoteColorado.org to start investigating the problem and contact your county clerk for answers. You can always vote at a polling place as well, whether or not you have received a mail ballot (but only if you haven’t already submitted a completed ballot).
► Local postal workers joined with Governor John Hickenlooper on Monday to dispel the notion from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump that there could be ballot problems in Colorado — specifically the idea that postal workers could somehow see through envelopes and discard ballots that favored the GOP nominee. Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State, meanwhile, continues to publicly challenge Trump’s suggestion of ballot fraud in our state.
► With Election Day just eight days away, campaign surrogates for both major party Presidential candidates continue to make stops in Colorado. Labor Secretary Tom Perez is in Colorado today, along with Chelsea Clinton, to stump on behalf of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will also make another stop in Colorado sometime before Election Day.
On the Republican side of things, Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence will campaign on behalf of Donald Trumpin Loveland on Wednesday.
► Can’t wait for the results on Election Day? Check out the Halloween edition of the Get More Smarter Show for a sneak preview of the outcome next week.
Darryl Glenn in his customary political spot: Wayyyy in the back.
Let’s be clear from the get-go here: Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is not going to defeat Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet next week. Not only is Glenn going to lose to Bennet — it’s a good bet that Glenn will lose by more than 20 points, which would exceed the combined margin of victory in the last four U.S. Senate races in Colorado combined.
Reality aside, we fully expect Glenn to declare victory in the 2016 Senate race at some point in the next eight days. Claiming victory against Bennet would be the obvious next step for a candidate who would once again have you believe that a new poll miraculously shows a blowout race to be coming down to the wire.
Here’s an excerpt from another Glenn fundraising email that we received this morning:
Glenn doesn’t actually link to a specific poll in today’s fundraising email, though there is apparently some new data from YouGov indicating a five-point margin between the candidates. We haven’t bothered to look at the methodologies of this new poll because it is so far removed from the trend lines in this race that it defies credibility. According to Real Clear Politics, there are 17 available polls on Colorado’s Senate race dating back to July; 11 of these polls show Bennet with a double-digit lead over Glenn. There were six public polls in this race conducted during the month of October, and even if you include the results of this dubious YouGov poll, Bennet still averages a 12-point advantage over Glenn.
Campaign time is almost up for Glenn, the man we’ve called the “Worst Statewide Candidate in Colorado History.” If he wants to spend his last week as a U.S. Senate candidate pretending to be on the doorstep of victory…well, whatever. Reality will intervene soon enough.
As CNN reports, Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is increasingly shifting her campaign resources toward helping Democrats in winning close Congressional seats around the country:
After nearly five months of ripping into Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton suddenly has a new list of enemies on the campaign trail: Republican candidates in competitive down-ballot races.
Clinton’s pivot is an unmistakable sign that she and her top aides have never felt more confident about victory on November 8…
…Determined to capitalize on her opponent’s her opponent’s recent struggles, Clinton has picked up her pace of campaigning, and in the final two weeks of the 2016 race, she will crisscross the country to vouch for Democrats in tough congressional races.
Her ultimate goal is to secure a Democratic-controlled Senate — crucial to a Clinton administration’s ability to set an aggressive first-term agenda.
President Barack Obama is also turning up the heat in several competitive Congressional battles around the country. Obama directly criticized Republican Rep. Darrell Issa at a fundraiser in La Jolla, California on Sunday. Here in Colorado today, Obama formally endorsed Democrat Morgan Carroll in CD-6. As the Aurora Sentinel reports, here’s the full statement of Obama’s endorsement:
“I’m proud to endorse Morgan Carroll for the United States House of Representatives,” Obama said. “Over the last eight years, we’ve made tremendous strides towards making our nation safer, stronger, and fairer, but it’s clear that to continue this progress, we need to send more commonsense leaders like Morgan Carroll to Congress to get things done for the middle class. Morgan Carroll is a champion for Colorado families — fighting for good-paying jobs and better wages, and isn’t afraid to take on the tough fights, like defending a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions, passing tough campaign finance and lobbying reform laws, making sure we keep our sacred promises to our nation’s veterans and their families, and addressing the crushing burden of student loan debt felt by so many Colorado students. Morgan Carroll is the kind of tough and smart leader who will build on all we’ve accomplished and take our nation forward, and that’s why I know Coloradans can count on Morgan Carroll.”
Coffman is touting his own list of endorsements, though they are decidedly less interesting than President Obama’s backing:
Coffman rolled out his own partisan praise last week, announcing the endorsement of area Republican mayors and county commissioners.
We wrote last week that the worst-case-scenario for Republicans was that disaffected GOP voters just wouldn’t bother voting at all. But if Obama and Clinton are confident enough about the top of the ticket with two weeks left that they are going to focus their efforts on down-ballot races…well, the worst-case-scenario for Republicans might have changed significantly.
If you are a Republican or a supporter of Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, here’s the good news: Glenn isn’t losing by 20 points (yet).
Just one week after Glenn laughably claimed that he was running in a “virtual tie” with Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver), Quinnipiac University released new polling data on Colorado’s Senate race that pretty much confirms what everyone else already knew:
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet leads El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, the Republican challenger 56 – 38 percent, widening a 52 – 43 percent lead September 23…
…Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet has a 62 – 30 percent lead among independent likely voters. He gets Democrats 95 – 1 percent, while Republicans go to Darryl Glenn 90 – 9 percent.
Bennet also leads among men, women, white and non-white voters. [Pols emphasis]
Sure, Sen. Bennet may have a lead among people of every sex and race, but there’s no indication that Glenn has lost support among asexual reptiles.
If the 2016 election is as rigged as Donald Trump claims, can we just go ahead and declare Hillary Clinton the winner and save everyone a few weeks of yammering? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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.
TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► Your ballot is in the mail (probably). Election officials began mailing out ballots on Monday, which means Coloradans could be casting their 2016 votes as soon as Wednesday. For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location. Denver7 also includes a good list of election-related information.
That’s reason enough for us to roll out another Debate Diary. Let’s get ready to bumbllleeee…
*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.
Final Thoughts This was the Denver Broncos versus Bell Middle School in football. Michael Bennet answered questions directly, provided context and detail, and looked and sounded like…a Senator. Darryl Glenn could not have been more overmatched. He was petulant and silly, insisting on pushing irrelevant points to the detriment of his own time that could have been used to answer questions. Bennet is going to defeat Glenn by a wide margin in November, and as we saw in this debate, he very well should.
History may be made in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race (Michael Bennet, left, and Darryl Glenn).
As we mentioned today in writing about the new Monmouth University poll, Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) continues to widen his polling lead over Republican challenger Darryl Glenn.
According to Monmouth, Bennet now leads Glenn by an eye-popping 18-point margin (53-35), with Bennet picking up five more points since the last Monmouth poll in July. To put this in perspective, the total margin of victory in the last four Colorado Senate races works out to 18 points.
In other words, polling numbers show Bennet beating Glenn by at least as much as the margin in the last four Senate races combined.
Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is not the most accessible candidate in Colorado. Glenn easily (and surprisingly) won the June Republican Primary for the U.S. Senate nomination, but since then he’s been harder to track down than an Hispanic female supporter of Donald Trump.
Glenn likes to spend his campaign time speaking only in front of friendly audiences, which is why he has shunned most Colorado reporters and is rarely seen outside of highly-partisan right-wing events. With just a few weeks left until ballots drop in Colorado, Glenn is turning to Facebook to spread his anti-collaboration message.
Glenn is answering questions during a “live” town hall event on Facebook that was scheduled to begin at 3:00 today. Glenn has been in Washington D.C. this week, and he took some time during his travels to shoot an incredibly-awkward video promoting his Facebook outreach.
Here’s Glenn standing in front of The Capitol Hill Club (?) in Washington D.C., pretending not to be reading off of a script or teleprompter or something. Enjoy!
“I look forward to being your next Senator…[pause]…In Colorado.”
Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate Lily Tang Williams.
As the Grand Junction Sentinel’sCharles Ashbyreports, they’ll have three podiums on stage for next Saturday’s Club 20 U.S. Senate debate in Grand Junction–a development that might make the night’s nominal marquee event, well, more interesting than it was:
Thanks to a slight increase in the number of registered Libertarians statewide last month, the party’s candidate for U.S. Senate reached the threshold to qualify to participate in this weekend’s Club 20 debates.
Lily Tang Williams, who’s running against Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and GOP rival Darryl Glenn, will be on stage at Two Rivers Convention Center on Saturday…
Williams’ appearance at the debates won’t mark the first time a third-party candidate was allowed to participate, but the first for a statewide race in recent memory.
Even in 2010, when Democrat John Hickenlooper was running against Republican Dan Maes for governor, the third-party candidate, former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo, didn’t qualify because he had joined the American Constitution Party, which didn’t meet the 1 percent threshold.
Lily Tang Williams’ inclusion in Saturday’s U.S. Senate debate is very good news for her campaign and Libertarians in general–a minor party enjoying some added support this year as Donald Trump renders the Republican ticket toxic for a substantial number of voters who would otherwise trend GOP. But it’s also more good news for incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, since whatever support Williams attracts to her campaign will logically be subtracted from GOP nominee Darryl Glenn.
In terms of what to expect from Williams in Saturday night’s debate, she has a reputation as a fiery witness in testimony on legislation at the Colorado state capitol–especially gun legislation, which generally sees Williams testifying with room-silencing passion and intensity about growing up in communist China. The story is not always very relevant to, you know, the legislation being debated, but don’t even try to interrupt her.
Anyway, look for Williams to liven up Saturday night’s big debate in Grand Junction. Considerably.
Today we add one further alteration: We are moving Colorado from Leans Democratic to Likely Democratic. This also does not affect the Electoral College total, though it does push a competitive state further toward Clinton. Public and private polling, plus our own survey of key Democrats, Republicans, and independent journalists suggests that the GOP is not very competitive in Colorado this year. That includes the Senate race too, which we are moving from Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic. [Pols emphasis] Sen. Michael Bennet (D), a very close winner in 2010, should be able to run ahead of Clinton against an underfunded Republican opponent, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, who national Republicans appear to have written off.
This isn’t a huge surprise, of course, but it is noteworthy to see that there is a consensus opinion forming that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver), once the top incumbent target of Senate Republicans, is no longer even considered vulnerable in 2016.
Even though the 2016 Democratic Party platform will have a weak statement against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, I am not convinced that some of our members of Congress, particularly Senator Michael Bennet will heed their advice. In spite of the fact that virtually every labor and environmental group opposes the deal, President Obama wholeheartedly supports it. In fact, he’s its biggest promoter and wants its passage in order to solidify his legacy. So do all of the Republicans who currently control both houses of Congress. And that’s what makes me think that they will attempt to pass the TPP during a lame duck session after the election. That way, those who are leaving Congress cannot be held accountable and those who remain will be the furthest away, in time, from their next election. There will be plenty of time for people to forget. In Bennet’s case, six years.
Bennet has been a supporter of TPP from the start. And recently, he was reminded of that fact when he became the only member of the Congressional delegation from Colorado that did not receive the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.
Based on what I have seen from Sen. Bennet’s actions in the past, I have to think that he would gladly vote for passage of the TPP during a lame duck session. I hope he has the good sense to change his position and vote NO if it does come to a vote. But I doubt that he will unless the folks who sent him to Washington in the first place let him know where they stand. I stand opposed to the TPP and, since the TPA rules do not allow it to be amended in any way, it should not come to a vote at any time, particularly during a lame duck session. And if it does, Sen. Bennet needs to vote NO.
If anybody reading this post has a chance to ask Sen. Bennet whether he will vote for or against the TPP during a lame duck session, please let it be known what he says. I would love to hear that this is a non-issue. But in the meantime, if you have the same sneaking suspicion that I do, that Sen. Bennet will vote to pass the TPP during a lame ducks session, please take a minute to add your name to Sen. Bernie Sanders petition by following this link.
Sen. Michael Bennet at Chimney Rock National Monument.
A press release from the Sierra Club this morning announces an endorsement that’s both unsurprising and significant:
Today, the Sierra Club announced its endorsement of Colorado Senator Michael Bennet for re-election.
“The Sierra Club is proud to endorse Senator Bennet for re-election,” said Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune. “For the past seven years, the Senator has worked tirelessly to protect America’s treasured public lands, expand our rapidly growing clean energy economy, and tackle the threat of climate change. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Senator Bennet to preserve places like Camp Hale, transition to clean, renewable energy, and prevent further climate disruption.”
Since taking office, Senator Bennet has been a vocal advocate for tackling climate change head-on, protecting our public lands and waterways, and increasing clean energy technology like wind and solar.
“The Sierra Club has been a crucial partner on our work to protect natural treasures like Browns Canyon, Hermosa Creek and Chimney Rock, as well as helping to grow our state’s renewable energy economy,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “Coloradans understand the importance of clean air, clean water and clean energy to our everyday lives and environment. Together, we’ll win in November and keep working on collaborative solutions to protect Colorado and our planet for future generations.”
As a comparatively moderate Democrat, support from trusted conservation organizations like the Sierra Club greatly helps Sen. Michael Bennet shore up support within the Democrat base. It’s not like those voters would be likely to support any of the Republican primary contenders, but lingering bad feelings from Bennet’s primary victory in 2010–and of course Bennet’s middle-road voting record–could depress enthusiasm.
Between support from major players that voters recognize and the specter of any of the Republican alternatives, we’d guess that Bennet’s “base problems” won’t be much of a problem by the fall.
As the Colorado Independent’sCorey Hutchinsreports, Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined with fellow Democrats this week in a day-long filibuster to call attention to the need for enhanced gun safety legislation following last weekend’s terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida:
Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, up for re-election in Colorado this fall, joined 30 of his Democratic colleagues in D.C. for a filibuster about gun laws [Wednesday] following the latest massacre, this time in Orlando, which left a bloody mark as the worst single-gunman mass shooting in U.S. history…
When Bennet took the floor, he talked about the difference between the ways Colorado lawmakers and Congress have reacted to gun violence. Colorado has passed new laws; Congress has not.
“Unlike Washington, in Colorado our legislators actually rose to the occasion to take some tough decisions … they got together and they actually strengthened our background check system. Colorado’s legislature closed the gun show loophole and the internet loophole and required a background check for every gun sale,” Bennet said.
The Senator then ran down the list of what that has meant for Colorado in practice within the past year.
“I want to be precise about this,” he said, noting that in 2015 background checks had blocked 7,714 people from buying guns, a figure that made up about 2 percent of the applications for firearms purchases.
Those within that 2 percent included murderers, rapists, domestic abusers and kidnappers who were denied guns because of the new rules, Bennet said.
“Is there anyone who is going to come to the floor of the United States Senate and say that Colorado is worse off because we’ve kept guns out of the hands of murderers or kidnappers or rapists?” he asked. “This isn’t mythical. This is the actual fact of what’s going on in a Western state that has background checks.” [Pols emphasis]
Bennet’s defense of Colorado’s landmark gun laws is in fact very important to the national debate now taking place over strengthening federal gun safety laws. One of the most critical reforms sought nationally has been standard practice in Colorado in part since 2000 and fully since 2013: universal background checks, both on gun purchases made at gun shows (2000’s post-Columbine Amendment 22) and on most private transfers of guns outside immediate family members (2013’s House Bill 1229).
Colorado’s experience with closing loopholes that allowed weapons to be purchased without a background check has shown that these are workable policies that do result in thousands of gun sales to criminals being stopped–both outright denied purchases, as well as the deterrent effect of having the policy in place. That a Western state like Colorado with its long tradition of gun ownership can successfully implement strict background checks on gun sales shows it can be done nationally–neutralizing a key argument of the gun lobby against them. Politically, Colorado is increasingly a model for passing gun safety legislation and then successfully weathering fierce political reprisals from gun rights zealots. After the high water mark of the 2013 recall elections, the new laws have notably failed to become the cautionary tale the gun lobby wanted them to be.
As desperate as the gun lobby was to stop Colorado’s push to tighten gun laws after the Aurora theater massacre, or failing that to at least contain their spread by exacting a heavy and lasting political toll, their failure is evident with each horrific killing spree. At least for a little while, the conversation inevitably comes back to the easy availability of military weapons that can cut down dozens of people effortlessly. Colorado didn’t want to take the lead on gun safety, it was a responsibility placed on our state by events no one would ever wish for.
When the rest of America is ready, Colorado will still be the model.
Colorado Republicans have endured weeks upon weeks (upon weeks) of positively brutal headlines as the race for the Republican Senate nomination enters its final month, so we can understand why some in the GOP would be overjoyed to come across some negative news about Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.
Before we get to bursting the GOP’s bubble on this particular piece of Bennet news, let us pause to allow our Republican friends to bask in the dim glow of this story from the Denver Post:
The Colorado AFL-CIO dealt a surprising rebuke to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet over the weekend when the union federation declined to endorse the Democratic incumbent in his bid for re-election.
Bennet was the only Democratic lawmaker in Colorado’s congressional delegation who failed to gain the support of the state’s AFL-CIO chapter…
…Sam Gilchrist, executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said the vote on Bennet was close, but that he fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed for an endorsement because too many union members were unhappy with Bennet’s support of a measure last year that gives the White House more power to cut international trade deals.
That authority is broadly seen as a pathway for the Obama administration to approve a new agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would ease trade barriers among 12 Pacific Rim countries, from the U.S. and Canada to Japan and Chile.
While the Colorado AFL-CIO declined to endorse Bennet’s re-election campaign because of the Senator’s perceived support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Bennet hasn’t exactly been bullish on the idea, either. As the Colorado Independent reports:
Bennet has not yet taken a public position on TPP.
But Bennet voted on a measure giving Obama the authority to “fast track” negotiations for it and other global trade agreements, and Bennet has drawn fire from the AFL-CIO for his stance on trade before. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come out against TPP.
Failing to lock up the endorsement of the Colorado AFL-CIO is certainly not a positive development for Bennet, but it’s not nearly as problematic for 2016 as Republicans would like you to believe. Bennet is a moderate Democrat who goes about his business on Capitol Hill as a moderate Democrat would be expected to act. Bennet’s moderate credentials may not make him beloved by the liberal Democrats in Colorado, but he is who he is. Maintaining his centrist approach to the Senate is a big part of the reason why he is widely favored to win re-election this fall.
Bennet may not get the official support of the Colorado AFL-CIO, but he should have plenty of backing from other labor groups who prefer Bennet over any of his Republicans challengers. Concerns about the TPP issue as a political millstone are overblown as well; you may recall that Bennet supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline in 2015, yet still received the endorsement of prominent environmental groups such as the League of Conservation Voters and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The very fact that the AFL-CIO felt comfortable enough to not support Bennet also bodes well for progressive politics in Colorado. The AFL-CIO made its point with Bennet; the message was received and understood, but not at the expense of mortally wounding the only swing-state incumbent Democratic Senator up for re-election this year.