The Things Republicans Say in Campaign Forums

Victor Mitchell

The Colorado Hispanic Republicans hosted a forum for GOP candidates for Governor on Wednesday in Westminster, and while frontrunners Walker Stapleton and Tom Tancredo did not participate, there were several noteworthy moments (Stapleton was never confirmed for the event; Tancredo was apparently absent because of the flu). Republican candidates in attendance included Victor Mitchell, Cynthia Coffman, Mitt Romney’s Nephew, Greg Lopez, and Steve Barlock.

We’re not going to bother writing about anything that Lopez, Barlock or Mitt’s Nephew had to say, because nobody cares. Instead, we’ll focus on some of the comments from Mitchell and Coffman (Mitchell won the Hispanic Republican straw poll, BTW). Let’s get started…

One of the highlights of the evening came early in the forum after a question about reforming PERA (the Public Employees Retirement Association). Check out what Victor Mitchell had to say in response to a question about whether or not PERA faces a crisis and what policy steps should/could be taken (around the 50 minute mark):

VICTOR MITCHELL: So, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree. I don’t think PERA is in crisis – I think PERA is challenged. [Pols emphasis] And it’s a serious problem facing our state…

…If they got a zero rate of return for the next 16 years, they could meet all of their current beneficiary benefits…

…This all can be fixed, statutorily. That’s the good news. I’ve put forward a very specific plan to reform PERA. First and foremost, the beneficiaries will be untouched. The people who are about to retire within the last 10 years and are currently receiving their last 3 year average benefits, we’re going to change that to the last 10 years. And then for people who have less than 10 years of state service, we’re going to change them to a 401k-like defined-benefit plan.

This is a very significant point from Mitchell – that PERA is not in crisis – because it is a clear break from what Republican lawmakers and other top officials have been saying recently. This is also an obvious attempt by Mitchell at differentiating himself from Stapleton, who has staked his political career on his general opposition to PERA’s funding mechanisms. Mitchell needs to find opportunities to stand out from the other top Republican candidates, and it is a smart strategy to appear as more of a defender for the 100,000 or so PERA beneficiaries in Colorado and the tens of thousands of people who are counting on future PERA benefits for their retirement years. There are a sizable number of voters worried about PERA who could make a difference in a Republican Primary for Mitchell.

Moving along to the 1:24:00 mark, here’s Coffman talking about her frustration with so-called “sanctuary cities” and the lack of progress on immigration policy in Congress:

CYNTHIA COFFMAN: If I sound frustrated, imagine how President Trump feels every night when he lays his head down on his pillow and waits for Congress to do something about immigration reform.

Yes, weep for President Trump.

At about the 1:31:00 mark, Mitchell gets to answer a question about higher education. He starts off well, but then…this:

VICTOR MITCHELL: You want to change a kid who is at-risk? You take them out of high school, you get them into college and remediate them and get them a degree in electrical engineering or physics. [Pols emphasis] Day one, they’re making $80,000 a year or sometimes even higher. It takes a kid from a poor environment immediately into the middle class. It changes their lives. It also gives them a foundation to do more with their life – to think bigger, and bolder, most especially with young girls. We are hardly graduating any young girls. My plan – I’m going to triple the amount of STEM graduates. I’m also going to take on the cost of student housing, which is about a third of the cost of sending a kid to college.

Let’s repeat: The way to help at-risk kids in high school is to just advance them to college and make them earn a degree in electrical engineering or physics. We’re guessing Mitchell hasn’t met a lot of “at-risk kids” in his life.

Let’s jump ahead now to the 1:54:00 mark, where Mitchell makes the case that he will not be beholden to special interests if elected:

VICTOR MITCHELL: I’m a friend of the oil and gas industry, but you know, when they came to me and wanted to donate money, you know what I told them? To take their money and shove it. I’m not taking any special interest money whatsoever.

We understand the point he’s trying to make here, but it’s still funny to say that you told “friends” to “take their money and shove it.”

Moving ahead to the 2:07:00 mark, we find Cynthia Coffman once again expressing relief that Donald Trump is President. This is interesting because Coffman tends to vacillate on expressing support for Trump with telling reporters that Colorado voters actually wish Hillary Clinton had been elected President.

CYNTHIA COFFMAN: I don’t worry nearly so much about federal overreach…as much as I did during the Obama administration…We are in a much better position with a Republican President, in President Trump, so that is a great relief.

And, finally, at around the 2:14:00 mark, we find Coffman saying that being onstage as a female candidate for Governor is “a pop of color.”

CYNTHIA COFFMAN: I love this question of what makes me unique among other candidates. I am the pop of color on stage. Being a woman is obviously significant because I am the only woman candidate for the Republican Party. But it is certainly not the most important thing about my or my candidacy.

And there you have it.

Progressive leaders say Democratic Party should shun abortion opponents

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Directors of 18 progressive organizations called on Democrats yesterday not to welcome or accommodate anti-choice policy makers in their party.

“Rather than accommodate policy-makers who will support the very same attacks on women that we spend so much time fighting, we must protect access to abortion as a reproductive right contained in the Democratic Party Platform,” wrote directors of ProgressNow and other organizations in a letter to the Democratic National Committee. “Lip service won’t suffice.”

“Women deserve an unwavering commitment to securing reproductive autonomy for all, regardless of income level or geography, so that every person in our nation has the right to decide if, when and how to start a family,” the letter continued. “It’s not just the right thing to do, it is our responsibility as progressives.”

ProgressNow Colorado Director Ian Silverii signed the letter, along with leaders of ProgressNow and other organizations in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas, and elsewhere.

Abortion opponents greeted the letter with disgust.

Former Colorado Springs State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, who’s ardently anti-choice, urged Catholics and evangelicals to never vote for Democrats again.

(more…)

Fundraising Numbers for Attorney General Race

There are six candidates running for Attorney General in 2018 — and five of them are Democrats. Any Democrat not named Phil Weiser can really only hope to make the ballot via the caucus/assembly process because they won’t likely have enough money for petition gathering.

SORE THUMBS (OR, WHAT STICKS OUT)
Democrat Phil Weiser is really, really, really good at raising money. Fellow Democrat Joe Salazar is really, really, really bad at raising money. Republican George Brauchler raised about as much money over the Holidays as he had raised in the previous three months as a candidate for Governor.

Fundraising Numbers for State Treasurer Race

If you combined the cash-on-hand numbers for the bottom seven candidates seeking the office of State Treasurer, you still wouldn’t have $85,000.

SORE THUMBS (OR, WHAT STICKS OUT)
There are a gazillion candidates running for State Treasurer, but based on campaign finance reports, there’s really only three who seem to have a chance at being competitive: Republicans Brian Watson and Polly Lawrence, and Democrat Dave Young. But because both Watson and Lawrence are petitioning on to the ballot, there will be room in the GOP Primary for at least 2 more Republicans to gain ballot access via the caucus/assembly process.

A quick note on Democrat Steve Lebsock: His campaign for State Treasurer didn’t raise a dime after October 17 (sexual harassment allegations against Lebsock first surfaced in early November). Lebsock’s entire contribution report for Q4 consists of four entries.

Oh, and Justin Everett barely outraised Lebsock.

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…

NOTES
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.

 

SORE THUMBS (OR, WHAT STICKS OUT)
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.

A reporter explains, in 33 tweets, why it’s so important to subscribe to The Denver Post. Please do so.

Veteran Denver Post reporter John Ingold banged out a beautiful tweet storm Monday about why it’s so important to subscribe to The Denver Post.

Click here and do it now (first month is 99 cents), and here are Ingold’s tweets. (Ingold is the health and medicine reporter for The Post.)

Ingold: Friends, we are undergoing an exciting change here at The Denver Post, but it might not seem like a great deal at first. Please give me a minute to convince you otherwise… (Thread 1/?)

Starting today, we are limiting how many stories you can read online for free and asking — begging — you to buy a digital subscription. It’s a good deal: $11.99 per month. [even better is the 99 cent deal for the first month.]

But it’s also something much more than access to articles. It’s an investment in your community.

The Denver Post is not nearly as big as it was, and it doesn’t cover as much ground. That makes me sad, too. But it’s still the state’s biggest news organization, it’s part of Colorado’s history and it produces dozens of important stories every year you won’t see elsewhere.

Remember @KSimpsonDP’s heartfelt portrait of the practical flaws in Colorado’s aid-in-dying law?

Or @JBrownDPost’s searing reporting on immigrants who have to wait until they are near death before they can get dialysis?

What about our Colorado Divide series showing how rural Colorado is being left behind — a conversation that @GovofCO picked up in last week’s State of the State address? https://www.denverpost.com/tag/colorado-divide/ …

I’ve been here 17 years, and in that time laws have been passed, bad people have gone to jail, crimes have been thwarted and good lives have been saved because of the work of The Denver Post.

I’m not exaggerating this. I once wrote a story about a woman suffering from HIV/AIDS and chronic pain. She felt alone, abandoned. Years later, I saw her again and she looked amazing. And she told me that our story, photos and video saved her life — by showing her someone cared.

But here’s the thing about all these good works: As much as we at The Denver Post want to think of ourselves as a nonprofit community organization, we aren’t. We’re a business owned by a New York hedgefund that demands it gets its cut every year.

And death is on our heels.

The basics of our looming death are familiar: Advertisers are leaving print media, and pretty much every newspaper in America — including the New York Times — is seeing declines in print advertising dollars.

We and just about everyone else have tried to compensate for those losses by putting greater emphasis on online advertising. There’s a reason the company that owns us is called Digital First Media. But this won’t work.

Why? Because it does two things. First, it gives a lot of power to the tech platforms where readers find us — like Google and Facebook. And those platforms have been making decisions that stab virtual knives in our backs.

Take, for instance, Google’s latest changes to discourage websites from hosting auto-play and take-over ads. That’s great, right? I hate those things!…

…Except, annoying as they were, those ads brought in money that helped sustain our journalism.

Or what about Facebook’s newly announced changes to the news feed — designed to make you interact more with friends and family?…

…Well, they mean you’ll be seeing (and clicking) fewer Denver Post stories. Right now, Facebook accounts for about 13% of the traffic to my stories.

There’s another thing this focus on digital ad revenue does: It can warp news judgment and news values.

Think about what kinds of stories you want your local newspaper to cover. Does that list include Golden Globes red carpet slideshows? What about bizarre crimes committed by Florida Man? In a model where clicks = cash, you’ll likely see a lot of those latter stories.

Here’s an example: I’ve spent much of the last six months writing about health policy, Medicaid, CHIP, and Obamacare — big state and national issues that affect a lot of people. What’s my most-clicked story? A goofy thing about eclipse glasses.

Meanwhile, this story looking at what Colorado Medicaid is doing to reduce opioid overdoses got fewer than 1,000 clicks.

I get that it’s wonky and incremental and not at all sexy. But here’s the question: Would you rather have someone reporting on this kind of thing or not? Because that’s the choice. It’s not between fun stories and dull ones. It’s between community-centered journalism and oblivion

There might be quality publications that can make a business model based on online ads work. But they will be national ones, with enormous reader pools to draw from. Local publications don’t have that advantage.

And the hedgefunds taking over local media don’t care. They want revenue. If that means fewer stories about the local city council and more about celebrity sideboob, that’s what it means.

So what’s the solution? We need to join our community values as journalists with a business model for which those values are rewarded. We need to be able to make money *because* we (and you) care about our city. And this is where you come in.

This isn’t a charity pitch. If you pay for a Denver Post subscription, you’re getting more than symbolic value in return. You’ll be getting articles that help you make more knowledgeable decisions and be a more informed voter.

But you’ll also be making a statement that the people and the stories in your community matter, that they’re worth hearing. That you want someone watchdogging city council meetings. That you care about the consequences of state policy.

And because you’re paying for everything together, your money is supporting ALL of our work. Some months you want to read about the Broncos. Others about groundwater pollution. Either way, we’ll have you covered, and a reporter’s beat won’t depend on a few clicks here or there.

This also, frankly, gives you greater power to shape the news coverage in your community. You don’t like something we did? Great, because you’re not just a click on the website, you’re a subscriber! Call us up and give us an earful and demand that we listen.

There are a lot of great news organizations in this state and all of them are worth supporting. This isn’t an either/or. Watch the TV newscasts. Contribute to public radio. Read the alternative publications. Everybody is out there for sincere reasons.

But I can’t state this any more clearly: If you want to see a future where there’s a Denver Post in Denver, buying a digital subscription now is the best idea we have to make sure that happens.

I hope you agree, and, at the very least, I appreciate you humoring me for this tweetstorm. Thank you for reading over the years. Thank you for caring about Colorado. Thank you for thinking about subscribing: https://checkout.denverpost.com/subscriptionpanel … (Thread: End/Phew!)

Thanks everybody for the thoughtful replies to this thread! It’s so heartening to see how many people care about local journalism. Plus, an update: We’re running a special where you can get your first month’s access to The Denver Post for 99 cents:

More Signs of Coming Democratic Wave in 2018

For months Republicans have been shuddering at the thought of a terrible 2018 election year. The news got a lot worse on Tuesday night when a Democrat won a special election in Wisconsin for a state senate seat in a district that Donald Trump carried by 17 points in 2016.

As the Washington Post explains, Republicans significantly outspent Democrats in Wisconsin’s 10th District but could not find a way to defeat Democrat Patty Schachtner:

Unlike with Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race, the Trump team cannot blame a flawed candidate. The GOP nominee, Adam Jarchow, is a solid assemblyman who ran a spirited campaign. Four years ago, in fact, he won his seat by defeating Schachtner’s son and has worked hard since then to cultivate a base of support…

…Schachtner is the sort of candidate who can actually defeat GOP incumbents in red congressional districts this fall. She has deep roots in the community, and she is not a fire-breathing liberal.

Her campaign focused not on attacking Trump but fighting the opioid crisis, improving access to health care and bringing good-paying jobs to the region. She didn’t need to talk about the president to benefit from an outpouring of progressive energy and conservative apathy.

Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker called Tuesday’s results “a wake up call” for the GOP. Democrats have already picked up 34 seats across the country in the 2018 election cycle.

Durango Herald in “partnership” with ColoradoPolitics for legislative and political coverage from Denver

The Durango Herald appears to have axed its much-admired, one-person Denver bureau, once staffed by legends like Joe Hanel then Peter Marcus, in favor of relying on “legislative and political coverage” from ColoradoPolitics, which like the Colorado Springs Gazette, is owned by Phil Anschutz’s Clarity Media.

In a post Thursday, Herald Editor Amy Maestas wrote that the new “partnership” with ColoradoPolitics will “expand the political coverage we bring our readers” with both print an online-only stories.

The Durango Herald has a long-standing commitment to providing our readers in Southwest Colorado news about our lawmakers and the state Legislature. For many years, the Herald had a one-person bureau in Denver to write stories about legislation and issues pertinent to our corner of the state. Those full-time Herald staff reporters were invaluable as coverage from statewide news outlets dwindled.

To continue that commitment, we are pleased to announce a new partnership with Colorado Politics, which will now provide our legislative and political coverage from Denver. Colorado Politics is a print and online publication that launched in January 2017. The news outlet is owned by Denver-based Clarity Media – the same company that owns the The Gazette in Colorado Springs. The Gazette’s editor, Vince Bzdek, is also editor of Colorado Politics…

This summer, Colorado Politics hired two writers to report on legislators and issues from the Western Slope. This includes La Plata and Montezuma counties. Under the leadership of lead reporter Joey Bunch, Colorado Politics journalists will provide daily coverage of statehouse activities, as well as follow the activities of state Sen. Don Coram and state Rep. Barbara McLachlan.

Maestas stops a millimeter short here from saying the Herald’s Denver bureau has been shuttered, and she did not immediately return an email seeking to confirm the death of the bureau. The Herald’s last known Denver Bureau Staffer, Luke Perkins, isn’t filing stories from Denver.

I also asked Maestas if she was paying for the ColoradoPolitics content, if she had concerns about the fact that GOP mega donor Phil Anschutz owns ColoradoPolitics, and if she’d gotten any reader feedback on the arrangement. Is she providing content to ColoradoPolitics?

My take on Anschutz’s ownership: we have no choice but to trust the journalists who work at ColoradoPolitics to alert us if he undermines their ability to practice journalism due to his partisan goals. Right now, there are clearly journalists on staff there who wouldn’t let Anschutz get away with too much.

Asked if ColoradoPolitics has similar relationships with other newspapers, Bunch said via email that his news site may partner with other rural outlets in the future.

The Durango Herald was one of the last rural newspapers in Colorado to staff a Denver/Capitol office. The Grand Junction Sentinel has a presence in Denver, in the venerable Charles Ashby. The Greeley Tribune keeps a few toes in Denver. The Fort Collins Coloradoan pretty much ended its coverage with the departure of the equally venerable Patrick Malone in 2013. The legislative coverage of the Colorado Springs Gazette, helmed previously by Megan Schrader and, before her, John Schroyer, has morphed into ColoradoPolitics.

Conversely, The Denver Post closed its last rural bureau in 2015, with the departure of Nancy Lofolm from the Grand Junction bureau.

What you can do to fight back this week (January 16)

Holding the powerful accountable and fighting for the rights of everyone is not always the easy choice. Here in Denver, a city considered progressive and innovative by so many yardsticks, there’s a conflict brewing between new growth occurring in the urban core of the city and the communities that thrived here for decades before it was fashionable. This new conflict over gentrification, urban growth, and preservation of historic communities requires the best from all of us in order to build a prosperous future that respects everyone.

This weekend, hundreds from communities threatened by gentrification in Denver came together at Shorter AME Community Church to talk about lasting solutions to these vexing problems. [1] And it wasn’t just housing costs: the whole spectrum of necessary changes, from infrastructure to equitably support the city’s growth to reforming Denver’s troubled law enforcement institutions after years of distrust and brutality, were aired comprehensively by community leaders and individual residents in an open and respectful setting.

The problems our city and state face are formidable, but so is the resolve of community to solve them. Fighting for our shared values in the last year has been about resistance, but it’s also about hope for what comes after. And being organized to accomplish good things long after Trump and the far right are a memory is another reason to be proud of today’s resistance.

Here are more ways to get involved for the week of January 16th:


One Colorado Legislative Session Kickoff

The 2018 legislative session is right around the corner and there will be several bills that will impact the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. We’re hosting a happy hour to give you an opportunity to grab a drink or two, meet pro-equality legislators, AND learn about what we’re expecting in 2018.

Where: Hudson Hill, 619 E 13th Ave, Denver
When: Tuesday, January 16 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


DREAM Together Press Conference

We are holding a community event to advocate for the clean Dream Act now! We will meet at Viking park and host a press conference at 5:30. Afterwards, we shall move to drop two banners to gain more public support for the Dream Act. Please share and invite friends to make this event as large as possible. Every person counts! We can dream together and make a clean Dream Act a reality!

Where: Viking Park, 2801 W 29th Ave, Denver
When: Wednesday, January 17 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Special Advance Screening of Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart

In the new feature-length documentary award-winning filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain explores the life and work of this passionate writer and civil-rights advocate Lorraine Hansberry, who played a significant role in the major cultural and political movements of her time. Sighted Eyes|Feeling Heart is filled with insightful on-camera interviews with those who knew her best, and rare archival material, creating a nuanced portrait of an activist and artist whose words and ideas are as relevant today as they were when she first wrote them.

Where: Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St, Denver
When: Wednesday, January 17 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Official Women’s March On Colorado: One Year Anniversary

We will gather beginning at 8:30 AM. in Civic Center Park. The pre-rally will begin at 9 AM at the Civic Center Park Amphitheater, followed by the March at 9:30 AM and rally at noon. The map is posted at www.marchoncolorado.org.

Where: Denver’s Civic Center Park, Colfax and Bannock, Denver
When: Saturday, January 20 at 8:30am

Click here to RSVP.


Punk Against Trump feat. Anti-Flag

All ages: two dollars of every ticket purchased will go to the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition to continue promoting equality for all. Price: advanced $20 / day of show $22.

Where: Summit Music Hall, 1902 Blake St, Denver
When: Saturday, January 20 at 3:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Me, Too: The Women’s March on Colorado Springs

Join locally in solidarity with national and international Women’s Marches! Last year we made history with the largest march held in the city. This year, local organizers invite you to again show up to affirm our commitment to work together to lift up the individuals and collective identities in our community who continue to be disproportionately marginalized and targeted for acts of violence.

Where: 115 E Platte Ave, Colorado Springs
When: Sunday, January 21 at 2:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Post-Women’s March Meetup

You marched – what’s next? What will we all do after the Women’s March to create positive change in Colorado and the country? We’ve got you covered: Come join resistance groups for an informal meet and greet to learn about how you can plug in locally. Network with local progressives, share experiences, make friends, and get involved. Everyone is welcome.

Post-Women’s March Meetup – Boulder: March On The Polls
Where: West Flanders Brewing Co., 1125 Pearl St, Boulder
When: Sunday, January 21 at 6:30pm
Click here to RSVP.

Post-Women’s March Meetup – Lafayette: March On The Polls
Where: East Simpson Coffee Company, 414 E Simpson St, Lafayette
When: Sunday, January 21 at 10:00am
Click here to RSVP.

Post-Women’s March Meetup – Longmont: March On The Polls
Where: 300 Suns Brewing, 335 1st Ave, Unit C, Longmont
When: Sunday, January 21 at 6:00pm
Click here to RSVP.

Post-Women’s March Meetup for Action-Arapahoe & Douglas County
Where: Carrabba’s Italian Grill, 2088 S Abilene St, Aurora
When: Sunday, January 21 at 2:00pm
Click here to RSVP.

Post-Women’s March Meetup – Arvada: March On The Polls
Where: Standley Lake Public Library, 8485 Kipling Street, Arvada
When: Sunday, January 21 at 3:30pm
Click here to RSVP.


Remember to watch your inbox for breaking news alerts! Thanks again for everything you do to fight back. We’ll see you next week.

Tancredo to the Gazette: Do you really think Colorado Republicans are so stupid?

(The Anschutz Machine throws down – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo.

Acting as if the Republican Party in Colorado is on its death bed, the Colorado Springs Gazette trashed all the GOP gubernatorial candidates Sunday, except Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, whom the newspaper presented as the last great hope:

Republicans have an unusual opportunity to elect a governor this year. Stapleton’s primary contenders would do themselves and their party a favor by selflessly clearing the field and helping him win against the odds.

While Stapleton “has earned name recognition and has a host of leadership accomplishments to run on,” the Gazette editorial stated, the other GOP candidates are paralyzed, boring, bumbling, inexperienced, unknown, and/or clueless.

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is described as a “niche candidate with a single message,” who “invariably returns to his stark views about federal immigration enforcement.”

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman “has failed to launch a primary campaign that shows promise of traction,” states the Gazette.

“Several of the other candidates pitch mostly interchangeable platforms, lack substantial public service, and share the uphill battle of achieving name recognition,” concludes the newspaper, which is owned by Republican billionaire Phil Anschutz, through Clarity Media.

And what does Tanc, who bears the bunt of the Gazette’s criticism, have to say about it?

“Why don’t we let the people of this state figure that out.” Tancredo told KNUS radio Monday when asked to respond to the Gazette editorial. “…Do you really think the Republicans in this state don’t see the needs that we have, don’t look at this whole picture, don’t look at, you know, who would be the best candidate against a Jared Polis? And let’s let them make that decision, right?  [The Gazette is] assuming the Republicans are so stupid as to nominate me, even though no one believes I can win this thing.” [Listen here at 29 min 30 sec.]

Tancredo also told the radio station, as he has in the past, that he’d be governor today if establishment Republicans hadn’t succeeded in knocking him out of the gubernatorial race in 2014. (See related posts here and here.)

The question is, is the Gazette’s brazen desperation to stop Tancredo premature? Quite possibly, given the money flying around out there.

But you can see why the Gazette is worried. Tanc isn’t looking any weaker than he did when he jumped out the gate as the front runner to win the GOP nomination.

On Friday, 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli was the latest to unequivocally predict a Tancredo primary victory.

Gardner Now Calling Sessions A “Good Man”

(Walkin’ it on back – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is continuing to soften his threat to block Justice Department nominees if U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions won’t reverse his decision to undermine pot legalization in Colorado and elsewhere.

In a radio interview Wednesday, Gardner called U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions a “good man” and said he’s now giving Trump’s Justice Department time to provide pot “enforcement priorities that we need” and to “work with us to protect those states’ rights.”

 KNUS radio host Dan Caplis: Your blocking of certain Justice Department appointments until Senator Sessions does what he had promised you he would do. Where does that stand now?

Gardner: Well, I think we have to have an understanding from what then-Senator Sessions had told us, and why it is different today. Because I think there are – not just me, but a number of other Senators who were told one thing, and it turns out that another action was taken. So, we have to have an understanding of why that is the case. And I think we’ll hopefully have that. And I also think this gives us a chance to give the Department of Justice time to provide the transparency and enforcement priorities that we need, and can work with us to protect those states’ rights.

Look, in 2016, when Trump came to CO, he said he was going to protect states’ rights, and he would not use federal powers to do this. And so, under the several provisions that we’ve talked about tonight, I think we can help make sure that President Trump’s word is kept in Colorado.

Gardner got national media attention for his threat last week, delivered from the floor of the U.S. Senate,  to block Justice Department nominations in response to Sessions’ decision to rescind an Obama-era policy allowing states to legalize marijuana without federal intervention to stop it.

After his angry floor speech, in an interview with MSNBC, Gardner clarified that he would not block the nomination of judges, stating, “Look, it’s the DOJ appointees. I’m assuming U.S. Marshalls, U.S. Attorneys as well.”

Gardner, who also told MSNBC that he’s never smoked pot, took an even more conciliatory response after meeting with Sessions Wednesday.

(more…)

Colorado Week in Review: 1/12/18

Your deliberately oversimplified glance at what happened in Colorado this week.

Domestic Violence, Alcohol, and Running for Governor

“When did you stop beating your wife” is one of the most well-known “loaded questions” in the English language. In a strange new video, Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez is the first politician in memory who actually answers that question.

In this video posted to YouTube on January 7 by “Greg Lopez for Colorado Governor,” Greg and Lisa Lopez discuss a domestic violence incident from 1993 in which they admit to physically assaulting each other. The video is a bizarre play on the #MeToo movement that is partially about having an open discussion of domestic violence and the importance of counseling…but also a pretty obvious attempt at generating some publicity for a campaign for governor.

Lopez is a former Mayor of Parker who made a half-hearted effort to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2016 (Lopez didn’t have enough support to come close to getting his name on the Primary ballot). Lopez is now making another no-shot bid for statewide office which isn’t likely to advance beyond his apparent ability to influence a GOP county straw poll, and this video is an uncomfortable attempt at making news. The entire video is 9 minutes and 20 seconds of mostly broad generalities about domestic violence and marriage counseling, with a significant helping of political posturing for good measure. Here are some of the, uh, highlights:

(:25 second mark)
LISA LOPEZ: Over 24 years ago, that [domestic violence] happened to us in our marriage, and in a twist of irony, it made us stronger in our marriage…stronger as individuals. We learned a lot from it. We grew. Our marriage has survived for this long because we learned to work together, love each other, and respect one another.

GREG LOPEZ: A lot of people out there might be asking, ‘why are we talking about this?’ We’re talking about this because it’s important, and we want everybody out there to know that we don’t condone any type of violence in any home, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of wealth, regardless of what it is [sic]. This kind of issue does not discriminate.

(2:25 mark)
LISA LOPEZ: When Greg becomes Governor, we want to bring this to the forefront. [Pols emphasis]

(2:40 mark)
GREG LOPEZ: It happened one time, and this is a very traumatic event for anyone to go through. But really, the test of love, the test of character, is how you come out of it. And we are united. We are a team. We have been traveling the state. We’ve been talking to people. We’ve been listening. And we just hope that you listen to us, as we share with you, some of the challenges that we’ve faced in our marriage, and most importantly, how we were able to come out on the other side.

(4:00 mark)
GREG LOPEZ: Alcohol is something that we should all be careful about when we utilize it. Not only is it causing a lot of injuries and deaths on the highways, but we find that alcohol oftentimes can alter the judgment of people. I had been drinking that evening. I’m not proud of it, but after nine weeks of counseling — marriage counseling — and I’m proud to say that we’ve been three times since our marriage. And it saved our marriage. And it made us stronger.

(5:24 mark)
GREG LOPEZ: For those of you who were wondering, ‘what were the charges?’ Well, we were both charged. We were both charged, and we were both held accountable, for our actions that night. But we did it together.

(6:40 mark)
LISA LOPEZ: [On talking with their children about the incident] We instilled upon them, ‘it’s okay to make a mistake. Just don’t continue to repeat it.’

(7:22 mark)
GREG LOPEZ: As Governor of Colorado, I will make sure that people understand that life is difficult. When we try to make decisions for the betterment of our families, and our state, and our children, we must always remember that family comes first…[Pols emphasis]

…On this issue of domestic violence, I can assure you: I will make sure that we do not let this issue go off into the dark without some real discussion. Because it’s important. For everyone. All ages. All generations. To know that this is something that, here in Colorado, we do not condone this, and we want to make sure that families are strong and united, and that we all work together to make Colorado a better state.

(8:26 mark)
LISA LOPEZ: As first lady, I, like Greg, I echo his sentiment. We need to bring this from the darkness to the light. We need to be there for the victims of domestic violence. [Pols emphasis]

(8:46 mark)
GREG LOPEZ: So, Lisa and I ask you, as we continue down this journey to the Governor’s Mansion, we ask for your support. [Pols emphasis]

LISA LOPEZ: We thank you for your support. Not only during the time of the campaign, but when Greg becomes Governor, we are thankful for the support of all the people of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Neither Greg nor Lisa Lopez get very specific about their domestic violence incident in the video. Here’s what the Denver Post reported on August 10, 1993:

The mayor of Parker was cited for third-degree assault and taken to a hotel after an argument with his wife allegedly escalated into domestic violence last weekend.

Greg Lopez, 29, is alleged to have pushed his wife, who is six months’ pregnant, to the floor and kicked her after she hit him on the top of his head with a closed fist Friday night, according to a police report of the incident.

Lisa Lopez, 28, was cited for harassment in the altercation.

You might be inclined to look at this video from Lopez as an attempt to get ahead of an issue that could be a strategic problem in his campaign, but that would assume that Lopez is anything more than a gadfly candidate. It’s doubtful that any other Republican campaigns have even bothered doing opposition research on Lopez, who has virtually no chance of winning the Republican nomination for Governor — let alone generating enough support to get his name on the June Primary ballot.

This video appears to be nothing more than a cheap publicity stunt dressed up as a public service announcement. It’s transparently absurd and disgusting — which makes it exactly the kind of politics that have come to define our times.

Walker Stapleton Captures Many Straws

Not a majority of all straws in existence.

The Mesa County Republican Party held a gubernatorial forum on Thursday night in Grand Junction that attracted every major Republican candidate to town.

At some point during Thursday’s event, the Mesa County Republicans held a “straw poll” vote to express their preference among the GOP candidates for Governor. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton apparently won the most straws, and his campaign was quick to pound its chest in an email announcement:

Last night we attended the Mesa County GOP Governors Straw poll. I’m so humbled by all of the support our campaign received and really enjoyed the opportunity we had to share our campaign’s vision for renewing and inspiring strength in Colorado.

The results of the straw poll were overwhelming: We won the straw poll with a sweeping majority! [Pols emphasis] Here were the totals:

Walker Stapleton      35
Greg Lopez                 16
Tom Tancredo            9
Vic Mitchell                 8
Doug Robinson          5
Cynthia Coffman       3
Steve Barlock             2

Walker Stapleton

First off, it is a bit embarrassing for Colorado’s frigging STATE TREASURER to call this straw poll win a “sweeping majority.” Stapleton received 35 votes out of a total of 78, which works out to a little less than 45%. This is not a “sweeping majority” or even a regular plain-old “majority,” which can only occur when you receive more than half of the total votes cast. Stapleton’s margin here is what people who are supposed to be familiar with numbers — you know, like State Treasurers — would call a “plurality.” What we have here is some Donald Trump inauguration crowd math.

Now, as to the rest of the results…

Yes, straw polls are largely meaningless, but they can still provide some interesting information. The most curious number here — other than the 16 votes for Greg Lopez, which is about the same number of people who supported his 2016 U.S. Senate campaign — is the fact that Cynthia Coffman only managed to pick up one vote more than Steve Barlock. Coffman is the sitting Attorney General of Colorado, and Barlock is…some guy named Steve Barlock. Heck, even Mitt Romney’s Nephew got 5 votes, and nobody even knows his real name. This isn’t a definitive problem for Coffman, but it is another bad sign for a campaign that has been trending in the wrong direction since day one.