Former state representative will consider removing fake news from her Facebook page

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

marsha looper posts fake news about muslim rape 7-17Former state Rep. Marsha Looper (R-Calhan) shared a fake news item on her Facebook page recently, with flat-out falsehoods and exaggerations about a rape that did not occur, as alleged, in Idaho

The Idaho Statesman reported:

The incident touched off months of turmoil in Twin Falls after the story was spun into a fake news account that exaggerated or flat-out falsified many of the details, including that a knife was present, the attack was perpetrated by a Syrian gang of adult men, that a rape had occurred and that the attack was celebrated by the perpetrators’ families as city officials orchestrated a cover-up.

Snopes also determined the item to be “mostly false.

See Looper’s post, from “SilenceIsConsent.net,” above.

Looper, who left office in 2012, told me today that she’d review the fact checks of the item and, if she agrees, remove it from her Facebook page.

Gardner has yet to answer his own questions about repealing Obamacare

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is now undecided on whether he’d support GOP legislation to repeal Obamacare without replacing it first, but he thinks the U.S. Senate should vote on an Obamacare measure, even if it’s likely to fail.

“I don’t think I’m going to speculate on [a straight repeal bill], because I don’t know that’s what would come up and I don’t want to say that I’m going to vote for this, that or the other before I see it and before I know what’s in it,” Gardner told The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews.

Gardner, who’s voted multiple times over the years to repeal Obamacare, sounded last week as if he was opposed to the repeal-only approach. During a radio interview, he posed questions about a repeal-only measure that he has yet to answer.

Here are Gardner’s questions that Gardner hasn’t answered:

“I think that if you repeal it now, with nothing in its place, what happens if you don’t find that replacement?” Gardner asked on the radio.

“What happens if you don’t reach that agreement?” Gardner asked on the radio.

Another question is, if you can’t answer these questions, how could you or anyone vote to repeal Obmacare?

I left a message for Gardner asking him to respond to his own questions, but I did not get a response.

Gardner wants the U.S. Senate to vote on Obamacare, one way or the other.

The Post reported:

But [Gardner] echoed other Republican leader in arguing the Senate should vote no matter what, even in the face of likely defeat.

“I don’t see why anybody should be concerned about fighting for legislation that they believe will do better than what we have,” Gardner said. “If you look back at history and you see what (Democrat and former Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid did by trying to protect his members from tough votes and making decision on big issues, it did not work.”

Gardner is scheduled to appear at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver today, an event billed as the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington DC.

Protests are planned outside of the event, at 14th and Stout Streets in Denver, beginning at 4 p.m.

Cory Gardner Outdoes Himself

UPDATE: In a separate story in the Denver PostJohn Ingold reports that any Senate decision to repeal Obamacare without a replacement plan would virtually destroy the healthcare market in Colorado:

The repeal, as proposed in the Senate, would end in 2020 the tax credits that help many people in the individual market pay for their premiums. Also that year, it would end the extra subsidies that help low-income people pay for deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

But insurers, knowing that major changes are coming to the individual market, could begin pulling back this year — or asking to charge even higher rates.

—–

Sen. Cory Gardner doesn’t understand why Senate leaders don’t stand up for what they believe in. No, seriously, he really said that.

We’re not breaking any news when we say that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has been consistently full of shit when it comes to talking about Senate GOP efforts to create the worst-possible healthcare legislation imaginable. Local media outlets have increasingly figured out Gardner’s game on discussing healthcare — which is to pretend that he doesn’t know anything about anything when he gets a tough question — but Gardner is always ready to ratchet up the nonsense to another level.

Gardner spoke to Mark Matthews for a story in the Denver Post, and, well…let’s just say that you should stretch out your eyeballs so you don’t pull a muscle:

Since being named this spring to a 13-member Republican group assigned to tackle the issue, Gardner hasn’t spoken substantially about dueling plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act — not once revealing whether he would support any of the draft versions circulating on Capitol Hill…

Gardner, for his part, said he remains undecided on both proposals, though he voiced a preference for legislation that did more than simply unwind the 2010 health care law. [Pols emphasis]

“I would prefer a solution that would be a replacement for the failing Affordable Care Act,” Gardner said.

He would not say, however, whether he would vote for a straight repeal bill — even if it were a carbon copy of the 2015 legislation that he backed while President Barack Obama was in office with the power to veto it. [Pols emphasis]

“I don’t think I’m going to speculate on that, because I don’t know that’s what would come up and I don’t want to say that I’m going to vote for this, that or the other before I see it and before I know what’s in it,” Gardner said.

Okay, get ready to roll those eyes. Here it comes…

But he echoed other Republican leader in arguing the Senate should vote no matter what, even in the face of likely defeat.

“I don’t see why anybody should be concerned about fighting for legislation that they believe will do better than what we have,” Gardner said. [Pols emphasis]

You read that correctly, folks! Cory Gardner says he doesn’t understand why anyone would be afraid to stand up for what they believe is right…just after he refuses to tell the Denver Post anything about what he believes should be done on healthcare legislation.

We don’t even know what else to say here.

Colorado Republicans Dismayed by Early Gubernatorial Sparring

GOP gubernatorial candidates: Victor Mitchell, Mitt Romney’s Nephew, and George Brauchler

As Jesse Paul writes for the Denver Post, the race for the Republican nomination for Governor in 2018 is starting to get a tad prickly:

Victor Mitchell came out swinging this week in the Republican primary for Colorado governor, questioning the fundraising practices of one GOP rival and irking another by saying attorneys “shouldn’t be anywhere near the executive branch of government.”

It’s one of the first times that a candidate has gone negative in the fledgling fight for governor, and Mitchell, a millionaire businessman who served one term in the state legislature, said he doesn’t regret criticizing fellow Republicans Doug Robinson and George Brauchler.

“We have to be level with the citizens of Colorado,” Mitchell said. “The voters of Colorado deserve honest, straight-talking elected officials. We’ve got to stop pandering and start leading.”

But the barbs have touched a nerve among some Republican insiders, who said Mitchell’s early turn toward the negative does the party no favors.

Politicos regularly groan about the potential negative effects of trading barbs in a primary, while some contend that a heated debate only serves to strengthen the winning candidate heading into a General Election matchup.

What say you, Polsters?

Beauprez-Backed Organization Still Fighting Court Ruling

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s been three months since a Denver judge ordered Colorado Pioneer Action (CPA), a political committee run by former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez (R-CO), to pay a $17,735 fine for violating campaign finance laws and to register formally as political committee, requiring CPA to disclose its donors.

But Beauprez hasn’t produced the cash or the names of the donors. What’s up?

After Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Robert Spencer issued his ruling that CPA failed to register and file reports as a political committee during the last election, CPA appealed, and Matt Arnold of Campaign Integrity Watchdog (CIW), which brought the case against CPA, guesses the case won’t be heard for a few months, at the earliest.

After the appeal was filed, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ office issued an “enforcement order and stay of action.”

“We have stayed the action in CPA pending appeal,” said Suzanne Staiert, Colorado Deputy Secretary of State (SOS), who signed the order, via email. “This is required under our rule. If CPA is unsuccessful, then our practice is to invoice for payment. We have no reason to believe that CPA would not pay if they lost the appeal.”

Arnold thinks Williams office should have invoiced CPA for the fine immediately after the ALJ decision, even though the case was appealed, telling me on Wednesday, “Upon imposition of the penalty, the Secretary of State should have immediately invoiced CPA for the fine, and it’s not discretionary.”

Luis Toro, Director of Colorado Ethics Watch, also reads the applicable SOS rule as only barring “enforcement actions (i.e., lawsuits to enforce the order in district court) and not referral to collections.”

“My opinion is that the Secretary has discretion to file or not file an enforcement action in district court, but that he does not have discretion to refrain from issuing a fine invoice and referring it to collections if unpaid – unless a stay is issued by the ALJ or the Court of Appeals,” Toro told me via email.

“The bottom line is that yes, unless the ALJ or the Court of Appeals issues a stay, the Secretary should send out an invoice for the unpaid fine and refer it to collections if not paid. But CIW is not prevented from filing its own enforcement lawsuit, and in fact that’s what the law contemplates when the Secretary fails to act to enforce an ALJ decision.”

Arnold is concerned that even if Beauprez loses his appeal, filed by high-powered Holland Hart, Williams won’t instruct the state collections office to get the funds from CPA.

Asked if her office has instituted a policy not to collect fines, Staiert wrote, “We do not have a policy ‘not to seek the collection of such fines’, rather we look at the assets of the committee to determine if collection is viable only after a failure to pay.”

Toro pointed out that the letter from Williams’ office “doesn’t say that Matt Arnold can’t file his own enforcement action, in fact, I read it as saying that he can do so.”

The enforcement mechanism, which could compel CPA to pay its fine, register as a political committee, and disclose its donors, is a lawsuit in district court.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 20)

Get outside and enjoy the weather — just don’t forget your sunscreen. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republicans in Washington D.C. are angry and frustrated over their inability to craft any sort of plausible legislation for repealing Obamacare, and President Trump voiced his displeasure in person during a luncheon at the White House on Wednesday. Later in the day, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its score of a Senate proposal to repeal — but not replace — Obamacare, and the numbers just keep getting worse. This proposal is similar to legislation that Senators voted on in 2015, and as the Washington Post explains, it’s pretty terrible:

Congressional budget analysts estimated Wednesday that a Senate plan to repeal part of the Affordable Care Act with no immediate replacement would increase the number of people without health coverage by 17 million next year and 32 million at the end of a decade. The forecast by the Congressional Budget Office of the impact on coverage of the Senate GOP’s latest health-care legislation is nearly identical to estimates the CBO made in January based on a similar bill that passed both the House and Senate in late 2015 – and was vetoed by then-President Barack Obama.

For those Americans who don’t lose healthcare under this proposal, premiums would DOUBLE within the next few years.

 

► Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is in Denver to take part in the right-wing ALEC legislative conference. As Luke Perkins writes for the Durango Herald:

Hundreds of Coloradans protested U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ visit in Denver on Wednesday, largely criticizing her stance on using tax dollars to fund private schools.

DeVos is in Denver to speak at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 44th annual meeting Thursday. The exchange council is a conservative organization focused on providing “model legislation” for lawmakers across the country. Like DeVos, it supports privatizing public schools.

The protest had hallmarks of a Republican versus Democratic showdown, using DeVos’ visit as the catalyst. It quickly went beyond attacks on the secretary of education and the GOP and to attacks on anyone who had promoted efforts to move funds away from traditional public schools…

…“Betsy DeVos is the worst example of these so called ‘reformers,’” said state Sen. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs. “She has never attended, worked in nor sent her children to public schools. She has no government experience and no experience in running a bureaucracy or a large organization.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is also making an appearance at the ALEC conference and will stick around to take part in the Western Conservative Summit this weekend.

 

► Attorney General Jeff Sessions is responding to some pretty negative words from President Trump. As CNN reports:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he plans to continue in his job despite President Donald Trump’s comments that he’d have picked someone else had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation.

“We love this job. We love this department, and I plan to continue to do so as long as that is appropriate,” he told reporters Thursday.

In a New York Times interview published Wednesday, Trump second-guessed his decision to nominate Sessions, an Alabama Republican who was the first sitting senator to back the real estate mogul’s presidential bid.

“Jeff Sessions takes the job, gets into the job, recuses himself, which, frankly, I think is very unfair to the President,” Trump said, referring to himself. “How do you take a job and then recuse yourself? If he would have recused himself before the job, I would have said, ‘Thanks, Jeff, but I’m not going to take you.’ It’s extremely unfair — and that’s a mild word — to the President.” [Pols emphasis]

Trump was referring to Session’s decision to recuse himself from overseeing the FBI investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The attorney general made his decision after it became public that he had previously met on behalf of the Trump campaign with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during an event at the Republican National Convention, and later in his senate office.

As Vox.com reports, Trump’s interview with the New York Times demonstrates his complete disregard for the rule of law.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Health Care – The Start of the Republican Civil War

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Today the House Freedom Caucus announced it will seek either permission from Speaker Ryan but if that fails a discharge petition to bring a repeal bill to the floor in September to repeal Obamacare. It is a mirror image of the 2015 bill President Obama vetoed. If they go for a discharge petition, they will need 218 signatures from members of the House. Although the success of the petition is unlikely, it is their purpose that strikes me.

Congressman Meadows (R-N.C.), chair of the Freedom Caucus, wants to put moderate mainstream Republicans on the spot to see if they will vote against the same repeal they voted for in 2015 when they knew President Obama would veto it. Undoubtedly, any moderate Republican who won’t sign the discharge petition or vote for complete repeal on the floor will be targeted by the so called conservative donors and groups in the 2018 primaries.

They are going down this path even though 50% of the public supports Obamacare and far less than half that number want it repealed.

They are going down this path even though repeal will mean 32 million people will lose their health insurance according to the projection from the CBO. Many of those people reside in bright red districts, especially in the South and Midwest.

They are going down this path even though repeal means many rural hospitals in America will be forced to close leaving millions of Americans without emergency hospital services which are absolutely necessary to save lives. In many places, hospital care will be hours away.

They are going down this path even though they know that the newly uninsured will fill hospital emergency rooms which will cause insurance companies to raise the premiums of for those who have purchased insurance just so hospitals in cities can financially survive.

They are going down this path even though they know the free market will not provide affordable health insurance.

That raises the question why in the face of such awful facts, the Freedom Caucus and Mitch McConnell want to vote on a complete repeal of Obamacare which may very well cost them the majority in both houses in 2018? In both the House and Senate the purge is beginning. The so called conservatives will not tolerate or compromise with their moderate members. Any moderate who won’t vote in support of repeal will be targeted next year in the Republican primaries. Blinded by ideology they prefer civil war within the party and defeat in the next general election. It is mindless politics.

Q2 Fundraising Lessons: Nobody Cares About State Treasurer

Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there doesn’t appear to be much interest from donors in the open seat for State Treasurer:

State Rep. Justin Everett, a Littleton Republican, raised the most in contributions and had the most money in the bank at the end of the 2nd quarter, but Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn, also a Republican, and state Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Thornton Democrat, didn’t lag far behind.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican incumbent, faces term limits after next year’s election and is expected to announce he’s running for governor in coming months.

Everett posted $20,348 in contributions for the statewide race and reported $18,306 on hand at the end of the quarter. Horn raised $17,655 and had $11,183 remaining. Lebsock received $14,014 in donations and had $7,354 left after campaign expenditures.

These are pretty poor numbers across the board. Republican State Rep. Polly Lawrence entered the race after the Q2 fundraising period had ended, and Republican State Sen. Kevin Lundberg may not be far behind. If Republican Brian Watson does indeed enter the race at some point, he’ll likely have the advantage on the money side.

Colorado anti-abortion leader takes a shot at LGBT people

You don’t have to be anti-gay to be anti-abortion, but the two sometimes run together in Colorado politics.

The latest example comes from Christy Rodriquez, who runs Colorado Campaign for Life, a group that backs anti-abortion legislation and attacks pro-choice candidates.

Rodriquez “liked” a Facebook post promoting “Heterosexual Pride Day” as an opportunity to “celebrate the people who keep the human race alive.”

“Since the dawn of time, procreation has occupied a fundamental and essential foundation in this world to ensure the preservation of the natural order,” reads the Facebook post.

Rodriquez did not respond to my request for comment about the post generally and, specifically, what she sees as the “natural order”–and whether LGBT people are part of it.

I also wanted to ask her whether gay men who have children via surrogates (or adoption) or lesbian couples who have children via donated sperm, or other such combinations, would be celebrated for keeping the “human race alive” as well.

Last month, in response to a burst of social-media attention on Heterosexual Pride Day, Daniel Evans, editor of The Advocate, wrote:

“The big trending hashtag of the day, #HeterosexualPrideDay, shows willful ignorance of an oppressive reality: every day is straight pride day.

Every day, straight people march down the street, holding hands, kissing, and loving one another without fear of violence or arrest. An article in The Advocate by Alexander Cheves highlights at least 34 simple acts of affection — be it sitting next to the person one loves or stroking his hair — that straight people take for granted. Gay people know that on their lips, a kiss is not just a kiss. It is an act of bravery. It might as well be a revolution.

The hashtag erupted on Twitter at the end of Pride month, and it questioned why the LGBT community deserves its own time and space to celebrate its identity. The ignorance in that question wasn’t lost on much of Twitter. Many listed the reasons why a “Heterosexual Pride Day” is not only unnecessary, but also ignorant to the struggles of minority communities.

This debate is, unfortunately, not new. This argument tends to surface during the height of Pride season when the rainbow banners are at full mast.”

Q2 Fundraising Lessons: The Wealthy Shall Inherit the Office

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell

The numbers are in for the first big fundraising quarter of the 2018 election cycle, and like any important fundraising period, the results have provided both answers and questions for many campaigns.

As we’ve said many times in this space, fundraising numbers are often a good barometer of the relative strength or weakness of a campaign – particularly at this stage in the cycle. Fundraising reports are less informative the closer we get to Election Day because it is more difficult to account for independent expenditures, PACs, and other outside spending. But when you are a year out from the Primary and 18 months from the General Election, these numbers can be a terrific guide into how a race is starting to take shape.

Fundraising is about money, of course, but it is a mistake to write off fundraising reports as just a singular piece of financial information. Fundraising reports tells us how much money was raised, but also where it came from and how it was spent. Big donations from out-of-state interests tell a different story than hundreds of small-dollar donations within the boundaries of a given district.

Most importantly, fundraising reports tell us a lot about the perception and support for a particular campaign. Think of it like sports betting; people make all sorts of bets on a given sporting event, but by and large, the big money goes with the outcome that is perceived to be the most likely. Everyone wants to back a winner – it’s human instinct. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule – including some that we will point out in a moment – but in general you can learn a lot from early money in politics.

We’ve been sifting through fundraising reports for the biggest races in Colorado, and in a series of posts that follow, we’ll tell you what we’ve learned …     

 

If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, You’ve Got More Time

Wealthy candidates are not a new phenomenon in Colorado, but we’re seeing the beginning of a potentially-troubling trend in the early fundraising reports from Q2: Candidates with deep pockets aren’t even trying to raise money.

Former one-term Republican lawmaker Victor Mitchell has earned a lot of money from various business ventures over the years, and he’s apparently planning on spending a good chunk of those earnings in his bid for Governor. Mitchell seeded his gubernatorial campaign with a $3 million check in February, but raised just $13,098 in the period ending on June 30. Likewise, Democrat Jared Polis is putting a lot of his own fortune into his bid for Governor and is only accepting contributions of $100 or less. Other candidates, such as Mitt Romney’s Nephew (aka, Republican Doug Robinson), have said that they plan to rely on hefty sums from their personal fortunes in the months to come. This is a tremendous financial advantage for candidates who can afford it, but it’s more than that; if you don’t have to spend 30+ hours on the phone each week trying to raise money, that’s more time that you can be out meeting voters and gathering broader support.

This disadvantage is one of the reasons that Democrat Ed Perlmutter – at the time, the prohibitive favorite — withdrew from the gubernatorial race earlier this month. It also makes things much more difficult for candidates who also have a day job to worry about; Republican George Brauchler had an awful Q2 , and he’s going to have trouble just keeping his campaign afloat while he maintains his position as District Attorney in Arapahoe County.

Candidates for Governor in Colorado can only accept maximum contributions of $1,150 from any one individual – technically, $575 for the Primary and $575 for the General Election – which makes it that much more difficult for non-wealthy candidates to catch up to their cash-flush opponents. Even if every person on your call list agrees to donate the maximum amount, it still takes hours upon hours of phone time to collect.

There used to be more of a stigma associated with wealthy candidates who sought to bankroll campaigns for higher office, which compelled them to spend more time and energy raising money. For whatever reason, that stigma seems to be fading. 

Remember George Brauchler?

George Brauchler’s gubernatorial campaign, metaphorically-speaking.

If you were going to compose a theme song for the already-sputtering gubernatorial campaign of Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, you would probably start with a sad trombone (wah-wah-wahhhh) accompanied with the sound of air escaping from a deflated balloon. For vocal accompaniment, hiring the teacher from Charlie Brown would be ideal.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Brauchler announced his Q2 fundraising numbers on Monday without enough practical spin to generate any momentum whatsoever:

Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler raised $190,696 in the just-completed fundraising quarter — nearly all of it from Colorado residents and with donors in all 64 of the counties, his campaign said Monday.

Brauchler received contributions from 673 donors, with just over 95 percent of them from Colorado. After spending $46,731, he ended June with $143,966 cash on hand…

…His primary rivals include Douglas County entrepreneur and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, who launched his campaign by writing himself a $3 million check, and former investment banker and Mitt Romney nephew Doug Robinson. On top of the millions he loaned his campaign, Mitchell raised $13,098 in the quarter that ended in June. Robinson reported raising $207,532 and loaned himself $57,022 in the same period.

George Brauchler.

Brauchler was always going to have trouble competing with the self-funded campaigns of Victor Mitchell and Mitt Romney’s Nephew, both of whom seem able and willing to bankroll their own gubernatorial bids. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, a proven fundraiser, should join the gubernatorial field later this summer, and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is likely to enter the fray as well. If Brauchler couldn’t even raise $200k when he was the only somewhat-known name in the field, then there is little chance he will be able to ramp up the money machine when he is competing for donations with Stapleton and Coffman.

Brauchler doesn’t need to be the top fundraiser on the Republican side, but he needs a minimal amount of dough just to keep the lights on in a statewide campaign. Brauchler ended June with $143,966 in the bank; that’s enough to keep the doors open for another quarter, but there’s not much money left over for important things like advertising and voter outreach. This is dangerous territory for a statewide candidate.

While money isn’t everything in politics, timing certainly is. Two years ago, Republicans thought Brauchler might be their next big thing as a candidate for U.S. Senate. Brauchler passed on that race and focused his sights on running for governor, but whatever gravitas he may have had in September 2015 seems not to have followed him into 2017.

Cary Kennedy Shuts Down The Critics

Cary Kennedy.

A press release yesterday from Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cary Kennedy announces the most important thing she needed to stay relevant in a changing primary landscape–a big fat pile of money:

Cary Kennedy, Democratic candidate for Governor of Colorado, today announced raising $343,000 dollars in the first financial quarter of her campaign for governor. Ninety-two percent of contributors to Cary’s campaign reside within Colorado; the campaign received contributions from 34 of Colorado’s counties. Kennedy is building a grassroots campaign with 1,705 donations, more than half of which were under $100.

“I am honored to have the support of so many Coloradans across our state,” said Kennedy. “Thank you to all of my supporters. Together we will work to make sure every Coloradan benefits from the progress we’ve made.”

Kennedy’s campaign has gained momentum as she engages her supporters across the state and it’s clear her statewide base is continuing to grow. Notably she was endorsed by EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest resource for women in politics. If elected, Cary will be the first woman to serve as Colorado’s governor.

Cary Kennedy spent the first months of her campaign traveling across Colorado and connecting with voters. For example, she marched for science in Mesa county, helped build a trail in El Paso, met with voters in Grand County, paraded for Memorial Day in Adams county, toasted with supporters in Larimer and celebrated Cinco de Mayo, Pride and Juneteenth in Denver.

Cary Kennedy endured some ribbing after a campaign launch stunt that local news media spent an undue amount of time and energy deconstructing–so much so that we suspect it motivated her supporters to make a strong showing in a way nobody can ignore, Kennedy’s bottom line. Kennedy handily outraised Democratic opponent Mike Johnston, who was unable to sustain his huge first-quarter haul from out-of-state education reform interests. With the departure of Ed Perlmutter from the race, a window has opened for competitiveness with now-presumed frontrunner Jared Polis that Kennedy is well-equipped to exploit.

And really, hats off to Kennedy and her team. They did exactly what they needed to do to be taken seriously in this race.

Gardner: “If you repeal it now, with nothing in its place, what happens if you don’t find that replacement?”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

With U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky’s announcement that he’s dumped his bill to replace Obamacare and, instead, will push legislation to repeal the health care law without replacing it for up to two years, a comment by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) sounds a ton more significant today than it did July 6 when Gardner uttered it on KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis Show.

CAPLIS: And last question: as you know, Ben Sasse and some others have been talking about, now, “repeal and replace later, separately.” Where do you come down on that?

GARDNER: Look, I think that if you repeal it now, with nothing in its place, what happens if you don’t find that replacement? What happens if you don’t reach that agreement? And I think that we ought to move forward with an idea now, and put a solution forward to the American people. Look, this is something that Republicans and Democrats ought to find common ground with, because if Democrats refuse to find a solution to a failing Obamacare, shame on them!

CAPLIS: Right.

GARDNER: And that’s what we have to realize, is, the status quo isn’t good enough. And the alternative is a single-payer healthcare system. And look what happened in England, right now, with that child. The parents no longer have the ability to help — excuse me, no longer have the ability to determine their child’s state, because it’s in the hands of the government.

Gardner has yet to talk to journalists about the implosion of the senate healthcare legislation, so, for now, this looks like the only comment reporters have to go on from our senator, who’s a Republican leader in the U.S. Senate and who helped draft McConnell’s bill.

Listen to Gardner on KNUS-710-AM July 6:

Cory Gardner – Please Hold Town Hall Meetings – No More Excuses

The repeal of Obamacare came to a screeching halt this evening as two more Republican senators announced their opposition to the bill pending in the U.S. Senate. One of them said the senate should start over, hold committee hearings, and receive input from all sides. An eminently rational position.

While we can’t count our chickens until they hatch since President Trump and some Republican senators are trying to “save the day” by calling for a bill that simply repeals Obamacare, one thing is very clear – Cory Gardner has more than enough time to come home during the August recess and meet with us in open town hall meetings. There is no longer an excuse to avoid us, ignore us, or characterize us as troublemakers or anything else.

Twenty percent of our economy is directly affected by federal healthcare policy. The Republicans campaigned for seven years on a slogan without a program. Obamacare now has the support of 50% of the electorate with less than half that number that want the ACA repealed.

The public (voters) want a health care system that provides care at a reasonable price. It is time Republicans stop demonizing Obamacare, forget about the misrepresentation that the Obamacare markets are collapsing (they aren’t), and stop the nonsense that premiums are increasing when Republicans voted to withdraw funding that stabilized the markets but above all it is time for people like Cory Gardner to listen to his constituents.

Gardner Once Helped Kill Insurer Stabilization That He Now Supports

(We’d guess that Gardner is in no hurry to cast a vote on Trumpcare — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republicans sabotaged Obamacare, in part, by stripping the law of funds to incentivize insurance companies to cover enrollees who were expensive to insure.

One of the lead saboteurs was U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO). Back in 2013, he joined U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in opposing what Gardner called “bailouts” of insurance companies. These funds were included in a “risk corridor” provision of Obamacare aimed at stabilizing insurance markets in areas where care is more expensive.

“Only in Washington are bailouts seen as a good approach to bad policy,” said Gardner at the time, explaining why he was an original co-sponsor of Rubio’s bill. “Obamacare’s dangerous fiscal trajectory must be stopped, and soon. I am proud to cosponsor legislation that helps guarantee that taxpayers aren’t on the hook as Obamacare continues to unravel.”

The Gardner-Rubio measure, which was attached to a spending bill, stripped from Oabmacare funds for insurance companies whose clients needed more expensive care.

And now, experts say, Republican have included the insurance-company “bailouts” in the senate healthcare bill for the same reason, to stabilize the marketplace.

Bloomberg’s Sahil Kapur reported June 29:

There’s “no difference” between the insurer funds in Obamacare and the ones in the Senate Republican bill, said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law at George Washington University…

Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, said Republicans who are pushing the stabilization fund “may have discovered how much damage they did when they stripped out the risk corridors from the Affordable Care Act.”

“That’s one of the things about this debate that’s so infuriating — the things that they blame on Obamacare are actually, in this case, things that opponents of Obamacare passed,” he said in an interview Wednesday.

The question for Gardner is, are you okay with the “bailouts” in the senate healthcare bill, even though you hated them in Obamcare.

Gardner hasn’t said, and he didn’t return my call. For his part, Rubio has said he’s learning about the issue and “I do have some concern, no doubt.”