Get More Smarter on Wednesday (October 12)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Have an easy fast today (Yom Kippur). 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.


► Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in Pueblo today to promote early voting and voter registration efforts. As the Pueblo Chieftain reports:

The former secretary of state and U.S. senator is participating in a public voter registration event today at the Colorado State Fairground’s Palace of Agriculture.

“We opened one of our first offices in early summer in Pueblo and now we’re excited for Hillary to campaign here,” said Ernesto Apreza, a Clinton campaign official.

Clinton’s campaign said doors will open to the public at 11:45 a.m. and the event will begin at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.


► Tuesday night was the only televised debate in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race, and we’re guessing that Republican candidate Darryl Glenn is plenty thankful that he won’t have to embarrass himself again. We live-blogged the debate between Glenn and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver), in which the incumbent absolutely crushed his ill-prepared and uninformed opponent. Seriously — it would be hard to perform worse than Glenn did on Tuesday.

Prior to last night’s debate, Glenn’s campaign sent out an email claiming that polling results showed the Senate race to be a “virtual tie.”

[Pause for laughter]

Also on Tuesday night, Glenn further muddied his stance on Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. On Saturday, Glenn dropped his support of Trump before reversing course and sorta re-endorsing Trump on Monday. When pressed repeatedly to clarify his position on Trump, Glenn finally said last night that he had “suspended” his endorsement of Trump, whatever the hell that means.


► State Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada) is proving in 2016 that she will say anything if it helps her get elected. Woods is now trying to portray herself as a champion for Medicaid…when in truth, she is a fierce proponent of reducing the number of people who can qualify for government-subsidized health care. This is the same Sen. Woods who has falsely claimed that she has “consistently” supported legislation to protect public lands (Woods is actually a proponent of transferring federal public lands to state control).


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Radio host shows Gardner’s vote for Pence won’t count, but fails to find out if Gardner will still vote for Pence

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sorry, you can't just vote for the veep for President.

Sorry, you can’t just vote for the veep for President.

“Unhappy with Trump? Want to Write In Pence? It Doesn’t Work That Way.”

That’s the title of a story by Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner, who did a nice job fact checking U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner Monday, reporting that if Gardner writes in the name of Mike Pence as his pick for president, as he promised Sunday, his presidential vote won’t be counted at all.

Warner interiewed Suzanne Staiert, Colorado’s deputy Secretary of State, who said on air that as long as Trump is on the ballot, Gardner’s vote for Pence wouldn’t matter.

Warner : And if someone says they’re going to write-in Mike Pence?

Stairt: “They won’t be counted. It’ll just count as an undervote essentially unless the Republican Party makes some sort of change.”

During the interview, Staiert said “a write-in candidate would need to file an affidavit 15 days before the election for votes to count.”

But the CPR piece was later corrected to state, “In fact, the affidavit would have to have been filed at least 110 days before the election.”

So Gardner has settled on Pence waaaay too late. Or maybe not. Maybe he wants to cast a vote that won’t count?

Omitted from the CPR piece was the question on many listener’s minds: “So who is Gardner going to vote for?”

Warner should bring Gardner on the show to address that question.

Debate Diary: Live-Blogging the U.S. Senate Showdown

Sen. Michael Bennet and GOP challenger Darryl Glenn aren't even close to being tied in the polls -- but they both HAVE ties.

Sen. Michael Bennet and GOP challenger Darryl Glenn aren’t even close to being tied in the polls — but they both sometimes wear ties.

The first — and only — televised debate in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race takes place tonight at the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver (hosted by 9News).

Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is well on his way to a blowout victory over Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn — nevermind Glenn’s ridiculous claim today that the race is a “virtual tie.” But this is the only televised Senate debate of 2016, and we can’t pretend we aren’t interested to see what kind of absurdities come out of Glenn’s mouth as he tries to convince voters that he isn’t actually the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history.

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.


TrumpWatch: Where do Colorado Republicans Stand on Trump These Days?

I’ve previously chronicled the various positions of Colorado Republicans on Trump, but this time I ran into problems categorizing their stances.  As you’ll see below, there’s Never Trump, Dumped Trump, Maybe Trump, Love Trump, and many more.

It’s confusing to be the bean counter (me), but it’s undoubtedly far more taxing to be them, trying to figure out where they stand on their standard bearer.

In any case, below is my handy guide–and please send me new information and updates, as the list is changing rapidly with each debate and video tape.

I haven’t seen a tally like this in the Colorado media—though it’s been good to see numerous outlets reporting on the shifting loyalties of top GOP officials toward Trump.

Elected Officials Who Jumped Aboard the Trump Train, AND Affirmed Support after The Release of Trump’s Pussy Comments

State Sen. Laura Woods (In January, she called him one of her two favorite presidential candidates. In August, she called him the “people’s candidate,” and last week she affirmed her support and agreed that no presidential candidate is “perfect.”)

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (affirmed support here)

El Paso Country Commissioner Peggy Littleton

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (affirmed support here)

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (affirmed support here)


Elected Officials who Backed Trump, Dumped Him, but Haven’t Said Whom They Will Vote for

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (His spokeswoman said her boss would “absolutely” back the GOP presidential nominee, but Coffman later hedged, and now Coffman says he won’t vote for Trump.)

SenCory Gardner (once called Trump a “buffoon,” then said he’d vote for him (after being asked seven times), and then dumped him.


Candidate Who Jumped OFF the Trump Train, But Is Now Reconsidering

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn


Elected Officials Who’ve Expressed their Support for Trump but Not Necessarily Confirmed it since the Pussy Video

State Rep. J Paul Brown

Former State Rep. Greg Brophy  (if Trump is nominee)

State Sen. President Bill Cadman (if Trump is nominee)

A reporter characterized State Rep. Don Coram as a Trump fan

State Sen. Vicki Marble (Facebook)

State Rep. Patrick Neville.

State Sen. Tim Neville.

State Rep. Clarice Navarro (here and here and elsewhere)

State Rep. Dan Thurlow.


Elected Officials Who Were Undecided Along the Way

State Rep. Kathleen Contiwho’s said, “I’m hearing growing support for [Libertarian] Gary Johnson.”

State Rep. Justin Everett

State Sen. Kevin Grantham.

State RepYuelin Willet


Former Elected Officials Backing Trump

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez

Former Rep. Jon Keyser (He reiterated  his support here.)

Former CU Regent Tom Lucero

Former State Rep. Spencer Swalm (an “out-of-the-closet” endorser)


Former Elected Officials Who Will Not Vote for Trump

Former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell (also left GOP, posting on Facebook, “Whores don’t merit unwavering loyalty.”).


Candidates Backing Trump

George Athanasopoulos (Running against Perlmutter)

Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty

House District 1 candidate Raymond Garcia

Casper Stockham, who’s the Republican challenging Rep. Diana DeGette.

House District 14 candidate Jeff Williams


Notable Republicans Who said, “We May Be Seeing the Final months of the Existence of the Republican Party”

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer


Colorado GOP Officials Who’ve Left Republican Party

Vice Chair of Rio Grande County GOP Patrick Crowder

Chair of House District 43 Republicans Craig Steiner.

Activist Jennifer Raiffie (Facebook)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 11)

Get More SmarterCan Donald Trump completely destroy the Republican Party in just one month? He’s gonna try… 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.


► The only televised debate of the 2016 Colorado Senate race takes place tonight at 7:00 pm. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Republican challenger Darryl Glenn will take the stage at the History Colorado Center in downtown Denver for an hour-long, commercial-free debate. There is literally nothing that Glenn could do tonight that would vault him into a position to defeat Bennet in November, but for sheer entertainment value alone, we’ll be running a “Debate Diary.”

As of this writing, Glenn is still supporting Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. Glenn announced on Saturday that he was dropping his support for Trump before inexplicably reversing course on Monday and praising His Hairness. While Glenn’s Saturday repudiation of Trump was fairly straightforward, the El Paso County Commissioner apparently decided that he had made a mistake after being bombarded with negative comments from Trump supporters who felt Glenn was abandoning their candidate.


Donald Trump says he is removing the “shackles” that have apparently restrained him to this point in the Presidential campaign. Trump is furious that Republicans are abandoning his campaign en masse and is promising to go full scorched tan earth from here on out. For their part, National Republicans are insisting — meekly — that they are totally 100% behind their nominee for President.

Meanwhile, Trump’s son, Eric Trump, spent some time in our state working to convince Coloradans that his father is just a friendly “Alpha Male” whose reputation has been sullied by the invented actions of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.


► Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visits Pueblo on Wednesday to promote GOTV efforts and voter registration drives. As the Colorado Independent reports:

“At a public voter registration event, Clinton will lay out the high stakes of this election for Coloradans as well as her vision for an America that is stronger together, with an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” says the statement from her Colorado campaign.

“Clinton will also urge supporters to make sure they’re registered to vote. Colorado has the highest percentage of registered voters of any state in the country and voters can visit to check their registration status.” This will be the first Colorado campaign stop for Clinton since early August. Her campaign has also cut down on advertising in this purple swing state in the lead-up to the Nov. 8 election. In Colorado, ballots start going out to voters in the mail Oct. 17.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Donald Trump is About to Get (Really) Real

Donald Trump is about to give America some extra Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is about to give America some extra Donald Trump.

As CNN reports, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is taking the “shackles” off and throwing down gauntlets and whatever strained metaphor you might prefer to use:

Donald Trump is launching a kamikaze mission — fracturing his own party four weeks before Election Day.

The GOP nominee is lashing out in a stream of tweets boiling with rage and resentment, slamming House Speaker Paul Ryan for effectively cutting him loose and accusing the party leadership of dooming his campaign. It’s a meltdown unprecedented by a presidential nominee this late in the year.

“It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to,” Trump said in a tweet that raised the prospect of a full on civil war in the Republican Party. Such a battle would pit his loyal supporters against the rest of the GOP, including vulnerable lawmakers running for re-election that could threaten the party’s hold on Congress. [Pols emphasis]

This should end well.

When he isn’t busy attacking his fellow Republicans, Trump is rolling out new attacks on Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. This is where we’re headed for the next couple of weeks, folks.

Woods’ Long Ride on the Trump Train Continues Despite Ugly Video

Woods likes Ray Scott post

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) first tiptoed onto the Trump train in January, when she called Trump one of her two favorite presidential candidates.

Then Woods jumped fully on board in August, when she called Trump the “people’s candidate” and said “running away” from him wasn’t even a consideration.

In case you’re wondering whether Trump’s shocker room talk, from the Access Hollywood video, will push Woods out of the Trump train, you will want to know that Woods is apparently staying on board.

Over the weekend, Woods, whose race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger will likely determine control of the state senate and with it state government, liked a Facebook post of Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction).

Scott, who’s a regional field coordinator for Trump’s campaign, wrote:

I have no intention of dropping my support for Trump. Here’s why.

I’m trying real hard to remember a perfect President or for that matter anyone that has run for political office.

As Alexander Haig once said, no one has a monopoly on virtue. I don’t agree with all of Trump’s positions or comments by any means. I support his economic plan, ending the war on fossil fuels, his stance on defense, immigration, the 2nd amendment and trade issues….

Scott’s Facebook post, which I obtained from a source, has “likes” from about 50 people, including Woods and Peggy Littleton, the failed GOP U.S. Senate primary candidate.

So it looks like Woods is still comfy in her seat on the Trump train. But will voters be comfortable with her in it?

In a news post for today, I discuss one advertisement linking Woods to Trump, and offer an interview with one expert who thinks the tactic could work, helping to push Woods out of office in November.

Woods likes Scott's Facebook post

Get More Smarter on Monday (October 10)

MoreSmarter-ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving to our friends in Canada. 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.


As you may have heard, there was a Presidential debate on Sunday night in St. Louis, Missouri. Donald Trump (literally) stalked around the room lobbing fact-free grenades toward Hillary Clinton. Trump supporters no doubt enjoyed the full-fledged attack on Clinton, but Trump didn’t do nearly enough to overtake Clinton as the winner of the debate. The big loser from Sunday night is the Republican Party in general, as the Washington Post explains.


► It’s too soon to know how Sunday’s debate may have influenced voters, but Trump’s latest scandalous news is not trending well for the Republican nominee. From NBC News:

As Donald Trump’s campaign reels over tapes of the presidential candidate’s sexually aggressive comments about women in 2005, the Republican nominee now trails Hillary Clinton by double digits among likely voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. 

The poll, conducted on Saturday and Sunday but before the second presidential debate, shows Clinton with 46 percent support among likely voters in a four-way matchup, compared to 35 percent for Trump [Pols emphasis]

…And among all registered voters, Clinton’s lead is 13 points, her largest advantage over Trump since the poll began testing the pair last September.

House Speaker Paul Ryan never seemed particularly happy aboard the S.S. Trump in the first place, but Ryan is now heading for the lifeboats. As the Washington Post reports, Ryan informed colleagues today that he will no longer campaign for Trump or defend the GOP Presidential nominee:

In a conference call with GOP House members Monday morning, Ryan said he is “only campaigning for House seats and promoting our agenda,” according to multiple participants on the call who requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the topic.

Ryan’s move underscores the dilemma Republicans now face, even as Trump and his allies were buoyed by an assertive Sunday debate performance that brought the campaign into new and dark territory. They can remain in line with their nominee, which will please their base but could alienate swing voters critical to maintaining their hold on Congress, or renounce him and offend Republicans eager for a direct confrontation with both Clinton and her husband.

Trump is not pleased with Speaker Ryan, to say the least.


► Trump lost a lot of Republican support this weekend in the wake of revelations about an old interview in which Trump demonstrated his, ahem, views on women. Here in Colorado, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) made it clear that he will STILL vote for Trump, while Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) made a clumsy statement about asking Trump to drop out of the race; Coffman’s spokespeople spent Saturday furiously clarifying with media outlets that Coffman had indeed decided not to vote for Trump.

Oh, and Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is also dropping his support for Trump after waiting a long time to see what everyone else would do, first. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is also abandoning Trump. Gardner backed Trump later this summer after his two previously-endorsed candidates, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both flamed out against Trump. The kiss…of death.


► Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton returns to Colorado on Wednesday for her first state visit in several weeks. Clinton will be pushing early voting and voter registration efforts less than a week before mail ballots are sent out in Colorado.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


After Inexplicable Silence, Tipton Re-Affirms Support for Trump

UPDATE: Apparently we woke up Tipton from his weekend nap so that he could be clear he WILL STILL BE SUPPORTING TRUMP. Good thing Tipton demanded an apology (Trump has already apologized, for whatever that’s worth).


Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Extremely Late)

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Extremely Late)

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump take to the stage for their second debate tonight in St. Louis, Missouri, in what is largely expected the be the last gasp of Trump’s now-dead campaign for President.

Republicans here in Colorado and across the country are racing to disassociate themselves from Trump in the wake of Trump’s absurdly-sexist comments…most of them, anyway. As the Washington Post reports:

“Everything Trump touches dies,” said Republican consultant Rick Wilson, who is advising independent candidate Evan Mcmullen…

…John Weaver, a longtime strategist and Kasich adviser, likened the situation to going back in time and offering Republican office holders a ticket on the maiden sailing of the Titanic. “They bought the ticket knowing there wouldn’t be enough life rafts once the ship hit the iceberg,” Weaver said.

“We knew that no one who has gotten involved with Donald Trump in his personal life, in his professional life or in his political life has come out of that for the better. No one,” he added. “So why any of our aspiring political leaders thought that they could survive being associated with him and grow from that is beyond me.”

The big news these days is really about which Republican politicians are still standing behind Trump, and that’s exactly where we find embattled Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez). Tipton has so far declined to say anything that would distance him from Trump’s cratering campaign, and there’s really no other way to view this than as a massive strategic mistake.

Let’s just say this abut Tipton: When even Darryl Glenn figures it out first, you’ve got a problem.

Glenn (Finally) Calls On Trump to Quit Race

After much handwringing and equivocation on Friday, Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn finally looks around and realizes that the #DumpTrump train is leaving without him:

As recently as this morning, Glenn still hadn’t figured out what to say about Donald Trump’s newest and greatest implosion:


As Trump Collapses, Mike Coffman Flounders in Response

SATURDAY UPDATE #2: The word of the day in Republican circles is “panic.”


SATURDAY UPDATE: Just like Mike Coffman’s spokesperson said in February that he would “of course” support the Republican nominee, apparently we were all supposed to somehow fill in the blanks last night. With the outrage over Donald Trump’s latest PR disaster showing no signs of abating, Coffman finally states clearly to Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger:

Of course, folks! And that’s good since Trump says he is never going to drop out. But even now, Coffman’s determination to stay ambiguous as possible has forced him to go back to the press with ever-evolving statements as they lose patience with his stalling.

We’ll update when we hear who he’s actually voting for now.


UPDATE #5 (12:01 am): And here’s where we stand as the day (literally) comes to an end:


UPDATE #4: And here come the Trump supporters recognizing Mike Coffman’s political stunt:


UPDATE #3: Here is the original breaking news report from Marshall Zelinger at Denver7:

More from Zelinger:


UPDATE #2: Consensus is forming…


UPDATE: It almost worked for Coffman, but some news outlets didn’t buy what Coffman was selling. From Denver7:

In a text conversation with Denver7 Political Reporter Marshall Zelinger, the Republican Congressman said Trump should drop out of the race.

Zelinger has asked for an answer if Coffman will vote for Trump if he is still the candidate. [Pols emphasis] He told Denver7 this summer that he is still considering his options including voting Libertarian.



MIKE Coffman, you poor tormented soul

MIKE Coffman, you poor tormented soul

Just read that Coffman is calling for Trump to step aside. Apparently ideas are unimportant to Mike.

As an Arny veteran, as a Marine veteran, I would be astounded if Mike had not said similar things. But alas Mike has been defeated by words, fighting for ideas is too big a commitment. What was the line in Top Gun, something to the effect of “your quitting, you’ve got that down just right. So long MIKE Coffman.”

No Coffman votes here.

Denver Post Endorses Hillary

“Democrat Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever to win a major-party nomination, is without question the most qualified candidate in the race for president and an easy call to make when considering the challenges confronting the nation. Her nearly 40 years in public life have instilled in her the temperament she needs to face the many challenges that await.”

It’s an easy call: Hillary Clinton for president


Amendment 71 is a power grab by special interests

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Jared Polis.

Rep. Jared Polis.

I am voting no on Amendment 71, otherwise known as “Raise the Bar,” a question that will be on your Colorado ballot that you will receive later this month. While Amendment 71 is being sold as a common sense reform package to the ballot initiative process, in reality, it’s nothing less than a power grab by the political and corporate elites and almost entirely funded by the oil and gas industry.

Amendment 71 would erode Coloradans’ right to petition their government for change, as well as reduce access to direct democracy through the ballot initiative process.

While there is a need for ballot reform in Colorado, there are plenty of reasonable approaches to do so without stripping away the rights of everyday Coloradans. Amendment 71 is not the solution.

Look no further than the powerful special interests that are funding this campaign to understand what this is all about: money and power. Nearly 75 percent of the money funding the pro-Amendment 71 effort, over three million dollars, comes from the oil and gas industry. Amendment 71 would not only make it much harder to bring forward initiatives to regulate drilling and fracking, it would also detrimentally impact nearly all the issues that we progressives care about.

For example, I was proud to help put forth Amendment 41 in 2006, a successful ballot initiative that banned lobbyists from giving gifts to lawmakers and established an independent ethics commission to protect the public interest from political corruption. Under the changes proposed in Amendment 71, our effort to protect the public interest from corruption would not have been successful.

Amendment 23 in 2000, which I helped bring forward to better fund schools, would also not have become law.

Amendment 71 changes the signature requirements for initiatives so that one State Senate District can veto the rest of the state’s wishes. It’s not hard to imagine how this will play out in future elections: Imagine, a group of civic leaders, teachers, parents and grassroots organizers come together to finally reform TABOR and provide adequate funding for Colorado schools. Now imagine the Koch brother’s vast network swoops in with a well-funded “decline to sign” campaign in just one State Senate District, say in El Paso county or Eastern Colorado, that prevents the grassroots effort from ever getting the signatures now needed under Amendment 71 to access that ballot. Teachers, students, and parents would lose, and dark-money Princes David and Charles Koch would win. This is unacceptable.

Let’s be clear, Amendment 71 dictates who is allowed to change the state constitution and who is not. Amendment 71 ensures that only corporations and the ultra wealthy will have the ability change the laws, and it shuts the door on citizens and grassroots movements from doing the same. In an era where we already have a dangerous level of concentrated power with the elites and special interests, Amendment 71 would be the nail in the coffin for grassroots social change in Colorado through initiatives.

I encourage you to join Colorado educators, Common Cause, and me in opposing dangerous Amendment 71 and spreading the word to your friends and neighbors.