Media Continues to Call Out “Knowingly False Attack Ads”

Denver7 political reporter Marshall Zelinger continues to look into patently false campaign ads.

Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger (Oct. 24, 2016)

You’ve seen plenty from us in this space about the so-called “China Girl” attack ads taking place in SD-19 (Arvada, Westminster), which we’ve called “The Most Knowingly False” advertisements in Colorado politics. On Monday, Marshall Zelinger of Denver7 reported on the latest iteration of these patently false claims — now including fortune cookies — which have long since crossed the line of negative advertising and have risen to the level of outright fiction.

In the past three months, Denver7 and its partner, PolitiFact, have rated two CCAG campaign mailers attacking Zenzinger “Pants On Fire,” the worst rating reserved for ridiculous statements. 

On Oct. 19, Zenzinger filed a complaint with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office accusing CCAG of repeatedly attacking her with the same false campaign mailer: She had voted to use taxpayer money to take a trip to China.

The fortune inside the cookie says, “Past actions are the best predictors of future behavior, so remember Zenzinger’s actions” and directs you to a website that does not reference the China claims.

The cookie also comes with a business card that reads: “Please enjoy this fortune cookie to commemorate Rachel Zenzinger’s vote for a taxpayer-funded trip to China while serving on the Arvada City Council.”

Zenzinger has never been to China and ultimately voted to not use taxpayer funds for a trip to China. [Pols emphasis]

If you haven’t been following this story about Republican attacks on Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, that last sentence above is the key here. Third-party groups like the GOP-aligned “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” believe that this narrative is the most effective line of attack they have against Zenzinger, and they may be correct; the problem, obviously, is that this isn’t even sorta true. Not only has Zenzinger never been to China, but she also was adamant on the city council that public funds would not be used on any sort of “sister cities” trips for public officials. Again, from Denver7:

The current mailer that the DA is reviewing cites a comment that Mayor Williams made to PolitiFact in July. “Did (Zenzinger) support a motion that would have funded through city funds the opportunity for her to go? Yes, she did,” the mayor said.

But the flier doesn’t mention that the mayor stressed that Zenzinger also made the subsequent successful motion “with the explicit direction that no city funds be used.” [Pols emphasis] The mailer also left out that the mayor said: “My negativity toward their ad is that it implies that she actually took that trip, and she didn’t.”

In reality, Zenzinger actually did the exact opposite of what these attack ads continue to claim. There is a law in Colorado that prohibits the dissemination of “knowingly false” information intended to sway voters in a particular campaign, but Zelinger quotes an election law attorney in his story who calls the statute “toothless.” In his television report, which led off the 6:00 pm news on Monday, Zelinger rightly asserts that most SD-19 voters won’t know about these falsehoods unless they are watching Denver7.

As Zelinger also notes in his story, “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” isn’t exactly standing proud behind their attacks:

On Monday, an official for Colorado Voters for Accountable Government told Denver7 the group’s lawyers advised them not to comment on the dispute because of the pending complaint with the district attorney

This is a big issue, and not just for the 2016 election cycle. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see where this goes from here; if these sort of attacks are allowed to go unpunished, the political mudslinging will soon reach an entirely different level of terrible. If you can claim that a politician took a taxpayer-funded trip to China that never happened, what’s to stop someone else from producing advertisements that another candidate is a serial rapist who has direct ties to ISIS?

If Jefferson County District Attorney Pete Weir doesn’t prosecute this “China Girl” case, then there’s no point in even having these laws on the books. This shouldn’t be happening in 2016. It definitely can’t be allowed to continue in 2018.

Oh Noes! Hick Helps His Own?!

We didn’t want the weeping and gnashing of teeth by Republicans watching the close fight for the Colorado Senate majority over a certain ad now airing in key locales around the state to get too far in the rear-view–as Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger reported over the weekend:

A new political ad paid for by a Washington, D.C.-based group shows Gov. John Hickenlooper telling viewers about four candidates he wants elected to the state Senate.

The governor touts Rachel Zenzinger, Daniel Kagan, Jenise May and Tom Sullivan for their respective Senate seats.

Republicans currently hold a one-seat advantage in the state Senate – 18-17. The races highlighted in the ad are likely to determine if Democrats regain control.

Here’s the ad, 100% positive featuring Gov. John Hickenlooper’s trademark folksy charm:

Republicans are said to be outraged, outraged mind you, that Hickenlooper is “cashing in” his aisle-crossing credentials by daring to openly support state senate candidates of his own party. Apparently, the fact that America Votes, a nationwide 501(c)(4) advocacy group with its own very busy and longstanding presence in Colorado, is paying for the ad adds an additional layer of George Soros watercooler discussion mystery.

Back in reality, this is a popular Democratic governor lending his considerable weight to retaking the Colorado Senate for his party, which over the last two years has become an embarrassing blockade against too many essential functions of government and necessary reforms to list here. The real reason Republicans are angry about this ad is it’s likely to have an effect in races they cannot afford to lose–perhaps directly playing a role in their party’s loss of their only remaining veto power in state government.

As for any Colorado Republican whining about so-called “dark money” in elections, well, that’s just silly.

Get More Smarter on Monday (October 24)

GetMoreSmarter-SnowYou’ve got one week left to find the perfect Halloween costume. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Got ballot? Your 2016 ballot may be sitting in your mailbox at this very moment; election officials began mailing out ballots on Monday. For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location. Denver7 also includes a good list of election-related information. And one more thing: Don’t take selfies with your ballot, please.

 

► For the first time in recent memory, Democrats continue to outpace Republicans in early voting returns in Colorado…but it’s not just here where Democrats are turning out to vote early. The Washington Post notes that early voting favors Democrats in Nevada, and as Public Policy Polling explains, the same is true in North Carolina:

PPP’s newest North Carolina poll finds that Democrats are running up large leads already during early voting. Among those who say they’ve already voted, 63% say they cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton to only 37% for Donald Trump. Interestingly, less than half of a percent say they voted for Gary Johnson, which could be a sign that he won’t end up getting that much more support than a normal third party candidate.

 

► The 2016 election concludes in just 15 days. As Chris Cillizza notes for “The Fix,” this isn’t nearly enough time for Donald Trump to find a way out of his giant crater:

Clinton now has 323 electoral votes either solidly for her or leaning her way. Trump has just 180. (Reminder: You need 270 to win.) And, virtually all of the vulnerability from here until Nov. 8 is on Trump’s side. Arizona and Utah, two states that haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential nominee since 1996 and 1964, respectively, are toss ups! Texas, the one large-population state that has long been considered solidly Republican is within mid-single digits! States like Colorado and Virginia — swing states in the last two elections — aren’t even real opportunities for Trump anymore!

Cillizza and the Washington Post are moving Nevada to “lean Democratic,” while putting Utah in the “toss up” category and even listing Texas as potentially competitive in the race for President.

Meanwhile, as Politico reports, Donald Trump is starting to grapple with one of his oldest adversaries: Reality.

Fifteen days out from Election Day, a tone of resignation has crept into Donald Trump’s talk about his presidential ambitions, even as he still barks loudly about winning in November.

The Republican presidential nominee expressed both sentiments Monday morning, acknowledging during a radio interview that he’s losing, while also boasting “we are winning” to his millions of supporters on Twitter, an incorrect claim that he accused the media of concealing…

…He also rolled back — slightly — his refusal to say that he’ll accept the outcome of the election, saying “too much is being made” about his declaration on last week’s final debate stage.

 

► Just when you might have thought the “The Most Knowingly False Campaign Advertisement” of 2016 couldn’t get any worse…it done got worse. As we explained over the weekend, voters in SD-19 are getting fortune cookies in the mail.

 

 

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

False “China Girl” Attacks Escalate In Key Swing Senate Race

We’ve been talking quite a bit in recent days about a false allegation being used repeatedly against SD-19 Democratic candidate Rachel Zenzinger–a claim that Zenzinger “voted to use public funds for a trip to China as Arvada City Councillor.” This allegation was originally used against Zenzinger in her 2014 race, where it was swiftly ruled “Pants on Fire” false by fact-checkers. Not only did Zenzinger introduce a motion requiring that no public funds be used on any such trip, Zenzinger never went to China.

After another mail piece from Republican-aligned attack group Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government featuring Zenzinger wearing a Vietnamese-style hat arrived in SD-19 mailboxes last week, Zenzinger’s campaign filed a criminal complaint with Jefferson County DA Pete Weir. But then just a couple of days later, before anyone could even address that complaint, a small package began showing up in SD-19 mailboxes:

20161022_152953_resized

That’s right, folks. They’re mailing out fortune cookies.

20161022_152940_resized

A press release yesterday from Zenzinger’s campaign makes no attempt to conceal their anger–and at this point, who wouldn’t be?

Demonstrating the highest degree of disregard for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office, a Republican group called Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government sent the packages with the false message that the cookie commemorates “Rachel Zenzinger’s vote for a taxpayer-funded trip to China.” Zenzinger has never been to China.

Just two days previously, Zenzinger had filed a complaint with the DA’s office about false mailers that implied she had taken a personal vacation to China using taxpayers’ money. In public statements following her interaction with the DA’s office, Zenzinger called upon her opponent, Sen. Laura Woods, to disavow these false ads. Woods has not responded.

“As far as we can determine, this strategy by Woods’ supporters represents a new low in Colorado political campaigning, and in fact it is not a strategy at all,” said Zenzinger. “The word strategy implies some element of creativity, and there is none here. Some desperate Republican henchman decided at some point it would be better to create this outright lie, rather than lose the election and possibly lose majority control of the Senate.”

The majority leader in the Senate is Bill Cadman, who has publicly acknowledged that he will do whatever the Koch Brothers tell him to do, with no regard for ethics or even legalities. It is a violation of Colorado Revised Statue 1-13-109 to distribute material in an election that is knowingly false, and the crime is considered a first class misdemeanor.

“I’m looking into the future, and I would say fortunes look bleak for the people who concocted this criminal ad campaign,” said Zenzinger.

Ever since it became clear that this Republican attack group was focusing almost solely on a proven-false allegation, doubling down on it after adverse fact-checks and even deceptively quoting from those fact-checks in new mailings, we’ve been trying to figure out the real motive for this almost unprecedented campaign of lies against Zenzinger. Obviously, the “China Girl” attack polls well for the GOP, but there’s more to this strategy at this point. Is it possible that Republicans are hoping the backlash over this lie will help them some way? In these low-information downballot races, everyone is looking for an edge to cut through the noise and raise awareness about the race any way they can.

After some deliberation, we do think it’s possible that this is a test–to see if the continuous application of an demonstrable falsehood in a low-information race, with all the outrage, criminal complaints, and hostile press coverage that this falsehood is ginning up, can still be a net positive for the Republican candidate.

On an objective, nonpartisan level, it’s a test everyone should hope they fail.

Woods apparently thinks twice about thanking Democrats

(The wrong color of astroturf? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Woods deleted Facebook postRepublican State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada has removed a post from her Facebook page, in which she thanked alleged “supporters from the Democrat Party.”

It appears that Woods was referring to members of a Facebook group called, “Democrats for Senator Laura Woods,” who joined with Woods at a parade last month. “It was awesome to have you there,” Woods wrote on Facebook.

As I posted last week, none of the group’s members have been shown to actually live in Woods’ district and so they cannot vote for her, with one member registered to vote as far away as Boone, North Carolina.

Another group member, pictured on the site, was registered as a Republican, until asked about his voter registration last week, at which time he registered as a Democrat, saying it was a mistake.

Woods did not return a call seeking an explanation for removing the post.

In addition to possible concerns about the group’s members who can’t vote for her, Woods may worry that promoting Democrats on her Facebook page would turn away Trump supporters, whom she says are a key part of her path to victory in her district.

Woods, who’s long supported Trump and forgives him for his lewd comments, told a Denver radio station last week:

“I think if Donald Trump wins my district, I’m likely to,” Woods said on air. “And if Hillary Clinton wins my district, my opponent is likely to win.”

Colorado Republicans Can Start to Panic Now

votebuttonLongtime Colorado political journalist Ernest Luning has been keeping track of ballot return figures via his Twitter account. This is not good for Republicans:

The last time that Democrats were this far ahead of Republicans in Colorado in early voting returns was…well, maybe never.

The biggest fear for the GOP in 2016 has always been that a terrible top of the ticket — headlined by Donald Trump and Darryl Glenn — would be so disinteresting/disgusting that otherwise reliable Republican voters just wouldn’t bother to vote at all. Right-leaning political pundits have been saying for months that Republican voters could save down-ballot candidates by splitting their ticket at the polls, but that was assuming Republican voters would actually, you know, fill in the bubbles on their ballot.

If this trend continues in Colorado through Election Day, Republican candidates are going to be wiped out across the board. Perhaps the Trump campaign would have been better off staffing their field offices with people who are old enough to drive a car. 

Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 20)

Get More SmarterDonald Trump now says that he will accept the election results…so long as he wins the race. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Got ballot? Your 2016 ballot may be sitting in your mailbox at this very moment; election officials began mailing out ballots on Monday. For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location. Denver7 also includes a good list of election-related information. And one more thing: Don’t take selfies with your ballot, please.

 

The third and final Presidential debate took place in Las Vegas, Nevada on Wednesday night and…well…at least it’s over now. You can find a list of debate “Winners and Losers” over at “The Fix,” but there’s really only one relevant story from last night. As the Washington Post reports:

Donald Trump’s defiant assault on the election’s integrity reverberated Thursday among his allies and rivals as the GOP campaign and Hillary Clinton’s inner circle argued over how best to face the outcome after the votes are counted.

Trump on Wednesday amplified one of the most explosive charges of his candidacy: that if he loses the election, he might consider the results illegitimate because the process is “rigged.”

Questioned directly as to whether he would accept the outcome should Democratic nominee Clinton prevail Nov. 8, Trump demurred. “I’ll keep you in suspense,” the Republican nominee said. [Pols emphasis] Clinton called Trump’s answer “horrifying,” saying he was “talking down our democracy.”

The morning after Donald Trump’s unprecedented statement that he may not concede the election, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway was spinning in circles:

In a separate interview on Fox News Channel’s “Fox and Friends,” Conway said Trump has “been reading stories about irregularities. . . . So it’s not without basis.”

In other words, Conway says Trump is being influenced by news reports that the election might be rigged…stories which are almost entirely based on Trump’s OWN bombastic claims that the election might be rigged. Trump must be fascinated to be reading about this other Trump fella who is also running for President.

Just when you think Trump has reached rock bottom, he figures out a way to dig deeper.

 

The most pivotal debate of the 2016 election in Colorado takes place tonight when Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll square off for the last time in a 30-minute rhetorical battle on 9News (live at 7:00 pm). Coffman has bombed in the previous two debates between the two candidates, and he’s entering tonight’s contest on the heels of a disastrous interview with Kyle Clark of 9News.

Here’s a preview of tonight’s debate from 9News.

 

► Democratic Senate candidate Rachel Zenzinger (SD-19, Arvada) has filed a criminal complaint regarding ads that repeatedly claim she took a taxpayer-funded trip to China (this entire attack has been disputed repeatedly over the course of the last two years). We’ve called the so-called “China Girl” attacks “The Most Knowingly False Campaign Advertisement” of 2016, and local media outlets are starting to really push back on these claims. From Denver7:

On July 5, Denver7 PolitiFact checked the facts of a mailer from “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” that was sent in opposition of Zenzinger.

That mailer read, “Rachel Zenzinger voted to use taxpayer money on a trip to China…”

“While serving in the city council, Rachel Zenzinger voted to use tax dollars to take a taxpayer funded junket to China,” the mailer said.

Denver7 PolitiFact rated the mailer, “Pants on Fire,” the worst rating because the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

As we noted earlier, the latest mail piece using this attack actually cites Denver7 PolitiFact as a source of information about the “China Girl” attacks. It’s going to be difficult for “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” to prove that they didn’t know these attacks were false when they cite a major news outlet’s story that SAYS IT IS FALSE.

A Denver7 story last night confirmed that the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office is indeed looking into Zenzinger’s complaint.

 

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

Criminal Complaint Filed Regarding “Knowingly False” Attack Ads

UPDATE: Denver7 (home of Politifact Colorado) follows up, and they appear to be kind of pissed:

A state Senate candidate filed a complaint with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office over a political mailer with claims that Denver7 PolitiFact has already deemed “Pants on Fire.”

Democratic State Senate candidate Rachel Zenzinger is now asking for the district attorney’s help in alerting the voting public to the violation and preventing the group behind the flier from continuing activity during the election. That group is Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government…

On July 5, Denver7 PolitiFact checked the facts of a mailer from “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” that was sent in opposition of Zenzinger.

That mailer read, “Rachel Zenzinger voted to use taxpayer money on a trip to China…”

“While serving in the city council, Rachel Zenzinger voted to use tax dollars to take a taxpayer funded junket to China,” the mailer said.

Denver7 PolitiFact rated the mailer, “Pants on Fire,” the worst rating because the statement is not accurate and makes a ridiculous claim.

At this point, what else can she do? Calling in the law seems to be the only recourse against an assailant immune to shame.

—–

We’ve been discussing in this space on a regular basis what we’ve called “The Most Knowingly False Campaign Advertisement” of the 2016 election cycle. Democrat Rachel Zenzinger has been the target of these false claims — for two years — as she seeks to unseat state Sen. Laura Waters Woods in SD-19:

chinagirlfb

The Democratic Senate Campaign Fund announced in a press release moments ago a criminal complaint against Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government over the mail piece we wrote about yesterday–falsely alleging that Democratic SD-19 candidate Rachel Zenzinger had “voted to use taxpayer money on a trip to China” while serving as an Arvada city councillor. Republicans have continued to make these false caims even after a July fact-check by Politifact Colorado that rated the allegation “Pants on Fire.”

Supporters of Sen. Laura Woods could be facing a first-degree misdemeanor charge after the group sent out a mailer in which they falsely claim that Rachel Zenzinger took a personal trip to China using taxpayer money.

Zenzinger has brought charges for the false ad to the District Attorney’s office for investigation. Woods supporters, who have knowingly dispersed a false statement about a candidate for public office, could face a first-degree misdemeanor according to CRS 1-13-109. The flier is a revival of a two-year-old, thoroughly debunked fabrication, but this latest flier contains discriminatory imagery against Asian Americans.

“Laura Woods and her backers know Rachel Zenzinger voted in opposition to public monies being used for any trip of this kind. But now Laura Woods and her backers are using racially-charged imagery, sinking to a level that would make Donald Trump proud. Laura Woods needs to disavow this ad, and apologize to the people of Senate District 19. Period. Full stop,” said Andrew Short, executive director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund.

“We are confident the District Attorney will investigate this mailer as a first degree misdemeanor against Laura Woods’ backers for producing and dispersing a knowingly false statement about a candidate for public office, which is pursuant to CRS 1-13-109,” Short continued.

In addition to the offensive imagery that includes a photoshopped traditional conical hat on Zenzinger’s head, this misleading piece actually cites Politifact — the publication gave the ad a “Pants On Fire” rating — in their assertion that Zenzinger voted to use taxpayer money to take a trip to China. The latest flier pushes even deeper into the realm of falsehood, referring to “… her trip to China”: Zenzinger has never been to China.

Laura Woods and her backers have a history of lying in political mailers, but this edition of the lying ad by Laura Woods’ backers takes the cake, with racial imagery that has to remind one of when Donald Trump used a broken English accent to mock Asian businessmen.

It’s anybody’s guess whether the Republican DA in Jefferson County will take up this investigation, but the facts of this situation point very strongly to the likelihood that this is a “knowing” false statement intended to affect an election, a crime under Colorado law. We’re not aware of a Colorado campaign persistently using a false claim like this after the fact-checkers have ruled it false, certainly not over the course of two election cycles. The long-debunked nature of this allegation, combined with this latest mailer’s use of quotes from the July fact-check debunking the previous mail piece, make it a much stronger case than any we can remember to which this law has been applied.

We’ll update with coverage as it comes in; it looks like this will be blowing up uncomfortably for local Republicans very late in the game.

After saying she’d vote for Trump, Doty now tells Aurora Sentinel her vote is a “private decision”

(Contagious cowardice – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Nancy Doty.

Nancy Doty.

While some Republicans who once supported Trump are now backing off, Colorado state senate candidate Nancy Doty, who previously said she’d vote for the GOP presidential nominee, is now refusing to reveal whom she will vote for, saying she considers “everyone’s vote to be a private decision.”

Doty’s latest position was reported by Brandon Johansson at the Aurora Sentinel, which published Doty’s answer to the question, “Will you vote for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or someone else?”

Doty’s response: Yes. I consider my vote private and everyone’s vote to be a private decision.

In June, Doty was out-of-the-closet with her voting preferences, as reported by Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Independent:

On her presidential preference, Doty said she will support the Republican nominee, although Donald Trump was not her first choice. She initially backed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Then, in July, she said Sarah Palin’s Denver speech, in which Palin raved about Trump, was “spot on,” confirming that Doty herself still planned to vote for Trump.

So why the sudden silence on her prez pick? Both the Aurora Sentinel and the Colorado Independent should call her and find out what’s up–and set the record straight for their readers. (Doty did not return my call seeking an explanation, and she’s ignored queries from others on other issues.)

What led Doty, who faces Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan in hotly contested SD 26, to first be open about her voting preference and then settle on the belief that “everyone’s vote” should be a “private decision?”

Who knows? Maybe Trump’s antics have something to do with it, but the inconsistency deserves to be exposed and explained.

Woods: Supporting Trump Her “Religious Freedom”

(What the…? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

With Colorado’s largest media outlets (TV and print) mostly AWOL when it comes to covering the most important race in the state this election season, we’re left to talk radio hosts, bloggers, and other shoe-string entities to offer voters the basic information they need to vote and understand what’s at stake Nov. 8.

So, how’s that working out? Not well.

Case in point, Republican State Sen. Laura Woods’ appearance this morning on KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky show.

Kaminsky is smart enough to know that the Woods’ Arvada race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger is probably the most important election contest in Colorado, with control of state government likely riding on the outcome. Yet, he sits silent or cheerleads as she makes outrageous statements, without offering context or fact-checking.

At one point, for example, Woods made the off-the-moon claim that her opponents who criticize her for forgiving Donald Trump for lewd comments are attacking Woods’ religious freedom. Woods is a longstanding Trump supporter.

“I’m being called out because I’ve chosen to forgive Donald Trump’s comments [about sexually assaulting women] and support him continually,” Woods told a loving Kaminsky. “So, that’s an attack on religious freedom.”

How’s that work? If you’re against Trump and his offensive bravado, you’re against religious freedom?

(more…)

2016’s Most Knowingly False Accusation Takes Nasty Racist Turn

We’ve talked a number of times about a specific line of attack targeting Democratic SD-19 candidate Rachel Zenzinger, falsely alleging that Zenzinger had “voted to use taxpayer money on a trip to China” while serving as an Arvada city councillor. As Politifact Colorado and every other objective look at this accusation has found, it’s completely false: not only did Zenzinger never visit China, she introduced the motion barring the use of taxpayer dollars on any such trip.

The “China Girl” attack on Zenzinger was thoroughly debunked by in 2014 when it was originally used, which made its recycling in 2016 much more arguably a case of making a knowingly false statement in a political ad–a crime under Colorado law.

Regardless, this week the organization responsible for the ad ruled “Pants on Fire” by Politifact Colorado, Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government,  sent another mail piece to SD-19 voters making the same false charge:

chinagirl3

Now, the first problem with this mail piece is the eye-poppingly racist Photoshopping of a traditional Vietnamese straw hat, known as a non la, onto Rachel Zenzinger’s head. We shouldn’t even have to point out that this ad is about an alleged trip to China, which is not Vietnam, and they in fact wear different straw hats in China.

We assume nobody at Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government could, you know, tell the difference.

But as bad as the racism in this latest mail piece is, that may not even be the worst part. Looking closely at this ad, you can see they quote the Mayor of Arvada, Marc Williams. The citation for that quote on this mailer is “Channel 7 News, Denver, 7/5/16.”

Understand this, folks: that’s Politifact Colorado’s fact-check! The one that ruled this claim “Pants on Fire” false! The mailer conveniently omits the rest of Williams’ statement in that story:

[Williams] stressed that she also made the subsequent successful motion “with the explicit direction that no city funds be used.” [Pols emphasis]

This mail piece was produced after Politifact Colorado’s July 5th fact-check of CCAG’s previous mailer on the same subject. That means that Sen. Laura Woods’ allies at CCAG read that fact-check, disregarded its conclusion, and used a hacked-up quote for it to further mislead voters about the same completely debunked charge.

The only reasonable conclusion with all these facts in mind is that CCAG knows they are lying, and are overtly contemptuous of the media’s ability to correct the record. They have concluded that more voters will see their false accusation than will ever see the debunking, and they simply have no sense of accountability to anyone. We can’t imagine what Alan Gathright and the folks at Politifact will say about being given this brazen middle finger by a major Republican 527, but that’s obviously what they’re doing.

If that is not outrageous to every voter on an objective level, we don’t know what is. And if there was ever a case ripe for prosecution under Colorado’s much-debated law against knowingly lying in our elections, this has to be it.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 18)

Get More SmarterIf the 2016 election is as rigged as Donald Trump claims, can we just go ahead and declare Hillary Clinton the winner and save everyone a few weeks of yammering? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Your ballot is in the mail (probably). Election officials began mailing out ballots on Monday, which means Coloradans could be casting their 2016 votes as soon as Wednesday. For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location. Denver7 also includes a good list of election-related information.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is in Colorado today, making campaign stops in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction, just as a new poll shows Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton maintaining a healthy lead in our state thanks in part to a big boost from Unaffiliated voters. Trump will have to deal with plenty of questions today about his absurd claims that the election is being rigged against him; election officials (from both political parties) across the state condemned Trump’s fraud allegations in no uncertain terms.

Why is Trump so freaked out? Perhaps because he is on pace for an historic beatdown on Election Day.

Elsewhere on the top stump, Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence will be making a stop in Durango on Wednesday. On Monday, Clinton’s former Primary opponent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, wrapped up a two-day visit to Colorado aimed at encouraging GOTV and voter registration efforts.

 

► Democrat Gail Schwartz seems to have the momentum in her CD-3 challenge of incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Durango). Schwartz doubled Tipton’s fundraising haul in Q3, and has picked up endorsements from the Durango Herald and the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Here’s an excerpt from today’s Sentinel endorsement:

Republican Scott Tipton wants a fourth term in the U.S. House representing the people of Colorado’s sprawling 3rd Congressional District.

We think Democrat Gail Schwartz is a better alternative.

That should say something. In the past three general elections, we’ve endorsed Tipton twice, along with Mitt Romney for president in 2012 and Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate in 2014 — all Republicans.

But in an era of unprecedented partisanship and gridlock on Capitol Hill, we need lawmakers who can put the needs of the district over party interests — or their own…

…We think Schwartz leans left far less than Tipton leans right. We think it’s time a more moderate representative got a crack at advocating for the interests of the district.

 

 

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Laura Woods Forgives Trump for Lewd Comments About Women

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

(Par for the course — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) has forgiven Trump for his comments about sexually assaulting women, according to an Associated Press story today, raising more questions for local media about the impact of Trump’s candidacy on Woods’ state senate race that will likely determine whether Democrats flip Colorado’s legislature in November.

Woods has made no secret of her longstanding support for Trump, calling him the “people’s candidate,” but her comments to the AP go further in explaining why she’s sticking with Trump: She does not believe she’ll win her district unless Trump carries it.

Here’s what Woods told the AP’s David A. Lieb:

Republicans currently hold a precarious single-seat advantage over Democrats in the Colorado Senate, while Democrats hold just a three-seat lead in the House. One of the most pivotal races is in Denver’s western suburbs, where Republican Sen. Laura Woods faces a rematch against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, who held the seat in 2014.

Woods says a Democratic-backed political group has targeted her in automated phone calls linking her to Trump. But Woods, a self-described Christian conservative, says she has forgiven Trump for his sexual comments and will not abandon him.

“I think if Donald Trump wins my district, I’m likely to,” Wood said. “And if Hillary Clinton wins my district, my opponent is likely to win.”

The comments could explain why Woods turned to Twitter to defend Trump after the Hollywood Access Video was released, retweeting a Breitbart story headlined, “Criminal Aliens Sexually Assault 70,000 American Women — But Paul Ryan Targets Trump.”

Woods unusual public effort to downplay the seriousness of Trump’s comments can be seen as an attempt to shore up Trump support in her own district, which she sees the key to her defeating Democrat Rachel Zenzinger next month.

Woods’ decision to openly forgive Trump, at least for his comments and possibly for his actual alleged sexual assaults, contrasts with other Colorado Republicans who openly declared after the release of the video that they will not vote for the mogul.

It makes for yet another interesting angle on Woods’ all-important state senate 19 race, which has yet to attract the attention it deserves from legacy media outlets.

woods-defending-woods-by-retweeting-breitbart

Get More Smarter on Monday (October 17)

Get More SmarterThe ballots are coming! The ballots are coming! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The end (of this election cycle) is near. Mail ballots will start going out today, which means some lucky Coloradans could be voting as soon as Wednesday. As John Frank explains for the Denver Post:

This week, the 2016 election gets real.

Colorado election officials will begin mailing ballots Monday to more than 3,125,300 active voters, and the initial wave of votes is expected by the end of the week.

The first mail-ballot presidential election marks a fundamental shift in how elections are managed in Colorado and introduces significant variables to the political calculus that will determine the winners.

“Election Day is really a misnomer,” said Eric Sondermann, a Colorado political analyst. “All Election Day is now is the day the ballots are counted. It’s no longer the day ballots are cast.”

The new math is forcing the candidates to revamp their strategy and make their final push weeks earlier than other states as the campaign moves to the “ballot chase” phase.

For voting information or to check your registration, go to JustVoteColorado.org. If you would prefer to vote at a polling place rather than via mail balloting, check here for your nearest polling location.

 

► Former Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders finishes up a quick visit to Colorado today with rallies in Boulder and Ft. Collins. Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren were in Denver on Sunday for a GOTV rally in support of Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

 

► On the Republican side, Donald Trump, Jr. is campaigning for his father in Boulder today, though a potential campaign event at iconic restaurant The Sink was nixed by the establishment’s owners (Junior was also scheduled to speak in Centennial Monday morning). The Big Orange Candidate himself will be in Colorado on Tuesday, with planned visits in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction.

Donald Trump continues to lay out a nice bed of failure in advance of Election Day, amping up his claims that the 2016 election is going to be rigged against him. As Ernest Luning notes via Twitter, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is not amused:

Trump is very angry that his fellow Republicans aren’t buying his “rigged election” theory.

 

 

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