Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 18)

Get More SmarterBack to school, back to school; to show my dad, that I’m not a fool. 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…

► According to polling results released Thursday by Quinnipiac University, Colorado’s U.S. Senate race is really starting to get away from Republicans. Incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) leads Republican Darryl Glenn 52-38 in a head-to-head matchup. These numbers are similar to those reported by NBC/Marist last week, in which Bennet was leading Glenn 53-38.

Quinnipiac has a strange history of polling in Colorado, however, and they added to their weird reputation in a press release announcing the poll numbers. Here’s a quote from Tim Malloy of Quinnipiac University: “There is still time for Darryl Glenn to summon enough support to win a Senate seat the GOP sorely needs.”

Um, no. There may not even be time for Glenn to get this race to within single digits.

On Wednesday, Quinnipiac released polling numbers in Colorado for the Presidential race, showing Hillary Clinton with a 10-point lead over Donald Trump.

 

► Speaking of Trump, his new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, says that her plan moving forward is to “let Trump be Trump.” In other words, Donald Trump has apparently given up on the idea of being elected President.

 

► The U.S. Justice Department announced on Thursday that it will no longer employ the use of private prisons, citing evidence that they are less safe and less effective than government-run prisons. From the Washington Post:

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates announced the decision on Thursday in a memo that instructs officials to either decline to renew the contracts for private prison operators when they expire or “substantially reduce” the contracts’ scope. The goal, Yates wrote, is “reducing — and ultimately ending — our use of privately operated prisons.”

“They simply do not provide the same level of correctional services, programs, and resources; they do not save substantially on costs; and as noted in a recent report by the Department’s Office of Inspector General, they do not maintain the same level of safety and security,” Yates wrote.

The Justice Department’s inspector general last week released a critical reportconcluding that privately operated facilities incurred more safety and security incidents than those run by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The private facilities, for example, had higher rates of assaults — both by inmates on other inmates and by inmates on staff — and had eight times as many contraband cellphones confiscated each year on average, according to the report. Yates said there are 13 privately run facilities under the Bureau of Prisons purview.

There are several private prisons in Colorado that house criminals convicted of state or local crimes; it is unclear how this announcement might affect these facilities.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 17)

Get More SmarterHappy Flag Day…in Bolivia. 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…

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump has made some major changes at the top of his campaign as the candidate pledges to increase his level of Trumpiness in the final months of the election cycle. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix”:

“I am who I am,” Trump said. “I’ve gotten here in a landslide and we’ll see what happens.”

What that quote — and the subsequent staff moves — should tell you is that Trump believes he made a mistake in bowing to establishment pressure and bringing in a veteran hand like Manafort to oversee things. Trump sees his current problems in the race as deriving not from being too much of himself but from not being enough of himself.

What moving out Manafort and elevating Conway and Bannon should tell you is that Trump has decided that he is going to run the last three months — or so — of the campaign on his own terms. Win or lose, he is going to go out being himself.

If you come across a Republican weeping quietly in the fetal position today, try to give them an encouraging pat on the back or something.

And if you see Sen. Cory Gardner, it’s probably best that you just not use the “T” word. Gardner quietly announced his support for Trump on Friday, but the lede was so buried that the original story didn’t get widespread attention until Tuesday.

 

► New polling results from Quinnipiac University show that Hillary Clinton maintains a  double-digit lead over Donald Trump in Colorado. Quinnipiac has Clinton up 49-39 in Colorado; 47-44 in Iowa; and 50-38 in Virginia. Quinnipiac’s numbers in Colorado are in the same ballpark as the Real Clear Politics polling average of Clinton +11.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 16)

Get More SmarterDid you remember to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal on Monday? 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.

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► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asked former Interior Secretary and longtime Colorado politico Ken Salazar to lead her White House transition team. From the Denver Post:

As head of a lineup that includes former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Salazar will be in charge of meeting with Obama administration officials and preparing for a smooth handoff between presidents.

The role has become more official in recent years; transition staff will meet regularly with White House officials and use workspace provided by the General Services Administration.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was tapped by Donald Trump in May for a similar assignment. “Once Hillary Clinton makes history by being elected as the nation’s first woman President, we want to have a turnkey operation in place so she can hit the ground running right away,” Salazar said in a statement released Tuesday by the Clinton campaign.

By leading Clinton’s transition team, Salazar is in prime position to nab a key role in a potential Clinton Administration. This is a significant development for Colorado, as well, as Salazar has long been rumored to be preparing a bid for Governor in 2018. If Salazar were to land a top job in the Clinton Administration, it would likely preclude him from running for Governor.

 

► Republicans are adopting a strange new strategy when it comes to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte rolled out the newest talking point on Monday, saying that she will be voting for Trump for President, but vows to “stand up to him” if elected.

 

► It may not qualify as the first rule of politics in Colorado, but it should definitely be in the Top 5: Never use pictures of non-Colorado mountain ranges in literature or video campaign advertisements.

 

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Sen. Laura Woods Joins “Moving Mountain Hall of Shame”

UPDATE: Jeffco residents will get the joke:

woodsjeffcogreatagain

westminstergreat

—–

The spectacular mountain vistas we enjoy as residents of the great state of Colorado are some of the most popular visual symbols used in advertising–from Coors beer bottles to the iconic silhouette of the Rockies that has decorated our state’s license plates for many decades. And of course, Colorado politicians make regular use of Colorado mountains as a backdrop or other visual subject in their own advertisements and literature.

In our over a decade of covering Colorado politics, one of the more embarrassing gaffes we’ve seen committed by political campaigns is the appropriation of mountains not located in Colorado for use in Colorado political materials. Back in 2008, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer was lampooned ferociously after a TV spot substituted Alaska’s Mount McKinley for Pikes Peak. Other big-name candidates from Scott McInnis to Bob Beauprez have similarly been taken to task in major media for screwing this up, not to mention the Colorado Republican Party and right-wing message group Citizens United. It’s always our hope when this happens that the resulting ridicule will encourage the next election cycle’s graphic designers to, you know, be more careful.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for Colorado’s most competitive state senate race! Here’s the “walk piece” being used by Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign in swing SD-19, sent to us this past weekend:

Woods-walk-1

That’s a lovely alpine lake and range of mountains Sen. Woods is standing in front of, isn’t it? A shot right out of a tourism brochure, right? We’d love to take a weekend drive to this beauty spot.

winter_moraine_lake_alberta_canada-wallpaper-1152x720

Unfortunately, it would take just about the whole weekend to get there, because it’s not in America. The lake and mountain range Sen. Woods is depicted in front of is in fact located in Alberta, Canada’s Banff National Park.

This isn’t the first time Banff, Canada’s mountains have been substituted for Colorado mountains, in fact the Citizens United movie Rocky Mountain Heist we noted above used either the exact same photo or one very similar for the video’s cover. But for proud Colorado locals who know our mountains well, this really is a major insult to our collective intelligence. There are so many authentic Coloradan picturesque mountain ranges that political graphic designers could use, from the Maroon Bells to the Sneffels Range to the Indian Peaks within easy sight of Denver. Why fake the beauty of Colorado?

In a race as close as Woods’ is expected to be, don’t make unforced errors like this.

Anti-Vaxxer PAC Registered in Colorado (Oh Boy!)

antivaxpac

Measles.

Measles.

Here’s a newly-registered political committee to keep on the radar: the Colorado Coalition for Vaccine Choice Political Committee, created “to support or oppose Colorado state and local political candidates based on their views on protecting medical informed consent, vaccine exemptions provided in Colorado Revised Statutes 22-32-140, C.R.S. 25-4-903, and C.R.S. 25-4-902.”

In other words, the “anti-vaxxer PAC!” There’s no money or expenditures to report yet, but election season is still very young.

Our readers will recall that the last couple of years have seen a significant upsurge in “anti-vaxxer” political organizing among Colorado Republicans, in particular the 2015 “Parents Bill of Rights” sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville and backed by Sen. Laura Woods that created a very serious public relations problem for the Colorado Senate GOP majority.

In light of recent outbreaks of preventable diseases like mumps and measles, and polls showing overwhelming public support for vaccinations, “anti-vaxxerism” is a risky stand to take for any politician. It should be noted that even though anti-vaxxer sentiment doesn’t always break cleanly along partisan lines, the fight over the “Parents Bill of Rights” framed the debate in Colorado as red vs. blue.

Anyway, here’s a committee you’ll want to watch closely to know who the “anti-vaxxers” believe speak for them.

Remember to keep some hand sanitizer close by in case you meet up.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 12)

Get More SmarterRepublicans, you have a problem. Well, several problems. 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…

► A new poll of Colorado voters shows that Democrats Hillary Clinton and Michael Bennet have opened up substantial leads over their respective Republican opponents. According to NBC/Marist, Clinton leads Donald Trump by 14 points in Colorado, while Bennet holds a 15-point lead over Republican Senate challenger Darryl Glenn.

 

► Republicans are starting to seriously panic over the 2016 election cycle. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded on Thursday that he “might not be Majority Leader next year” during an address in Louisville, Kentucky. Even Donald Trump is starting to falter in his belief that he will become the next President of the United States:

“At the end, it’s either going to work, or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation,” Trump told CNBC.

Assuming he’s not on vacation at the end of this month, Trump will stop in Aspen on August 25 for a fundraiser hosted by Denver Republican Larry Mizel.

 

► Trump is now reversing course on earlier statements — comments that he had already gone out of his way to confirm — that “President Obama founded ISIS”:

Donald Trump on Friday backpedaled on his assertion that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State, blasting the media for seriously reporting what he suggested was a sarcastic comment.

“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS, & MVP,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”

Perhaps Trump’s entire campaign for President is just one big sarcastic joke. Trump’s reversal on his own statements also made an ass out of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who appeared on 9News Thursday via satellite to defend the remarks that Trump walked back today.

“The one thing about Donald Trump is he doesn’t go tip-toeing around the rules, the semantic rules, of political correctness,” Pence said when pressed about the factual inaccuracy of Trump’s words. “Everybody in the country knows exactly what Donald Trump means.” [Pols emphasis]

Um. Not so much, no.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 11)

Get More SmarterIs it possible that Donald Trump and Darryl Glenn joined forces to create the ZIKA virus? Some people might be saying that. 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.

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► Crickets.

This has been the standard response from Colorado Republicans to anything Donald Trump says, and the Colorado media is starting to really pay attention to the silence. From Brandon Rittiman at 9News:

Ranking members of the GOP in Colorado stayed largely silent on Donald Trump’s latest controversial statement, which some have taken as an incitement of violence against Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

“Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump said at a Tuesday rally. “By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment, people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Darryl Glenn declined to comment, his campaign staff told 9NEWS.

GOP Congressmen Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Ken Buck did not respond to 9NEWS after numerous requests for comment.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman did manage to track down Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) for comment. Coffman called Trump’s statement “reckless,” but once again refused to go any further in condemning the Republican Presidential nominee. This is sort of like a “Profiles in Courage” story…except, you know, the exact opposite.

 

► So, um, yeah. How best to put this? Colorado Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is crazier than than a bag of cats. As the Huffington Post reports:

An overlooked debate exchange may give a clue about why Republicans reportedly are writing off their Senate contender in Colorado: He can sound as conspiratorial as Donald Trump.

At a pre-primary forum in late June, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn was asked what the FBI could do to better address cases like that of Orlando massacre shooter Omar Mateen, who had for a time attracted the attention of the bureau before he killed 49 people in the Pulse nightclub…

…“I think we need to have hearings on this. I think people need to be held accountable,” Glenn said. “I want to know whether or not our FBI personnel were personally directed to look the other way. Don’t you want to know that?” Glenn said. “The president should be held to account for that if he gave direction that limited the FBI.” [Pols emphasis]

Glenn is indeed channeling his inner Trump by suggesting that President Obama is somehow connected to the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub earlier this summer. This “I’m just sayin'” crap is small-minded and irresponsible — particularly coming from a guy who is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

 

► Demonstrating once again that he can’t let a news cycle pass without saying something ridiculous, Donald Trump boldly declared that President Obama is “the founder of ISIS.” From Politico:

Donald Trump on Thursday escalated his attack on President Barack Obama, doubling down on his accusation that he’s a founder of the Islamic State and claiming that both Obama and Hillary Clinton remain the terrorist group’s most valuable players.

The inflammatory accusation comes as Trump has set off another round of hand-wringing within the Republican Party, returning to his freewheeling ways after the GOP convention with overtures for Russia to hack Clinton’s emails, attacks on the Muslim-American family of a fallen war hero, and a suggestion that “Second Amendment people” are the only ones who can stop Clinton.

In short, we’ve now “learned” that President Obama is both the “founder of ISIS” and was probably somehow involved in the Orlando nightclub shooting massacre. He sounds like a busy guy.

Oh, nevermind. Apparently Obama is not really the founder of ISIS. Also, he is not connected with the Orlando shooting massacre.

 

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Does Woods Really Want Soros Turned Over to Russia?

Does Woods Want Soros Turned Over To Russia?(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I’m constantly telling my wife there’s no way Trump can win in Colorado, and she tells me I have no credibility, because I’ve said for the last year that Trump won’t win anything, here or anywhere.

How that ruins my credibility, I don’t know, but anyway, it’s a useful exercise to look for examples of politicians who’ve won in Colorado, despite exhibiting Trump-like behavior.

I’m not talking about talk-radio hosts, some of whom are deep on the Trump spectrum. Like Peter Boyles. And I’m not referring to politicians in deep red districts.

I’m talking about politicians from purple districts.

Who comes to mind? State Sen. Laura Woods, who has that same erratic quality as Trump. Woods won once by 650 votes. But can she win again, if she behaves like Trump?

Case in point, Woods recently shared an article on Facebook about billionaire Steyer’s political donations in Colorado, as part of his evil agenda to stop global warming, as well as donations by George Soros.

Woods’ Trumpish behavior came out in the comments, where she “liked” this:

“Russia has a bounty on his head and an arrest warrant in place for Soros. We need someone to turn them over to them.”

Does Woods want Steyer to be turned over to the Russians to be killed? Seriously? Does she think there’s an actual factual bounty? Does she think Soros chould be shipped out? Is this a joke?

Woods and Trump are similar on a lot of issues (guns, immigration, choice), but “liking” the bounty comment is the kind of Trump behavior I’m talking about. Throwing something out there that raises a ton of questions.

In Woods’ case, however, despite the fact that her race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger is probably the most important contest in the state, few reporters are asking Woods to explain herself. And she’s not talking to me.

Of course, Woods has been loving Trump since she first heard him speak at Boulder’s Republican presidential primary debate—and just she recently told The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning that Trump is “the people’s candidate.” That’s high praise. Is she modeling herself after him?

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 10)

Get More SmarterNever look a bear in the eyes…or Michael PhelpsIt’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.

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► Critics across the country are aghast at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest controversy. Speaking at a campaign event in North Carolina, Trump all but suggested that someone should assassinate Hillary Clinton or potential Supreme Court nominees if Clinton ends up winning the race for President. As the Washington Post reports, Trump’s increasingly-controversial rhetoric is starting to wear on the American public:

But Trump’s rhetorical asides appear to be taking a toll among the electorate overall. Many voters find his remarks distasteful, even given his explanations. The possibility that he was joking or being sarcastic, or that he meant something other than what some people heard, doesn’t alter the growing view that Trump is reckless with his words.

Each day brings new polls showing the Republican nominee lagging Clinton nationally and in several key battleground states. The surveys show widespread uncertainty about whether Trump has the temperament to serve as president — a doubt that his ever-replenishing supply of rhetoric continues to feed.

“Don’t treat this as a political misstep,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a Clinton supporter and a staunch gun-control advocate. “It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”

ProgressNow Colorado wonders what Trump would need to do to finally convince Colorado Republicans to say they will not vote for him this fall. You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that NO COLORADO REPUBLICAN POLITICIAN has responded to Trump’s suggestions of violence. Around the country, Republican officials are struggling to explain Trump’s latest — and most dangerous — rhetorical bomb.

ElsewhereThe New York Daily News calls on Trump to drop out of the Presidential race in a front-page story. Former Republican Congressman and TV personality Joe Scarborough says its time for the GOP to drop Trump. One former Republican Senator is pushing for Trump to be removed from the GOP ticket through formal Party channels.

 

CNN is keeping track of Republican elected officials who have disavowed Trump and indicated they will not vote for His Hairness this fall. The list is at 87 names and growing.

 

► According to Kimberly Railey of the National Journal, an internal memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) shows polling numbers that have Democrat Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 14 points in CO-6. If these numbers are anywhere close to accurate, it means that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) probably cannot win re-election in CO-6.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 9)

Get More SmarterJust when Donald Trump supporters thought last week was the worst it could get… 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.

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► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to hit refresh after an awful week on the campaign trail, but things aren’t looking much better for His Hairness after a tough day on Monday. Democrat Hillary Clinton is consistently extending her polling lead to double-digits now as high-profile Republicans are increasingly finding their voice of opposition.

Colorado Republicans in high-profile races — such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada) — may soon have to pay the political piper when it comes to their statements about Trump. The Aurora Sentinel published an editorial today calling on Colorado Republicans to immediately and irrevocably denounce Trump:

Either GOP elected officials have such poor judgment that they cannot themselves be trusted to represent their more rational constituents, or they are so cowardly that they will not risk their own political jobs by angering the tea party inmates that are now running this surreal GOP asylum. It is this very same cowardice and poor judgment that allowed for segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South, the Holocaust, apartheid and a long list of odious regimes in places like Russia, China and all over the Middle East.

Don’t miss former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s biting criticism of Coffman’s Trump dance.

 

Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to change anything about his campaign, including his awkwardly-received economic policies. At least he knows he can count on the “Balloon Boy” family.

ICYMI, Trump did not show up in Colorado on Monday.

 

► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton continues to rise in national polls, and her campaign is expanding its list of battleground states to include Arizona and Georgia.

 

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Coffman, Woods Missed Their Exit on Trump

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

August 8, 2016. Mark it down.

History will record Monday as the moment when the full-scale revolt against Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump began in earnest. Trump had an absolutely terrible week of campaigning last week, causing collateral political damage across the country and here in Colorado as well. If Monday is any indication of how the rest of the election cycle will unfold, things are going to get a whole lot worse for Trump and Republicans.

On Monday, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) penned a strongly-worded editorial for the Washington Post to explain why she cannot, and will not, vote for Trump for President. As CNN explains:

“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize,” she said.

However, there were three incidences in particular that led her to make her decision: when Trump mocked a disabled reporter; when he said Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be fair about Trump University because of his Mexican heritage; and when he attacked a Gold Star family, the Khans, after they spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention.

The editorial from Sen. Collins came on the same day that a group of 50 former Republican intelligence and military staffers made their opinions known that Trump is unfit for the Presidency. From Politico:

Donald Trump’s effort to appeal to establishment Republicans suffered another setback on Monday as 50 senior GOP national security officials warned in a new letter that Trump would “risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

The signatories of the letter, which was first reported by The New York Times, all worked in Republican administrations, with many serving as top aides to President George W. Bush. They said none of them would be voting for Trump.

“Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President,” they wrote. “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

Here in Colorado, the Aurora Sentinel published a blistering editorial calling on Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to finally dismiss Trump once and for all:

The moment of truth, and I do mean truth, for Colorado Republican elected officials is now as they must either unequivocally denounce the catastrophic candidacy of Donald Trump or suffer the inevitable consequences.

Eject!

Eject!

For many Colorado Republicans, including Coffman and state Senator Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada), it may be too late to abandon Trump now. We should clarify: It may be too late politically to abandon Trump, though there are still plenty of moral reasons to make the switch.

Coffman’s half-assed attempt last week to kinda, sorta distance himself from Trump was widely panned; Coffman took withering fire from the likes of former CD-6 Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, who said of Coffman that “The only thing authentic about him is his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.” As the New York Times wrote over the weekend, Republican officials are not happy with how Coffman completely botched his #MaybeTrump rollout:

In the past week, the campaign of Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, who represents suburban Denver, began airing a television ad in which he pledges to stand up to Mr. Trump if he becomes president. Other Republicans are expected to follow suit as early as this month.

But even that approach may be insufficient. House Republican officials were furious at Mr. Coffman for not being prepared to answer predictable follow-up questions about whether he still supported Mr. Trump. [Pols emphasis] Democrats responded with an advertisement showing photos of Mr. Coffman and Mr. Trump side by side and urging voters to reject them both.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, Coffman has been trying to walk a fine line between showing manufactured disdain for Trump while refusing to say whether or not he’ll actually support the Republican nominee (lest he anger constituents in CD-6 who are staunch Trump supporters). Obviously, this approach is not working.

With support for Trump now in rapid decline, it’s clear that Coffman, Woods, and other pro-Trump Republicans such as Rep. Clarice Navarro miscalculated in their efforts to stand next to Trump and still emerge unscathed in a General Election. Republicans are terrified that Trump’s plummeting support will cost them — at the very least — control of the U.S. Senate.

Losing just the Senate may have been a best-case scenario for the GOP.

 

Aurora Sentinel Blasts Trump as “Unparalleled Political Abomination”

The Aurora Sentinel doesn't mince words in calling for Rep. Mike Coffman to dump Trump.

The Aurora Sentinel doesn’t mince words in calling for Rep. Mike Coffman to dump Trump.

Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry published an absolutely scathing editorial this morning calling on Colorado Republican politicians to immediately and irrevocably denounce Donald Trump as the Republican candidate for President.

We’d encourage you to read the entire editorial, but here are a few excerpts:

Last week, Congressman Mike Coffman tapped a political white cane around the tea party’s third rail of Trump for President. In a paid political ad, Coffman said he “didn’t think very much” of Trump.

The move smacks of the same half-hearted political opportunism that allowed Sen. Joseph McCarthy to extort the U.S. Senate for America’s dark and unnerving “Un-American Activities” charade in the 1950s. If Coffman is as courageous a politician as he makes himself out to be, he must “stand up” to Trump now, not after he’s president. [Pols emphasis] If he believes it, he must tell Trump that America has no place for such blatant racism and fascist leadership. Dozens of prominent Republicans across the country have summoned the courage to risk alienating the spiteful tea party base by calling Trump out for the imminent danger he is.

Because if Coffman, Sen. Cory Gardner, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, congressmen Ken Buck, Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn and GOP state lawmakers and county officials from all over the state don’t publicly, staunchly and undeniably make clear that they abhor the candidacy of Donald Trump and refuse to support or vote for him, then they leave the public with two options. Either GOP elected officials have such poor judgment that they cannot themselves be trusted to represent their more rational constituents, or they are so cowardly that they will not risk their own political jobs by angering the tea party inmates that are now running this surreal GOP asylum. It is this very same cowardice and poor judgment that allowed for segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South, the Holocaust, apartheid and a long list of odious regimes in places like Russia, China and all over the Middle East.

Dammmmnnnnnn!!!

Will Trump help flip the Colorado state senate?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

This is the moment for reporters to dig into Donald Trump’s impact on state legislative races in Colorado, and no races are more important than those in swing state senate districts, like Republican Laura Woods’ contest against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger and the race between GOP Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty and Democratic state Rep. Daniel Kagan.

Both Woods and Doty have said they’ll back Trump, with Woods enthusiastically calling Trump the “people’s candidate.”

But reporters have yet to question Doty in any substantive way about her support for Trump. We have more than a hint that Doty thinks highly of Trump, because Doty called Sarah Palin’s July 12 endorsement speech of Trump “spot on,” and Doty said she “really enjoyed hearing Trump himself speak.

“I thought Sarah Palin was right on, just spot on! She was very, very good – brought a clear message that people need to get on board.  And I really enjoyed hearing [Donald] Trump,” Doty told KNUS 710-AM host Julie Hayden when asked for her “thoughts” on the speeches.

If Republicans lose their one-seat majority in the state senate, Democrats will likely control state government. So the stakes are high for Doty and Woods.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (August 5)

Get More SmarterThe Summer Olympics in Rio are already underway, with the Opening Ceremonies scheduled to take place tonightIt’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…

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) imploded in spectacular fashion on Thursday, making a ham-handed attempt to explain that he isn’t a huge fan of Donald Trump before inexplicably backpedaling and making it (un)clear that he might still vote for Trump or might also support Libertarian Gary Johnson for President.

Marshall Zelinger caught up with Coffman and found him to be…confused on how to respond to his own TV ad. From Denver7:

The ad doesn’t reveal who he currently plans to vote for on Nov. 8.

“Do people ask you, ‘Are you going to vote for Trump?'” asked Denver7 political reporter Marshall Zelinger.

“I’m running my own campaign, and the purpose of the ad is not whether I’m voting for Trump or not, the purpose of this ad is to send a message to the people of my Congressional District that I will represent them whoever is in the White House,” said Coffman.

“They’re going to want to know, who are you going to vote for based on not liking either?” said Zelinger.

“Donald Trump has not earned my support. I’m not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. (I’ve) talked to Governor (Bill) Weld on the Libertarian side, and I wouldn’t rule that out,” said Coffman.

This is an absolute disaster for Coffman, who hoped to distance himself from Trump but ended up instead looking like a spineless fool who can’t even stick to one simple answer. Negative TV ads about this episode will be devastating for Coffman as we enter the final months of the fall campaign.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is hoping for an end to what has been the worst week of his campaign thus far. A new McClatchy-Marist poll released late Thursday shows Democrat Hillary Clinton surging to a 15-point lead in the race for President:

Clinton not only went up, but Trump went down. Clinton now has a 48-33 lead, a huge turnaround from her narrow 42-39 advantage last momth.

The findings are particularly significant because the poll was taken after both political conventions ended, and as Trump engaged in a war of words with the parents of Army Capt. Humayun Khan, killed in the Iraq War 12 years ago.

Trump’s terrible week, coupled with Clinton’s surge, has opened up new opportunities for the Democratic nominee to court disillusioned Republican voters.

 

► Pundits may disagree on whether or not Colorado is still a swing state this Presidential election, but that isn’t stopping the campaigns from making regular visits to our state. Donald Trump will be back in Colorado on Tuesday, less than a week after his running mate, Mike Pence, visited Denver and Colorado Springs (Democrats Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine were in Colorado on Wednesday as well). Trump will reportedly make stops in Grand Junction and Pueblo (Trump will not visit Pueblo after all).

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Democrats Outperforming GOP in State Senate Fundraising

We wrote yesterday about the significant tilt to the latest fundraising numbers for State House races, where 18 Democrats are among the Top 20 candidates in terms of the most cash-on-hand as of August 1.

Fundraising for the top State Senate races in Colorado is a little bit more competitive, though Democrats still hold a clear advantage over Republicans. Take a look:

Top 10 State Senate fundraising (by COH)

Top 10 State Senate fundraising (by COH)