Like Laura Woods, Libertarian Gary Johnson Strongly Anti-Gun Safety

Woods Calls Libertarian a Gun GrabberIn a Facebook post last week, State Sen. Laura Woods referred to Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson and his running mate as “gun grabbers.”

A Republican from Arvada/Westminster, Woods has made no secret of her hard stance against all gun safety laws, including her opposition to Colorado billls requiring mandatory criminal background checks on people purchasing guns.

She also opposes a Colorado law limiting the number of bullets a person can load into a gun at one time. Woods wants gun to be allowed to hold, for example, 100 bullets if the shooter wanted.

And on Woods’ website, she emphasizes her belief that all people should be allowed to openly carry a gun in public, without concealing it and without obtaining a permit. Woods’ website explains that she favors passing bills enacting this extreme pro-gun position, called “constitutional carry” legislation.

But the strange part is, Libertarian Johnson, whom Woods called a gun grabber, seems to be just about as far from a “gun grabber” as you could possibly imagine, having once told Slate Magazine, “I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None.”

Johnson recently told USA TODAY he supports gun sales to suspected terrorists who can’t fly on airplanes because they’re on America’s terrorist watch list. And Johnson opposes a ban on automatic weapons.

Yet, Woods thinks Johnson is a gun grabber?

That’s a term used to describe someone who is believed to favor government confiscation of guns from ordinary citizens.

What could Johnson possibly say that would make him sufficiently opposed to basic gun safety to meet Woods’ standards for gun craziness?

Woods wants total-freedom-to-own-and-buy-guns, but so does Johnson, as you’d expect from a Libertarian, who sees these safety measures as an intrusion on privacy. Woods doesn’t return my calls, so I’ll leave it to another reporter to find out what she’s thinking.

 

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Laura Woods: All In For Donald Trump

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

As the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning reports and we noted in today’s Get More Smarter roundup, GOP state Sen. Laura Waters Woods of Arvada has ditched any pretense when it comes to supporting Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump–a notable shift from her cagier early position:

“I am not considering running way from him,” Woods said. “He is the people’s candidate. The people have spoken across this country — 14 million voters. I heard the other day that 86 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Donald Trump. That doesn’t say to me I should run away from him. Why would I do that?”

Woods said she’s seen recent polling that shows Trump ahead in Jefferson County, and that’s borne out by her discussions with voters.

“I know from the door knocking I have been doing this summer there is a lot of Trump support in my district,” she said. “It’s the blue collar workers, it’s the Hispanic women, it’s the union members. It’s a diverse group of people and reasons for supporting him, but I’ve bumped into quite a few Trump supporters in my district.”

It’s the same kind of diversity she saw at the Denver rally, where she and her husband stood among Trump supporters about 30 feet from the podium.

“The crowd was huge and diverse and energetic,” Woods said. “What I really loved was seeing lots and lots of millennials in the crowd. I was standing with Hispanics and I was standing with blacks and I was standing with all the ethnic groups. The diversity of support Trump has in Colorado was encouraging.” [Pols emphasis]

And there you have it, folks–in the most competitive state senate race of 2016, the Republican incumbent is fully embracing Donald Trump, and indeed says there is “lots of support” for Trump in her battleground district. While it’s likely there is support for Trump among the Republican doors Woods in knocking on, we’d be much less confident about that talking to a broader cross-section of SD-19 voters.

Especially with so much time left for Trump to offend one’s sense of middle-class suburban decency.

Get More Smarter on Monday (August 1)

Get More SmarterHappy Birthday, Colorado; if you’re feeling old today, talk to Wayne Williams and he’ll help you shave a few years off of your total. 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…

► Colorado is still recovering after a Friday visit from Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. As Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Statesman, Colorado Republicans were effusive in their praise for His Hairness…including state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada):

“I am not considering running away from him,” Woods said. “He is the people’s candidate. [Pols emphasis] The people have spoken across this country — 14 million voters. I heard the other day that 86 percent of Republicans say they will vote for Donald Trump. That doesn’t say to me I should run away from him. Why would I do that?”

“The people’s candidate?” The weirdest comment from the Trump events, as reported by Luning, probably comes from Republican Congressional candidate Casper Stockham (the GOP’s 2016 sacrificial lamb in Denver):

When he had the opportunity to shake hands with Trump after his Denver speech, Stockham said he told the candidate about his 86-year-old mother.

“She voted for Obama twice, and she’s voting for Trump, she loves Trump,” he said. “Trump gave me an autographed note to give to her. Racists don’t do that, you know what I’m saying?”

And there you have it: Racists do not autograph notes for elderly black women.

Joey Bunch of the Denver Post has more from Trumpalooza on Friday.

 

► Elsewhere in Trump news, Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” is perplexed at the “strategy” behind attacking Khzir and Ghazala Khan, the parents of a Muslim-American solider killed in Iraq in 2004:

For the life of me, I can’t figure out what Trump is doing here — and whether there is absolutely any strategy behind it.

Going back and forth with a family who has lost a son in combat is, on its face, the height of stupidity, politically speaking. [Pols emphasis] Even if you don’t agree with the Khans’s view of Trump, it’s hard to feel anything but sympathy for their loss. Losing a child is every parent’s nightmare — and that is a feeling that transcends politics.

As has been mentioned time and again over the last 72 hours, George W. Bush’s response to Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in Iraq and then camped in front of Bush’s Texas ranch to protest his policies, seems to be the appropriate one for a politician dealing with such a difficult situation.

You know things are bad when you manage to make George W. Bush look like the “compassionate conservative” he once claimed to represent. Today is “Day Four” of Trump’s verbal beef with the Khan family.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman is trying really, really, really hard to convince voters that might oppose Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President. What Coffman won’t do is answer the only question that really matters here: Will you vote for Trump?

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (July 29)

Get More SmarterWe hate to bring it up, but when you return to work on Monday…it will be August. 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…

► Democrat Hillary Clinton formally accepted her party’s nomination for President to conclude the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on Thursday evening. As the Washington Post reports, Clinton’s acceptance speech was tailored to a much broader audience than Republican nominee Donald Trump’s speech week earlier:

If you already support the former Secretary of State, you loved her speech to the Democratic convention last night. If you’re skeptical of her but trying to convince yourself to get to yes—whether because you backed Bernie Sanders or you’re uncomfortable with Donald Trump—there was plenty for you.

Trump’s acceptance speech in Cleveland was all about shoring up his base. He could have given it last summer. Clinton’s speech here was about winning the general election. That will require shoring up recalcitrant Bernie Sanders boosters, making gains with independents and running up the score with women.

In an attempt to accomplish all three aims, Clinton carefully threaded the needle on issues big and small.

Trump responded to Clinton’s speech by Tweeting a bunch of angry stuff. He is still mashing away at the Twitter this morning.

Oh, and Trump publicly criticized retired four-star General John Allen because he supports Clinton.

 

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was his familiar former-businessman self in his prime time address at the DNC on Thursday. As the Denver Post reports:

Using his own life as a foil, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday blasted the business record of Republican Donald Trump — mocking the former star of The Apprentice for his famous catchphrase.

“Now I’ve never hosted a reality TV show, but I know the true mark of a successful businessman is not the number of times you say ‘you’re fired,’ ” Hickenlooper said, riffing off an attack that’s been used all week at the Democratic National Convention. “It’s the number times you say ‘you’re hired.’ ”

Hickenlooper wrapped up his remarks a few hours before Clinton took the stage to accept the Presidential nomination.

 

Donald Trump is in Colorado today for a fundraiser and public event in Colorado Springs as well as a gathering in Denver. For more information on how you can try to get a glimpse of The Great Orange Hope, check out this guide from Denver7. As the Colorado Springs Independent reports, not everybody in the Republican stronghold of Colorado Springs is pleased that Trump is coming to town.

Oh, and sorry, kids: No field trip for you!

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 28)

Get More SmarterWorld War I began on this day 102 years ago. 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…

► President Barack Obama stole the show in his final appearance as President at a Democratic National Convention. As Politico reports from Wednesday:

Obama’s convention speech in Philadelphia framed the 2016 election in a very Obama way: the audacity of hope over the politics of fear, optimism over darkness, solutions over slogans, togetherness over division, a supremely qualified public servant in Hillary Clinton over an amateur-hour con artist in Donald Trump. America, he declared, is already great, and Clinton will make it greater.

The president gave a stirring but fundamentally defensive speech, fighting back against the Republican convention’s dystopic vision of America as a crime-infested, porous-bordered, militarily weak, economically stagnant hellscape that only Trump can fix. Where Trump sees chaos and decline, the president said, “I see engineers inventing stuff.” Trump may see a strongman in the mirror, but Obama scoffed, “We don’t look to be ruled.” Obama reprised the themes of the speech that catapulted him to fame at the 2004 convention, contrasting his vision of a unified America that rises above red-against-blue with Trump’s rhetoric of fear.

Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton will formally accept her Party’s nomination tonight as the DNC in Philadelphia comes to a close. Clinton is scheduled to speak at about 8:00 pm (MT).

Two Colorado politicians, House Democratic Leader Crisanta Duran and Gov. John Hickenlooper, will also speak on the main stage earlier this evening.

 

► The campaign of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump continues its systematic blockade of journalists who have not pledged to produce only positive press for His Hairness. As “The Fix” explains:

Jose DelReal is one of a small team of people who covers Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for the Post. On Wednesday, he was in Milwaukee to cover an appearance by Trump running mate Mike Pence.DelReal was barred from covering the event as a reporter, in keeping with Trump’s long-standing ban on the Washington Post.  DelReal then tried to enter the event as a citizen. He was told no one could enter with a phone and a computer. He put them in the car and again tried to enter. He was refused — again — and patted down. “I don’t want you here. You have to go,” the security official told him.

That should scare the hell out of you.

It’s easy to let this whole episode fall into a partisan trap. He deserved it!, Trump allies will argue.  Reporters at mainstream outlets are biased against Mr. Trump!  Maybe if you told the truth sometimes, he would let you in!

Righto.

Here’s the thing: If we start banning citizens — like Jose or me or Michelle Malkin or Rachel Maddow or anyone else — from attending public events for one of the two people who will be our next president, we are sliding down a slippery slope to a future reality that is a very, very bad thing for our country.

 

► Donald Trump is coming to Colorado tomorrow for a fundraiser in Colorado Springs and public events in the Springs and in Denver. The Colorado Republican Party will not benefit from the Trump fundraiser because His Hairness is still angry at the State GOP.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 27)

Get More SmarterIn two more days, there will be just 100 more until Election Day. 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…

► History was made — again — in Philadelphia on Tuesday when Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman in American history to capture a major party nomination for President.

Day Two of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) also involved a Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton delivered a powerful speech intended to help humanize his wife, Hillary. For more DNC coverage from Tuesday, check out winners and losers from “The Fix.” Or check out this story for more on how Colorado supporters of Bernie Sanders are encouraging their brethren to come together for Hillary Clinton.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails in attempts to expose negative information about the Democratic Presidential nominee.

Let’s say that one more time: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack into Hillary Clinton’s emails…

 

► Colorado Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn is getting a firsthand look at one of the oldest lines in politics: The cover-up is (almost) always worse than the crime. Glenn is defending his own remarks to reporters that an old altercation with his father — dating to 1983 — may have involved someone else named Darryl Glenn. A different Darryl Glenn who somehow ended up with the same social security number as the Republican nominee for Senate. Seriously.

 

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Laura Woods Blames “The Left” For Yard Sign Vandalism

woodsvandalized1

Let’s start by saying unequivocally that we don’t condone vandalism, against politicians or anybody else. As you can see in the photo above being circulated by Republican Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign, somebody vandalized one of her yard signs being displayed on the fence of an Arvada constituent earlier this month.

And if you’re to the left of Woods on the political spectrum, she blames you.

Within 5 days Team Woods has had two banners vandalized. One at 92nd and Ingalls was stolen within 20 hours of being hung, and one on Pierce was spray painted! All of this brought to you by the “tolerant left”!! [Pols emphasis]

In a comment on Facebook to the photo posted above, Woods explains her blame further:

In two election cycles, I’ve had banners painted, vandalized, knocked down and stolen and my opponent’s signs are untouched. THAT’S why I blame the left…

Now, we of course don’t know who decided to tag Woods’ yard sign, but from experience we can tell you in these situations it is almost never one’s political opponents who commit crimes like petty vandalism of yard signs. It’s true that Woods has big vinyl signs all over Senate District 19–and their ubiquitous presence might all by itself be a motivator for some juvenile delinquent with a can of spray paint to deface one.

Either way, it’s silly and irresponsible to blame one’s opponent for this kind of thing with no proof. Woods claims she has installed motion-sensing “game cameras” near some of her banners in an attempt to record future acts of vandalism. If Woods actually catches an adult with any bonafide connection to her opponent vandalizing her signs, or has her allegations against “the left” confirmed in any way by competent investigators, we’ll be the first to apologize and correct the record.

Otherwise, it’s another exercise in paranoia–from a lawmaker so paranoid she was afraid to use her real name on the radio.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 25)

Get More SmarterCompared to the Olympic Village in Rio, all of the accommodations in Philadelphia are 5-star locations. 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 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia got underway on Monday with an unexpected jolt of controversy. As Politico reports:

Democrats on Monday struggled to contain the chaos that threatened to take hold in Philadelphia, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz bowed out of plans to gavel in the Democratic National Convention and restless Bernie Sanders’ supporters lashed out.

A day after the resignation of the embattled party chairwoman over a massive leak of emails showing disdain for Sanders’ campaign, the party could not escape the optics of a convention marred by discord, much like the Republicans’ the week before. And once again, Hillary Clinton has found herself ensnared in another email-related controversy.

Trouble started early Monday, when Wasserman Schultz’s debut at the convention proved disastrous. The Florida congresswoman as was heckled as she tried to speak before the Florida delegation breakfast, with some in the room yelling “Shame!”

By Monday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz had wisely decided to step aside as DNC Chair altogether. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore, takes over as the gaveler-in-chief in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post previews the DNC by asking (and answering) 10 important questions.

 

► Two prominent Colorado Democrats will be on the stage in Philadelphia for prominent speaking roles. House Democratic Leader Crisanta Duran, likely the next House Speaker should Democrats maintain control of the lower chamber, will tell the story of “Colorado, women, and Latinos” on Thursday evening. Governor John Hickenlooper is also scheduled to speak at the DNC later this week.

 

► There are conflicting reports about how far Gov. Hickenlooper really advanced in the Veepstakes to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Over the weekend, Clinton announced that she had tapped Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for the VP role.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (July 22)

Get More SmarterGoodbye, Cleveland; hello, Philadelphia. 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…

► Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday to wrap up the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump delivered a very long speech that seemed intended to scare voters more than inspire them to jump onboard the Big Orange Bus, as the Washington Post explains:

The language he used was as dark and ominous as in any acceptance speech in recent memory, and what he promised to fix was a mess that he laid directly at the feet of Clinton, the former secretary of state and wife of former president Bill Clinton, as well as at the feet of President Obama.

Running through a litany of problems in the Middle East that have happened over the past seven-plus years, Trump said of his rival: “The legacy of Hillary Clinton is death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”…

…Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, had promised earlier in the week that Trump would campaign on a theme of law and order, a theme that was largely unspoken through much of the early months of Trump’s candidacy.

On Thursday, Trump embraced that message in the opening minutes of his speech, asserting that this is a “moment of crisis” for the country that threatens “our very way of life.” He painted a picture of an America out of control, with rising crime in big cities, police being shot and illegal immigrants streaming across the border.

“Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he said.

In a separate story about Trump’s acceptance speech, James Hohmann of the Washington Post summed up the remarks thusly:

Trump essentially used the most important speech of his campaign – and perhaps political career – to yell fire in a crowded theatre.

The Associated Press did some fact-checking on Trump’s acceptance speech, pointing out several problems with his statements on the economy, immigration, and — of course — Hillary Clinton.

 

► With the Republican Norovirus Convention coming to an end in Cleveland, John Frank of the Denver Post notes the continued defiance from Colorado delegates:

Colorado’s delegates remain reluctant to support Donald Trump, which is to say most of them will vote for the Republican nominee despite their bad history.

This is what it looked like Thursday night —  Donald Trump hit one of his big applause lines in his acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention and his screaming fans jumped to their feet.

The Colorado delegation, for the most part, remained in their seats. Some clapped. Others sat arms crossed.

“Look at stubborn Colorado,” a Georgia delegate and Trump campaign surrogate snorted from behind the delegation’s seats.

Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” offers up his Winners and Losers from Day Four of the RNC.

 

► It appears increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will name Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. From Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s veepstakes is ending the way it began: with the humble-but-sturdy Tim Kaine sitting at the top of her list.

After an extensive, months-long process during which the campaign considered a host of different options — even vetting a serious candidate from outside the political arena — the squeaky-clean Virginia senator, whose biggest liability to emerge was that he was boring, is emerging as Clinton’s top choice. Kaine has been urged along by two men familiar with the demands of the job: President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, those close to the process say.

 

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Woods’ Anti-Buckpedal Dance Deserves Media Scrutiny

Woods shares video opposing abortion for incest

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Laura Woods continues to differentiate herself from Colorado Republicans, like U.S. Senator Cory Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman, who’ve tried to disavow their extreme anti-choice records–or dodge questions about abortion.

Woods, on the other hand, has embraced a personhood abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape and incestthroughout her political career, starting in the 2014 primary and general election and continuing at the Capitol, where she not only sponsored a abortion-ban legislation but also a bill requiring women to be offered an ultrasound prior to having an abortion (and also to wait 24 hours before having the procedure).

Today, as in July 21, 2016, the stakes are higher than ever. Woods’ district will likely determine control of Colorado state government, and Woods isn’t doing the Buckpedal–or whatever you want to call the dance senatorial candidate Ken Buck, Gardner and Coffman have performed as they tried to distance themselves from right-wing positions they’d taken during their careers.

Woods, a Republican from Westminster/Arvada, isn’t trying to hide her opposition to all abortion, even for incest, even though political observers say it will hurt her in November.

Take, for example, the video Woods shared on Facebook this week from LiveAction, a anti-choice group.

It shows a woman who’s asked the question, “Do you support aborting the child if it was a case of incest?” (at 2:55 here)

“Yeah,” she replies.

Then the woman is pictured watching a video of an abortion, which convinces her that abortion should not be allowed in cases of incest.

Woods does not return my calls, so I can’t talk to her about the video or whether she thinks her no-compromise stance against abortion, even for incest, will help her hold back a challenge from pro-choice Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in November.

But, judging from other interviews, it appears that Woods thinks she need not take middle-of-the-road positions to win in her swingiest of swing districts, where she won by 650 votes in the Republican wave year of 2014. She’s vowed to stand by her conservative principles.

Woods’ anti-Buckpedal dance, which you could call a form of political chest thumping, deserves more media scrutiny than it’s getting.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 21)

Get More SmarterThe norovirus celebration in Cleveland comes to an official end tonight. 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…

► Former Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz emerged as the biggest story from Day Three of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, overshadowing an evening that was supposed to belong to Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence. The big news from Cruz was his pointed refusal to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President, a gambit that appears to be backfiring already. From the Washington Post:

Ted Cruz is on the defensive after he gambled his political career on refusing to endorse Donald Trump, with key allies turning on him and members of his home-state delegation questioning his motives.

After his dramatic prime-time speech here last night to the Republican convention, after which he left the stage to loud boos and was then refused entry into an angry Sheldon Adelson’s suite, the runner-up for the nomination came under friendly fire during a surreal Texas delegation breakfast.

As some chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump,” Cruz argued that the less courageous route would have been to skip the convention. He said he called Trump three days ago to say he wouldn’t endorse him. “Why not,” someone yelled from the crowd. “I’m happy to answer that, but I won’t engage in a screaming fight,” the senator replied…

…Another Texan asked him how he could go back on his pledge, made during a Fox News debate last summer in the very arena where he delivered his speech last night, to support whomever wins the GOP nomination. Cruz said Trump “abrogated” the pledge with “personal” attacks on his wife’s looks and by suggesting that his dad was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “I’m not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he said.

Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump is obviously a longer-term political gamble that assumes Trump will lose badly in the General Election to Democrat Hillary Clinton. A likely Presidential candidate again in 2020, Cruz is also hoping that Republicans either forget his dismissal of the GOP nominee or somehow come to view the move as a principled political stance rather than a selfish grab for the spotlight. We may get the answer to this question fairly soon; much depends on whether or not Cruz’s non-endorsement actually moves the needle in a negative way for Trump or is generally ignored by GOP voters.

 

► Donald Trump will accept the Republican nomination for President tonight at the RNC in Cleveland (theoretically, at least). The success of the Convention in general may hinge on Trumps’ performance.

 

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is not likely to be named as Hillary Clinton’s running mate on a Democratic ticket this fall. From the Denver Post:

Hillary Clinton may name her choice for vice president as early as Friday, and despite repeated flirtations, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is not expected to propose to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Instead, three other Democrats — U.S. Sen. Timothy Kaine of Virginia, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Labor Secretary Tom Perez — emerged this week as more likely picks to join the Clinton ticket.

Rumors about a potential Vice Presidential slot for Hickenlooper have been ongoing for months now, reaching their peak last week after Hickenlooper met with Hillary at her home in Washington D.C. We can’t say we’re surprised by this — while Hick was certainly in the discussion at some point, there was never any strong indication that he had cracked the Top 3 on Clinton’s wish list. On the plus side for Hickenlooper and his supporters, it seems very likely that the Governor could end up with a Cabinet appointment in a potential Clinton administration.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 20)

Get More SmarterToday is the 47th anniversary of the first manned moon landing (if you believe in that sort of thing). 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…

► We can finally dismiss with the formality of calling Donald Trump the “presumptive” Republican nominee for President; on Tuesday delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland made it official. Trump’s formal nomination came despite continued protests from Colorado’s delegation. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, Colorado Republicans are being shunned as a result of their un-Trumpiness:

Colorado is the troublemaker at the Republican National Convention. And Donald Trump — many delegates believe — put them in the corner as a punishment.

The rebuke is obvious when you look at the red-carpeted convention floor. The seats for the state’s 37-member delegation are as far as possible from the stage in a not-so-subtle signal that it remains a “Never Trump” stronghold.

From its back-corner position Tuesday, Colorado defiantly cast 31 of its 37 votes for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, drawing boos from the crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Only four delegates declared support for Trump.

To make matters worse, the state later requested a correction to its tally to add two more delegates for Cruz after the first tally was announced with an error.

Colorado’s defiance didn’t make any difference in the results on Tuesday, as a rumored last-ditch anti-Trump protest failed to materialize.

 

► Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, takes center stage at the RNC tonight in his first real introduction to a national audience.

 

► Colorado will not see a fall ballot measure to suspend TABOR refunds after supporters announced that they were not able to generate sufficient resources to qualify for a November campaign. As Ernest Luning writes for the Colorado Statesman:

Supporters of a state ballot measure to set a 10-year time-out on TABOR revenue restrictions called it quits Tuesday, blaming what could be a crowded fall ballot, the high cost of getting across a complicated argument to voters and an “uncertain political climate.”

“In November, Colorado voters are going to be asked to decide on up to 10 statewide ballot initiatives, dozens of candidates as well as local ballot initiatives,” said Colorado Priorities co-chairs Dan Ritchie and Al Yates in a joint statement. “The crowded ballot has made it difficult to secure the resources necessary for us to win in November.”

The ballot measure would have asked voters to approve spending tax revenue — regardless of restrictions on revenue growth under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights — on education, transportation, mental health and services for seniors.

The proposal was one of several that emerged from Ritchie’s Building a Better Colorado effort, which was aimed at determining what state residents want from government and charting a course to get them there.

Colorado Priorities says that the proposed measure was polling very well in early testing.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 19)

Get More SmarterIf you catch any phrases below that look familiar, it’s probably the fault of a rogue speechwriter. 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…

► If there is a ray of hope for Republicans after a disastrous first day of the Republican National Convention, it may be as simple as this: It (probably) can’t get any worse in Cleveland. As Ron Fournier reports for The Atlantic:

Trump and his four-day infomercial are about to become laughingstocks—unless he quickly figures how to manage an enterprise far smaller and less complicated than the U.S. government.

A divisive first day of the GOP presidential convention turned to disaster late Monday night when the denizens of social media discovered that the candidate’s wife, Melania Trump, had plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. As you can see here, large portions of the speeches overlap in a way that can’t be blamed on coincidence.

The Trump campaign, as if often does, disputed the indisputable.

It’s difficult to pick the biggest story from Day One of the RNC, but you could certainly cite charges of plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech on Monday evening. The Trump campaign was spending much of the day on Tuesday working on damage control.

As disasters go, you could also point to an afternoon delegate challenge of Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee as the big story of the day. An effort to force a state-by-state roll call vote, which was driven in part by Colorado’s Republican delegation, was shut down when Rep. Steve Womack appeared on stage (twice) to declare the challenge a failure.

 

► John Frank of the Denver Post has more on Monday’s delegate revolt against Donald Trump that included significant involvement from Colorado’s GOP delegation:

Republican leaders moved quickly to silence the effort — eager to present an image of unity despite a fractured party — and approved the rules on a debatable voice-vote that sparked a shouting match on the floor…

…“We were just completely robbed,” said Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate and a leader in the “Free the Delegates” movement that is part of the Delegates Unbound coalition scheming to upset Trump.

 

► Colorado Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn had a prime-time speaking role during the RNC on Monday evening that fell completely flat. Glenn’s speech was going to be overshadowed by earlier events at the RNC — as well as Melania Trump’s plagiarized remarks later in the evening — but Glenn didn’t help himself by delivering the same red meat cliche-ridden speech that helped him capture top line at the Colorado Republican Convention in April.

Here’s what Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” had to say about Glenn’s remarks in calling the El Paso County Commissioners one of the “Losers” of Day One:

A series of hackneyed one-liners (Hillary in an orange jumpsuit etc.) and blatant appeals for applause (stand up and cheer for blue lives) were bad enough. But this Glenn line put me over the edge: “Someone with a nice tan needs to say this. All lives matter.”  Oomph.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Sorry, Jon Caldara: Bustang’s a Hit

BustangHiResAs the Denver Business Journal’s Cathy Proctor reported last week:

Bustang, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s foray into regular statewide bus service, had a stellar first year, according to the agency better known for road and highway construction…

The agency had forecasted Bustang’s first year ridership at 87,376.

Actual ridership was 17 percent higher, with a total of 102,577 people taking Bustang through the end of June, said Bob Wilson, a CDOT spokesman.

CDOT expected revenues from paid fares to hit $647,817 for Bustang’s first year.

Instead, the actual revenue was 57 percent higher, with $1,014,781 recorded through the end of June, Wilson said.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reported this weekend, with the success of the system’s first year there is growing interest in expanding the Bustang service west:

The first-year success of the new state transit service called Bustang is spurring increased hopes of it one day galloping past Glenwood Springs to serve Grand Junction as well…

Wilson said the idea of extending the western service to Grand Junction is on the agency’s radar. There’s just no timetable for it occurring, and any expansion would require approval from the state Transportation Commission, whether additional funding is required or not.

“But extending it from Glenwood to Grand Junction is part of the plan,” [CDOT spokesman Bob] Wilson said. “… It’s become more likely as time has gone on because of the success of the west route.”

This story takes on added political significance because in this year’s legislative session, Republicans introduced legislation to eliminate funding for the Bustang system entirely. Even with income and ridership exceeding expectations, fares aren’t enough to cover the total budget for the Bustang service. The system is funded in part by revenues from the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act of 2009 (FASTER) fee program. Longtime readers will recall that Republicans bitterly fought against FASTER as a violation of at least the spirit of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), suing and losing all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court–and perennially vowing revenge at the ballot box for this skewering of their most sacred cow.

Well folks, now they’d be taking something away that benefits voters. It’s easy to understand why even the conservative bastion of Grand Junction would want this additional transportation option. The practicalities run up against their rigid ideology, and ideology loses.

And with apologies to the ideologues, that’s how it should be.

Nancy Doty Says Palin’s Speech was “Just Spot On”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin.

Colorado state senate candidate Nancy Doty praised Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech in Colorado last week, calling it “just spot on” and “very, very good.”

Doty made the comments to KNUS 710-AM’s Julie Hayden, who bumped into Doty at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver July 2.

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

Given that she’s a reporter for Fox 31 Denver, Hayden knows that people want more details about Doty’s assessment of Palin. “Spot on” is exuberant and laudatory, but what really stood out for Doty, beyond the message to get on the Trump train? And what did Doty “really” enjoy about hearing Trump?

Doty, who’s an Arapahoe County Commissioner running against Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan to represent Colorado Senate District 26, didn’t return a call to explain, so I’m forced to speculate.

Palin’s speech amounted to a semi-understandable endorsement of Trump. So it’s not surprising that Doty, who’s said she’ll back Trump, would like it.

But Palin went beyond expressing support for Trump. She raved about him.

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