Get More Smarter on Friday (October 14)

Get More SmarterBy this time next week, many Colorado voters will have already cast their ballots in the 2016 election; we’re almost home, folks. 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.


► Presidential candidate Donald Trump managed to convince almost 20 whole Republican legislators to publicly support his candidacy…though that’s still less than half of the entire Republican legislative delegation. The following GOP lawmakers signed their names to a pledge of support for Trump made public on Thursday:

Jon Becker – State Representative, District 65
J. Paul Brown – State Representative, District 59
Perry Buck – State Representative, District 49
Polly Lawrence – State Representative, District 39
Tim Leonard – State Representative, District 25
Paul Lundeen – State Representative, District 19
Patrick Neville – State Representative, District 45
Dan Nordberg – State Representative, District 14
Bob Rankin – State Representative, , District 57
Lori Saine – State Representative, District 63
Jim Wilson – State Representative, District 60
Joann Windholz – State Representative, District 30
John Cooke – State Senator, District 13
Kent Lambert – State Senator, District 9
Vicki Marble – State Senator, District 23
Tim Neville – State Senator, District 16
Ray Scott – State Senator, District 7
Jerry Sonnenberg – State Senator, District 1
Laura Woods – State Senator, District 19

Pueblo Rep. Clarice Navarro is a notable omission on this list, though she later clarified to several news outlets that she remains a loyal Trump supporter. Trump may not be able to generate more public support from GOP lawmakers in Colorado, but Republicans remain absolutely terrified of angering loyal Trump backers throughout the state.


Trump will be back in Colorado on Tuesday, making campaign stops in Colorado Springs and Grand Junction. As David O. Williams writes for the Rocky Mountain Post, Trump’s visit probably isn’t going to be helpful to embattled Republican Rep. Scott Tipton:

“In western and southern Colorado, we vote our values,” Democratic challenger Gail Schwartz said in a press release. “This is a moderate district of hard-working families with strong morals that won’t be compromised. This is my bottom line, and it should be Scott Tipton’s. We’ve seen time and time again that Donald Trump is not someone who reflects the values of the 3rd Congressional District. If Tipton won’t stand up for us, we deserve to know why.”

Tipton last weekend issued a statement condemning Trump’s recently released 2005 video-tape comments in which the reality TV star and New York businessman says his celebrity status allows him to sexually assault women. But Tipton refused to pull his support for the embattled GOP candidate. A spokesman for Tipton’s campaign on Thursday did not respond to a request for additional comment on Schwartz’s latest press release.


► The Aurora Sentinel backs Democrat Morgan Carroll in CD-6 with some pointed words for incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. Carroll and Coffman participated in a debate moderated by CBS4 and Colorado Public Television that will air tonight; if you just can’t wait, you can watch the 30-minute debate online or read through our Debate Diary.


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

The Facebook Page “Democrats for Senator Laura Woods” Is Void of Democrats Who Can Actually Vote for Woods

(Tragicomic – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

woods-image-of-group-of-alleged-democrats-for-senator-laura-woodsArvada State Sen. Laura Woods is known to be on the far-right fringe of Colorado’s Republican Party, aligning herself, as documented by the Denver Post, with the most conservative lawmakers in the state.

She’s wants to ban abortion, even for rape. She’s opposed to criminal background checks on gun purchases, and she wants to slash health care funding for the poor, among other positions that enrage most Democrats.

I mean, she likes Trump so much she calls him the “people’s candidate!”

So it was surprising to hear Woods on the radio claiming “a lot” of Democrats will be voting for her:

Woods: “I’ve met a lot of Democrats who have said they‘re going to vote not only for Trump but for me as well. So, there’s even a Facebook page, Democrats for Senator Laura Woods. Wow.”

Wow, it’s true, there is such a group on Facebook, but the page does not support Woods’ statement that Democrats are going to vote for her. Not even close.

For starters, Clifford Battista, one of just eight people pictured as Democrats on the page, was a registered Republican until I asked him about his voter registration earlier this week, at which time he switched and became a Democrat, saying his Republican registration was a mistake. In any case, he doesn’t live in Woods’ district.

Neither does Robin Austin, another man pictured as a Democrat on the Facebook page. He’s actually a Democrat, but registered in Boone, North Carolina, where he owns a home, though he visits here frequently, and it’s “conceivable” he will move to Colorado, he told me.

Three women who appear in photos carrying “Democrats 4 Laura” signs on the Facebook page also do not live in Woods’ district, where she’s battling Democrat Rachel Zenzinger in a race that will likely determine which party controls Colorado’s senate.


19 Colorado GOP State Lawmakers Sign Trump Support Pledge

UPDATE: As reported by Ernest Luning and the Denver Post’s John Frank, Rep. Clarice Navarro wants you to know she is still on the Trump Train:

State Rep. Clarice Navarro, a Pueblo Republican who has advised Trump on how to reach out to Latino voters, did not sign the letter. But she issued a statement that made clear she “will continue to support all of the Republican candidates on the ballot” even though she didn’t mention Trump by name.

Meanwhile, in the red-hot SD-19 race:

Most of the Republicans who signed the letter sit in safe Republican seats. But Arvada Sen. Laura Woods’ endorsement quickly became political fodder for her opponent, Democrat Rachel Zenzinger, in one of the state’s closest legislative races.

“I find it appalling that my opponent would continue to support Donald Trump after his apparent history of sexually assaulting women has come to light,” Zenzinger said in a statement. “That’s on top of insulting a gold star family and an American war hero.”

Woods — and a handful of other Republican lawmakers — did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.


Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, GOP state Rep. Clarice Navarro.

As the Aurora Sentinel’s Brandon Johansson reports, for 19 Colorado Republican lawmakers there’s no turning back now:

The Donald Trump campaign said Thursday 19 Colorado state lawmakers signed onto a statement saying they “fully support” the Republican nominee this fall — but just one local Republican appears on the list.

Joann Windholz, R-Commerce City, joined 18 other state lawmakers in signing a statement that said: “As an elected official and Republican leader I fully support the Republican nominee for President Donald J Trump. Mr. Trump presents a unique opportunity for America to move in a decidedly different direction. With the Supreme Court at risk, this is the time for those in leadership to stand strong and unified.”

Windholz is one of four Republican state lawmakers who represent districts that cover part of Aurora. Windholz did not return a request for comment Thursday.

Here’s the full list, which contains a few surprises as well as surprising omissions:

Jon Becker – State Representative, District 65
J. Paul Brown – State Representative, District 59
Perry Buck – State Representative, District 49
Polly Lawrence – State Representative, District 39
Tim Leonard – State Representative, District 25
Paul Lundeen – State Representative, District 19
Patrick Neville – State Representative, District 45
Dan Nordberg – State Representative, District 14
Bob Rankin – State Representative, , District 57
Lori Saine – State Representative, District 63
Jim Wilson – State Representative, District 60
Joann Windholz – State Representative, District 30
John Cooke – State Senator, District 13
Kent Lambert – State Senator, District 9
Vicki Marble – State Senator, District 23
Tim Neville – State Senator, District 16
Ray Scott – State Senator, District 7
Jerry Sonnenberg – State Senator, District 1
Laura Woods – State Senator, District 19

For at least three targeted politicos–Rep. J. Paul Brown, Rep. JoAnn Windholz, and especially Sen. Laura Woods–signing on to this statement of support for Donald Trump could be a significant liability in their swing district races. With that said, we’re curious what happened to arguably the foremost Trump surrogate in the Colorado General Assembly however–Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo? Navarro has consistently stood by Trump through all of his lowlights this election year, so for her to be backing away now would be a major story. Probably bigger than these 19 lawmakers who signed on now as Trump backers.

“All incumbent Republican state Representatives and Senators were asked to sign onto the statement of support for Mr. Trump,” said Patrick Davis, a senior advisor for Trump’s Colorado campaign.

The Sentinel identified several lawmakers who did not sign this statement, including Sen. Jack Tate and Rep. Kevin Priola–both of whom are in tight races, which might explain their failure to sign. At this point, with the Trump campaign having admitted to soliciting this support and only finding 19 GOP lawmakers willing to stick their necks out, the reasoning of every legislator who didn’t sign is a story now, too.

And for at least three who did sign, quite possibly much to regret in a few weeks.

Colorado Republicans Straight-Up TERRIFIED of Trump Base

Earlier this week we took note of a sharp rebuke of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump by Bill Owens, the last Republican to serve as Governor in Colorado.

As longtime Colorado political journalist Ernest Luning Tweets this morning, Colorado Republicans are scrambling to convince legislative campaigns across the state to ignore the rebuke from Owens:

Why the sudden concern over a scolding from a Governor who was last in office in 2006? Because Republicans are absolutely terrified about backlash from fervent Donald Trump supporters costing them critical votes in tight down ballot races. Republicans such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), and Darryl Glenn (R-Colorado Springs) finally spoke out against Trump last weekend (Glenn, of course, backtracked a few days later) in the wake of a video showing Trump making horrible comments about women. Trump diehards immediately lashed out in response by attacking Coffman, Gardner, Glenn and others for not staying loyal to the GOP nominee for President.

Check out this meme that is making the rounds on Facebook among Colorado Trump supporters:


We’ve long written in this space that Republicans have found themselves in a difficult spot in 2016. If they don’t refute Trump — particularly as he becomes more offensive by the day — then they risk losing Independent and Unaffiliated voters. But if they do rebuke Trump, they may be pushing these same diehard Trump supporters to ignore other key down ballot battles.


On Radio, Anti-choice Woods Says Dems Want to Tell You How to “Run Your Families”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You’d assume a news reporter like Fox 31 Denver’s Julie Hayden would challenge someone like State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada) when Woods tells Hayden something like this during Hayden’s radio show on KNUS 710-AM:

Hayden (at 2:45 here): Why is it so important that you get back up there to the state legislature?

Woods: The Democrats desparately want to control everything about our lives. And so they need to control the senate, in order to control your life and mine and every business in this state… If we want to have any liberty, any say in how we run our families, in say in how we run our privately held small businesses, we need to keep the senate in Republican hands.

If you thought Hayden would push back on this, even an itsy bit, you would be wrong. Nothing but nodding acquiescence from her–even though Woods is locked in a tough re-election battle against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger to represent senate district 19.

So I put this out there for Hayden to read on her KNUS show.

Dear KNUS Listeners–

State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada appeared on our KNUS Show last month and claimed Democrats “desparately want to take control of everything about our lives.”

In fact, in at least one important way, it’s Woods who wants to do this.

She wants to ban all abortion, even for women who’ve been raped or are victims of incest. Woods’ anti-choice stance has been a focus of her political career. She sponsored personhood anti-abortion legislation. She backed a bill requiring doctors to offer women an ultrasound before an abortion.

Woods wants to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, forcing the womens’ health organization to turn away about 1,000 low-income patients at an Arvada clinic in Woods’ own district.

So, my dear KNUS audience, next time Woods appears on the radio and says Democrats want to tell you how to “run your families,” I’ll tell her to turn off the microphone, go to the bathroom, and look in the mirror.

Thank you.

I’ll be listening to Hayden on KNUS this Saturday to see if she takes me up on my suggestion to read this.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (October 12)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Have an easy fast today (Yom Kippur). It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


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

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

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

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


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

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

[Pause for laughter]

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


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


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Laura Woods Helps People Get Their Medicaid–Wait, What?!


A new mail piece arriving in Senate District 19 mailboxes is provoking spit-takes from recipients in the know. The positive-message mailer originates from Republican state Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ own campaign, with one particular quote attributed a Woods supporter constituent standing out:


Woods’ mail piece celebrates an alleged moment in which she helped an elderly couple qualify for Medicaid “after being told by the government they didn’t qualify.” It’s not unusual for constituents to contact lawmakers for help in matters of this kind, after all, and constituent service is a great way to build goodwill in the district.

The problem in this case is that Sen. Woods openly supports throwing thousands of people off Medicaid–quite possibly including Diana Lewis’ parents. As our friend Jason Salzman reported earlier this year:

During a radio interview in January, Woods said Medicaid used to be “for the truly needy,” but it’s not anymore. So she wants families to be poorer to qualify for Medicaid. Currently, a family of four qualifies if it earns less than around $34,000 per year–or 138 percent of the federal poverty level…

Woods told Bonniwell that “this rolling back [the] 137 percent is exactly the kind of compromise and agreement that we would push to the government, and say, ‘You know what? You want compromise, let’s talk.’”

But Woods said a healthcare cut must be done with “a lot of forethought” because “you’re sort of taking away their birthday. You’re taking away Santa Claus.”

Obviously we don’t know what Diana Lewis’ parents’ income was, or what caused them to be initially disqualified for Medicaid. But there are certainly many retirees out there getting by on less than $34,000 a year and more than the federal poverty line–and those are the people Laura Woods wants disqualified from Medicaid. The only reason it hasn’t happened is Woods does not have, you know, dictatorial power.

With all this in mind, Woods bragging about helping people “get on Medicaid” is so deceptive it’s ridiculous. And again, this isn’t some independent messaging group getting it laughably wrong. It’s Woods’ campaign, and a willful deception.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 11)

Get More SmarterCan Donald Trump completely destroy the Republican Party in just one month? He’s gonna try… It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

Get More Smarter on Monday (October 10)

MoreSmarter-ThanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving to our friends in Canada. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Get More Smarter on Friday (October 7)

MoreSmarter-RainSome politicos think GOP Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence could defeat Hillary Clinton if he were at the top of the Republican ticket. That’s silly. 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.


Donald Trump’s campaign for President will long be remembered (among other things) for his unprecedented habit of flat-out lying about issues and denials of statements that were uttered by the man himself. Trump may be the Master of Misrepresentation, but as we have seen here in Colorado, spreading blatantly-false information has become something of a habit for Republicans and GOP-friendly organizations.

The most “knowingly-false” campaign ad in Colorado this year — and really, the most egregious example we’ve seen in a long time — is in Senate District 19 in Arvada. There is a law in Colorado prohibiting spreading “knowingly-false” information in order to influence an election; if these fictitious “China Girl” attacks on Democrat Rachel Zenzinger aren’t prosecuted, then we might as well just light Colorado Revised Statutes 1-13-109 on fire.

Congressman Mike Coffman and supporters have now received four consecutive negative fact-check stories from media outlets regarding baseless claims against Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll.

On Thursday, we noticed yet another ridiculous claim in a mail piece attacking SD-25 candidate Jenise May; the mail piece in question criticizes May for casting a vote in 2016 that cannot be true…because May wasn’t a legislator in 2016.


► Donald Trump has been off the rails for sometime now, so it’s difficult to come up with a suitable metaphor to illustrate just how ridiculous His Hairness has become. As the Washington Post explains, Trump was getting pretty squirrelly during an event in New Hampshire on Thursday:

He attacked Hillary Clinton, alleging with no evidence that when the Democratic nominee says she is preparing for debates, she is actually “resting.” He went after Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who does not support him. He knocked journalists John Harwood and John King, as well as the media in general and even the Commission on Presidential Debates.

Trump also denied that he was using the event to prepare for Sunday night’s debate in St. Louis, which will operate under a similar format.

The gathering was hardly a preview of the spontaneous questions Trump and Clinton are expected to face from voters and moderators Sunday night. It was closed to the public; the campaign invited people to attend and submit written questions in advance. Some added words of encouragement for Trump to their questions.

Remember, Trump said all of this in front of a friendly, pro-Trump audience and was not prompted by any difficult questions. Apparently, this is part of Trump’s “debate prep” before Sunday night’s second rhetorical battle with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Much is at stake in Sunday’s debate in St. Louis, Missouri; Trump has been plummeting in the polls after a poor performance in the first debate, and he may not be able to recover from another bad night.


► Hurricane Matthew is closing in on the Eastern United States as experts warn of potentially catastrophic damage. The storm was approaching Jacksonville, Florida as of this morning.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


The Most “Knowingly False” Campaign Ad in Colorado Politics

Democrat Rachel Zenzinger (not in China).

Democrat Rachel Zenzinger (shown, as always, not in China).

We haven’t even made it through the first week of October, and voters are already being overwhelmed with campaign advertisements based on complete fabrications. You can read more here (and here, and here – and that’s just today), or check out this story from the Colorado Independent about walk pieces appearing in targeted districts with literally no information about where they come from or who paid for the materials.

There is a law on the books in Colorado that prohibits anyone from making “knowingly false” statements about a candidate or issue in an attempt to influence the outcome in an election (no, really – it’s true!). The law is actually fairly unambiguous on this subject – see Colorado Revised Statutes 1-13-109 – but because it is virtually never enforced, the language might as well be written in crayon on a bathroom wall in the State Capitol building.

We can’t recall a recent election in which someone didn’t complain about a violation of the “knowingly false” law; some of these allegations can be a little silly, while others seem to perfectly fit the definition of the law. But we have never seen a more willful violation of knowingly false political advertising than what is currently taking place in Senate District 19 (Arvada/Westminster). As you are probably aware, SD-19 is the single most hotly-contested legislative race in Colorado in 2016, with Democrat Rachel Zenzinger challenging state Sen. Laura Waters Woods in a rematch of 2014 that may well decide which political party controls the state senate in January.

In their urgency to protect Sen. Woods and maintain their one-seat majority in the Senate, Republicans continue to attack Zenzinger with paid media advertisements alleging that the former Arvada City Council member once voted to use taxpayer funds to take a “sister cities” trip to China. This allegation has been repeatedly proven to be false – both in 2014 and most recently by Politifact in July – and is such a ridiculous lie that it’s difficult to understand how anyone dreamed it up in the first place. Here are the facts:

  1. Zenzinger has never been to China, for any reason. At all.
  2. Zenzinger actually presented a motion while on the Arvada City Council to specifically prohibit taxpayer money being used for “sister cities” trips.

None of this is new (mis)information. In fact, take a look at what we wrote in this space back on Oct. 10, 2014:

In short, now-Sen. Zenzinger did the exact opposite of what this ad suggests. Not only did she insist that taxpayer funds not be used on the trip, she didn’t even go. It’s frequently alleged/presumed in these situations that “both sides do it,” but this ad goes beyond just about anything we’ve seen this year in terms of making stuff up…

We could have just copy-and-pasted that same story from two years ago. How is this still happening?

Sen. Laura Woods eats puppies for breakfast.

Sen. Laura Woods eats puppies for  lunch.

There is no possible scenario in which a political group could argue that they didn’t know that these “China Girl” allegations are complete malarkey, which is about as blatant a case of “knowingly false” as you will ever encounter. The fact that there is ZERO supporting evidence to back up this claim is damning enough; over the course of the last two years, multiple media outlets have also reported that these claims are 100% without merit. Yet here we are with another mail piece pushing the same false tale. Ironically, the mail piece in question comes from the Republican-affiliated organization “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” (click here for a PDF image).

Zenzinger told the Colorado Independent that one of her first priorities – if elected – will be to “expand disclosure requirements and shore up loopholes.” This needs to happen whether or not Zenzinger is elected next month. This can’t be allowed to continue.

Rick Enstrom Just Makes Stuff Up

Rick Enstrom.

Rick Enstrom.

Rick Enstrom, one of the principals at Colorado’s famous Enstrom Candies and a dabbling Colorado Republican political figure, launched an independent expenditure committee for the 2016 election cycle called the Better Jobs Coalition–a committee with the mission of supporting candidates who “support job creation through economic development policies based on low taxes and limited government.” Enstrom’s committee has been active in recent weeks in several key state legislative races supporting Republican candidates.

In Adams County’s Senate District 25, Enstrom’s group is pounding the pavement in support of GOP Rep. Kevin Priola, running against Jenise May for an open seat being vacated by term-limited Sen. Mary Hodge. We were forwarded this “walk piece” being hung from doorknobs in the district:


The piece makes a number of claims about votes allegedly taken by Rep. May, including voting in favor of House Bill 16-1388–legislation that would have restricted the use of criminal histories in the initial round of job interviews, known as the “ban the box” bill. Enstrom’s group falsely claims that this bill would “allow criminals to work in public schools,” when in truth the legislation specifically exempted any position that would be disqualified by a specific criminal conviction.

But taking one extra moment to think through this bogus claim and the citation supporting it, we realized there was a much more obvious problem:


We’re talking about a bill that was introduced in the 2016 session of the Colorado legislature.

Jenise May wasn’t even in the legislature in 2016. May served in the Colorado House from 2012-2014.

Between this and Mike Coffman’s disastrous week of fact-checking exposures, we think it’s reasonable to ask seriously if anyone on the right side of the aisle is interested in telling the truth this year. We struggle to recall a precedent for this level of, as Harry Truman once put it, “pure undiluted bullshit.”

Hopefully Rick Enstrom doesn’t get any in the candy.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 6)

MoreSmarter-RainWet enough for ya? 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.


Donald Trump is dropping in the polls, and it’s causing significant panic among Republicans who worry about the downballot effect of Trump’s slide. From the New York Times:

For his party, Mr. Trump’s reversal in fortune comes at the worst possible moment: Having muted their criticism of Mr. Trump in hopes that he could at least run competitively through Election Day, Republicans must decide in the next few days, rather than weeks, whether to seek distance from his wobbly campaign.

Should Mr. Trump falter badly in his second debate with Hillary Clinton on Sunday in St. Louis, Republican congressional candidates may take it as a cue to flee openly from their nominee, said two senior Republicans involved at high levels of the campaign who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private party strategy.

Mr. Trump has already slipped perceptibly in public polls, trailing widely this week in Pennsylvania and by smaller margins in Florida and North Carolina — three states he cannot afford to lose. But private polling by both parties shows an even more precipitous drop, especially among independent voters, moderate Republicans and women, according to a dozen strategists from both parties who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the data was confidential.


President Barack Obama’s approval rating is back to its highest mark of his Presidency, as CNN reports


► Another day, another gut-punch of a fact check for Congressman Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign. From Politifact:

Coffman accuses Carroll, who has worked as a lawyer handling disability, employment, workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, of being sleazy and shady with conflicts of interest. But there’s no evidence she violated state ethics laws.

We rate this claim False.

Coffman is going to be hearing that last sentence in his dreams. This is the fourth fact-check of a Coffman/CD-6 advertisement — in just the last few weeks — to be trashed by a media outlet for being untrue.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Woods’ de-funding plan would force Planned Parenthood to turn away 1,000 Arvada patients

(Words mean things – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

Sen. Laura Woods (R).

State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada/Westminster) has, in part, focused her political career on trying to stop women from having access to an abortion, even if they were raped. Or even for a teen who was raped by her father.

Woods’ unabashed goal is to eliminate a woman’s right to choose, no matter what the circumstances that led to the pregnancy.

As part of her anti-abortion crusade, Woods wants to eliminate all government funding for Planned Parenthood, the women’s health organization that mostly provides basic family planning and health-care services, but also offers abortion services.

By law, Planned Parenthood cannot spend the money it gets from the federal government on abortions.

Instead, Planned Parenthood uses the tax money to provide low income Medicaid patients with basics like HIV and STD tests, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and such. None of the money goes for abortion.

So, to translate the political rhetoric into reality as we see it in Woods district, what would de-funding Planned Parenthood mean for Arvada?

If Planned Parenthood’s clinic in Arvada were to lose its government funding, as Woods wants, then about 1,000 low-income patients, covered by Medicaid and another federal health program, who rely on the clinic for cancer screenings, STD tests, women’s health care, and other basics, would have to be turned away, according to Whitney Phillips, a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman.

“At Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains we believe that people should be able to get the care they need regardless of their zip code,” said Whitney Phillips in an e-mail. “Without access to Planned Parenthood in the Arvada community, nearly 1000 low-income residents would be forced to seek the care they need elsewhere. People come to PPRM for high-quality, non-judgmental, confidential care that patients may not be able to receive otherwise. Planned Parenthood serves a vital role in these communities and may be the first and only place patients can go for the care they need.”

Would these patients be able to get care elsewhere?

No one’s studied the full impact in Colorado if Planned Parenthood lost federal funding, leaving some 80,000 low-income people statewide in need of a new clinic.


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 4)

Get More SmarterDonald Trump has left Colorado (maybe); you may return to your normal activities. 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.


► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump was in Colorado for a pair of campaign stops on Monday. Trump visited Pueblo and Loveland, where he set out to spin the news that he doesn’t really pay income taxes as some sort of call to action, or something. From the Denver Post:

Donald Trump confronted questions Monday about whether he paid income taxes by blaming loopholes in the system and bragging about his business acumen.

“The unfairness of the tax laws is unbelievable,” Trump told a packed ballroom at the Pueblo Convention Center in the first of his two campaign stops in Colorado. “It’s something I’ve been talking about for a long time, despite frankly being a big beneficiary of the laws.

“But I’m working for you now. I’m not working for Trump.”

Trump’s remarks were his first about a New York Times report about his 1995 tax return that showed a deduction for $916 million for losses that may have allowed him to avoid paying federal income taxes for up to 18 years.

Instead of denying the report, he made his pledge to overhaul the tax code the central theme of his 50-minute speech and touted his tax “skills” as the reason he managed to survive the economic downturn in the mid-1990s.

Yes, Trump has mad brilliant tax skills. Also, it appears that free speech doesn’t really apply in Loveland.

And on another note, a new poll shows Hillary Clinton with an 11-point lead over Trump in Colorado.


► The candidates for Vice President square off in their only primetime debate of the cycle tonight at Longwood University in Virginia. Politico previews the showdown.

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine will return to Colorado on Monday to introduce a GOTV concert headlined by Dave Matthews.


► National Republicans continue to express concern about Rep. Mike Coffman’s seat in CD-6. The Congressional Leadership Fund is dropping $1.3 million in the final two weeks of the 2016 election in a bid to help Coffman stave off defeat from Democratic challenger Morgan Carroll. Coffman and friends have been having trouble coming up with an attack on Carroll that is not completely debunked by local media outlets, so every dollar counts. As Sandra Fish reports for Colorado Public Radio, there is no shortage of campaign cash in two key Colorado races:

Colorado TV viewers can expect to see more than 83,000 ads consuming nearly 29 days of airtime in October at a cost of $30 million.

Of that, more than $12.8 million is being spent on two congressional races. In the 6th Congressional District in Aurora and suburban Denver, former Democratic state Senate President Morgan Carroll is trying to unseat GOP Rep. Mike Coffman. In the 3rd CD in southern and western Colorado, Republican Rep. Scott Tipton faces former state Sen. Gail Schwartz.

The first debate of the CD-6 race, hosted by Univision, takes place today but won’t air publicly until Saturday. We’re keeping a list of the most notable debates this month as Elected Day draws ever closer.


Get even more smarter after the jump…