Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 22)

If you didn’t blind yourself by staring at the eclipse on Monday, enjoy these words. It’s time to Get More Smarter. 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 dust is settling in Jefferson County following Monday’s news — first reported by Colorado Pols — that Rep. Ed Perlmutter has decided to seek re-election in 2018 after initially saying he would not be a candidate for any office next year. Democratic candidates Andy KerrBrittany Pettersen, and Dominick Moreno have all publicly announced that they are ending their campaigns in CD-7 and endorsing Perlmutter for re-election.

 

► President Trump will be in Phoenix, Arizona tonight for a campaign-style rally that has Republicans nervous for a whole host of reasons. As A.J. Vicens (formerly of the Columbine Courier) writes for Mother Jones, there’s a lot of buzz that Trump might use the occasion of his speech in Phoenix to pardon Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio:

Arpaio was recently convicted of contempt of court for disregarding a judge’s order to stop his discriminatory anti-immigration patrols, and he now faces up to six months in jail, with sentencing scheduled for October.

The president told Fox News on August 14 that he was “seriously considering” pardoning Arpaio…

…The White House didn’t respond to a question about whether Trump was planning to issue the pardon, and Arpaio said he hasn’t heard about an impending pardon but would be “honored by the potential pardon” and would accept it, according to the New York Times. Arpaio told Politico that he’d be available for the Tuesday night rally if called upon.

Republicans are also concerned that Trump may be planning to use his Phoenix trip to continue his aggressive attacks on Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, who is up for re-election in 2018. As Politico reports:

President Donald Trump faces a decision on Tuesday evening with profound implications for his already strained relationship with the GOP: whether to attack a vulnerable Republican senator on his home turf.

White House officials won’t say exactly what’s on Trump’s agenda when he holds a campaign-style rally here. But it’s widely expected he will go after GOP Sen. Jeff Flake, a loud critic of the president who recently published an anti-Trump manifesto, “Conscience of a Conservative.”…

…In the days leading up to Trump’s Arizona trip, Senate GOP leaders have implicitly warned Trump that attacking Flake, who faces a treacherous path to reelection, would only serve to further rupture his relationship with a congressional GOP wing that he’s grown increasingly isolated from in recent weeks. It came after Trump, in a tweet after the Phoenix event was announced, called Flake “toxic.” The president had earlier threatened to spend as much as $10 million to take out the incumbent Republican.

Flake has received full public support from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair Cory Gardner. It’s hard to say if this is good news for Flake, since McConnell is sporting some amazingly-low approval ratings (with Gardner not far away).

 

► Governor John Hickenlooper announced plans for a state response to dealing with oil and gas companies following a home explosion in Firestone in late April. Cathy Proctor of the Denver Business Journal has the details on Hick’s 7-point plan.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Field Clears For Smooth Perlmutter Re-Entry*

Perlmutter for Congress yard signs.

The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reporting, a wild few weeks of uncertainty in Colorado Democratic politics is rapidly winding down as primary candidates for the congressional seat of incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter suspend following his decision to run for re-election again:

State Sen. Andy Kerr on Tuesday morning became the third Democrat to leave the 7th Congressional District race after U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s announcement Monday that he will run for re-election to Congress after all…

“There’s good reason to be excited about Ed’s decision to run for Congress again,” Kerr said. “He’s a true-blue Coloradan that has spent more than a decade in Washington, D.C., fighting for our values and making sure that we have a strong advocate for Jefferson and Adams counties.”

Sen. Andy Kerr’s statement this morning was preceded yesterday by his principal rival in the race Rep. Brittany Pettersen, whose statement was no less gracious:

“While I’m disappointed I will not have the opportunity to serve our community in Congress, I know that the people of the 7th (Congressional) District will continue to be well represented by Ed Perlmutter,” she said in a written statement. “I am so proud and humbled by the support of the people across Colorado who believed in me and stepped up to contribute, volunteer and support my campaign.”

Sen. Dominick Moreno was first to pull out after yesterday’s announcement, first reported by Colorado Pols, saying “we continue to be in good hands with Congressman Perlmutter.” The only other candidate still nominally remaining the Democratic CD-7 race is Dan Baer, a former Obama administration diplomat who parachuted into the race early in August:

A spokeswoman for Baer, who said he raised more than $300,000 in the two weeks after he announced his campaign Aug. 1, said Monday that he was traveling and “given the number of twists and turns in this race so far, we don’t have any immediate response.”

Whatever, Baer. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what this locally unknown come-lately candidate says at this point. For all intents and purposes the 2018 CD-7 Democratic primary is over, and Baer will just humiliate himself if he ignores that reality.

It’s true that this has been a bizarre turnabout, over the course of months, as Ed Perlmutter entered the gubernatorial race then decided against it as the brutality of today’s politics evidenced by the shooting of GOP Congressman Steve Scalise–and the prospect of a hard-fought primary against Rep. Jared Polis–led him to reconsider. But after a period of introspection, it became clear that Perlmutter’s seniority in Congress and long record of effective leadership in this district are powerful assets that serve his constituents and the state well.

So yes, he gets to do this. As we’ve said before, it’s possible that there is no one in Colorado politics today who has the political capital to pull this kind of episode off without loss of standing besides Ed Perlmutter. His decision to run again, as painful as it is to his would-be successors through no fault of their own, is therefore one that everybody on the Democratic side of the aisle is compelled to accept.

The other candidates will all get their chances, in no small part based on their graciousness today.

BREAKING: Perlmutter Will Run for Re-Election in CD-7

UPDATE #3: Democrats Brittany Pettersen and Dominick Moreno have both “suspended” their campaigns and endorsed Perlmutter for re-election.

—–

UPDATE #2: The Colorado Springs Gazette has more response from the four Democratic candidates who had already filed to run in CD-7:

The Colorado Pols website first reported Monday morning that Perlmutter would officially seek re-election, and The Denver Post first reported Perlmutter’s statement on his decision.

Colorado Politics was the first to report Perlmutter was reconsidering his earlier decision and would likely run for his seat in Congress again, and that other candidates were reconsidering, as a result…

…Moreno announced Monday morning he is dropping out of the Democratic primary and will instead back Perlmutter.

“We continue to be in great hands with Congressman Perlmutter,” Moreno said in a statement. “Thank you to the many people who supported me along this journey. My time serving our community does not end with our campaign suspending, and I remain committed to standing up for our values in the state Senate.”

Kerr said through a spokeswoman Monday he will be discussing the development with friends, family and supporters before making a decision “in the next day or two.”

Campaigns for Pettersen and Baer also responded with comments from spokespeople. It is unlikely that any of the four Democrats will ultimately remain in the race now that Perlmutter is back.

—–

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County).

UPDATE: Here’s Perlmutter’s official statement on his decision:

“Over the last few weeks a lot has happened, both for me and in the world. I’ve taken some time to regroup and recharge, and in so doing I’ve had many meaningful conversations with friends, neighbors, supporters and family who have encouraged me to run again. I have appreciated each and every conversation. It has made me take time to reflect on the future. And I’ve come to the conclusion to run again for re-election. To ask the hardworking people of the 7th district to once again put their trust in me to be their voice in Washington. I care deeply for our state and I love my home which is here in the 7th district.

“I’ve talked to Andy, Brittany, Dominick and corresponded with Dan about my decision. They are all wonderful people and I know for them and some others my decision is not convenient or well timed, for which I’m sorry. But I know I have more to do and more to give to the people of the 7th district. I understand this is not an ideal situation – I really do – but I know we can all work together to fight for our Colorado way of life.”

—–

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) has decided to run for re-election in CD-7 and has informed other Democratic candidates in the district of his decision. Colorado Pols was first to report the news Monday morning.

Perlmutter’s decision to seek a seventh term marks a whirlwind few months for the longtime Jeffco Democrat. Perlmutter was a candidate for governor for a few months before a surprise announcement in July that he would no longer be a candidate for any office in 2018. In recent weeks, however, word began to leak that Perlmutter was reconsidering that decision and being encouraged by supporters to run for re-election in a district he has never failed to win by a margin of at least 10 points.

Perlmutter’s decision likely ends the Congressional candidacies of four Democrats who had been running to succeed him. For reasons related to campaign finance laws, candidates currently in the race may not officially “close” their campaign committees until a later date.

Don’t Blink, Colorado Dems!

Peter Marcus, outgoing reporter for the Colorado Springs Gazette mashes the “scramble” button on Democratic politics in Colorado in a big way–with news that Rep. Ed Perlmutter may run again for his CD-7 seat after pulling out of the gubernatorial race and giving every indication that he would retire:

Multiple sources confirmed that after Perlmutter was approached by constituents and fellow colleagues in Congress about a re-election campaign, he began reconsidering running for re-election. Sources could not speak on the record, as they were not at liberty to discuss the details of Perlmutter’s thoughts.

A re-election campaign would come after Perlmutter, a Democrat from Arvada who represents the 7th Congressional District in Jefferson and Adams counties, declared that he would not pursue the seat again.

Several Democrats have been running to replace Perlmutter in a tightly contested primary, including state Sens. Andy Kerr of Lakewood and Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, also of Lakewood. Also running in the race is former Obama-era U.S. ambassador Dan Baer.

A re-election bid by the popular Perlmutter could cripple those campaigns.

There’s nothing we can add to this report without more information, but we’ll update as soon as we know more. The fact is that Perlmutter is the incumbent representative for this district, and candidates stepping back into their old race after changing their mind on a bid for higher office is not without precedent (see: Marco Rubio). With that said, we have to believe anyone less beloved than Ed Perlmutter would be facing severe blowback over this most uncharacteristic bout of indecision–leaving fellow Democrats who have planned their own career moves around his choices for months in the lurch.

But it is Ed Perlmutter. This is Ed Perlmutter’s seat. And we do expect everyone involved will defer to him.

Whatever happens here needs to happen quickly, so that everyone can move on with their lives.

Q2 Fundraising Lessons: The Wealthy Shall Inherit the Office

Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell

The numbers are in for the first big fundraising quarter of the 2018 election cycle, and like any important fundraising period, the results have provided both answers and questions for many campaigns.

As we’ve said many times in this space, fundraising numbers are often a good barometer of the relative strength or weakness of a campaign – particularly at this stage in the cycle. Fundraising reports are less informative the closer we get to Election Day because it is more difficult to account for independent expenditures, PACs, and other outside spending. But when you are a year out from the Primary and 18 months from the General Election, these numbers can be a terrific guide into how a race is starting to take shape.

Fundraising is about money, of course, but it is a mistake to write off fundraising reports as just a singular piece of financial information. Fundraising reports tells us how much money was raised, but also where it came from and how it was spent. Big donations from out-of-state interests tell a different story than hundreds of small-dollar donations within the boundaries of a given district.

Most importantly, fundraising reports tell us a lot about the perception and support for a particular campaign. Think of it like sports betting; people make all sorts of bets on a given sporting event, but by and large, the big money goes with the outcome that is perceived to be the most likely. Everyone wants to back a winner – it’s human instinct. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule – including some that we will point out in a moment – but in general you can learn a lot from early money in politics.

We’ve been sifting through fundraising reports for the biggest races in Colorado, and in a series of posts that follow, we’ll tell you what we’ve learned …     

 

If You’ve Got the Money, Honey, You’ve Got More Time

Wealthy candidates are not a new phenomenon in Colorado, but we’re seeing the beginning of a potentially-troubling trend in the early fundraising reports from Q2: Candidates with deep pockets aren’t even trying to raise money.

Former one-term Republican lawmaker Victor Mitchell has earned a lot of money from various business ventures over the years, and he’s apparently planning on spending a good chunk of those earnings in his bid for Governor. Mitchell seeded his gubernatorial campaign with a $3 million check in February, but raised just $13,098 in the period ending on June 30. Likewise, Democrat Jared Polis is putting a lot of his own fortune into his bid for Governor and is only accepting contributions of $100 or less. Other candidates, such as Mitt Romney’s Nephew (aka, Republican Doug Robinson), have said that they plan to rely on hefty sums from their personal fortunes in the months to come. This is a tremendous financial advantage for candidates who can afford it, but it’s more than that; if you don’t have to spend 30+ hours on the phone each week trying to raise money, that’s more time that you can be out meeting voters and gathering broader support.

This disadvantage is one of the reasons that Democrat Ed Perlmutter – at the time, the prohibitive favorite — withdrew from the gubernatorial race earlier this month. It also makes things much more difficult for candidates who also have a day job to worry about; Republican George Brauchler had an awful Q2 , and he’s going to have trouble just keeping his campaign afloat while he maintains his position as District Attorney in Arapahoe County.

Candidates for Governor in Colorado can only accept maximum contributions of $1,150 from any one individual – technically, $575 for the Primary and $575 for the General Election – which makes it that much more difficult for non-wealthy candidates to catch up to their cash-flush opponents. Even if every person on your call list agrees to donate the maximum amount, it still takes hours upon hours of phone time to collect.

There used to be more of a stigma associated with wealthy candidates who sought to bankroll campaigns for higher office, which compelled them to spend more time and energy raising money. For whatever reason, that stigma seems to be fading. 

Perlmutter Bows Out of 2018 Election

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) announced this morning that he would not seek elected office in 2018, essentially signaling his retirement from public office after decades of service in the state legislature and Congress. Perlmutter had long been considered the frontrunner in the 2018 race for governor, but he admitted on Tuesday that the long grind of politics had finally taken its toll.

“I thought I could do it all,” said Perlmutter at a press conference at his Golden campaign office. “I’m telling all of you, I can’t.”

Perlmutter’s decision to exit the gubernatorial race was influenced in some degree by Rep. Jared Polis’ decision to join the field, but his announcement was more of a candid assessment that running for public office just wasn’t something he wanted to do anymore.

Perlmutter served in the state Senate from 1995-2003. He was first elected to Congress in CD-7 in 2006 and handily won re-election every two years (Perlmutter never failed to win by more than double-digits in any election year).

This decision creates a significant opening in the race for governor that will likely be filled by Polis. Perlmutter said on Tuesday that he did not plan to endorse any candidate for governor nor a successor in CD-7.

BREAKING: Ed Perlmutter Will Exit Gubernatorial Race

UPDATE #2: State Sen. Andy Kerr, a candidate to replace Perlmutter in Congress:

Ed Perlmutter has been a friend, a mentor, and a hardworking public servant for the people of Adams and Jefferson Counties. I wish him nothing but the best in whatever path he chooses next.

—–

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County).

UPDATE: Peter Marcus at the Colorado Springs Gazette confirms, Ed Perlmutter will not run again in CD-7:

Sources close to Perlmutter’s campaign, as well as sources from the campaigns of the three Democrats looking to replace him in Congress, confirmed to Colorado Politics that Perlmutter will announce on Tuesday that he is dropping out of the race.

Those sources also confirmed that Perlmutter will not run for re-election in 2018, which leaves the seat open for a spirited Democratic primary.

State Sen. Andy Kerr of Lakewood, Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood, and Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City, are all in a battle to take over Perlmutter’s seat.

—–

As quickly as it began, breaking news from the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews rocks the 2018 Colorado elections:

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter plans to announce Tuesday that he will end his run for Colorado governor, just three months after the Arvada Democrat started it, according to two sources close to the campaign.

The surprise decision by the sixth-term lawmaker comes a few weeks after another Colorado Democrat, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder, said he would join the race.

There’s a lot we’re awaiting now: whether Rep. Ed Perlmutter will retain his CD-7 seat or retire from Congress, the exact reason for this momentous decision, and how this move will affect other candidates in the 2018 gubernatorial primary. We’ll update as soon as we know more.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 28)

Few things have become as strange as the daily White House press briefing.  It’s time to Get More Smarter. 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…

► Republicans are scrambling to figure out their next steps after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly announced on Tuesday that the Senate healthcare bill (“The Better Care Reconciliation Act”) would not be rushed to a vote before Congress takes its July 4th holiday recess at the end of the week.

As the Washington Post explains, Republicans are having trouble finding a reason to push forward with a terrible healthcare bill:

Amid a revolt against the Senate health-care bill, supporters have seized upon something of a last-ditch argument: Whatever you think of this bill, they say, you owe it to your voters. Republicans have been promising for years to repeal and replace Obamacare, the argument goes, and not passing this bill will mean they will have broken their promise.

There is one big problem with that strategy: The GOP base doesn’t seem to see it that way.

Not only aren’t Republican voters particularly keen on this bill, but polls suggest they wouldn’t even blame their Republican members of Congress for failing to close the deal.

A new poll (Marist/NPR) shows that 55% of Americans disapprove of the Senate healthcare plan, with only 17% in favor of the bill. The polling trend lines have shown consistent downward movement.

As Politico reports, the Senate healthcare bill is not dead…yet…while the editorial board of the New York Times says the GOP’s “healthcare hoax” has been exposed.

 

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has been in Washington D.C. alongside a bipartisan group of Governors in opposition to the Senate healthcare bill. Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, held a news conference on Tuesday that was highly critical of GOP healthcare efforts that would include devastating cuts to Medicaid. Hickenlooper specifically called out Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in his remarks.

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is pushing back against Republican claims that Democrats are refusing to work with the GOP on healthcare legislation. Bennet took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to hammer this point home.

 

► A group of protestors with disabilities have been camping out at the Denver office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) since late Tuesday in an effort to persuade Gardner to oppose the Republican Senate healthcare bill. Gardner has been bullish on the Senate bill despite Monday’s awful score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated the legislation would cut health coverage for at least 22 million Americans.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Republican Field for Governor Grows Vaguely Larger

Doug Robinson, the whitest man in Colorado.

Republicans have a new candidate for Governor in 2018: This guy!

“This guy” is Doug Robinson, a nephew of former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Aside from the fact that one of Robinson’s parents is a sibling of Romney — and that Robinson was a co-chair of Romney’s finance committee in Colorado — we can’t tell you much about the guy. John Frank of the Denver Post has a short story on Robinson’s candidacy that doesn’t say much of anything — the initial version of Frank’s story said that Robinson’s campaign declined to respond to repeated requests for comment, which is a strange way to roll out a statewide campaign — but does include some of the text from Robinson’s announcement letter sent to Colorado Republicans:

The Denver investment banker declared his candidacy for the 2018 race in a letter sent to Republican activists and launched online advertisements directed to a new campaign website [Pols emphasis]. His campaign launch is scheduled for Friday…

…His letter touts himself as a “committed Republican my entire life.” And he highlights his business background, noting that he founded his own company and then worked in technology investment banking for KPMG. “My background is in business — not politics,” he said.

A businessman, not a politician. How inventive.

If you are wondering why Robinson made such a cryptic announcement today, touting a website that says absolutely nothing, the bolded line in the Denver Post story above may provide a clue. Robinson’s campaign appears to have launched online advertisements before bothering to register as an official campaign committee, which is not exactly legal; someone may have panicked and realized that Robinson needed to make his campaign official before he started spending money on said campaign.

The only other thing we remember about Robinson is from a Mitt Romney appearance in Colorado during the 2012 election. Halfway through the clip below, Robinson says something off-camera and then gets a shout-out from Romney:

So, anyway, the GOP race for governor is getting crowded. Maybe it’s time to gas up the 2016 Republican Senate clown car for another tour through Colorado.

How Not to Remember a Tragic Event

Think before you Tweet, George

You’re probably aware that yesterday was April 20, a day that has become something of a quirky holiday around the world because of the popularity of marijuana (click here for more about how 4/20 became associated with marijuana use).

For many Colorado residents, however, April 20 is a somber reminder of a different sort: The anniversary of the Columbine High School Shooting in 1999. It has been 18 years since the Columbine tragedy, in which 13 students and a teacher were killed by two fellow students (we won’t repeat the names of the killers here), the aftermath of which played out on live television across the globe.

It is not unusual, nor improper, for political figures to recognize the anniversary of the Columbine shootings. But it is possible to mark the tragedy in an inappropriate manner, which is exactly what George Brauchler’s campaign for governor did on Thursday. Take a look at this oddly-branded “remembrance”:

Why on earth would you put your campaign logo onto a “Never Forget” image like this? Never Forget: Brought to you by George Brauchler for Governor! The best thing you can say about this image is that it is incredibly tacky, which is not a good look for anybody, let alone a candidate for statewide office.

This isn’t a huge issue by any means, but it’s worth pointing out that there is a right way and a wrong way to do this sort of thing. This Tweet from Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) — who is also a candidate for governor — is simple, straightforward, and completely devoid of campaign imagery. It’s not rocket surgery.

Andy Kerr First to Make Big Launch for CD-7

State Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood)

As Peter Marcus writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette, state Senator Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) kicks off today what could be a long and complicated race to succeed Rep. Ed Perlmutter in CD-7:

In a launch video, Kerr said he plans to “take leadership to Washington, the Colorado way.”

“Colorado has taught me what it means to be a leader,” Kerr said in the more than three-minute video. “I’ve learned that good leaders are known for what they do, not for what they say. That’s leadership, the Colorado way.”

The video features images of scenic Colorado views, Kerr with his family, teaching a group of students in a classroom, holding a town hall in a brewery, snowboarding, and, of course, Kerr riding his bike, something that has become a staple of his image…

…Kerr will hold a formal campaign kickoff Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at  Dunstan Middle School in Lakewood. He also on Wednesday launched his official campaign website.

Also announced in the Democratic race is state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, also from Lakewood. Pettersen, like Kerr, made her intentions known shortly after Perlmutter announced his run for governor.

Kerr is a middle school teacher in Jefferson County who has also served in the state legislature since 2006, both of which make him the early leader in this race. We are still waiting to hear more about which Republican candidates will take a look at this open seat in 2018, but it is expected to get crowded.

The State of the Race (for the State)

The 2018 race for Governor in Colorado is adding candidates at a rapid pace, with Democrats Ed Perlmutter and Cary Kennedy joining the field just this week. We’re keeping track of all of the big political races in Colorado through The Big Line, but with so much activity surrounding the open race at the top of the ticket in ’18, we thought it would be worthwhile to break down The State of the Race (for the State) on its own:

 

Looking Good

Ed Perlmutter

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) officially joined the race for Governor with a big kickoff in Golden on Sunday. Perlmutter is the clear frontrunner here for a number of reasons:

1. Perlmutter begins the race with a strong base of support in Jefferson County, which is traditionally one of the most important swing counties in Colorado. Thanks in part to his decade of service in Congress, he is also well known in voter-rich areas like Adams and Arapahoe counties.

2. Perlmutter is both a proven fundraiser and an accomplished retail politician; there aren’t a lot of politicians in Colorado who can do both things well.

3. All he does is win. Perlmutter has been elected six times in Congressional District 7 – never by less than double digits.

Also on the upswing is former state Sen. Mike Johnston, who raked in more than $600,000 in his first fundraising period. Johnston’s next trick is to prove that he can find more than just some fat low-hanging fruit to collect. If he can churn out another strong fundraising quarter – with Perlmutter and Kennedy now in the race – Johnston could start to generate some serious momentum with less than a year to go until the Democratic Primary.

 

Looking Shaky

George Brauchler

Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy has been talking about making a bid for Governor for years, so it was a bit odd that she suddenly decided to join the race one day after Perlmutter’s big rollout. Kennedy made her campaign announcement in an awkward Facebook Live video that featured the candidate driving through a wealthy neighborhood before stopping outside her Denver home. The entire performance was stilted and overly-scripted, and while Kennedy got some decent press for her campaign, she won’t generate any momentum from her Facebook Faceplant.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler finally became a statewide candidate after years of threatening to run for higher office. Brauchler got some big help from the Denver Post in his “virtual announcement” for Governor, and he’s been burning up the right-wing talk radio circuit ever since. His platform for Governor is a bit of a head-scratcher, however. Brauchler has thus far focused his chatter on a pledge to execute convicted killer Nathan Dunlap and a promise to make dramatic cuts to Medicaid in Colorado – neither of which seem like good issues to attract new voters. Brauchler is also already waffling on plans for making it through a Republican Primary; after initially saying he would go through the convention/caucus process, Brauchler made it clear in a recent radio interview that he has not ruled out trying to petition his way onto the ballot. If you like your candidates indecisive, Brauchler is your guy.

 

 

Still Just Looking

Walker Stapleton

Current State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has been angling toward the 2018 Gubernatorial race since he was first elected in 2010. So where is he? Stapleton may not formally announce his campaign for Governor until this summer, which is a long time to cede the spotlight to the rest of the candidates already running full-steam ahead. Stapleton is not a big-enough name or personality to just wait out the race on his own timeline, and the flurry of early activity in the Governor’s race may force him to adjust his planned schedule. Stapleton is also the Republican candidate with the deepest potential donor base (he is a cousin of former President George W. Bush, after all); if he’s confident that the money will wait for him, maybe a late start won’t be a major hurdle.

Also still eying the race on the Republican side is DaVita CEO Kent Thiry, though it still looks like the chatter is more rumor than reality. Both Noel Ginsburg (D) and Victor Mitchell (R) have already laid claim to the “businessman candidate” angle for 2018.

 

Challengers Line Up For Perlmutter’s CD-7 Seat

Sen. Andy Kerr, Rep. Brittany Pettersen.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Peter Marcus reports, the announcement that Rep. Ed Perlmutter will run for governor of Colorado in 2018 is sparking movement upward by Jefferson County Democrats who have been eager for a chance to move up–with two strong candidates announcing or about to announce runs for Perlmutter’s open seat:

Lakewood Democrats Brittany Pettersen, a state representative, and Andy Kerr, a state senator, quickly announced their intentions to run in the 7th Congressional District, with the hopes of keeping the seat in Democratic control.

“Too many families in Colorado are facing tough times and we need leaders who understand those challenges,” Pettersen said in a statement. “When it comes to good schools for Colorado kids, access to health care for everyone and protecting seniors from cuts to Social Security, I’ll stand up to Donald Trump and fight for regular people.”

“Ed has a been a friend, a mentor, and a role model for public service,” Kerr added. “And yes, I will be entering the race for his congressional seat, with a formal announcement soon.”

Rep. Brittany Pettersen and Sen. Andy Kerr are well-positioned to run for Perlmutter’s congressional seat, with legislative constituencies in the heart of suburban Jeffco that give them both a leg up on name identification. It’s possible that other candidates may consider a bid for the Democratic CD-7 nomination–including Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp of Westminster, whose swing district offers similar benefits in this race for name recognition, as well as Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City.

Perlmutter has proven a master at campaigning in CD-7 since winning a hotly-contested three way primary for the seat in 2006, consistently outperforming other Democratic candidates overlapping his district and making Republican attempts to recapture the seat look like a fool’s errand. On paper the district is more competitive than Perlmutter’s easy wins suggest, so it will be interesting to see who can win the right to fill his shoes–and whether they can hold the seat by the margins Perlmutter has always enjoyed.

Depending on what happens in the gubernatorial race, this could be 2018’s hottest Democratic primary. We’ll be watching it closely.

The Denver Post Should Be Embarrassed

The front page of today’s Denver Post

Democrat Ed Perlmutter launched his campaign for governor on Sunday in front of a large crowd in Golden. This was a big deal, regardless of your political affiliations, because Perlmutter is the obvious frontrunner in the race for Colorado’s top job in 2018. Perlmutter’s announcement also opens up his Congressional seat in CD-7 for what is likely to be a crowded affair for both Democrats and Republicans. In other words, there’s a lot going on here.

Yet, somehow, the front page of the Denver Post today is all about…buttons. Most of today’s front page is dedicated to a story about the 49th annual Colorado State Button Society show and sale that apparently took place in Denver over the weekend.

[We’ll pause here while your adrenaline rush dissipates]

Five other stories are headlined on the front page today — but none of them mention anything about the 2018 race for governor. Not. A. Peep.

Front page of the Denver Post from April 5, 2017

This is particularly odd when you consider that the front page of the Post from last Wednesday featured a breathless account of news that Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler would seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2018. Brauchler didn’t even hold a big event to kick off his campaign — and he’s not even the clear frontrunner in his own party — yet the Post fell all over itself to blare the news across its front page.

Look, the Denver Post can do whatever it wants with its front page. But if the idea of this newspaper is to practice actual, you know, journalism, then virtually ignoring Perlmutter’s gubernatorial announcement is farcical at best. This is a joke, and if you work for the Post, you have every right to feel ashamed today.

Ed Perlmutter Launches Gubernatorial Campaign

AP reporting from the Natural Grocers in Golden, CO this afternoon:

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden) has officially announced that he is running for governor of Colorado.

Perlmutter, who has represented Jefferson County in Congress since 2006, made the announcement Sunday at Natural Grocers in Golden…

“The Trump administration, coupled with the gridlock that exists in Congress, really is causing things to go backward,” Perlmutter said in an interview. “I feel I can provide more service and leadership at home than I can in Washington.”

“The Republican Party can’t agree with itself right now. When the majority party is kind of in a chaotic state, nothing moves,” he said.

The crowd at today’s rally was by all reports very large, spilling out of the parking lot of the Golden grocery store where Perlmutter has often held his “Government in the Grocery” outreach events while serving in Congress:

Perlmutter’s long representation of Jefferson County, considered Colorado’s foremost bellwether of how the state is trending politically, make him the candidate to beat in both the Democratic primary as well as the general election in 2018. Perlmutter’s speech today kept to the positive message he has used to good effect throughout his political career–an approach borne out by Gov. John Hickenlooper and other politicians in both parties who have enjoyed success in Colorado in recent years.

We’ll see if Republicans have anything similarly hopeful to say in their own campaigns, the difference that defined the last gubernatorial election between Hickenlooper and Bob Beauprez in 2014. Beauprez’s relentlessly nasty and dour message helped Hickenlooper greatly in an election Republicans otherwise enjoyed “wave year” success. These days, no Republican besides Cory Gardner–and sometimes not even Gardner–remembers how to smile.

And that makes this Ed Perlmutter’s race to lose.