Sessions Backing Off Marijuana Crackdown?

Molon labe.

That seems to be what the Denver Post’s Alicia Wallace writing at The Cannabist thinks based on comments from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who met this week with Attorney General Jeff “Reefer Madness” Sessions:

Following a face-to-face meeting with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he doesn’t think a federal crackdown is imminent for his state or others that have legalized cannabis…

Sessions was receptive to keeping the lines of communication open, Hickenlooper said, adding that a policy position appears to be in the works.

“He’s obviously reviewing the Cole (Memo),” Hickenlooper said. “(They’re working on) a version of that that makes sense for this administration. We’ll have to see how far they go.”

Hickenlooper described Sessions as “direct,” “straight-forward” and “honest.” And while the attorney general “couldn’t have been more emphatic” about legalization being a bad idea, he also understood that Colorado’s marijuana regulations came to be because of the will of the voters.

As such, Hickenlooper said, he doesn’t believe Sessions will come down on legal marijuana states from an enforcement standpoint.

Sessions’ rhetoric against legalized marijuana since his appointment as Attorney General, not to mention for many years before as a U.S. Senator, left Colorado’s billion-dollar marijuana industry very nervous about the future. It’s interesting that Hickenlooper came away from this meeting with a different impression of how Sessions intends to proceed, but we think it will take more words–or at least more time–before the industry is comfortable. And even if Sessions allows the status quo to continue, many issues like banking for marijuana businesses remain unresolved.

Until we definitively get the word that DEA stormtroopers will not be raiding dispensaries and cuffing stoners, we would advise continued caution. It’s possible that President Donald Trump has decided to restrain Sessions on this issue, or will decide to do that–but until you see it in writing, don’t count on it.

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.

Fractivists Roll “Frackenlooper” At Denver March For Science

Again via the Colorado Independent’s Kelsey Ray, we’re obliged to give the treatment Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper received at yesterday’s March for Science in Denver a mention–navigate to 13:00 in the video above to watch what happened:

As soon as the Governor took to the stage in Civic Center to address a crowd of thousands, a group of at least a dozen protesters marched up the steps with anti-fracking signs and banners, chanting, “Frackenlooper, don’t frack our future.”

Event security attempted to remove the protesters from the stage but most remained, partially blocking the crowd’s view with large banners.

Hickenlooper, who was introduced to both applause and boos as having “endeavored to make Colorado the most pro-business state with the highest environmental and ethical standards,” upheld the message of the March for Science.

“Science doesn’t need to be political, and politics doesn’t necessarily need to drown out other voices,” he said, through the chants. “I think the agenda that we’re facing in Washington now is trying to prevent science from getting the facts in the first place, and they’re looking at an unprecedented rollback of laws to protect our air and water.” He spoke about the importance of funding climate research and upholding the Paris Climate Accord.

Let’s be perfectly frank: Gov. Hickenlooper’s support for fossil fuel development in Colorado, especially natural gas as a so-called “bridge fuel” to renewable sources and as a means of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, is very likely the most divisive issue amongst Democrats in our state today. Hickenlooper’s attempts to make peace between the energy industry and the coalition of environmentalists and local communities threatened by drilling have not succeeded and sometimes backfired–and this will likely go down as the greatest failure of his administration.

With that said, there is a huge difference between Hickenlooper’s nuanced position on energy development, which fully acknowledges the reality of climate change and sees renewables as the long-term solution, and President Donald Trump’s utter disregard for climate science–and contempt for anything other than science in pursuit of profit. This is much like the criticism Sen. Michael Bennet and gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston come in for on education from the left, deserved even in the context of their own opposition to radical education policies espoused by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Bottom line: there’s room for disagreement among overall allies, but it shouldn’t even be in the same ballpark as the greater common enemy on any of these issues. You might have fundamental disagreements with Gov. Hickenlooper on energy policy, but you can’t deny that as governor, he’s taken plenty of actions in support of remediating human-caused climate change too. He’s not the environmental left’s ideal champion, but he’s no Rick Perry either.

With all of this in mind, we”ll turn it over to readers: did Hickenlooper deserve to get drowned out yesterday?

Hick’s Most ‘Merican Bill Signing Ever

Via the Denver Post’s John Frank, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed House Bill 17-1179 today–a bipartisan bill to grant immunity for persons who forcibly enter a locked vehicle to save a child or a pet from dying in the heat.

At the signing ceremony today, a quintessential display of what matters most in American politics:

Babies and golden retrievers! Frank’s right, any politician would kill for this photo-op.

Victor Mitchell Seeds Gubernatorial Campaign with $3 Million

Victor Mitchell (totally not Dracula).

As Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Statesman, Republican gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell has indeed written his campaign a $3 million personal check — as Mitchell has promised he would do:

Douglas County Republican Victor Mitchell, an entrepreneur and former state lawmaker, plans to report that his gubernatorial campaign banked just over $3 million in the first three months of the year, nearly all of it in the form of a loan from the candidate, The Colorado Statesman has learned.

And Mitchell says he’s prepared to pour plenty more into his campaign.

Mitchell, the chairman and CEO of Lead Funding LLC, a company that finances real estate development — it’s only the latest in a series of companies the Castle Rock resident has started and run over nearly three decades — said in February when he announced he was running for governor of Colorado that he would write his campaign a check for $3 million, and according to documents his campaign intends to file with the Colorado secretary of state’s office, that’s just what he did.

The bigger news from Luning’s story may be that Mitchell seems prepared to spend plenty more than $3 million — and he’s well on pace to do just that:

In total, Mitchell’s campaign brought in $3,005,278, his campaign finance report shows, including $3,002,700 from the candidate. (He told The Statesman he paid for some initial set-up costs for the campaign’s operation before writing the $3 million check.) That means Mitchell’s campaign raised $2,578 from outside donors, contributions his campaign said came in via the candidate’s website without any effort at fundraising.

After expenditures totaling $200,184, Mitchell’s campaign plans to report $2,805,094 cash on hand at the end of the first quarter. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s going to cost $5 million to win this primary and probably another $5 million to win the general election,” Mitchell told The Statesman on Wednesday. Mitchell added that he’s prepared to loan his campaign whatever it takes, although he also noted that the Republican nominee likely won’t be lacking in sufficient resources from state Republicans and national organizations that will target the seat.

Mitchell has only been an official candidate for Governor since February, but he’s already spent more than $200k? Are his campaign buttons made out of solid gold?

Critics will say that Mitchell wasn’t able to raise any real money in actual contributions, but in a crowded Republican Primary race, this is just semantics. The last time that Colorado had an open race for Governor, in 2010, the three major candidates combined only spent about $5.5 million. Being able to self-finance a campaign gives Mitchell a lot more time to spend doing other things while his opponents (including Arapahoe County D.A. George Brauchler) are locked in a room making money calls all day.

Ed Perlmutter Will Run for Governor in 2018

Ed Perlmutter will run for Governor in 2018.

The Jefferson County Democrat will officially declare his intentions at 1:00 on Sunday in Golden, and he will immediately become the frontrunner for the top job in Colorado.

Rumors of a potential Perlmutter candidacy have been circulating for months, becoming all but inevitable in late March when former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced publicly that he would not seek the Democratic nomination himself.

The 2018 field for Governor is going to be a crowded affair, and may well end up as the most expensive statewide campaign in Colorado history. But as we’ve said in this space before, no other potential candidate — in either party — can match Perlmutter’s combination of experience and results as a campaigner. Perlmutter is wildly popular in Jefferson County, always one of the most important counties for any statewide candidate, and he has established a reputation as both a brilliant retail politician and a consistently-strong fundraiser. Consider this: Perlmutter has won six consecutive races for Congress in CD-7, and no opponent has ever come within single digits on Election Day.

Perlmutter’s decision to run for Governor will also set off a chain reaction in CD-7 that should attract numerous candidates for Congress, including Democratic lawmakers Andy Kerr and Brittany Pettersen, but that is a story for another day. In a gubernatorial field full of recognizable names, none is as big (literally and figuratively) as Perlmutter.

Hickenlooper, Weed State Governors Appeal To Sessions To Chill

Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Here’s the text of a letter sent yesterday from Govs. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Kate Brown of Oregon, Jay Inslee of Washington state, and Bill Walker of Alaska to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking the federal government to not step up enforcement of marijuana laws without consulting with states that have legalized:

As governors of states that have legalized marijuana in some form, we ask the Trump Administration to engage with us before embarking on any changes to regulatory and enforcement systems. The balance struck by the 2013 Department of Justice Cole Memorandum (Cole Memo) has been indispensable – providing the necessary framework for state regulatory programs centered on public safety and health protections.

We understand you and others in the administration have some concerns regarding marijuana. We sympathize, as many of us expressed apprehensions before our states adopted current laws. As governors, we have committed to implementing the will of our citizens and have worked cooperatively with our legislatures to establish robust regulatory structures that prioritize public health and public safety, reduce inequitable incarceration and expand our economies.

The Cole Memo and the related Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance provide the foundation for state regulatory systems and are vital to maintaining control over marijuana in our states. Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences. Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states. Likewise, without the FinCEN guidance, financial institutions will be less willing to provide services to marijuana-related businesses. This would force industry participants to be even more cash reliant, posing safety risks both to the public and to state regulators conducting enforcement activity. The Cole Memo and FinCEN guidance strike a reasonable balance between allowing the states to enact reasonable regulations and the federal government’s interest in controlling some of the collateral consequences of legalization.

Twenty-eight states, representing more than 60 percent of Americans, have authorized some form of marijuana-related conduct. As we face the reality of these legalizations, we stand eager to work with our federal partners to address implementation and enforcement concerns cooperatively. The Cole Memorandum and the associated FinCEN guidance are critical to the success of any collaboration.

We look forward to working with you and your administration. We stand ready to have further discussion on how these important federal policies work in our states.

As we’ve noted, AG Sessions’ rhetoric against marijuana is not encouraging for local supporters of legalization–and has betrayed an ignorance about the drug that invites basic questions about Sessions’ competence to make the judgment. A man who baselessly compares marijuana use to opiate addiction, running counter to all of the accepted science about the effects of marijuana, has no credibility demanding that states who have proven legalization can work shut down their marijuana industries.

Of course, Sessions doesn’t need credibility in order to use the power of his office. The biggest limiting factor in Sessions’ expressed desire to crush legal marijuana may be the lack of available law enforcement resources to carry out a crackdown.

Either way, they’re obliged to ask.

Get Ready for a Very Expensive Race for Governor

Michael Johnston

As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, the 2018 Colorado gubernatorial race just got a lot more expensive:

Democrat Mike Johnston will report raising more than $625,000 for his gubernatorial campaign to open the year — a sum his campaign touted as a record haul.

The former state senator entered the 2018 race for Colorado’s governor Jan. 17 and recruited more than 2,500 donors in his first 10 weeks as a candidate.

Johnston’s impressive Q1 fundraising haul certainly raises the bar for every other potential gubernatorial candidate and likely means that we are in store for the most expensive “statewide” (non-federal) race in Colorado history.

The last time Colorado had an open seat for Governor was in 2010, when Democrat John Hickenlooper handily defeated Republican Dan Maes and American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo. Those three candidates together spent about $5.5 million (not counting independent expenditures, PACs, etc.), a total which will likely be dwarfed by the time we are finished with the June primaries next year. Republican candidate Victor Mitchell is already pledging to spend at least $3 million of his own money, and several other major contenders — including Democrat Ed Perlmutter and Republicans Walker Stapleton and George Brauchler — haven’t even begun to fundraise in earnest.

Ken Salazar Out for Governor; Perlmutter Run Looks Closer

UPDATE: Peter Marcus of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is expected to announce a run for governor as early as the end of the month, ColoradoPolitics has learned.

“If it was up to me, we would announce sooner rather than later,” confirmed Perlmutter campaign consultant Steve Welchert, a high-profile Democratic strategist.

Perlmutter’s pending announcement was pushed up by news that former interior secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar will not pursue a run for governor in 2018 on the Democratic ticket.

—–

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Late last night, the Denver Post published an editorial from former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in which Salazar makes clear that he will not run for governor:

The 2018 election for governor of Colorado is a keystone to the future greatness of Colorado. Several individuals, both Democratic and Republican, have expressed an interest in serving as governor. I will not be among them.

This has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado. I believe I would have won an election for governor, and that I would have been a successful governor for all the people of Colorado. However, my family’s well-being must come first.

Salazar had been contemplating a run for governor for many months. Just a few weeks ago, Salazar told the Denver Post that he thought he could wait until the end of the summer to make a decision on 2018 — a timeline that was not at all realistic.

In the meantime, there has been a growing chorus of voices pushing for Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) to run for governor. Perlmutter had said publicly and privately that he was not interested in challenging Salazar in a potential Democratic primary, but now that this is no longer a concern, the chatter surrounding Perlmutter should start to grow exponentially.

Yes, there are other Democrats already in the race or contemplating a run — including Mike Johnston and Cary Kennedy — but Perlmutter is the juggernaut candidate that Democrats have been hoping for in 2018. Perlmutter currently represents the single most important electoral county in Colorado (Jeffco), and he has won every one of his six races for Congress by at least double digits.

Hickenlooper: Dems Should “Slow Down” Gorsuch Nomination

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Quotable quotes from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper today via the Denver Post’s Brian Eason, in which Hickenlooper shows a flash of contempt for President Donald Trump–and the treachery that led to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court that former President Barack Obama tried to fill over a year ago:

“If someone commits an offense against you, generally, if there’s no consequence — if you just walk away and there’s no consequence — if you have another opportunity, you can be pretty much assured that he’ll do that same thing again,” Hickenlooper said during a press conference. “I don’t think I would hold it against Democrats to say, ‘Maybe we should slow this down.’ Because there are real questions about what happened to Merrick Garland, and I think that those actions — just like elections — have consequences.”

But he stopped short of taking a position himself on the nomination, saying he was “honored” that Colorado had someone as talented as Gorsuch nominated to the nation’s highest court…

Hickenlooper also suggested that the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia could give Democrats another reason to hold off. [Pols emphasis]

“We’re already beginning to hear people say, ‘Hey, if this is a legitimate cloud about the legitimacy of this president, should he be appointing the next Supreme Court, until we get this resolved?’” Hickenlooper said. “Somehow it was OK to wait 10 and a half months without having a candidate stand for the Supreme Court — maybe we should wait another four or five months and see what this investigation proves.”

Shorter Hick: if you let the bullies win, all you’ve done is ensure the bullying happens again. Oh and by the way, Trump’s presidency is just a headline away from full-blown constitutional crisis, so maybe you don’t have to be so, you know, deferential? In terms of Gorsuch’s nomination, this is a message that seems to be directed at one particular U.S. Senator from Colorado.

Democrats should like this tougher side of Hickenlooper, and ask for more.

Get More Smarter on Friday (February 17)

Have a nice President’s Day Weekend; try the meatloaf. Now, let’s see if we can’t 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…

► As the Associated Press reported this morning, President Trump is considering mobilizing the National Guard — as many as 100,000 troops — to undertake mass deportation efforts across the country. Colorado is one of the states listed in the draft memo obtained by the AP.

Again: The President of the United States of America is considering deploying the military to conduct mass roundups and deportations across the country. This is all kinds of wrong.

 

A “shit sandwich.” That’s how Vice Admiral Robert Harward viewed an offer from President Trump to become the next National Security Adviser — an offer Harward publicly declined — which leaves the Trump administration scrambling to find another candidate for one of the most important jobs in the White House. The resignation of former NSA Michael Flynn highlights a massive credibility problem among national security experts, as the Washington Post explains:

Multiple former national security experts conjectured that the hang-up specifically was Trump’s deputy national security adviser, KT McFarland, a TV commentator who has not served in government since the Reagan era. Few foreign policy professionals consider her qualified for the job. [Pols emphasis]

…Harward certainly knows the struggles that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson have had hiring their own staff — neither has an announced deputy; Harward was not about to subject himself to the same micromanaging from the White House. Former State Department official and vocal Trump critic Eliot Cohen says, “It makes it very difficult for any serious person to take the job under less reasonable conditions than Harward seems to have demanded, i.e., control of staffing.” He explains, “No sane person would take this extremely important and difficult job without (a) control of staffing, and (b) eliminating or neutering Bannon’s shadow NSC staff.” …

…Harward’s decision reflects how far the president and this administration have fallen in the eyes of esteemed national security experts, including current and former officials. The White House is without an experienced chief of staff or normal internal decision-making procedures. [Pols emphasis]

 

► Congress is preparing for its annual President’s Day recess, which will keep lawmakers out of the nation’s capitol until February 27. Before he skipped out of town, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) released a video in which he declares that he will not support a repeal of Obamacare without a concurrent replacement plan. The New York Times on Thursday reported on a potential new GOP healthcare plan that would redirect money from the lower- and middle-class to the benefit of the wealthy in America.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 16)

It would certainly be hard for things to Get More Dumber at this point, so let’s see if we can’t 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…

► So…that didn’t go well. President Trump held his first solo press conference as a resident of the White House, and it’s almost like he’s daring someone to declare that he is unfit for office. Put it this way: If you had to place a bet on whether or not Trump would make it through his first term in office, would you really put big money on “YES”?

Did you vote for Donald Trump for President?” could be the most important question for Colorado political candidates in 2018. That’s one big orange albatross we’re talking about.

 

► President Trump has a new nominee for Labor Secretary. Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, on account of the fact that he had no chance of winning confirmation from the Senate. The new nominee is Alexander Acosta, dean of the Florida International University School of Law and a former member of the National Labor Relations Board.

The Washington Post takes a look at how Puzder’s nomination went so completely off the rails, while Politico previews trouble ahead for the new nominee.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) thinks that we should investigate the FBI after the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. From CBS Denver:

Rep. Mike Coffman agrees with Republicanson the House Ethics Committee who don’t think President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn needs to be investigated for ethics violations following his ouster over interactions with Russian officials…

…Controversy still lingers over the White House’s handling of the brief tenure of Flynn, who continued to advise the president weeks after the Department of Justice warned the administration of Flynn’s conduct on the phone with Russia’s ambassador.

“I want to see that transcript to see if there are other conversations that he had is worthwhile finding out, but I also think it’s important to move on,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Move along!

 

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Gov. Hickenlooper Condemns Trump Muslim Ban

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Here’s a statement today from Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, denouncing President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority nations in the strongest possible terms:

“The vast majority of refugees admitted to the United States are families, mainly comprised of women and children, and all refugees are admitted only after they make it through the world’s toughest vetting program. Many of the refugees helped US forces, often in violent and chaotic circumstances, risking their lives in the process.

We can and should continue to work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure that the verification system used to screen refugees is as stringent as possible. But we can do that while we honor our values as Americans. Religious tests and blanket bans diminish those values and injure our international reputation. The executive order serves as a powerful recruiting tool for our enemies and needlessly antagonizes our allies around the world. We believe that Americans will be less safe, at home and abroad, if the executive order is fully implemented. [Pols emphasis] We urge the President to rescind the executive order.”

Here’s some additional information we were forwarded that gives some scope of both the number affected in or in transit to Colorado, as well as the number of refugees who have already been resettled here in recent months:

Since October 1, 2016, Colorado has resettled 736 refugees, of whom 88 were Syrian. With the executive order in effect, estimated arrivals to Colorado for the fiscal year will total 1,042, or half the number expected before the order was signed.

Of those who had been set to come to Colorado between now and the end of the fiscal year, 83 would have been Syrians. Until the executive order, Colorado had expected 2,195 refugees in FY17. With the order, that decreases to an estimated 1,042. Colorado had expected 55 refugees in the next few days, including families from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

As you can see, Colorado welcomes refugees. Colorado has historically welcomed them, welcomes them today, and would continue to do so if Trump were to rescind his executive order. All we can hope is that Hickenlooper’s statement is heard over the din–and America’s enemies and allies alike understand that what’s happening is not Colorado’s choice.

Cynthia Coffman Laying Groundwork for Gubernatorial Bid

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman wore this red thing to the Jan. 20th “Deplorables Ball.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is up for re-election in 2018, but she is apparently taking a hard look at running for Governor instead. We hear that Coffman has been meeting with consultants about a potential run for the state’s top job, where she would join a Republican field already likely to include State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler.

After she was first elected in 2014, Coffman was briefly considered something of a rising star in the Colorado Republican Party. That spotlight dimmed considerably, however, when she inexplicably emerged at the center of a weird blackmail scandal aimed at trying to unseat State GOP Chairman Steve House not long after House was elected to oversee the State Republican Party (Coffman had endorsed House for the role just a few months earlier). The Coffmangate Scandal has never really been resolved, though Coffman is on the record with the media trying to explain why her actions did not constitute blackmail.

When House announced early last week that he would not seek re-election as State GOP Chair, it cleared up a significant hurdle that would have made a gubernatorial run much more awkward for everyone involved. From what we hear, Coffman is not particularly happy with her job as Attorney General and wouldn’t need much convincing to abandon a run for re-election.

We’re still skeptical that Coffman would be able to put together a strong team around her in a potential Gubernatorial bid (would you want to work for someone with such a penchant for tossing people under the bus?), but her recent rhetoric does seem to indicate that she could be testing the waters for a big jump in 2018. Coffman looks to be trying to channel the support of Donald Trump backers as she positions herself for a potential primary battle. As Ernest Luning wrote for the Colorado Statesman on Jan. 23:

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman told the crowd that she had noticed something different starting on the night of Nov. 8, when Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win the presidency.

“I realized I was taking deep breaths, in and out, for the first time in two years,” she said. “For me, in my two years as attorney general, I think I have been holding my breath, waiting for the next over-reach from Washington, D.C., the next horrible Supreme Court decision that does not understand or appreciate the 10th Amendment, and suddenly I could take a deep breath and not worry nearly so much about the state of our country or our beautiful Colorado.”

Cynthia Coffman was not exactly a vocal Trump supporter before the election, but she seemed to sense the rising tide on Election Night at a victory celebration for her husband, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) when she put a fist in the air and yelled, “Go Trump!” (jump ahead to :30 in the video below).

Cynthia Coffman may be trying to be the “Trump candidate” for Governor in 2018. That might not be such a great idea 18 months from now.

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 13)

Superstitions like “Friday the 13th” seem like they belong in a simpler time — when reality wasn’t so scary. 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…

►As the Obamacare repeal-and-we-swear-we-have-a-plan-for-replacement debate rages on in Congress, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is finally getting a bit more attention from local media outlets. Gardner is fully onboard with plans to repeal Obamacare – replacement be damned — and is doing his best to pretend that his constituents in Colorado actually want this mess…nevermind the fact that constituents are not able to get through to Gardner’s office at all. As the Associated Press reports today, Senate Republicans still seem to be no closer to even having a plan for replacement.

Polling results are continually showing that repealing Obamacare without a replacement in place is HUGELY UNPOPULAR with Americans. From The Hill:

Only 18 percent of voters think Congress and President-elect Donald Trump should fully repeal ObamaCare, a new poll released Thursday finds.

Another 47 percent said only some of ObamaCare should be repealed, while 31 percent said it should be left untouched.

According to a separate poll from NPR/Ipsos, only 14% of Americans support repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. 

 

► When President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated next week, he will assume office as the most unpopular incoming President in modern history. From “The Fix”:

Just four in ten people polled by Gallup say they approve of the way Trump is handling his transition — a stand-in for presidential approval in this odd three-month interregnum.  Those are the lowest marks ever measured by Gallup for an incoming president. They are also half — yes HALF — as high as the 83 percent of people who approved of how then President-elect Barack Obama handled his own transition in late 2008/early 2009.  And Trump’s numbers even track well below those of George W. Bush, whose transition was cut short by an extended recount that left lots of the country unconvinced that he had actually won! [Pols emphasis]

Wow. Worse than Dubya?

The Colorado Springs Independent has a handy list of local events related to the January 20th Inauguration.

 

► In his State of the State address on Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called on the legislature to ask voters to approve a tax hike for transportation and infrastructure needs.

“We’ve had this debate for too long. If talk could fill potholes, we’d have the best roads in the country.”

 

 

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