Live Blogging the GOP Gubernatorial Debate

We're at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood for Live Blog coverage of the GOP Gubernatorial Debate. We've got Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler, and Mike Kopp battling it out once more. Tom Tancredo is not here, as expected. They're calling this "Women and Colorado's Future."

*All comments are paraphrased unless in direct quotes.

This was billed as a debate centered around "Women and Colorado's Future," and it was about as insulting to women as you could get. It would have been difficult to make this look less genuine, though it would have helped — a lot — to not play the theme song of "The Dating Game" after every break. It's hard to explain how uncomfortable it was in the room every time that song came up and the candidates tried to chuckle about it. What a disaster.

As for the candidates…they should have been on the phone raising money instead. With the exception of Beauprez's closing statement, every answer was cliche and meaningless; none of the candidates did anything to distinguish themselves.

The winner tonight is obvious: Tom Tancredo. Beauprez, Kopp, and Gessler all sounded the same, and there was very little fire or emotion here. It's hard to imagine an undecided Republican voter watching this debate and walking away with a strong impression of anyone on stage.


Only Doug Lamborn is More Partisan than Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner and Doug LambornThere has been a lot of talk over the last week or so about Republican concerns that Tom Tancredo might poison the entire 2014 election should he emerge victorious from the June gubernatorial Primary. We won't deny that the GOP faces plenty of problems with a Tancredo candidacy, although the entire argument seems a bit silly in our opinion given the other candidates running in the Republican Primary; option #2 appears to be Bob Beauprez, whose 2006 campaign for Governor is viewed as the worst statewide campaign in Colorado history.

Former Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams has been among the loudest voices warning of a Tancredo candidacy, sounding false alarm bells dating back more than a year (we continue to be amused that anyone listens to Wadhams anymore, but that's a different story for a different day). Wadhams is a strong supporter of Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner, but as he told the Boulder Daily Camera in a story over the weekend, both Gardner and Rep. Mike Coffman are doomed if Tancredo is the GOP nominee for Governor:

"If Tancredo is the nominee, everyone from (U.S. Senate candidate Cory) Gardner and (U.S. Rep. Mike) Coffman and up and down the ticket go down in November," warned Wadhams, who is supporting Kopp. "There's much at stake here."

That seems a bit melodramatic to us, but how much truth is involved in this fear of Tancredo? If we've learned anything from Colorado politics in the last decade, it is that the more moderate candidate will always win a high-profile statewide race. From Ken Salazar in 2004, to Bill Ritter in 2006 and Mark Udall in 2008 (and John Hickenlooper in 2010, although a doorknob would have beaten Dan Maes), the more partisan you are perceived to be by voters, the less likely you are to win in November. With that in mind, we combed through the annual partisanship rankings of Congress provided each year by The National Journal, and we were a bit surprised at what we found:

The biggest threat to the Republican ticket in 2014 may actually be Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner and Tom Tancredo

Perhaps Tom Tancredo should be concerned about Cory Gardner instead.

You may have seen references to the fact that Gardner was the 10th most-partisan Member of Congress in 2012 — more partisan, even, than conservative stalwarts such as Reps. Michele Bachmann and Steve King — but the numbers tell an even more incredible tale. As you can see from the chart above, only Rep. Doug Lamborn has a more partisan record in Congress among Colorado's delegation in the past decade, and he represents a heavily-Republican district in CD-5.

If you remove Lamborn and Rep. Diana DeGette from the list (since DeGette's CD-1 is a heavily-Democratic district), you find that Gardner stands alone as the most partisan Member of Colorado's Congressional delegation since at least 2002 (when redistricting awarded Colorado a 7th seat in Congress).

As of now, Republicans appear likely to have both Tancredo and Gardner at the top of the ticket in November. Tancredo is certainly problematic for Republicans, but it may well turn out that Gardner ends up being just as harmful (if not more) as voters continue to learn about his record.

If nothing else, Gardner's heavily-partisan record should allow Sen. Mark Udall ample space to occupy the center leading into November, which is an incredible advantage for Democrats…and, perhaps, a huge roadblock for someone like Tom Tancredo.



Gessler Fights Back, Slams Everybody Else

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

The Colorado Statesman's Ernest Luning follows up in the latest issue last week's big story of endorsements rolling in for Republican gubernatorial primary candidate Bob Beauprez. With Beauprez calling in his many chits, Tom Tancredo standing firm on his built-in base of single issue support, and Mike Kopp fading quickly into irrelevance, Secretary of State Scott Gessler is battling to keep this a three-way race:

Calling Beauprez “a good friend of mine,” Gessler noted that he’s worked for Beauprez’ past campaigns in his capacity as an election-law attorney. (Beauprez represented the 7th Congressional District for two terms before giving up his seat in Congress to run for governor in 2006, when he lost to Democrat Bill Ritter by a wide margin.)

“Bob lost his last bid for Governor by 16 points, even though we won other big races that year,” Gessler wrote in his fundraising email. “That means 16 percent of voters deliberately voted against Bob then voted for every other Republican. We can’t risk that happening again, and especially with the Senate seat up for grabs this cycle that’s not a risk we can afford to take.”

…On Thursday, Gessler widened his attack, calling out both Beauprez and Tancredo for losing in the last two gubernatorial elections.

“Should we go with Bob Beauprez — an establishment politician with a track record of losing big races?” Gessler wrote in an email to supporters. “While he was chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, the GOP lost control of the State Senate for the first time in four decades. Then, in 2006, Beauprez lost the governor’s race by nearly 17 points, one of the worse performances by a statewide GOP candidate in the history of the state!”

“That is until 2010…” Gessler continued. “In 2010, Tom Tancredo cost us the governorship and a U.S. Senate seat. He dropped the ‘R’ next to his name and ran as a third party candidate. After he lost, he re-registered as a Republican. How can we trust a guy like that to lead our state, let alone, our party?”

Gessler has his own very serious baggage, of course, from his fruitless years-long quest for "illegal voters" to last year's Independent Ethics Commission finding that Gessler "breached the public trust for private gain" by using taxpayer funds to offset partisan political travel expenses. The ad fodder Gessler has provided his political opponents since election in 2010 has been truly enormous, even career-ending all by itself–but is Gessler correct that Beauprez's and Tancredo's flaws are worse?

After the nonstop roller-coaster of controversy Gessler has put voters through in the last four years, it's tough to imagine him as the most electable of any field of candidates. But maybe it's time we started grading this race on the curve? A poll follows.


Tom Tancredo Knows What He’s Doing

Dog and Tancredo

Mr. and Mrs. Dog have been Tancredo supporters for years.

As you have read here and elsewhere, a group of Republicans who really don't want to see Tom Tancredo as their Party's nominee for Governor are doing everything they can to try to convince him to exit the race. But the calls, warnings, and threats from Republicans aren't working on Tancredo, who has his own formula for winning a Republican Primary that may just make him the GOP nominee next month.

Tonight Tancredo's campaign is hosting a fundraiser with Dog the Bounty Hunter ("and Beth"), a colorful couple who are longtime supporters of Tancredo. It's easy to make jokes about Tancredo backers such as the "Dog family" and Ted Nugent, but in doing so, it's important to understand that Tancredo knows exactly what he is doing here.

Check out what Tancredo said earlier this week (on the Peter Boyles show) in response to the news that former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was endorsing Republican Bob Beauprez for Governor:

You know, and I told [Beauprez] at the time, ‘Look,’ – because he was saying, ‘You get out of the race. I’ll get in.’ And I said, ‘Bob, I have 7,000 contributors.’ You know what, Peter? It’s now over 10,000 individual contributors to my campaign. [Do] you know what the average is? Sixty-seven dollars. God love these people. I’ll take their endorsement any day over Mitt Romney’s. I’ll tell you that right now.

Tancredo has always had a very dedicated and loyal base behind him, and while it hasn't been enough to propel him to elected office outside of his former Congressional seat, it will surely be formidable in June.

The Tanc has talked before about how a four-way Primary for Governor is not too dissimilar from when he won a close five-way Primary in 1998 for the GOP nomination in CD-6. Forget about the General Election and whether Tancredo can win in November, because what matters first and foremost us getting the Republican nomination — and Tancredo understands that dynamic better than most politicians.

There were just about 410,000 votes cast in the 2010 Primary for U.S. Senate (Ken Buck vs. Jane Norton); Buck won that Primary with 212,000 votes, or about 51% of the GOP vote. But in a four-way Primary, Tancredo needs only a fraction of that total in order to secure the GOP nomination for Governor. That's why Tancredo isn't listening to Republican calls for him to exit the race — he knows the numbers and he knows he can get there. November might be a different story, but that's a different election at a different time for Tancredo.

For all his problems and controversies, Tom Tancredo knows how to win a crowded Republican Primary…and that's why he's still the frontrunner today.


What To Do When Your “Frontrunner” Is Poison? (But You Have No Antidote)

UPDATE: Via Jason Salzman, Tom Tancredo responds on talk radio today:

“You know, and I told [Beauprez] at the time, ‘Look,’ – because he was saying, ‘You get out of the race. I’ll get in.’ And I said, ‘Bob, I have 7,000 contributors.’ You know what, Peter? It’s now over 10,000 individual contributors to my campaign. [Do] you know what the average is? Sixty-seven dollars. God love these people. I’ll take their endorsement any day over Mitt Romney’s. I’ll tell you that right now.”

“And I said, ‘I’m not going to – you can’t expect me to get out of this race, because – just because — why? We had coffee? Just get in!’ I told him. ‘Get in! Run! You might be the guy that knocks us all off of the block and you make it, and God bless you, and if you can beat Hickenlooper, hey, I’m with you, buddy! But I don’t think you can. I don’t think any of these other guys can either. I’m closer to Hickenlooper in the polls than any of them.”

And that's that, folks.


Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports on behalf of institutional Republicans growing nervous about Tom Tancredo's ongoing success in the GOP gubernatorial primary:

Some of the same people who want to recast the Grand Old Party as the Great Opportunity Party — in an effort to attract minorities and young voters — believe Tancredo spells disaster in a year that is supposed to be rough for Democrats. For weeks, behind-the-scene movers and shakers in the Republican Party have tried to talk Tancredo into dropping out of the June 24 gubernatorial primary.

They haven't gotten anywhere.

"If you want a traditional candidate and a traditional campaign you will get the traditional outcome: the Republican loses," Tancredo said. "I'm not a traditional candidate. I pride myself on that."

It's not hard to understand why Republican strategists desperately want Tom Tancredo out of the GOP gubernatorial primary, all the more so every time something happens that suggests he might actually win the nomination. Tancredo's plethora of extreme statements and policy positions from his long career in politics are a severe liability in a statewide election, far more so than Tancredo's built-in base of support can boost him. The problem is that Tancredo's support is much more heavily concentrated in a Republican primary, and Tancredo may well be able to win the primary using the very same issues that poison him, and potentially the entire GOP ticket, in the general election.

At stake: the governorship of Colorado, control of the state Senate where Democrats now have only a one-seat lead and a ferocious battle for the U.S. Senate between Democrat Mark Udall and Republican Cory Gardner.

Tancredo was incredulous that Republicans are holding him responsible for Gardner's fate.

"They're beating the living crap out of Cory right now," Tancredo said of attacks from the left. "I have nothing to do with that." [Pols emphasis]

To be perfectly frank, Tancredo is right that he's not responsible for the withering fire Cory Gardner is taking in the U.S. Senate race. And if the best Republicans hoping to stop Tancredo can field as alternatives are Bob Beauprez and Scott Gessler, who are seriously compromised by endless gaffes and ethical problems respectively…who the hell is there to tell Tancredo what he can and can't do?

Answer, like it or not: maybe no one.

“Multiple Choice Mitt” Endorses “Both Ways Bob”

Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney.

As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, it's a match made in heaven:

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is endorsing Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, FOX31 Denver is first to report.

Romney, who lost the 2012 presidential contest to President Barack Obama, will officially endorse Beauprez in an email that will be sent out later Tuesday morning.

“As a former governor, I can tell you that Bob Beauprez has exactly what Colorado needs to lead,” Romney’s email states. “Bob’s unique combination of passion, drive, conservative values and experience will make him an outstanding governor.”

As the guy who just lost the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney's cachet as an endorser isn't all that great. Romney was famously the GOP "frontrunner" nobody wanted that year, and silly-season contender Rick Santorum in fact won the Colorado caucuses. Romney's reputation as an unapologetic flip-flopper, most prominently as a Republican who reformed health care in Massachusetts in a way that strikingly resembles "Obamacare," left him distrusted by both sides–an effect we're seeing again in Colorado Republicans Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman as they try to sanitize their own records.

If "Both Ways Bob" Beauprez does win the GOP primary, seeing him try to walk back the civil war stuff–or the Shariah law stuff, or the climate change is a hoax stuff, or the "birther" stuff, you get the idea–is going to be most entertaining.

It's not surprising to see Mitt Romney endorse Bob Beauprez in the Colorado GOP gubernatorial primary, since Beauprez served as Romney's chief surrogate in Colorado during the 2012 presidential campaign. With that said, for all of his own prodigious liabilities as a candidate, Beauprez is definitely winning the endorsement race among the Republican establishment at this point–and making as big a splash with them as he can early, in hopes of claiming frontrunner status in the race against Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo.

As for Democrats, we see little for them to do other than smile and pay out the rope as needed.

Brophy Joins Team “Anybody But Gessler”

Greg Brophy.

Greg Brophy.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

State Sen. Greg Brophy, a former gubernatorial hopeful who failed to make the primary ballot at last month’s state GOP assembly, threw his support behind Beauprez during a radio appearance Monday morning.

“I want Republicans to win this November and Bob is the best prepared to win and then govern Colorado back to greatness,” said Brophy, a farmer from Wray who just finished his final legislative session as a state lawmaker.

Brophy is following the lead of Steve House, another former gubernatorial hopeful who is also backing Beauprez.

Beauprez, a former congressman who was the Republican candidate for governor in 2006 when he lost by 17 points to Democrat Bill Ritter, entered this year’s contest at the very last minute in late February, saying that the other gubernatorial candidates weren’t demonstrating enough support to be competitive in the fall.

There seems to be a coordinated push at the moment to coalesce Republicans around failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, or failing that, any candidate other than Secretary of State Scott Gessler. At the GOP state assembly last month, it's widely rumored that both Tom Tancredo and Beauprez, both candidates using the alternative petition process to make the ballot, told their supporters in attendance to back former state Sen. Mike Kopp–with the express purpose of denying Gessler an assembly win. Now that Kopp has basically taken himself out of contention with dismal fundraising, the primary is narrowing down to Gessler, Beauprez, and Tancredo. And of those three, Republican insiders are increasingly signaling that only Beauprez has anything close to a shot at winning in the fall.

For reasons we've been documenting ever since Beauprez decided to run for governor again this year, we don't agree–Beauprez is a walking gaffe machine, who stands to do a great deal of harm to Republicans down the ticket this year if nominated. A poll last month from GOP-aligned Magellan Strategies shows Beauprez losing to Democratic incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper by fifteen points. The only way Beauprez might seem more electable than the other two Republican major candidates is when you consider just how unelectable Tancredo and Gessler honestly are–Tancredo as the world famous anti-immigrant lightning rod, and Gessler as the only candidate running for governor with a documented record of "breaching the public trust for private gain."

Even so, it's clear that the Republicans now falling in line behind Beauprez haven't read all the loony-tunes stuff we've been digging up from Beauprez's time between campaigns–claiming that Preisdent Barack Obama is "pushing" America "toward civil war," the "giant hoax" of climate change, how Sharia law is "creeping in" to Colorado, or how the Obama administration has been "infiltrated" by the Muslim Brotherhood. And let's not forget the "birther" thing.

To be honest, if Republicans are determined to ignore Beauprez's record of disqualifying talk-radio wackiness and nominate him anyway, Democrats should strongly consider letting them.

Statewide Candidates Q1 (2014) Fundraising: Winners, Losers, and Disasters

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

How big is Gov. Hickenlooper’s fundraising lead over Republicans?

Fundraising reports for all Colorado statewide candidates are now available, and as we do every quarter, we break down the numbers in our handy chart and provide some context with Winners, Losers, and (our newest category) Disasters. We took an early look at the numbers as they trickled in late yesterday, but below we break down those fundraising figures in greater detail. Before we do that, however, a few key takeaways from Q1:

Gov. John Hickenlooper has more cash on hand ($1.65 million) than every Republican statewide candidate combined. The sum total for all 7 Republicans still running for statewide office comes to a meager $934,218.

– The Republican frontrunner for Governor, former Congressman Tom Tancredo, refuses to participate in debates and spent more money than he raised for the second straight quarter.

Mike Kopp is cooked. The top vote-getter at the GOP State Convention followed up a weak first quarter as a candidate with very similar numbers in the first quarter of 2014. Just as Dan Maes discovered in 2010, winning top-line through the caucus process does very little to get the attention of Republican donors.

Polling results from late April suggest that Governor John Hickenlooper is pulling away from the Republican field of challengers, and the first fundraising report of 2014 confirms strong momentum for Hick. The Governor now has $1.65 million in the bank, or 5 times as much cash on hand as the entire Republican field; if you add up the cash on hand numbers of the 4 GOP candidates, you get a very unimpressive $319,165.


Don Quick

Democrat Don Quick had a sluggish start to his campaign, spending most of 2013 just trudging around the state with little excitement generated in his wake. But in late 2013, Quick found a new day job that gave him more opportunity to fundraise, and the change has worked. In the last quarter, Quick almost doubled his fundraising total from Q4 2013. With Republican Cynthia Coffman spending most of her warchest in advance of the April 12 Republican Assembly, Quick now has a 4-1 lead in cash on hand. Democrat Betsy Markey also got the strong quarter she needed after a very weak Q4. Markey is never going to be able to compete with Republican Walker Stapleton on the fundraising front, but her $189k in the bank keeps her on track to be competitive in the fall. Stapleton also had another strong quarter — though not by his standards — and his Q1 report doesn't include what should be a sizable haul from a fundraiser with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

And finally, Tom Tancredo deserves a spot in both the Winners and Losers section. Tancredo did not have an impressive Q1 by any definition, but the other three GOP candidates for Governor did nothing to make that an issue; Tancredo doesn't need a lot of cash if his opponents can't fundraise worth a crap, either.

Cynthia Coffman

Will dress funny for campaign money.

For the second quarter in a row, Republican Tom Tancredo spent more money than he raised. This kind of burn rate would be scary were the rest of the GOP field for Governor even halfway competent, but Tancredo still falls into the Loser category for letting a big opportunity slip away. If Tancredo had finished Q1 with stronger cash on hand numbers, he might have cemented the Republican nomination.

Bob Beauprez has barely been a candidate for Governor for two months now, and he paid (literally) for his late entry into the Republican field. Beauprez had only a couple of weeks to gather the requisite signatures required to make the Primary ballot, and the effort was expensive; Beauprez spent some $320k in about 6 weeks, and most of that likely went toward paid signature gatherers. It's also worth noting that Beauprez loaned his campaign $220k, rather than writing a check as a "donation," which indicates that Beauprez may not be willing (or able) to self-fund to a significant degree.

Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman (at right) may not have to worry about a Republican Primary with state Rep. Mark Waller any longer, but she has a lot of ground to make up on Don Quick in the fundraising department. Coffman's nearly year-long campaign against Waller has left her with just $58k in the bank.

Former Sen. Mike Kopp (R).

I’m Mike Kopp, and I approve any message that doesn’t cost too much money.

The entire Republican field for Governor belongs here, but Q1 was only a true disaster for one candidate: Mike Kopp. Even after winning top-line at the GOP State Convention (in a bit of a surprise), and with former U.S. Senators Hank Brown and Bill Armstrong behind his campaign, Kopp just can't raise money. Kopp has the lowest name recognition of the four gubernatorial candidates, which means he needs to raise money at a greater clip than Tancredo, Beauprez, and Gessler. Kopp can't count on the same level of support that he saw at the State Convention — particularly since he didn't have to worry about Tancredo or Beauprez at the time — so he absolutely must have a robust TV ad buy if he hopes to win in June. With less than $34k in the bank, Kopp doesn't have enough time to make that happen.

For the complete breakdown of fundraising numbers for all statewide candidates, check out the chart after the jump.


Hickenlooper Brings In Nearly $1 Million 1/1-4/30

UPDATE: Tom Tancredo checks in feebly:


Approximately to scale.

Approximately to scale.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, "Governor Bartender" is raking in the tips:

Hickenlooper raised $984,564 from 3,952 donors, more than half of whom are new contributors, and more than 90 percent of whom are from Colorado, his campaign reported. More than two-thirds of those who contributed were grassroots donors who gave less than $150.

“We are very humbled to receive this level of support from across the state and remain committed to keeping Colorado’s economy healthy,” Hickenlooper said.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols puts Gov. John Hickenlooper's reported $1.65 million cash on hand in perspective:

Hickenlooper had $889,000 cash on hand by the April 2010 reporting deadline, which was the previous record.

In 2006, Republican Bob Beauprez had $834,000 cash on hand, the second highest figure.

We're awaiting more fundraising numbers due out today–Bob Beauprez is claiming some $443,000 raised on Twitter, but at least $200,000 of that is reportedly self-funded. We'll update as more numbers come in, but we don't expect any of Hickenlooper's opponents to be even remotely close.

Post story exaggerates GOP unity this election cycle

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


I was all set to write a blog post this morning about Scott Gessler saying on the radio that his Republican gubernatorial opponents are all losers, including Mike Kopp who, Gessler said, presided over the Republicans' disastrous legislative-election collapse in 2010. Gessler told KNUS talk-radio host Jimmy Sengenberger a couple weeks ago:

“If you want to have the same results that we’ve had in the past, just do the same thing… I’ve won a state-wide election. You know, Tom Tancredo is a good man, he has not won one. Bob Beauprez is a good man, he has not won one. Mike Kopp is a good man. When he ran the state Senate Majority Fund, which was the 527 to support senators in 2010, we didn’t win any of the competitive races then either. I think we need to stop looking to the past and looking instead to the future.”

But then I saw Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels' article about all the "unity" among Colorado Republicans this election cycle. Bartels reported:

Although there's a four-way race this year for the GOP nomination for governor, [GOP State Chair Ryan] Call & Co. so far have done an effective job cajoling the candidates to aim their potshots at Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and not each other.


AFP Colorado Deletes Twitter History, Bundy Defense

Last week 9News held a debate between Republican gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp (GOP frontrunner Tom Tancredo did not participate and continues to refuse any debate invitations). As we noted in this space, the candidates were asked about Cliven Bundy, the openly-racist Nevada rancher who has rallied armed supporters to back his refusal to recognize the federal government — primarily in order to avoid paying some 20 years worth of grazing rights fees — and all of the candidates came off as more or less supportive of Bundy. As Mike Littwin wrote for the Colorado Independent:

In summary, these people who want to be your governor seemed entirely unconcerned about someone bringing in his militia buddies to fight off the feds, whom he says he doesn't recognize as legitimate.

Why would Colorado Republican candidates even consider being supportive of Bundy? Because many right-wing Republicans and their Tea Party brethren apparently considered it some sort of conservative loyalty test, which is important for any candidate hoping to win a GOP Primary. Note that we wrote "considered," because even the most right-wing of right-wing groups would seem to have had a change of heart.

Consider this tweet from Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Colorado, the local version of the national group created and funded by the Koch Brothers. The image below is a tweet sent by AFP Colorado on April 19th in an effort to get more Republicans to join Sen. Rand Paul in supporting Bundy; as you can see, AFPColorado calls out Republicans as "wimps" for not following Paul's lead.


We've included the image here because AFP Colorado has since deleted this tweet. In fact, AFP Colorado has erased its entire Twitter history for most of the last two months, as you can see below (or on its Twitter page). At the time of this post, AFP Colorado's Twitter account shows only one tweet since February 20th — and no mention of the April 19th message above. The AFP Colorado account is far from inactive, having sent out 9 different tweets just today, so this was clearly an intentional scrubbing.

Americans for Prosperity had a tough week in Colorado last week, being forced to re-edit an anti-Obamacare, anti-Sen. Mark Udall ad just a few days after its planned Obamacare press conference imploded under the weight of a dubious key speaker. The scrubbing of its Twitter account is another very public sign that all is not well in Tea Party land.


Video: GOP Gubernatorial Candidates on Cliven Bundy

FRIDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Independent's Mike Littwin:

Each took the question. Each took a shot at Harry Reid. And each chose not to mention the race issue. Yeah, I was puzzled, too. Had they missed the news? Do they believe the ugly stereotype about Republicans and race? Did they really think that this was the time to get on the Bundy bandwagon? Didn’t any of them call Hannity for advice?

…In summary, these people who want to be your governor seemed entirely unconcerned about someone bringing in his militia buddies to fight off the feds, whom he says he doesn’t recognize as legitimate.

Or if they were concerned about it, they forgot to mention it. It could be that they were just preoccupied with making sure not to mention, under any circumstances, that their pal was a racist crank.


A revealing video clip from Thursday's 9NEWS gubernatorial debate hosted by reporters Kyle Clark and Brandon Rittiman. In the clip above, Clark asks GOP gubernatorial candidates Bob Beauprez, Mike Kopp, and Scott Gessler what they think of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's dispute with the federal government. Mr. Bundy has been a cause celebre among conservatives since a standoff between BLM agents and armed militia in support of Bundy early this month. Remarks by Bundy about African-Americans and the desirability of slavery last weekend, however, have given many of his supporters pause.

But it doesn't look like our GOP gubernatorial candidates are very perturbed by that stuff:

KYLE CLARK: I'm curious what you all make of the land dispute in Nevada, between the rancher Cliven Bundy and the and the federal government. Senator Dean Heller from Nevada says that Mr. Bundy's supporters are "patriots," whereas Senate Minority Leader, uh Majority Leader, rather, Harry Reid calls them "domestic terrorists." What do you think, Mr. Beauprez?

BOB BEAUPREZ: It's pretty outrageous to call any American citizen a "domestic terrorist" unless they've committed a terrorist act, and I don't think Mr. Bundy has. He certainly is, uh, my guess is not without fault, but this is another issue that's very personal to me, because we've now got a ranch up in our own mountains. And I've been asked specifically, do you think this kind of thing could happen in Colorado, and unfortunately my answer is yes, because I think government has gone completely mad. That's the issue here. The excesses of government in trying to resolve a dispute with a, with a rancher who's been there for generations, for heaven's sakes, do we need to bring in helicopters, and SWAT teams, and it, it looks, it looks like martial law has broken out. There's got to be a more common sense way to resolve this dispute. I am very concerned about the overreach, not only in that case, but there's numerous other cases, of federal power on private citizens, and that's something I think a governor needs to stand up and push back on, and even though he's a Republican, I've been curious to see how quiet Mr. Sandoval seems to be in Nevada.

CLARK: An early statement of support and then not much past that. Again, Senator Heller calls them "patriots," Senator Reid calls them "domestic terrorists." What do you think of Mr. Bundy and his supporters?

MIKE KOPP: Well, first of all, I think Harry Reid is rarely right, and this is no exception to that rule. Um, the fact of the matter is the federal government has dramatically overreached. You know we have like seventy agencies in the federal government that have armed police officers. Seventy. I'm not sure why the federal government needs to have that kind of armed force, um, against its own citizens. If I were governor there, the thing I would be interested in doing would be part of a broader policy that I would be interested in enacting, and that is, putting myself between the citizens of the state and the federal government to advocate for the citizens, for the freedoms of the people, of my state. In this particular case, you know you have somebody who should have paid their permitting fees, but you also have a federal government who has just gone incredibly overboard in the matter. There's no question about that. And I think most people look at that, probably, with the same degree of skepticism about their actions.

CLARK: Mr. Gessler, what do you make of Mr. Bundy and his supporters?

SCOTT GESSLER: Well, let me first address Harry Reid. That, uh, that man never misses an opportunity to insult his political opponents whenever he can. And that's not the way to go about things. The fact is, I think the government, federal government overreached here and overreacted. You know when I started my career as a federal prosecutor, one of the things I learned is that governmental power should be restrained. It should be limited. It should be treated with care. Because it's a dangerous thing. And we do have a Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies, where the first thing they're looking to do is to, is to hammer people, instead of work with them to find ways to find solutions. Um, Mr. Bundy I think has his own problems, but no one should have treated him the way he was treated. I think that what we need to do is, you know, be prepared to speak out against the federal government when it oversteps its bounds, and recognize that most people want to do the right thing most of the time. And a government should respect that, and find a way to work with them.

CLARK: Thank you, Mr. Gessler.

Whatever you might think about Bundy's dispute over grazing rights on federal land, don't you think one of our GOP gubernatorial contenders could have acknowledged that his extreme throwback racist worldview isn't very defensible? Were they counting on absent Tom Tancredo to do that?

Yes, folks, that last part was sarcasm.

Media omission: Gessler says only he has the “guts” to fight rampant corruption in CO government

(Uh-huh – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

During a radio interview Saturday, Secretary of State Scott Gessler framed his gubernatorial campaign as a battle to save Colorado from the rot of corruption, saying our "state government is corrupt," and he's the only candidate who's had "the guts to stand up and say, 'No more.'"

"I’ve had the guts to stand up and say, 'I’m not going to tolerate this; I’m going to fight back,'" Gessler told KNUS radio-host Jimmy Sengenberger, citing his clashes with Democrats over his budget and ethics issues. "And no one else wants to because they’re afraid. They’re afraid that if a Republican gets criticized they can no longer win elections. And let me ask you, Jimmy, how has that worked out for us over the last ten years?"

"We are a party that needs to be bold," replied Sengenberger, whose show airs Saturdays 5 – 8 p.m. on KNUS. "I agree with you there–"

"I am the only guy who’s being bold on this stuff and what happens?" Gessler continued. "We have these fearful, weak-kneed, timid Republicans who are more interested in scoring political points against me than standing up for principle and saying, 'You know what? We have corruption in this state.'"

"Republicans need to stand up and understand that we have a corrupt state government. They shouldn’t buy into the corruption," he said.

During the interview, Gessler criticized members of the Independent Ethics Commission and called it "corrupt."

In June, the Independent Ethics Commission ruled that Gessler violated the public trust by using public money to attend a Republican political event. On the radio, Gessler was incensed by this decision as well as the Commission's dismissal last month of a complaint against Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gessler said at one point, referring to the Commission, "Let me tell you, Jimmy, this is a corrupt, corrupt government. And I will say ‘corrupt’ again."

Comparing the corruption he says he saw as a young man in Bosnia and Chicago to what he sees in Colorado today, Gessler said, "Where people no longer respect the law, we lose the foundation of our western civilization here. And we’re facing that in Colorado."


It’s Official: Hickenlooper Pulling Away From GOP “Clown Car”

His opponents are the ones dropping like a rock.

His opponents are the ones dropping like a rock.

Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post is first to write up today:

Gov. John Hickenlooper beats all four Republican rivals in a new poll that shows he's favored by women voters and has a slight advantage with crucial unaffiliated voters.

Of the four GOP candidates on the primary ballot, former Congressman Tom Tancredo presents the stiffest challenge to Hickenlooper, but loses to the Democratic governor by 7 percentage points, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning.

Since Quinnipiac began polling Colorado voters in June 2013, Hickenlooper's favorability ratings have increased from 45 percent to 51 percent, while his unfavorability ratings have decreased from 42 percent to 37 percent.

Quinnipiac's release on today's poll of the Colorado gubernatorial race underscores how women voters–more to the point, ongoing GOP alienation of women voters–gives incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper a growing advantage over any potential Republican opponent.

Hickenlooper's leads over possible Republican contenders are:

47 – 40 percent, over former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo. Men back Tancredo 47 – 42 percent while women go to Hickenlooper 53 – 34 percent. Independent voters go Democratic 44 – 39 percent.

48 – 38 percent over Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Men back Gessler by a slim 44 – 41 percent margin while women back Hickenlooper 55 – 32 percent. Independent voters go Democratic 43 – 36 percent.

48 – 39 percent over former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, with men to Beauprez 46 – 41 percent and women for Hickenlooper 55 – 33 percent. Independent voters go Democratic 45 – 36 percent.

47 – 38 percent over former State Sen. Mike Kopp, with men for Kopp 44 – 40 percent and women for Hickenlooper 54 – 32 percent. Independent voters go Democratic 44 – 36 percent.

"Strong support from women and an edge among independent voters give Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper a solid foothold in his reelection effort," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. 

Looking beyond the gubernatorial race, it's certainly not all good news for Democrats in today's Q-poll: the same poll that gives Hickenlooper a decisive edge over his opponents demonstrates ongoing confusion among voters over the gun safety legislation passed by Democrats in 2013. 56% of respondents still oppose "the state's stricter new gun control laws," even while they support universal background checks for gun purchases–one of those very same laws–by an overwhelming 85%. Only 34% of respondents say the General Assembly is doing a good job. Note that the question isn't qualified by partisanship, but it's a Democratic majority in both chambers.

Bottom line: it doesn't surprise us to see Hickenlooper pulling away from a pack of undistinguished GOP candidates, who are in many ways more liabilities to their party than assets. Assuming that trajectory continues, Democrats can start looking at ways to trickle Hickenlooper's strength down the ticket–where it's very much needed.