Search Results for: lebsock

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 15)

Koningsfeest is a fun word to say. 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…

► Senate Republicans have decided to push ahead with legislation to cut taxes for rich people that also now includes a repeal of the individual mandate connected to Obamacare. As the Washington Post reports, this kitchen sink tax bill is a big gamble:

Congressional Republicans are reaching for a booby-trapped bag of cash as they scramble to try to pay for their tax overhaul. 

House and Senate Republicans are moving to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate — a surprise turn that would yield more than $300 billion in much-needed revenue even as it revives the toxic politics of the GOP’s summertime drive to gut the landmark law.

Senate GOP tax writers incorporated the high-stakes maneuver into the latest version of their plan (see full text here), released late Tuesday night. They applied the new revenue to making permanent the deeply-slashed 20 percent corporate rate at the heart of the tax plan; doubling the child tax credit to $2,000; and expanding access to a deduction for pass-through businesses. But the updated bill sunsets individual rate cuts at the end of 2025 to help the package comply with strict budget rules — a move that Democrats seized on to blast the GOP for prioritizing corporate interests over working people. 

The Post notes that House Republicans are not nearly as excited about the idea of trying to repeal the individual mandate within a tax reform bill that has already been taking on water for weeks. Earlier this month Republicans were hammered for trying to insert “Personhood” language into the tax bill as well. Chris Cillizza of CNN writes that Republicans are risking the entire 2018 election on this new maneuver.

 

► “Tax reform” legislation in the House of Representatives remains on track to potentially get a floor vote as soon as Thursday, which could theoretically allow the House and Senate enough time to reconcile both versions before the end of the year. From CNBC:

The GOP aims to pass a plan to chop tax rates for businesses and individuals by the end of the year to fulfill a key campaign promise. Lawmakers argue that changing the tax code will spark economic growth and boost job creation and wages.

This week, the Senate is marking up, or debating and amending, its version. The chamber wants to approve the bill after Thanksgiving.

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday described the current plans as a “work in progress.” He said he expects the two chambers to pass separate legislation before going to a conference committee to craft a joint plan.

In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, McCarthy contended that the House and Senate can quickly reconcile the differences and get a final bill to Trump’s desk by the end of the year.

President Trump is expected to visit Capitol Hill on Thursday to drum up support for cutting taxes for rich people.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has an idea for a real reform to the tax code that makes a lot of sense and therefore probably has no chance of succeeding.

 

► Just when you thought the saga of Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore couldn’t get any weirder…it does. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is now suggesting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could be a Republican write-in candidate in next month’s special election in Alabama. Of course, the entire reason that this special election is even taking place is because Sessions left his Senate office earlier this year to become Attorney General.

Moore continues to resist pressure to withdraw from the race, and Sessions has given no public indication that he would want to return to his old job. There’s a word for what’s happening in Alabama right now (hint: it rhymes with “Blusterfuck”).

Also, Colorado Republicans have a lot of explaining to do about embracing Moore during a visit to Denver last Spring.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Wait, You Can Do That? Harassment Tax Break Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

KDVR FOX 31 Denver reports on a proposal from a Colorado Republican for which we think there ought to be unanimous support, in light of headlines coast to coast and flyover states too–but for one little problem:

Whether it be Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, Roy Moore or Steve Lebsock, the topic is dominating Colorado airwaves.

Now Congressman Ken Buck says it’s time to end the practice of businesses being able to deduct harassment settlements from their taxes.

“Right now a business can write that off as an ordinary and necessary business expense which is wrong,” Buck told FOX31 political reporter Joe St. George.

The idea that a corporation can build harassment settlements into the cost of doing business to the extent that they can get a tax break for them might come as a rude shock to many readers, and we of course have no idea when this particular provision may have been inserted into the tax code.

We assume plenty of dudes through the years found it useful. It’s good to see that time may finally be past.

With that said, there is a problem in the case of Rep. Ken Buck’s proposal with implementation:

Buck has written a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee chairman asking for language to be included in the latest tax reform debate on Capitol Hill.

That’s right–unfortunately, this no-brainer of a tax deduction to repeal is going to get bundled with a whole bunch of other and in many cases stupid alterations to the tax code, an elusive “pay-for” in the GOP’s budget-busting tax cut plan that–while we certainly wouldn’t mind seeing this particular pay-for enacted–isn’t worth the widespread harm certain to ensue when the hole these cuts create has to be filled. As a general guide, that is usually right after the opposing party retakes power.

If Buck keeps this idea alive in the entirely possible event the tax bill tanks, or fails to include this provision at all, we’ll circle back to thank him.

As of now, we’d rather see a “clean” harassment tax break repeal.

Dear Everyone: Don’t Outrun Sexual Assault Allegations

UPDATE: State Rep. Steve Lebsock unintentionally backs up our point:

—–

Hold on. Back up. Slow down.

A story about sexual harassment in the State Capitol that broke last week is quickly turning into a weird media free-for-all with desperate attempts to advance the story to another stage without fully embracing or unpacking the fundamental issue at stake: There is a cultural and institutional problem of sexual harassment at the state legislature.

This is not a partisan problem, and it is not a new problem. For too long, the atmosphere around the state legislature has been reminiscent of a high school field trip with little accountability or even understanding of the inappropriate behavior that takes place in quiet corners. Reporter Bente Birkeland of KUNC first broke the story on Friday of harassment allegations against state Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat who is also running for State Treasurer. Much of the media focus since that story has been about Lebsock and his most-visible accuser, state Rep. Faith Winter, and on Monday the coverage started to veer into a “cover-up” story suggesting that House Speaker Cristana Duran should resign from the legislature for not doing more to address sexual assault claims in 2016.

There will be plenty of time to address Duran’s responses to these allegations and the subsequent political fallout, but it’s critical that we don’t veer off topic from the broader issue at stake. As Birkeland wrote on Friday, this story does not start and stop with allegations about one legislator:

Beyond Rep. Steve Lebsock, there are other complaints about a handful of male senators touching women’s lower backs, giving lingering hugs, making uncomfortable and unwanted comments about appearances, massaging necks, telling off-color jokes of a sexual nature and showing pornographic pictures.

Several female lobbyists said they try to avoid being alone with certain senators and go to offices in pairs or ask a male colleague to talk to them instead. None were willing to be named for this story, saying they feared going public would hurt their work at the legislature.

Another said, “It’s a well known fact across the building that people like Rep. Lebsock and a number of Senate Republicans have all behaved in a way that would never be accepted in any other conventional workplace. It crosses party lines and has been happening for generations.” [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton)

This story is nowhere close to even contemplating a conclusion. According to Birkeland’s reporting, numerous other lawmakers from both parties appear likely to be accused of sexual harassment encompassing several years.

Let’s repeat that one more time: According to Birkeland’s reporting, numerous other lawmakers from both parties appear likely to be accused of sexual harassment encompassing several years.

As we all wait for more information about this developing story, the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA) issued a powerful statement today calling on the media to consider the chilling effect it can have on other victims who may otherwise be prepared to come forward with their own experiences:

Sexual violence is a complicated topic to understand and crimes of sexual violence, including sexual harassment, are among the most underreported crimes in our society. Compounding the problem is that media coverage of these crimes often perpetuates stereotypes and myths, rather than providing well-written, fact-based stories. Covering sexual violence requires context — an understanding of who perpetrates these crimes, who is affected, and how sexual violence can be prevented. When the media chooses to criticize the actions of survivors and bystanders instead of focusing on the choices of perpetrators, journalists stand in the way of meaningful cultural change necessary to support survivors, hold offenders accountable, and create safer communities. [Pols emphasis]

SURVIVORS’ CHOICE MATTERS. Disregard for individuals’ choices and autonomy is at the core of sexual violence perpetration, including sexual harassment. Disregard for survivors’ choice to report, or not to report, is a shade of the same color. In a perfect world, survivors would be able to report without fearing personal and professional consequences. However, this is not a perfect world, and we know that many survivors face safety concerns, financial obstacles, custody battles, and social ostracism, amongst other considerations when reporting. Furthermore, we know that victims of workplace sexual harassment fear repercussions that make it difficult to continue at the workplace, such as lowered reputation, questioning of credibility and competency, reassignment, and even loss of their job. All this to say that reporting is a significant decision for a survivor with significant consequences to consider.

The CCASA statement goes on to say that calling for Speaker Duran’s resignation at this point “sends a dangerous message: victim choice does not matter, and the consequences that may affect the victim are not important.”

This story first broke because Rep. Winter had the courage to come forward about her experiences. Before everyone runs off in a different direction, perhaps we should come back to Winter herself:


Look, none of this is to say that Speaker Duran is free of guilt in this situation, but we’re just not there yet. Both Democratic and Republican leaders are calling for added protections against sexual harassment in the legislature, which is an important first step in solving this problem instead of just looking for someone to take out back and shoot.

It seems likely that more names are going to come out regarding a culture of harassment at the State Capitol, and it is critical that survivors of sexual assault are not discouraged from coming forward because of knee-jerk reactions from media outlets and other observers.

What you can do to fight back this week (November 13)

Last week, shocking allegations of widespread sexual harassment in the Colorado state capitol broke. One lawmaker, Rep. Steve Lebsock, has been asked to resign by House leadership (and ProgressNow Colorado), and more elected officials could be implicated soon.

It’s not about politics. No woman should feel unsafe in our state’s capitol, and no woman should fear retribution or negative political repercussions for coming forward to call out abuse. Whether it’s the President of the United States or a construction worker on the street, sexual harassment of women in our society must stop. Men in positions of power must stop using their status to subject women to degrading behavior and avoid accountability for their actions.

From raising awareness of the right of women to live lives free of harassment and abuse to protecting access to contraception in the face of demeaning far-right attacks, the past year has been a story of both struggle and hope for the future. Even though the threat to these basic rights is more real now than perhaps ever before, the resistance in all its forms—brave women standing up to oppressive men, and the whole country standing up to Trump’s regressive agenda—gives us real hope that progress will come. We can do better. And we must.

This Wednesday, join us in defense of contraceptive rights. Donald Trump and Mike Pence demonstrated their disregard for and disrespect of women’s rights by rolling back birth control coverage under the guise of religious liberty. Last month, Coloradans protested Mike Pence’s fundraiser in Denver because of his backward views on reproductive rights. Let’s again make sure they know where Colorado stands. There will be sister rallies that will take place in Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, and Washington, DC.

Where: 1961 Stout St, Denver
When: Wednesday, November 15 at 10:30am

Click here to RSVP.

And here are more ways to take action for the week of November 13:


A Very Special Tuesday With Coffman – Say No To Trump’s Tax Scam

Come join us for a very special Tuesday at Congressman Mike Coffman’s Aurora office while we ask him to resist the #TrumpTaxScam. Inspired by other demonstrations, we will be graced by the presence of the “Monopoly Man” and the “Koch Brothers,” and will deliver a giant payout check to the office to demonstrate how far away the GOP is in terms of prioritizing what matters to Americans – healthcare investment, student loan deductions, and other vital middle class protections.

Where: 3300 S Parker Rd, Aurora
When: Tuesday, November 14 at 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


It’s not just the South Part 2: Denver and the KKK

This is our second “It’s Not Just the South” program, and there’s no more apt description for a discussion of the Ku Klux Klan and Colorado. Largely thought of as a Southern movement, the Klan in fact controlled Denver politics for a number of years in the 1920s.

Where: The Denver Press Club, 1330 Glenarm Pl, Denver
When: Tuesday, November 14 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Governor’s Town Hall-Pueblo, Colorado

Please join Gov. John Hickenlooper and Lt. Gov Donna Lynne for our Pueblo Town Hall at the Union Depot, November 14th at 6:00 p.m. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Where: Union Depot, 132 W. “B” Street, Pueblo
When: Tuesday, November 14 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Out Boulder County: Major! A Documentary Screening

Join Out Boulder County for a screening of MAJOR! to kick off Transgender Awareness Week 2017! Get your tickets early, this event will sell out. A panel of local transgender leaders in the Boulder County community will follow the screening. MAJOR! explores the life and campaigns of Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, a formerly incarcerated black transgender elder and activist who has been fighting for the rights of trans women of color for over 40 years.

Where: Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut St, Boulder
When: Tuesday, November 14 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


One Colorado: Webinar: Working with and Supporting Transgender Students

This webinar will provide attendees an overview of gender, the experiences of transgender students in Colorado, and things peers, parents, and educators can do to make our schools and communities safe and welcoming for transgender young people.

Where: Webinar
When: Wednesday, November 15 at 3:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado5050: Winning With Women

When women run for office, they win just as often as men win. So why aren’t there more women in office? Because they don’t run. We are going to demystify the process of running by holding an event that will feature a panel discussion of elected women officials along with a networking session. In the panel discussion, we will hear how women decided to run and what their experiences were both on the campaign trail and in office. After the panel discussion, we plan to move into an intentional networking session – like speed networking.

Where: All Saints Episcopal Church, 3448 N. Taft Ave., Loveland
When: Wednesday, November 15 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Out Boulder County: Sharing Transgender Stories/ Compartiendo historias transgénero

Come to OBC on Main on November 15 from 7 to 9 to listen to an amazing panel of transgender community members. They will share stories that many of you have never heard before and at the end of presentations there will be opportunities to ask questions. Be prepared to be enlightened and to leave the evening with information that will make you a better ally.

Where: OBC on Main, 630 Main Street, Longmont
When: Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Conservation Colorado: Moments that Define Us: Stories of Our Public Lands

Please join Conservation Colorado, REI, and Colorado Mesa University’s Outdoor Program for an exciting evening of public lands inspired storytelling! The event will feature unique voices from within the Grand Valley and their stories of self discovery, adventure, and inspiration on our public lands. Stories will range from humorous to thought provoking, and they will help us to celebrate and better understand the incredible value of the public lands in our own backyard. This is a great opportunity to learn more about our public lands, the many ways we benefit from them, and the common values we share because of them.

Where: Colorado Mesa University Dominguez Hall Room 110, Grand Junction
When: Wednesday, November 15 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Transgender Day of Remembrance

Join us for a time of honoring, recognition, and remembrance. There will be refreshments, speakers, a candlelight vigil, and community.

Where: CSU Pride Resource Center, Lory Student Center 232, Fort Collins
When: Thursday, November 16 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Pueblo Ready for 100%: From The Ashes Documentary

Come watch a documentary that educates on the devastating effects of coal, and what we can do to create a clean energy future instead!

Where: Rawlings Public Library, 100 E Abriendo Ave, Pueblo
When: Thursday, November 16 at 6:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


Professionals of Color Networking Event

This brand new networking event is for Professionals of Color in the Denver Metro area who are seeking to expand relationships and connections. We believe that the most robust and vibrant connections are made when genuine relationship is the foundation; here, we seek to provide the environment to make those relationships.

Where: Coffee at The Point, 710 E 26th Ave, Denver
When: Friday, November 17 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Out Boulder County: Legal Name Change Workshop

Changing your name can seem like a daunting process but it is easier than you think. We will have experts on hand to walk you through the process and answer questions- plus you get to hang out with a bunch of other super cool trans folk.

Where: First United Methodist Church of Boulder, 1421 Spruce St, Boulder
When: Saturday, November 18 at 3:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Warm Cookies of the Revolution: Boogie Down family dance party with The Reminders!

BOOGIE DOWN with the whole fam-dam-ily. Rock out with us this Sunday morning to Colorado’s own hip-hop superstars, THE REMINDERS! This program is for everyone: come on date, bring your mother, kids aged 0-99, come all by yourself, bring your book club, just make sure to come ready to dance and have fun.

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Sunday, November 19 at 11:00am

Click here to RSVP.


Remember to watch your inbox for breaking news alerts! We’ll be back after Thanksgiving to keep the resistance going. Thanks as always for everything you’re doing to fight back.

Colorado Week in Review: 11/10/17

BREAKING: Sexual Misconduct Scandal In Colorado’s Capitol

SUNDAY UPDATE: Via the Denver Post’s Danika Worthington:

“I have come to realize that it does not matter that, at the time, I may have perceived my words as playful,” he wrote. “It does not matter that, at the time, I may have felt that we were flirting. It does not matter that, at the time, I may have felt what I said was OK. It does not matter that I may not remember the exact words which were hurtful. It does not matter that, at the time, I thought we were joking.”

“The only thing that matters is how I made these three women feel,” he continued. “I am sorry.”

Later in the day, the women — Winter, former lobbyist Holly Tarry and former legislative aide Cassie Tanner — released a joint statement to The Post that said, while they appreciate Lebsock’s new apology, they believe he has still not taken full responsibility for his actions.

—–

Rep. Steve Lebsock (D).

KUNC’s Bente Birkeland breaks a story today that could very well mean the end of one Democratic state lawmaker’s career–and rips the scab off a widespread problem that has been long-whispered of in the halls of the Colorado state capitol building, coming to light only now as the cultural upheaval over the treatment of women by men in positions of power goes on throughout our nation.

Let us begin with one unequivocal declaration: of zero tolerance.

Nine legislators, staffers and lobbyists are alleging that Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Democrat running for state treasurer, harassed, intimidated or made unwanted sexual advances against them. And in response to our reporting, a top Democratic leader is calling on Lebsock to “do the right thing and resign.”

Rep. Faith Winter said Lebsock tried to get her to leave a bar with him in 2016. Both were attending a party to celebrate the end of the legislative session. Lawmakers, lobbyists, staff, the governor and members of the media attended the event a few blocks from the Capitol Building…

Winter, a Democrat, said she repeatedly refused Lebsock’s advances, but he wouldn’t stop and instead got angrier and more aggressive. She said he was standing over her and grabbing her elbow and she didn’t feel safe.

Many others in the Capitol are corroborating Rep. Faith Winter’s story of repeated harassment from Rep. Steve Lebsock, who is now a candidate for state treasurer. And apparently it wasn’t just Rep. Winter, with at least one lobbyist describing inappropriate behavior on Rep. Lebsock’s part toward herself personally. The story also refers to but does not describe still another more recent incident.

Colorado Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran is calling for Rep. Lebsock’s resignation following the publication of these allegations today, as the Denver Post’s John Frank reports today:

The statement issued Friday by Duran, a Democrat, read: “I would expect that Representative Lebsock would consider the impact of his actions on his colleagues and the public confidence in our institution, and do the right thing and resign. There is no place for those types of actions at the legislature.”

And despite the feigning of ignorance about the story from Rep. Lebsock when confronted by Bente Birkeland, we do expect that he will be taking her advice very soon. This is not a politically survivable situation. But as Birkeland’s story continues, Lebsock is not likely to be the last to face hard questions for his conduct under the Gold Dome:

Beyond Rep. Steve Lebsock, there are other complaints about a handful of male senators touching women’s lower backs, giving lingering hugs, making uncomfortable and unwanted comments about appearances, massaging necks, telling off-color jokes of a sexual nature and showing pornographic pictures.

Several female lobbyists said they try to avoid being alone with certain senators and go to offices in pairs or ask a male colleague to talk to them instead. None were willing to be named for this story, saying they feared going public would hurt their work at the legislature.

Another said, “It’s a well known fact across the building that people like Rep. Lebsock and a number of Senate Republicans have all behaved in a way that would never be accepted in any other conventional workplace. It crosses party lines and has been happening for generations.” [Pols emphasis]

We of course have our suspicions about which Senate Republicans may be the type to commit sexual harassment in their workplace, but we’ll wait for that to come out through the many responsible channels now hard at work uncovering what appears to be a most distasteful culture of misconduct fostered by some of that chamber’s members. This isn’t the first time a case of sexual misconduct has rocked the Colorado General Assembly–in 2008, Rep. Michel Garcia was swiftly forced to resign after exposing himself to a lobbyist at a social function.

But what we’re talking about here is much more pervasive than anything that has been previously disclosed. We don’t have any way of knowing how many legislators may ultimately be implicated, or what the partisan breakdown of offending lawmakers might be.

What we will say is that sexual harassment in the workplace is never, ever acceptable, no matter what your politics are. To the extent this is a cultural problem in the Colorado General Assembly as it is everywhere, the time for allowing it to go on unreported and unpunished is over. Our society is becoming aware on a massive scale of something terrible that has been allowed to persist even as women fought for and won their rights to equality and dignity. From Harvey Weinstein to Steve Lebsock, it must stop.

It must stop. Every man who has ever treated a woman this way must stop.

It will never be okay again.

Rep. Dave Young Runs For Colorado Treasurer

Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley).

A press release today announces that Rep. Dave Young of Greeley, an experienced fiscal policy legislator and member of the powerful Joint Budget Committee, is throwing his hat in the ring for Colorado Treasurer in 2018 as term-limited Walker Stapleton moves on:

“As a Greeley resident and teacher, I know the challenges Colorado families face. The state is growing rapidly. But not everyone is sharing in our state’s prosperity. Places like Greeley and rural Colorado where I come from continue to struggle. I am running for treasurer because I believe we need to put Colorado on better financial footing, where prosperity from our growth is shared,” said Young. “As just about anyone can tell you, teaching 13-year-olds and 14-year-olds requires patience, commonsense and fairness. And teaching requires you to listen, too. Those are the values I will bring to the job of getting Colorado on the right track.”

After 24 years in the classroom, another 10 spent as a professor, and 4 in the private sector, Dave was elected to the Colorado State House in 2012 after filling a vacancy in 2011 left by Rep. Jim Riesberg. While serving Greeley in the legislature, Dave has brought common sense solutions, supported Veterans, lowered health care costs, and improved Colorado’s schools.

Dave has been a member of the Joint Budget Committee since 2015. A bi-partisan budget solver, Dave has been a key architect in balancing the state’s $29 billion budget, and helped to navigate multiple fiscal crises. On the state’s budget committee, Dave has championed greater transparency and accountability in Colorado’s budgeting process, and fought against right-wing attacks to gut Colorado’s pension system, PERA, which some 560,000 Coloradans count on for their retirement.

“We cannot treat Colorado’s investments like a casino where rich investors gamble our money. As Colorado’s chief financial officer, I will focus on making investments that support Main streets and middle-class families across Colorado,” Dave continued. “I will get back to basics by eliminating risky and costly investments, ensuring our tax dollars are invested wisely, and protecting the pension system so many Coloradans depend on. I believe Coloradans deserve absolute transparency when it comes to how we are spending their tax dollars, and to know that those dollars are being spent for the benefit of them and their families.”

We do expect that Rep. Young will be the candidate to beat in the Democratic primary for Treasurer, if he doesn’t clear the field outright. Young has exactly the kind of high-competency low-gaffe record Democrats need to run for this office, which like most constitutional offices in Colorado below the governor have proven frustrating for Democrats to win even as they’ve enjoyed success in the legislature that at the top of the ticket. Young’s most significant opponent in the Democratic primary to have gotten in the race, Rep. Steve Lebsock, hasn’t really mounted what you’d call a serious effort.

Can Dave Young buck the Democratic trend of struggling in this important but consistently underreported race? We’d say he’s got a real shot.

Losers and Winners from Q3 Fundraising Period

We’re starting this Q3 review with the “Losers” side of the aisle, because the biggest news from the fundraising cycle is George Brauchler’s financial faceplant. Let’s get to it…

LOSERS

George Brauchler

George Brauchler
Once thought to be among the top Republican gubernatorial candidates in 2018, Brauchler’s stunning inability to fundraise will make it difficult for the Arapahoe County District Attorney to fund even a basic Primary campaign at this point. Brauchler raised $190,696 in his first quarter as a candidate, which is a pretty measly sum considering all of the low-hanging fruit that should be available to pluck, but he barely raised half of that amount in Q3.

It’s difficult to imagine that Team Brauchler could have envisioned a worse scenario than the $98,846 in contributions that his campaign reported. To put this number in perspective, consider that Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton pulled down more than $69,000 in just the first two weeks of October, as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman. For some historical perspective, consider that over the same period in 2013, former Republican legislator Greg Brophy (ironically now a Brauchler supporter) raised about $93k in his bid for governor; Brophy went through the caucus process six months later and failed to even make it onto the ballot.

 

Joe Salazar
Salazar all but ended any chance of winning the 2018 Democratic nomination for Attorney General by raising just $20,152 in Q3. The Adams County legislator announced his long-rumored campaign for AG back in March; seven months later, his cash-on-hand total sits at less than $13k. Salazar was outraised more than 3-to-1 by Democratic candidate Amy Padden, who just entered the race in July and is virtually unknown in Democratic political circles. Salazar didn’t need to be the top fundraiser in the field because he theoretically has more of a grassroots base than the other Democratic AG candidates, but you simply cannot run a functional statewide campaign with so little money.

 

Steve Lebsock
State Rep. Steve Lebsock is the only Democratic candidate for State Treasurer in 2018, but probably not for long. Lebsock raised $12,360 in Q3. The only reason Lebsock reports having $12,715 in the bank is because he also claims $15,210 in non-monetary contributions.

 

Rep. Doug Lamborn

Republican Candidates in CD-5 (Colorado Springs)
Incumbent Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is once again facing a Primary challenge in 2018, with state Sen. Owen Hill and 2016 GOP Senate nominee Darryl Glenn looking to take over his safe Republican seat. If fundraising is any measure of how this race will play out, we could be looking at a three-way tie for last place. Lamborn raised just $72,125 in Q3, compared to less than $68k for Hill and $12,600 for Glenn. The combined fundraising totals of Lamborn, Hill, and Glenn don’t even match the $165,437 raised by Democratic candidate Joe Neguse in CD-2 (Boulder).

 

Democratic Candidates in CD-4 (Northeast Colorado)
This line in a press release from Democrat Karen McCormick tells you everything you need to know:

Having raised $50,835.27 in her first two quarters, McCormick has now raised over three times the amount of her closest Democratic competitor and has developed an insurmountable lead in the race to determine which Democrat will face Ken Buck in November, 2018.

 

Cynthia Coffman
Incumbent Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is still widely rumored to be running for Governor in 2018 instead of re-election, but she has money troubles either way. Coffman raised $10,600 for her AG account in Q3, leaving her with a total of $42,070 that could be used for re-election or transferred to a campaign for Governor. Coffman has a lot of ground to make up for whatever statewide office she chooses to pursue in 2018.

 

Check out our Q3 fundraising Winners after the jump…

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More Candidates in the Pool for 2018

Quick Hits:

– State Senator Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) announced over the weekend that he will seek the Republican nomination for State Treasurer in 2018. Lundberg is the fourth Republican candidate to enter the race to replace the term-limited Walker Stapleton.

– On the Democratic side of the field, State Rep. Dave Young (D-Greeley) may be nearing a decision to run for State Treasurer. State Rep. Steve Lebsock is the only Democrat currently in the race.

– There’s still no word on any potential Republican candidates seeking to replace Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) in CD-7, but the list of Democrats is growing. Dan Baer, a former Obama appointee, may formally join the race as soon as Tuesday.

Q2 Fundraising Lessons: Nobody Cares About State Treasurer

Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there doesn’t appear to be much interest from donors in the open seat for State Treasurer:

State Rep. Justin Everett, a Littleton Republican, raised the most in contributions and had the most money in the bank at the end of the 2nd quarter, but Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn, also a Republican, and state Rep. Steve Lebsock, a Thornton Democrat, didn’t lag far behind.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican incumbent, faces term limits after next year’s election and is expected to announce he’s running for governor in coming months.

Everett posted $20,348 in contributions for the statewide race and reported $18,306 on hand at the end of the quarter. Horn raised $17,655 and had $11,183 remaining. Lebsock received $14,014 in donations and had $7,354 left after campaign expenditures.

These are pretty poor numbers across the board. Republican State Rep. Polly Lawrence entered the race after the Q2 fundraising period had ended, and Republican State Sen. Kevin Lundberg may not be far behind. If Republican Brian Watson does indeed enter the race at some point, he’ll likely have the advantage on the money side.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 9)

Golfball-sized hail is just God cleaning out his ice maker. 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…

► Legislation introduced last week that would seek to compel oil and gas companies to provide public records of “flowlines” — pipelines that carry natural gas from wellheads to a collection point — has been defeated in the state legislature after a Republican filibuster. House Bill 17-1372, sponsored by Reps. Mike Foote (D-Lafayetter) and Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton), was essentially killed when House Republicans extended their arguments toward a midnight deadline for the bill to move along to the State Senate.

 

► State Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Parker) officially killed his own legislation intended to eliminate the Colorado Health Exchange. As Ed Sealover reports for the Denver Business Journal:

The move was met by applause from Democrats on the Senate floor and groans from Republicans.

Smallwood said afterward that he wanted to spend the summer working on the bill in ways that could bring meaningful change to the state-chartered exchange, which has struggled financially. That could mean finding a way to garner bipartisan support for the measure, or it could mean finding a way for Connect for Health to attract more insurers and to make more significant steps in slowing the growth of health-care costs in Colorado, he said.

Senate Bill 3 was introduced early in the 2017 legislative session as a priority for Senate Republicans, but the GOP made little effort to actually move forward with the bill after encountering still opposition from vocal Coloradans amid Congressional blundering on repealing Obamacare.

 

► The Director of the FBI, James Comey, has apparently stepped in the mud (again). As CNN reports:

FBI Director James Comey erroneously told Congress last week that former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin “forwarded hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop — and the bureau is looking for a way to clean up his error, according to officials familiar with the matter.

According to Comey, Clinton’s emails had been forwarded to the computer of Abedin’s husband, former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. But US officials told CNN last fall the majority of the thousands of emails reviewed by the FBI got to Weiner’s computer via a backup system for Abedin’s phone.

In Comey’s testimony, however, he suggested “hundreds and thousands” of emails had been deliberately sent directly from Abedin to Weiner’s computer. While some of those emails may have been sent directly from Huma in order to be printed, officials told CNN, the number was far fewer than the amount Comey described.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Let Them Eat Methane: Rep. Lori Saine’s Shameful Indifference

Rep. Lori Saine (R).

As the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic reports, the conclusion last week that an abandoned oil and gas well was responsible for a massive explosion that destroyed a recently-built home in Firestone, killing two people, hasn’t persuaded Firestone’s representative in the Colorado General Assembly, Republican Rep. Lori Saine, that any legislative action is needed:

State Rep. Lori Saine, a Republican who represents constituents rocked by a recent fatal oil and gas industry-related home explosion in Firestone, strongly opposes a bill introduced Friday morning that would require the drilling industry to make available well flowline mapping data to regulators and the public…

Saine called a the bill a “knee-jerk reaction.” She said the minority Republican caucus in the House opposes the bill and she suspects Senate Republicans would also oppose it.

House Bill 1372 was introduced Friday morning and assigned to the House State Affairs committee, where it will be heard Friday afternoon. The legislative session ends Wednesday.

The sponsors, gas patch Democratic Reps. Mike Foote from Lafayette and Steve Lebsock from Thornton, are acting in response to resident concerns in the wake of the April 17 house explosion. Two men were incinerated in the blast while working on a water heater in a basement filled with unrefined odorless gas from an abandoned and uncapped oil and gas well flowline.

Hold everything, says Rep. Saine! There’s a process for this!

Oil and gas politics at the Capitol has long been a charged partisan business. Republicans consistently stand as a bloc against regulation.

“I see this [bill] as a spiking of the political football,” said Saine. “We already have a process in place… We have [line-]abandonment procedures in place They’re pressure testing the lines. I would just say let it work without adding another layer of complexity and confusion. Let the process happen…”

Unfortunately, as the Denver Post has been reporting ever since the explosion April 17th and in fact long before, both the process and the resources for ensuring public safety around oil and gas infrastructure are woefully inadequate:

Long before a pipeline leaked volatile gas into a Firestone home that exploded, Colorado’s overseers of the oil and gas industry were warned such pipelines posed major risks.

For years, they’ve known leaking underground pipes carrying oil, gas and processing waste regularly contaminate soil and water and potentially threaten thousands of people around the state, records show…[i]t wasn’t until last year that the state began any program to monitor the underground pipes connecting wells to tanks and other equipment in the field.

Just three state officials are tasked with ensuring the integrity and safety of thousands of miles of pipelines in Colorado connected to about 53,000 active wells and associated with an additional 36,500 inactive wells. [Pols emphasis] The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the industry, didn’t deploy those officials until 2016, leaving the vast majority of oil and gas pipelines still uninspected. Regulators say they don’t know where all the pipelines are located. And they leave it up to local jurisdictions to decide whether developers can build homes over them.

Yes, Gov. John Hickenlooper has ordered emergency pressure testing of all flowlines within 1,000 feet of most development. But it’s painfully obvious in the wake of this tragedy that the inspection program in place for this infrastructure is insufficient to protect public safety. Requiring energy companies to map out their lines and give that data to these beleaguered inspectors–not to mention the public–should be a no-brainer.

And yet here we have the representative of the dead and injured from this tragedy, which we now know was caused by exactly the unmapped infrastructure this legislation wants to see documented to protect the public from future tragedies, saying it’s a “knee-jerk reaction.”

Folks, with any other issue–and we’ll even go so far as to say in most other states–Rep. Lori Saine’s indifference in the face of tragedy in her own district would be political suicide. The fact that Rep. Saine can declare a basic and preliminary attempt to address this tragedy a “knee-jerk reaction” without a massive backlash shows how powerful the oil and gas industry is in this state–and how, with a few exceptions like the Denver Post’s excellent recent reporting, our local press is too servile to the energy industry to hold politicians like Rep. Saine accountable.

If this is not an outrage, what is?

Get More Smarter on Monday (March 27)

Happy World Theatre Day! 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…

► After the humiliating failure of the GOP’s “TrumpCare” legislation Friday, President Donald Trump’s approval rating is headed for a new record low:

Only 36 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president in interviews conducted last Friday through Sunday, a time period entirely after Republicans abandoned their bill to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Trump’s approval rating is down from 41 percent in the prior three-day period. His previous low-water mark in the Gallup poll came earlier this month, when interviews conducted March 16-18 showed his approval rating at just 37 percent.

In the new survey, the percentage of Americans who disapprove of Trump’s performance is 57 percent, up from 54 percent in the previous three-day rolling sample. That’s one point shy of Trump’s highest disapproval rating: 58 percent in the March 16-18 sample.

► Meanwhile, President Trump is reaching out across the aisle to get something–anything–accomplished that he can call a win:

President Trump is serious about working with Democrats to move his agenda forward and has already fielded phone calls from liberal lawmakers about healthcare reform, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday.

“Starting Friday afternoon through late yesterday, [Trump] has received a number of calls, as well as other members of the senior staff that have been working on healthcare, from members of both sides saying that they would like to work together, offer up ideas and have suggestions about how to come to resolution on this and get to a House vote on this,” Spicer said…

“The president is eager to get to 218 [votes in the House] on a lot of his initiatives, whether its tax reform or infrastructure,” Spicer said. “There’s a lot of things and I think he’s going to be willing to listen to other voices on the other side to figure out if people want to work with him to get these big things done to make Washington work to enhance the lives of American people then he’s going to work with them.”

► Anything to take the focus off the deepening Russiagate scandal, we suppose.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Um, What? Legislature to Consider Legalizing Switchblades

Musical theater enthusiasts know full well the dangers of switchblades.

After last week’s pomp and speechifying, members of the Colorado legislature will finally start getting to work on tackling issues of vital importance to the citizens of our great state.

Also…legalizing switchblades.

Over the weekend we were forwarded a constituent newsletter sent out by state Sen. Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs), in which the two-term Republican explains his legislative priorities for the 2017 session. “There are three bills I am working on right now with the help from our community,” writes Hill before launching into details about legislation surrounding school funding, legalizing self-driving cars, and his approach for dealing with the “construction defects reform” issue.

State Sen. Owen Hill contemplates a world where switchblades are legal.

Curiously, Sen. Hill fails to make any mention of a fourth bill that he is sponsoring: SB17-008, which seeks to legalize switchblades and “gravity knives” in Colorado. Here’s the title of that legislation, which is co-sponsored by state Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Northglenn):

The bill legalizes the possession of a gravity knife or switchblade knife by removing such knives from the definition of “illegal weapon”.

Okay, but…why?

According to the draft legislation, the term “illegal weapon” refers to a “blackjack,” “gas gun,” OR “metallic knuckles.” Hill and Lebsock want to change state statute so that switchblades and “gravity knives” aren’t included in that same definition. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed legislation last February to legalize switchblades in Cheeseland, following similar efforts in states such as Oklahoma and Nevada that aim to fight back against the perception of “the misunderstood switchblade.” No, seriously, this is an actual argument made by adults.

But what of the switchblade comb?

Last fall, Colorado Republicans spent millions of dollars holding onto their one-seat majority in the State Senate. Presumably, this effort was not undertaken so that people like Hill could engage in discussions about the usefulness of spring-powered knives; on the other hand, Senate Republicans are introducing this as one of their first 10 pieces of legislation of the 2017 session.

Did the GOP just run out of new ideas for a commemorative license plate?

Look, if you are too embarrassed to mention your “legalizing switchblades” bill in your constituent outreach materials, then you probably should be spending your time working on something else.

The Big Line: 2018

biglineflag18NOTE: Percentages reflect Colorado Pols’ estimated chances of winning a particular raceNumbers are not intended to estimate final margin of victory.

Candidates with an asterisk (*) are officially running, or widely presumed to be running.

 

GOVERNOR

(D) Jared Polis* (50%)↑
Polis seems to check more boxes than any other candidate at the moment.

(R) Tom Tancredo* (30%)↑
Tancredo’s potential candidacy actually makes more sense now than it did in 2010 or 2014. And at least one poll shows that he is the early GOP frontrunner.

(R) Walker Stapleton* (25%)↑
Stapleton will likely be the top fundraiser in the Governor’s race by the June Primary.

(R) Victor Mitchell* (15%)
Mitchell has the money and the time — but can he resonate with GOP voters?

(D) Cary Kennedy* (15%)↑
Kennedy keeps turning in solid fundraising quarters, but her campaign is also spending a lot of money.

(D) Mike Johnston* (15%)↓
Johnston is doing well on the fundraising front — though most of it is from out of state.

(R) Cynthia Coffman (10%)↓
After much hand-wringing, Colorado Attorney General finally enters race for Governor. She’s not proving to be a very good candidate in the early stages.

(R) Mitt Romney’s Nephew* (10%)↓
Doug Robinson is quite possibly the whitest man in Colorado. If there is a path for him to win the GOP nomination, we haven’t found it yet.

(D) Donna Lynne (10%)
Colorado Lieutenant Governor is running even though she promised she wouldn’t. Looks to be the “Chamber of Commerce” candidate.

(D) Noel Ginsburg* (10%)↓
Let’s Not Get Too Excited.”

(R) Lew Gaiter* (5%)
He’s officially seeking the GOP nomination…whoever he is.

(R) Steve Barlock* (5%)
Whatever.

(R) Barry Farah* (1%)
Colorado Springs businessman briefly made noise about running in 2018 and then was never heard from again.

 

(D) Ed Perlmutter (OFF)
Withdrew from race in July 2017.

(D) Ken Salazar (OFF)
Announced on March 23 that he would not run for Governor.

(R) Kent Thiry (OFF)
Disappointing to a few GOP consultants who stood to make lots of money.

(R) George Brauchler (OFF)
Withdrew from race on 11/13 to run for Attorney General.

 


ATTORNEY GENERAL

(D) Phil Weiser* (50%)↑
Weiser and his impressive warchest moves to front of line with Coffman exit.

(R) George Brauchler (30%)
Brauchler hoping that AG race isn’t as difficult as running for Governor.

(D) Michael Dougherty* (25%)
The most experienced prosecutor of the bunch, but will that matter to voters?

(D) Joe Salazar* (10%)↓
Absolutely brutal Q2 fundraising followed up with horrendous Q3 numbers. Salazar doesn’t appear to have the ability to raise enough money to even mount a serious campaign.

(D) Brad Levin* (10%)↑
Sort of the opposite of Salazar; can raise money, but nobody knows who he is.

 

(R) Cynthia Coffman (OFF)
Running for Governor in 2018.

(R) Ken Buck (OFF)
Says he won’t run for Attorney General in 2018.

 


STATE TREASURER

(R) Polly Lawrence* (25%)↑
Moves to the head of the line with impressive Q3 fundraising performance.

(R) Brian Watson* (25%)↑
Watson won’t have trouble funding this campaign, which gives him automatic edge over every name below.

(R) Brita Horn* (20%)
Routt County Treasurer is top name in second tier.

(D) Dave Young* (20%)↑
Greeley lawmaker is the best option for Democrats in this race.

(R) Justin Everett* (20%)
Sleepy Justin needs to figure out a way to raise money.

(R) Kevin Lundberg* (20%)
Conservative firebrand looking for a new job when he is term-limited from State Senate.

(R) Brett Barkey* (10%)
District Attorney from Hayden, Colorado. We’ll pause here while you look up “Hayden, Colorado” on Google.

(D) Bernard Douthit* (10%)↓
Um, no.

(D) Charles Scheibe* (10%)
Scheibe is apparently Colorado’s “Chief Financial Officer.” So, there’s that.

(D) Steve Lebsock* (0%)↓
Steve Lebsock will be State Treasurer when Brock Osweiler wins a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback.

 


SECRETARY OF STATE

(R) Wayne Williams* (65%)↓
Doesn’t seem to be particularly engaged in re-election bid thus far.

(D) Jena Griswold* (35%)↑
Griswold is good at raising money, but this would be a tough race for any Democrat.

 


 

CD-1 (DENVER)

(D) Diana DeGette* (90%)
DeGette will hold this seat until she decides to do something else.

 


CD-2 (BOULDER-ISH)

(D) Joe Neguse* (80%)↑
For an open Congressional seat in Colorado, Neguse is about as safe a bet as you can find.

(D) Mark Williams* (10%)
If CD-2 voters are looking for the most “Boulder liberal” candidate in 2018, they just hit the jackpot.

(R) Random Republican Person (5%)
Not many Republican names floating around for CD-2 at the moment.

 

(D) Jared Polis (OFF)
Running for Governor in 2018.

(D) Ken Toltz* (OFF)
“Suspended” campaign in mid-December for family health reasons.

 


CD-3 (WESTERN & SOUTHERN COLO.)

(R) Scott Tipton* (70%)
Tipton won re-election handily in 2016 despite tough opposition.

(D) Diane Mitsch Bush* (30%)↓
If former State Representative wins in 2018, it will have more to do with Democratic wave than anything else.

(D) Karl Hanlon* (10%)
Mitsch Bush hasn’t exactly locked down the Democratic nomination, but she’s no Karl Hanlon.

 

(D) Chris Kennedy (OFF)
Dropped out of race in December.

 


CD-4 (NORTHEAST-ISH COLORADO)

(R) Ken Buck* (90%)
Buck is safe if he runs for re-election, but he’s talking about a bid for Attorney General if Coffman steps aside.

(D) Karen McCormick* (10%)↑
Appears to be the most likely Democrat to ultimately lose in November 2018.

(D) Chase Kohne* (5%)
Kohne and McCormick are both veterinarians, FWIW.

 

 


CD-5 (COLORADO SPRINGS)

(R) Doug Lamborn* (50%)↓
Controversy over stock purchases could be fodder enough to cost him this seat in ’18, but Lamborn has survived many challenges before.

(R) Owen Hill* (25%)
State Senator failed to impress in Q3 fundraising reports, but anti-Lamborn money probably would come later anyway.

(R) Darryl Glenn* (25%)
The Unicorn returns!

 


CD-6 (AURORA)

(R) Mike Coffman* (60%)↓
Nobody changes his stripes as often as Coffman. Of course, nobody keeps running into problems as often as Coffman, either.

(D) Jason Crow* (30%)↑
Crow starting to separate from rest of Democratic pack with strong fundraising and growing list of Democratic endorsements.

(R) Roger Edwards* (20%)
This is certainly not a good year for an incumbent Republican to face a Primary challenge, no matter the candidate.

(D) Levi Tillemann* (5%)
Not doing enough to be considered anything more than a spoiler.

(D) David Aarestad* (5%)
Unfortunately for this little-known Democrat, the ballot isn’t printed in alphabetical order.

 


CD-7 (JEFFERSON COUNTY)

(D) Ed Perlmutter* (90%)
Perlmutter has never won this seat by less than double digits, and that won’t likely change in 2018.

 

 


STATE SENATE MAJORITY

REPUBLICANS (50%)
Colorado Republicans threw everything they had into keeping their one-seat majority in 2016…and just barely held onto that one-seat advantage. They’ve got an uphill battle in 2018.

DEMOCRATS (50%)
A Democratic wave year in 2018 will make re-taking the majority much easier.

 


STATE HOUSE MAJORITY

DEMOCRATS (80%)↑
In a tough 2016 for Democrats, they still picked up 3 more seats.

REPUBLICANS (20%)
Republicans couldn’t make headway in 2014 or 2016, so no reason to think 2018 will be any different. But at least they have Judy Reyher!

 

 


The “Big Line” and its contents are the exclusive creation of Colorado Pols and will be updated as conditions change prior to the 2018 General Election. It is an accurate, if unscientific, look at the races from insider perspectives from both parties. It does NOT reflect who we might like to see win, but reflects who has the best chance to win a General Election based on inside information and our analysis of that information.

Usage allowed with credit to ColoradoPols.com.