What you can do to fight back this week (August 21)

In the last week, Trump has plunged to unthinkable new lows, refusing to condemn the white supremacists responsible for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and falsely insisting that “many sides” are responsible for the upsurge in hatred and racism that has swept the nation since he took office.

This has happened too many times now to be an accident. These terrible words and actions from our nation’s highest office are not ‘gaffes,’ but what this man really believes. Elections matter, and now we are seeing the results of what could be the worst decision American voters have ever made.

At the same time, something important is happening in response to Trump and the far right’s actions. This weekend, Colorado progressives and the Indivisible coalition sat down with Black Lives Matter and the community at Denver’s Shorter Community AME Church to talk frankly about what it will take to do away with racism in America once and for all. The conversation didn’t end there, it just began again—as it has in other troubled moments in American history that led to great progress.

No matter how bad it gets in the headlines, your activism is making a difference every day. Awareness of racism and other divisive influences in American culture is higher than ever before. The tide of public opinion is turning against the far right. 2018 is coming fast.

Never give up. Keep the pressure on. Here are ways to take action for the week of August 21st:


Moving Forward: Beyond Paris

Feeling discouraged by the recent federal actions on climate change? Don’t let the president’s action dampen your spirit and our collective progress. Join us to learn how we can ensure the U.S. meets our reduction goals by staying informed and engaging in local action! Congresswoman Diana DeGette will moderate a panel discussion focusing on federal and local climate action.

Where: Alliance For Sustainable Colorado, 1536 Wynkoop St, Denver
When: Monday, August 21 at 5:30pm

Click here to RSVP.


PART 2! Spotlight On! Anti Oppression & Collective Liberation

We’re excited to annouce that in the month of August we’ll spend reading The Culturally Inclusive Educator by Dena Samuels. And on Tuesday, Aug 22nd, mark your calendars, because we’ll have Dr. Samuels herself join us for a Q and A about the concepts laid out in her book. We’ll also take a look at the direction we personally and organizationally are moving in and see if adjustments are necessary. All are welcome, but we will focus on the Immigrant Rights Movement in Colorado specifically.

Where: 1420 Ogden St, Denver
When: Tuesday, Agust 22 at 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


PPRM: Sex, Politics & Cocktails

This event is being put on by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Without much attention – Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – a program that protects nearly 800,000 Dreamers from deportation and provides them work authorization has come under immediate attack. Ten Republican attorney generals released a letter threatening to sue the President if he doesn’t end DACA by September 5th. Immigrants – no matter the status of their paperwork – are Planned Parenthood patients, providers, neighbors, and supporters. Join us at this month’s Sex, Politics, and Cocktails and learn how to fight injustice by standing with immigrant communities.

Where: Location upon RSVP
When: Tuesday, August 22 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Jobs with Justice Movement Trivia Night

Join Colorado Jobs With Justice for a Movement Trivia Night. Test your knowledge of the labor movement and politics against other community members. Join a team and battle it out for trivia supremacy and take home the grand prize! Don’t miss out, RSVP today!

Where: Sheet Metal Workers Apprenticeship School of Colorado, 1515 W 47th Ave, Denver
When: Tuesday, August 22 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Warm Cookies of the Revolution’s Sin Tax Bingo!

The 1970’s were full of home cooked meals, power ballads, and Bingo halls. (Also wars and civil rights struggles and disco) We’re getting nostalgic while eating some delicious food and playing some serious B-I-N-G-O! Come find out how tax dollars from “sins” like gambling and marijuana and cigarettes and soda are collected, spent, and who decides?

Where: McNichols Building, 144 W Colfax Ave, Denver
When: Thursday, August 24 at 6:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


2018 AAYLC Planning Committee Meeting

The 2018 African American Youth Leadership Conference will be held on 10 March 2018. Please join us in the planning process to ensure the 2018 Conference is a success!

Where: Downtown YMCA, 207 North Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs
When: Thursday, August 24 at 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Sock Drop for Homeless Youth

Bring new socks, toiletries — and especially needed this year — boxer shorts, for Urban Peak Youth experiencing homelessness to Little Man Ice Cream in LoHi. There will be ICE CREAM, LIVE MUSIC and SWING DANCERS all evening in appreciation of your generosity and big hearts! Drop off 10AM to 10PM, ice cream ’till 1AM.

Where: Little Man Ice Cream, 2620 16th St, Denver
When: Saturday, August 26 at 10:00am

Click here to RSVP.


4th Annual Latino Legacy Celebration

The Jefferson County Democratic Latino Initiative is proud to recognize outstanding leaders in the Latinx Community!

Where: Denver Marriott West, 1717 Denver West Blvd, Golden
When: Saturday, August 26 at 11:00am

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.


Women’s Equality Day Benefit

Join For Folx Sake on Women’s Equality Day for an evening of delicious food and fanciful drinks at White Lies, one of Denver’s favorite dinner locales, all benefiting Emerge Colorado! Women’s Equality Day commerates the certification of the 19th Amendment which granted women the right to vote in the United States. As we celebrate this day, we acknowledge that the women’s suffrage movement was not without its faults, including denigrating black men and excluding black women from participation. There is still so much work to do to make sure folx of color, trans folx, gender non-conforming, and gender queer folx have their voting rights realized, and Emerge Colorado is expanding the pools of amazing people who are trained to run for public office and do that work.

Where: White Lies DNVR, 800 Sherman St, Denver
When: Saturday, August 26 at 5:00pm

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.


The Ally Awards 2017

One Colorado Education Fund will host its signature fundraising event The Ally Awards. The evening will culminate in an awards presentation to allies who work to advance equality and make a substantive difference in the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans. The evening will kick off with a cocktail party on the pool terrace of the Four Seasons with a hosted bar, and heavy passed/stationed hors d’oeuvres. Guests will then move to the Four Seasons ballroom and attendees will enjoy an awards ceremony with special guest speakers, delectable desserts, and champagne.

Where: Four Seasons, 1111 14th St, Denver
When: Saturday, August 26 at 6:30pm

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.


A special word of thanks to the capacity crowds of Coloradans who showed up last week in Colorado Springs, Greeley, and Lakewood to hold Sen. Cory Gardner accountable. After almost a year and a half of hiding from the voters he represents in the U.S. Senate, last week’s town halls proved how out of touch Gardner is with Colorado. Gardner even tried to play for sympathy after the crowds at all three events rejected his half-truths and bad excuses, but all he did is remind Colorado why he deserves his 24% approval rating.

Watch your inbox for updates, and we’ll see you next week with more ways to fight back.

Mitch McConnell’s Historically-Low Approval Ratings

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)

President Trump continues to set new records for plummeting approval ratings after such a short time in office. As we noted over the weekend, Trump’s numbers are falling fast even in states where he performed well in the 2016 election.

Various polling outfits have shown Trump’s approval ratings in the low-30s this summer, which are historically low numbers for a President after his first six months in office. But as The Hill reports today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would need to nearly DOUBLE his approval ratings just to catch up to Trump’s record lows:

A Public Policy Polling survey found just 18 percent of respondents approve of the job McConnell is doing, compared with 74 percent who disapprove.

If McConnell were up for reelection today, 37 percent of respondents said they would vote for the Kentucky Republican. Another 44 percent would instead choose a Democratic opponent, according to the survey.

It’s important to understand just how difficult it is to have an approval rating of 18-freakin’-percent. Take a look at some of these comparisons:

♦ Late last year, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie recorded the lowest approval rating for a sitting governor that Quinnipiac University pollsters had ever measured…and he bottomed out at 19%.

♦ Last month, Morning Consult released polling results for every U.S. Senator; Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake sported the worst approval rating at 37%.

♦ In a February Gallup poll, Russian President Vladimir Putin checked in with a 22% approval rating among Americans.

♦ Former President George W. Bush suffered low approval ratings for much of his second term, but still bottomed out at around 23%.

McConnell was just in Denver last week for a fundraiser with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has the unenviable job of leading the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) for the 2018 election cycle. Gardner himself is scraping the floor with approval ratings at a meager 24%.

Great American Eclipse Thread

UPDATE #2: Apparently President Trump looked at the eclipse without protective glasses. Because, of course he did.

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UPDATE: President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump doing the eclipse:

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UPDATE

See it, shoot it, discuss it, mind your pets, drive safely.

Denver Post Coins New Term: “Colorado Obamacare Lie”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an editorial this week, The Denver Post coined the term the “Colorado Obamacare lie” to describe repeated statements by GOP gubernatorial candidates that Obamacare is gobbling up the state budget when, in fact, it has “very little impact” on the state budget.

Nicely done.

And the phenomenon goes beyond GOP gubernatorial candidates, to Republicans in the state legislature and beyond.

For example, last January, State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) told the “Americhicks,” Molly Vogt and Kim Munson, on KLZ 560-AM, that the Obamacare, also called the “Medicaid expansion,” is “eating every single dollar that we have,” that could be spent on other priorities.

Neville: I believe it’s time for the government to re-prioritize, and of course the 800-pound gorilla in the room is the Medicaid expansion, which the governor did several years ago, eating every single dollar that we have in increased expense.

Also last year, we got this Tweet from the Colorado Senate GOP (@ColoSenGOP), linking to a chart of state and federal Medicaid expenditures: “Maybe Colo could afford FullDayK if #Dems weren’t pouring every spare $ into Obamacare #choices #copolitics #coleg pic.twitter.com/zrS1L6v5KO.”

The Post’s reporting, followed up by its editorial, should put an end not only to this kind of talk on the campaign trail, but in the state legislature as well.

Tipton Won’t Fully Condemn Trump Comments on White Supremacists

(Leave it to Tipton to equivocate on racism — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This is why you need regional reporters who will hold elected officials accountable.

Realvail.com’s David O. Williams wanted to report the thoughts of his area Congressman, Scott Tipton, on Trump’s handling of the recent actions by Neo-Nazis. So he called his office last week, and here’s what he reported.

Williams noted in a post that Tipton had been “careful not to criticize the president, tweeting: ““Neo-Nazis are abhorrent & only try to drive America apart. We must stand up to racism, antisemitism & hateful rhetoric wherever we see it.”

Williams: I asked a Tipton spokeswoman for the congressman’s thoughts on the president’s handling of the situation, including his comments Tuesday that demonstrated sympathy for neo-Nazi, white supremacist and KKK protesters, calling some “very fine people.” I also wondered if there should be a federal law banning the use of Nazi and other white supremacist logos, the way there is in Germany.

But she referred to his original tweet, saying, “Those are his feelings on the situation, period.”

Colorado Republicans Gardner, Doug Lamborn and Mike Coffman all pushed push back directly against Trump’s comments on Charlottesville.

Although he called Trump’s Access Hollywood sexual assault comments “appalling,” Tipton steadfastly supported Trump and refused to outright condemn his anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric during the campaign, instead trying to link his Democratic opponent — former state Sen. Gail Schwartz — to Hillary Clinton.

Obviously, this is a grain-of-sand contribution to the national and local debate about Trump and the local reaction to him. But it’s a grain that would never exist unless a reporter created it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Open Thread

“I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.”

–Booker T. Washington

America Doesn’t Do Snap Elections, And That’s Too Bad

Jennifer Calfas of TIME writes today about a particularly damaging new poll for President Donald Trump:

Amid a tumultuous week across America, President Donald Trump saw low approval ratings in three key swing states that helped catapult him to victory last November.

According to a new NBC News/Marist poll released Monday, Trump has an approval rating of under 40% in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, three states that turned red in the 2016 election for the first time in a presidential election since the 1980s. He won each of those states by less than 100,000 votes.

In those states, more than six in 10 voters said they believe Trump has embarrassed them since the election. About one in four said Trump made them proud, according to the poll.

Trump won surprise victories in critical Rust Belt and Upper Midwest states–at least they were surprising to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which was foolishly campaigning in states that as it turns out she would never win in the campaign’s final days while letting these presumed safe states slip away. The economically nationalistic (and xenophobic) message Trump offered to voters in a few economically beleaguered states gave him an edge that in the allowed him to overcome a three-million popular vote advantage for Hillary.

But that was never going to be the end of the story, with those voters needing to see tangible progress in order to remain loyal to Trump. The near-total lack of not just progress, but basic functionality in Washington since Trump took office despite one-party control of the government, while the administration’s innumerable scandals compound almost daily, is lethal to the swing-vote support that put Trump over the top.

We imagine a lot of them feel rather swindled, much like the majority of Americans (and Coloradans) who didn’t vote for Trump themselves felt after fewer than 100,000 voters in four states trumped the votes of millions.

There is of course no provision for “taking a mulligan” in American politics like there is in other places like the United Kingdom. Right now, the inability to constitutionally change what could be broadly characterized as failing leadership in the United States looks pretty bad in the eyes of the rest of the world. Anything that can be done about it rests in the hands of Trump’s own party, which does not appear to have the collective will to intervene.

The result is that the 2018 elections may see historic pent-up voter frustration unleashed on Trump’s party, in the Rust Belt but not just there. Perversely, the growing likelihood of a major defeat in 2018 could prompt Republicans to hold on to Trump for longer than they would otherwise, in hopes of accomplishing agenda items.

That could be the story of the next year. How much can the GOP-controlled government jam through before the voters make them stop.

Weekend Open Thread

“A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry.”

–George Bernard Shaw

You Should Probably Stop Saying That

Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne. Most likely.

Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynne is totally absolutely probably maybe running for Governor in 2018. Possibly.

Earlier this month we learned that Lynne was “exploring” a bid for Governor, with the self-professed caveat that she wasn’t sure there was enough support for her among Democrats to pursue a campaign in 2018. As the Denver Post quoted Lynne on Aug. 1:

“I want to make sure that I have everything in order. A lot of people urge candidates to run. But you really want to make sure that you can solidify that — that they will be endorsers, that they will be financial supporters and that’s a process.”

As we said at the time: “If you’re not sure that you would have the support to mount a strong statewide campaign, then you don’t have the support to mount a strong statewide campaign.” But as the Summit Daily News reports, Lynne’s proto-campaign is sticking with its message that she still isn’t sure if she should really run, even though she’s already filed to run:

Lynne is scheduled to appear at a Summit County Democrats mixer in Breckenridge on Sunday afternoon, Aug. 20, with gubernatorial candidates Mike Johnston, Cary Kennedy and Rep. Jared Polis. The private party event will include brief introductions followed by a short Q&A.

Reached Thursday afternoon, Curtis Hubbard of OnSight Public Affairs — an advisor to Lynne — said she has received a groundswell of encouragement to run, but is still lining up formal support before making an announcement. [Pols emphasis]

“Donna is using this exploratory phase to identify supporters and to hear from key Democrats across the state,” Hubbard said in a statement. “Sunday’s appearance is part of that ongoing effort. She expects to make a formal announcement in the weeks ahead.”

Thursday’s story in the Summit Daily News was a follow-up on the fact that Lynne had officially filed paperwork to run for governor as of Aug. 11. There is no such thing as an “exploratory committee” in Colorado — you either file paperwork to form a candidate committee or you don’t — but this detail is apparently confusing to some news outlets.

As the Aspen Times Tweeted today, the only step left for Lynne’s pending gubernatorial campaign is to announce that she is really running for Governor. This is partially true; the real next step for Lynne is to STOP SAYING THAT YOU DON’T KNOW IF PEOPLE WILL SUPPORT YOUR CAMPAIGN.

I’m Donna Lynne, and I’m really not sure that anybody wants me to run for governor!  

In politics and in life, cantaloupes can be great metaphors. We’ll leave you with this image from the La Junta Tribune-Democrat on July 30, 2017 (we couldn’t possible make this up):

Mostly ripe, but I’ll make a final decision at a later date.

 

Colorado Week in Review: 8/18/17

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 18)

The sun will come out…tomorrow…and Sunday…but not Monday. 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…

So long, Steve BannonPresident Trump’s Chief Strategist is out of a job.

Earlier this week, Bannon told American Prospect magazine that he thought the recent news focus on white supremacists would actually be politically beneficial to Trump and Republicans.

 

► Lawmakers are growing concerned that President Trump might deliberately refuse to spend money allocated by Congress for federal budgets. As Politico reports:

Lawmakers and activists are preparing for the possibility that President Donald Trump’s administration, in its zeal to slash the federal budget, will take the rare step of deliberately not spending all the money Congress gives it — a move sure to trigger legal and political battles.

The concern is mainly focused on the State Department, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has drawn criticism for failing to spend $80 million allocated by Congress to fight Russian and terrorist propaganda and for trying to freezecongressionally authorized fellowships for women and minorities. Activists and congressional officials fear such practices could take hold at other U.S. departments and agencies under Trump…

…Advocacy groups are consulting lawyers and gathering information on current spending and the laws that govern the budget; one nongovernmental-organization network is even surveying humanitarian organizations to gather more facts. Capitol Hill staffers are scouring the fine print of appropriations bills, hunting for loopholes that would allow the executive branch to slow down or stop spending.

The goal is to fend off cuts that they fear could damage foreign aid programs, hobble U.S. diplomacy and ultimately weaken America’s national security.

So, about that separate “branches of government” thing…

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Buh-Bye, Steve Bannon

UPDATE: As The Atlantic reports, Bannon ain’t happy:

“He’s going nuclear,” said another friend. “You have no idea. This is gonna be really fucking bad.”

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Steve Bannon, one scary looking dude.

That’s the word from the New York Times, controversial White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is being shown the door as the Trump presidency’s struggle to find footing in the grip of self-inflicted chaos and disaster goes on:

President Trump has told senior aides that he has decided to remove Stephen K. Bannon, the embattled White House chief strategist who helped Mr. Trump win the 2016 election, according to two administration officials briefed on the discussion.

The president and senior White House officials were debating when and how to dismiss Mr. Bannon. The two administration officials cautioned that Mr. Trump is known to be averse to confrontation within his inner circle, and could decide to keep on Mr. Bannon for some time.

As of Friday morning, the two men were still discussing Mr. Bannon’s future, the officials said. A person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea, and that he had submitted his resignation to the president on Aug. 7, to be announced at the start of this week, but it was delayed in the wake of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Va.

Mr. Bannon had clashed for months with other senior West Wing advisers and members of the president’s family.

Bannon, who never looked comfortable in the Donald Trump White House’s strict Manhattan dress code, was both the focal point of controversy and the ideological pole star that drew in the specific segments of voters considered integral to Trump’s narrow election. It was Bannon’s unapologetic nationalism as voiced by Trump that appealed to Rust Belt voters disaffected by NAFTA, which proved key to Trump’s Electoral College majority. And Bannon’s platform also played a role in motivating the racist fringe to support Trump–a disturbingly symbiotic relationship as became clearer in the past week.

It’s safe to say that history will not miss this creep.

Amber McReynolds Moves Toward SoS Bid

Word of a possible new Democratic entry into the 2018 Colorado Secretary of State’s race could spark new interest in a critically important but underappreciated statewide downballot office, one that Democrats have tried and failed to win for a number of years. Amber McReynolds, the current Director of Election for the Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s office, is reportedly well down the path of discussions to determine if she should challenge incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

McReynolds, who is currently unaffiliated but would likely register as a Democrat for this race, would represent a departure from previous candidates with mostly legislative or other political experience; an elections professional from the state’s foremost county clerk’s office–more in the mold of successful Republican candidates for Secretary of State like Donetta Davidson and…well, yes, incumbent Secretary of State Wayne Williams. There’s an argument that a challenger from a position of competency like another well-known elections official would represent a better challenger to Williams, who has prided himself on running as smooth and uncontroversial a ship as possible.

That was of course made much more difficult by Williams’ very poor handling of the recent request from the Trump administration’s so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, voicing support for an effort that even most Republican secretaries of state think is a waste of time and resources. Williams’ initially confusing statements about what data was bring provided resulted in thousands of Colorado voters un-registering in an act of misguided protest. Since then Williams has tried to walk back that gaffe while reaffirming the integrity of our state’s elections, but for lay political news consumers in Colorado the damage is arguably done.

So yes, we’d say there is an opening here–to win an office that has bedeviled Democrats for longer than most of us have been doing politics in Colorado. And if she does get in, McReynolds could be just the candidate Democrats need to make the most of it.