U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter is expected to announce a run for governor as early as the end of the month, ColoradoPolitics has learned.
“If it was up to me, we would announce sooner rather than later,” confirmed Perlmutter campaign consultant Steve Welchert, a high-profile Democratic strategist.
Perlmutter’s pending announcement was pushed up by news that former interior secretary and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar will not pursue a run for governor in 2018 on the Democratic ticket.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)
Late last night, the Denver Post published an editorial from former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, in which Salazar makes clear that he will not run for governor:
The 2018 election for governor of Colorado is a keystone to the future greatness of Colorado. Several individuals, both Democratic and Republican, have expressed an interest in serving as governor. I will not be among them.
This has been a difficult decision, because I love Colorado. I believe I would have won an election for governor, and that I would have been a successful governor for all the people of Colorado. However, my family’s well-being must come first.
Salazar had been contemplating a run for governor for many months. Just a few weeks ago, Salazar told the Denver Post that he thought he could wait until the end of the summer to make a decision on 2018 — a timeline that was not at all realistic.
In the meantime, there has been a growing chorus of voices pushing for Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) to run for governor. Perlmutter had said publicly and privately that he was not interested in challenging Salazar in a potential Democratic primary, but now that this is no longer a concern, the chatter surrounding Perlmutter should start to grow exponentially.
Yes, there are other Democrats already in the race or contemplating a run — including Mike Johnston and Cary Kennedy — but Perlmutter is the juggernaut candidate that Democrats have been hoping for in 2018. Perlmutter currently represents the single most important electoral county in Colorado (Jeffco), and he has won every one of his six races for Congress by at least double digits.
The morning after voter fraud charges were filed against KLZ 560-AM morning host Steve Curtis, there he was, on the air, interviewing William Gheen, who’s on a “mission” against illegal immigration.
But things changed during the day, as you know if you were one of the lucky people listening to KLZ’s afternoon show, where host Dan Meurer announced the resignation of the former GOP state chair:
Dan Meurer: All over the news is our morning show host Steve Curtis. So Steve has been brought up on charges, as we all know. And Steve resigned this morning. And basically that’s all we are going to say about it. It’s all we really know. And as a friend of Steve’s I wish him the best of luck. Prayers are with him. And there we go.
In an email today, Don Crawford of KLZ’s owner, the Crawford Broadcasting Company, confirmed Curtis’ resignation.
It appears that Curtis resigned on his own volition, because Crawford Broadcasting was prepared to keep him on the air until he was found guilty, according to Fox 31 Denver:
Curtis’ bosses at Crawford Broadcasting in Dallas said Curtis is innocent until proven guilty and it has no intention of taking disciplinary action unless and until he’s convicted.
Crawford Broadcasting clearly should have suspended Curtis, pending the outcome of the legal proceedings, because the serious nature of the allegations stripped him of his credibility.
Strangely enough, a couple years ago, Crawford Broadcasting quickly suspended interviews with Tom Tancredo, after the former Congressman teamed up with Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to try to oust GOP state chair Steve House. The temporary Tancredo-interview-ban led to the resignation of Randy Corporan, who hosted KLZ’s morning show prior to Curtis’ tenure there.
Crawford’s innocent-until-proven-guilty approach to Curtis was not used by Clear Channel, the owner of Denver’s KHOW 630-AM, when it immediately suspended host Peter Boyles after he reportedly grabbed the lanier of producer Greg Hollenbeck during a violent exchange. Boyles was immediately suspended and later fired.
Listen to KLZ’s announcement of the resignation of Steve Curtis:
For our part, we stand by our original assertion that the Salazar/ISIS graphic was made by the same person who made various graphics for Tom Tancredo shown below. This shouldn’t be that hard to figure out.
UPDATE: Via Jason Salzman, Tom Tancredo denies being the source of this graphic:
House Bill 17-1230, the Ralph Carr Freedom Protection Act, passed the Colorado House yesterday after debate turned nasty–with freshman Rep. GOP Phil Covarrubiasdefending the internment of Japanese-Americans as a way to disparage Democrats’ choice to name the bill after Colorado’s wartime Gov. Ralph Carr. Carr, as local history students know well, stood up for Japanese-American internees arriving in Colorado under threats of violence.
Today, the bill’s sponsor Rep. Joe Salazar was subjected to a rather shocking racist and xenophobic attack from an anonymous social media source. Pardon our reposting, which isn’t meant to endorse its objectionable message:
So, this graphic appeared on the Twitter #copolitics channel, posted by an anonymous account that seems to be devoted to attacking Rep. Dan Pabon. But if you take a look at the colors and font used to make this Photoshopped image, there’s somebody else out there posting graphics that are strikingly similar–and not anonymously at all:
You can see clearly the same typeface being used in these Photoshopped graphics, produced either by former Rep. Tom Tancredo personally or someone working for him. Also, that’s the same pic of Rep. Salazar in the image above as is Photoshopped onto the ISIS commander in the latest image. All things being equal, this is about as close to being caught red-handed as the anonymous internets allow without a court order.
As anybody who knows his history knows well, Tancredo doesn’t shy away from controversial statements–he’s made a career of them, after all. So it’s interesting to see Tancredo hiding behind an anonymous Twitter troll to lob this kind of nastiness at Rep. Salazar.
Maybe even Tom Tancredo realizes when it’s going too far? Because this latest insult against Rep Salazar certainly does.
UPDATE: Release from Colorado House Democrats on today’s debate:
In the first real floor fight of the session, the Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act by Reps. Joe Salazar and Daneya Esgar earned initial approval from the House on second reading this morning. The bill protects Colorado state agencies from being forced to participate in overreaching federal programs targeting religious or ethnic communities…
Through several attempted amendments, the House Republicans tried to weaken or alter the bill and to exempt undocumented Coloradans from the protections under the Ralph Carr Act. Had the amendments passed, it would have been a stark departure from settled law that establishes that the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution apply to everyone in the country, regardless of immigration status.
“The reason that we, the USA, are a beacon of hope for the rest of the world, is because the rights of the United States apply to everyone,” said Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver. “Every single amendment in the Constitution applies to everyone in the United States of America.”
Close to the end of the debate, Rep. Phil Covarrubias, R-Brighton, seemed to excuse the internment of Japanese Americans, including U.S. citizens, during World War II. “We keep hearing about how things went down with the Japanese people—for anyone that has never been in the heat of combat, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and all of that was going on—there’s no time to ask questions and find out who is a citizen and who’s not,” he said.
The Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act prohibits state and local governments from giving information about a Coloradan’s race, ethnicity, national origin, immigration status, or religious affiliation to the federal government unless it is for a legal and constitutional purpose.
We’re monitoring debate today on the floor of the Colorado House over House Bill 17-1230, the Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act, a bill to protect “Colorado residents from federal government overreach based on a person’s status.” The bill draws its name from Gov. Ralph Carr, the Republican governor of Colorado who stood up for the welfare and dignity of Japanese-American internees during World War II, and gained new urgency after President Donald Trump began making good on his threats to ban travel to the U.S. from certain Muslim nations and rounding up immigrant mothers.
Debate on this bill today in the House has been fierce and ugly. Republicans have led a drive to pull Gov. Carr’s name off the bill, and to insert language from Rep. Dave Williams’ failed bill to penalize so-called “sanctuary cities”–both actions that Democrats found highly objectionable given the bill’s intentions and namesake.
And then freshman Rep. Philip Covarrubias, Republican of Adams County, took it a step beyond:
“We keep hearing about how things went down with the Japanese people. For anybody who has never been in the heat of combat, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and all of that was going on, there’s no time to ask questions about who’s a citizen and who’s not.
“You don’t have that moment in time. You need to regroup. It’s easy to sit up here and say this stuff now. If you’re in that moment, it looks a lot different than being able to be in a nice suit and tie. I hear people saying that we need to respect other people’s rights, and I agree with that. But what about THEM respecting OUR rights, our country and our laws? Because I’m not hearing that up here.”
You heard that correctly. That’s Rep. Phil Covarrubias defending the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
And then a little while later, he did it again:
“I’m wondering why the need for the Ralph Carr to explain Japanese-Americans [sic]. What happened prior to this that kicked this all off? I think we were attacked at Pearl Harbor. We need to look at the Americans that are in fear from terrorism, and all of things that we’ve seen over the last few years especially.
“Everybody’s talking about the ‘immigrants’ being in fear, or the other people being in fear. But what about our own people? What about Florida? What about San Bernardino? What about the things that we need to protect and we hold dear here in our own country? We need to take care of our home here and realize that we have plenty of citizens that are in fear. Yes, do we need a better path? Maybe so. But for right now today the way that the law is and the way that it stands, this is where we’re at. I want to protect us. Thank you.”
And with that, Gov. Carr can fairly be said to be rolling in his grave.
“You know I am at least looking at governor” [Pols emphasis]. This is what Coffman told Denver Post reporter Mark Matthews today in Washington D.C. If you are unaccustomed to the language of politics, please allow us to translate:
I don’t actually plan on running for governor, but please float my name so that I can use these rumors to generate support for my re-election bid for Attorney General.
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman
We noted back in January that Coffman was trying to gin up interest for a potential bid for governor. From everything we’ve heard, that effort didn’t go anywhere and Coffman has since indicated privately that she will seek re-election as Attorney General. That won’t stop her from continuing to troll the rest of the potential field for 2018, however.
Coffman may not particularly like her current job as AG, but there is no path for her to win a Republican primary for Governor. Coffman is not what you’d call a beloved figure in the Colorado GOP — certainly not enough to elbow her way into a Republican Primary that is already expected to include State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler (in addition to a wealthy self-funder in former legislator Victor Mitchell). It’s also important to note that Coffman’s biggest financial backer in 2014 was the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA), a group that obviously doesn’t care about the Colorado race for Governor.
Now, if Coffman could figure out a way to create an office of “Chief Troll” for Colorado, she’d have to be considered a frontrunner.
The Hillreports on a powerful new ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee–playing on TV in 2018 Senate race states and with a nationwide digital buy:
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has launched a new ad targeting the GOP ObamaCare replacement plan.
The 30-second ad, titled “The Price,” looks to highlight the increased costs middle-class families could pay for healthcare under the Republican proposal.
The beginning of the ad shows a couple selling their belongings. At the end of the ad, the couple is shown sitting next to a child in a hospital bed.
“What will the Republican health care bill cost you?” writing at the end of the ad says.
Without a word of spoken dialogue, this is one of the most compelling ads against repeal of the Affordable Care Act we’ve seen in all the years the law has been on the books. Much like the resurgence of popularity for “Obamacare” as it faces repeal under President Donald Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress, it’s possible that the country just wasn’t ready to handle this gut-punch of a message until the worst actually became likely.
At the 11th hour, America may finally be ready to hear it.
Quotable quotes from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper today via the Denver Post’sBrian Eason, in which Hickenlooper shows a flash of contempt for President Donald Trump–and the treachery that led to the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court that former President Barack Obama tried to fill over a year ago:
“If someone commits an offense against you, generally, if there’s no consequence — if you just walk away and there’s no consequence — if you have another opportunity, you can be pretty much assured that he’ll do that same thing again,” Hickenlooper said during a press conference. “I don’t think I would hold it against Democrats to say, ‘Maybe we should slow this down.’ Because there are real questions about what happened to Merrick Garland, and I think that those actions — just like elections — have consequences.”
But he stopped short of taking a position himself on the nomination, saying he was “honored” that Colorado had someone as talented as Gorsuch nominated to the nation’s highest court…
Hickenlooper also suggested that the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia could give Democrats another reason to hold off. [Pols emphasis]
“We’re already beginning to hear people say, ‘Hey, if this is a legitimate cloud about the legitimacy of this president, should he be appointing the next Supreme Court, until we get this resolved?’” Hickenlooper said. “Somehow it was OK to wait 10 and a half months without having a candidate stand for the Supreme Court — maybe we should wait another four or five months and see what this investigation proves.”
Shorter Hick: if you let the bullies win, all you’ve done is ensure the bullying happens again. Oh and by the way, Trump’s presidency is just a headline away from full-blown constitutional crisis, so maybe you don’t have to be so, you know, deferential? In terms of Gorsuch’s nomination, this is a message that seems to be directed at one particular U.S. Senator from Colorado.
Democrats should like this tougher side of Hickenlooper, and ask for more.
Today on the Get More Smarter Show: your hosts Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk through the latest in Colorado politics, followed by a detailed interview with Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman on the state of the legislature. Welcome back to Ernest, the first-ever repeat guest on the Get More Smarter Show!
To skip directly to Luning’s interview, jump to -26:05 in the video.
Click here to catch up on our past episodes, and thanks for watching.
As the Denver Post’sJohn Frankreports, former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis, now a radio host on 560 KLZ talk radio, has been charged with felony forgery and one misdemeanor count of voter fraud:
Former Colorado Republican party chairman Steve Curtis, 57, has been charged with voter fraud and forgery, prosecutors say.
Curtis, an AM radio talk show host, appeared Tuesday in Weld County District Court, where he was advised that he faces two counts in the case: forgery, a Class 5 felony, and misdemeanor voter fraud.
Weld County District Attorney’s spokesman Tyler Hill confirmed the charges, but said he couldn’t discuss details of the allegations, which were first reported by KDVR-Channel 31.
However a criminal complaint filed Feb. 1 says the forgery charge stems from “intent to defraud” a woman on the 2016 general election mail-in ballot. The complaint says Curtis lives in Aurora.
As Frank reports, Curtis was the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party through 1999–far back enough that the kids won’t remember him, but excepting TABOR mastermind Doug Bruce’s tax evasion conviction related to an electioneering nonprofit he operated, this is the highest-ranking politico we can recall to be charged with a felony election crime.
And it should go without saying, if Colorado Republicans want to be taken seriously on the issue of election fraud, they really need to stop being literally the only people who actually commit election fraud in Colorado.
(It’s a two-way street – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
CNN reported this morning that Jennifer Sisk, who complained that Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch made disparaging comments about women during a lecture to his law school class, was “a registered Democrat who once worked for former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado.”
But the political background of a former Gorsuch law student who defended the SCOTUS nominee was not provided.
CNN quoted a letter, first reported by NPR, that Sisk wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee, claiming that Gorsuch told her class that “companies must ask females about their family and pregnancy plans to protect the company,” CNN reported.
Sisk writes that she was “distressed by the tenor of his comments” and made her concerns known to the law school’s administration.
Sisk, a registered Democrat who once worked for former Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, confirmed to CNN that she authored the letter.
In discussing Holtgrewe, CNN reported:
Another former student, Catherine Holtgrewe, said she “never heard Judge Gorsuch ever speak disrespectfully to or about anyone.”
“As a former student, I am a witness to the respect that he showed towards his female students and fellow professors at Colorado Law,” she said in a statement. “The supposed remarks he made in his 2016 Legal Ethics class are completely out of character, and I find very hard to believe are accurately relayed.”
Obviously, Holtgrewe’s political operative background is relevant to the story, as is Sisk’s. CNN need not have included Sisk’s political party.
I did not immediately receive a response to a tweet to Ashley Killough, a CNN political producer, whose byline appeared on the piece.
Masket is correct: the states of Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, and West Virginia all hold partisan elections to their state supreme courts. In addition, 20 states hold partisan elections for trial court judges. Several other states have a “hybrid” system of partial partisan elections for the judiciary.
So, what’s the deal with this? We don’t think it rises to the level of perjury, being an apparently innocent misstatement. But Gorsuch is being sold as one of the nation’s greatest legal minds, and there’s just no excuse for him not knowing full well that many parts of America indeed have “Republican judges” and “Democratic judges.”
This is not the minor leagues, folks. We are talking about a lifetime appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court for a 49-year-old judge. Gorsuch’s platitudes about judicial partisan independence may sound good, but they are factually not correct.
► House Republicans are still working toward a Thursday vote on Trumpcare, and the President himself is on Capitol Hill making threats and demands. As the Washington Postreports, President Trump’s tough talk may not be enough to sway skeptical Republicans:
President Trump went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning to sell the House GOP leadership’s plan to overhaul the health-care system as the legislation races toward an expected vote on the House floor by the end of the week. Assuring Republicans that they would gain seats if they passed the bill, the president told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, to stand up and take some advice.
“I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes,’ ” Trump said, according to several Republican lawmakers who attended the meeting. “Honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks.”
But after the meeting, Meadows told reporters that the president had not made the sale, that the call-out was good-natured and that conservative holdouts would continue to press for a tougher bill.
“I’m still a ‘no,’ ” he said. “I’ve had no indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their votes.”
After meeting with Republicans, Trump predicted “a real winner” following Thursday’s planned vote, though Politico also reports that members of the Freedom Caucus were not swayed by Trump’s appearance. Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) also says that he has not yet decided whether to support Trumpcare.
► Denver Judge Neil Gorsuchcontinues to take tough questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the first part of his confirmation hearing to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was asked repeatedly this morning about how he might rule on cases relating to abortion, as Politico explains:
Gorsuch declined to say whether Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, was correctly decided more than four decades ago.
The comments came in an exchange about legal precedent with Grassley, who appeared eager to stave off Democratic attempts to pin Gorsuch down on controversial issues.
Roe “is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch testified.
“I’m not in a position to tell you whether I’d personally like or dislike any precedent. That’s not relevant to my job,” Gorsuch in the discussion with Grassley. “Precedent … deserves our respect. And to come in and think that just because I’m new or the latest thing I’d know better than everybody who comes before me would be an act of hubris.”
When asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) whether he viewed Roe as a “super precedent,” Gorsuch responded: “It has been reaffirmed many times, I can say that.”
Last weekend, the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University confidently proclaimed that Gorsuch would help to overturn Roe v. Wade. These are the same geniuses that think you should boycott the new Beauty and the Beast movie.
► Senate Republican leaders in the Colorado legislature killed a bipartisan measure intended to make adjustments to TABOR in order to free more money for education and infrastructure needs. Republican leadership instead offered up its own solution for dealing with Colorado’s budget woes…nah, just kidding.
A Senate committee led by Republicans who oppose tampering with the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights on Monday defeated a measure to ask Colorado voters if they want to keep more tax revenue for roads, education and health care.
GOP Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa wanted to ask voters to change the way limits on state revenue are calculated under TABOR, the constitutional amendment adopted in 1992.
But the Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee voted 3-2 along party lines to reject the bill.
Colorado Senate GOP leadership made no attempt to conceal their opposition to House Bill 1187, which would have changed the revenue limit under the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights from being indexed against inflation and population growth to personal income growth:
What was unique about House Bill 1187 was that the bill was sponsored by two Republicans: Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction and Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa. It picked up one additional Republican vote in the House when Rep. Lois Landgraf, R-Fountain, supported it.
The bill had the support of two other Republicans in committee – Reps. Polly Lawrence of Littleton and Phil Covarrubias of Brighton – but they pulled their support when the bill was up for a final vote in the Democratic-controlled House.
Right-leaning advocacy groups at the capitol led by the Independence Institute reportedly put intense pressure on the few “backsliding” Republicans willing to support asking the voters for this fix–which is supposed to be consistent with the spirit of TABOR, but in practice TABOR’s so-called defenders in the legislature reliably oppose.
This outcome is not unexpected of course, and in light of the transportation deal leadership in both chambers is also struggling to get through the Republican gauntlet, it’s a reasonable question whether the timing was right for this. Either way, certainly this has been one of the most visible bipartisan pushes to relax TABOR’s chokehold on state revenue since 2005’s Referendum C. And the case made by Rep. Dan Thurlow and Sen. Larry Crowder was compelling even while it was ignored by the Senate “kill committee.”
“We have to fix the process in order to make logical decisions on the budget,” Thurlow said recently. “If they want us to prioritize, they have to take away the restrictions.”
Crowder’s rural southern Colorado district has suffered because of budget-balancing tactics that include reducing fees paid by hospitals to secure matching federal funds. Those fees are counted as state revenue under TABOR, and when they are cut to balance the budget, rural hospitals get less.
“If you look at it realistically, what are we doing here if we can’t govern?” Crowder said. “There is no holy grail in government. Period. Including TABOR.” [Pols emphasis]
A commendable effort that deserves better than it got yesterday from the Senate State Affairs committee. Here’s to this small crack in the highest wall in Colorado politics growing bigger next year.