2022 Primary Election Night Open Thread

UPDATE (8:00 pm): We’re still waiting on full results, but it looks like these candidates will win:

♦ U.S. Senate: Joe O’Dea
♦ Governor: Hiedi Heidi Ganahl
♦ Sec. of State: Pam Anderson
♦ CO-03: Lauren Boebert
♦ CO-05: Doug Lamborn
♦ CO-07: Erik Aadland
♦ CO-08: Barbara Kirkmeyer

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UPDATE: Here’s the latest ballot return numbers for Unaffiliated voters (as of 3:30 pm):

 

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Watch this space for updates when the polls close at 7:00pm.

You’re Not Making Sense, NRCC

Wut?

Republicans are waiting to find out who will be their nominee in CO-07, as Tim “Demon Guy” Reichert, Erik Aadland, and Laurel Imer finish out a long Primary campaign tonight.

In the meantime, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is sending out nonsense statements to media outlets alleging that Democrat Brittany Pettersen is fully aware that she will need to run a political campaign until the General Election on November 8.

We get a lot of press releases here at Colorado Pols. Some of them are less effective than others.

This one is dumber than most:

What, exactly, is the point of reminding reporters that CO-07 is considered a “Likely D” seat? Hey, just wanted to let you know that we probably won’t win this seat no matter who gets nominated tonight!

And what is the “quiet part” that Pettersen said “out loud”? That she is encouraging supporters to get involved in her race?

This is just another reminder that if you don’t have anything to say…then just don’t say anything.

 

Bombshells in Surprise Jan. 6 Congressional Hearing

The congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection held a surprise hearing today that included several new bombshells further implicating former President Trump and top advisers. The main witness today was Cassidy Hutchinson, a former top aide to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows who was privy to many of the innermost discussions in the waning days of the Trump administration.

Hutchinson told the committee that Trump knew that rioters were heavily armed but wanted security officials to let them into the Capitol anyway. She also told stories of an apoplectic Trump lunging at staffers and smashing dishes inside the White House.

Front page of The New York Times (6/28/22)

As Katie Benner writes for The New York Times:

Hutchinson provided many bombshells. The shocking description of Trump wrestling the Secret Service for control of his car on Jan. 6 so he could go to the Capitol. Portraying Meadows, her former boss, as a man who abdicated responsibility to the nation and hoped to be pardoned. And saying Trump knew that his supporters had dangerous weapons when he asked them to march on Congress.

Cheney ended the hearing on a solemn note, saying that democracy is preserved by people “who know the fundamental difference between right and wrong.” People of high rank and power have refused to talk about that distinction with the committee, but Hutchinson, a low-ranking official, didn’t shy from it today.

Via CNN

The Washington Post has more details on today’s revelations, including a description of an enraged Trump literally trying to wrestle the wheel away from his driver when the Secret Service told him it was too dangerous to go to the Capitol:

After the speech, Trump got back in his heavily fortified limousine and literally tried to wrestle the steering wheel away from the head of his Secret Service detail to go to the Capitol, according to Hutchinson, who said she was repeating what she heard from Ornato. (Secret Service decided it was too dangerous.)

Here’s how Hutchinson relayed what she heard from Ornato about the moment:

“The president said something to the effect of ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’ to which [Robert Engel, the head of the Secret Service detail] responded, ‘Sir, we have to go back to the West Wing.’ The president reached up towards the front of the vehicle to grab at the steering wheel. Mr. Engel grabbed his arm, said, ‘Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing. We’re not going the Capitol.’ Mr. Trump then used his free hand to lunge towards Bobby Engel,” Hutchinson testified, and said Ornato motioned to his clavicles to describe a kind of choking-motion. [Pols emphasis]

“Let my people in.”

     — President Trump’s alleged response when told that Capitol rioters were heavily armed.

Hutchinson said that White House Counsel Pat Cipollone had been frantically trying to prevent Trump from going to the Capitol — where he had talked about storming into the House chambers himself — because of clear and obvious legal implications.

Hutchinson also testified that Trump did not want to call off the rioters at the Capitol and had to be talked into making a statement:

Hutchinson said she saw Cipollone “barreling down the hallway” looking for her boss, Meadows. She overheard the conversation: “I remember Pat saying to him, something to the effect of, ‘The rioters have gotten into the Capitol, Mark, we need to go down and see the president now.’ And Mark looked up [from his phone] and said ‘He doesn’t want to do anything, Pat.’” [Pols emphasis]

Today’s hearing should be a watershed moment for all but the most lobotomized Trump supporters. There’s not much that anyone could say at this point to refute claims that Trump was trying everything possible to initiate a coup on Jan. 6, 2021.

Boebert: “I’m Tired Of This Separation Of Church And State Junk”

As the Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson reports, nobody peels the issue down to the metaphorical tighty whities quite like Colorado’s freshman GOP outrage-seeking missile Rep. Lauren Boebert, speaking before a church audience Sunday fresh off the high of Roe v. Wade’s repeal by the U.S Supreme Court:

Boebert’s comments, made Sunday to a crowd at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt, take aim directly at the separation of church and state.

“The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church,” Boebert told the crowd, which applauded. “I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.” [Pols emphasis]

“It was not in the Constitution, it was in a stinking letter and it means nothing like what they say it does,” she continued.

The first-term, far-right congresswoman’s comments are disturbing, several political experts said and were likely inspired by recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings…

Presumably, Rep. Boebert was “inspired” most by the opinion laid out by Justice Clarence Thomas that Roe v. Wade’s repeal should lead to a re-assessment of numerous other civil rights decisions on matters ranging from contraception to same-sex marriage. We’re not sure exactly how the Court’s decision expanding Second Amendment rights squares with a theocratic agenda, though Boebert is also very excited about that one as well. But it’ll be a well-armed theocracy, like you’ve seen on television.

Boebert is certainly not the only Republican elected official who believes in their heart “the church” should “direct the government.” But there are enough Republicans who don’t agree, not to mention all the unaffiliated and Democratic voters who would strenuously oppose junking the separation of church and state, that it’s not something you’re supposed to say out loud.

Lauren Boebert says everything out loud.

Polster Primary Predictions

Over the years at Colorado Pols we’ve frequently run totally non-scientific polls (like this one) asking readers to tell us who they think will be the victor in a particular race. We do this to get a sense of how perceptions might be shifting in a particular race, but we’ve also found that Polsters have been remarkably accurate at predicting outcomes in past elections. Today we’re gathering up all the various polling results from the last 6-8 weeks for the definitive guide to the future (one that begins at 7:00 pm tonight).

We’ll get into the details below, but first, here’s the slate of candidates that readers of Colorado Pols predict will be successful tonight in key Republican Primary races:

♦ U.S. Senate: Ron Hanks
♦ Governor: Greg Lopez
♦ Sec. of State: Tina Peters
♦ CO-03: Lauren Boebert
♦ CO-05: Doug Lamborn
♦ CO-07: (We forgot to poll on this race)
♦ CO-08: Lori Saine

 

U.S. SENATE

In the race for the Republican Senate nomination, Polsters have never wavered over the course of three polls (1, 2, 3) in picking Ron Hanks over Joe O’Dea:

GOVERNOR

Over the course of three polls (1, 2, 3), our readers shifted from favoring Hiedi Heidi Ganahl to betting on Greg Lopez:

SECRETARY OF STATE

We only polled once on this race, but Polsters were overwhelmingly confident that Tina Peters would defeat Pam Anderson and Mike O’Donnell:

 

CO-03

Polsters didn’t vary much in their predictions over the course of two polls (1, 2), giving the edge to Lauren Boebert over Don Coram:

 

CO-05

We polled just once in this race, with Doug Lamborn the clear favorite over Dave Williams:

 

CO-08

Over the course of two polls (1, 2) our readers stuck with Lori Saine over Barbara Kirkmeyer, with Jan Kulmann and Tyler Allcorn trailing far behind:

 

Will readers of Colorado Pols be correct in their Primary predictions? We’ll find out tonight!

Poll: Who Will Be the Republican Nominee in CO-08? (6/27)

Last chance to weigh in on the red side of what will be one of the country’s hottest congressional races. Who do you think will be the Republican nominee for Congress in CO-08? The consensus view is the race has become a two-way showdown between Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer and Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, but Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann and some dude named Tyler Allcorn say it’s not over until it’s over.

Click below to cast your vote!

*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee in CO-08? (6/27)

View Results

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Tina Peters Pulls Lauren Boebert Under The Bus

Rep. Lauren Boebert with 2020 primary campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.

The New York Times has a feature-length profile up today on Colorado Republican Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters, who is by all metrics the frontrunner in tomorrow’s primary for the GOP nomination despite facing multiple criminal charges related to a breach of election system security on her watch in Mesa County in a failed attempt to supply evidence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. Peters’ campaign for Secretary of State has been aided significantly by a lackluster challenge from GOP ex-Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, as well as Peters’ status as a national celebrity in the pro-Trump election conspiracy movement.

Discussing her alleged crimes with the Times, Clerk Peters made a newsworthy allegation that could explain a lot about the mysterious rift that has developed between supporters of Peters and freshman GOP far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert:

Ms. Peters did not just stumble into the world of election conspiracy theories. A review of public statements and interviews with people involved in her case showed she was repeatedly assisted by a loose network of election deniers, some of whom worked alongside Donald J. Trump’s legal team to try to subvert the presidential election in 2020. They are still working to undermine confidence in elections today.

That network’s involvement is just one of several bizarre plot points in Ms. Peters’s case. The Mesa County breach involved a former surfer who was dressed as a computer “nerd” and made a FaceTime call during the operation, reporting by The New York Times shows. Afterward, the crew shared their loot — images of voting machine data — at a conference streamed online, advertising the effort to thousands. On Friday, Ms. Peters told The Times that her congresswoman, Representative Lauren Boebert, “encouraged me to go forward with the imaging.”

Full stop! That’s Tina Peters accusing Rep. Boebert of encouraging Peters to commit the acts for which she stands accused of felony and official misconduct charges. If it’s true it’s a huge problem for Boebert, one that could (or for all we know may have already) drag the freshman representative with her own lengthy baggage train back into an investigation she has already once been accused of improperly meddling in.

A press officer for Ms. Boebert, a Republican, called the claim false. [Pols emphasis]

Last November, Boebert arranged for a meeting with fellow Republican Mesa County DA Dan Rubinstein to investigate “concern” expressed by “many” of Boebert’s constituents over the investigation into Peters’ alleged misconduct. But instead of emerging from that meeting critical of the investigation and defending Tina Peters, Boebert praised Rubinstein and expressed her confidence that the case against Peters was being handled fairly.

Rep. Boebert and Clerk Peters have more in common than geographic proximity. Boebert’s original campaign manager, far-right Western Slope activist Sherronna Bishop, has become Peters’ closest friend and confidante since the investigation into the theft of election data from Peters’ office became public. One of Boebert’s prospective Democratic opponents in the CD-3 race has already called for an investigation into the relationship between Peters and Boebert, which Boebert responded to with her now-boilerplate threat to sue.

For whatever reason, which we attribute to having less to lose, Tina Peters is much more willing to talk about all of this than Lauren Boebert! It’s pretty evident at this point that a major falling out occurred between Boebert and Peters–and even though Peters is now a major figure in the election conspiracy theory that Boebert vociferously supported and has never once renounced, Boebert wants nothing to do with Peters.

We want to know why. And we’ve got a suspicion Tina Peters wants to tell us more.

Whoa! Heidi Ganahl Won’t Host Election Night Party

UPDATE: Somehow Hiedi Heidi Ganahl found a way to make this all even weirder:

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is not exactly projecting confidence ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election showdown with Greg Lopez:

Heidi Ganahl will spend Election Night singing into an unplugged microphone.

This is a pretty amazing declaration by ANY campaign, let alone one that was supposed to be the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor. It is very uncommon for high-profile campaigns to refuse to host an Election Night party to gather and thank supporters. The only other example of this we can think of occurred in 2016, when then-Senate hopeful Jon Keyser made it known that he planned to watch his own defeat in private. Here’s what Republican pundit Kelly Maher said at the time about Keyser’s announcement:

“That’s a really bad sign. The only reason to not have an event is if you have some information that doesn’t point to a favorable outcome.”

As we wrote in 2016, even Scott McInnis held an Election Night party in 2010 when he knew he was going to lose the GOP Primary for Governor.

This is a terrible look for the Colorado Republican Party even if Ganahl ends up winning the nomination tomorrow. That the real action for Republicans on Tuesday will be at some place called “Deep Space” is a joke that writes itself.

Colorado Republicans Can’t Help But Bearhug Roe’s Repeal

Colorado Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown.

Last Friday’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade precedent and end the constitutional guarantee of abortion rights in America is, for many religious conservatives including the chair of the Colorado Republican Party Kristi Burton Brown, the fulfillment of a principal lifelong political objective. As Denver7’s Meghan Lopez reported this weekend, the long-term political ramifications of this decision in this ardently pro-choice state cannot so much as even put a dent in Brown’s unbridled glee:

For Kristi Burton Brown, the chairwoman of the Colorado Republican Party, this is a big step forward in a cause she has been fighting for over more than a decade.

“It’s probably the best day I’ve been alive so far [Pols emphasis] to see a whole class of human beings finally brought under the protection of the law,” Burton Brown said. “If you don’t have the right to live, you don’t have any other right.”

Well before Burton Brown started leading the Republican Party in the state, she first made headlines in 2008 for spearheading a ballot initiative to stop abortions in Colorado.

“I first got involved in politics working in the pro-life issue, trying to work for every child to be recognized as a human being and have the right to life,” she said.

Congressman Ken Buck, a proud warrior “for the babies,” is equally thrilled:

The Supreme Court made the right decision in overturning Roe v. Wade, a tragic abortion mandate that has cost over 73 million unborn babies their lives. The power to decide this profound moral question has officially returned to the states, where it will be debated and settled in the way it should be in our democratic society—by the people.

Heidi Ganahl.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl likewise celebrates the victory for “state’s rights.”

The Supreme Court has made the right decision today in empowering the states to make their own laws regarding abortion. State rights are essential to a thriving Constitutional Republic.

But as readers know, there’s a problem with Ganahl praising abortion rights becoming a state-by-state question without answering the next logical question–where she stands:

“Heidi is pro-life. She believes there should be exceptions made concerning rape, incest, and the health of the mother,” campaign spokeswoman Lexi Swearingen wrote in an email to Colorado Newsline.

As for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, although he has tried mightily to avoid the subject before the primary next Tuesday, like Ganahl he is on record in opposition to Colorado’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, passed this year ahead of the anticipated repeal of Roe v. Wade to codify abortion rights in Colorado. Both O’Dea and Ganahl rely on the same bogus arguments against RHEA supposedly allowing abortions “up until birth,” despite abortions beyond 21 weeks making up less than 1% of procedures, and in practically all such cases the result of dire medical necessity. Not to mention that a ballot measure to ban abortion beyond 22 weeks in Colorado went down in flames in 2020, a clear warning that this is not a politically tenable position in our state.

Far from showing any caution on the issue in a state where strident anti-abortion politics have repeatedly tripped up Republican candidates, as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, we may well have yet another statewide abortion ban on the ballot in November:

There is a proposed ballot measure that is aiming to get onto this fall’s ballot that would declare abortions murder. That proposal, currently known as Initiative 56, has been approved to gather petition signatures, and supporters have until Aug. 8 to turn in at least 124,632 signatures of valid registered votes to qualify for the ballot.

Even after Colorado tightened up petition requirements to qualify ballot measures a few years ago, religious conservatives retain a major advantage in gathering signatures for abortion bans by circulating their petitions directly in churches across the state. Once they reach the statewide ballot, however, the “Personhood” abortion bans historically became a major liability, drawing out liberal voters in opposition who might otherwise be less likely to turn out. In 2012, Republicans sighed with relief when then-Secretary of State Scott Gessler torpedoed the “Personhood” abortion ban headed for the ballot that year, fully aware that the backlash against these measures was severely dragging down Republican candidates sharing a ballot with them.

Re-energized by our radical Supreme Court, local Republicans will have to re-learn these lessons.

The hard way.

What Does Voter Turnout Tell Us About November? Not Much

Voter turnout numbers in Colorado resemble 2018 more than 2020.

Political pundits often attempt to connect voter turnout numbers in a Primary Election as some sort of harbinger of things to come in a General Election. Most of the time there is little correlation between the two elections, and that is particularly true in 2022.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office released ballot return numbers on Friday indicating that Republican ballots are being returned in larger numbers than Democratic ballots. Should this trend continue through Tuesday evening, we’d expect some in the GOP to attempt to spin a narrative that Colorado Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting in 2022 than Democrats. There are two very significant problems with this story, however:

First off, the 2022 Primary Election in Colorado is very different than in years past. Republicans have contested races in three of the five major statewide races (U.S. Senate, Governor, Secretary of State) and in four Congressional districts (CO-03, CO-05, CO-07, and CO-08). Democrats, meanwhile, have NO contested statewide races and a competitive Primary in only one Congressional district (CO-03). For many Democratic voters, there are no races on their ballots for which a choice is even available. There’s little incentive for Democrats to even bother submitting ballots when there is nothing to be decided.

The second issue that is skewing ballot return numbers involves Unaffiliated voters. As Colorado Newsline explains:

This year’s preliminary ballot-return data shows that unaffiliated voters are largely responsible for the GOP’s turnout edge so far. Nearly 30% of the Republican primary ballots returned as of June 24 were cast by voters not affiliated with any party — double the number reported at the same point prior to the state’s previous midterm primary election in 2018. [Pols emphasis] Colorado law allows the state’s 1.7 million unaffiliated voters — a larger group than either its 1.1 million active registered Democrats or its 956,904 registered Republicans — to vote in either party’s primary election in a given year, but not both.

In other words, more voters are casting Republican ballots in the Primary Election — but that’s not an indication that Republican voters are more enthusiastic about participating in this year’s elections.

Primary Election turnout is generally not all that indicative of what might happen in November anyway, but this is particularly true in 2022. To borrow a quote often attributed to Sigmund Freud, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Weekend Open Thread

“Today’s tactical victory does not guarantee tomorrow’s strategic success.”

–Gen. Peter Pace

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