The 2020 election is over (yes, even for you, President Trump), which means it’s time to gaze into our crystal ball and take a first look at 2022.
Go check out The Big Line2022, then come back here and air your grievances. Keep in mind that early editions of The Big Line are more speculative than scientific; we will adjust names and odds throughout the next two years as things change and more information becomes available. Note that we had a harder time than normal coming up with Republican challengers in several key 2022 races because the Republican bench in Colorado is basically a phone booth.
Percentages listed on The Big Line are intended to reflect our estimation of the outcome of the biggest election battles in Colorado in 2022. Love it or hate it, The Big Line is usually pretty accurate; the only race we got wrong in 2020 was in CO-03, where nobody really knew anything heading into Election Day.
Clockwise from left: Senate President Leroy Garcia (D), House Speaker KC Becker (D), Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert (R), House Minority Leader Pat Neville (R).
Faith Millerreported yesterday for Colorado Newsline on the goals for the (hopefully) three-day extraordinary session of the Colorado General Assembly that gaveled in today to work on a package of economic relief bills at the request of Gov. Jared Polis:
The administration of Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic leaders in the state House and Senate have framed the session as a necessary stopgap after coronavirus relief talks between Republicans and Democrats in Congress fell apart.
“We had all been expecting and hoping for greater federal action, which hasn’t materialized,” House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, told reporters during a virtual news conference Nov. 29.
Becker added that lawmakers will be provided with KN95 masks and asked to get diagnostic COVID-19 tests before Nov. 30. Rapid surveillance tests will be available for legislators, staff and reporters each day of the special session, which is expected to last a few days.
From the joint statement by Democratic House and Senate leaders:
“Congressional inaction has left millions stranded – completely abandoned in their time of need. Small businesses have been drowning for months waiting for comprehensive federal aid, while hardworking Coloradans anxiously watch housing and unemployment support dissipate,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “The amount the Colorado state government can do to alleviate the burdens of struggling communities is limited, but it’s not nothing. That’s why we are using everything in our power to deliver the support families and businesses need to make it through another couple months. I fully believe that federal relief is on its way, but Coloradans simply can’t wait any longer. This stimulus package will help cover the immediate needs of those hit hardest by the pandemic and buoy us until more help is available.”
“We have to do everything possible in Colorado to help families, workers and businesses get through the challenging months ahead,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “This pandemic is taking its toll on nearly every Coloradan, with businesses on the brink of closing and families struggling to avoid eviction or foreclosure. Only Washington can deliver the kind of comprehensive relief our communities need, but Coloradans can’t wait any longer. Our state government will step up with every tool we have, despite our limited budget, to do what we can to help bridge the gap until Congress acts and until a vaccine is ready.”
With Republican co-sponsorship for the most important parts of the proposed stimulus package–relief for capacity-restricted businesses, targeted tax relief, childcare and rental assistance, utility assistance–we don’t expect to see much in the way of conflict over the headline measures of the session. The more accurate our forecast in this regard proves to be, the more satisfied we’ll be on the other side that local Republicans have learned enough from their second consecutive electoral shellacking to come back a degree more reasonable than their counterparts in Washington.
Because the goal of these hopefully no more than three days lawmakers will be spending in one another’s airspace is to get something positive done for the people of Colorado who are suffering most. Not as much as the need requires, which is well beyond the state’s fiscal capacity. But something.
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► Lawmakers in Colorado kicked off a (likely) three-day special legislative session this morning. As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post:
With the coronavirus spreading uncontrolled throughout the state, lawmakers hope to spend as little time together as possible, and so they enter the special session with a specific and limited game plan. If all goes as expected, they’ll be in and out of the Capitol in three days — the minimum time it takes to pass a bill — having passed at least seven measures (and probably no more than 10) that’ll spread a total of about $328 million in COVID-19 relief around the state — $228 million in economic stimulus and $100 million to protect public health.
“Our objective is to go in there with precision, focused, with a greater majority on the items we’ve already identified and talked about,” said state Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “There’s not time or need for any sorts of shenanigans, and they wont be tolerated by me.”
Everyone seems to be mostly on the same page.
If you were wondering about mask-wearing at the Capitol, Burness also has you covered:
► The New York Times reports on an important Supreme Court case about redistricting that began this morning:
On Monday, the Supreme Court heard arguments on a question that goes to the heart of American democracy: Must the government count everyone living in the country, citizens or not, in the census totals that the House of Representatives uses to reallocate its 435 seats among the states?
For more than two centuries, the answer has been “yes.” Both Article 1 of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment require that House seats be allotted according to “the whole number” of persons in each state. That phrase has long been read to include all the nation’s residents, whether American citizens, foreigners admitted here on visas or immigrants with no documents at all. But President Trump signaled in a memorandum this summer that he intends to exclude unauthorized immigrants from the 2020 census totals that he hopes to send to the House next year for use in reapportionment.
Federal courts have ruled in three separate lawsuits that Mr. Trump lacks that authority, saying in one case that the question was not even close. But the Supreme Court will have the final say.
► Republicans are worried that President Trump’s constant lies about voter fraud could depress turnout in two critical runoff elections in Georgia that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate. Vox.com has everything you need to know about the Georgia runoffs.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
U.S. Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert (R-CO) is relieved that members of Congress are allowed to carry firearms in Washington, despite the city’s gun ban, but she’s angry at the Capitol Police for not providing her with a way to store her gun while she’s on the floor of the House of Representatives, where guns are prohibited.
During her orientation for new House members, Boebert asked the Capitol Police if they’d provide a locker for her to store her gun while she’s voting in the House chamber.
After not getting a clear response, she asked if she could store her gun in the existing lockers used by the Capitol Police.
The police denied her request.
“Okay, so what am I supposed to do?” asked Boebert as she told this story Friday on Denver’s KNUS radio. “Am I supposed to put my firearm on the ground with a sticky note that says, ‘Please don’t touch. I’m going in here to vote, be right back?’ You know, if I’m going to be disarmed at this point, I need a way to store my firearm.”
We wrote late Monday about the asinine announcement by Jefferson County Republicans that they “refuse to certify” the results of the 2020 elections, something they are not responsible for actually doing as the county canvassing board and Clerk George Stern certify the results. When asked why they were choosing this meaningless method of protesting results that in Jeffco especially were not close, the party cited the same totally unfounded “concerns” about Dominion Voting Systems that got attorney Sidney Powell relieved from her duties with the Trump campaign legal team over the weekend.
Well folks, not to be outdone, the Aurora Sentinelreports today that Adams County Republican Party chair JoAnn Windholz–yes, that JoAnn Windholz–is joining the procedurally meaningless county-level pity party for soon-to-be-ex-President Donald Trump:
The chairwoman of the Adams County GOP said the party won’t accept local election results because she has a “gut feeling” of fraud, even though the party’s representative to the county canvassing board already voted to certify the results.
JoAnn Windholz, who chairs the Adams County Republican Committee, said Tuesday she feels that Democrats and an election technology company conspired to sway the Nov. 3 General Election in favor of liberal candidates in the county. She has no evidence of any cheating or fraud. Election officials locally and nationally have repeatedly said there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud or conspiracy theories.
But seriously. This is 2020. Who the hell needs evidence?
“Well I’m skeptical, yes, but I can’t prove it,” Windholz told the Sentinel… [Pols emphasis]
Windholz’s “gut feeling” is two-fold: she doesn’t trust Democrats or Dominion, a Denver-based election technology firm used by election officials nationwide; and she’s incredulous that Republicans fared poorly in Adams County this year.
…Windholz said Democrats fared suspiciously well this year in Adams County compared to years past. She was elected as a Republican state representative in 2014, but lost reelection two years later to Democrat Dafna Michaelson-Jenet, who easily kept her seat this year.
Colorado House District 30 is a good example of the stated priority in the 2011 reappointment process of drawing competitive districts that could be won at least in theory by either side–so as to facilitate a more authentic contest of candidates and ideas instead of elections decided at the primary level. In 2014, JoAnn Windholz narrowly defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Jenise May, then losing the seat to the current incumbent Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet in 2016. Since 2016, the seat has become more safely Democratic owing to Michaelson Jenet’s popularity as well as the overall suburban shift blue Colorado has witnessed in recent years.
Windholz helped herself along the path to defeat in 2016 when she accused Planned Parenthood of being the “real culprit” in the shooting rampage at the organization’s Colorado Springs office in November 2015 that killed three people and injured nine more. Windholz’s comments were condemned by then-state GOP chairman Steve House, but the local party stood by her–obviously, since she now runs the Adams County GOP.
But why have this honest conversation at all? Trump said it’s a “RIGGED ELECTION!” Repeatedly! In all caps! What more evidence does anyone need? Obviously there are no lessons to be learned when you can simply blame the machines instead of the voters.
This is why Republicans won’t be winning back the Denver suburbs anytime soon, folks.
“You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. But the mark of the good loser is that he takes his anger out on himself and not his victorious opponents or on his teammates.”
Boebert is of course right about counting the same ballots over and over yielding the same results. That’s why it’s tough to understand why the Trump campaign keeps asking for exactly that to be done in Georgia. And as everyone who has been following this process since Election Day knows, the signatures are verified and then separated from the ballots so that they are, you know, secret ballots. Asking for something everyone knows you can’t have is a pretty good indicator of bad faith, but we suppose in Boebert’s case it’s possible she really doesn’t know how any of this works.
We’re gong to go out on a limb and suggest that Rep.-elect Boebert also doesn’t know what an “algorithm” is, other than a word she heard crackpot attorney Sidney Powellsay on TV before Powell got axed by the Trump campaign Sunday–or maybe something Boebert saw on 4/8chan while she was notresearching“QAnon?” Boebert’s expertise in this subject is just enough to know an “algorithm” is something mysterious that takes place inside a box called a “computer” and flips votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Computers themselves are mysterious much like algorithms, since neither shooting them nor even the extreme step of heating them to the proper temperature to kill germs makes them behave. So be afraid.
Here’s how the next two years will work: Q or Sidney Powell or their future outer-orbit crackpot equivalent will say it, and then Lauren Boebert will Tweet the closest version she can manage to her 250,000 adoring fans (not a misprint). Our advice would be to stick to subjects covered in the GED exam, though, or she’ll be out of her depth faster than you can say Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi.
That’s not going to happen, so we expect to bring you “Deep Thoughts With Lauren Boebert” on an all-too-regular basis.
Donald Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs, February 20, 2020.
We’re obliged to note this report in the New York Times, though we’re not ready to take it to the bank:
[Republican Party chair Ronna Romney] McDaniel, a Michigan native, has a gilded political pedigree: She is the niece of Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and the granddaughter of George Romney, a three-term Michigan governor. She earned Mr. Trump’s trust in part by urging him to make trips to her home state during the 2016 campaign, which he credits with helping him win there.
She has told people she does not intend to seek another term after 2022, one person briefed on the discussions said, a move that could ensure her exit before the 2024 presidential cycle gets underway in earnest.
So far nobody has emerged to challenge Ms. McDaniel, but some influential Republicans are trying to stir support for Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, who has just lost his re-election bid and is well-liked among pro-Trump and Trump-skeptical Republicans alike in Washington. [Pols emphasis] Mr. Gardner did not respond to two emails inquiring whether he had any interest in the chairmanship.
In the three weeks since the 2020 election Sen. Cory Gardner and President Donald Trump both lost, Gardner’s failure to join the ever-so-slowly-growing chorus of fellow Republicans admitting the reality that Joe Biden won has stood out–even more so after being cornered in Washington long enough to accuse reporters asking if he considers Biden to be the President-elect of asking “gotcha questions.” After losing his Senate seat in no small part due to his loyalty to Trump while the voters of Colorado migrated left, Gardner’s silence is generally assumed to be in the interest of preserving his standing in the GOP long enough to land his next gig.
It’s not unreasonable to think Cory Gardner might want Ronna Romney McDaniels’ job, and as former head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Gardner undeniably has relevant experience. On the other hand, Gardner leading the Republican Party after running in both 2014 and to a lesser extent in 2020 as a contra-brand “different kind of Republican” highlighting his supposed post-partisanship is a bit whiplash-inducing for those who don’t know him well. Also, K Street pays much better.
Would Cory Gardner give the Republican Party the smooth-talking pitchman they need to move on after Trump? Or would Chairman Gardner just be another indicator that Republicans aren’t learning any lessons? This particular rumor may or may not pan out, of course, but it’s reasonable to assume Gardner won’t be immediately selling tractors in Yuma in 2021.
As Erik Maulbetsch reports for The Colorado Times Recorder, the Jefferson County Republican Party is mad as hell and they’re not going to pretend to be doing nothing anymore. Instead, they are going to pretend to do something that doesn’t mean anything. So there!
The Jefferson County Republican Party announced on Facebook today that it “refused to certify the election results.” Election certification is the responsibility of the canvass board and the County Clerk, not political parties.
Reached for comment, Jefferson County Clerk spokesperson Kara Rowland explained that the county’s election results are already certified…
…Colorado Secretary of State spokesperson Betsy Hart confirmed this.
Oh yeah? Well, then, the Jefferson County Republican Party is going to refuse to certify every election this century! Not only that, they’re thinking about refusing to certify future elections!
2020 Election Results in Jefferson County, Colorado. Not exactly a photo finish.
And what is the Jeffco GOP’s particular beef with 2020?
While the Jeffco GOP says it is not alleging fraud, it is basing its demands for “an audit” on unfounded conspiracy theories about the voting machine software company, Dominion Voting, which is used by Jeffco (and nearly every other county in Colorado).
It’s unclear from the public statements and the party’s so-called “Minority Report” if the Jeffco executive committee understands the county election process. Chair Denise Mund did not return a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]
With regards to the Jeffco GOP’s audit request, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern explains that it’s already happened.
Oh…so you already did the audit thing…that we are demanding. Okay, well, it’s a good thing we demanded it!
We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest other potential actions that the Jefferson County Republican Party can take that will serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.
The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, according to a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy sent Monday afternoon and obtained by CNN.
The letter is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s defeat, more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner in the election.
This may be as close as Donald Trump is going to get to conceding the 2020 election, but we’ll take anything that brings an end to this madness.
Yeah, it’s still true
As The New York Times reports, another effort by President Trump to get the 2020 election results overturned in his favor has failed. Michigan, you are excused:
Michigan’s statewide electoral board approved its presidential vote tally on Monday, resisting pressure from President Trump to delay the process and paving the way for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to receive the state’s 16 electoral votes.
The Michigan vote was one of the biggest setbacks yet for Mr. Trump, who had directly intervened in the state’s electoral process to voice support for Republican officials who had made false claims about the integrity of the vote, and invited Michigan G.O.P. legislative leaders to the White House on Friday. Those leaders said afterward that they would allow the normal certification process to play out.
After reviewing the State Bureau of Elections’ report, which showed Mr. Biden winning the state by 154,000 votes over Mr. Trump, the Michigan board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, voted 3 to 0 with one abstention to certify the results. Norm Shinkle, one of the Republican members of the board, abstained.
Norm Shinkle, thy name shall forever be entwined with the definition of courage. As in, “Unlike Norm Shinkle, the protagonist displayed great bravery.”
Anyway, Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect, and that’s not going to change — no matter how many times they recount the ballots in Georgia.
Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was elected earlier this month in CO-03 with a fairly simple strategy. She apparently sees no reason to alter that approach now that she is Congresswoman-elect Q*Bert.
As The Associated Press reports, Boebert has asked permission to bring her sidearm to the U.S. Capitol on a daily basis:
Boebert asked Capitol Police officials about carrying her weapon when she and other House freshmen taking office in January were in town recently for orientation programs, according to two congressional officials. Both people — a Democrat and a Republican — spoke on condition of anonymity to describe her request…
…A 1967 regulation says no federal or District of Columbia laws restricting firearms “shall prohibit any Member of Congress from maintaining firearms within the confines of his office” or “from transporting within Capitol grounds firearms unloaded and securely wrapped.”
Lawmakers may not bring weapons into the House chamber and other nearby areas, the regulations say, according to a letter Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., wrote in 2018. Aides can carry lawmakers’ weapons for them on the Capitol complex, he wrote.
Boebert won in 2020 by virtue of being a Trump-loving Republican in a Republican-friendly Congressional district, but to get there she had to first knock off a fairly un-interesting incumbent in Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez). Boebert upset Tipton largely because of a shtick that she had been honing for years: She was the plucky young mom who wrapped herself in an American flag and carried a gun on her hip everywhere she went. Boebert painted a simple caricature of herself and rode that puppy through a Republican Primary and the General Election in November.
Keeping Boebert out of debates and away from reporters was part of the campaign strategy, and it seems that letting others speak on her behalf will be a continuing theme in Congress. The AP tried to talk to Boebert about her desire to carry a gun around Washington D.C., but were rebuffed:
Aides to Boebert, who Trump endorsed as “a fighter” who will “never bow down to the establishment in Congress,” did not make her available for an interview.
“This was a private discussion and inquiry about what the rules are, and as a result the Congresswoman-Elect won’t be going on the record,” Boebert aide Laura Carno said in an email last week.
We wouldn’t want Boebert talking to reporters, either, but it seems untenable that staff could shoo away the media and lean only on pre-approved statements for the next two years. But it worked during the election, and that seems to be the plan going forward: Give Boebert her prop gun and make sure she doesn’t have to speak for herself.