The First Rule of Holes is Lost on MAGA Republicans

Maybe you should stop doing that?

At the beginning of the 2023 Colorado legislative session, freshman Republican Rep. Ken DeGraaf of Colorado Springs took to the House Floor to introduce his brand of right-wing nuttery to the rest of the state. DeGraaf punctuated his remarks with an oft-used quote that he clearly never bothered to internalize himself.

“What we have learned from history is that we never learn from history,” said DeGraaf after speaking at length on his opposition to abortion rights – an issue that played a significant role two months earlier in handling Colorado Republicans their worst election losses in generations. There was no indication from DeGraaf that he even recognized the irony in his words.

As we approach the 18-month slog that precedes another national election in 2024, this theme has continued for Colorado Republicans. Far-right Republicans and MAGA adherents seem hell-bent on making the same mistakes, again and again, until one of two things happen: Either 1) These mistakes miraculously morph into success as if by magic; or 2) There aren’t enough Republicans left who can win an election at any level. 

Republicans are still struggling to understand how they could have lost a race for Mayor in FRIGGIN’ COLORADO SPRINGS – historically a bastion of right-wing politics – but the smart ones should be turning their attention to the idiocy taking place in two communities to the north. Democrats have won every statewide race, a majority of Congressional seats, and supermajorities in the state legislature, leaving Republicans with control in just a handful of local municipalities in the Metro Denver area (which most Colorado voters call home). Where MAGA Republicans remain in elected office, such as on local school boards in Douglas County and Woodland Park, they are demonstrating anew why they shouldn’t be put in charge of anything

Let’s start in Douglas County, where Jessica Seaman of The Denver Post reported this week on the latest fallout from an asinine obsession with “Critical Race Theory” (CRT) that has blinded the conservative school board to ACTUAL problems of racism in the district:

Douglas County school board member Elizabeth Hanson resigned Tuesday evening, stepping down before the board was set to vote on changes to the district’s equity policy — one of several areas in which Hanson and the conservative majority have had sharp differences.

“There are some egregious things that are happening on the board right now,” Hanson, who was elected in 2019, told The Denver Post. Her resignation, which is effective immediately, comes months before her term was set to end in November.

“As a Board of Education, every decision that we make should be grounded in how are we making our district better for our students and our employees and this board is sadly failing both,” Hanson told the board when announcing her resignation…

“I don’t feel I can look our students in the eyes and assure them that this board is doing everything in our power to meet our moral and or legal obligations to make sure that our students have an inclusive and safe learning environment,” Hanson said about the potential changes to the equity policy. [Pols emphasis]

Tuesday’s meeting began with a rally outside of school district offices to protest concerns about racism involving the treatment of 14-year-old Jaramiah Ganzy at Castle Rock Middle School. Ganzy’s family says they are moving out of Castle Rock as a result. 

As Elizabeth Hernandez reported for The Denver Post:

In March, 14-year-old Jeramiah Ganzy was so fed up with what he said was racist treatment at Castle Rock Middle School that he wrote an email to district officials. In that message, provided to The Denver Post, Jeramiah wrote that he experienced repeated instances of discrimination, including students directing racist slurs at him and teachers unfairly targeting him for discipline.

“There had been a lot of bullying of people calling me a monkey and a cotton picker,” Jeramiah told The Post in an interview. “I wanted something to happen. I sent the email in anger and frustration, hoping to get a response — and I didn’t.” [Pols emphasis]

This seems like a pretty important topic to address, but on Tuesday, discussion about the district’s equity policy instead devolved into the standard nonsense grievances about CRT, which – like everywhere else that features hand wringing from right-wingers – isn’t even a thing that is taught in Douglas County. Conservatives on the board spent hours overseeing a “thesaurus meeting” in which different sentence structures were debated so that sad white people wouldn’t have to think about racism in real life.  

Tuesday’s discussion was the continuation of fallout from a previous school board passing an equity policy in March 2021. Later that year, four right-wingers were elected to the DougCo School Board, giving conservatives a majority that they immediately exploited. One of the board’s first actions was to direct then-Superintendent Corey Wise to review the equity policy; a week later, the board fired the popular Wise in a split vote that led to accusations of a violation of open meeting laws and a lawsuit from Wise that the board still refuses to settle at significant financial cost to the district.

(The firing of Wise also touched off protests from students, teachers, and educators from across the region. Republican radio hosts such as George Brauchler and Dan Caplis responded by trying to doxx teachers who participated in the rallies.) 

Instead of focusing on reports that a student was threatened with lynching, the DougCo School Board spends its days copy-editing its “equity policy,” which nobody outside of a small group of people will ever read anyway. This is the kind of right-wing nonsense – including efforts to revise the history curriculum – that got three school board members recalled in Jefferson County in 2015, and it’s likely going to eventually lead to the ouster of the current conservative majority in Douglas County.


Via Drew Litton at The Colorado Sun (2/18/22)


Here’s a weirdly-perfect seque…one of the Jeffco School Board Members recalled in 2015 was Ken Witt. Inexplicably, Witt is now the Superintendent in Woodland Park, a small community to the south of Douglas County near Colorado Springs. 

Problems with Woodland Park’s MAGA-inspired school district recently earned national attention via Tyler Kingkade of NBC News:

When a conservative slate of candidates won control of the school board here 18 months ago, they began making big changes to reshape the district. 

Woodland Park, a small mountain town that overlooks Pikes Peak, became the first — and, so far, only — district in the country to adopt the American Birthright social studies standard, created by a right-wing advocacy group that warns of the “steady whittling away of American liberty.” The new board hired a superintendent who was previously recalled from a nearby school board after pushing for a curriculum that would “promote positive aspects of the United States.” The board approved the community’s first charter school without public notice and gave the charter a third of the middle school building. 

As teachers, students and parents began protesting these decisions, the administration barred employees from discussing the district on social media. At least two staff members who objected to the board’s decisions were later forced out of their jobs, while another was fired for allegedly encouraging protests.

These rapid and sweeping shifts weren’t coincidental — instead it was a plan ripped from the MAGA playbook designed to catch opponents off guard, according to a board member’s email released through an open records request. 

“This is the flood the zone tactic, and the idea is if you advance on many fronts at the same time, then the enemy cannot fortify, defend, effectively counter-attack at any one front,” David Illingworth, one of the new conservative school board members, wrote to another on Dec. 9, 2021, weeks after they were elected. “Divide, scatter, conquer. Trump was great at this in his first 100 days.” [Pols emphasis]

What were the odds that Ken Witt would cause the same problems that he caused in Jefferson County? Let’s just say it was a stone cold lock.

If members of the Woodland Park School Board were students of recent history, they might have known that Trump’s tactics cost him a second term in the White House in 2020 and were widely blamed by Republicans for disappointing election results in 2022. But Woodland Park is instead just the latest example of Republicans who prize rhetoric over reality.

The school board’s decisions have won some praise in heavily Republican Teller County, but opposition is growing, including from conservative Christians and lifelong GOP voters who say the board has made too many ill-advised decisions and lacks transparency. 

“I think they look at us as this petri dish where they can really push all their agenda and theories,” said Joe Dohrn, a Woodland Park father who described himself as a staunch Republican and “very capitalistic.” 

“They clearly are willing to sacrifice the public school and to put students presently in the public school through years of disarray to drive home their ideological beliefs. It’s a travesty.” [Pols emphasis]

Teachers grew particularly alarmed early this year when word spread that Ken Witt, the new superintendent, did not plan to reapply for grants that covered the salaries of counselors and social workers. 

At Gateway Elementary School in March, Witt told staff members he prioritized academic achievement, not students’ emotions. “We are not the department of health and human services,” he said, as teachers angrily objected, according to two recordings of the meeting made by staff members and shared with NBC News.

Someone in the meeting asked if taxpayers would get a say in these changes, and Witt said that they already did — when they elected the school board.

The entire story from NBC News is well worth a read. Woodland Park’s MAGA School Board may find themselves with a lot more work to do this fall, because their actions are leading to an exodus of academic experience:

As the school year winds down, many of the Woodland Park School District’s employees are heading for the exit, despite recently receiving an 8% raise. At least four of the district’s top administrators have quit because of the board’s policy changes, according to interviews and emails obtained through records requests. Nearly 40% of the high school’s professional staff have said they will not return next school year, according to an administrator in the district.  

Hooray! High school students in Woodland Park won’t be learning about Critical Race Theory in 2023! Unfortunately, they might not be learning much about anything in the next school year without, you know, teachers.

Three of the five conservative school board members in Woodland Park are up for re-election in November. It would not be a surprise if all three are bounced from office in favor of candidates who are NOT comfortable with Ken Witt or the like-minded nutballs in Douglas County. 

In the meantime, MAGA Republican school board members in Douglas County and Woodland Park might want to familiarize themselves with a different scholarly pursuit…the first rule of holes.

It’s a simple lesson: Stop digging.

Rep. Yadira Caraveo Doing All The Things

Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D).

Some call it negativity bias–we would argue it’s a natural consequence of limited resources and a target-rich environment–but we’re regularly accused in this space of focusing on political misdeeds and deplorable behavior from one side of the aisle, at the expense of coverage of the positive work being done by the majority of Colorado’s federal elected lawmakers.

In 2023, the unheralded workhorse of the Colorado congressional delegation so far has been freshman Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo. In just a few short months, Caraveo has enjoyed above-average success in moving legislation even as a minority member. We wrote earlier this month about Rep. Caraveo’s co-sponsorship of legislation to protect interstate abortion rights. A bill co-sponsored by Caraveo to research the threat of the narcotic “tranq” passed the House earlier this month. At the same time, as Colorado Public Radio reported last week, Caraveo’s seat on the House Agriculture Committee places her front and center in the debate over the next Farm Bill:

Agriculture is big business in Colorado, generating $47 billion annually for the state’s economy and employing more than 195,000 people. And as Congress begins writing the next iteration of the Farm Bill, Colorado lawmakers like Caraveo are doing their best to make the case for the state in this massive piece of legislation.

As a member of the House Agriculture Committee, Caraveo will have a more direct role than most of her colleagues. She said meetings like this are vital as she helps craft the nation’s food policy for the next five years…

There are a lot of members from the Midwest, the Southeast and California on the House Agriculture committees, but hardly any from the Rocky Mountain West or even the greater Southwest.

In addition to agriculture policy, Caraveo is also co-sponsoring with most of the delegation the newly-reintroduced Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act, a long-sought effort to protect hundreds of thousands of acres of public land in Colorado:

Sen. John Hickenlooper and Rep. Diana DeGette, Jason Crow, Yadira Caraveo and Brittany Pettersen will co-sponsor the legislation.

Previously, the House of Representatives has passed the CORE Act five times with bipartisan support, but the bill has been unable to get through the Senate. Sen. Bennet and Rep. Neguse first introduced the CORE Act to Congress in 2019…

The dynamics in the current Congress are different than when the CORE Act was last up for a vote. Republicans have a majority in the House, while Democrats hold a narrow majority (51-49) in the Senate. In previous votes, support for this public lands legislation has followed party lines, with Republicans, including Rep. Lauren Boebert, voting against it.

Rep. Lauren Boebert couldn’t care less about protecting some of the most iconic mountain wilderness areas in her district, but the CORE Act enjoys solid bipartisan support in polling. It’s not the first time we’ve noted the irony of the majority of the delegation stepping in to do what should be Boebert’s job–much like they did with appropriations requests that Boebert refused to vote for in the previous Congress, but still took credit for with constituents.

The antics of unserious politicians like Boebert do tend to hog the limelight, particularly now that she’s been proven to be one of the most vulnerable Republicans in Congress. It’s the polar opposite of Rep. Caraveo’s growing list of understated accomplishments. Most of the news coverage about Caraveo in the past few weeks has focused on Republican spending on her competitive seat and the silly proposition of 2022 U.S. Senate loser Joe O’Dea running against Caraveo–not the productive work Caraveo is doing every day in Congress.

We can all try harder to give credit where due, and we should.

No Russia for You!

Three more Colorado politicians can’t go…here, anymore.

Three more prominent Colorado Democrats have been banned from entering Russia: Gov. Jared Polis, Attorney General Phil Weiser, and Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen.

As Colorado Newsline explains:

Three elected officials from Colorado are included on a new list that Russia’s Foreign Ministry released of 500 U.S. citizens banned from entering the country.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, Attorney General Phil Weiser and U.S. Rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood, all Democrats, are named on the list alongside other government officials, journalists, professors and historians, and arms company leaders who have supported Ukraine…

…The Russian ministry’s statement said the new entry bans come as the Biden administration “regularly imposes personal anti-Russia sanctions … to create as much hardship for Russia as possible.”

Polis and Weiser were not exactly heartbroken by the news:


Polis, Weiser, and Pettersen join a long list of other local and national officials who have shown support for Ukraine amid the country’s invasion by Russia — and subsequently suffered the great tourism ban as a result.

Oath Keepers Leader Gets Eighteen Years For January 6th

Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes.

The Washington Post reports:

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was sentenced to 18 years in prison Thursday in the first punishments to be handed down for seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. U.S. prosecutors asked for up to 25 years in prison and the longest sentence by far in the rioting to deter future acts of domestic terrorism, arguing Rhodes played a significant role in spreading doubt about the 2020 presidential election and led more than 20 other Americans to seek to use violence against the government to thwart the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

“These defendants were prepared to fight. Not for their country, but against it. In their own words, they were ‘willing to die’ in a ‘guerrilla war’ to achieve their goal of halting the transfer of power after the 2020 Presidential Election,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Nestler wrote in sentencing memos for the prosecution team.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta to find that Rhodes’s actions were meant to intimidate or retaliate against the government, creating “a grave risk to our democratic system.”

In September of last year, a leak of the alleged membership list for the Oath Keepers paramilitary organization revealed nearly a thousand members here in Colorado, including law enforcement and at least two elected officials. By that time, the group’s connection to the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol had already made them politically toxic, and nearly everyone contacted by the press for appearing on this list explained that at some point in the past they realized the Oath Keepers were “too extreme” and had separated from the organization.

If they prosper, none dare call it sedition. But the January 6th insurrection failed. Now that the leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers have been convicted of seditious conspiracy to keep Donald Trump in office after losing the 2020 presidential election, the next logical step is charges against the higher-level conspirators. The January 6th Select Committee presented ample evidence of high-level contacts between the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and Trump operatives including Roger Stone and Michael Flynn. John Eastman, the University of Colorado conservative scholar-turned coup plotter, continues to provide legal representation to Oath Keepers even while proceedings to disbar him in California continue.

As unsavory a figure as Rhodes may be, he’s still just the low-hanging fruit of accountability for January 6th.

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Thanks For Nothing, Ken Buck (Default Pay Cut Edition)

Rep. Ken Buck with his finger on the problem.

As negotiations between the GOP-controlled U.S. House and the rest of the civilized world continue over what should be a routine vote to honor the nation’s debt obligations as required by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, GOP hardliner Rep. Ken Buck announced last week that in the event the federal government defaults on its debt, he would support legislation to withhold paychecks from members of Congress. MSNBC:

“I have confidence in Speaker McCarthy, and Speaker McCarthy knows exactly what I want. We have to reduce discretionary spending in this country,” Buck says.

Asked whether he would support the bipartisan bill in the House that would block pay for members of Congress if the U.S. defaults, Buck replies, “Yes, I would.”

The irony here is that Rep. Buck was one of only four Republicans to vote against Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling proposal calling for far-reaching spending cuts, which itself is considered long dead as negotiations over a compromise continue. Justifying his vote against McCarthy’s debt ceiling proposal, Buck upped the ante by calling for the retirement age in America for most workers to become the highest in the world.

Buck gets some credit for honesty in stating exactly what he wants no matter how politically unpopular it may be, something that most Republicans can’t or won’t do themselves. But if Buck wouldn’t even support McCarthy’s legislation and its sweeping cuts, how can he possibly bring himself to vote for a compromise brokered between McCarthy and the White House? Given that Buck has never voted for a debt ceiling increase even when Republicans were in charge, we already know the answer. Either Buck is counting on cooler heads than his own to prevail, or he’s wilfully courting disaster.

Either way, we agree that Buck is not exactly earning his paycheck. However this standoff ends, Buck has made sure he’ll be part of the problem not the solution.

Thursday Open Thread

“It is an unfortunate human failing that a full pocketbook often groans more loudly than an empty stomach.”

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

DeSantis’ Campaign Launch An Epic Technical Disaster

Not even Fox News can spin this one:

A short while later, the headline was updated:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Politico reports, and if you were one of the several hundred thousand Americans who tried to tune in this afternoon, a precious half hour or more of your life was thus wasted:

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was set to announce his highly-anticipated presidential bid during a Twitter spaces session Wednesday.

Then Twitter broke.

The app repeatedly crashed Wednesday night as thousands of listeners attempted to tune in to hear the Florida governor announce he was entering the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Thirty minutes into the event, DeSantis was finally able to begin speaking.

After over twenty minutes of static, mic feedback, false starts, and some of the weirdest synth hold music we’ve ever heard, the original audience of up to 600,000 viewers tuned in to hear Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign announcement–a tiny fraction of the audience DeSantis would have gotten from cable news–had dwindled to less than 150,000. Patient users who navigated to a second Twitter Spaces live stream posted by Twitter owner Elon Musk were finally able to listen to DeSantis reading his canned announcement speech, followed by an equally stilted Q&A with various right-wing celebrities like the NRA’s Dana Loesch.

A spokesperson for former President Donald Trump responded: “Glitchy. Tech issues. Uncomfortable silences. A complete failure to launch. And that’s just the candidate!”

The spectacle represented a major embarrassment for both DeSantis and Elon Musk, Twitter’s relatively new owner, one that could haunt the former as he embarks on a bid to win the GOP’s nomination and the latter as he tries to position himself as a political kingmaker in the new media landscape.

But it doesn’t matter, because nobody cares what they talked about now. The catastrophic failure of DeSantis’ presidential campaign launch event will be taught for generations to come as a cautionary tale in political science classes. DeSantis abetted by Musk thought they were executing a game-changing end run around the “liberal media,” but instead made themselves the object lesson for why we need old-school media outlets who don’t fire everyone who knows how anything works.

In Colorado, we’re no stranger to the “failure to launch” phenomenon, and if this afternoon’s technical difficulties seem right out of the Heidi Ganahl playbook, you’re not alone! Even that’s not fair since Ganahl successfully made a few podcasts. But these are the early stumbles that tell us as they have so many times before that a campaign is hobbled from the outset. And with DeSantis starting off 20 points behind the presumptive 2024 nominee Donald Trump, this debacle might really be DeSantis’ defining moment.

Or…it can’t get any worse. If you’re a DeSantis optimist, that’s what you’ve got left.

The Race for Denver Mayor is a Matter of “Responsibility”

The two finalists for Denver Mayor — Mike Johnston and Kelly Brough — are actually quite similar in how they would approach many of Denver’s most pressing problems in the months and years ahead. 

These similarities were again obvious in a recent debate hosted by Denver7, Denverite, and Colorado Public Radio. As Conrad Swanson wrote for The Denver Post:

They both agree that the city needs more affordable housing, additional child care options and an influx of people and businesses downtown. They differ only slightly on whether to use taxpayer funds to build the Denver Broncos a new stadium and disagree outright on whether the city should revise its snowplowing policy.

Only once during the debate did the pair verge on actually debating each other. And even in that case Brough reminded Johnston that they had both supported the same piece of legislation.

This isn’t to say that Brough and Johnston agree on every issue. Brough supports a potential ballot measure that would seek taxpayer dollars to build a new stadium for the Denver Broncos; Johnston does not. Brough supports “qualified immunity” for law enforcement – essentially removing some personal liabilities for police officers. Johnston does not.  

Where Kelly Brough and Mike Johnston diverge the most is in how they discuss their respective histories: One candidate takes no responsibility. The other takes too much responsibility. 



A Self-Own Only Lauren Boebert Could Achieve

Rep. Lauren Boebert and family on the cover of her book “My American Life.”

One of several filters we apply before deciding to post on a news item involving Colorado’s perpetual controversy machine Rep. Lauren Boebert is trying to ensure that the subject has an intersection with political issues that Boebert has taken a position on. When Boebert announced publicly that her 17-year-old son was about to be a teen father, for example, her attempt to spin the situation as “choosing life” was fundamentally compromised by Boebert’s vitriolic opposition to sex ed courses that might have helped her son avoid the serious negative consequences of teenage parenting.

Well, as The New Republic’s Tori Otten reports, yesterday Boebert bested herself in the unintentional self-owning life’s story department, conceding guilelessly that unaffordable birth control led directly to the birth of one of her four children:

“I left a prescription at a pharmacy once. I went to get birth control,” Boebert said, explaining that the price was so high she thought the medicine was for three or even six months. But it turns out she was only getting one month’s worth of birth control.

“I said, ‘It’s cheaper to have a kid.’ And I left it there, and now I have my third son,” Boebert said. [Pols emphasis]

Boebert then said that not being able to afford her medication “turned out to be a really great thing” because it resulted in her son. But instead of making birth control easier to access for people, Boebert has decided to force everyone into the same predicament she was in.

Of course, if you have now or have ever had kids, you’ve already done the math in your head to know that Boebert’s claim that birth control costs more than having a child is totally absurd. But Newsweek dutifully went through the motions of contacting someone qualified to explain that yes, Boebert’s suggestion is totally absurd:

“The congresswoman’s statement is not factual and misleading,” Kristen Batstone, a policy expert for the National Women’s Health Network (NWHN), told Newsweek. “The average cost of the birth control pill can range from 0 to $50 depending on a person’s insurance status. LARCs [Long-Acting Reversible Contraception], such as the implant or IUD [intrauterine device] can be more expensive, but nothing that compares to the cost of giving birth in the United States.”

The average cost of childbirth is about $18,865 and includes pregnancy, delivery and postpartum care, according to the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, a nonprofit focused on health issues, according to data collected in 2022…

“Even with insurance, out-of-pockets costs average around $3,000,” Batstone said. “These costs do not include extra bills, insurance premiums or ambulance costs….Further, research suggests postpartum women are more likely to experience medical debt than other women.

And that’s just the cost of giving birth, to say nothing of the cost of raising a baby to adulthood. The cost of contraception for most Americans was stabilized years ago by the Affordable Care Act, which we shouldn’t have to explain Boebert hates with the fury of a thousand proverbial suns. But if that’s not enough hypocrisy, Boebert voted just last year against the Right to Contraception Act to protect access to birth control following Justice Clarence Thomas’ not-so-veiled threats as Roe was repealed–and then sponsored legislation to defund Planned Parenthood in the new GOP-majority House.

Rep. Boebert has worked throughout her short career to make birth control harder to get and more expensive. Boebert would vote in a minute to repeal the laws on the books that make contraception affordable or even free for the majority of Americans, and wants to defund the largest provider of reproductive health services in the United States. It’s with this agenda in mind that Boebert unwittingly told her fictional story about how birth control cost more than having one of her kids.

No one forces Boebert to make such a perfect fool of herself. She does this to herself. Every time.

Who Will Be the Next Mayor of Denver?

We’re two weeks away from the June 6 runoff election in Denver that will determine the first new Mayor of the largest city in Colorado in 12 years.

When we asked this question after the April 4 election results — which readers also predicted correctly — former State Sen. Mike Johnston was the overwhelming favorite. Has that perception changed? Is former Denver Chamber of Commerce CEO Kelly Brough closing ground? You tell us…

As always in our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know who you THINK will win the race — not which candidate you might prefer. Readers of Colorado Pols know their Colorado politics, so we want to share your knowledge with the world.


Who Will be the Next Mayor of Denver?

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Everybody Gets a New Mayor! (feat. Alan Salazar)

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk again with legendary Colorado politico Alan Salazar to preview the June 6 Denver Mayoral election and discuss his final days as Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

Later, we discuss how and why Republicans are losing municipal races across the country — including a shocking upset in Colorado Springs by Yemi Mobolade. Senator John Hickenlooper, seems to share our ranking for our 8th favorite member of Congress from Colorado — and he has a banger of an OpEd in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel to prove it. State Rep. Scott “There is No” Bottoms, who is either our 18th or 19th favorite Republican in the Colorado House, gives up the game on GOP obstruction. And someone with a podcast less popular than ours is lying to his audience, himself, or more likely…both.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

The Colorado Republican Party: Not Just Morally Bankrupt

State GOP Chair Dave Williams will criticize Democrats for food donations

Regular readers of Colorado Pols are well aware that the Colorado Republican Party has been caught in a downward spiral for many years now. Despite getting absolutely hammered in the last three election cycles, Republicans haven’t yet hit rock bottom…

But they’re pretty damn close.

As The Colorado Sun reports today in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, the Colorado Republican Party has advanced from “morally bankrupt” to “almost literally bankrupt”:

If the Colorado Republican Party had employees in April, they didn’t get paid.

It’s the first time in at least 20 years the party didn’t pay any employees. [Pols emphasis]

And the party’s actual bank accounts have less money than the $120,540 a recent filing said the party had on hand, according to an addendum to the GOP’s Saturday filing with the Federal Election Commission.

“The executive board has formed a committee to investigate the discrepancy and will likely lead to the restatement of previous reports to account for the error,” the addendum concluded.

The Colorado GOP raised only about $58,000 in the first four months of the year, including less than $15,000 in April. The party spent more than $15,000 last month, with more than $9,100 going to health and dental benefits. It’s unclear if anyone is working for the party; no staff is listed on its web page. [Pols emphasis]

Party Chairman Dave Williams, a former Colorado Springs state representative elected to lead the party in March, didn’t return phone calls, text messages or emails from The Colorado Sun seeking comment. Colorado Public Radio reported last month that Williams was also working a full-time job as a legislative aide.

Tom Bjorkland, the party’s new treasurer, referred questions to Williams. The initial April report Bjorkland filed late Saturday night reported only $3,000 in contributions. An amended report was filed late Sunday.

As you can see from the image below, the Colorado Republican Party doesn’t even seem to know how much money it doesn’t have:


New State GOP Chair Dave Williams has been earning a living lately by taking an apparent no-show job as a state legislative “aide.” The Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party is (theoretically) a full-time paid position, but Williams has acknowledged that the Party hasn’t yet been able to write him a check for whatever it is he does there.

Can someone please turn off the lights back there?

Williams has also openly talked about the need to “fix” some internal problems left over from the Kristi Burton Brown era (2021-23). To be fair, the problems facing the Colorado Republican Party are a multi-year train wreck. It’s no doubt hard to get Republican donors excited about a Party that has been pummeled at the polls for three straight election cycles; there is not a single statewide elected Republican left in Colorado, and the GOP’s biggest star (Rep. Lauren Boebert) spends most of her time speaking at fundraisers in other states.

Colorado Republicans also have something of a spending problem, which is ironic for obvious reasons. Back to the Sun:

From January through April, Colorado’s GOP spent more than $263,000. That compares with $539,000 spent in the first four months of 2021, a nonelection year. Of this year’s spending, $73,000 went to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for legal services. [Pols emphasis]

A significant portion of this legal bill is probably related to a January lawsuit in which the  El Paso County Republican Party sued the State GOP. You read that correctly: The Colorado Republican Party can’t afford to pay salaries in part because it has been pissing away money defending itself from other Republicans. Oddly enough, Williams was active in the El Paso County GOP when it sued the State Party — before he was elected State Chair — so he essentially ended up suing himself. Good times.

It’s hard for Colorado Republicans to start planning ahead for 2024 when they’re still figuring out how to pay the bills next month. We’d end here by saying things can’t get much worse for the Colorado GOP, but we don’t want to underestimate their abilities.