Checking in on the website for what would be the third attempt since 2019 to recall Gov. Jared Polis with Secretary of State Jena Griswold thrown in this time because it’s all fantasy and why the hell not, we see that the countdown clock for starting their 60-day petition circulation campaign has ticked down to zero:
We should be on the edge of our seats!
Now, as was the case with Polis Recall 2019 and 2020’s “Polis Recall 2.0,” this is the golden period of opportunity for the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign to be furiously drumming up whatever buzz and earned media they can, in order to maximize any chance at achieving the goal the two prior campaigns couldn’t even get halfway to reaching: over 630,000 valid Colorado voter signatures needed to qualify a recall question for a future statewide election.
Instead, it looks like the Polis Recall campaign has a more basic problem on their hands:
It would appear that somebody in the private Facebook group where recall organizing was to be taking place posted something stupid–we’re guessing they posted a lot of stupid things–about the COVID-19 pandemic that eventually brought the dreaded ball gag of Mark Zuckerberg down around the piehole of the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign on that platform. You would think by now most of these very fine people would have moved to Parler or Gab or whichever alternative network it is these days that allows people to lie about stuff without any consequences. That’s not Facebook anymore, and most people we know not named Ken Buck are pretty happy about that.
But to the extent the Recall Polis-Griswold 2021 campaign was relying on Facebook to organize, it’s back to square one! Perhaps they’ll see reason and just start getting ready for the next regular election in 2022, but we have no reason to expect rational behavior at this point. There’s neither fun nor grift in that.
Checking in as we periodically do on what’s promised to be a third recall campaign against Gov. Jared Polis, there’s a lot of chatter suggesting that another petition drive is in the offing at the end of the month. Readers will recall that the Recall Polis 2021 campaign has promised a 400% bigger effort than the 2020 recall campaign, which is good because Recall Polis 2020 was much less successful than the Recall Polis 2019 campaign was and…well, the math gets complicated but you get the idea. There’s just not much reason at this point to take any of this seriously.
Especially now that their “400% bigger operation” just doubled their workload:
That’s right, folks! Rather than waiting for the general election at its regular allotted interval in November of 2022, this is now apparently a campaign to recall both Gov. Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold. We haven’t seen the campaign’s list of grievances against Griswold specifically as of this writing, presumably Scott Gessler is still writing that up at his billable rate of $450 an hour. But to be clear, the signature requirement to qualify a recall question for the ballot against a sitting Secretary of State is the same as recalling Gov. Polis–and the previous two petition campaigns against Gov. Polis came nowhere close to the 630,000+ valid voter signatures required for a recall to move forward. We’ll never even know how far short the second effort fell because they never turned in their signatures to be verified.
As for why they decided to add Secretary of State Griswold, greatly increasing the logistical hurdle they’ve never once come close to successfully reaching for the much higher profile governor himself?
In the timeless words of Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”
Keeping tabs on what’s become a perennial distraction for Colorado’s more excitable far-right Republican whacktivists, the twice-failed but going for three campaign to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the statewide ballot. Next month, the Recall Polis campaign is back with 400% more…of everything!
Starting with punctuation!
So, we don’t know who this “Newsome” fellow they’re talking about is, but to be clear once again California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom is facing what’s shaping up to be another historic clown show recall election in due to proportionately far lower required signatures to qualify relative to our two states’ population. Gathering 1.6 million signatures in a state of 40 million people is actually a much more attainable goal than in Colorado, where over 600,000 signatures are needed in a state with only 6 million residents.
But that’s not going to stop the Recall Polis 2021 campaign from trying, no doubt hoping a little bit of the energy from California’s recall circus will rub off on Colorado. There’s big money to be raised and paid out no matter what happens, which as we know from the previous two failed attempts is enough reason all by itself to have another go.
And above all, don’t be fooled by imitators–of which there are so very many:
‘Recall Polis 2021’ is the only current recall campaign of Colorado Governor Jared Polis
‘Recall Polis 2021’ is not affiliated with:
Official Recall Polis
Recallpolis.com (fraudulently collecting donations)
Coloradans Against Jared Polis
Friends of Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis
Recall Jared Polis 2020
Recall Jared Polis 2021
So to recap, “Recall Polis 2021” is the only Recall Polis campaign you should send your welfare check to, definitely not to those ripoff artist bastards at “Recall JARED Polis 2021.” There are no “Friends of” the real recall campaign, the “Official Recall Polis” campaign is not official, and whatever you do do not donate to RecallPolis.com because they’re “fraudulently collecting donations.”
Here’s the latest update from the failed but still noisyRecall Polis 2.0 campaign this weekend, doing their best to keep the disappointed faithful on board, despite turning in zero signatures to the Secretary of State by the November 13 deadline which (checks today’s date) expired over a month ago:
Although it’s impossible to know if even the number organizers claim above is accurate, this is the first time we’ve seen an estimate from the Recall Polis 2.0 campaign other than the wildly inflated “progress meter” graphics they posted during the 60-day collection period which suggested back in September they already had over 200,000 signatures. For comparison, and again there’s no way to verify any of this because none of the signatures from either campaign were ever turned in for validation, the “Recall Polis 1.0” campaign claimed to have collected “over 300,000” signatures in 2019–still 50% short of the minimum goal. That means even if we accept these numbers at face value, Recall Polis 2.0 collected 100,000 fewer signatures than the first failed attempt, less than one third of what was minimally needed.
With all of this in mind, the idea that a court should grant this campaign any kind of relief or extension when they haven’t come close to meeting the standard is preposterous. At this point, any Republican with an ounce of political sense remaining should see that every dollar and man-hour devoted to this lost cause is wasted. The repeated failure of recall attempts against both Gov. Jared Polis and various Democratic legislatures since 2018 have made a running joke of the recall process in this state, and this latest refusal to accept obvious failure is just making it worse.
Then again…Donald Trump! If no Republican ever admits to losing again, this discussion could be moot. Fortunately, the rest of us have elections and courts and, you know, reality.
A group of people protested outside of a restaurant in Lyons after the state seized its liquor and suspended its license to serve it over the weekend. The Colorado Department of Revenue says the Lyons Den Restaurant and Taphouse continued to operate with indoor dining despite several warnings and Level Red restrictions.
On Friday, the restaurant posted to its Facebook page saying it will not give up and “won’t be bullied.”
The owner says the Monday protest is meant to be peaceful.
Over at the still-30,000 strong Recall Polis 2020 Facebook group, the Lyons Den protest was warmly received:
But in the comments, the tenor of the conversation escalated into something pretty frightening, well beyond what we’ve seen even within this excitable private forum:
As promised when the so-called “Dethrone Polis 2020” campaign announced Friday that they would not be turning in the required 630,000+ valid voter signatures to qualify a recall question for a future special election ballot, here’s the “request” by a lawyer purporting to represent the campaign asking for a 90-day extension of the collection period, citing public gathering restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.
The 60-day deadline for signature gathering is specified in the state Constitution. Any request for an extension would have to be granted by the courts, Betsy Hart, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said in an email.
Although proponents of the failed abortion ban ballot measure Proposition 115 successfully petitioned the courts for a short extension to citing collection difficulties during the pandemic, that campaign had actually submitted signatures by the required deadline, something the Recall Polis campaign never even bothered to do. With no evidence that this campaign came even remotely close to their goal within the 60 days they had, granting them 90 more days would be silly and unfair.
Not to mention they have to ask a judge, not the Secretary of State. We’ll see if a court case is ever even filed–and if one is, we expect it to survive about as long as one of President Donald Trump’s election lawsuits.
With all of this in mind, the realization that the second in as many recall attempts against Colorado’s popular Democratic governor has failed miserably is not sitting well with the Facebook faithful–and they’re growing despondent over leaders’ silence:
And in the absence of hard information, some are getting a bit twitchy, Michigan-style:
Safe to say, these are not productive methods of coping with bad news.
The reality, much like the half-baked dispute over the presidential election, is that this second consecutive recall campaign against Gov. Jared Polis is all over. We are curious to know just how many signatures organizers claim to have obtained, but unless they actually turn them in for validation we have no reason to believe any number they give us. As we’ve said from the beginning, the logistics of an undertaking on the scale needed to gather more signatures than any campaign in the state’s history would have been visible. It never existed, it was never going to exist, and just like the 2019 recall it was the product of unserious actors who were never capable of succeeding.
Since the 2018 elections devastated a Colorado GOP already reeling from their steady erosion of power over the previous 14 years, the party from the highest levels has done nothing to change course–and the 2020 election proved it. Taking bad advice from bad consultants, Republicans instead dived into a series of recall campaigns against Gov. Polis and state lawmakers in 2019 that not only failed, but seriously damaged the credibility of Republicans from state party chairman Ken Buck on down. Buck’s personal embrace of recalls, and his vice-chair’s direct role in the ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial made it impossible to extricate the party once the campaigns humiliatingly crashed and burned.
Although recalls were always intended for use in exigent cases of misconduct by elected officials, not opportunistic do-overs of fairly decided elections, the abuse of the process for political paybacks by a shrinking minority party in Colorado does appear to have damaged the credibility of Republicans involved. Former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who audaciously played in the failed Sullivan recall after leading the House minority to its smallest size in decades, is as close to persona non grataas he’s ever been. The National Popular Vote legislation cited as justification for recalling Polis and state lawmakers was victorious in a statewide vote. The “red flag” law that had the gun lobby dreaming of a 2013 redux is working as intended.
If Republicans in Colorado ever want to win again, it is this endless state of contrived political crises that has to stop. The last decade of Republican politics has been about disregarding all rules, traditions, and even pretense of cross-aisle engagement, and waging endless, ad absurdum partisan warfare down to the very last mountainous molehill.
We can’t speak for everywhere in America, but the voters of Colorado are sick and tired of it.
Translation: they’re not turning in signatures. Because they don’t have the signatures. Every time they said they were on track to get the signatures, they were lying. This was, as we expected and as was the first Recall Polis campaign, a waste of everyone’s valuable time. The faithful are, needless to say, rather pissed:
Let the excuse-making commence anew! Better luck with Recall Polis 3.0, which should begin shortly.
FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Anticipation builds at the Dethrone Polis Facebook page as today’s close-of-business deadline to turn in 630,000+ valid voter signatures looms:
Stay tuned–don’t make this the only thing you do today, but we’ll let you know how pathetically it ends.
As readers keeping track are aware, and we admit that’s probably not all of you, tomorrow is the deadline for the so-called Dethrone Polis 2020 campaign to submit over 630,000 valid Colorado voter signatures to qualify a recall question against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis for a future special election. We have been following this effort as closely as our finite attention span allows since its kickoff in September, and there has been nothing to suggest anything close to the massive effort that would be required is actually underway to collect more petition signatures than any campaign in the state’s history has ever collected.
Despite this, as readers know, the Dethrone Polis 2020 campaign has postedoptimistic graphics along the way, which they originally claimed showed the number of “petition signatures” collected–later altered to clarify it depicts the number of “petitions in circulation.” We assumed this to mean they had printed and handed out blank petition forms that could hypothetically hold 55% of the signatures they needed.
But when we checked the Dethrone Polis site this morning, the progress meter we’ve become accustomed watching grow to was gone, replaced by this message:
That’s it. “Signature collection is complete.” Which leaves plenty of wiggle room for the question we won’t have definitely answered until tomorrow’s deadline–was signature collection “completed”…successfully? Will the Dethrone Polis campaign actually deliver 630,000+ valid voter signatures tomorrow? Will it be another press conference to announce they (maybe) collected less than half of what they needed like the last Polis recall campaign? Will they show up with empty Budwesier boxes?
The one thing we can say for sure is they’ll have to announce the end of the current recall campaign before they can start the next Polis recall campaign. Who knows? Maybe recalling Gov. Polis will become a permanent cottage industry for little bands of disaffected Republicans who take up the cause, fail, and distribute the money raised among themselves. If nothing else, it’s a fine distraction from losing elections!
You’re right, nobody’s going to pay for this forever. Stay tuned for the ignominious conclusion.
When we last checked in with the Recall Polis 2020 campaign back at the beginning of October, we were somewhat surprised to discover that they claimed at that time to have obtained over 200,000 petition signatures on their 60-day quest ending November 13th to gather 631,000 valid Colorado voter signatures to place a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis on a future special election ballot:
This was peculiar to us since there is absolutely no evidence to suggest a petition campaign on this scale is occurring anywhere in the state, including on the “Dethrone Polis 2020” website where a smattering of events that signers can seek out a petition to sign can be found. There’s no sign of even the level of activity involved in the 2019 Polis recall attempt, which ended in failure with an (unverified) fraction of the needed number of signatures collected.
Sometime after our original post on this questionable claim from the Recall Polis 2020 campaign, the graphic you see above was removed entirely from the site. For us this was a good indicator that we weren’t the only ones raising questions–and sure enough, the most recent version features some important changes:
With just over two weeks left in this petition drive the progress bar is only up to 55%, which isn’t a good sign even if they’re counting actual received signatures. But apparently, we’re not counting “petition signatures” any more at all–this graphic now purports to show the number of “petitions in circulation.” We assume that means they have distributed enough blank petition forms to, you know, hold that many signatures.
In short, the “Dethrone Polis” campaign is 15 days from their 60-day deadline to collect an unprecedented 631,000 signatures plus reasonable padding to cover ineligible signers, and their only claim to success is that they’ve “circulated” 55% of the petition forms.
It’s a joke, folks. Next Friday the 13th, this is going to end in another embarrassing heap of empty boxes. Until then, Democrats can only be grateful for the energy diverted to this fool’s errand instead of Tuesday’s elections.
This is sorta like when an executive gets fired from a company and the HR department sends out an email explaining that the person left “in order to pursue other interests and spend more time with his/her family.” Neville isn’t announcing his plans on the day that ballots go out in Colorado because he suddenly found a new hobby; Neville is backing down from a fight that he knows he can no longer win.
House Minority Leader Pat Neville
That Neville has served as House Minority Leader since January 2017 is more of a knock on his leadership than an example of his staying power. If Neville were better at leading his caucus, perhaps House Republicans wouldn’t still be stuck in the minority. Neville can be elected once more in House District 45 (Douglas County) before he is term-limited, but there is no chance that Republicans can pick up enough seats in 2020 to give Neville a final term as part of the majority party. Neville is thus stepping back behind the curtain before whatever is left of the GOP caucus rejects his leadership after the election. It would surprise nobody if Neville ends up walking away from his House seat entirely before 2022.
You could see this coming following the June 30 Primary Election, when Neville-backed Republican candidates — who were also supported by longtime partner Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) — were wiped out by more moderate less crazy Republican candidates. As we wrote in this space on July 5:
Rumors are growing that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville could be in danger of losing control of the GOP caucus after another poor showing at the polls last week. State Rep. Hugh McKean is now in a strong position to challenge Neville for Minority Leader after victories on Tuesday by Colin Larsen (HD-22), Tonya Van Beber (HD-48), Mike Lynch (HD-49), and Dan Woog (HD-63) — all of whom defeated candidates backed by the Neville Clan and their close friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). The Nevilles and RMGO also lost badly in SD-23, where their support of Rupert Parchment wasn’t enough to stop Barbara Kirkmeyer from cruising to a double-digit victory.
Our back-of-the-napkin math shows Neville with only seven remaining supporters among House Republicans, equal to the seven GOP House members who would likely side with McKean. Depending on how the General Election shakes out, that leaves about 8 Republican Representatives to determine the 2021-22 leadership battle. This could be a significant moment for Colorado Republicans, because a good number of their recent failures can be attributed directly to decisions made by the Neville Clan.
Back in 2013, the Nevilles appeared to be a budding political dynasty in Colorado, with Tim “Pa” Neville taking control of the State Senate, Pat Neville running for the State House, and brother Joe Neville directing campaign strategy for legislative Republicans. But there was an inverse reaction to the Neville Clan’s success; as the Nevilles gained more influence, the fortunes of the Republican Party went in the toilet.
We can only hope that Neville’s political impotence will allow Colorado Republicans to start taking more rational positions on issues such as gun safety, but that’s a discussion for another time. Today, and for the next month or so, the focus is on the end of a ridiculous era for Republicans in Colorado.
They’re the ones saying so, we’re just the messenger:
If the graphic you see above is truthful, the Recall Polis 2020 campaign would have now have in its possession somewhere in excess of 200,000 signatures, on their way to the minimum necessary 631,266 minimum number necessary by the deadline of November 13th to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the ballot. Just like last year, collecting that historic number of signatures would still fall well short of the 30% or more in excess needed to cover the expected percentage of invalid signatures that arise in the verification process–but presumably 631,000 is the campaign’s initial target.
The problem, of course, is that we have absolutely no way of knowing whether this claim has a basis in reality–and plenty of reasons to suspect it does not. The first thing the current recall campaign would logically try to do, assuming they’re in possession of the data, is reach out to the of signers of the 2019 Polis recall petition. That effort claimed to have collected more than 300,000 signatures after the full 60-day campaign, but the true number will never be known since they were never turned in for verification by the Secretary of State.
The thing is, an outreach campaign to those signers just by itself would be a huge logistical undertaking that there’s been no sign of actually taking place. We’re more than three weeks into this recall petition campaign, and it’s true that the campaign needs to be at well over 200,000 signatures collected to be on track for success by the deadline–but apart from this graphic that claims all is well, there’s very little sign of the field campaign that would actually be required to produce those numbers. And even if in the most charitable benefit of the doubt we assume they can get all 300,000 alleged 2019 petition signers to sign again, accounting for an early pad to their numbers, that’s going to leave them distantly short of the number needed just like 2019.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say the Recall Polis 2020 campaign is being completely honest about their numbers, and have actually managed through a herculean yet somehow concealed effort to collect over 200,000 signatures to qualify a recall election question for the ballot at some point after the 2020 elections.
Folks, do you realize how much effort is not being put into winning the election on November 3rd if this is true? The energy expended by Republicans on organizing the Polis recall petition drive on the scale they are claiming is underway now, with a deadline ten days after the election, is such a perfect diversion of resources that Democrats should raise money to help them. Any Republican with even the most minimal sense of self-preservation should be screaming at the top of their lungs to abandon this folly and focus on what actually matters while they still can.
For all of these reasons, we’ll believe it when we see the proof. And we doubt that will ever happen.
The first bonafide photograph of a place where Colorado voters can sign a petition to recall Gov. Jared Polis–not requiring a time machine back to 2019, mind you, the 2020 Recall Polis campaign–was sent to us today from a street corner in Loveland:
That’s the only hard proof we’ve seen of any actual organizing for this latest effort, and the clock is ticking–every day these very fine people don’t collect at least 10,500 signatures (that’s 631,266 divided by 60 days), they’re falling behind the mark. We assume if there were thousands of people lining up in Loveland to sign the petition, they’d send a photo of that instead. And that’s not the worst part: a look at the Recall Polis 2020 “Find a Signing Location” page this afternoon contains a whole lot of nothing in terms of information for such populated places as Jefferson County:
The good news is, you can sign at the Otero County GOP office, conveniently located 180 miles from Denver:
We just looked through the entire “directory” of signing locations, and the only two listings in the entire state direct potential recall petition signers to the La Junta GOP office and a “Save the Republic” rally Saturday in Colorado Springs. If this campaign was serious, they would have been ready with signing locations across the state to follow up the press they received this week that their petition was approved for circulation–thus capitalizing on the less critical media attention these campaigns enjoy at the outset.
But much like the last Recall Polis campaign, we’re making a mistake if we’re presuming this is a serious effort. Any thinking Republican, of course, has no time to waste organizing a futile recall during the height of election season, when every available hand and resource needs to be focused on saving Republican candidates from another impending Democratic wave. If you’re working on this recall instead of helping Republicans who are on the ballot in November, you might as well be helping Democrats.
We’re pretty sure that doesn’t matter to them. So enjoy the distraction while it lasts.
Polling data continues to indicate that Colorado Republicans are in big trouble in 2020. But instead of organizing phone banks or fundraisers in the 50 days left before Election Day, a group of GOP activists have decided to hunker down and focus instead on trying to recall Gov. Jared Polis.
You may recall that in 2019, Republicans tried to recall a half-dozen different Democrats in Colorado. All of the recall attempts failed miserably — and we do mean miserably. The Colorado Republican Party supported these efforts to varying degrees before eventually calling for a full evacuation from Hurricane Recall. That message was apparently not received by some activists, as Jesse Paul reports for The Colorado Sun:
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday approved the petition drafted by “Recall Polis 2020,” which is tied to at least one of the people behind the failed efforts last year to remove the Democrat from office.
The organization has 60 days — or until Nov. 13 — to collect 631,266 signatures to force a special election to decide whether or not Polis, who is halfway through his first term in office, should be recalled.
Thus far, the Recall Polis 2020 issue committee, formed on June 10, reports raising only about $4,000 in cash. Organizer Lori Ann Cutunelli, of Summit County, reported donating more than $7,300 to pay for drafting the petition wording and to make a downpayment on printing costs. Additionally, a GoFundMe campaign has raised about $7,600 from 275 donors.
If you’re still worried that this new Polis recall effort might be successful, go ahead and read this paragraph:
Greg Merschel, one of the people behind Resist Polis PAC — which Coloradans Against Polis was formerly known as — is listed as one of the organizing members of Recall Polis 2020.
We’d love to explain this better, but we’d need an entire office wall and two rolls of red string to map out the lunacy in full.
Before she was “Q*Bert,” Lauren Boebert collected Recall Polis petitions at her Rifle restaurant.
The “Resist Polis” campaign eventually held a comical press conference outside of the State Capitol in Denver, where several plastic boxes full of “petition signatures” were piled up on the West Steps as proof that “Resist Polis” did a thing. Organizers claimed to have collected more than 300,000 signatures, though they refused to submit their bounty to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for verification. We can at least confirm that some of the boxes definitely contained pieces of paper.
Confusion about the recall Polis efforts persisted until the very end. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, now the Republican nominee for Congress in CO-3, literally drove across the state so that she could be there in person when the recall petitions were (not) submitted.
When Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was asked about the recall efforts last summer, he was perplexed that Republicans would be spending time and resources focusing on work that was completely unrelated to the upcoming 2020 election. As The Denver Post reported in July 2019:
Even the state’s highest-ranking Republican officeholder, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, danced around the question when asked about the Polis recall.
“You know what, we gotta focus all we can on winning in 2020; getting our congressional seats back, getting our state legislature back … ,” Gardner said at a recent Republican Party event in El Paso County. “That’s where I’m at. You may agree or disagree, but boy I think we gotta get our nuts and bolts together so that we can win.”
Gardner wasn’t necessarily opposed to the idea of trying to recall Polis; he was more concerned that organizers were diverting the attention of volunteers and donors when the GOP really needed them for the actual upcoming election. This was definitely a problem for Republicans in 2019, but in 2020 it’s an outright disaster.
In a political fundraising email sent yesterday, statehouse Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) underreported the number of Coloradans hospitalized with coronavirus by half. He claims “fewer than 900 people” have had hospital stays, but publicly available state data put the total at over 2,000.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment updates and publishes COVID-19 related data daily online.
Neville’s email asks for donations to fight “the Polis Police State and his leftist propaganda media.”
“Nearly 300,000 Colorado residents are out of work and struggling to provide for their families, while less than 900 people statewide have been hospitalized with Coronavirus.
…Take Back Colorado is fighting to reopen Colorado and get people back to work, but we’re up against the Polis Police State and his leftist media propaganda machine that wants every Colorado resident to be entirely beholden to the Government.
I know times are tough, but your DONATION right now will help us take our fight to reopen Colorado directly to every resident who is fed up with the Polis lockdown and wants to get back to work….
Rep. Pat Neville”[emphasis added]
Neville sent the email just after midday Tuesday, so it’s possible the totals on the state’s COVID-19 website weren’t yet updated. Even if that was the case, the previous day’s total listed 1,880 hospitalizations.
After the failure of last year’s half-baked recall attempt against Gov. Jared Polis, which limped across the finish line with at most half the required number of signatures need even without factoring for error, one of the two groups nominally dedicated to the recall effort became a headline-making controversy after doling out thousands of dollars in unspent donations to a few original organizers and “friends.” This was particularly offensive to donors since the committee in question, the “Official” Recall Polis committee, publicly disparaged the petition campaign to recall Polis and spent no money on the effort.
When we last heard from the registered agent for the “Official” Recall Polis committee Juli-Andra Feuntes, she was facing potential legal action from the Donald Trump presidential campaign after renaming the committee “Colorado For Trump”–to which Fuentes responded by making an acronym of T-R-U-M-P, which now stands for “Truth will Restore the republic and Unbiased Media gives Power to the people.”
That bizarre report from last October was the last word we’ve had about the “Official” Recall Polis campaign and the recipients of that moribund committee’s loose change, until this week when a budding conflict on a new-ish conservative Facebook group named “Make CO Red Again” was brought to our attention:
Readers will recall that Renee McGill, the Weld County lead organizer for the “Official” Recall Polis Committee, pulled down a $3,000 check from the unspent donations to the committee. McGill is now the administrator of the Make CO Red Again Facebook group. Obviously, given the failure of the Polis recall and the controversy over the money McGill was “gifted,” she should expect to have hurdles to overcome in future political organizing roles.
And she’s not the only one!
The moderator of the Make CO Red Again Facebook is a man our longtime readers know very well: Nate Marshall, a one-time Republican state house candidate whose 2014 run for office against Democratic Rep. Max Tyler imploded after Marshall’s not-so secret online life as an unabashed neo-Nazi became public. Marshall had been allegedly recruited to run against Rep. Tyler by former state Sen. Tim Neville, and was backed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) at the party assembly. When it came out in remarkably similar fashion to the recent outing of a neo-Nazi working at local AM radio station 710 KNUS that Marshall was steeling himself for an “Aryan Revolution” that “begins in just over 40 hours,” the chair of the Jefferson County GOP demanded Marshall pull out of the race.
So if by this point you’re thinking that this is not a Facebook group respectable Republicans should ever want to be a member of, we’d say that’s an astute observation. It is therefore a bit perplexing to understand why…so many…Colorado Republicans…are members of Nate Marshall’s Facebook group:
This is it: The final episode of 2019 for TheGet More Smarter Podcast. To close out the year, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the most important Colorado political stories of 2019 and look ahead to 2020 with some bold predictions. Will Democrats take control of the U.S. Senate in 2020? Can Sen. Cory Gardner win re-election? Which one of Colorado’s seven Congressional seats could flip next year?
And for the first time, Jason plays America’s worst favorite game, “Duke or Donald.” Ian is the current record-holder in the game that nobody really wins, but can Jason take the title in the last episode of 2019?
(The Force will not necessarily be with you – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Colorado’s recall leaders aren’t calling it quits, they’re just rebranding and expanding.
Today, the Resist Polis PAC, which claimed to have collected hundreds of thousands of signatures but didn’t turn in any, re-launched as Colorado Freedom Force, with renamed Facebook groups and a new website complete with a new donation page. Divisions between the various recall entities, however, are presenting challenges for the new group’s organizing and fundraising plans.
On October 4, Korry Lewis, spokesperson and filing agent for Resist Polis PAC’s failed gubernatorial recall group and daughter of state Rep. Kimmie Lewis (R-Kim), filed articles of incorporation for a new 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the “Colorado Freedom Force.”
Resist Polis PAC has rebranded its regional chapter Facebook groups and shared the new website on each page, encouraging supporters to join the new email list and donate anonymously:
“Today, the most important step you can take is to join our force by adding your name. Join the Force – Click Here. This is the very best way to stay up to date with what’s going on in Colorado.
The second most important step would be to chip in to our cause. As a 501(c)4 organization, your contribution will remain anonymous, and there is no limit as to how much you can give.”
In the statewide Facebook group, several commenters expressed skepticism, questioning the group’s purpose and noting that they felt like their previous donations had been wasted. Lewis pushed back, asking to which of the two Polis recall groups the commenters had contributed money and specifying CFF’s anticipated activities.
According to Lewis, the CFF will organize in a variety of ways:
“Colorado Freedom Force is essentially a grassroots army of people throughout Colorado who are willing to take action to protect their freedoms. That may be through signature-gathering efforts (initiatives, referendums, or recalls), testifying at the Capitol, or educating voters about candidates and ballot measures.”
In addition to serving as the filing agent for Resist Polis PAC, Lewis coordinated the group’s half-hearted recall efforts against Colorado state senators. She solicited donations on behalf of all three recalls: Governor Polis, Sen. Brittany Pettersen, (D-Lakewood) and Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs).
(Got traction? Get answers – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Sen. Cory Gardner is in Washington, D.C. today, but at least two members of his staff are holding a public meeting here in Colorado.
State director Andy Merritt and Regional Director Steve Emmen are scheduled to give a legislative update over lunch from noon to 2:00 PM today at the Spring Valley Golf Course east of Castle Rock.
Spring Valley Golf Club is located in the town of Elizabeth, which is currently the only place in Colorado still embroiled in political recalls. It’s also the only recall effort in the state that managed to collect enough signatures to put the question to the ballot.
Last Thursday, officials determined that recall proponents turned in enough valid signatures to move ahead with recall votes for the Mayor and all six town trustees.
Back in April, Gardner applauded Congressman Ken Buck’s rallying cry to Colorado Republicans that they would teach Democrats to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.
The Elizabeth Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event, which is free and anyone can RSVP. As of 10:00 AM, the luncheon is taking place as scheduled.
The invitation doesn’t list specific topics, but there is one question Gardner’s office has consistently refused to answer over the past three weeks: Is it appropriate for the president to ask a foreign government to investigate his political opponent? And while the senator still hasn’t answered that specific question, Gardner’s office did find time to release a statement decrying the House’s impeachment inquiry as a “political circus,” a term his fellow Republicans have used recently to describe Colorado recalls. 9News’ Steve Staeger noted this in a recent broadcast.
Considering that his office is holding a public meeting in the one town in Colorado still involved in such a circus, it might be a good time to ask his office to clarify his position.
That’s what the Resist Polis PAC, the organization that just wrapped up the humiliating failure of a recall petition drive against Gov. Jared Polis, allegedly netting less than half the required total and never turning in any signatures to how for sure, is telling supporters on Facebook. Stay tuned! These folks are about to (their words) “shake up Colorado Politics forever!” This time they we’re being asked to believe they mean it, unlike the Polis recall that didn’t shake up much of anything. You can sign up to get the big news first, and be assured gentle readers that this time,
Colorado Politics will never be the same again. [Pols emphasis]
Are you excited? Because we’re excited.
The possibilities stretch the imagination, don’t they? At least as much as the “summer of recalls” stretched and eventually busted wide open the bounds of credulity! Tell us what you think the next move for the once-vaunted Recall Polis PAC will be via the poll below.
For best accuracy, aim low.
What will the big announcement from the Recall Polis PAC be?
This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii ponder attempts by Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck to distance the GOP from their recall failures; discuss GOP troubles with continuing to defend President Trump; break down another harsh editorial calling on Sen. Cory Gardner to resign from office; and consider where to start building a wall in Colorado. Later in the show, Ian plays “Duke or Donald” with guest contestant Fawn Bolack, co-founder of “Keep Abortion Safe.”
A week after the spectacular failure of the last of the recall campaigns from Colorado Republicans, launched against several individual Democratic legislators and Gov. Jared Polis over the summer, the Denver Post’sAlex Burnesscircled back with Republican leaders for a post-mortem look at what went wrong–Republicans who were willing to return his calls, that is, because evidently many were not.
It’s not easy to capture to full magnitude of the failure for Colorado Republicans without resorting to language that seems hyperbolic, but objectively is not an exaggeration of any kind. After the 2018 elections resulted in an historic bloodbath for the Colorado GOP–destroying their gubernatorial candidate, wiping out the GOP’s hold on the attorney general, secretary of state, and treasurer’s office ,and losing their only remaining legislative majority–Republicans in this state faced a hard choice: to learn the lessons dwindling moderates in their midst were begging them to learn and fundamentally change course, or embrace a future where all the elections look like 2018.
As we now know, Colorado Republicans chose the latter.
Sen. Cory Gardner (R).
This infamous clip of now-state GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck promising to make Democrats “learn how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L,” cheered on by the state’s highest ranking Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, has become a major embarrassment for the party leadership now that the recalls have failed. The recalls did not fail narrowly, but failed calamitously with juicy attendant details like the conservative operative class in the state glomming on to the cash flow and “gifts” of thousands of dollars to individuals after the campaign had already failed. Any way you look at what happened–from building donor confidence to mobilizing the base to credibility with the media–this summer was another unprecedented disaster for Colorado Republicans on par with their electoral defeats last November.
So we can’t claim to be surprised to see, as the Post’s Alex Burness reports today, Colorado Republicans making absurd excuses to deflect responsibility. Defeat, as they say, is an orphan:
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the Colorado GOP chair, told The Denver Post on Friday that the recall failures don’t fall on him in any way. [Pols emphasis]
“I didn’t cast any net,” he said. “There’s a lot of people in the grassroots … who went after legislators. I didn’t direct any recall effort.”
When he was elected to lead the state party on the fourth ballot in March, Buck promised to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” Now, though, he claims he did not endorse the concept of mass recalls in Colorado.
House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).
Buck’s cowardly denial of any responsibility for recalls he ran for the chair of the state party promising to support is an indicator of just how thoroughly weak and disorganized Republicans are as the last days of October 2019 come to a close. Practically from the moment Democrats visited historic destruction on Republicans in last November’s elections, Republicans had threatened retaliation via recalls. House Minority Leader Patrick Nevilleopenly threatened his Democratic colleagues with recalls during this year’s legislative session. Republican operatives criss-crossed the state spreading the gospel of recalls as a way to “reweight the electorate,” and score victories that are now out of reach in general elections.
History will likely record that the attempted recall of Rep. Tom Sullivan, a freshman Democrat whose advocacy for gun safety is rooted in his son’s tragic murder in the July 2012 Aurora theater shooting, is the moment where the GOP’s recall strategy went off the rails for good. Ironically, this is the recall attempt that Colorado Republicans are most obliged to take ownership of, since it was initiated by Colorado Republican Party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown personally. Attempts to recast Brown’s action as “personal” after the Sullivan recall was clearly doing more harm than good simply have no credibility.
Cole Wist, a Republican who lost his house seat to Sullivan in 2018 — and who publicly bashed the Sullivan recall effort — said there is an important distinction to be made between staying out of recalls and actively condemning them.
“I didn’t see one elected Republican speak out against it,” he said. “The state party needs to own this failure.[Pols emphasis] They stirred the pot, and when they could see that the strategy wasn’t going to work, they didn’t speak up. They retreated and disappeared while rank-and-file members of the party floundered and were exploited by political consultants.”
When exactly high-ranking Republicans belatedly realized that the recalls were going to fail is irrelevant. The fact is that top Republicans kept up appearances of support for the recalls very late in the game, such as when Sen. Cory Gardner told recall organizers in Pueblo at the end of August that “I’ve never said I was against recalls” about sixty seconds after telling Senate President Leroy Garcia “I’m kind of sorry that this is happening.” For rank-and-file Republicans, any emotional (not to mention financial) investment made in these recalls has been a tremendously demoralizing experience.
And above all, while Democrats have been organizing like it’s an election year to oppose the recalls, the GOP spun its wheels throughout this whole critical off-year when they should have been preparing for the 2020 general election. When all is said and done this could be the most damning of the many indictments against Rep. Ken Buck’s absentee leadership of the party while still trying to serve in Congress, and with the greatest long-term impact. Here we are a year after the 2018 Democratic wave, and Colorado Republicans have totally squandered the backlash they hoped to foment as Democrats carried out the agenda they promised voters. There are many mistakes to point out, but there are no excuses. This was the strategy Republicans chose.
Cory Gardner, Ken Buck, House Minority Leader Pat Neville, the Colorado GOP as an organization.
For Colorado Republicans who really want this nightmare to end, the housecleaning starts there.
Colorado Public Radio’sTaylor Allenreports from yesterday’s well-deserved “victory lap” press conference by Senate President Leroy Garcia, after the recall campaign against him collapsed in a heap at the end of last week:
Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia on Thursday said he’s looking forward to the new legislative session — especially after surviving a recall effort to oust him…
Garcia was one of the six legislators who was the target of ousters during what he calls “the summer of recalls.”
“[It] spotlighted Colorado in a way that we wanted to be spotlighted in,” Garcia said. “And it’s sad to say that some Republicans took Colorado to a new low.”
“Quasi-newsman”Joey Bunch of the Colorado Springs Gazette does what he can to lessen the blow for the GOP:
“It’s no secret Republicans struggled with the new majority, and quite frankly, I would argue, with the reality,” Garcia said. “Some reverted to political shenanigans, in addition to endless temper tantrums.”
He called the recalls a tactic that was better left to Washington politics. Garcia didn’t say it, but the notable difference is that in Washington, it’s Democrats trying to oust Republican President Donald Trump via impeachment.
It’s difficult to see how impeachment “whataboutism” helps Republicans look any better after the once-balleyhooed “summer of recalls”–especially since a majority of Coloradans support impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump in the most recent poll, and unlike the recalls Trump is increasingly likely to actually be impeached. Beyond that, the moral difference between the failed Colorado recall attempts based on wild misinformation and Trump’s impeachment over serious abuses of foreign policy for political gain are fundamental enough to make the comparison absurd.
On the other hand, the Denver Posttook a very different approach to the end of “recall season”–apologizing for their role in hyping what turned out to be a toothless threat from the Garcia recall organizers. Here’s reporter Alex Burness and politics editor Cindi Andrews commendably leveling with Post readers:
Reporters hate being lied to. But it does happen — pretty often, actually — and we are constantly sharing newsworthy statements we have no way to verify. We make sure to attribute these statements to the speakers, so they are not confused for verified facts…
With the previous recall efforts, organizers dropped their efforts when it was evident they wouldn’t have enough signatures — they didn’t go to the trouble of delivering near-empty boxes. We work very hard to avoid being conduits for false information, knowing we can’t always control that.
But we can reflect. And, as the grifters found out, lying to honest reporters doesn’t pay. They’ve permanently damaged their credibility, and their Budweiser-box display in Denver may have done long-term damage to their movement back home. The chair of the Pueblo County GOP told me Wednesday she wishes the organizers had just stayed home. [Pols emphasis]
Looking back not just at the failed Garcia recall but at every one of the attempts launched by Republicans to exact opportunistic revenge for 2018’s devastating losses, it’s clear that the credibility damage from these months of wasted time and money should extend well beyond the two amateur sideshow freaks who delivered the Garcia recall campaign’s four signatures. The Colorado Republican Party’s entire leadership elected this year cheered on and even helped organize the most optically disastrous of the recalls. House Minority Leader Patrick Nevilleraised money for his family political operation on the pretense of recalling his Democratic colleagues.
Leroy Garcia may be taking the high road, but Republicans still have much to answer for.
► The senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine sat before a Congressional committee on Tuesday and apparently provided “damning” testimony as part of an impeachment investigation into President Trump. From the Associated Press:
Former U.S. Ambassador William Taylor, a diplomat who has sharply questioned President Donald Trump’s policy on Ukraine, has provided lawmakers with a “disturbing” account of events at the center of the impeachment probe , Democrats said Tuesday.
Lawmakers emerging after the early hours of the private deposition said Taylor had given a lengthy opening statement, with a recall of events that filled in gaps from the testimony of other witnesses. They said Taylor kept records at the time of conversations and documents.
“The testimony is very disturbing,” said New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Rep. Dean Phillips, D-Minn., used the same word. Asked why, he said, “Because it’s becoming more distinct.”
Taylor’s appearance is among the most watched because of a text message, released by House investigators earlier in the probe, in which he called Trump’s attempt to leverage military aid to Ukraine in return for a political investigation “crazy.”
As Aaron Blake writes for The Washington Post, it’s now “every man for himself” in terms of Republicans and their continued support for President Trump.
► Some Democrats think that impeachment proceedings might take longer than initially expected — in large part because witness testimony continues to reveal new concerns. From CNN:
“Every time we have a deposition, it leads us in a slightly different direction,” Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who sits on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees, two of the three panels leading the investigation, said Monday. “We don’t know how many additional pieces of testimony we may need. We just don’t know.”
The challenge facing Democrats: They want to conduct a thorough investigation, but prolonging the probe will continue to consume Washington — and risks bumping into the presidential election season if proceedings drag into the new year.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat who is leading the probe, both have refused to put a specific timeframe on the investigation.
► The editorial board of the Pueblo Chieftain smashed a failed effort to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia:
Dave DeCenzo, a volunteer for the recall effort, said more signatures were collected, but the group didn’t want to reveal them for fear the signers might be “doxxed” — that is, have their private information revealed on the internet.
To butcher Shakespeare, wethinks he dox protest too much. If the group had produced enough signatures to qualify a recall for the ballot, then those names would have become a matter of public record, anyway. So this alleged concern for the privacy of the petitioners sounds suspiciously like a convenient cover story to mask the group’s failure.
And we’re glad the group’s efforts not only failed, but failed so spectacularly. We can laugh about this now that it’s over, but what the anti-Garcia group was attempting to do was no joke.
Garcia was elected to a new term in office just last year with a commanding three-fourths of the total votes cast. Between the time he was re-elected and the recall campaign was launched, he did nothing that was inconsistent with his stated beliefs or campaign promises.
An editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette on Monday opened with a familiar lede: “No money could buy for Colorado Democrats the gift Republicans handed them in 2019.”
► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has always said that he would not take positions on state issues because of his status as a federal elected official. So, naturally, Gardner wrote an Op-Ed opposing Proposition CC that ran in the Colorado Springs Gazette.
► Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast and find out if you can do better at “Duke or Donald” than our guest contestant.
This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii tie a bow on the season of failed recall attempts; discuss the idea that any Democrat could defeat Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020; and Ian plays “Duke or Donald” with guest contestant Manny Lopez Del Rio, Director of Campaigns at ProgressNow Colorado.
Since last Friday’s unforgettable moment at the Colorado Secretary of State’s office as two…well, rustic looking gentlemen arrived from Pueblo to turn in a total of four signatures in support of a recall against Senate President Leroy Garcia–just a few signatures short of the required minimum 13,506–there’s been a lot of chatter about what exactly happened down in Pueblo over the last 60 days. Who was in charge of collecting signatures? What happened to all the money they raised? Why did the campaign tell us early last week that they were “on track?”
And above all, why the hell would they put four signatures in two Budweiser boxes?
There’s a good possibility that the answers to all of these questions will get thrown in the dustbin of history along with the rest of the Colorado GOP’s failed recall attempts and the colorful characters who made them impossible not to watch. We mean that of course in the train wreck sense, not entertainment you’d ever put yourself through voluntarily.
With all of this in mind, many readers were especially captivated by Dave DeCenzo, the Garcia recall organizer who as it turns out egregiously misled the Colorado political press corps early last week into reporting that the recall was going well. Marching into the Secretary of State’s office Friday with his two signatures in a Budweiser box, DeCenzo cut a remarkable, not what you’d exactly call dashing pose. And with Halloween fast approaching, some of our readers will find DeCenzo’s look to be the perfect costume! Here’s a Steal This Look guide we were forwarded for dressing like a Colorado recall pro: