The Get More Smarter Podcast: Recall-a-Lago

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.

The Get More Smarter Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Buzzcloud, Spotify, and Overcast. You can also follow the Podcast on Twitter @MoreSmarterShow. Thanks for listening!

Recall Ballin’ Outta Control: Steal His Look!

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:

You’ll be the life of the party. Take pics.

Beware of Unverified Claims by Credibility-Challenged Recall Campaigns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here was The Denver Post headline about the campaign to recall Colo Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) last Tuesday: “Effort to recall Colorado Senate president on track as deadline nears, organizer says

And this was the newspaper’s headline three days later: “Organizers needed 13,506 signatures to force recall vote of Colorado Senate president. They handed in 4.”

So what happened? On Tuesday, the news story, if any, should have been about the approaching deadline, not about the anti-Garcia activists’ claim that they were on track.

That’s how Colorado Public Radio presented the story on Tuesday: “Campaign To Recall Senate President Leroy Garcia Plans To Turn In Signatures.”

If The Post had information Tuesday to confirm the claim of the recall campaign’s likely success (trusted sources, evidence of signatures gathered), then you could justify a story about imminent success. That would be good journalism. But such information did not exist.

Instead, The Post apparently simply regurgitated the claim, which lead CO PeakPolitics, a conservative blog, to gloat that Garcia had “arrogantly predicted” that voters had “no appetite” for a recall election. Oops.

PeakPolitics Post

The blog removed its post after the four-signature truth came out Friday, saying that no amount of correcting could have salvaged its story.

The Post left its piece in place, which was the right thing to do, and it now serves as a reminder that the shrill and unverified utterances or screams of small numbers of credibility-challenged discontents and their backers, while deserving of respect, shouldn’t dominate the news or certainly a news cycle, whether it’s at the beginning of a failed recall campaign or at the end of one.

This is especially true given that recall proponents demonstrated repeatedly that they weren’t credible.

House Republican Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock announced with gun extremist Dudley Brown that recalls against state Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village) and state Rep. Meg Froelich (D-Englewood) were coming. They weren’t.

Backed by Brown and Neville, Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown launched a recall of state Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Aurora) on May 13. She dropped it less than a month later. The Colorado Politics story reporting on the Sullivan recall included this line:

Republicans and their conservative allies have said they plan to launch a dozen or so recalls against Democrats.

This also did not happen.

Organizers of the statewide recall efforts aimed at Colorado Gov. Jared Polis were similarly factually challenged. One group, calling itself the “Official” Polis Recall, never even pulled recall petitions. Donors were furious and demanded refunds. Rather than return the tens of thousands of dollars, however, leaders simply moved donors’ money from account to account before giving it… to themselves.

BREAKING: Recall Attempt Against Leroy Garcia Fails…Miserably

UPDATE #4: Here’s the official word from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:

You are reading this correctly.

—–

UPDATE #3: Via Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, the “Summer of Recalls” ends with even less of a whimper than first reported:

Four signatures. We could not have imagined in our wildest dreams a more pathetic waste of time.

—–

UPDATE #2: Colorado Democratic Party chair Morgan Carroll’s statement:

“The people of Colorado spoke loud and clear, and sent a message to the sore losers and con artists running these sham recalls — they don’t want their 2018 decisions to be overturned. The voters of these districts chose dedicated public servants — like Puebloan and Marine veteran Leroy Garcia — because they knew these state Senators and Representatives would fight for Colorado values at the State Capitol. The fact Colorado Republican Party chair Ken Buck kicked off his term as chair by promising to ‘teach Democrats how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L’ shows just how out of touch leadership in the Colorado GOP really is.”

“It’s incredibly vindicating that these desperate attempts by the Republicans were rejected so decisively. Now, Colorado can continue to move forward and our Democratic legislators can get back to doing the work of the people without interference from these cynical distractions.”

—–

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s headline captures the magnitude of the failure succinctly:

The 0.009% has spoken!

—–


Photo courtesy Colorado Times Recorder

That’s the word from the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul–the “summer of recalls” is officially over:

Friday was the deadline by which they had to turn in 13,506 valid signatures from voters in the Pueblo Democrat’s Senate District 3.

The campaign says they will turn in some signatures, but that the amount will not be sufficient to force a special recall election.

And this positively wacky update from reporter Marianne Goodland:

We’ll have many more updates as they come in–but keep in mind that in recent days there was at least some expressed hope from Republican usual suspects of a surprise in the recall petition drive against Senate President Leroy Garcia, driven in part by the head start afforded them by the 2013 recall list still in their possession.

Obviously, that didn’t work out, but they were still trying to bullshit their way forward as recently as this morning:

“They say they have no idea how many signatures are in these boxes.” Can they not count past 100?

With this final ignominious end to the last of the once-feared campaign of recall retaliation by Republicans convinced that the 2018 landslide victory for Democrats in Colorado was a fluke, the Republican leadership who backed and, in the case of the disastrous recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan principally organized these failed recalls have now wrecked their own credibility and demoralized the Republican base. Colorado Republicans next have to reckon with a lost year of failure that has left them weakened and disorganized ahead of what is shaping up to be another historic wave year for Democrats.

We wish we could tell Republicans this is the bottom. It probably isn’t.

The Boundless Griftiness of Colorado Conservatives

Juli-Andra Fuentes

Today is the deadline for Republicans to submit petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in their efforts to recall Senate President Leroy Garcia. Organizers of the Garcia recall have hinted that they may actually submit signatures today, rather than just letting the deadline pass with a sheepish admission of failure; given the 2019 track record of Republican recall efforts, you have every right to be skeptical of any announcement.

Readers of Colorado Pols are well aware that the various recall attempts of Democratic elected officials that we’ve seen over the past few months have been largely about grifting — using “organizing” efforts to convince poor conservative saps to sign over their social security checks (quite literally). Some recall donors did come to realize that their money was basically being set on fire, but there’s not a lot of recourse for someone hoping to recoup money that disappeared into coffers overseen by self-identified “board members” like Juli-Andra Fuentes.

Fuentes, you may recall, was one of the main public faces of the “Official Recall Jared Polis” organization that didn’t even bother collecting petition signatures and crapped all over attempts by a different Polis recall group to actually attempt a real recall effort. About $30,000 raised by Fuentes’ group was “donated” to another invented organization called “Colorado for Trump,” which seemed to be largely about Fuentes trying to force President Trump to call her personally (you can’t make this stuff up).

Kyle Clark of 9News has kept an eye on the transactions of the “Official Recall Jared Polis” group and their band of gypsies. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the tale just keeps getting weirder:


CLARK: We continue to track the money raised for the recall of Democratic Governor Jared Polis. The “Official” recall group never attempted a recall, but it kept the money; gave thousands of dollars to its leadership as gifts; then reclassified the money as “consulting fees” when we asked about it. But that’s not even the strangest part.

Almost $30,000 in donations meant to recall Gov. Polis was instead shifted to a new political committee called “Colorado for Trump.” It’s run by the same woman who ran the failed recall group, Juli-Andra Fuentes. The Trump campaign is upset — says it has no association with her group [and] even threatened legal action. Fuentes has told me the President should call her personally.

But now Fuentes has changed her group’s purpose with the Secretary of State’s office. It says the word “Trump” is actually the initials T-R-U-M-P. Says that it stands for “Truth will Restore the republic and Unbiased Media gives Power to the people.”…

…At least we know what happens when a recall fails and the donations land in another bank account. They go, “TWRTRUMGPTTP.”

This is funny…if it isn’t your money.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, there are several downsides to the year of Recall-palooza for Republicans. The 2020 election is just around the corner, and all of this griftiness will undoubtedly make it harder for GOP candidates and staffers to raise money and find volunteers for legitimate campaigns.

For example, as Joey Bunch reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, two notable Colorado Republicans have started a new online platform with the hopes of connecting like-minded conservatives that requires some stringent security measures. Former State Rep. Matt Knoedler and longtime GOP operative Allen Fuller (who is also Bob Beauprez’s son-in-law) are the minds behind “CaucusRoom,” which sounds kind of like a cross between MySpace and the NextDoor app. Knoedler and Fuller say their platform will encourage conservatives to organize online and find like-minded neighbors, but this is the their number one selling point: “Bank-level verification of all members to weed out bots and fake accounts.”

Here’s how the process is explained on the “CaucusRoom” website:

Every CaucusRoom user goes through a verification process that requires more information than other social networks. This allows us to ensure the friends and neighbors you interact with on CaucusRoom are truly your friends and neighbors, and helps to keep out bots and those who are not interested in being positive members of our community…

In order to verify all of our users are real people (no bots or fake accounts!), we require that each user enters complete and accurate information when they sign up. This includes your full name, home address (no P.O. boxes please!) and your real birthdate. [Pols emphasis]

We have no reason to suspect that “CaucusRoom” won’t keep your personal information secure and that your name won’t show up on some weird list in six months, but after all the lies and grifting associated with Republican recall efforts, we’d absolutely think twice about signing up for something like this. That might not be fair to Knoedler and Fuller, but that’s what happens when Republicans let these wacky recall efforts go unchecked.

If you signed your name to a recall petition in the last 6 months, there’s no telling what actually happened to that information (it didn’t get submitted to the Secretary of State, we know that much). If you made a donation to one of these recall efforts, there’s a very good chance that your money went into somebody else’s pocket for purposes that had nothing to do with recalling anyone. If you are a Republican trying to organize for other campaigns and goals heading into 2020, everything you do is tainted by the recall nonsense.

Elections have consequences, and so do recalls — even when they fail.

Ben Engen Cashes In On Moribund Garcia Recall

GOP operative Ben Engen.

As readers know, all of the recall attempts initiated by Colorado Republicans in retaliation for last year’s landslide victories for Democrats in this state have fizzled except one: the recall petition due later this month against Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo, the immediate successor to ex-Sen. Angela Giron who was successfully recalled in the fall of 2013.

By all accounts, that ain’t happening again in 2019. Everything we’ve heard from Pueblo is that the signature drive against Garcia has flatlined much like the failed campaigns against Sens. Brittany Pettersen and Pete Lee, Gov. Jared Polis, and the particularly ill-fated recall attempt against freshman Rep. Tom Sullivan–whose advocacy for gun safety legislation after his son was killed in the Aurora shooting made him an audacious but in the end self-injurious target for Colorado Republicans.

But as we learned with the failed but financially lucrative Recall Polis drive, success isn’t the only objective! Not when there’s cold hard cash to be made along the way by all those friendly and super “helpful” for-profit political consultants–consultants who get paid win or lose. And sure enough, in the Committee to Recall Leroy Garcia’s latest fundraising report, you’ll find big line-items for consultants:

Recall Garcia started the reporting period with $2,378 on hand, and reported $4,429 raised, $4,844 spent, with $1,962 cash remaining on hand. Given the pitiful amount of money we’re talking about here, it’s fascinating to see that the biggest expenditure, over $1,700, is for “fundraising consultants!” That suggests to us that the return on investment was…rather poor.

But at least as interesting to us is the $1,200 paid to Ben Engen of Constellation Political Strategies, the young Republican operative who became infamous as the “Johnny Appleseed of recalls” after a video surfaced of Engen very frankly admitting to a GOP audience that recalls were about a “re-weighting of the electorate”–giving Republicans the chance to sneak otherwise unobtainable wins via a recall “that just comes out of nowhere and blindsides” Democrats.

In the end, it’s Republicans who got burned by “recall season.” But for the for-profit side of Republican politics, the checks still cashed. And that’s all that matters.

Getting Stupid With The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

The headline appeared at the Grand Junction Sentinel yesterday, bold face and ominous:

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

Followed by a story that might make what’s known in the business as “low-information voters” think that oh yes indeedy, Gov. Jared Polis remains in political hot water despite this summer’s failed attempt to place a recall question on the ballot:

The majority of those surveyed feel the recent efforts to recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis will have a meaningful impact on state politics, according to a poll on gjsentinel.com.

Efforts to recall Polis dominated the state’s political landscape this summer, but the groups gathering signatures ultimately fell well short of the 631,266 valid signatures required.

Slightly more than 65% of respondents affirmed the recall efforts, with 289 saying that it represented a large segment of the voting population. Others felt it sets the stage for further recall efforts (153) and sends a message to the governor (91).

Skeptical yet? You should be, because in the 5th paragraph a crucial detail is added below the fold:

Daily Sentinel polls are open-access and do not meet the criteria to be considered true scientific polls. [Pols emphasis]

That’s right, folks–although the Daily Sentinel is a legitimate news outlet that generally adheres to mutually accepted journalistic standards, this is a story about an online poll published on the Sentinel’s website. The respondents to the poll are self-selected visitors of the website. Basically the exact opposite a reliable cross-section of public opinion, online “polls” can be skewed simply by promoting the poll to an audience likely to vote a certain way. Even without deliberate manipulation there’s nothing to establish the poll’s respondents as representative of anything.

We also put up online polls from time to time, which are similarly unscientific and open to manipulation by anyone who cares enough about a poll on our blog to do it. The difference is that we would never represent such a poll as anything more than a discussion item for our readers. When you see a headline on this blog reporting the results of a “poll,” it’s an actual poll conducted with transparent standards and methodology.

With President Donald Trump Tweeting out the similarly absurd “results” of online polls at the hard-right propaganda website Breitbart News, it’s more important than ever that legitimate news organizations draw a bright white line between credible surveys of public opinion and garbage data with no credibility whatsoever.

For the Grand Junction Sentinel, that means never, ever writing a headline as misleading as this one again.

Ken Buck Keeps On Squashing Republican Dreams

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley).

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck will seek reelection to his congressional seat next year, the Windsor Republican said Wednesday, dispelling any speculation that he was planning to give up the seat.

“I have been running for this position and I will continue to,” Buck, who is in his third term, told The Colorado Sun.

The confirmation comes as several high-profile members of the Republican Party were considering campaigns for Buck’s 4th Congressional District seat if he decided not to run for another term. The potential contenders included 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, who fell short in his 2018 bid to become Colorado attorney general, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling and state House GOP leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock.

Speculation about Rep. Ken Buck’s next move exploded over the summer, as national conservative “news” sources like Newsmax confirmed rumors we had been hearing that Buck was moving toward retirement from his ultra-safe CD-4 congressional seat–and prospective successors jockeying for pre-position like repeat GOP loser George Brauchler and embattled House Minority Leader Patrick Neville.

Rep. Buck’s “moonlighting” as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, a job he narrowly won last spring and then immediately raised eyebrows by appointing former party chair Steve House as “CEO” to run day-to-day while Buck continues to serve in Washington–a job House has now ditched to run for CD-6–is creating significant discord among the party’s involved membership and (more importantly) donor base. A petition campaign of state party central committee members is underway to oust Buck from his party position, and confirmation that Buck intends to continue splitting his attention between these two demanding jobs may only increase calls for him to pick one.

Since Buck took over the state party promising to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L,” all Republicans in Colorado have managed is a series of failed recall attempts that have devastated the morale of the rank-and-file. Buck’s failure to prevent the vice chair of the party Kristi Burton Brown from “personally” filing the ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan indelibly linked the official state party apparatus to the recalls.

With all of this in mind, if Buck decides that he wants another term as CD-4’s representative in Congress, there’s little we can see standing in his way as of this writing. As for the mess Buck has made of the Colorado Republican Party trying to do two jobs?

Somebody’s going to have to clean it up.

SB-181 Madness: Apology Time Yet?

As Colorado Public Radio’s Ben Markus reports:

Six months after shouting that new legislative drilling regulations were an existential threat to their industry in Colorado, the state’s oil and gas producers are now whispering a different message to Wall Street:

No big deal.

The law was billed by both supporters and opponents as a sea change in how the industry is policed, giving local governments and state agencies greater authority to decide where and how drilling can occur. But in filings with the federal Security and Exchange Commission, some of Colorado’s largest drillers now express confidence that they can easily navigate the regulations spinning out of Senate Bill 19-181.

“We do not foresee significant changes to our development plans, as we have all necessary approvals of more than 550 permits to drill wells over the next several years,” Noble Energy representatives wrote to investors.

During the long debate in the Colorado General Assembly this year over Senate Bill 19-181, the landmark reform bill changing the relationship between state oil and gas regulators in the industry from “promotion” of more drilling to the protection of public health and safety first and foremost, the oil and gas industry’s PR armies warned of historic doom and gloom for Colorado’s economy. It would be nearly impossible, and we surely don’t have time to do it ourselves, to list out every time a Republican lawmaker or oil and gas industry press flack claimed with absolutely zero factual basis that SB-181 would “shut down oil and gas production in Colorado.”

The gospel-truth assumption that SB-181 was intended to and would speedily bring about the shutdown of oil and gas drilling in Colorado helped fuel the wave of irrational anger that Republicans deliberately sought to inflame during and after the 2019 legislative session, for the purpose of justifying recall attempts against opportune state legislative targets as well as Gov. Jared Polis. In Greeley, a town heavily dominated by oil and gas-friendly politics and politicians, the supposed threat of SB-181 ripping the local oil and gas industry apart provided cover to the attempt to recall now ex-Rep. Rochelle Galindo via a far nastier anti-LGBT “whisper campaign.”

But then a funny thing happened. Word started to leak out that despite all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over SB-181’s impending destruction, SB-181 wasn’t going to destroy the oil and gas industry at all. Energy producers started quietly telling their investors that they had all the permits they need for years of unhindered operations and were prepared to work with the new law’s additional protections. The gap between dire forecast and reality with regard to SB-181 isn’t the only reason the “summer of recalls” have sputtered out one after another in recent weeks, but it’s just not possible to maintain the level of public backlash required to pull off a recall without something to substantiate the allegations.

So the next time–and you can be assured there will be a next time–somebody tells you SB-181 is destroying/has destroyed past-tense the oil and gas industry in Colorado, here’s your rejoinder! And if you really want to irritate your conservative friends, follow that up with a brief lesson on the global energy economy, which as you and Gov. Polis already know dictates the fate of Colorado’s oil and gas industry far more than SB-181 ever could.

And yes, hopefully next time…nobody believes the hype to begin with.

Dems Simply Upset With Last Election Or Playing Politics, Say Republicans Who Backed Colo Recall Efforts

(O-kay… Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democrats are pursuing impeachment for political reasons or simply because they’re upset with the last election, say Republicans who backed the recall of Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) and/or other Democrats soon after they were elected.

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, head of the Colorado Republican Party, came out against impeachment, saying: “Democrats spent three years trying to overturn an election that didn’t go their way… It’s time to move on.”

In reporting on the statement, 9News’ Kyle Clark pointed out Sept. 25, “But the Colorado GOP pushed for the recalls of six Democrats this year.”

Buck called for the recall of Colo Democrats in a campaign-style speech in March, saying, “We need to teach them how to spell “R-E-C-A-L-L.”

Now, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling is echoing Buck, telling a northern Colorado radio station that the impeachment effort is “playing politics,” and it’s a “distraction.”

“It’s a huge huge mistake for Nancy Pelosi to go down a path in which the polling that I have seen across the country is, people don’t want us to go down that path they actually want us to actually get our business taken care of in Washington DC and quit playing games,” said Sonnenberg on air.
“It just seems ludicrous to me that you would want to continue down that path rather than move an agenda forward,” he added.

Yet, Sonnenberg was a high-profile signer of the petition to recall Polis, having been featured on the Facebook page of “Dismiss Polis,” a group backing the now-failed effort.

Does Sonnenberg think the Polis recall was less about “playing politics” than the impeachment inquiry?

“They are two different scenarios,” Sonnenberg told the Colorado Times Recorder, emphasizing his point that he thinks the impeachment inquiry will hurt Democrats. “A recall is grassroots driven. It comes from the people. The impeachment came from the Speaker of House or a faction of that caucus.”

Now Jon Caldara’s Ripping Off A 17-Year-Old Kid

During this year’s controversy in Colorado politics over the failed recall attempts by Republicans against various state legislators as well as Gov. Jared Polis, a recurring theme has involved local political usual suspects lining up at the trough to make money off of recall committees they in most cases knew would never be successful. In particular, the right-wing Independence Institute operated a “crowdfunding” website known as Freedomfy that brought in over $20,000 for the now-defunct (and thoroughly scandalized) “Official” Recall Polis committee, as well as a fundraising page for the abortive recall attempt against former Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley.

“Freedomfy” eventually fell out of favor with the Polis recall committee, reportedly due to the substantially above-market “processing fees” charged by the Independence Institute for every donation made through the platform, and they wound up moving to other fundraising sites that (presumably) skimmed less off the top. The executive director of the Independence Institute Jon Caldara later piled insult on injury by admitting to the press that the Polis recall his organization had raised tens of thousands of dollars for (and pocket a couple grand along the way) was a fool’s errand the whole time.

In the aftermath of all that #fail, you might have thought that Freedomfy would quietly dry up and blow away with so many other fly-by-night political fundraising schemes. But as PT Barnum is alleged to have observed, “there’s a sucker born every minute!”

Literally:

(more…)

Recall Cashola: From Grifting To “Gifting”

FRIDAY UPDATE: Amateur hour continues, writes Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette:

After Colorado Politics reported that a Polis recall committee had disclosed distributing $11,000 in contributed funds as gifts to people involved in the group, the committee has amended state filings to say that the payments were for “consultant and professional services” instead of “gifts.”

The amended report from “Official Recall Governor Jared Polis” group — filed at 4:15 p.m. Thursday, hours after CoPo’s story was posted — labels the purpose of those expenditures as “BOARD APPROVED – THANK YOU FOR CARING ABOUT COLORADO.”

The previous filing identified the purpose as as “BOARD GIFT – THANK YOU FOR CARING ABOUT COLORADO.” Other information about the payments was not changed.

That’s a swell amendment, but we’d say the grounds for the mother of all campaign finance complaints have only been reinforced by this act of ex post facto backside covering. We assume that will be the next shoe to drop–unless it just plain becomes time to start arresting people for fraud! We’ll leave that question to the lawyers, who should be coming directly.

—–

As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports, the end of the road has come for the Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis Issue Committee–and after diverting $29,000 into a committee calling itself Colorado For Trump, thousands of dollars in donations to the committee are being given out as “gifts” to the abortive campaign’s organizers:

The Official Recall of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis group — which didn’t participate in the recent failed recall attempt by two other groups — has given $11,000 of the money it raised for the effort as gifts to staffers.

According to online campaign finance records filed with the Secretary of State’s Office, committee manager Shane Donnelley got $5,000 as a “thank you for caring about Colorado” gift, and secretary Lisa Pascoe and Weld County lead Rene McGill both received $3,000.

“Whether you call it a grift or a gift, this is just the latest in a string of events that show these recalls are being driven by scammers who are looking out for their own interests at the expense of unwitting voters,” said Curtis Hubbard, the spokesman for the Democratic group working against the recalls, Democracy First.

When we last checked in on the ashes of the failed push to recall Gov. Jared Polis earlier this month, the chair of the committee Juli-Andra Fuentes said she was waiting for a phone call (that wasn’t coming) from President Donald Trump personally before deciding what next to do with the $29,000 she diverted to “Colorado For Trump” from the Recall Polis committee–which might include legal defense if she’s sued by the Trump campaign for misuse of their brand.  Shane Donnelley, as readers know, is one of the original organizers of the committee, but stepped back from a public role after anti-Semitic posts from Donnelley and another principal organizer Judy Spady wound up on the evening news.

The diversion of tens of thousands of dollars into the bogus Trump committee, and the thousands paid to local political operatives like Jon Caldara and Scott Gessler for their “Freedomfy” fundraising platform and legal fees respectively are well-known scandals at this point. But this latest disclosure of $11,000 given away as “gifts” to organizers after a campaign that accomplished absolutely nothing–helping principally to discredit the Polis recall petition drive after it commenced–is absolutely gobsmacking in its audacity.

This is a campaign whose donors literally contributed their SSI checks.

And they’re pocketing the money.

It may not be on a grand scale, but it is easily as disgraceful as anything we’ve seen in this business.

Colorado Republicans Might Impeach Ken Buck

With President Trump dominating the news cycle this week in extraordinary fashion, there have been a couple of important Colorado political stories that have flown under the ol’ radar. One story we wanted to be sure to rewind involves Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ken Buck, whose leadership seat is getting warmer despite the fact that he’s rarely ever sitting in the chair himself.

As the Colorado Sun reported via its newsletter “The Unaffiliated” earlier this week, there is a brewing discomfort with the GOP’s absentee chairman:

Headline from Colorado Sun political newsletter “The Unaffiliated” (9/24/19)

A Republican activist began collecting signatures Saturday at the Colorado Republican Party’s organizational meeting to oust new Chairman Ken Buck.

Peg Cage, the immediate past chairwoman of the Boulder County Republican Party, told The Sun that Buck is spending too much time in Washington as a congressman and not doing his job as chairman to fundraise, recruit candidates or serve as the GOP’s public voice.

“He’s demonstrated no leadership toward that objective goal of taking back the state,” she said. “He’s not doing the job.” [Pols emphasis]

At the party’s central committee meeting, Cage distributed forms seeking written consent from members of the governing body to force his removal. She needs to collect a majority of the roughly 450 members to force the issue. She declined to say how many she’s received, but added: “We have a long way to go, but it’s the right thing to do.”

Buck won the party’s leadership post in a close vote in April. Cage supported Buck’s opponent in the chairman’s race, state Rep. Susan Beckman. A party spokesman said he was not aware of any such effort and Buck did not return a call seeking comment. [Pols emphasis]

Ken Buck races to his side hustle.

Chairman Buck, you may recall, spends most of his week masquerading as the Congressman from CO-4. Buck’s plan to split his time in Congress with overseeing the State Republican Party from afar has not endeared him to GOP activists and doesn’t appear to be providing much benefit to Colorado Republicans.

Congressman Buck will occasionally take to Twitter to stick his foot in his mouth or blurt out something stupid in a House committee meeting. Chairman Buck, meanwhile, has been relatively quiet about the GOP’s summer of failed recall attempts after infamously promising to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” In fact, Chairman Buck can be difficult to run down altogether:

Congresschairman Buck’s “Jekyl and Hyde” routine is already wearing thin with reporters and GOP activists alike. When Buck was elected Party Chair in late March, the plan was that former State Party Chairman Steve House would serve as the “CEO” of the party when Buck was off playing Congressman in Washington D.C. Even though Buck was elected Chairman, this proposal was not particularly popular. As Ernest Luning reported in March:

Veteran Republican strategist Dick Wadhams, who served two terms as state chairman last decade, said he was stunned after reviewing Buck’s proposal, calling it “unworkable” and “absolutely nonsensical.”

“If Steve House wants to be state chairman, he ought to run for it, and if Ken Buck doesn’t want to be state chairman, he ought to get out of the race,” Wadhams said… [Pols emphasis]

…He also slammed Buck’s plans to run the party from Washington, D.C., saying he was “baffled” by the proposition.

Last month House stepped down as Republican Party “CEO” so that he could pursue the GOP nomination for Congress in CO-6. House was quickly replaced by former vice-chairman and congressional candidate Don Ytterberg, but as reporting from the Colorado Sun and 9News indicates, the case of the missing GOP Chairman continues to be a problem.

Congressman Buck will be running for re-election a year from now, where he is still favored to keep his seat because CO-4 is a heavily-Republican district. The odds of Buck holding onto his other title are considerably worse.

Ken Buck Leads With His Chin, Gets Pummeled

The Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, who by day masquerades as Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), tried to spin news of impeachment proceedings against President Trump today as Democrats “trying to overturn an election that didn’t go their way.”

Anyone familiar with Colorado politics instantly recognized the absurdity of Buck leading with his chin on this statement. This is, after all, the same Ken Buck who was elected GOP Chair earlier this year on the heels of a speech in which he cheered on a bunch of lame recall efforts by various Republican groups. Back in March, Buck stood on the stage at a Republican Central Committee Meeting and promised his audience that he would teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” Multiple recall attempts have since failed in spectacular fashion, leaving the State Republican Party to choose between being labeled insincere or incompetent (or both).

Buck’s laughable attempts at accusing Democrats of trying to re-do an election were thus widely mocked by local political reporters, as you can see after the jump below…

 

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“Recall Polis” Grift Descends To New Depths Of Griftiness

With the campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis now consigned to the dustbin of history, we’ve been following developments surrounding the roughly $100,000 raised by the “Official” Recall Jared Polis committee–which readers will recall is the committee that decided not to launch a recall attempt without the huge financial and volunteer commitment that would be necessary and condemned the “Dismiss Polis” campaign for moving ahead without the resources to succeed. Earlier this month, we took note of a large transfer of funds from the “Official” Polis Recall committee to a committee named “Colorado For Trump,” and took that as a sign that their operations were winding down.

But as 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark reports in the video above, that’s not where this sorry story ends:

You read that correctly: “Colorado For Trump” is not affiliated with the Trump campaign whatsoever, and is in fact run by the same Juli-Andra Fuentes who ran the “Official” Recall Polis committee. The Trump campaign is threatening legal action, and now Fuentes is talking about all kinds of alternative destinations for the committee’s remaining cash:

Of course Scott Gessler gets some of the money! Gessler attaching himself to the revenue stream of this summer’s failed recall attempts has got to be one of the most under-reported angles on the whole story and we hope somebody catches up with him for a few questions. As for the rest of the cash, this boils down to a hard lesson in the pitfalls of political giving–in particular giving to PACs and other entities without a clear purpose and accountability for the monies raised.

This is a campaign that literally had donors pledging their disability and Social Security checks to make donations in their misguided low-information fervor to bring Gov. Polis down. To see that money now slushing around in the hands of obviously marginal people with no sense of responsibility to the donors they spent months fleecing is…well, it ought to be a crime. The only reason it may not be is because the “ScamPAC” industry pays the mortgages of a lot of people in politics. Like Scott Gessler.

When does it stop being a political campaign and just become a fraud? This situation is pushing the boundary.

Reporter Should be “Sent Packing” To Venezuela, Says Conservative Operative & GOP Matriarch Barb Neville

(The Nevilles are very fine people – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Angered by a news story about her son, prominent conservative activist Barb Neville launched a one-women social media assault on Colorado Politics reporter Marianne Goodland.

Barb Neville

Neville, mother of House Republican Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) and wife of former State Senator Tim Neville of Littleton, shared Goodland’s article about Patrick Neville directing financial support to the Recall Polis effort, along with the following commentary to her Facebook page on Sept. 7:

“Why is this even news??? This reporter will report anything to give the appearance that Republicans are evil. I’ll bet if this were a demonrat she would be holding them out as heroes. Republicans and unaffiliates that support our country and constitution should be proud that we have leaders who are principled enough to stand and fight for it. MG and her socialist pervert democrat cronies are the ones who are evil. Tell the Gazette to send her packing to a country like Cuba or Venezuela where they will be more amicable to her Commie leanings. I am sick of these commie women haters I’ma a different kinda .#MeToo

Neville also shared the post with numerous Republican and conservative Facebook pages and groups, including GOP pages for Denver, Arapahoe, Pueblo, Weld, Jefferson, Elbert and Fremont counties. Other groups include the National Asian Indian Republican Association, GetErDoneRightColorado, Arapahoe Tea Party, and OGRE Exposed.

Asked by a commenter on her post if any part of Goodland’s article was false, Neville didn’t dispute any of its accuracy. Instead, she complained that the decision to report the story itself was showing Republicans in a negative light.

Colorado Press Association CEO Jill Farschman expressed concern over Neville’s post:

“While sharing opinions is certainly a First Amendment right, attacks on journalism as a profession undermine our free press which is the only profession enshrined in our nation’s Constitution due to its criticality to a functioning democracy. In this instance, the accuracy of the journalist’s work isn’t being questioned and suggesting she should be sent to other countries openly hostile to free press is extremely offensive. Such personal threats debase our political discourse and put the safety of journalists at risk.”

Barb Neville isn’t just related to politicians. She’s a former candidate-turned-operative herself. She briefly ran for state Senate in 2006, and later ran her sister-in-law Julie Williams’ successful 2013 campaign for Jefferson County School Board. The Denver Post’s profile of the Neville family that year described them as a “political dynasty.”

Reached by email for a response to Neville’s insults and calls for Goodland’s banishment, Mark Harden, managing editor of Colorado Politics, stated:

“Marianne Goodland is an outstanding reporter on state politics whose work is widely respected by Republicans, Democrats and independents alike. We stand by her reporting.”

Barb Neville did not return a Facebook message requesting comment.

Ken Buck’s “Spell R-E-C-A-L-L” Speech Bites Back Hard

Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Denver Post’s Anna Staver wrote an excellent post-mortem of the Colorado Republican Party’s failed summer of recalls this past weekend, and here’s how it starts:

When Congressman Ken Buck took the reins of the Colorado Republican Party in March, he stood on the stage in Englewood High School’s auditorium and told the party faithful they were going to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.”

The room erupted in applause…

[I]n the nearly six months since that fiery speech in the high school auditorium, conservatives have tried to recall five Democratic lawmakers and the governor. Four of those campaigns failed to gather enough signatures to put a recall election on the ballot, one recall target resigned for unrelated reasons, and the attempt to remove Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, is ongoing. His opponents have until Oct. 18 to turn in their petitions.

“I think the recall process has done what it was supposed to do,” said former GOP chair Dick Wadhams. “It provided an outlet for Republicans. … Were they politically smart? I think it’s a resounding no.”

As the Republican recall threats that dominated the end of the 2019 session of the Colorado General Assembly have collapsed under their own weight in the last two weeks, Rep. Ken Buck’s speech in late March before the GOP state convention committing the party to support for recalls against Democratic lawmakers with dramatic flair has emerged as a symbol of the party’s incompetent reaction to massive defeat in the 2018 elections. Moderate GOP columnist Mario Nicolais writes in the Colorado Sun:

Rep. Ken Buck took the reins of the Colorado Republican Party promising to “teach [Democrats] how to spell r-e-c-a-l-l.” Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown initiated the recall against state Sen. Tom Sullivan. Former state House candidate Nancy Pallozzi targeted her historical nemesis state Sen. Brittany Pettersen.

Heading into a critical 2020 election year, the Colorado Republicans spent the past six months demonstrating an ineffectual ground game and undermining their own credibility. That doesn’t bode well for President Trump’s reelection efforts or Sen. Cory Gardner’s slim hope of hanging onto the seat he narrowly won in 2014.

Mike Littwin of the Colorado Independent:

When the effort to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan failed just as spectacularly as the recall-Polis movement, I asked whether the Colorado GOP knew enough to be embarrassed. I think we have now answered that question. The attempt to recall Polis may not have been an official GOP project, but it’s close enough. Marianne Goodland of Colorado Politics reports that groups aligned with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville donated $10,000 to the effort.

And remember Ken Buck’s speech when he was elected GOP state chair last March, promising Democrats would need to learn how to spell r-e-c-a-l-l in the coming months? We remember Sen. Cory Gardner standing on the stage in support of Buck.

Jim Spehar in the Grand Junction Sentinel:

The correct spelling is in the headline. Your dictionary (for those of a certain age) or spell-check (for those who don’t remember or never used that heavy old bound Webster’s) will confirm it. The alternative spelling, at least for disgruntled conservatives and Colorado Republicans, is F-A-I-L.

My GOP friends need to forward that alternative spelling to their state party chair. It was Ken Buck, whose day job is representing Colorado’s 4th congressional district, who pledged at the party’s last state convention that “we’re going to teach them (Democrats) how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” To applause, it’s worth noting, from the only two remaining Republicans officeholders elected statewide, Sen. Cory Gardner and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl.

Republican sources tell us that there is a fierce intraparty debate underway today on both sides of “recall season” as to how seriously Rep. Buck’s absentee leadership of the Colorado GOP contributed to the failures. On the one hand, Buck certainly could have (and in retrospect should have) intervened in the filing of the doomed recall petition against Rep. Tom Sullivan, the failure of which effectively stymied any momentum Republicans had coming out of the legislative session. On the other hand, Buck is widely rumored to have discouraged the Polis recall behind the scenes, helping further alienate the party’s radical wing after paying them lip service.

Perhaps most telling in all of this is that Staver reports Rep. Buck couldn’t be reached for comment on how the spelling lesson ended up! At this point, that’s probably Buck’s best option. Comparing the rhetoric to the outcome of the now-faceplanted “summer of recalls” is an embarrassment to more than Ken Buck, but there’s only one chairman.

Perhaps it’s time to hang up both hats.

Racist and Anti-Semitic Posts Appear on Facebook Pages of Leaders of Garcia Recall Campaign

(Wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

One leader of the effort to recall Colorado state Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo) is speculating that her Facebook page was hacked, while another leader isn’t commenting, in response to questions about racist or anti-Semitic posts on both of their Facebook pages.

“Today reaffirms my disdain for illegals…Barbarians…3rd world pigs,” wrote Ernest Mascarenas, who’s listed in state records as one of three leaders of the recall effort, on Facebook Feb. 12, where he goes by the name Ernest Carlos. “Pissed in a bottle and threw it down the elevator shaft, landing on a elevator worker. If you like them so much and want them here that bad, take them into your home…BUILD THAT WALL.”

In another comment posted July 10 above a DailyCaller article with the headline, “BET Founder Gives Thumbs Up To Trump, Thumbs Down To Democrats,” Mascarenas wrote, “You’ll always have the dumb minorities that’ll support the Democrats… All the way to the oven.”

Multiple attempts to reach Mascarenas to discuss the Facebook posts, which were obtained from a source, were not successful.

Susan Carr, also listed in state filings as a leader of the Garcia recall, has apparently made similar comments, referring on Facebook to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) as “trying her best to do Hitler’s work.”

Carr’s 2013 apparent comment came in response to Feinstein’s calls for new gun laws after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in 2012.

Carr’s Facebook page states that by pushing gun safety legislation, Feinstein, whom Carr refers to as “some 80-year-old Jewish Senator (b 6-22-33 SF Ca)” who is “old enough to know about the events in Germany in the thirties and forties when Adolf murdered millions of Jews,” is “trying her best to do Hitler’s work in the U.S.”

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House Minority Leader Attacks Fellow Republicans Over Fundraising Groups

(This is going swimmingly — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville took to the airwaves to attack his Republican colleagues last week. He dismissed the fundraising efforts of his former state Reps. Dan Thurlow and Polly Lawerence, calling them “the JV squad.”

The pair of former legislators, considered “establishment” Republicans compared to the far-right Minority Leader, launched an independent expenditure committee to support GOP legislative candidates. Former Attorney General Cynthia Coffman and other Republicans have since joined the group, Friends Of The Future, as advisors.

During a Sept. 6 appearance on KNUS 710AM’s Chuck & Julie Show, Neville mocked the moderate politicians for imitating his small-dollar fundraising prowess:

“They’re kind of like the JV squad reuniting, wearing their letter jackets and talking about all the great things they did. Imitation is the biggest form of flattery, so in this case they’re seeing how successful we’re being with developing a small dollar donor base so we don’t have to be totally dependent on these large donations from corporations or other big donors…” House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, KNUS, 9/6/19

Asked by KNUS host Julie Hayden which Republican fundraising entities conservatives should support, Neville briefly mentioned his official House 527 Values First Colorado, but quickly moved on to promote “Recall Colorado,” another 527 Neville and his brother Joe created, ostensibly to separate their recall fundraising from their regular election cycle work.

Values First Colorado is the official House 527 and then we also have RecallColorado.com. We’re transforming that into small dollar donations that we’re really trying to turn into a base that we can hand off towards future election cycles so that’s really main effort that we’ve put into it. It’s becoming Take Back Colorado, now that we’re getting past the recall cycles and getting closer to 2020, we’re running out of time to initiate a lot of these recalls. So that’s what we’re going to transform that into. So recallcolorado.com, there you go.”

Neville’s claim that he’s transforming Recall Colorado into “Take Back Colorado” (TBC) as part of an effort to shift from “recall cycles” to “future election cycles” is interesting for a few reasons.

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Colorado GOP In Chaos After Recalls Crash And Burn

Yesterday afternoon, the recall campaigns targeting state Sens. Pete Lee of Colorado Springs and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood announced the failure of their efforts after having collected an unknown number of signatures short of the requirement in both districts. This news yesterday afternoon came following Friday’s announcement that the “Dismiss Polis” recall petition campaign gathered less than half the required signatures to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the ballot. Back in June, the recall petition campaign targeting Rep. Tom Sullivan failed after intense national news coverage highlighted the offense of trying to recall the father of an Aurora theater massacre victim for passing gun control legislation.

 

The Recall Polis “creeper van.”

Last March, Rep. Ken Buck was elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party on a promise to teach Democrats “how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L.” The ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan was filed by Colorado Republican Party vice-chair Kristi Burton Brown, who subsequently tried to distance the party from her actions as it became clear to all parties that a serious political and moral error had been made in attempting to recall Rep. Sullivan.

The recall campaign against Gov. Polis kicked off, as readers know well, over the strenuous objections of the “Official” Recall Polis committee who (as it turns out correctly) predicted the effort would fail. Two competing fundraising operations nominally dedicated to the same extremely unlikely goal of recalling Gov. Polis confusingly solicited Republicans for funds, and laid out opposing but always unrealistic visions for how the recall would proceed. In the end the “official” committee denounced the petition drive managed by GOP attorney Korry Lewis, and wrote a big check to Colorado For Trump in hope of deflecting allegations of defrauding its donors–in spirit if not in legal point of fact.

The Polis recall petition campaign claimed to have collected around 300,000 signatures, less than half the required total let alone the 30%+ margin required to cover invalid signatures during the verification process. Because these signatures will never be turned in, no one will ever know if even these claimed numbers are accurate. Likewise with the now-dead recall petition drives targeting Sens. Lee and Pettersen–those campaigns did not disclose even an estimate of signatures they had collected, and it would be impossible to verify any number they provided. On the other hand, Democrats used these petition drives to mobilize large canvass operations in the targeted districts, giving them a jump on the next cycle.

“Herbie The Hate Bug.”

The collapse in just the space of a few days of recall campaigns that have dominated political news coverage in Colorado for most of 2019 has been so stunning that the magnitude of the defeat for Republicans risks not being fully digested by the relentless news cycle. There’s an understandable desire in the wake of this defeat to lay blame on the recall organizers, from the freaks and ghouls of the Polis recall to Nancy Pallozzi, the silly-season caricature who ran the recall campaign against Sen. Pettersen in SD-22 after losing to Pettersen by 20 points in her House race three years ago. In retrospect, yes, these were fringe types who did not deserve the attention they were paid–but the responsibility for what they did goes right back to GOP chairman Ken Buck, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, and every other high-placed Republican who led the party to this state of ruin instead of preparing for the next general election in 2020.

The red-on-red recriminations are already starting. Buck’s absentee leadership of the Colorado Republican Party while radical subordinates like Kristi Burton Brown run amok, the chokehold of the Neville clan and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) on the GOP House caucus as well as county sheriffs and party organizations across the state, occurring against the backdrop of the Republican Party’s massive losses in Colorado in the 2018 elections–all of this is now a burning issue for every Colorado Republican who wants to avoid another wholesale disaster in November of 2020.

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

Over the years as Republicans have faced ever-greater defeats in Colorado both in accordance with and opposed to national trends, voices within the party have made half-hearted and in many cases disingenuous calls for a fundamental shift in direction. After sweeping losses in 2012, Republican strategists Josh Penry and Rob Witwer said flatly that Republicans “must improve or die”–and then Penry in particular got rich as a grifting “consultant” for losing Republican campaigns. In 2016, two-time gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez, himself no stranger to fringy self-destructive politics, tried unsuccessfully to purge the GOP’s slate of legislative candidates, incumbents and fresh faces alike, whom he believed were doing more harm than good for the party in the long term.

Today, Colorado Republicans find themselves at another such crossroads. Almost a year has been wasted in foolish pursuit of revenge for the losses of 2018 instead of getting ready to minimize what’s shaping up to be yet another Democratic wave in 2020. The state party is in the hands of unserious radicals who do not possess elementary political sense based on their own actions, and still tightly bound to RMGO and the Nevilles even as it costs them their last vestiges of relevance.

In 2010, Dan Maes led the Colorado GOP to an 11% finish in the governor’s race.

The hole they’re in today is every bit as deep, with no one but themselves to blame.

BREAKING: Recall Attempts Against Sens. Lee, Pettersen Fail

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark plants a suitable headstone on the day’s news. Republicans lose, but the grift wins big!

—–

UPDATE #4: Denver7’s Blair Miller:

This is the fourth recall petition against Democratic lawmakers this year that has failed.

Last Friday, organizers of an effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis announced they had failed to gather enough signatures for a recall. They claimed to have gathered around 300,000 of the necessary 631,266 but provided no proof…

“It’s hardly a surprise that these bogus recalls failed to find support beyond the grifters, extremists and sore losers who hatched the ploys in the first place,” said the group’s spokesman, Curtis Hubbard. “These scams were designed to raise money and collect data on voters in competitive districts, and all Coloradans — regardless of political affiliation — should be disgusted by the abuse of the recall process.”

—–

Sens. Brittany Pettersen, Pete Lee (D).

UPDATE #3: Here’s the statement from “Recall Et All,” blaming the failure of the Lee and Pettersen recalls on big bad nasty union thugs, et al. — who target 60-80 year old women, no less — while promising like good Scooby Doo villains to be back next time for total victory!

Recall Et All is suspending the recall campaigns for Senators Pete Lee (SD11) and Brittany Pettersen (SD22). We are confident in the success of our future efforts to recall both of these elected officials. In the meantime, we will continue to educate the public regarding the party-line politics being played in both districts that completely undermine the will of the people.

We want to thank each and every volunteer who fought through extreme heat, countless sunburns, and the harassment of dissenters which was not limited to vile name calling and crude gestures. Our dedicated volunteers also went up against the onslaught of paid protesters whose only purpose was to harass and intimidate. We learned that the leftists will stop at nothing to impede our signature-gathering efforts, as they focused on 60-80 year-old volunteers, mostly women.

We are so proud of our volunteers for standing up for freedom. They did not back down from these juvenile, dirty tactics! This opposition only showed the citizens of Colorado their true colors, making the decision to sign that much easier.

To our law enforcement officers and security guards, thank you for checking on us, treating us with dignity and respect, and recognizing our First Amendment rights.

Lastly, our sincere gratitude to the businesses in and around Senate Districts 11 and 22, both large and small, that protected our volunteers’ signature-gathering activities and their right to petition in parking lots, store fronts, etc. Protecting our freedoms is what this whole movement is about, and we will continue to fight that battle for the people of Colorado. The fight isn’t over, it’s just begun.

We’re so confident in future recall efforts that we’re just going to stop altogether! That makes lotsa sense.

—–

UPDATE #2: Colorado Democratic Party chair Morgan Carroll:

Considering that both Senators Lee and Pettersen won their 2018 elections overwhelmingly by double digits, it is hardly surprising the sore losers running these sham recalls are throwing in the towel. As has been the case with the previous failed recalls, this was never about their votes. These were far-right activists who are upset they lost so badly in 2018 and were desperate for a redo through these ridiculous recalls. The people of SD11 and SD22 saw through this sham, which is exactly why they rejected this cynical effort to overthrow their 2018 votes.

—–

UPDATE: Colorado Times Recorder:

An attempted recall of state Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) fizzled today, as proponents will not meet the deadline to submit over 11,000 signatures.

Resist Polis PAC board member Kristina Finley confirmed that signatures will not be submitted by 5:00 PM today…

Recall Et Al, the issue group behind the recall, still has a donor pages for Sens. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and Kerry Donovan (D-Vail). However, the local leader of the nascent movement to recall Donovan recently posted on Facebook that “it seems the effort is dying as more people are refusing to help or won’t volunteer.”

—–

That’s the late-breaking word this afternoon from the Colorado Secretary of State–after a 60-day period to collect 11,304 signatures in the case of Sen. Pete Lee and the recall petition against Sen. Brittany Pettersen nearing its deadline next week, both campaigns are announcing failure–via Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland:

They’re “confident in the success of their future efforts?” We’ve seen this one before:

And with that, another singularly stupid chapter in Colorado politics comes to an ignominious end–four recalls in succession now crashed and burned. We’ll update shortly with statements and coverage.

Tuesday Is Deadline Day For Pete Lee Recall Effort

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Recall proponent Scott David Fisher in 2015. Photo Credit: Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette via AP

Just days after the Recall Polis campaign came up short, a related effort to remove state Sen. Pete Lee (D – Colorado Springs) faces its deadline tomorrow, Sept. 10.

Resist Polis PAC leader Kristina Finley says the Recall Et Al issue group will issue a statement about the Lee recall tomorrow. Proponents hoped to gather 15,000 signatures from registered voters in Senate District 11. Lee won his seat with 62% of the vote, a figure cited by the Colorado Springs Business Journal in its Sept. 6 editorial opposing the recall, “Let Pete Lee Govern Already.”

Colorado Springs resident Scott David Fisher, a constituent of Sen. Lee, filed the recall petition on July 12.

Resist Polis PAC worked with Fisher in El Paso County. Fisher spoke about the Lee recall at Resist Polis’ weekly meeting in late July. However, while the effort has been led by the same Recall Et Al issue group that coordinated the Recall Polis campaign, the Lee recall has been a considerably lower-key effort, with no standalone website or Facebook page.

Korry Lewis & Tom Good (far left) pictured with other members of Resist Polis

Less than a week after the recall was filed, Colorado Politics’ Marianne Goodland reported that Fisher has “has a history with paramilitary groups such as the III% United Patriots of Colorado.” That history included patrolling the streets of Colorado Springs in 2015 with a semi-automatic rifle wearing a bandana to hide his face.

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(NOT) BREAKING: Polis Recall Petition Drive Ends In Failure

UPDATE #4: Progress Now Colorado tries to take the edge off the bad news for President Donald Trump’s next briefing:

—–

UPDATE #3: Gov. Jared Polis’ full statement:

“After all that fuss, I was pleasantly surprised that they didn’t turn in a single signature on the recall. I hope the remaining misguided efforts against others see the same results as Tom Sullivan’s did before. Recalls should not be used for partisan gamesmanship.

“Yesterday I was in Rifle, last week I was in Ignacio, Cortez, and Durango, and next week I’ll be in Trinidad and Lamar. Across the state, people are so excited that kids everywhere are able to attend kindergarten free of charge, and that for the first time in history, health insurance rates are going down more than 18% next year. Mom and pop stores across the state are already benefiting from our tax cut that reduced taxes for 144,000 small and medium-sized businesses across our state.

“Now that this sideshow is over, I will continue to focus my full attention on building upon our bipartisan success with kindergarten and saving money on health care. For my nine months in office I’ve held regular meetings with Republican and Democratic legislative leadership, and after the remaining recall efforts fail I plan on inviting both sides to a joint bipartisan leadership meeting to discuss how together we can improve our schools, reduce our traffic, and save people even more money on health care. Let’s see what amazing things we can do for Colorado, together.”

—–

That’s not very many boxes.

UPDATE #2: Colorado Sun:

Friday was the end of a 60-day period during which supporters of the recall needed to collect 631,266 valid signatures — or more than 10,521 a day — to make the special election happen. No campaign has ever collected that many signatures in Colorado.

Organizers said they collected more than 300,000 signatures…

Organizers also said they will not turn in the signatures that they did collect. If they did, the people who signed would have been prohibited from signing any other petition to recall Polis during his term in office. The maneuver also prevents the public from knowing who signed the petition.

We feel this is crucial to reiterate. No news story should quote the campaign’s 300,000 signatures claim without noting that this number has not been and at this point will not ever be verified, since the petitions will not be turned into the Secretary of State for verification.

For all we know, those forms could be blank.

—–

UPDATE: Marshall Zelinger of 9NEWS reports that the “Resist Polis” campaign collected roughly 300,000 signatures, less than half the required number and nowhere close to the necessary margin for account for the inevitable invalid signatures. They will not be turning collected signatures in, meaning even these pitiful numbers cannot be verified–but based on the typical validity rate for ballot measure petitions, the number of valid signatures is almost certainly far below the announced total..

In short, the campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis has now been confirmed to be a massive waste of time and energy that in hindsight received much more attention than it ever deserved. Updates, reactions to follow.

—–

That’s the word from a press conference underway now at the “Resist Polis” campaign, whose 60-day window to collect over 630,000 valid Colorado voter signatures ends today.

We’re updating as word comes in, so watch this space.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 3)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

As the Associated Press reports, lawmakers are making a renewed push to ban high-capacity magazines for firearms as Congress approaches the end of its August recess:

Nine states, including Colorado, have passed laws restricting magazine capacity to 10 to 15 bullets, and the Democratic-led U.S. House plans to consider a similar ban at the federal level in the coming weeks.

In arguing for the bans, politicians, experts and gun-control advocates point out that in the time it takes for a driver to wait through a stop light, a shooter with a 100-round magazine can kill and injure dozens of people.

The man who opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, last month killed nine people and injured 27 others in only 30 seconds, in part because of the 100-bullet drum attached to his rifle. It only took 85 seconds for a gunman to empty several 30-round magazines at an IHOP in Carson City, Nevada, killing four people and injuring 14 in 2011.

Authorities have not released any information on the accessories the gunman in Odessa, Texas, used over the weekend when he opened fire on police and bystanders with an AR-style weapon.

Seven people were killed and at least 22 injured in Saturday’s shooting in Odessa, Texas. Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell says that he will only allow a vote on new gun safety measures in the U.S. Senate with the approval of President Trump.

Meanwhile, as CNN reports, America’s largest retailer is making a big move on gun safety:

Walmart on Tuesday announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart also pressured Congress to enact gun safety measures.

The company, America’s largest retailer, said it will stop selling handgun ammunition and ammunition for short-barrel rifles after selling all of its current inventory. Walmart (WMT) will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells handguns. And Walmart will request that customers no longer openly carry guns into its 4,700 US stores, or its Sam’s Club stores, in states that allow open carry.

However, Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. Walmart will also continue to allow concealed carry by customers with permits in its stores. 

 

► The El Paso County Republican Party is in tatters.

 

► There are a lot of things that you can and should be outraged about. This is not one of those things.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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