Get More Smarter on Friday (April 29)

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As the Washington Post reports, Russian billionaires who both owe Vladimir Putin and also in a way own him (that’s how oligarchies work) are getting tired of the war on Ukraine:

Even as opinion polls report overwhelming public support for the military campaign, amid pervasive state propaganda and new laws outlawing criticism of the war, cracks are starting to show. The dividing lines among factions of the Russian economic elite are becoming more marked, and some of the tycoons — especially those who made their fortunes before President Vladimir Putin came to power — have begun, tentatively, to speak.

Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for the latest updates on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
For many, the most immediate focus has been their own woes. Sweeping sanctions imposed by the West have brought down a new iron curtain on the Russian economy, freezing tens of billions of dollars of many of the tycoons’ assets along the way.

“In one day, they destroyed what was built over many years. It’s a catastrophe,” said one businessman who was summoned along with many of the country’s other richest men to meet Putin on the day of the invasion.

Meanwhile, Europe is working furiously wean itself off Russian fossil fuels, and  President Joe Biden has proposed a massive $33 billion aid package to Ukraine.


Continuing revelations about apprehension and outrage from Republican leadership against Donald Trump and some of their own members (see: Rep. Lauren Boebert) in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th , 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressing Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to explain himself–The Hill:

Pelosi said during her weekly press conference that audio of McCarthy raising issues regarding rhetoric from fellow Republicans in the days after the attack was “inconsistent” with his past opposition to efforts such as installing magnetometers at the House chamber entrance.

“It was interesting to me that the leader talked about the concern that he had — if in fact those were his words, which that’s up to you to decide — that he was concerned about his members causing danger here and at the same time complaining that we have magnetometers to keep guns off the floor of the House. It just seemed inconsistent to me,” Pelosi said…

“And they can’t say on one breath, I’m afraid that they’re going to cause danger to other members, and at the same time complained about my having magnetometers on the floor of the House,” she added.

President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing to make good on campaign promises to provide some degree of student loan forgiveness–just how much and how soon remains unknown.


In a congressional hearing yesterday, Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck let his inner nativist out to play in a wild race-baited tirade against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.


Click below to keep learning things…



Well, That Was Stupid

Rep. Dave Williams (R-idiculous).

9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger:

Republican Colorado State Rep. Dave Williams cannot use “Let’s Go Brandon” as a nickname that would appear on the June 28 primary ballot for 5th Congressional District (CD5)…

In a Wednesday morning ruling, Denver District Judge Andrew McCallin said that Williams proved proper use of “Let’s Go Brandon” as a nickname, but that Democratic Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold used proper authority to disallow it from being used on the ballot.

We’ve already spent more time on this than it deserves. He’ll get a few primary votes for the attempt.

And we’re all a little dumber from the experience. Carry on.

The GMS Podcast: Get Off the People’s Lawn! (feat. Christy Powell)

This week in episode 106 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii welcome back Christy Powell, last week’s wildly-popular guest host, for a new segment breaking down the latest questionable spending in fundraising reports for federal campaigns in Colorado.

Later, we listen in as Republican gubernatorial candidates Greg Lopez and Hiedi Heidi Ganahl explain how THEY would have gotten control of the May 2020 riots in Denver [Spoiler Alert: They would have basically used a stern voice with protestors]. We also do our best to decipher a celebratory video from CO-08 Republican candidate Lori Saine.

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Rep. Dave Williams Has Already Been Out-Jackassed

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

As Colorado Newsline reports, Colorado’s hardest-trying edgelord in the Colorado House of Representatives, Rep. Dave Williams, just pulled the world’s least clever press stunt masquerading as a court case:

Williams, a state representative who is running in Colorado’s 5th congressional district to unseat incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn, wants his name to appear as “Dave ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Williams” on the June primary ballot, arguing that Colorado law allows candidates to use widely-used nicknames…

Williams submitted his request for his ballot designation on April 4, two days after securing the top-line spot for the primary election with 74% of the delegate vote. Secretary of State Jena Griswold then rejected the request to include the nickname, claiming “Let’s Go Brandon” is a slogan and not a nickname.

Now, Williams wants the Denver District Court to compel Griswold to print his purported nickname on the primary ballot.

We evaluated the pros and cons of mentioning this nonsense at all before deciding that the news day was sufficiently slow to we guess justify it. It’s unfunny derivative trash that’s clearly electioneering, and underscores the silliness of the recent court ruling upholding another obvious political catchphrase as a “nickname” suitable to identify a candidate on the ballot.

And yes, a big slice of the Republican primary electorate in CD-5 will absolutely love it. Maybe enough to fill in the box next to it because why the hell not. It’s a sad statement about today’s political culture that breaks much too cleanly on partisan lines.

If Rep. Williams wants to really impress us, though, there’s another step he needs to take.

Talk to us when Williams proves his MAGA devotion like “Romney Face Tattoo Guy.”

Federal Fundraising Numbers to Watch: Q1 2022

Quarterly fundraising reports for federal campaigns were due by midnight on Friday. Since many of you had signed off for the weekend long before that time, we’ll break down everything you need to know below…

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet maintains his sizable fundraising lead over the rest of the field of Senate hopefuls.

The numbers for Ron Hanks are interesting for a non-obvious reason. Yes, Hanks isn’t raising diddly squat for his campaign, but it also appears as though he’s not really trying to fundraise. Only 11 individual contributors appear on Hanks’s fundraising report; Bennet, by comparison, has hundreds of individual contributors. We suppose it’s possible that Hanks is just really bad at fundraising, but the limited number of contributors suggests that Hanks is intentionally choosing to do other things with his time. Hanks may be hoping for more unsolicited donations now that he is the top line candidate on the June Primary ballot, which is sorta what happened for 2016 Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn. Hanks also knows that if he wins the GOP Primary, he’ll get national fundraising help to some degree.

Joe O’Dea does appear to be raising money in the traditional manner — just not a lot of it. His numbers would be pretty good if he were running for a seat in the House of Representatives, but this is a weak quarter for a Senate candidate. Again, fundraising is likely to be a lot easier for O’Dea now that the GOP field is down to just he and Hanks, but this isn’t a great sign for a candidate who has more of a name ID problem than his Republican opponent.

Three other former Republican Senate candidates committed the cardinal sin in politics of losing with money in the bank. Gino Campana ($625k), Eli Bremer ($150k), and Deborah Flora ($209k) all failed to qualify for the June Primary ballot via the assembly process, which puts an end to their 2022 campaigns but does not zero out their candidate bank accounts.



Incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert continues to raise a lot money…but she’s also spending a good deal of her coin as well. Her opponent in the June Primary, Don Coram, isn’t doing well on the fundraising front and will likely need to rely on spending from third-party groups to boost his name ID and/or weaken Boebert.

As for the Democrats, Sol Sandoval continues to burn through her money at an alarming rate. Sandoval’s fundraising hasn’t been bad — she has pulled in more than $800k for her campaign thus far — but she has also spent more than $700k. The “poop guy,” Alex Walker, raised nearly $130k in just about one month, which would put him on a decent trajectory if he were able to maintain this pace. Adam Frisch, meanwhile, is sitting on $1.66 million in the bank — most of it coming from people named Adam Frisch.



Challenger Dave Williams had a decent fundraising quarter, though he has a long way to go in order to catch up to what incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn has in the bank. Lamborn’s $82,955 Q1 is pretty weak, but it’s not much less than what he normally raises in a given quarter. Money likely won’t play that big of a role in the June Primary, which will mostly be a battle over a smaller group of consistent Republican voters.



Democrat Brittany Pettersen turned in a solid first fundraising quarter, trailing only Boebert for the lead among candidates for the U.S. House in Colorado. Republican Tim Reichert technically reported more money in contributions, but $500k came in the form of a personal check. [Side note: Reichert laughably claimed in a press release that “70%” of his donations came from Coloradans…a figure that includes 100% of all Tim Reicherts in the state].

The other two Republicans in the race are struggling on the money front. Erik Aadland had a not-completely-terrible contribution number, but he spent most of it and now has very little left in the bank. Laurel Imer, meanwhile, would likely be trailing her opponents in a race for the STATE House of Representatives.



This entire list might qualify as the biggest surprise of the first quarter. Congressional district eight is a brand new congressional district with no incumbent in the way, yet no candidate is really crushing it on the fundraising front. Democrat Yadira Caraveo has the most in the bank, and she should be able to build on that lead now that she doesn’t have an opponent in the June Primary.

Republican Lori Saine, who earned top line on the June Primary ballot, seems to be taking a similar approach to that of Ron Hanks in the U.S. Senate race; Saine only has about 30 total contributions, which indicates that she isn’t putting any real time or effort into fundraising. Saine has good enough name ID in a four-way Primary that being a top fundraiser isn’t as important as it might be for other candidates.

Fellow Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer dropped the biggest turd of the bunch, though perhaps her low numbers indicate that she expects outside groups (such as Americans for Prosperity) to do the heavy lifting on her behalf. Meanwhile, Jan Kulmann’s numbers are fairly weak for someone who touts strong connections to the oil and gas industry. Tyler Allcorn produced a better quarter than we would have expected, though it helps to be able to write yourself a big check; still, Allcorn’s numbers indicate that he may have enough resources to play a spoiler role in June.


The GMS Podcast: For a Better Circus, Add More Clowns

This week in episode 105 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii guest host Christy Powell spend an entire episode breaking down the fantastic disaster that was last weekend’s Republican Party state assembly. Which other Republicans are dancing alongside Secretary of State nominee Tina Peters?

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The Republican Party’s Weekend Disaster in 9 Parts

Colorado Republicans spent the weekend in Colorado Springs finalizing candidate positions for various important races in 2022. In case you haven’t heard, the GOP State Assembly did not go well. Here’s what happened…


(1) Colorado Media Outlets All Saw the Same Thing

Colorado political reporters came to the same obvious conclusion following Saturday’s circus: The “Big Lie” reigns supreme in the Colorado Republican Party. Here’s a sampling:

♦ The Denver Post: “Colorado GOP embraces election conspiracy theories in nominations for Secretary of State, Senate”

Axios Denver: “Colorado GOP nominates election deniers to 2022 primary ballot”

Colorado Public Radio: “False claims about 2020 election front and center as Tina Peters clinches spot in GOP secretary of state race”

9News: “Far-right challengers gaining ground ahead of GOP primary”

Colorado Newsline: “Far-right conspiracy theorists triumphant at Republican state assembly”


(2) If This Weekend Surprised You, Then You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) was elected to her current post early last year after basically running on the “Big Lie.” She flat-out said at one point that the Colorado Republican Party is NEVER going back to the Pre-Trump days (though she later tried to walk that back). 

Presumptive GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has been flailing since her 2021 campaign kickoff about her persistent refusal to acknowledge that the 2020 election was legitimate. You can see from Saturday’s results why Ganahl has been so terrified to waffle on the “Big Lie” where the GOP base is concerned.

On Friday night, Republicans heard from a “Big Lie” keynote speaker at their Centennial Dinner: Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs.

Republicans spent HOURS on Saturday arguing over multiple efforts from groups trying to force the Party to abandon electronic voting in favor of paper ballots. Did Republicans really think that NOBODY would bring this up at their State Assembly? 

“We had to take two different votes on whether to do paper ballots,” said KBB on KNUS radio on Monday. One of the requests for paper ballots came from local militia group FEC United; KBB herself served as the President of FEC United prior to becoming State Republican Party Chair. 

On Monday, the founder of FEC United, Joe Oltmann, was still pushing an extensive, elaborate, and completely insane conspiracy theory about electronic voting “problems.”


(3) Danielle Neuschwanger Claims Fraud After Losing

Again, in the “of course this happened” category.

The odds that a Republican candidate was going to lose on Saturday and then immediately claim election fraud as the reason were approximately 100%.

Danielle Neuschwanger finished in third place in the race for Governor, behind Greg Lopez and Ganahl, but short of the 30% threshold that would get her name on the June Primary ballot. Neuschwanger then publicly alleged that there were some sort of voting irregularities and that she would refuse to concede (not that anybody needs Neuschwanger to concede in order to move on to June). We know this happened because Neuschwanger posted a video of herself making this very argument:

Near the end of the video, an unidentified man can be heard yelling, “We didn’t lose! We got screwed!”

On KNUS radio on Monday morning, KBB elaborated on this event, adding that Neuschwanger’s husband threatened to beat up her father! Totally normal stuff.



(4) Raise Your Hand if You Want to be on the Ballot!

Republicans allowed nominations from the floor on Saturday. This did not go well.

The first problem with this approach came when Oltmann was nominated for Governor (and seconded by State Rep. Pat Neville). Oltmann had no intention of accepting this nomination, but he DID use his time on stage to endorse two other Republicans: Ron Hanks for Senate and Tina Peters for Secretary of State. Both KBB and Republican Party Vice-Chair Priscilla Rahn bemoaned this on Monday on KNUS radio as a waste of everyone’s time. You’d think KBB might have had some advance knowledge of this given the fact that she basically worked for Oltmann 18 months ago.

Following the vote for Governor, two different people were then nominated from the floor for Attorney General. We wrote earlier about Stanley Thorne, but there was a second woman nominated for AG who admitted soon thereafter THAT SHE WASN’T EVEN AN ATTORNEY. Thorne, by the way, is a licensed attorney, but not in Colorado (he’s also apparently not a registered Republican). 

In the end, District Attorney John Kellner escaped Colorado Springs without a Primary opponent, but he can’t be feeling too pleased with himself. As we wrote on Sunday:

Apparently 42% of Colorado Republicans said they would prefer “any random asshole” for Attorney General rather than John Kellner…EVEN if that person is not even a registered Republican in Colorado.



(5) More Clowns = Better Circus

Saturday was unquestionably a dumpster fire for the Colorado Republican Party, but that didn’t stop KBB from attempting her own lame spin on the results:

It is true that State Treasurer candidate Lang Sias does not have a Republican opponent. As we noted earlier, AG candidate John Kellner would have had a Primary had Stanley Thorne actually been a registered Republican. In order to find a third candidate for this “no Primary”  narrative, KBB had to include some guy running for state school board.

Meanwhile, Republicans do have a primary fight for Governor, U.S. Senate, and Secretary of State. All three Republican incumbents in Congress will have a Primary in June, and both open seats (CO-07 and CO-08) have multiple-candidate Primary battles. Republicans also have NO candidates in CO-01, CO-02, or CO-06. 

But, sure, YAY for Sias, Kellner, and school board guy.

In case you were wondering, Democrats have no primary battles for any statewide race. Democrats also have no Primary fight in any congressional race. The Republican spin on this is just silly. 


(6) The Tina Peters Assembly

Greg Lopez  won top line at the assembly BECAUSE he promised to pardon Peters of any crimes committed during her tenure as Mesa County Clerk and Recorder. Stanley Thorne got 42% of the vote in the race for AG because he and others claimed that John Kellner failed to support Peters with sufficient vigor. 

The biggest surprise from Saturday’s assembly might be that no Republican candidate publicly proposed to marry Peters. 

This is the part where we remind you that Tina Peters spent a night in jail literally one month ago. She might yet be jailed on a contempt of court charge, and we don’t even know about the federal crimes she could get dinged for in the coming months.

If there is a ray of hope for the GOP, it is that Mike O’Donnell made the June Primary ballot, giving Republicans a three-way Primary for SOS. O’Donnell is a long shot to win, but he could be helpful to the GOP if he is able to siphon votes away from Tina Peters to the benefit of Pam Anderson (who skipped the assembly after getting on the ballot via the petition route).

This weekend Twitter take is…not wrong:


(7) No-mentum for Heidi Ganahl 

Despite her endless pandering to the Republican base, presumed GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Heidi Ganahl came in second to Greg Lopez, who collected basically the same vote percentage that he received in his 2018 bid for Governor. We don’t need to tell you that it’s bad news that Ganahl is basically an afterthought following the biggest weekend of the year for Colorado Republicans.



(8) All The Momentum for Ron Hanks

Just look at this photo, via Colorado Public Radio:


Republican operatives have insisted for months that Ron Hanks is not a real candidate for U.S. Senate and would have no chance in a GOP Primary. We’ve long believed that reality was exactly the opposite of this position. 

On Saturday Hanks SHUT OUT every other Republican Senate candidate, emerging from the State Assembly as the only person to make the Primary ballot via this process (if you’re wondering how this happened, see point #2 above). Hanks will face Joe O’Dea in June after O’Dea was the only Republican Senate candidate with the sense to collect petition signatures instead of relying on the GOP’s lunatic base.

Hanks has raised very little money for his U.S. Senate campaign and is about as far away from the average Colorado voter on policy issues as a candidate could get. But he might well win the Republican Primary in June, following in the footsteps of 2016 Senate hopeful Darryl Glenn

There is still a lot to be told on the other side of the GOP ledger. Gino Campana is a multi-millionaire former Ft. Collins City Council Member who regularly touted his connections to Donald Trump and even hired Kellyanne Conway as a consultant. He didn’t make the ballot.

Eli Bremer is a former Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party and a onetime Olympic athlete (albeit in the “modern pentathlon”) who was the first Republican candidate to enter the race in 2021. He didn’t make the ballot. 

Deborah Flora is a former radio host and onetime “Miss Colorado” who entered Saturday touting the endorsement of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. She also left Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday in need of a new hobby.

Campana, Bremer, and Flora spent a lot of time and paid a lot of consultants a lot of money for a whole lot of nothing. 


(9) Ken Buck, Canary in the Coal Mine

We knew things were going to be (extra) weird on Saturday after incumbent Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) almost failed to get his name on the June Primary ballot during Friday’s CO-04 assembly. Buck finished in second place behind somebody named Bob Lewis. Buck will likely still win the GOP Primary, but getting just 38% of the vote from your own base is pretty sad for an incumbent Congressman. 


Hold On to Your Hats, Republicans!

UPDATE #2: This is going well:


UPDATE: Over in CO-07, it looks like Republicans will have a three-way Primary on their hands. Erik Aadland (63%) and Laurel Imer (34%) both made the ballot through the assembly process. One other Republican candidate, demon enthusiast Tim Reichert, made the ballot via the petition route.


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any weirder…

Incumbent Republican Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) damn near failed to make the Primary ballot at today’s GOP congressional assembly for CO-04, finishing with about 38% of the vote. As Sandra Fish of The Colorado Sun reports via Twitter:

Republicans are also holding assemblies for CO-02, CO-03, and CO-07 today. Given the craziness that has already ensued in other Republican assemblies, we could be in for a wild day on Saturday as the GOP selects nominees for Governor and U.S. Senate.

The GMS Podcast: Whose Demon is it Anyway?

Sen. Julie Gonzales and Scott Wasserman

This week in episode 104 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with State Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Bell Policy Center President Scott Wasserman about what Colorado can (and should) do with TABOR refunds and affordable housing funding.

But first, we talk about a demon named Ba’al and why you should never use words like “sacrifice” and “altar” when you are a candidate for Congress and your name is Tim Reichert.

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Never Been a More Dangerous Moment For Doug Lamborn

Rep. Dave Williams with far-right commentator and supporter Michelle Malkin.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reported on last weekend’s “triumph”–upstart CD-5 Republican challenger Rep. Dave Williams certainly wants it spun that way–in a district assembly that only pitted Williams against a couple of relative unknowns, but from which Williams emerged as the only grassroots-anointed candidate opposing incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn in the June 28th primary:

“If you want to keep the establishment and the status quo, where nothing gets accomplished and our values are constantly undermined, then vote for the guy in the back right there,” said Williams, pointing over the crowd of cheering delegates toward Lamborn in the gymnasium at Falcon High School after his wife, Emily, and conservative commentator Michelle Malkin had nominated Williams.

“But if you want a right-wing conservative, America-first, grassroots fighter with a spine who won’t back down from the corrupt politicians and the deep state, then vote for me,” he added.

Williams said in his speech that the heavily Republican, El Paso County-based 5th CD — which hasn’t sent a Democrat to the U.S. House since its creation in 1972 — should send a lawmaker to Washington who leads the fight on conservative issues, citing Republican U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Lauren Boebert of Colorado as role models.

“I’m going to be just like Lauren Boebert, though not as pretty,” Williams cracked. [Pols emphasis]

While clearing your palette of that visual, we certainly agree that Rep. Williams offers more to Republican primary voters on the wedge issues that motivate them most than Lamborn ever has. Williams’ whole political engagement strategy consists of pushing the boundaries of decency on controversial issues from immigration to anti-vaccine “medical rights”–deliberately seeking to offend with incendiary rhetoric that white conservatives would be roundly condemned for using. Williams is also one of the state’s leading Donald Trump loyalists continuing to work backward from his predisposed conviction that the 2020 election was stolen, which is also the opinion of a large majority of Republican base voters.

In short, Dave Williams is everything Republican primary voters want in a congressman, promising to join Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn, and the rest of the high-visibility low productivity pack of Trump loyalists in what they expect will be a new GOP House majority next January–with an overriding mission to clear a path for the Dear Leader’s restoration in 2024.

Rep. Lamborn hails from an older generation of Republican lawmakers who, while certainly capable of offending public sensibilities to “own the libs,” has not made an unyielding firehose of outrageousness their sole objective in public office. Lamborn has survived on a combination of safe-seat apathy and support from the military-industrial interests that have a dominant economic presence in CD-5. In 2022, however, Lamborn’s longstanding ethics problems are finally catching up to him at the same moment as a hard-charging MAGA upstart is challenging him with the message the polls say the Republican base wants to hear.

A scenario is emerging in which Colorado loses Doug Lamborn–and then in a twist few would have predicted, actually comes to miss him.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Episode 100!!!

This week in episode 100 — yes, 100 — of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with two different guests about two very important subjects related to Colorado politics.

First, we chat with Skyler McKinley of AAA Colorado to get the real story on how and why gas prices are rising…and how it has nothing to do with politicians in either party.

Later, Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group walks us through the latest numbers from the “Mountaineer” polling project. Why is little-known Republican Danielle Neuschwanger polling better than Hiedi Heidi Ganahl in the GOP race for governor? Baumann also explains how the “crimenado” narrative is less perilous to Democrats than you might think, as well as the problems with Colorado Republicans continuing to attach themselves to former President Donald Trump.

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Republicans Punishing Their Own Constituents (Again)

Colorado Republicans once again (not) bringing home the funding.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports on the passage in the U.S. House yesterday of a $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill chock full of long-awaited priorities across the state ready to put those taxpayer dollars to work–and once again, it’s a case of partisan haves and have-nots as Republican lawmakers refuse to participate in the process, leaving their constituents out of the rainmaking:

Leadership brought member-directed funding back to Congress after it was banned in 2011 when then-President Barack Obama and Republicans pushed to end the practice due to concerns over wasteful spending and budget deficits.

Now that the practice is back, but with more transparency to prevent waste and corruption, according to congressional leaders. Colorado Democrats made use of the member-directed funding opportunities by helping earmark about 100 projects for local governments, universities, hospitals, law enforcement and non-profits across the state.

Colorado Republicans have already shunned its return. And it’s possible Republicans will remove the practice once again if they gain control of the House next fall.

But for now, the practice is here to stay. And to make the process more transparent than in years past, all members of Congress must make public their requests, show need and prove no one in the member’s family would benefit from the funds.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with representatives being able to make specific funding requests for priorities in their district–especially under the new rules which require much more transparency. Republicans may change the rules if they regain power, but to refuse to participate in the meantime makes constituents the victims.

Fortunately for the residents of Colorado’s Third, Fourth, and Fifth Congressional districts, although they were represented in the House by Republicans whose ideological roadblock prevented them from participating in the dreaded “earmark” process, they were also represented by two Democratic U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper who were responsible for nailing down specific funding requests for a variety of projects in those districts. From Adams State College in Alamosa to wastewater treatment in Craig and housing assistance in Sterling, money will get to these projects despite the refusal of their Republicans representatives to sully themselves with the job of asking.

At some point between now and November, one or more of these Republicans is certain to take credit for “earmarks” obtained by Democrats on behalf of their constituents. Boebert herself has already been caught taking credit for projects she not only didn’t request but actually voted against–just like she voted against both halves of yesterday’s bill. Making anti-gubmint activists like Grover Norquist happy by throwing a tantrum over the rules of the game does nothing for constituents who just want stuff to get done. And when constituents see stuff getting done, nobody wants to be on the opposing side.

When that happens, complain loudly in hope that they won’t get away with it.

Tom Tancredo Is Starting Up A Posse

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

Former Republican Congressman, presidential candidate, and anti-immigrant human blowtorch Tom Tancredo has been on a tear of endorsements for Republican candidates running in hot primaries. A “Tanc Ticket” of conservative contenders headed by Gino Campana for U.S. Senate and CD-8 candidate Lori Saine is coming together for the June 28th primary, along with Tancredo’s surprising 2020 endorsement that turned out to be prophetic: Rep. Lauren Boebert.

As Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports, add another Republican congressional primary candidate to the Tanc Ticket in the form of Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs:

“The best thing Colorado can do in CD 5 is dump Doug Lamborn and elect Dave Williams to fight for us,” Tancredo said in a statement released by Williams’s campaign.

“On every issue that matters, from securing our borders to stopping out of control spending, Dave Williams has been a proven champion who will never sell us out or give in to the failed establishment leadership in both parties. Congress desperately needs more real leaders like Dave Williams, so please join me in supporting his campaign right away.”

A spokeswoman for Lamborn’s campaign declined to comment.

Tancredo, who whose fifth and final term in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2007-2009 overlapped with Lamborn’s first term, told Colorado Politics that he has enthusiastically endorsed one of Lamborn’s Republican challengers every time the incumbent has faced a primary…

So clearly there’s no love lost between Tancredo and Rep. Doug Lamborn, which is not surprising given how most of Tancredo’s Republican contemporaries seem to feel about the man from former President George W. Bush on down. In addition, though, Rep. Dave Williams ideologically is extremely tight with Tancredo on the issue of immigration–where Williams had carved a political niche out of spewing noxious anti-immigrant rhetoric from the safe harbor of his own identity politics.

Since Tancredo’s days as a political pariah in his own party the GOP has steadily marched in his direction on every issue including immigration. For this reason alone, it would be folly to underestimate the power of a Tancredo endorsement in a Republican primary. Tancredo’s grassroots credibility with the Republican base remains very strong. Just as important, Tanc is free of the taint of “selling out conservative values” that so many other Colorado Republicans have been forced into in order to win general elections in this increasingly blue state.

And he’s building a crew of candidates who, whatever other flaws they may possess, can argue the same.

Republicans Cheer Putin, Blame Biden as Russia Attacks Ukraine

Last evening (morning in Ukraine), Russia launched a full invasion of the former Soviet territory. While some Republicans said the right things about supporting Ukraine and pushing back against aggression from Russian President Vladimir Putin, most had…different ideas.

First, here’s former President Donald Trump saying that Russia invaded Ukraine because of the 2020 Presidential election in the United States:

This is the same Trump who earlier this week called Putin a “genius” for preparing to invade Ukraine with a “peacekeeping force.”

As MSNBC explains:

“As an American, I am angry and saddened,” the former president said of the conflict. “It happened because of a rigged election.”

Yes, as a deadly international crisis unfolds, what really matters to the head of the Republican Party is his pitiful Big Lie.

In the same on-air appearance, he admonished his own country’s leaders — Trump condemned what he saw as the Biden administration’s “weakness and stupidity” — before suggesting that he believed U.S. troops were part of last night’s military offensive. It fell to Laura Ingraham to explain that it was Russians, not Americans, that had launched an amphibious attack.

That’s right: Trump thinks the United States is sending troops into Ukraine (it is not).

Via Business Insider (2/24/22)


Meanwhile, as Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline reports, right-wing pundits in Colorado are using the Russian invasion as an opportunity to PRAISE VLADIMIR PUTIN:

Similarly, the Colorado Republican Party thinks this is a fine time to blame President Biden for Putin’s decisions. Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is echoing Trump’s rhetoric:


Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) agrees with Lamborn, issuing a full statement to talk about how everything is Biden’s fault (Boebert also seems to think that approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada would have stopped Putin from invading Ukraine, or something).

And then there’s Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who may not even be paying attention to what’s happening in Eastern Europe:


Republicans are all over the place on Russia/Ukraine in part because there is no consensus among Congressional leaders about how they should respond.

Finally, here’s an interesting reminder from Kyle Clark of 9News:

The GMS Podcast: The GOP Senate Race is Straight Bananas

This week in episode 97 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss a new entrant into the hall of shame for one of Colorado’s most famous political “kickers”; we check in on Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert; and we wonder aloud if Republicans have already forgotten the lesson they should have learned in 2015 about messing around with school boards.

Later, we dive into the two most recent Republican Senate candidate debates in an effort to make sense of this muddled field. Can any of these candidates pose a challenge to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet? And can we please, please, PLEASE make sure that Daniel Hendricks gets his name on the June Primary ballot?

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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New “Big Line: 2022” Updates

With all of the fundraising reports from 2021 now available, we took a moment to make some adjustments to The Big Line: 2022. Here’s a brief synopsis of what changed (and what didn’t):



Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet remains the clear favorite here, so the only movement is on the Republican side. You can argue whether or not State Rep. Ron Hanks is a clear threat to Bennet given his fundraising troubles, but Hanks is following the same script that won Darryl Glenn the GOP Senate nomination in 2016. Gino Campana and Joe O’Dea look to have the most resources of all the Republican candidates, which puts them in the best position to attract undecided voters in June.

Eli Bremer and Deborah Flora drop into a lower tier after last week’s Senate debate in Lakewood showed that they don’t have anything interesting to say nor a clear strategy moving forward. Hanks, Campana, Bremer, and Flora are all going the State Assembly route for ballot access; there’s probably only room for two of them.



No real movement here. Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is still Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.



This race will likely be decided in the June Republican Primary between Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and State Sen. Don Coram. Democrat Don Valdez has seen his fundraising numbers drop off significantly, while Sol Sandoval continues to spend as much money as she brings in to her campaign; both Democrats are just treading water at this point.



Brittany Pettersen has cleared the Democratic field and is well-positioned to win this race. On the Republican side, State Rep. Colin Larson is probably not running, but some big Trump donor named Timothy Reichert has stepped into the fray.



While the race in CO-07 seems to be getting clearer, the opposite is taking place in Colorado’s newest congressional district. Fundraising numbers for the top five hopefuls were pretty similar at the end of 2021. Both the Democratic and Republican Primaries are shaping up to be close fights. Keep an eye on Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine; if she can maintain her fundraising efforts, she’ll be in good shape to bring home the right-wing base in June. 


Holy Burn Rate, Batman!

Doug Lamborn is seeking his ninth term in Congress this year. Since first winning election in 2006, the Colorado Springs Republican has somehow managed to continually make it back to Congress every two years despite a solid record of accomplishing virtually nothing. The 2022 cycle may be his toughest re-election challenge yet.

Lamborn is in deep trouble with an ongoing ethics investigation related to his alleged mistreatment of staff and, among other things, allowing his grown son to live in a storage closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol. That investigation is accompanied by a lawsuit from a former staffer, which means there is more than one avenue by which these allegations could damage Lamborn politically.

Lamborn’s Republican Primary challenger, State Rep. Dave Williams, has been hammering the incumbent Congressman over his ethical lapses — and those problems have also been eating into Lamborn’s campaign bank account. Lamborn has never been a prolific fundraiser, but in the last quarter of 2021, he spent more money than he raised, which works out to a burn rate of [checks math]: Really bad. Among Lamborn’s largest expenses was a $21,000 payment to a law firm in Jackson, MS called Watkins & Eager.

Fortunately for Lamborn, he still finished 2021 with $438,937 in the bank. We’d imagine he’ll need every penny of that warchest, since it won’t be easy to convince new donors to write big checks when you’re facing a serious congressional ethics investigation that is running up a big legal tab.

Doug Lamborn, This is Your Life

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) has been in office since winning a six-way Republican Primary in 2006. Lamborn’s time in office has been generally unremarkable, though lately he’s been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

The Associated Press reported on Lamborn’s Congressional Ethics problems on Tuesday, but not before making a mistake that is too Lamborn-esque for us to ignore:

Via The Associated Press (1/26/22)


What say you, Polsters? Does Lamborn look enough like Turner to justify the mistake?

Rep. Doug Lamborn (left) and Ohio Rep. Mike Turner.

Poor Doug Lamborn. Even when he’s under investigation for wrongdoing, nobody knows what he looks like.

The Opening? Williams Hammers Lamborn Over Ethics Complaint

State Rep. Dave Williams (R).

Yesterday, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics released a report on allegations of misconduct against Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado compiled by the similarly-named but operationally distinct Office of Congress Ethics that affirms a number of the charges against Lamborn regarding misuse of office staff and resources, including allegations that Lamborn allowed his son to sleep in a storage space at the U.S. Capitol. The investigation into Lamborn doesn’t end with this report’s publication, but the findings will serve as the basis for what looks to be a continued serious optics problem in an election year.

Rep. Lamborn’s Republican primary opponent, far-charging “America First” state Rep. Dave Williams, is overjoyed by the gift dropped into his lap, and ramping up the rhetorical assault on Lamborn in the report’s wake:

Today, conservative Republican and State Representative from Colorado Springs, Dave Williams, called on discredited politician, Doug Lamborn, to resign immediately from office.

Today, January 24, 2022, the U.S. House Committee on Ethics announced it, again, is furthering its investigation into Doug Lamborn after an initial investigative extension was granted in early December of last year.

Additionally, and more troubling, is that the bipartisan Board of the Office of Congressional Ethics voted unanimously to accept the findings of their investigators who determined “there is substantial reason to believe” that Lamborn “misused official resources” and “solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.”

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R).

Williams takes a deep dramatic breath and puffs out his chest before continuing. Not really, but you can imagine it:

“For the good of our community, Doug Lamborn should resign immediately. The findings of these congressional investigators are troubling to say the least and demonstrate a culture of corruption that should not be tolerated. Our new district deserves a new Congressman with a proven conservative record of always fighting for regular workers and families while maintaining the highest ethical standards,” stated Williams.

“The voters never elected Lamborn to enrich himself off the backs of the taxpayers. If he refuses to step down for the good of our community, then I look forward to working with voters to retire this corrupt establishment politician come June,” continued Williams.

“With Doug Lamborn now desperately attempting to coverup his ethics violations and going out of his way to partner with the Biden regime to attack President Trump, it’s clear the Pikes Peak region deserves better, so I’ll be working overtime with the citizens of our community to make certain the 5th Congressional District has authentic Christian leadership that serves the people,” concluded Williams.

Here’s the immediate problem for Lamborn: House Ethics Committee investigations are notoriously lengthy affairs, and their process isn’t beholden to the election cycle. Now that this bipartisan investigative body of the OCE has found the ethics charges against Lamborn to be credible, the committee takes over from there for a period that could well extend beyond the June primary or even the November general elections. Until this question is resolved, it hangs like a cloud over Lamborn, and he can’t blame Democrats (or anyone else) for his predicament.

As a result, Lamborn’s ability to persist in his powerful office through the years despite a profound lack of accomplishment and vigorous primary challenges faces what could be its greatest test in 2022. As for Rep. Williams? We’d say such luck couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, but “nice” is not an adjective we can ever apply to Williams even in jest. If Lamborn has set himself up for a career-ending scandal, we know a lot of Republicans going back to Lamborn’s predecessor Joel Hefley who would implore CD-5 voters to do better.

Because if Dave Williams makes it to Congress, he will immediately be in contention with Lauren Boebert for the title of Colorado’s greatest political embarrassment. And he will…compete hard.

Lamborn Ethics Investigation Moves Forward(er)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) as a fictional character.

Things aren’t looking great for Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), who is facing an ethics committee investigation and a separate lawsuit related to some pretty serious allegations of creating a toxic workplace environment.

That’s the word from Chris Marquette, Congressional ethics and accountability reporter for CQ Roll Call. We’re inclined to take Marquette’s word on this, since a press release issued by the committee today is fully ensconced inside a thick sheen of congressional-ese gibberish that is difficult for regular English-speaking people to understand.

In December 2021, the Ethics Committee announced that it was “moving forward” with an investigation into Lamborn’s office, so this latest move seems to indicate that the committee is moving…even forwarder? The bottom line seems to be that allegations against Lamborn are serious and credible enough that the case can’t be swept under the rug.

Lamborn faces multiple allegations of abusing staffers, including requiring Congressional staff to pick up his wife’s laundry and buy her Christmas presents, as well as refusing COVID-19 precautions and a claim that Lamborn allowed his grown son to live in a storage closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

Lamborn has been re-elected more times than should have been possible since winning a 6-way GOP Primary for an open seat in 2006. This year he faces a potentially-difficult Primary challenge from State Rep. Dave Williams.

The GMS Podcast: Quick Hits to End a Long Year

This week in episode 95 of the Get More Smarter Podcast — the final episode of 2021 — hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii dedicate an entire show to a bunch of “quick hits.” In other words, we talk about a lot of different subjects but spend a shorter amount of time on each topic.

Among those topics, we discuss the filibuster; Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl; the Colorado Attorney General’s race; Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert; Rep. Doug Lamborn; calling the cops on the El Paso County Republican Party; former Sen. Cory Gardner; and the single most important “achievement” of the Trump Presidency.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Dec. 14)

One year ago today, the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccinations arrived in Colorado. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 


In case you missed that first sentence, today marks the one-year anniversary of the arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines in Colorado. As the Governor’s office explains in a press release, here’s how the first year of vaccines has gone in our state:

♦ 76.2% of Coloradans age 5 and older vaccinated with one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (4,142,280 people).

♦ 68.8% of Coloradans age 5 and older now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (3,739,632 people).

♦ 25.9% of children age 5-11 in Colorado vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (119,738 people).

♦ 64% of children age 12-17 in Colorado vaccinated with one dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine (284,659 people).

♦ 1.2 million eligible Coloradans have received a booster dose (43.5% of those fully vaccinated).

In other COVID-19 news, studies are indicating that a new COVID-19 pill is successful in protecting against severe infections from the virus.

Researchers are also finding that the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant is resistant to monoclonal antibody treatments (and also, presumably, ‘monicronal antibiotics‘). In other words, you should definitely get vaccinated.


Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) was first elected in 2006 and has regularly made it back to Congress every two years despite the fact that he usually faces a Republican Primary (Lamborn has only avoided a Primary fight twice). State Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs is the latest Republican challenger who will attempt to knock out Lamborn. 


As The Aurora Sentinel reports, Arapahoe County commissioners will vote today on whether to become the third (and final) county to withdraw from an agreement to continue funding the Tri-County Health Department:

The demise of what was once the largest health department in the state, during the biggest public health crisis in state history, puts Aurora in a precarious position. If split-up is completed, Aurora, which straddles three counties, will be under the auspices of three health departments.

Officials in all three counties have signaled an openness to contract some services from what remains of or could be rebuilt from Tri-County Health. The department, like others across the state, is responsible for a vast array of services and regulatory tasks, mostly mundane and uncontroversial.

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman was adamantly opposed to the split, saying earlier that the breakup of Tri-County would be “just awful” for Aurora.


As Colorado Newsline reports, Democratic governors are pushing the U.S. Senate to act quickly on voting rights legislation.


Click below to keep learning stuff…



MAGA Firebreather Takes On Colorado’s Foremost Back Bencher

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports:

State Rep. Dave Williams, a hard-line and sometimes-controversial Republican, launched a primary bid Tuesday to unseat longtime U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn.

“Lamborn’s lack of effective leadership and compromised integrity have cost our community dearly over the last 15 years,” Williams said in a written statement announcing his campaign…

“It’s not difficult to know what kind of congressman I will be because during my service in the state House I’ve been a passionate advocate for the working families of Colorado and been an outspoken leader to expose and fix election fraud and to stop illegal immigration,” Williams said in his written statement. “I’m 100% pro-life and 100% pro-2nd Amendment because both issues are about protecting the innocent from harm.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs has helped anchor the far-right wing of the Colorado House GOP minority ever since his election in 2016, succeeding the no less flamboyantly fringe Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt in representing a district that seems to have no minimal standards to represent them whatsoever beyond an (R) following a last name. As we’ve examined in some depth over the years in this space, Williams trafficks in a particularly distasteful form of “reverse identity politics”–pandering to the Republican right with virulent anti-immigrant and race-baiting rhetoric, often well beyond what would be considered acceptable from a white conservative.

Since the 2020 presidential elections, however, Rep. Williams has eagerly embraced the “Big Lie” conspiracy theory that the election was stolen from Donald Trump. Williams along with U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks and CD-8 congressional candidate Lori Saine campaigning to represent Republicans who refuse to move on from 2020–which we’re obliged to note once again is a majority of Republicans.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, who no longer has to compete with fellow Republican Rep. Scott Tipton for the title of least inspiring member of Congress from Colorado, has faced–and in most cases easily held off–primary challenges in most of his elections since winning the seat way back in 2006. Lamborn holds the seat primarily due to his reliable vote for defense contractors who along with the district’s military bases ironically prop up the economy of Colorado’s biggest conservative stronghold with taxpayer dollars. Lamborn has also proven skilled at manipulating the CD-5 primary field against itself in order to stay ahead of threats.

For all his apparent weakness, many fellow Republicans have tried to unseat Lamborn and none have succeeded. The question before us today is whether Republican politics have changed–some might use the word degenerated–enough in the MAGA era to give Rep. Williams a shot. In addition, Lamborn has been plagued by a flurry of recent ethical stumbles like the lawsuit filed by his former staff over working conditions, also alleging Lamborn let his son sleep in a Capitol storage unit because (Lamborn’s response) “the housing market in Washington, DC is very tight.” A House Ethics Committee investigation into Lamborn’s conduct was recently extended without comment, punting the uncertainty into the election year.

Will 2022 be the year Doug Lamborn finally gets fired? We don’t feel comfortable ruling anything out.

Lamborn Ethics Probe Moves Forward

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

While we’re all still waiting to see what (if anything) Congressional leaders will do to address Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s disgusting anti-Muslim rhetoric, we can at least report that an ethics hearing into another Colorado Member of Congress is moving forward. The light will remain shining on accusations facing perhaps the dimmest bulb in Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As POLITICO reports:

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it is extending probes into a pair of members: Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Col.). You may recall the accusations against Lamborn: The Colorado Republican was sued alleging that he allowed his son to live in a storage area in the Capitol basement.

The House Ethics Committee’s official announcement was that it “decided to extend the matter” into multiple allegations of abuse alleged to have been perpetuated by Lamborn, which is Congress-speak for “you’re not out of the woods, yet.”

Former staffers have accused Lamborn of multiple abuses, including allowing his adult son, Luke, to live in the basement of the U.S. Capitol building; refusing to take COVID-19 precautions for staffers; and requiring his lackeys to run personal errands (and shop for Christmas gifts) for Doug and his wife, Jeanie. In addition to the ethics investigation, Lamborn is also being sued by former staffer Brandon Pope, who alleges that he contracted COVID-19 while working for Lamborn and was fired for speaking out about Lamborn’s general awfulness.

Republican members of Colorado’s congressional delegation seem to be locked in a heated battle to determine which of them is the worst person. We’d say that Boebert probably has the lead here, but Lamborn and Rep. Ken Buck are working hard to close that gap.