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.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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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.

 

CO-03

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.

 

CO-05

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.

 

CO-07

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.

 

CO-08

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?

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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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.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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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.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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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 GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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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):

 

U.S. SENATE

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.

 

GOVERNOR

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

 

CO-03

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.

 

CO-07

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.

 

CO-08

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)

D’oh!

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.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*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…

 

(more…)

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.

So, About that New Congressional Redistricting Map…

If you were paying attention to Colorado politics over the weekend, you might have noticed a lot of people running around like they were on fire.

On Friday, Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released a new proposed map of Colorado’s eight Congressional districts (officially called “First Staff Plan”). As Thy Vo and Sandra Fish report for The Colorado Sun today, there is much wringing of hands and discussions of viewpoints considering some pretty significant new district lines being proposed:

The dozen members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission questioned nonpartisan staff Monday about the latest draft map of the state’s U.S. House districts as they prepare to hear from the public about the plan this week.

The map, introduced Friday based on 2020 census data and which has thrown Colorado’s political world into a tizzy, is markedly different from an initial proposal based on 2019 population estimates.

Before we go any further, we should point out that the map introduced on Friday is not necessarily the map that will determine Congressional boundaries for 2022. The Redistricting Commission will hold four public hearings this week for comment on the First Staff Plan (FSP) Map, which can be confirmed with a ‘YES’ vote from 8 of the 12 Commission members. If this map is NOT approved, the nonpartisan redistricting staff can present as many as two additional proposals before the Sept. 28 deadline to finalize redistricting boundaries.

But if the “FSP Map” ends up being close to a final version of what we can expect for the next decade, then there is plenty to talk about. Here’s what that map looks like (CLICK HERE for a bigger version):

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Come Home Tina Peters!

This week on Episode #85 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the whereabouts of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters; we get ready for a Republican campaign for Governor; we wonder (and not for the first time) what in the hell Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is trying to say; and we ponder the never-ending list of troubles for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle)

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Congressman Lamborn’s Top Priority for Military Bill: Stopping Critical Race Theory

(At least he’s not your…oops, sorry Colorado Springs – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a Facebook post yesterday, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) listed his five priorities for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual military budget bill. Topping the to-do list of the Representative whose district boasts the highest percentage of veterans in the nation: “Preventing the expansion of critical race theory in the military. Yesterday’s House Armed Services Committee mark-up hearing ran late into the night as members debated amendments to the NDAA.

Well over an hour of the 16-hour debate was devoted to amendment relating to critical race theory and diversity training, which Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), a veteran and Naval Academy graduate, decried as “a waste of time and do not do a damn thing to improve our national security.” She called her colleagues proposing the amendments “completely unserious.”

Critical race theory is a collegiate and graduate school academic frame taught largely in law schools as a means of examining racial disparity throughout the American legal system. According to a Military Times report, “The only clear example of critical race theory being taught in the military is at the U.S. Military Academy.”

CRT simply isn’t taught to enlisted troops, but conservative media outlets and some members of Congress conflate it with basic diversity training common in any workplace, including the Armed Forces. In July U.S. Senator Tom Cotton railed against “CRT-influenced training which singles out troops based on skin color.”

Lamborn voted for a failed amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), which proposed banning critical race theory in any form not only from being taught to service members but also at “academic institutions operated or controlled by the Department of Defense.”

In an example of the conflation of CRT with general diversity training, Lamborn offered his own amendment that would require all diversity training to be conducted by a single Department of Defense office, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. He argued that this would allow all training to be uniform and to be reviewed by Congress.

Two other committee members, U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Lamborn’s Colorado colleague Jason Crow, a Democrat, both veterans, objected to the amendment. Khanna noted the unrealistic expectation that DEOMI could handle that volume of work, an argument supported by committee Chair Adam Smith, who predicted that Lamborn’s proposal would kill off approximately 90% of the military’s current diversity training programs. Crow cited his own experience as a platoon leader, explaining the importance of unit leaders having the ability to convene discussions on any topic creating tension among their troops.

Following the vote, Lamborn’s released a statement saying he was pleased to vote for the bill that, while “not perfect, will improve our national security. He cited numerous aspects of the bill that he supports but made no mention of the failed amendments addressing critical race theory or diversity training.

Lamborn’s press office did not immediately return an email request for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.

D’oh! Buck Deletes His Own Gibberish Tweet on Spending

The non-official Twitter account for Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) Tweeted out a spectacular bit of nonsense this afternoon before somebody apparently came to their senses and hit the ‘DELETE’ button. But, alas, nothing ever REALLY gets erased from the Internet, so we can show you exactly what Team Buck hoped to delete:

Since-deleted Tweet from @BuckForColorado

 

The screenshot above is taken from this video, which shows a Colorado State Chamber of Commerce event from last week that featured Buck and fellow Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), Jason Crow (D-Aurora), and Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County). In the clip that was Tweeted (and deleted), Buck is yammering some nonsense about why the State Government should pay for things instead of the Federal Government (jump ahead to the 40:25 mark HERE).

Buck seems to be upset that the Colorado legislature would use COVID-19 relief funds — as requested by many Colorado business leaders — to help backfill the coffers that support unemployment benefits. But his point is rather in-artfully articulated:

BUCK: Nobody, nobody in either party wants to deny someone daycare services. For those that can’t afford daycare services, there absolutely should be daycare services. And there should absolutely be services available for those who can’t afford that. And there absolutely should be services available for those who can afford that and want to pay for it. The question really is, which level of government writes the check? And we’re faced with the issue now — if there are daycare services that are necessary, state government should write that check. State government has to balance its budget. The federal government doesn’t balance its budget. So to take federal money in an unbalanced way, in a deficit-spending way, to pay for those expenses is wrong. [Pols emphasis] Again, the governors are the group that decided how to shut down their economy, how to manage the situation on the ground in each individual state.

And by the way, when my friend Ed [gestures toward Perlmutter] says that Colorado had less deaths than Florida, Florida has always been a magnet for seniors. [This is seemingly meant to be a joke] Seniors are the most vulnerable, they went to Florida, and Colorado is one of the youngest, healthiest states in the country, and so to compare those two is kind of apples and oranges. But when you’re talking about this unemployment benefit, I think it’s really important to understand that Colorado has to step up in some way and accept some of the responsibility for that. I haven’t seen the bill yet — I’m not going to pass a judgment on the bill at this point — but in my mind, I think we have to make sure that we are putting the burden on the right level of government.

You can see what that’s probably not the best bit of public speaking for Team Buck to promote. We’d encourage you to watch the video yourself, if nothing else to catch the priceless reaction from Rep. Perlmutter as Buck rambles along.

One Twitter follower quickly noticed a different problem with Buck’s rambling:

Buck spent the early part of his career as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice before serving two terms as the Weld County District Attorney. He was elected to Congress in 2014.

In a separate segment, Buck also decried the existence of extended unemployment benefits, repeating the oft-used GOP talking point that extended UI benefits are preventing the American workforce from fully recovering after the pandemic. Actual research, in fact, has shown that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE to support the idea that extended UI benefits were encouraging some Americans not to seek employment.

It’s well-known that Ken Buck will take every position on every subject at some point. Occasionally he even tries to make a logical argument, but most of the time — as in the segment above — Buck just spouts out words in an order that might make sense in his head but dies a quick death when exposed to outside air.

Go Ahead and Ignore Republicans on Afghanistan

President Biden spoke this afternoon from the White House regarding the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of American forces from that country and the subsequent takeover by Taliban forces. As The Washington Post reports:

In remarks at the White House Monday afternoon, President Biden acknowledged that the collapse of Afghanistan’s government and security forces took place more rapidly than expected — but maintained that withdrawing U.S. troops from the country was the correct decision.

“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden said. “So what’s happened? Afghanistan’s political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, some … without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.”

He added: “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

Meanwhile, both around the country and here in Colorado, Republicans are crowing about the perceived failures of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s the kind of back seat driving/Monday morning quarterbacking that Republicans have long favored as opposed to offering up any sort of actual policy proposal of their own.

Former President Trump is accusing Biden of having “surrendered” to the Taliban — and even, absurdly, calling on Biden to resign as President — while insisting that he would have handled the withdrawal of military forces differently. Never mind that it was the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION that negotiated the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan back in December 2020

In fact, here was Trump in July 2021 (yes, LAST month):

 

Nobody would argue that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan is going well, but it’s likely that the swift Taliban takeover in the region was going to happen whenever America finally left Afghanistan. As The Washington Post explains, the complete failure of the Afghan security forces to offer any real resistance to the Taliban was not a huge surprise. 

Yet in their zeal to pin all of the negative effects of the withdrawal on Biden, Republicans are again completely ignoring their own history. For example, here’s Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle):

In that last Tweet, Boebert quotes right-wing talking head Jack Posobiec, whom Reddit users already discredited over the weekend.

Appearing on Fox News over the weekend, Boebert’s Colorado colleague, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), haughtily condemned the Biden administration over the Afghanistan withdrawal:

We are a strong country with a weak President…

…President Biden was misleading the American people and putting Americans at risk, and foreigners at risk, inside Afghanistan with just a foolhardy plan.

This is interesting, considering that just a few months ago Buck was clamoring for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. Here’s what he wrote in a letter co-signed by Rep. Barbara Lee in March of this year:

“We support your administration’s pledge to advance a negotiated end to this war, and we believe that meeting the May 1 deadline is vital to this effort…But it is long past time for the United States to end its military role in a complex conflict that predates our initial invasion two decades ago.”

Congressman Buck has long been an adherent of taking every side on every issue, so his mealy-mouthed talk on Afghanistan is no huge surprise. This is all illustrative (again) that Republican politicians largely have absolutely nothing useful to add to the problem.

Republicans are going to say something today that is completely different than whatever they said yesterday, and if the situation changes tomorrow…then they’ll say something else. It’s as predictable as it is useless.

Doug Lamborn: Worst Boss In The World?

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

The Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson follows up on a story we’ve been watching for several months now–a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former staffer for Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of El Paso County alleging Lamborn deliberately created an unsafe working environment during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, displaying wanton disregard for best practices that resulted in an outbreak in Lamborn’s office and the congressman himself testing positive.

The new details reported today are…not real good for Lamborn:

In his sworn statements to [attorney Les] Alderman, [Former Lamborn district director Josh] Hosler — who declined to comment for this article — said [Staffer Brandon] Pope was under his direct supervision and served as a model employee. Pope voiced his concerns about Lamborn’s office’s “careless approach” to the pandemic frequently from March 2020 until he was fired by Chief of Staff Dale Anderson that December.

Throughout that time Lamborn referred to the pandemic as a hoax “fabricated to derail then-President Donald Trump’s reelection bid” [Pols emphasis] and Anderson called those concerned about the virus “liberal sissies” who were overreacting, Hosler said in the sworn statement…

Among the sworn statements from ex-Lamborn district director Josh Hosler is a potentially explosive allegation that Rep. Lamborn lied to the Office of the Attending Physician about his contact with staff as the outbreak raged through his office:

“I was driving Congressman Lamborn when he learned that his Deputy Chief of Staff had tested positive for COVID-19 and that additional staffers were symptomatic,” Hosler said. “Upon learning this, the Congressman spoke to a physician within the Office of the Attending Physician, but the Congressman misrepresented the facts and falsely told the OAP physician that he had not been in close contact with his staff in D.C. over the previous several days.” [Pols emphasis]

The wrongful termination lawsuit against Lamborn is specific to the grievances of the employee in question, but other highly questionable actions by Lamborn with respect to managing his office came to light as part of this reporting–including improper use of staff to run personal errands for Lamborn’s spouse, and an even wilder case of Lamborn allegedly allowing his son to live in a storage space in the U.S. Capitol basement.

Add all of that to these new allegations of lying to congressional medical personnel about his contact with COVID-positive staffers–right before traveling around Colorado after being exposed and ultimately testing positive himself–maybe a tipping point will have been reached? Lamborn’s egregious irresponsibility and abuse of his office’s perks would be bigger headlines in a less-crazy world, and it’s powerful ammo for a primary challenger even if congressional oversight is lacking.

Safe to say, we wouldn’t work for Lamborn on a bet.