Pettersen Lands Spot on “A-List” Committee

Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)

Democrat Brittany Pettersen, a freshman lawmaker from Lakewood now representing CO-07, picked up an important committee assignment this week.

As POLITICO explains:

Democrats also named their rosters for the most desired “A” committees — Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Appropriations, and Ways and Means…

…Just two freshmen — Reps. Wiley Nickel (N.C.) and Brittany Pettersen (Colo.) — nabbed a spot on one of the panels. They both landed on Financial Services.

This is a pretty impressive accomplishment for Pettersen to be one of two freshmen — along with the fantastically-named Rep. Wiley Nickel — to earn an assignment on one of the four most influential House committees (Energy and Commerce, Financial Services, Appropriations, and Ways and Means).

Only one other Member of Congress from Colorado sits on one of these top four committees: Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver is a member of the House Energy & Commerce committee.

Congressman Joe Neguse of Boulder was also recently appointed to the House Rules Committee, which is sort of like a “B-Plus Committee” but with the caveat that he’s going to have to deal with a whole lot of crazy; Reps. Chip Roy, Thomas Massie, and Ralph Norman are among the Republican members of the House Rules Committee.

Preventing Voter Fraud to Make Room for More Election Deniers


Every accusation is a confession. 

This phrase has become increasingly popular since the rise of Donald Trump in Republican politics. Its origins are often misattributed, in part, to former Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. The concept of “accusing the other side of that which you are guilty” may have been a tactic espoused by Goebbels, but it is not clear that he publicly said this directly (though he did accuse critics of Nazi Germany of doing something similar).

Whatever the etymology of the phrase, it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t often apply to Republicans – particularly those who incessantly accuse others of election fraud. Real examples of actual election fraud are actually very rare, but when it does happen, it is almost always a Republican committing the fraud (see HERE, HERE, or HERE for just a few examples in Colorado). Earlier this month, a Republican election official in New York pleaded guilty to using voters’ personal information in order to obtain multiple absentee ballots. 

The latest example of concerns about election fraud involves the entire Colorado Republican Party. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Colorado Republican Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown wants state Republicans to decide whether an outside entity should run the El Paso County GOP’s upcoming officer elections.

Responding to what she described as “ongoing internal conflict” between Republicans in Colorado’s largest county, Burton Brown called a special meeting of the state GOP’s central committee for Jan. 31 in an email sent to committee members late Monday.

The county party is scheduled to elect a chair, vice chair, secretary and bonus members — based on top-ticket Republican votes received in the November election — to two-year terms on Feb. 11, part of the regular reorganization Colorado’s political parties undertake in odd-numbered years. The state party picks its own leadership at the end of March, with ballots cast by the newly elected county officers and bonus members, along with elected GOP officials.

As things stand, the El Paso County Republican Party’s leadership election will be run by two-term county chair Vickie Tonkins and her lieutenants, but under the proposal floated by Burton Brown, the state party could decide to substitute a “neutral party outside El Paso County” to conduct the election.

Burton said she decided to call the special meeting — which will be held online on the Zoom teleconference platform — after receiving a request submitted last week in a petition that expressed concerns Tonkins won’t operate the party election fairly.

“We need a county organization in El Paso County that will support our Republican nominees — not attack them,” read the petition, which was signed by nearly 100 of the state central committee’s roughly 460 members.

El Paso County Republican Chairwoman/Supervillain Vicki Tonkins

Why would so many Republicans be concerned that El Paso County GOP Chair Vicki Tonkins might try to rig an election in order to help her supporters? 

Because Tonkins seems to do just that on a regular basis. 

Colorado Republicans made similar accusations two years ago, when Tonkins was re-elected as El Paso County GOP Chair despite “voting irregularities.” After Tonkins defeated Peggy Littleton by just seven votes, Littleton accused Tonkins of wrongly denying credentials for several voting members who Littleton believed were in her corner. 

Then-El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder went so far as to call the El Paso County GOP elections a “sham.” A group of Republicans later took their concerns to State GOP Party leaders and appealed for a new election, but the state GOP central committee allowed the results to stand.  

Tonkins has continued to face accusations of bias; last February critics charged that Tonkins was bending the rules for her preferred candidates ahead of the GOP precinct caucuses in March 2022. Tonkins largely succeeded in ousting many longstanding Republicans in El Paso County. Mistrust of Tonkins continued into the fall, when a group of Republicans – including the campaigns for gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl and Senate hopeful Joe O’Deacreated their own separate GOTV headquarters in Colorado Springs. Just days before the November election, Tonkins gathered her troops in El Paso County to officially “censure and condemn in the strongest possible terms” these Republicans – going so far as to even call on them to “cease and desist” using the word “Republican.”

This is all silly and ridiculous nonsense from a political party that thrives on silly and ridiculous nonsense, but the latest effort by outgoing State Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) to remove Tonkins from overseeing an internal election underscores a very real problem for all Colorado Republicans. The Republicans who succeed in winning election to county party offices in February are the same folks who will be casting votes for the next group of people vying to run the entire State Republican Party in March. If Republicans can’t solve this local problem, they’re not going to be able to fix their statewide issues. 

Kristi Burton Brown

This entire circus is full of delicious irony. When KBB was elected State Party Chair in March 2021 – fresh off of serving as the President of the militia group FEC United – she was celebrated in some circles as the “grassroots” candidate who defeated the “establishment” choice of former Secretary of State Scott Gessler. Both KBB and Gessler had courted Republican voters by talking about their commitment to – wait for it – fighting election fraud and the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election. 

Following the November 2022 “Bluenami” that decimated Republicans statewide, critics began lambasting KBB as a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only). Those critics have also referred to the state GOP leadership as “asswipes” and “whores.” To the surprise of nobody, KBB announced in late December that she would not seek re-election as State Party Chair. 

Several Republicans have announced that they will seek to become the next State GOP Chair, including retread loser Casper Stockham; GOP “activist” Aaron Wood; failed 2022 State Senate candidate Stephen Varela; and failed 2022 Senate/congressional candidate Erik Aadland, who lost to Democrat Brittany Pettersen in CO-07 by 15 points. During his campaign for Congress, Aadland regularly cast doubt on the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, at one point saying that Democrat Joe Biden’s victory was “absolutely rigged.” 

In short, Colorado Republicans are trying to prevent one of their own (Tonkins) from rigging a county leadership election so that they can be confident that there will be no malfeasance in March when Republicans select new State Party leadership from among a bunch of candidates who are themselves election deniers. 

Colorado Republicans…this is your life.

Of Whores and Asswipes: The Colorado GOP Fractures Further

The Colorado Republican Party was already in the midst of a massive civil war even before the 2022 election inflicted unthinkable losses on the GOP. What has happened since has taken this internal conflict to an entirely new level. It’s like Infinity War, but in this case there are no heroes — only villains.

In case you missed it, Democrats won every statewide race last month by wide margins and added to supermajorities in the state legislature, where 69 of 100 total elected representatives now carry a ‘D’ next to their name. Democrat Adam Frisch even came within a few hundred votes of defeating Rep. Lauren Boebert in CO-03, a district that Donald Trump carried by 9 points in 2020. The Bluenami that swept through Colorado has resulted in some very grim assessments from longtime Republican fixtures. Soon-to-be former State Rep. Colin Larson of Jefferson County — who was in line to become House Minority Leader before he lost his own re-election bid to Democrat Tammy Storycalled the 2022 election an “extinction-level event” for the Republican Party in Colorado.

So, naturally, right-wing Republicans have decided that the only way forward is to lurch even further to the right. A group of very loud and very angry Republicans rallied on Wednesday outside a Boot Barn store in Greenwood Village to voice scream their frustrations with the Colorado Republican Party and embattled Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown (KBB).

Anil Mathai, ranting outside the Boot Barn on Wednesday.

The “whores” and “asswipes” comments came from Anil Mathai, a former Adams County GOP chairperson, who blamed unnamed political consultants for taking their money and leaving Republicans with no victories to celebrate.

“We have a Republican Party that is full of whores. They listened to the consultants, right? They keep telling you about messaging, right? They are liars — they have done something different. They have not held to the Republican platform, which is conservative. They’ve not held to the U.S. Constitution. And then you wonder why these asswipes can’t win a race.” [Pols emphasis]

This attack on Republican consultants is not without merit, of course, and activists are backing up their barking with official complaints. A Republican named Marcie Little filed a campaign finance complaint even before Election Day accusing a bunch of establishment Republicans of a multitude of misdeeds. The complaint specifically accuses Larson, Restore Colorado Leadership Fund (527), Restore Colorado Leadership Fund IEC, Frank McNulty, Square State Strategy Group, LLC, Daniel Cole, Cole Communications, and Victors Canvassing of various campaign finance violations [Marcie Little Complaint (PDF)].

But let’s get back to the Boot Barn, where Ernest Luning has more for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

“Our Republican Party leadership has failed us,” said Aaron Wood, an organizer of a press conference held across the street from state GOP headquarters in Greenwood Village. [Pols emphasis]

Wood, founder of the conservative Freedom Fathers group, and a dozen others took turns speaking from the bed of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Western-wear retailer as roughly 100 supporters braved sub-freezing temperatures to hear their pleas to restore the state’s Republican Party to its conservative foundations.

Speaker after speaker at the press conference blasted state GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown, whose two-year term running the state party ends in March.

Through a spokesman, Burton Brown declined to comment. Earlier on Wednesday, she said she plans to announce by the end of December whether she’s seeking a second term as state chair.

Tina Peters is…inevitable.

[Burton Brown was also busy on Wednesday issuing a legally-dubious demand for Frisch to “withdraw” as a candidate from CO-03 in order to prevent a MANDATORY RECOUNT as prescribed by Colorado statute. Frisch has already conceded to Boebert, but rather than staying quiet and enjoying one of the GOP’s rare victories, KBB felt compelled to vomit out a bunch of nonsense.]

In short, right-wing Republicans in Colorado have convinced themselves that the best way to win back voters in our state is to nominate candidates who are MORE extreme than the lot that got pummeled in November. This is sort of like trying to put out a fire by covering it with matches, but it’s also difficult to completely dismiss the idea considering just how poorly Republicans performed in 2022.

The first step for the right-wing base is finding a new leader. While KBB has apparently not yet decided whether she will seek re-election as State Party Chair in 2023 — and we have no idea how she could possibly make an argument for another term — our “Infinity War” theme continues with news that Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is interested in the job because she believes that Colorado is actually a “red state” (recent election results from 2022, 2020, 2018, and 2016 notwithstanding).

“We are not a blue state. We’re not even a purple state. We are a red state.”

     — Political Supervillain Tina Peters


As Luning reports:

A potential candidate for the party position blamed Burton Brown for Republican losses in the November election.

“Our country’s being taken away from us,” said Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who provided the pickup truck the speakers used as a podium. “It starts with the treachery of the GOP in our state. You know, there’s these speakers that are going to talk about the infractions of Kristi Burton Brown, the inactivity of Kristi Burton Brown, to stand up and inform the chairs in every county on how to come against the election fraud.” …

Peters told Colorado Politics after she addressed the crowd that she’s open to running for state party chair.

“If the people ask me to, and if it’s the right thing, then I will do it,” she said. “But it has to come from the people.” [Pols emphasis]

Outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams — who lost a 2022 Primary Election in CO-05 to incumbent Doug Lamborn — is also considering a bid for State Party Chair. Former congressional candidate Erik Aadland is thinking about it as well, since he knows so much about how to win an election and all. But if Peters runs, she’s the odds-on favorite to win; the people who gave her topline on the SOS Primary ballot following last Spring’s Republican State Assembly are the same group of people who are going to show up to cast a vote for Party Chair.



“Peace Out!”

Peters has probably already decided to run for Chair; what she told Luning is basically the same thing she said before announcing her bid for Secretary of State in February. But she’s also going to be busy next year when her election tampering case goes to trial; coincidentally on Wednesday, news came out that a second former Peters employee named Sandra Brown has made a deal with prosecutors to testify against her old boss. It seems ridiculous that Peters might be running the Colorado Republican Party from a prison cell in 2024…but again, can things really get worse than they were in 2022?

If you’re waiting for some adults to get involved and prevent right-wing activists from blowing up what was already a box full of ashes, you had better get comfortable. Republican State Sen. Bob Rankin of Carbondale announced today that he is resigning from the State Senate as of January 10th. Rankin and former Republican State Sen. Kevin Priola were possibly the last remaining rationale actors in the upper chamber of the state legislature. Rankin is bouncing out entirely, while Priola decided to change parties and become a Democrat. If Rankin and Priola don’t even want to be Republican lawmakers, what sane person would want to be the State GOP chairperson for the next two years?

Colorado Republicans might have been able to prevent this timeline from becoming reality if they had clearly and forcibly rejected Trump and MAGA-ism after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. Instead, they allowed someone like KBB to ride her support for election deniers all the way to becoming Chair of the State Republican Party. If you’re shocked that right-wing Republicans are now saying that KBB “hates America,” then you really haven’t been paying attention.

Once you give the inmates the keys to the asylum, you can’t very well expect them to lock up.

Rep-Elect Brittany Pettersen Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen and son Davis.

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Brittany Pettersen, Congresswoman-elect from the seventh congressional district (and Ian’s wife). Pettersen takes us behind the scenes for a look at what it’s like for a newly-elected Member of Congress to spend the week after the election learning the ins and outs of life at the U.S. Capitol. 

Later, we discuss Rep. Lauren Boebert’s narrow victory in CO-03; Donald Trump’s very sad 2024 campaign announcement; and leadership elections at the State Capitol. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for listening!

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Winners and Losers of the 2022 Election (Part 2)

As we wrote on Thursday, we had been waiting to post our annual post-election “Winners and Losers” list until we actually knew all of the election winners and losers (we’re looking at you, Lauren Boebert).

Click here for Part 1 (The “Winners”) of our end-of-cycle analysis, or read on for Part 2 “The Losers.”


The 2022 “Extinction Level Event” for Republicans


The Losingest Losers of 2022



Winners and Losers from the 2022 Election (Part 1)

We’ve been waiting to publish our annual “Winners and Losers” lists from the election until all of the big races had been finalized. But with the outcome in CO-03 likely headed to a recount, it’s time to just move ahead.

Up first is our list of “Winners” from 2022. This is not merely a list of winning candidates, of course, but a deeper dive into the winningest winners of the election cycle. We’ll post our “Losers” list separately.


The Winningest Winners of 2022



Republican candidates lied with impunity in 2022, but Colorado voters chose instead to believe their own eyes about the state of the state in which they live. Colorado schools are not overrun by kids in “furry” costumes. Colorado is not #2 in fentanyl deaths. Denver is not a smoking crater in the ground. Jared Polis did not steal your car. Google is not out to get Joe O’Dea


Felix Lopez

Er, maybe not.

In politics, as in life, sometimes your best moves are the ones you DON’T make. Republican Las Animas County Commissioner Felix Lopez was GOP gubernatorial nominee Heidi Ganahl’s first choice to be her running mate and Lieutenant Governor – to the point that Ganahl was teasing an announcement in early July. But Lopez started having second thoughts as an announcement neared and ultimately decided to back out. Ganahl’s candidacy ended up being so historically bad that everyone who was at all associated with her campaign will be forever tainted. Perhaps Lopez is not interested in seeking higher office, but at least now he still has that option.


Lisa Cutter and Tammy Story

These Jefferson County Democrats were significantly impacted by redistricting and other political decisions taking place in their respective orbits. 

When Brittany Pettersen decided to seek a seat in Congress, Cutter was the obvious choice to run for Pettersen’s Lakewood-area State Senate seat. The problem for Cutter was that Republican Tim Walsh was willing and able to spend more than a million dollars of his own money to become a state senator himself. Despite a barrage of advertising in SD-20, Cutter ended up winning by nearly 10 points.

Story was a State Senator herself when redistricting changed the political landscape and chopped up her Southwest Jefferson County Senate district. Instead of taking the loss and moving on, Story decided to run for a State House seat in South Jeffco (HD-25) and ended up pulling off an upset (an incumbent State Senator running for State House is incredibly rare). Story’s narrow victory in HD-25 proved very consequential for Republicans, because it ousted incumbent Rep. Colin Larson – who was likely to become the next House Minority Leader if he had been re-elected.


Steve Fenberg

Senate President Steve Fenberg has now led his caucus to three consecutive majorities, including an unprecedented 23-vote majority in 2022. Fenberg should remain in charge of the State Senate through 2024 and will be well-positioned for higher office when he’s finished.


Jared Polis 

Winning re-election had been a foregone conclusion for months, given the sheer ineptitude of Republican Heidi Ganahl. But winning re-election by 20 points was something that virtually nobody saw coming. Polis is only the fourth major statewide candidate in Colorado to win by 20+ points since 1990. Polis was first elected Governor in 2018 by an 11-point margin; clearly, Colorado voters approve of both Polis and his policies. 


Michael Bennet

The incumbent Democratic Senator had been elected twice before, but had never quite reached 50% of the total vote in Colorado (he came really close in 2016). As of this writing, Bennet is on the cusp of surpassing 56% of the total vote, extending his margin of victory over Republican Joe O’Dea to 15 points.


Most Colorado Media Outlets

National media outlets played a silly game that we documented repeatedly in which they pretended that Republican Joe O’Dea might knock off incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who ended up winning by 15 points. Most Colorado media outlets did not buy into this nonsense narrative and instead focused on actual on-the-ground reporting to guide their coverage – in this race and every other in Colorado. 

Kyle Clark of 9News

Colorado journalists did a good job asking the relevant questions of candidates, from Heidi Ganahl’s September 2021 campaign kickoff to the fall 2022 debates. For example:

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun asking O’Dea if he voted YES on Proposition 115, a 2020 ballot measure that sought to make abortion illegal after 22 weeks of pregnancy (a measure opposed by 69% of Colorado voters). This was a great question that clarified O’Dea’s impossible efforts to dance around the subject and take every side of the abortion issue, and it was a question that only a good local reporter would know to ask;

Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs asking Ganahl if she really believed that Colorado schools were being overrun by “furries.” Ganahl doubled-down on her nonsense claims, validating Soicher’s question;

♦ Longtime Denver Post editor Dean Singleton hosting a candidate forum in which he repeatedly pressed Ganahl to provide actual details on some of her loudest claims (including her nonsense proposal to eliminate Colorado’s income tax without a plan for how to make up the resulting $11 billion budget shortfall);

 Multiple news outlets reporting the facts about various residency questions for several candidates.

Kyle Clark of 9News pressing O’Dea to provide proof for his claim that Google was “censoring” his campaign, which led to one of our favorite quotes of the election cycle

♦ 9News, Fox 31, Denver7 and other outlets calling out CD-8 candidate Barb Kirkmeyer’s indefensible lie that Democrats “legalized fentanyl.” In taking apart this falsehood, 9News educated viewers on how reporters evaluate misleading statements from candidates, and what escalates a merely false statement from a “lie” (when a candidate, in this case Kirkmeyer, KNOWS that what they are saying is untrue).

In future elections, we’d like more of this, please. 

There were exceptions to this trend, unfortunately. Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver regularly showed that she has no interest whatsoever in trying to get a story correct; she was just about the only local journalist who bought into the nonsense “O’Dea surprise” narrative pushed by Republican operatives. Many of her “truth tests” were flat out wrong on the details and the facts presented. Her ridiculous story suggesting that every school district in Colorado was covering up a non-existent “furry” epidemic should never have made it onto the air. Whether Boyd is just lazy or an outright hack, we would be embarrassed to work with her. 


Residents of CO-03

Enough of this, thanks.

Regardless of the final outcome between incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, voters in CO-03 stood up and declared that they were fed up with Boebert’s silly theatrics and her lack of accomplishments in the district. Multiple stories emerged before and after the election in which voters – many of them Republicans – told reporters that they were embarrassed by Boebert’s antics and just wanted a Representative who would do the actual job required of them.

If Boebert does manage to eke out another term, Republicans would be wise to organize strong opposition in a GOP Primary so that they aren’t facing another election in which they could lose a seat that otherwise favors Republicans by 9 points.  


Non-Republican Polling Outfits 

Lots of Republican pollsters made fools of themselves in 2022. Meanwhile, polling from Global Strategy Group (including the “Mountaineer”) and the University of Colorado did a good job of accurately measuring what was really happening in our state. The Colorado Sun covered this well in a recent edition of its “Unaffiliated” newsletter. 


Colorado’s Election System

Colorado’s all-mail ballot system worked perfectly once again. It is both easy to cast a ballot in Colorado and difficult to vote fraudulently. You can track your ballot in Colorado through its entire life cycle, from when it gets sent out in the mail to when it is received by your county clerk. The only people who want more restrictions on voting are those who want fewer people to cast ballots. 

This Tweet from former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was “liked” and “shared” by several Colorado Republican “leaders.” What critics of Colorado’s voting system are really saying is that they believe we should change the voting age to “middle-age white people” so that Republicans might be able to win elections in Colorado.



Mike Lynch 

It’s tough to find a Republican “Winner” from 2022, but we’ll go with Lynch after the Northern Colorado Republican was elected House Minority Leader following another awful Election Day for the GOP. We debated about whether to put this in the “Losers” category, however, because being the House Minority Leader in a Republican caucus in 2023 is like “winning” a basket full of rattlesnakes infected with COVID. 


Women in the General Assembly

For the first time in state history, more than 50% of the members of the Colorado legislature are women. That’s pretty cool. 


Yadira Caraveo

Caraveo’s victory in the newly-formed CO-08 was considered by some national prognosticators – including Nathaniel Rakich of – to be a YUGE surprise. Given how blue Colorado has become, we’re not sure Caraveo qualifies as a “biggest upset,” but defeating Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer in a close race is still an impressive victory.


Brittany Pettersen

It’s no easy task to follow a beloved politician such as retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter, especially when the district is redrawn in a significant fashion. No matter. Pettersen ran a virtually flawless campaign and cruised to a 15-point victory over Republican Erik Aadland. She’ll be safe here for the next decade. 


The Get More Smarter Podcast Breaks Down the Bluenami

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Seth Masket, Director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, to break down the massive Bluenami that overtook Colorado on Election Day.

And, no, we still don’t know who won the race in CO-03 between Republican Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch.

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Get More Smarter Before Election Day!

This week on a special pre-election episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii make their final prognostications for the 2022 Election.

We also talk again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado, about what to watch out for on Election Night once numbers start trickling in nationally. Later, Jason and Ian show off what they’ve learned from Republicans in 2022 by attempting to repeat — from memory — stump speeches for Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.

Remember, friends: Vote early, not often. If you’re still holding onto your ballot, DO NOT drop it in the mail; instead, take your completed ballot to one of many drop boxes in your area. For more information, head over to

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Podcast: The Blue Wave Cometh (feat. Andrew Baumann)

Andrew Baumann

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado. Baumann explains why the latest poll numbers here look so darn good for Democrats and whether any of that could change in the final weeks of the 2022 election.

We also update you on the latest news from the election season, including a conversation on (some) of the 11 statewide ballot measures in Colorado; we discuss how much longer the Colorado Springs Gazette will be taken seriously given its absurd editorial department; and we offer an important tip for all potential candidates for future office.

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The Best Ad of 2022 Shows Democrats the Way on Fentanyl

This new television ad from the CO-07 campaign of Democrat Brittany Pettersen is the single best spot we have seen in Colorado in 2022. Take a look:



This single TV ad absolutely demolishes attacks by Republican opponent Erik Aadland intended to label Pettersen as being on the wrong side of the debate about the proliferation of fentanyl and the opioid crisis in general. It is an incredibly powerful spot that is beautifully produced, but what makes it so strong is the story it tells.

Republicans up and down the ballot have been using “fentanyl” as their primary bogeyman in 2022, distorting the issue to such a degree that Colorado media outlets finally started pushing back on the nonsense. But an increase in “fentanyl” use isn’t some new issue that Democrats have been ignoring, despite what Republican politicians such as Hiedi Heidi Ganahl would like voters to believe.

This ad shows Democrats how to reshape the fentanyl crisis as an issue that they have worked hard to address in a thoughtful manner — which is a narrative that also happens to be true. There are no easy solutions here, but Democrats have not shied away from trying to find an answer that doesn’t involve just locking away any person who ever even thought about a substance that might include fentanyl.

We’ve seen it time and time again: Good storytelling ALWAYS beats empty talking points.

In Which Erik Aadland Realizes That He’s Sunk


Republican Erik Aadland is sinking fast, and he has finally realized that national Republicans will not be extending any branches to save him.

Aadland is a full-fledged election denier who began the 2022 election cycle as a candidate for U.S. Senate before switching metaphorical horses and capturing the GOP nominee for Congress in CO-07 (Jefferson County-ish) for the right to take on Democrat Brittany Pettersen.

Aadland used his “Big Lie” beliefs to garner enough Republican support to win the June 28th Primary, but his subsequent efforts to scrub away the MAGA went over about as well as Joe O’Dea pouring a Michelob Ultra into a glass of ice. Aadland has struggled to raise money for his campaign, but even if he had the resources to reach more voters, it’s not clear that he has a coherent message for them anyway. National Republicans have been pouring money into Colorado’s eighth congressional district but have largely ignored CO-07 because of its Democratic-leaning electorate and Pettersen’s strong, well-financed campaign operation.

As The Colorado Times Recorder explains today via Twitter, the reality of Aadland’s situation is sinking in (pun intended):


Some Colorado Republicans have attempted to make the ridiculous argument that Democratic spending in CO-07 is a sign that Aadland is doing well, but Aadland’s admission today correctly blows up that strained logic. National Republicans (or Democrats) don’t expend resources in races that they don’t think they can win.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone not sipping the MAGA Kool-Aid. Aadland is a completely-unknown candidate who has been running a middling campaign against a well-known and well-prepared Democratic opponent. He kept hope of national help alive for as long as he reasonably could, but you can’t rely on big lies about your own lack of movement forever.

For Aadland, the end is near here.

Newspaper Endorsement Roundup for 2022

Sen. Michael Bennet is endorsed by every major newspaper making a decision in Colorado.

Several Colorado newspapers have decided against making endorsements in political races in 2022, including The Pueblo Chieftain, The Ft. Collins Coloradoan, and The Greeley Tribune.

The Colorado Springs Gazette, meanwhile, has turned its candidate endorsement process into a ridiculous partisan pit of repetitive Republican talking points. The Gazette has completely given up on even pretending to be nonpartisan by endorsing only Republican candidates — even those, such as GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl — for whom it is virtually impossible to make a coherent argument of support.

The good news is that there are still a handful of Colorado newspapers that are making thoughtful, considered endorsements of candidates in 2022. We rounded up the endorsements in some of Colorado’s top-tier races that are available as of this writing, including some notable lines. Included in our list below are The Denver Post, The Durango Herald, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and The Aurora Sentinel.

Two statewide candidates — Sen. Michael Bennet and Attorney General Phil Weiser — picked up endorsements from all four newspapers. Governor Jared Polis will undoubtedly join that list once The Denver Post makes its endorsement.

Also noteworthy: Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert failed to receive a single endorsement other than the rubber-stamp backing of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The two most important newspapers in CO-03 both backed Democratic challenger Adam Frisch instead of Boebert.



The GMS Podcast: It’s Voting Time! (feat. Alec Garnett)

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii sit down once again with House Speaker Alec Garnett to talk about the next generation of House leadership and his predictions for the 2022 election.

Later, we update you on everything you need to know about the latest in the major campaigns in Colorado. We also talk about a judge’s ruling on the Republican recall effort targeting State Sen. Kevin Priola, and together we listen to some bizarre videos courtesy of Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor.

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Wait, What? (Erik Aadland Edition)

Yeah, not so much

We were taking our time, catching up on our political news today, when a sentence just reached out and socked us in the face like one of Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s out-of-left-field batshit insane theories on education reform.

Sandra Fish did a comparison of the candidates in CO-07 for The Colorado Sun that was mostly a “she says this, he says that” kind of piece. Democrat Brittany Pettersen and Republican Erik Aadland explained their positions on a number of issues (admittedly, “explained” is a very generous term when it comes to Aadland’s policy proposals). Aadland also generally took the opportunity to flat-out lie on multiple occasions.

This isn’t the thing that smacked us in the face, but for example:

The Sun asked Pettersen and Aadland, who have each talked about their mothers’ battles with opioid addiction, how Congress could address drug addiction and recovery.

Aadland falsely claimed that Pettersen “started a clean injection site.”…

…Aadland didn’t offer a federal solution to the issue.

Kudos to Fish for pointing out here that Aadland’s words were not at all true. Unfortunately, Fish didn’t always take the time to, um, “correct” Aadland’s misperceptions.

The big smackaroo came at the end of the Sun article, in response to the following question: “Did Joe Biden legitimately win the 2020 presidential election?”

Because she is not a lunatic, Pettersen answered that yes, she believes Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. And then it was Double-A’s turn to respond:

Aadland acknowledged that Biden “is the legitimate president. I have said that many times.”

The Sun asked about reports that he said the election was illegitimate. In June, he told a Republican group the election was “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and now how we have an illegitimate government in power.” The Washington Post included him on a list of election deniers.

“I said it was rigged,” he told The Sun. “That’s different.”

First of all, this is complete horseshit from Aadland. Dating back to June 2021, when the political world was first learning of his existence, Aadland has publicly questioned the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election at least seven different times. As recently as June 21, 2022, Aadland told members of the Mountain Republicans Club that he was concerned by how the 2020 elections were “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and how we have an illegitimate government in power.”

The Sun made the following correction later in the day:

Via The Colorado Sun

Okay, now that we have that first part out of the way, let’s examine the rhetorical punch to the face we mentioned at the top:


“I said it was rigged. That’s different.”



If you believe that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged…but you ALSO claim that President Biden is “the legitimate president,” then there may be several words at play here that have simply eluded your comprehension.

If you are sure that you understand the meaning of all the words and you STILL think the election was rigged AND you think the winner of that election is “the legitimate president”…then we are sad to inform you that you are most likely an absolute fucking moron.

Seriously. We have had it with these election denier candidates who make it to the General Election and try pretending that they didn’t really question the integrity of the Presidential election. If you truly believe that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged, then own it. If nothing else, owning it is a gazillion times better than making it appear as though you are too stupid to understand simple questions that require basic logical reasoning.


“I said it was rigged. That’s different.”


Aadland knows that it is bad for his election hopes if people know he is a full-on “Big Lie” believer. Why do we know he knows this? BECAUSE HE SAID IT HIMSELF. Out loud. In public. In front of a camera.

So what does Aadland do when confronted with this question by the Sun? He reaffirms, for all intents and purposes, that he is both an election denier AND a complete goddamned idiot. Frankly, the two are probably one in the same anyway, but you get what we’re throwing down here.

In an election cycle that has been unusually dumb, Erik Aadland persevered and somehow found a way to make #copolitics even dumber.

Get More Weiserer (feat. Attorney General Phil Weiser)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk at length with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser about his re-election campaign, law enforcement issues in Colorado, and why you should brace yourself for the next Supreme Court docket.

Later, we talk more about Furry Lago and Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s decision to take her conspiracy theory a step too far; we update on the latest in several top races in Colorado; a majority of Republican candidates in the United States are full-on election deniers; and why a lesson from Aurora should inform voters about crime narratives being pushed by Republican candidates. Also, the one and only Christy Powell returns for another legendary rant.

*We’re about to hit 50,000 downloads of the Get More Smarter podcast, which is as amazing to us as it might be to you. Thanks to each and every one of you for listening, for subscribing, and for sharing the show with your friends. Ever since we started, Colorado has gone from purple to bright, bright blue. Coincidence? Probably, but we’re gonna take the credit anyway. 

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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

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Erik Aadland’s No Good, Very Weird Super PAC Problem


Republican Erik Aadland is a strange dude with strange friends and awful policy positions who is running for Congress in CO-07 behind a vague narrative centered around a picture of a lion and his belief that Erik Aadland should be in Congress (Aadland has said that he “doesn’t have time” to start out running for a smaller office, because “freedom” or something).

Aadland began the 2022 election cycle as a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, kicking off that campaign on 9/11 alongside Tom FREAKING Tancredo, before switching to run in CO-07 following the announcement that longtime Congressman Ed Perlmutter had decided to retire. Aadland has only been a registered voter in Colorado since March 2021, but he was trained in the ways of Colorado politics by Casper Stockham, who himself has failed as a candidate in more election cycles than we can even remember.

The Washington Post recently included Aadland as one of five notable Republican candidates in Colorado who are full-on election deniers, which is the closest he is going to come to being endorsed by a reputable media outlet. In fact, the only positive thing anyone seems to be able to say about Aadland is that at least he’s not as creepy as Tim Reichert.

Aadland’s campaign isn’t getting much help from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) because he is a MAGA Republican weirdo who came out of nowhere and is likely going to be directed back toward irrelevance by Democrat Brittany Pettersen in November. But Aadland is getting some assistance from an unusual political action committee (PAC) that is almost certainly breaking several laws.

Erik Aadland probably thinks this is going to be a problem for him.

As Andrew Kenney explains for Colorado Public Radio:

For Colorado’s Future, an independent spending committee supporting Colorado congressional candidate Erik Aadland, may have received an illegal donation from a company doing business with the federal government. It has also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars more than it has collected, leaving significant sums of money unaccounted for, according to campaign finance records…

A Colorado company, Pericle Communications, gave about $25,000 to For Colorado’s Future. Public records show Pericle works on projects for the federal government, and federal contractors are banned from spending money on federal elections. [Pols emphasis]

“This is a prohibition that has been around for decades. The basic idea is that if you’re a federal contractor and you are benefiting from taxpayer-funded contracts, then … it’s either actually corruption or creates the appearance of corruption for you to be able to make political contributions,” said Saurav Ghosh, director for federal reform at Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit government watchdog.

Stay with us here, because this story gets into some territory that we have honestly never encountered before.

Pericle is a Colorado Springs-based engineering firm that specializes in wireless communications and has received several contracts with the Department of Defense and the Commerce Department dating back to 2007. It’s not clear how or why Aadland is connected with Pericle, but here’s where this story veers into unusual territory:

As of June 30, the last day for which complete data is available, the super PAC has taken in a total of $80,000 in donations, but it had spent $338,000 in support of Aadland in the primary election. The organization had not reported taking out any loans, so it’s unclear where the extra $250,000-plus came from. The committee has spent tens of thousands more since then, according to its interim financial reports. [Pols emphasis]

“The receipts just don’t explain how they’re paying for the independent expenditures that they’ve made … It just doesn’t really add up,” Ghosh said. “Voters have a right to know who is spending on elections, and when a committee fails to provide complete and accurate transparency of what they’re receiving and what they’re spending on, they’re denying voters their right, and essentially pulling the wool over their eyes.”…

For Colorado’s Future PAC has spent all $393,000 of its reported expenditures with Telephone Town Hall Meeting, based in Golden. The Aadland campaign also had spent about $37,000 with the company as of June 30, or about 8 percent of its total spending, which raised other questions for Ghosh.

Sharing a vendor would be illegal if the company is helping the campaign and the super PAC to coordinate their advertising. Campaigns and independent groups are not allowed to work together. [Pols emphasis]

Let’s recap:

♦ The Super PAC “For Colorado’s Future” is carrying at least $250,000 in debt for Aadland. What would compel the people behind this PAC to take on such a hefty burden for an unknown candidate running in a Democratic-leaning district that he almost certainly cannot win?


♦ “For Colorado’s Future” PAC has spent nearly $400,000 with a company called Telephone Town Hall Meeting (TTHM). Aadland’s campaign has paid this same company $37,000. Setting aside the issue of illegal coordination, why is TTHM the SOLE VENDOR for this Super PAC?


Curt Cerveny

It’s also interesting to note that TTHM was founded in part by Curt Cerveny, a longtime Republican consultant with a history of shady political maneuverings. Cerveny was once a co-owner of a company called “Politically Direct” — in which he worked alongside disgraced former Republican State Rep. Rob Fairbankwhich was accused in 2008 of receiving taxpayer money funneled through the offices of a then-freshman Congressman named Doug Lamborn. That same year, Cerveny came under fire from Republicans for producing mailers that attacked Mike Coffman, who was then one of several candidates running for an open congressional seat [these are older stories that can still be read in the Colorado Pols archives by clicking HERE].

Colorado Public Radio reached out to Pericle, the Super PAC “For Colorado’s Future,” and TTHM but did not get a response.

Perhaps it will turn out that all of this maneuvering is perfectly legal and aboveboard, but it sure looks shady as hell.

There was never much upside to assisting Aadland’s silly campaign, and this mess doesn’t help his cause. We wouldn’t want anything to do with whatever is going on here, either.

Who Will Win the Race for CO-07? (10/7)

Here’s what you thought the last time we asked this question.

Now, it’s time to vote again. Colorado’s new eighth congressional district is the most competitive federal race in the state. Will Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter, or will Republican guy Erik Aadland be the winner?


*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?


Who Will Win the Race for CO-07? (10/7)

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Who Will Win the Race in CO-07? (9/30)

More polls!

Who will be elected in the new version of CO-07 to succeed the retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter? Will it be Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, or Republican guy Erik Aadland?


*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?


Who Will Win the Race in CO-07 (9/30)

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Here Come the Political Ads!

We are six weeks away from Election Day and three weeks from ballots going out in the mail. This means that top-tier campaigns that plan to use television as a significant part of their advertising strategy are hitting the airwaves with gusto.

Click after the jump to see all the latest television ads running in Colorado, nearly all of which are from Democrats (we’re listing ads from campaigns, not dark money or third-party spots). We’re also not ignoring ads for Republican candidates — there just aren’t many of them to even discuss.

If we missed any new ads, please drop them in the comments section…



New Episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii update the progress of every key race in Colorado now that we’ve passed the 50 day mark until Election Day.

We also talk about the latest embarrassing antics of Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Ken Buck — including wontons! — and give an attaboy to local media for taking time to do some important election narrative fact-checking.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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

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Send In Cory: Erik Aadland’s Worst Endorsement Yet

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner (right).

Republican CD-7 congressional candidate Erik Aadland’s campaign, despite running in a race made somewhat more competitive by redistricting, entered what could be a terminal nosedive beginning in late August, when archived video of Aadland calling the 2020 elections “absolutely rigged” was conspicuously deleted from the Jefferson County GOP Men’s Club website. A couple of weeks later, reported on Aadland telling Republicans in the district more recently that “we have an illegitimate government in power,” but he can’t “talk about election integrity on and on and on because it’s not an issue that wins us this race.” Aadland has been endorsed by a variety of toxic far-right personalities like QAnon theorist Paul Vallely and local anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo–which is on the message Aadland has clearly chosen, but doesn’t help Aadland appear reasonable in a district that still favors Democrats (and therefore reality) based on previous results by several points.

So as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reports, Aadland is bringing in…a different kind of backup:

Republican congressional candidate Erik Aadland won a formal endorsement on Monday from former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who called the Army veteran “exactly who we need to bridge the divides and fight for our values.”

A former project manager for an oil and gas company and first-time candidate from Pine, Aadland is running against state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Lakewood Democrat, in the open, Democratic-leaning 7th Congressional District, which covers Broomfield, most of Jefferson County and mountain counties stretching south past Cañon City…

Aadland said in a release that he will “strive to emulate” Gardner’s example, adding that he was “honored” and “humbled” to have his support. [Pols emphasis]

As readers know, the most recent “example” set by Cory Gardner was losing in 2020 to Sen. John Hickenlooper by just over 9 percent, 53.5-44.2%–by about 10 percent within the boundaries of the new CD-7. That’s a bit wider margin than the newly redrawn CD-7’s D+4 estimate from Cook Political. Aadland will therefore need to work a little harder to “emulate Gardner’s example”–but if there’s any Colorado Republican up to the challenge in 2022 of losing by a few more points than expected, it’s Erik Aadland.

Although we can perhaps see the value of Gardner’s endorsement during the primary phase of Aadland’s campaign, in the general election the blessing of a Senator who just went down in flames two years ago isn’t a blessing at all. It’s a curse, and even though Gardner may be slightly to the left of Tom Tancredo policywise, Gardner brings no voters to Aadland who wouldn’t vote the straight Republican ticket anyway. For swing voters able to remember the last election, which we hope is a fair number, Gardner is perhaps the worst possible surrogate for 2022 candidates who want to win.

But just like with Joe O’Dea, Gardner’s playbook seems to be all Colorado Republicans have left.

Erik Aadland’s Own Dumb Words Return to Haunt Him

Erik Aadland, galaxy brain thinker.

This has not been a great week for Republican Erik Aadland in his largely-invisible campaign for Congress in CO-07.

As we wrote on Tuesday, there does not appear to be any national Republican money coming to help Aadland in his bid to defeat Democrat Brittany Pettersen.

As reports today, Aadland isn’t responding to multiple requests for comment after a new audio clip emerged in which he talks about 2020 election fraud as recently as three months ago:

[Aadland] told members of the Mountain Republicans Club on June 21 that he was concerned by how the 2020 elections were “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and now how we have an illegitimate government in power.”…

…Many candidates, like Aadland, may now be hesitant to say the 2020 election was fraudulent out of fear that it could cost them at the polls. The voice purported to be Aadland’s admitted in that leaked audio to being strategic in how he talks about the 2020 election, saying, “I don’t always use this kind of language on the campaign trail because I am so deliberate with what I say, because the consequences of not winning are so significant. So I am strategic. I don’t go out and talk about election integrity on and on and on because it’s not an issue that wins us this race.” [Pols emphasis]

This is really the worst part about Aadland’s comments. It’s disqualifying in itself for a candidate to be a full-fledged election denier. It’s another thing entirely when that candidate openly admits to hiding his true beliefs in order to fool voters into selecting him on their ballot.

“I am strategic. I don’t go out and talk about election integrity on and on and on because it’s not an issue that wins us this race.”

     — Republican Congressional candidate Erik Aadland

As notes, Aadland has long taken pains to change his public response on the election integrity question:

In June 2021, he told the Jefferson County Men’s Club, “The 2020 election, it was rigged. Absolutely rigged.” But in December of that year, he switched to running for the House, and somewhere along the way, he started to backpedal. In April 2022, he danced around the question on conservative talk radio, ultimately answering, “I’m certain there was fraud in the 2020 elections. I have a sense that it influenced the outcome. Can I say definitively? No.” (This was enough for us to reclassify him as “raised questions” and not “fully denied” in our tracker of Republicans’ stances on the 2020 election.) And in August 2022 — after the Colorado primary — a reporter for Colorado Newsline noticed that the Jefferson County Men’s Club had taken down the video with Aadland’s previous, more extreme comments.

This new revelation has prompted to include Aadland under the category of “Fully Denied” in its national database of candidates who believe in some amount of election fraud related to 2020.

At this rate “fully denied” will also be the result Aadland receives on Election Night.

National Money Tells the Tale on Colorado Congressional Races

So far, so good for Democrat Brittany Pettersen

Every seat in the House of Representatives is on the ballot every two years, but not every seat will create a competitive race in a given district.

In Colorado, there are two districts that were believed to be more competitive than the rest in 2022*: CO-07 (Jefferson County to Cañon City, roughly) and CO-08 (Adams County and north of Greeley, roughly). At least, that was the prevailing wisdom a few months ago.

New spending numbers from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) were announced today, and only CO-08 made the list.

Republicans, meanwhile, are also spending money in CO-08 but NOT in CO-07.

The fact that neither Democrats nor Republicans are spending money (thus far, anyway) in CO-07 indicates that Democrat Brittany Pettersen is running well ahead of Republican Erik Aadland. We know this to be the case in candidate fundraising, but it’s likely also true in terms of internal polling. Anecdotally, Aadland has been all but invisible on the campaign trail and hasn’t managed to generate any sort of positive media coverage.

Meanwhile, we know from (limited) public polling in CO-08 that Democrat Yadira Caraveo and Republican “Secession” Barbara Kirkmeyer are running neck-and-neck. Caraveo might be in a better position at the moment, since Kirkmeyer has some trouble spots with her attacks on the FBI and her extreme-right position on abortion rights, but that’s likely why the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is spending heavily on television advertising in the district.

It ain’t over until it’s over in either of these two districts, but the trend lines are impossible to ignore.


*Note: In CO-03, the home of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, Democrat Adam Frisch would need to overcome a tough Republican voter advantage in order to win in November. Because of a combination of voter registration benefits and general candidate strength, incumbents will almost certainly win easily in CO-01 (Diana DeGette), CO-02 (Joe Neguse), CO-04 (Ken Buck), CO-05 (Doug Lamborn), and CO-06 (Jason Crow). 

Republicans to Introduce 15 Week Abortion Ban

UPDATE: Wait, really?


What has two thumbs and just screwed Colorado Republicans?

As Inae Oh reports for Mother Jones, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is going to make the final two months of the 2022 election considerably harder for many Republicans candidates in Colorado (and around the country):

Lindsey Graham is set to introduce a new bill to restrict abortion nationally, specifically banning the procedure after 15 weeks of pregnancy. [Pols emphasis]

This will mark the sixth time that the South Carolina governor has introduced legislation to restrict abortion at the federal level. The plan, which will be introduced Tuesday, has no chance of surviving a Democratic-controlled Senate; even if Republicans seize control of Congress, it would still likely face serious challenges, including an all-but-certain veto from the president.

But what’s interesting here is that by once again proposing nationwide abortion restrictions, Graham is reportedly hoping that the legislation will convince voters that the GOP is willing to make some concessions on the issue—that amid intense outrage, the Republican Party is not as cruel as the Democrats have been portraying. [Pols emphasis] But much of Graham’s logic here weaponizes the stigma, as well as the general misunderstanding of the term “late-term abortions,” and it’s difficult to see newly mobilized voters falling for it in our post-Roe landscape.

If a “15 week” abortion ban sounds familiar, it should: This is the same arbitrary restriction proposed by Mississippi lawmakers that led to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision in June that essentially overturned Roe v. Wade.

This bears repeating. Senator Graham is introducing a bill to ban abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy — a timeline that has no scientific or medical basis whatsoever — that would create the same abortion restrictions as the Mississippi law that led to the destruction of federal abortion rights in the United States. Graham thinks that this will somehow be helpful to Republicans; he apparently didn’t get the memo that “nuance” is dead when it comes to abortion rights.

Graham’s legislation is a disaster for every Republican candidate in Colorado who is not running in a safe Republican district. Current elected officials, including Reps. Ken Buck (R-Greeleyish) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) have already signed on to the idea of making further abortion restrictions at a national level (so long, “state’s rights”). Here’s a short list of those 2022 candidates in Colorado who will find this to be particularly unhelpful in the weeks before Election Day on Nov. 8:

Joe O’Dea, U.S. Senate

O’Dea has spent the last couple of months diligently trying to take every conceivable position possible on the issue of abortion rights, other than the only one that really matters: Supporting a woman’s right to choose. His latest answer on the subject is that he wants to go to Washington D.C. to “bring balance to women’s rights.”

O’Dea says that he would like to restrict abortions at an equally-arbitrary deadline of 20 weeks of pregnancy. It will be hard for O’Dea to argue that he would oppose Graham’s 15 week deadline given that his own 20 week deadline is not based on any tangible scientific evidence.

John Kellner

John Kellner, Attorney General

Kellner already screwed this up when he said out loud at a candidate forum in August that he considered himself “somebody who supports the Dobbs decision returning this back to the states to make a decision” and later couldn’t answer a ‘yes or no’ question about whether he supported a woman’s right to make her own reproductive decisions. But Graham’s bill destroys whatever wiggle room Kellner might have tried to hold onto because the concept of “state’s rights” would go out the window.

If a Congress were to approve Graham’s legislation, it’s tough to believe that Kellner would still work to protect abortion rights in Colorado if elected Attorney General. He could just say, Oh, I support state’s rights but Congress changed the law, so what are you gonna do?

♦ Erik Aadland, Congress (CO-07)

Aadland is about as far right as you can get on the issue of abortion rights. He cheered the demise of Roe V. Wade and praised the Texas abortion law that basically made bounty hunters out of regular citizens who even heard the word “abortion” whispered by a neighbor.

♦ Barbara Kirkmeyer, Congress (CO-08)

Kirkmeyer has been one of Colorado’s most consistent anti-choice advocates for decades, but even she sees the political danger in talking about her position. Kirkmeyer opposes abortion for any reason. We don’t even need to ask if Kirkmeyer would vote YES on Graham’s bill if given the opportunity. She’s like political Thanos in this regard:


To be clear, Graham’s bill is bad for any Colorado Republican trying to finesse a position on abortion rights that is anything other than supporting a woman’s right to choose. Election after election, and poll after poll, have proved Colorado is an overwhelmingly pro-choice state — which is why dolts like GOP Lieutenant Governor candidate Danny Moore are trying to pretend reality is different. From The Colorado Sun’sUnaffiliated” newsletter:

“The Republican Party is not trying to take away anybody’s right to choose,” Danny Moore, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor [Pols emphasis], said last week on Jeff Fard’s interview show in response to a question about abortion. That statement comes despite the GOP’s efforts at the state Capitol and through ballot measures to restrict or outright ban abortions in Colorado. Moore said he thinks voters should decide Colorado’s abortion laws — even though they already have time and again through ballot measures — while criticizing the law passed by Democrats this year enshrining nearly unfettered abortion access in the state. (Heidi Ganahl, Moore’s running mate, wants to roll back Colorado’s new abortion-access bill and believes the procedure should be banned except in cases of rape, incest or when the life of a mother is at risk.)

Danny Moore is apparently unaware that many interviews with politicians are recorded or written down and are easily accessible to anyone with a connection to the Internet.

Lindsey Graham is expected to announce his national abortion ban legislation sometime today.

The GMS Podcast: Asshats in Key States

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s pledge to decide what rights women should get to have, and we consider how the breakdown of the national map for Senate Republicans (“Asshats in Key States”) is causing problems for O’Dea in Colorado.

We also talk about the latest state fundraising reports; the deadline for the recall of State Sen. Kevin Priola; and we bemoan the fact that the campaign for Denver Mayor is already well underway even though the midterm election still has eight weeks to go.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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

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