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 GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

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

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, 538.com 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 538.com 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 538.com 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 538.com 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 GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

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

Republicans Giveth, But Not Nearly as Mucheth


The latest fundraising figures for state races were released earlier this week, and most of the news for Republicans was pretty grim.

Take a look at the cash-on-hand (COH) numbers for Republicans in the top four state races in 2018 compared to 2022:

These are not good numbers, but perhaps Colorado Republicans can feel a bit better knowing that donors are much less interested in giving money to Republican candidates everywhere in 2022. As POLITICO reports today:

The number of online donors to the Republican Party unexpectedly dropped in the first half of 2022, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance data — one in a series of setbacks that have tempered expectations of a red wave in November.

Online fundraising usually ramps up dramatically and predictably over the course of an election cycle. But campaign finance data show that in the first half of this year, the number of people giving federal contributions to Republican candidates and committees through WinRed — the GOP’s widely used donation processing platform — fell to around 913,000 down from roughly 956,000 contributors during the six months prior.

The surprising dip illustrates broader fundraising difficulties that have plagued GOP candidates in key races across the country this summer, even amid hopes that the party could retake control of Congress. It reflects the party’s long-standing challenges in building donor lists to power its campaigns.

Heidi Ganahl, Lang Sias, and Pam Anderson are broketh.

Former President Donald Trump has been blamed by some Republicans for hoovering up many potential donors — Trump has raised more than $100 million online since leaving office — though POLITICO’s analysis suggests that only about 13 percent of online Republican donors have given only to Trump this cycle.

Still, Trump’s committees are sitting on tens of millions of dollars that aren’t likely to be spent helping other Republicans this fall.

Nationally, Senate Republicans are still fighting with each other; the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is running on fumes, and NRSC head Rick Scott is blaming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting that Scott recruited a bunch of dolts as candidates in some of the most important pickup opportunities in the country.

Biden Delivers Powerful Speech as MAGA Republicans Freak Out

UPDATE: Greg Sargent of The Washington Post sums up the conundrum for “MAGA Republicans:

Republicans are in a rage over President Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, in which he flatly declared that the American democratic experiment is in serious danger due to Donald Trump and the Republicans who remain allied with his political project.

So here’s a question for those Republicans: What exactly in Biden’s speech was wrong?…

…That MAGA coup attempt included extraordinarily corrupt pressure on many government actors, including law enforcement, which flouted the rule of law on its face. It involved pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to violate his constitutional duty. Pence himself said he was being asked to betray basic tenets of constitutional democracy.

Many Republicans who are now professing outrage supported all that. A review of their own conduct proves Biden right.


“The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail.”

     — President Biden (9/1/22)

President Joe Biden delivered a powerful primetime speech on Thursday night from the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia that laid out in clear terms the battle for democracy in the United States.

As David Frum wrote later for The Atlantic, Biden’s speech was so effective because it was real:

The response from Biden’s Republican opponents has been hotter than mere tut-tutting. Biden’s sharp speech has only one justification: So much of it is true.

If you missed Biden’s 24-minute speech, you can read the full transcript here or watch it in full below. To better understand the significance of Thursday’s events — including here in Colorado — it helps to break things down into a few different parts. Let’s start with…



Biden’s remarks on Thursday were masterfully constructed. In plain language, he began by defining “MAGA Republicans” as people who were intent on destroying democracy. Biden did not resort to name-calling but stuck with facts instead:

And here, in my view, is what is true: [Pols emphasis] MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election, and they’re working right now as I speak in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

President Joe Biden

Biden then carefully explained that “MAGA Republicans” are a fringe minority in the United States, which had the effect of placing them in a rhetorical corner with the rest of the country on the other side:

But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can, we are not powerless in the face of these threats. We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy. There are far more Americans, far more Americans from every background and belief, who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. [Pols emphasis] And folks, it’s within our power, it’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy…

…MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live, not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies. But together, together, we can choose a different path. We can choose a better path forward to the future, a future of possibility, a future to build a dream and hope, and we’re on that path moving ahead.

Meanwhile, “MAGA Republicans” were busy identifying themselves and proving every one of Biden’s points.



The Death of Nuance on Abortion Rights

The Associated Press, via the Aurora Sentinel (9/1/22)

As The Associated Press reports in a fascinating new story, one of the major changes to the political landscape in 2022 is the death of nuance in terms of how politicians talk about their positions on abortion rights:

Analysts say similarly nuanced positions were once considered the political sweet spot in the complex world of abortion politics, coming closest to representing the views of the typical, conflicted voter. But that may be changing as abortion restrictions kick in following the fall of Roe with the high court’s ruling in June.

“We are here in this country, right now, with patients traveling thousands of miles for care because politicians have been given the room for the least little bit of nuance,” said Adrienne Mansanares of Planned Parenthood Action Colorado during a recent news conference to back Michael Bennet.

The message from Democrats: Republicans can’t be trusted on the issue — regardless of their personal beliefs.

“[O’Dea] has the benefit of knowing that [recent SCOTUS justices] actually led the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and still he says he would have voted for them…I mean, that is a pitiful position to be in.”

     — Sen. Michael Bennet (the Get More Smarter Podcast (Aug. 2022)

It’s obvious how and why nuance is no longer accepted in the debate over abortion rights. The Supreme Court’s June 24th decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which essentially overturned Roe v. Wade, triggered strict abortion bans in at least 13 states (many with no exceptions) and changed the narrative for Republican politicians trying to find a middle ground with voters:

The reason this is happening, said Republican pollster Whit Ayres, is “you now have state legislatures that have taken positions opposed by 9 out of 10 Americans.”

“What the Dobbs decision has done along with these trigger laws is focus attention on the early part of pregnancy, not late term,” Ayres said.

While many Americans back some restrictions on abortion, especially after the first trimester, the most extreme measures introduced in some Republican-led states are at odds with public opinion, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll in July.

There are several signs that momentum is with abortion-rights backers. In conservative Kansas, a ballot measure to remove that state’s right to abortion lost by more than 150,000 votes. Democrats won a special election in a narrowly divided upstate New York swing district last week after their candidate focused on abortion. In a survey shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, Pew found that 62% of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, the highest share in nearly 30 years of tracking the issue. [Pols emphasis]

This is why incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s latest television ad highlights the fact that Republican Joe O’Dea said he would have supported all of the SCOTUS nominees who eliminated federal abortion rights — even with the benefit of hindsight.


The AP story concludes with a few quotes from O’Dea that are as absurd as everything else he’s said on the matter this summer:

In an interview, the first-time candidate said of his opponent’s attack: “It’s pretty dishonest, pretty disingenuous.”

Yet in 2020, O’Dea voted for a statewide ballot measure to bar abortions after 22 weeks that failed by 18 percentage points. The measure didn’t contain exceptions for rape, incest or to protect the mother’s life. [Pols emphasis] He now says he thinks those exceptions are essential and added that he would support allowing the termination of nonviable pregnancies. 

He noted he wasn’t a candidate for office when the measure was on the ballot.

“I didn’t look at all the nuances,” O’Dea said.

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea

Bennet’s arguments are hardly “dishonest” when they merely state O’Dea’s own public positions on abortion rights.

O’Dea says he wasn’t a candidate for office when he voted for Prop. 115. Why this is a relevant statement is not clear, particularly considering that O’Dea recently insisted that he ACTUALLY favors even stronger restrictions on abortion than those included in Prop. 115 (O’Dea wants to ban abortion at 20 weeks instead of 22 weeks).

O’Dea often tries to counter Bennet’s arguments by claiming that Bennet supports abortions later in pregnancy, which is an absurd comparison. We know that such abortions are incredibly rare and are almost always the result of fetal anomalies or concerns about the health of the mother. When the Colorado legislature passed the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) last Spring, some anti-choice zealots were claiming that abortion had been legalized even after birth, which is silly.

As the Kaiser Family Foundation explains:

…intense public discussions have been sparked after several policymakers have theorized about abortions occurring “moments before birth” or even “after birth.” In reality, these scenarios do not occur, nor are they legal, in the U.S. [Pols emphasis]

Phil Weiser (left) and John Kellner

All these arguments aside, the point of what The Associated Press is explaining in today’s story is that any sort of nuances on abortion rights are no longer relevant to many voters. Consider this exchange from a forum between Attorney General candidates (Democrat Phil Weiser and Republican John Kellner) in Colorado last month as an example of where nuance is no longer a viable strategy on abortion rights:

QUESTION: Do you support a woman’s right to choose over her reproductive rights?

WEISER: Yes. The Dobbs decision was wrongly decided.

KELLNER: I don’t think I can give you a bumper sticker answer for this. It is just simply, I think like most Americans, too nuanced of a position to be able to tell you a yes or no answer to that. [Pols emphasis]

[Audience murmurs. One unidentified woman groans, ‘Oh, come on.’]

MODERATOR: As it’s a lightning round, let’s move forward. We have an answer.

“Do you support a woman’s right to choose over her reproductive rights?” There are two answers to this question: ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ In previous election cycles, candidates who couldn’t answer ‘Yes’ could try to avoid ‘No’ by saying something like, Abortion rights are settled law in this country/state. But to quote a familiar line, “That dog won’t hunt” anymore.

It’s easy to roll your eyes at a post like the one you just read. You might be thinking, I’m tired about this argument over abortion. But if that is the case, you’re missing the broader point here: EVERYONE IS TIRED OF THE MANEUVERING.

There is no longer an acceptable middle ground between ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ when it comes to supporting a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions.

Bad Polling, No Money for Colorado Republicans

There are 68 days left until Election Day on Nov. 8. That’s not a lot of time left to make your case to voters, but that number is deceiving for elections in Colorado; because Colorado is a mail-ballot state, there are now only 6 weeks remaining until voters start to find ballots in their mailboxes.

To put it a different way, a good chunk of Colorado voters will be filling out a ballot in about 42 days.

With the always-important caveat that things could still change, it would be really difficult to take a reasonable look at the data and conclude that Republicans are not in deep trouble in Colorado. Here’s why…


U.S. Senate

Even the most conservative pollsters in America can’t find a way to show Republican Joe O’Dea pulling closer to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. New polling data out today shows that things are actually getting much worse for O’Dea as Election Day draws near.

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), Bennet currently leads O’Dea by an 11-point margin, with O’Dea only attracting the support of 35% of respondents.

Equally concerning for Republicans are the favorability ratings for O’Dea, which are upside down; 29% of respondents give O’Dea an “unfavorable” rating, while just 27% have a positive view of Mr. #HorseSushi. The O’Dea campaign team responded to these results today by trying to make lemonade out of dandelions:

But…but…Michael Bennet isn’t polling at 50 percent! So what? If this PPP poll is correct, Bennet will only need 36% of the vote to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Bennet received just about 50% of the vote in 2016, when he won re-election over Republican Darryl Glenn by 6 points in a race that was never in doubt. In 2010, Bennet didn’t reach 50% of the vote, defeating Republican Ken Buck by a 48-46 margin. You don’t get a bigger office in the U.S. Senate if you surpass 50% of the vote.

The PPP poll shows that 44% of voters are “unsure” about O’Dea, which is probably because they have no idea who he is. O’Dea might be able to dig into that number with more outreach and communications to voters, but they don’t have the resources to do that. As Manu Raju and Alex Rogers report for CNN, Senate Republicans are STILL undecided about whether it is worth investing any real money in Colorado on Joe O’Dea:

the big-spending GOP outside groups are uncertain whether O’Dea can knock off incumbent Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet – and whether their money should be spent elsewhere.

So far, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has not reserved future advertising in Colorado, after spending just $241,000, according to AdImpact data. [Pols emphasis]

McConnell’s powerful super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has yet to spend money there but is “keeping an eye on the race” and “impressed” with O’Dea’s performance, the group’s spokesman said. The group recently announced it would spend $28 million in Ohio, and cut millions in Arizona, committing to defend J.D. Vance in an increasingly red state rather than help Blake Masters in a battleground, as both Trump-endorsed candidates struggle.

It’s not hard to read between the lines here: Colorado voters are going to start making their selections in six weeks, but there is still no movement from national Republican groups and little reason for them to suddenly get more involved. Without a big infusion of national money, the little-known O’Dea is toast; Bennet has thus far outraised O’Dea by an 8-to-1 margin.



The Heidi Ganahl/Danny Moore ticket never took off.

Let’s be honest: This race has been over for awhile now.

Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is the most inept candidate for major office that Colorado has seen this century, and maybe ever. Even if this race were close, and there is no indication that it is, Ganahl would almost certainly make some idiotic mistake that would cripple her chances of defeating incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

Ganahl doesn’t have much money in her campaign coffers — while Polis has virtually unlimited financial resources — and national Republicans haven’t so much as hinted at paying attention to this race since…well, maybe ever. A year ago, Polis was polling 20 points higher than Ganahl; that was before Ganahl started proving to Colorado voters that she has no idea what she is doing. Polis won’t win by 20 in November, but there’s no reason to think either side will be sweating out the results on Election Night.

As we saw earlier in the U.S. Senate polling, conservative pollsters also can’t figure out a way to make this look like a real race. Both of the polls below are from outfits known to be extremely favorable to Republican candidates (Remington Research Group and Trafalgar Group). In Georgia, for example, Trafalgar has Republican candidates for top-ticket races polling much better than most other recent surveys. In Colorado, there’s no way to make the math work for Ganahl:

(Details at 538.com)


Generic Congressional Ballot

Finally, the “generic congressional ballot” we discussed earlier this month keeps moving in favor of Democrats. The GCB doesn’t mean that Colorado Democrats are going to perform 9 points better than Republicans, but it does indicate that voters are predisposed to support a Democrat…particularly when they know little about the Republican candidate (we’re looking at you, Joe O’Dea).

(Details at 538.com)


Republicans could potentially yet recover in Colorado, but they’re running out of time to keep saying, “there’s still time.” It’s worth noting that national Republicans aren’t just reluctant to spend money in the U.S. Senate or Governor races — the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) has also thus far avoided spending money in Colorado on behalf of Republican candidate John Kellner. At the moment, there appear to be no coattails for any Republican candidate to grab onto.

The 2018 election in Colorado was a MASSIVE wave year for Democrats. For the most part, that trend continued in 2020. There’s little reason to argue that Colorado is not on a similar course in 2022.

Perlmutter’s Final “Government in the Grocery” Event

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Democrat Ed Perlmutter, who is retiring this year after serving eight terms in Congress representing Jefferson County, will hold his final “Government in the Grocery” event on Saturday.

Via a press release from Perlmutter’s office:

On Saturday, August 27th, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) will hold his final Government in the Grocery event. A signature event of the office, Perlmutter started the Government in the Grocery program when he first took office in 2007 in order to better hear from constituents and meet with them one-on-one in their local community. The first Government in the Grocery was held on January 27, 2007 in Wheat Ridge. Over the years, Perlmutter has held 105 Government in the Grocery events and 22 office hours, including virtually during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout these events, the office has helped approximately 3,370 people across cities such as Aurora, Brighton, Arvada, Edgewater, Federal Heights, Northglenn, Commerce City, Westminster, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Bennet, and Thornton…

…While the average attendance ranges from 20 to 30 people, some Government in the Grocery events have seen upward of 200 people. For example, in 2009 during the Affordable Care Act debate and in 2017 after President Trump first took office. Over the years, Perlmutter has met with hundreds of constituents during these informal meetings on topics ranging from jobs, mortgage issues, the economy, Veteran issues, national budget, national security, Medicare, debt, education, medical research, health care, human rights, animal rights, war and many others. Ideas for legislation, support for legislation, constituent assistance and more have resulted from these meetings.

Perlmutter’s “Government in the Grocery” events were an ideal symbol of a Congressman who never forgot the importance of being available to his constituents. Perlmutter first started holding his grocery store meetings in 2007, and continued them throughout his tenure in Congress (pausing only after Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords was seriously wounded in a shooting at a grocery store in January 2011).

Perlmutter’s final grocery store event will be held on Saturday at the Safeway store on 9160 W. Colfax Avenue in Lakewood from 10:00 am – Noon.

Erik Aadland Tries (and Fails) to Scrub Away the MAGA

Erik Aadland didn’t think this through.

Republican Erik Aadland is fairly new to politics, but he apparently understands — albeit a bit late — that being a full-throated election denier and “Big Lie” MAGAbot isn’t going to be very helpful in trying to win election to Congress in CO-07 against Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen.

Aadland spoke about his beliefs that the 2020 election was “absolutely rigged” during a June 2021 speech to the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club. He would like that video to go away, but that’s not how the Internet works. As Chase Woodruff reports for Colorado Newsline:

A Jefferson County Republican group has quietly removed from its website a video of a conspiracy theory-laden speech by Colorado congressional candidate Erik Aadland, in which he falsely claimed the 2020 election was “absolutely rigged.”

Aadland, an Army veteran and former oil and gas executive, spoke to the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club in June 2021, shortly after declaring his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Following longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s announcement that he would not seek reelection in 2022, Aadland jumped to the 7th Congressional District race, where he faces state Democratic Sen. Brittany Pettersen.

“The 2020 election, it was rigged. Absolutely rigged,” Aadland said in the speech to Jefferson County Republicans last year. “If you do enough looking into it, I think you’ll be convinced.”

“It’s extremely scary what transpired,” he continued. “There was a significant amount of fraud in the 2020 election.”

You can see why Aadland would WANT to scrub this away, but there are too many other people who saw and heard those comments:



Woodruff includes an excerpt of the video in his story for Newsline, but plenty of others realized at the time that this was probably a clip worth saving…including us!




As Woodruff writes, “Aadland’s campaign did not respond to questions about his position on the 2020 election or the removal of the June 2021 video.” And now he doesn’t have to!

Here’s a free tip for Aadland: Nothing draws more attention to something than trying to hide it.

Republicans Can’t (and Won’t) Dodge Abortion in 2022

Colorado Republicans have been telegraphing their fear about the abortion issue sinking their hopes in 2022 — as well they should — and a new ad from Sen. Michael Bennet drives this point home further.

We’ll have more on that in a moment, but first…lest there be any confusion on the subject, former militia leader and current State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown today punctured any Republican candidate’s hopes of continuing to dance around the topic of abortion:

This will probably cause no small amount of heartburn in GOP campaign offices around the state today. Meanwhile, Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun reports on Bennet’s new TV spot highlighting the fact that there is a very clear choice between the U.S. Senate candidates when it comes to abortion rights:

Democrats see Joe O’Dea’s stance on abortion as an area of weakness heading into the November election, as highlighted by a new television ad unveiled Thursday by Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, O’Dea’s opponent.

The ad, which will run for two weeks across the state, is Bennet’s first one attacking O’Dea. It’s an opening offensive that signals he plans to make abortion access, in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned in June after nearly five decades, a key pillar of his 2022 reelection campaign.

Democrats up and down the ballot in Colorado this year, from the attorney general’s contest to the highly competitive new 8th Congressional District to legislative races that will decide which party controls the state Capitol, are running on a promise to protect abortion access.


Cory Gardner’s toothy grin

Paul writes that this new Bennet ad is a reminder of U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s 2014 campaign that highlighted then-U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner’s opposition to abortion. There are certainly some similarities with the 2014 Senate race in Colorado, but most importantly is the lesson that all Coloradans learned from not taking Udall’s warnings seriously. The editorial board of The Denver Post infamously endorsed Gardner in 2014, with one particular paragraph that will not soon be forgotten:

[Gardner’s] past views on same-sex marriage are becoming irrelevant now that the Supreme Court has let appeals court rulings stand and marriage equality appears unstoppable. And contrary to Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights. 

The Post editorial board memorably rescinded their Gardner endorsement in March 2019 after it had become painfully clear that Gardner did not actually stand for any of the things he campaigned about five years earlier. To be clear, Gardner was open about his opposition to abortion; he just avoided the subject by claiming that it was “settled law” in the United States. As the Supreme Court’s June decision on the Dobbs v. Jackson case that essentially overturned Roe v. Wade confirmed, the threat to abortion rights was very real (and now, so is the threat to same-sex and interracial marriage).

As Paul continues for the Sun:

While Gardner’s abortion opposition was fairly clear, O’Dea, who was panned by some Republicans during the U.S. Senate primary for being too weak on the issue, has left some notable gaps in his stance.

He opposes late-term abortions, but he hasn’t defined what constitutes an early term or late-term abortion, except to say that abortions should be banned in the last three months of pregnancy.

“It has something to do with viability,” O’Dea, who opposed Roe v. Wade being overturned, said during a Sun debate when pressed on his position. “I don’t believe that I get to weigh in on that.”

O’Dea can try to pirouette around the issue all he wants. The truth is that there are only two comments from the Republican Senate nominee that really matter: 1) O’Dea has said “Personally, I’m very pro-life”, and 2) O’Dea says that he would have supported all of the recent Supreme Court nominees put forward by former President Donald Trump that paved the road to ending Roe v. Wade.

Bennet supports legislation prohibiting government restrictions on abortion access, including the Women’s Health Protection Act. In addition to those two key comments above, O’Dea also opposes the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) in Colorado. As Bennet’s new ad points out, if you are a Colorado voter concerned about protecting abortion rights, there is no debate over which candidate you should support for U.S. Senate.

“I’ve been very transparent, very open about my position on abortion. It’s a settled question in this state.”

     — Republican Congressional candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer


And it’s not just the U.S. Senate race where this distinction is clear. Republican candidates for Congress in CO-07 (Erik Aadland) and CO-08 (Barbara Kirkmeyer) have been unambiguous about their opposition to abortion rights. Attorney General hopeful John Kellner has been somewhat more opaque, though he has stated publicly that he thinks the Supreme Court got it right in the Dobbs decision.

Knowing that this position is a political problem for her, Kirkmeyer has even tried her own version of a Cory Gardner response. Again, via The Colorado Sun:

“I’ve been very transparent, very open about my position on abortion,” Kirkmeyer said. “It’s a settled question in this state, so I don’t know why they want to keep bringing it back up other than for political reasons. People know who I am.”

As Colorado learned from Gardner, abortion is a “settled question” only until it isn’t.

Words matter. Policy positions matter. Elections matter.

Choose wisely.

Generic Congressional Ballot Shifts Toward Democrats

The “Generic Congressional Ballot” is moving inarguably toward Democrats in recent weeks, another sign that the 2022 midterm elections might not be as favorable for Republicans as once thought.

The GCB has long been a closely-watched metric in any election for trying to understand how support for Democrats or Republicans is changing over time. If you’re unfamiliar with the GCB, it’s a response to a question such as this: “If the election for U.S. Congress were being held today, who would you vote for in the district where you live?” The available answers are usually “The Democratic Candidate” or “The Republican Candidate,” with no names provided; the point is to gauge whether voters are generally feeling more positive about Democrats or Republicans in an upcoming election.

According to a new Economist/YouGov poll released this week, the GCB now gives Democrats a 6-point advantage over Republicans. A new Fox News poll has Democrats and Republicans polling even at 41%, but it’s the trend line that is important; in May, Fox News had Republicans with a 46-39 advantage (click here for a compilation of GCB results via RealClearPolitics).

It’s instructive to see how much the overall political mood in this country has moved toward Democrats over the summer. There are a number of factors at play here, from the overturning of Roe v. Wade to a recent flurry of legislation passed by the Democratic-controlled Senate in support of President Biden’s agenda.

You can see this at play locally as well. Colorado Republicans are plainly terrified at what the abortion rights issue will mean for their candidates in November. Candidates for federal office, such as U.S. Senate hopeful Joe O’Dea, are finding it impossible to escape from the corner in which they have painted themselves after high-profile Congressional victories for Democrats.

This trend could still change before November, of course, but as we enter the most important stretch of the campaign cycle, the momentum is definitely on the side of Democrats.

Colorado Republicans Telegraph Terror Over Abortion Issue

Former militia leader and current Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown

The Colorado Republican Party is well aware that the abortion rights issue is going to sink many of its candidates in 2022. Democrats continue to pick up ground in recent polling, in large part because overturning Roe v. Wade has pushed abortion rights to the top of the list of concerns for voters across the country.

Republican candidates up and down the ballot are on the record as being anti-choice, from Hiedi Heidi Ganahl (Governor) and John Kellner (Attorney General) to Congressional hopefuls Erik Aadland (CO-07) and Barbara Kirkmeyer (CO-08). The GOP nominee for U.S. Senate, Joe O’Dea, has been spinning his wheels for months on the issue after acknowledging that “personally, I am very pro-life.” Smart Republicans are doing everything they can to muddy the waters on abortion; just this week, former State GOP Chair Dick Wadhams was falsely telling The Denver Post that Kirkmeyer was not an “activist on abortion” despite her long record of working on anti-choice issues.

Republicans who are not as smart are trying their own dumb spin on the issue. Today the Colorado Republican Party issued a very weird press release about a new endorsement for Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet that demonstrates again just how terrified they are about the abortion issue:

Via the Colorado Republican Party


The Colorado GOP is attacking Bennet’s endorsement from Planned Parenthood Action Fund by claiming that the group is “known for their public statements in support of ‘Defunding the Police.'”

Really? THAT’S what Planned Parenthood is known for?

Republicans are so frightened of the abortion issue that the State Party issued a 300-word press release about Planned Parenthood that literally never mentions the word “abortion” (click here to read the entire press release). Not once.

It’s true that Planned Parenthood Action Fund has supported efforts that were unfortunately labeled as “Defund the Police,” but it’s silly to claim that this is what the group is “known for.” That’s like saying the Colorado GOP is known to support domestic terrorism…no, wait, that’s a bad example.

This is like saying the National Rifle Association is known for its support of school vouchers. We don’t actually know if the NRA has backed school vouchers on a regular basis, but the point is that NOBODY thinks about the NRA as anything but a gun rights organization. Likewise, NOBODY thinks of Planned Parenthood as anything other than a group dedicated to providing reproductive health care and protecting abortion rights.

For some reason, this press release also makes sure to point out that Democrats Jason Crow, Brittany Pettersen, and Yadira Caraveo also have the backing of Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Why Colorado Republicans are helping to spread the word on this is not a question we can adequately answer.

It’s amusing that the Colorado GOP thinks this too clever by half “defund the police” spin is going to work on anyone who isn’t named Dan Caplis. If Republicans don’t want to talk about the fact that a pro-choice organization is backing Democratic candidates, they’d have been better off just not mentioning it altogether.

KBB Fails Again: Last Thing Republicans Need Is “Party Unity”

“Unity”–election denier attorney Randy Corporon with Heidi Ganahl, Pam Anderson, Joe O’Dea.

As Colorado Newsline’s Sara Wilson reports, yesterday most of the upper slate of Colorado Republican candidates up for election this November came together for a rally to showcase their united front going into the 2022 midterm elections–a redux of the original much-maligned “Commitment to Colorado” rally one year ago organized by Colorado Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown at a Denver gas station.

From “KBB’s” point of view as party chair, this “unity rally” was useful, even necessary. But for several Republican candidates whose best shot at winning in blue-ish Colorado is differentiating themselves from the party’s tarnished brand, it was a major strategic mistake:

Republicans were marking one year since they unveiled their “Commitment to Colorado” legislative package of over 40 bills they said prioritized affordability, safety and expanded educational choice. Five of those bills passed the Legislature…

Mostly, however, the press conference was an opportunity for Republican candidates to offer their stump speeches and present a unified front that toes the party line, following a bumpy summer that saw failed Republican candidates push false claims of primary election fraud. [Pols emphasis]

“I’m proud to stand up and support every candidate here today as the professionals, entrepreneurs and problem solvers that will bring their background and experience to the table to address the most challenging issues that Colorado faces today,” secretary of state candidate Pam Anderson said…

Heidi Ganahl, Lang Sias, Pam Anderson at a recent campaign event.

Less than two weeks ago, GOP Colorado Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson released a statement condemning Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor after the selection of election denier Danny Moore as Ganahl’s running mate. There was no reason to doubt Anderson until yesterday, when she took the stage with Ganahl and local election denialist attorney Randy Corporon (image top right) to “support every candidate here today.” How can Anderson possibly explain this contradiction?

Answer: she can’t. Pam Anderson has simply decided that her values are not worth making waves on the Republican ticket. If Anderson wanted to convince wary Colorado voters that the (R) after her name does not mean she will accommodate future Republican attempts to overturn elections they don’t win, she needed to stay far away from this whole crowd–especially now that Ganahl’s campaign is tainted by persistent election denial. For Pam Anderson, “unity” with the rest of the Republican ticket wrecks her entire message.

Anderson wasn’t the only candidate on stage yesterday with little to gain and lots to lose from Colorado Republican “party unity”–Joe O’Dea, who is trying mightily to project a Cory Gardner-style “different kind of Republican” image of his own, is the owner of the Mile High Station events venue where yesterday’s event was located:

U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea used his time to criticize the major climate, health and tax bill Democrats in the Senate passed over the weekend. He called the legislation, which Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote for, a tax that “goes against everything we believe here in Colorado.” He did not mention the climate change and clean energy provisions in the bill.

After hiding for months behind the obstruction of Pretendocratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the recent outbreak of progress in Washington, D.C. has put Joe O’Dea in the unwelcome position of being forced to trash-talk overwhelmingly popular legislation. Joe O’Dea’s flight from hot-button Republican issues like abortion and marriage equality gives him little to work with in terms of differentiating himself from his moderate incumbent opponent, but the remaining option of disparaging legislation supported by 73% of the public and even 52% of Republicans is not great either.

In both of these cases, we’re talking about completely self-inflicted embarrassment. For candidates triangulating off their own party’s brand like O’Dea and Anderson, a “party unity” rally is almost perfectly counterproductive. It’s true that the chair of the party is going to be naturally reluctant to accept this reality.

That’s why candidates need to think for themselves.

Too late this election, better luck next time.

Tom Tancredo Endorsement is the Kiss of Death

Tom Tancredo

Republican Erik Aadland announced this week that his campaign for CO-07 has received the endorsement of former Congressman and Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo. This is not much of a surprise given that Tancredo endorsed Aadland for U.S. Senate back in September 2021 (Aadland dropped out of that race to run for CO-07 in December 2021).

Tancredo’s endorsement is a bad sign for Aadland, who is running against Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen for the seat being vacated by the retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter. We compiled a list of Tancredo endorsements in notable races over the years, and the numbers speak for themselves; of the 22 candidates Tancredo has endorsed going back to 2006, only three went on to win a General Election.

Should Aadland lose in November and Libertarian Brian Peotter fail to win a U.S. Senate seat — which seems pretty likely — this will move Tancredo’s winning percentage on endorsements to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12%.

We can’t say for sure that the list below is a comprehensive look at all of Tancredo’s endorsements over the years; we did the best we could without wasting the better part of an entire day searching for more. The point is the same regardless: Tancredo’s support is a pretty solid way of predicting how a candidate will fare in November.

Which is to say, not good at all.

Click below to see the details…


Congressional Candidate Aadland Endorsed by QAnon, Anti-Immigration Figures

(The Tancredo kiss of death: how many candidates has Tanc doomed? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tilt your head to the right and squint to see the “Q” in Aadland’s logo.

By Heidi Beedle, Colorado Times Recorder

Erik Aadland recently announced endorsements from far-right thought leaders Paul Vallely and Tom Tancredo.

Last month, The Colorado Times Recorder reported on Aadland’s connection to far-right and QAnon social media accounts, and his recent endorsements from Tancredo, a former congressman and contributor to white nationalist publication VDARE, and Vallely, who was described by Media Matters as an “unhinged right-wing conspiracy theorist,” are another sign of Aadland’s connection to fringe, extremist politics.

“I am inspired and enthused by Major General (Ret.) Vallely’s endorsement,” said Aadland, a Republican, in a campaign announcement. “It’s an honor to earn the trust of a leader and thinker of his caliber. I share MG Vallely’s concern about the severe issues facing our economy, public safety, energy, and educational systems, and I intend to fight for all Coloradans to resolve these crises. I appreciate the leadership that MG Vallely and his generation gave us during their time. I will continue that tradition by ably representing the 7th district in Washington.”

Vallely, who graduated from West Point in 1961, retired from the U.S. Army in 1991 and has worked as an analyst for Fox News. Alongside Mike Flynn, Phil Waldron, Seth Keshel, and others, Vallely is part of a group of former military intelligence officers who have cast doubt on the 2020 election and endorsed QAnon conspiracy theories. Vallely has also endorsed Colorado gubernatorial candidate Danielle Neuschwanger, who first ran as a Republican but became the nominee of the American Constitution Party.

“QAnon is information that comes out of a group called ‘The Army of Northern Virginia,’” said Vallely during a 2019 appearance on the Americanuck Radio podcast. “This is a group of military intelligence specialists, of over 800 people that advises the president. The president does not have a lot of confidence in the CIA or the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) much anymore. So the President relies on real operators, who are mostly Special Operations type of people. This is where ‘Q’ picks up some of his information.”

Vallely’s statement about “The Army of Northern Virginia” is a reference to the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Support Activity, which was given the nickname, popular in military special operations circles, by the late 80s. Flynn has benefited from the QAnon movement, but also said that Q is “total nonsense” created by the CIA. Others have suggested that failed Arizona congressional candidate Ron Watkins could be behind the mysterious posts that spawned the conspiracy-motivated movement.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 28)

Enjoy the rain and the lower temperatures today. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


How about that John Hickenlooper? The freshman Senator from Denver may have saved major legislation dealing with Climate Change and the economy with his persistence. 

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver)

First, The Washington Post reports on the big deal:

Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday reached a deal with Democratic leaders on a spending package that aims to lower health-care costs, combat climate change and reduce the federal deficit, marking a massive potential breakthrough for President Biden’s long-stalled economic agenda.

The new agreement, brokered between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), opens the door for party lawmakers to try to advance the measure next week. It caps off months of fierce debate, delay and acrimony, a level of infighting that some Democrats saw as detrimental to their political fate ahead of this fall’s critical elections.

Under the deal, Schumer secured Manchin’s support for roughly $433 billion in new spending, most of which is focused on climate change and clean energy production. It is the largest such investment in U.S. history, and a marked departure from Manchin’s position only days earlier. The Democrats coupled the spending with provisions that aim to lower health-care costs for Americans, chiefly by allowing Medicare to begin negotiating the price of select prescription drugs on behalf of seniors.

It appears that Sen. Hickenlooper’s refusal to allow negotiations to dissolve played a significant role in allowing a deal to be forged. As The New York Times explains:

Several Democrats and climate activists credited Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado with keeping the lines of communication to Mr. Manchin open.

“When a lot of people said ‘That’s the end’ and everyone’s writing it off, I went to everybody I knew and said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t quit,” said Mr. Hickenlooper, a onetime geologist for an oil and gas company. “We don’t have a satisfactory alternative.”

Many were wary about continuing negotiations because “they didn’t want to have their heart broken again,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. But, he said, Mr. Manchin insisted that he was still open to a deal.

Via The New York Times (7/28/22)


For more perspective on how Hickenlooper kept this deal afloat, check out this story from POLITICO last week:

It’s a pretty perennial problem. A group of lawmakers — sometimes leadership, sometimes rank-and-file — demand the cancellation of some or all of the Senate’s month-long August recess. This time, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) floated the possibility to potentially still work out a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on climate change and energy provisions.

As POLITICO skeptically concluded:

We’re going to keep an eye on the Hickenlooper-Manchin dynamic. Both are former Democratic governors in big energy-producing states.

In keeping this discussion alive, Hickenlooper may have also given a big boost to fellow Sen. Michael Bennet; the deal with Manchin severely undercuts a message that Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea had been pushing hard for the last few weeks.


Colorado Congresspeople Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Ken Buck were two of just 20 Republicans to vote NO on legislation called the “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act.” The bill is a reauthorization of funding for programs that include shelters, mental health care, education and job training for victims of human trafficking.


As The Associated Press reports, the economy is not great:

The U.S. economy shrank from April through June for a second straight quarter, contracting at a 0.9% annual pace and raising fears that the nation may be approaching a recession.


Don’t miss this week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring a great interview with State Treasurer Dave Young that includes a discussion about all the weird things found inside the unclaimed property vault:


Click below to keep learning things…



Gun Violence is Clear Delineator in Key Congressional Races

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen

With apologies to Democrats still hoping that Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert could be ousted in November, the math suggests that there are really only two competitive races among Colorado’s eight congressional districts in 2022: For the “open” seats in CO-07 and CO-08. In each district, the issue of gun violence prevention clearly separates the Democratic candidates from their Republican opponents.

In CO-07, Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen is running to succeed retiring Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter. The Republican challengers is Erik Aadland, who emerged from a three-way GOP Primary in June. Elsewhere, Colorado has a new congressional seat in CO-08, where Democratic State Rep. Yadira Caraveo will face Republican State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer.

As The American Independent reports, voters who are interested in meaningful solutions to the gun violence pandemic in America really only have one option in each respective race:

The Democratic nominees in Colorado’s 7th and 8th Congressional Districts helped pass the state’s red flag law. The GOP’s nominees oppose any and all gun safety measures.

State Rep. Yadira Caraveo

Pettersen was a lead Senate sponsor of Colorado’s extreme risk protection order law, commonly known as a “red flag law,” which allows courts to temporarily disarm people deemed a significant danger to themselves or others. Caraveo was a co-sponsor of that legislation, which was enacted in 2019.

As the Independent explains:

Since it went into effect in 2020, the red flag law has proven effective: More than 250 gun seizure orders have been filed in Colorado during its first two years, according to state data.

“Even sheriffs who said that they would not actually utilize the red flag law have started to,” Pettersen said. “People who were very outspoken on it are now supporters.”

Both Pettersen and Caraveo support the idea of “red flag” legislation on a federal level. Following the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in May that killed 21 people — including 19 children — Congress passed a modest gun violence prevention package that was signed into law by President Biden. That legislation included funding for states to help implement “red flag” laws enacted on a local level.

Barbara Kirkmeyer and Erik Aadland

Kirkmeyer’s campaign did not respond to the Independent for this story, but her views on open access to firearms are well-documented. Kirkmeyer regularly talks about her efforts as a Weld County Commissioner to create a “Second Amendment Sanctuary” in defiance of any state or federal gun restrictions. In March, she even released a campaign ad showing her firing away at a shooting range.

Aadland doesn’t have Kirkmeyer’s gun-loving background as an elected official, but he is equally fond of firearms and refuses to entertain even the idea of limiting access to guns. From the Independent:

In an emailed statement, Pettersen opponent Aadland told the American Independent Foundation that while he is “deeply concerned about gun violence in America,” he believes, “Red Flag Laws directly contradict the US Constitution, grossly inflate government power and may become a political weapon used against those in the government’s crosshairs.” Instead, he urged action to address mental health and improve school security. 

In June, in comments posted on YouTube by an account called Republican Accountability, Aadland said he would have opposed the bipartisan compromise bill: “Taking away guns doesn’t work, and it’s a very slippery slope.” [Pols emphasis]

Aadland instead talks about mental health and “taking God out of schools” as the main causes of gun violence in America. His campaign website includes patently false statements such as this: “The facts speak for themselves–firearm ownership is proven to deter crime.”

Naturally, Aadland’s website doesn’t link to any source for these “facts,” so we’ll do it for him. From Scientific American, published on May 26, 2022:

The science is abundantly clear: More guns do not stop crime. [Pols emphasis] Guns kill more children each year than auto accidents. More children die by gunfire in a year than on-duty police officers and active military members. Guns are a public health crisis, just like COVID, and in this, we are failing our children, over and over again.

For voters in CO-07 or CO-08 who consider gun violence to be a significant issue in the 2022 election, there is no real choice among the candidates on their respective ballots. Democrats Brittany Pettersen and Yadira Caraveo support legitimate efforts to reduce gun violence, and they have the records to prove as much. Republicans Erik Aadland and Barbara Kirkmeyer will do nothing to reduce access to firearms — even for people deemed a danger to others.

In some political races, it can be difficult to tell the difference between the candidates on a particular policy issue. But not here.

Aadland Follows QAnon Backers, Proud Boys, and More on Far-Right Social Media

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)


Erik Maulbetsch is a co-author of the post.

Colorado congressional candidate Erik Aadland follows multiple white nationalist, election conspiracy, and QAnon groups on the far-right social-media platform Parler.

Aadland follows the well-known Parler site of the Proud Boys, whose leaders face “seditious conspiracy” charges for their involvement in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Several members of the group have been arrested for their alleged roles in organizing the insurrection.

Among the 104 accounts Aadland follows on Parler, at least a dozen promote QAnon, the multi-pronged conspiracy theory about, among other topics, Democrats being Satanic pedophiles and “deep state” government workers plotting against Trump. In 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, declared QAnon to be a domestic terror threat.

Aadland’s account hasn’t posted its own comments or other content on Parler. The account bears Aadland’s name, identifies him as “WinterLion,” and describes him as “Patriot. Combat Veteran. Truth is my religion.”

The QAnon accounts followed by Aadland include the user “WWG1WGA” who has the handle @KAGDonaldTrump and has over 15,000 followers; QAnon promoter X22 Report, with nearly a quarter million followers; and Joe M, with the handle @StormIsUponUS, 364,000 followers. Aadland also follows Ghost Ezra, a QAnon account best known for its rabidly antisemitic posts on Telegram, another far right platform, but that nevertheless has over 22,000 followers on Parler.

Aadland, who’s said the 2020 presidential election was “absolutely rigged” and has likened Jan. 6 insurrectionists to “political prisoners,” also follows multiple Parler accounts of election conspiracists, including Rudy Giuliani, General Michael Flynn, Dinesh D’Souza, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Team Trump, Mike Lindell, Devin Nunes, Jenna Ellis, and more.

Screenshot of the list of accounts Erik Aadland follows on Parler


Trump Smash! 2024 Campaign is Bad News for Colorado GOP

UPDATE: As The Intelligencer at New York Magazine reports, Trump has already decided to run for President in 2024. The only question left is when he announces his intentions:

“Do I go before or after? That will be my big decision,” he said.

He was thinking aloud now. “I just think that there are certain assets to before,” he said. “Let people know. I think a lot of people would not even run if I did that because, if you look at the polls, they don’t even register. Most of these people. And I think that you would actually have a backlash against them if they ran. People want me to run.”


That guy

As The Washington Post reports, former President Donald Trump is eager to officially kick off his 2024 campaign for the White House…regardless of how such an announcement might impact the 2022 election:

For nearly a year, a kitchen cabinet of Donald Trump confidants have told the former president not to announce his 2024 comeback candidacy before the midterms, arguing that he could be a drag on 2022 candidates and would be blamed if Republicans underperformed.

But Trump has continued to regularly push for an early announcement in private meetings, as potential 2024 rivals become more aggressive amid signs of weakening support among his base. Now an increasing number of allies are urging him to follow his instincts as a way to shore up his standing in the party and drive turnout to help the GOP take over the House and Senate next year.

The former president is now eyeing a September announcement, according to two Trump advisers, who like some others interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations. One confidant put the odds at “70-30 he announces before the midterms.” And others said he may still decide to announce sooner than September. [Pols emphasis]

Republicans across the country are still very nervous about the prospect of a looming campaign announcement from Trump, and for good reason. President Biden’s approval ratings are historically low…but he still polls higher than Trump, who generates a 60% disapproval rating (including an astounding 46% who rate Trump as VERY unfavorable).

According to a recent poll from POLITICO/Morning Consult, 48% of American voters do NOT want Trump to seek the Presidency in 2024. But here’s the problem for the GOP, as The Hill newspaper explains:

Despite a 56 percent unfavorable rating among voters, Trump still wins by a long shot in a question about who an individual would vote for in the 2024 Republican presidential primary if it were held today. [Pols emphasis] The poll found 52 percent said they would vote for Trump, while Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second at only 21 percent.


Should Trump formally announce his campaign in the coming months, it would create a new pressing question for top Republican candidates in Colorado on a topic that none of them want to be talking about. For example:

♦ Republican Senate nominee Joe O’Dea has repeatedly praised Trump on talk radio, candidate forums, and media interviews. Just last month, O’Dea told CBS4Denver and The Colorado Sun that he would support Trump in 2024 if Trump is the Republican nominee. O’Dea also campaigned on his Trump ties ahead of the June 28th Primary Election:

Text message sent by Joe O’Dea’s campaign before the June 28th Primary Election.

♦ Republican gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl still can’t even provide a straight answer on whether or not the 2020 election was fraudulent. Ganahl endorsed Trump’s re-election campaign in 2020 and has said publicly that she would accept Trump’s endorsement in her own campaign. Ganahl is also currently being advised by several former Trump staffers, including Boris Epshteyn and Brad Parscale.


♦ Both Republican nominees in Colorado’s most competitive congressional races are also Trump supporters. Erik Aadland (CO-07) flat-out says that the 2020 Presidential election was a fraud and would have a hard time dodging questions about a 2024 Trump campaign. Ditto for “Secession” Barb Kirkmeyer (CO-08), who has bragged about campaigning for Trump in 2016.


Let’s not forget perhaps the most important statistic in this discussion: In 2020, Trump lost to Biden in Colorado by nearly 14 points. There’s no mystery as to whether or not Trump appeals to moderate voters in Colorado. He does not.

If and when Trump announces his 2024 campaign for President, Colorado Republican candidates will immediately start fielding questions about whether or not they support the man who was quite clearly plotting a coup just 18 months ago. That’s not a corner any candidate wants to be backed into in the final months of the election.