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…

THE SPEECH

 

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.

 

(more…)

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.

 

Governor

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!

 

 

D’oh!

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…

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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.

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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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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…

 

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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)

Aadland

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

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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.

D’oh!

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.

You’re Not Making Sense, NRCC

Wut?

Republicans are waiting to find out who will be their nominee in CO-07, as Tim “Demon Guy” Reichert, Erik Aadland, and Laurel Imer finish out a long Primary campaign tonight.

In the meantime, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is sending out nonsense statements to media outlets alleging that Democrat Brittany Pettersen is fully aware that she will need to run a political campaign until the General Election on November 8.

We get a lot of press releases here at Colorado Pols. Some of them are less effective than others.

This one is dumber than most:

What, exactly, is the point of reminding reporters that CO-07 is considered a “Likely D” seat? Hey, just wanted to let you know that we probably won’t win this seat no matter who gets nominated tonight!

And what is the “quiet part” that Pettersen said “out loud”? That she is encouraging supporters to get involved in her race?

This is just another reminder that if you don’t have anything to say…then just don’t say anything.

 

Polster Primary Predictions

Over the years at Colorado Pols we’ve frequently run totally non-scientific polls (like this one) asking readers to tell us who they think will be the victor in a particular race. We do this to get a sense of how perceptions might be shifting in a particular race, but we’ve also found that Polsters have been remarkably accurate at predicting outcomes in past elections. Today we’re gathering up all the various polling results from the last 6-8 weeks for the definitive guide to the future (one that begins at 7:00 pm tonight).

We’ll get into the details below, but first, here’s the slate of candidates that readers of Colorado Pols predict will be successful tonight in key Republican Primary races:

♦ U.S. Senate: Ron Hanks
♦ Governor: Greg Lopez
♦ Sec. of State: Tina Peters
♦ CO-03: Lauren Boebert
♦ CO-05: Doug Lamborn
♦ CO-07: (We forgot to poll on this race)
♦ CO-08: Lori Saine

 

U.S. SENATE

In the race for the Republican Senate nomination, Polsters have never wavered over the course of three polls (1, 2, 3) in picking Ron Hanks over Joe O’Dea:

GOVERNOR

Over the course of three polls (1, 2, 3), our readers shifted from favoring Hiedi Heidi Ganahl to betting on Greg Lopez:

SECRETARY OF STATE

We only polled once on this race, but Polsters were overwhelmingly confident that Tina Peters would defeat Pam Anderson and Mike O’Donnell:

 

CO-03

Polsters didn’t vary much in their predictions over the course of two polls (1, 2), giving the edge to Lauren Boebert over Don Coram:

 

CO-05

We polled just once in this race, with Doug Lamborn the clear favorite over Dave Williams:

 

CO-08

Over the course of two polls (1, 2) our readers stuck with Lori Saine over Barbara Kirkmeyer, with Jan Kulmann and Tyler Allcorn trailing far behind:

 

Will readers of Colorado Pols be correct in their Primary predictions? We’ll find out tonight!

What Does Voter Turnout Tell Us About November? Not Much

Voter turnout numbers in Colorado resemble 2018 more than 2020.

Political pundits often attempt to connect voter turnout numbers in a Primary Election as some sort of harbinger of things to come in a General Election. Most of the time there is little correlation between the two elections, and that is particularly true in 2022.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office released ballot return numbers on Friday indicating that Republican ballots are being returned in larger numbers than Democratic ballots. Should this trend continue through Tuesday evening, we’d expect some in the GOP to attempt to spin a narrative that Colorado Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting in 2022 than Democrats. There are two very significant problems with this story, however:

First off, the 2022 Primary Election in Colorado is very different than in years past. Republicans have contested races in three of the five major statewide races (U.S. Senate, Governor, Secretary of State) and in four Congressional districts (CO-03, CO-05, CO-07, and CO-08). Democrats, meanwhile, have NO contested statewide races and a competitive Primary in only one Congressional district (CO-03). For many Democratic voters, there are no races on their ballots for which a choice is even available. There’s little incentive for Democrats to even bother submitting ballots when there is nothing to be decided.

The second issue that is skewing ballot return numbers involves Unaffiliated voters. As Colorado Newsline explains:

This year’s preliminary ballot-return data shows that unaffiliated voters are largely responsible for the GOP’s turnout edge so far. Nearly 30% of the Republican primary ballots returned as of June 24 were cast by voters not affiliated with any party — double the number reported at the same point prior to the state’s previous midterm primary election in 2018. [Pols emphasis] Colorado law allows the state’s 1.7 million unaffiliated voters — a larger group than either its 1.1 million active registered Democrats or its 956,904 registered Republicans — to vote in either party’s primary election in a given year, but not both.

In other words, more voters are casting Republican ballots in the Primary Election — but that’s not an indication that Republican voters are more enthusiastic about participating in this year’s elections.

Primary Election turnout is generally not all that indicative of what might happen in November anyway, but this is particularly true in 2022. To borrow a quote often attributed to Sigmund Freud, “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

The GMS Podcast: Predicting the Primary Election

This week in episode 112 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii make their final prognostications in advance of the June 28th Primary Election with the help of Armin Thomas of Split-Ticket.org.

We’ll also discuss calls from The Denver Post to shutter the Benson Center for Western Civilization Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado…thanks to its association with coup plotter John Eastman. And Eastman pal/gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl goes on TV with her first advertisement just eight days before Election Day.

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 |

Will Republican Voters Split the Primary Ticket? Probably Not

CO-08 candidates clockwise from top left: Saine, Kirkmeyer, Kulmann, Allcorn

Ballots for the June 28th Primary Election are already being returned after being mailed out to voters early last week. Most of the action this month is on the Republican side, where there are an exceptional number of GOP battles that need deciding. In fact, we can’t recall a recent time when Colorado saw this many competitive Primary races for high-profile offices in the same election cycle.

We’ve heard persistent rumors recently that the race for the Republican nomination in CO-08 is essentially now a two-candidate battle between Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine and State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer. Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann continues to generate little interest, and not a lot of people have ever heard of a “Tyler Allcorn.”

Much of the discussion in GOP circles still centers around the “Big Lie” — the idea that the 2020 Presidential election was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump. As we’ve written many times in this space, years of Republican support for the “Big Lie” is a big problem for the Colorado GOP. And while the “Big Lie” is rapidly falling apart amid the Congressional hearings investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, it’s unlikely that these discussions will change a lot of minds before most of the votes are cast in the June Primary Election.

Rumors about a Saine/Kirkmeyer showdown in CO-08 got us thinking about what sort of crossover impact might or might not happen in other top GOP battles. In short, our question is this: To what degree might Republican voters split their ticket between “Big Lie” adherents and those who dance around the topic?

 

For example, if a voter supports Saine in CO-08, should we assume that they are also going to back Ron Hanks for U.S. Senate, Greg Lopez for Governor, and Tina Peters for Secretary of State? The question works no matter which order you list the candidates; if you like what Peters is selling, is it safe to assume that you are also backing Hanks and Lopez? This is definitely a bet we’d be comfortable making.

Sure, there are going to be exceptions to this (or any) rule of thumb, but in general it makes logical sense that “Big Lie” believers are going to back the “Big Lie” candidates.

What happens with the Republican candidates who dance around the “Big Lie”? This group, which we call the “Big Lie Fence Sitters,” don’t explicitly say that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump but spend a lot of time talking about non-existent voter fraud and questioning the security of our elections in broad terms. A voter who leans toward believing the “Big Lie” could potentially talk themselves into backing a “Big Lie True Believer” in one race and one of these candidates on the next line.

Then there are the Republicans whom we call “Big Lie Non Believers.” Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, Secretary of State hopeful Pam Anderson, and CO-08 challenger Jan Kulmann have been (relatively) clear that they don’t believe the 2020 election was fraudulent. All three of these candidates also flirt with the idea that our elections need greater security or transparency, but overall they stay away from suggesting that Democrat Joe Biden is not the “legitimate” President of the United States.

Again, there will be exceptions, but it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for someone who likes Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters to also back O’Dea (as one example).

This brings us back to the rumors in CO-08 that the Primary outcome will come down to Saine or Kirkmeyer. If the race does shake out this way, this is almost certainly bad news for the likes of O’Dea and former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson. If something similar is happening in CO-07 as well, then O’Dea, Anderson, and Ganahl are all in serious trouble.

Perhaps Republican Primary voters in Colorado will decide in large numbers to dismiss the “Big Lie” and vote in a different direction, though that would be at odds with everything the Colorado GOP has been advocating since November 2020. No Republican candidate has long enough coattails for others to ride out this storm.

Colorado Republicans Charge Into Abortion Buzzsaw

Tim Reichert (R).

National political debate during the month of May has been dominated by the leak early this month of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that would, if adopted, overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions guaranteeing abortion rights to all Americans. The overturn of Roe would result in the immediate criminalization of abortion in over 20 states, and restrictions on abortion being aggressively passed by conservative state legislatures elsewhere are already causing a surge in patients coming to Colorado for care.

In Colorado, which has been a stronghold for abortion rights since before Roe, Republicans have historically paid dearly at the ballot for the obsession among part of their coalition for attacking abortion rights. In years where abortion ban ballot measures have appeared on the state ballot they have gone down in flames, and are generally considered to have done collateral damage to Republican candidates. The political cognitive dissonance with respect to abortion rights peaked in 2014 when Cory Gardner narrowly won despite a toxic anti-abortion record that Gardner succeeded in downplaying.

And then Cory Gardner helped appoint three conservative Supreme Court Justices in Donald Trump’s four years, flipping the court to its current configuration and proving the worst fears of Gardner’s 2014 opponents. In 2022, with that experience seared into the memory of a generation of Colorado Democrats, Gardner’s much-analyzed “Jedi Mind Trick” on abortion in 2014 would impossible to pull off today.

Especially, as the Daily Beast’s Sam Brodey reports in a fascinating look at the re-energized anti-abortion right, with so many Republicans in Colorado and across the nation throwing caution to the wind and gleefully embracing the coming new reality most Americans are dreading:

Although Republicans had been working toward this moment for decades, many of them didn’t want to talk about it. Tim Recihert wasn’t one of them.

Reichert, a leading candidate in Colorado’s 7th District, didn’t just want to talk about abortion on May 9; he wanted to publicly push back on GOP campaign brass for trying to change the subject…

During the debate in the small mountain town of Bailey, he argued this moment presents an “incredible opportunity” for the GOP to explain why their anti-abortion position makes it the “natural home” for women and for “the marginalized, the poor, and the smallest among us.”

Illustration of Baal (Bael) from Dictionnaire Infernal.

Republican CD-7 candidate Tim Reichert is a prime example of an ideologue who doesn’t want to hear from strategists and consultants who argue that while anti-abortion politics play fine with Republican primary voters, the issue becomes a massive liability for Republicans who actually want to win over a majority of general election voters in November. The prospect of Republicans actually achieving their long-sought goal of overturning Roe has infused the anti-abortion wing of the party with momentum completely heedless to the advice of smart politicos.

“Every abortion feeds the demonic and thereby contributes directly to the demise of the church, the demise of America and the demise of the West,” Reichert said. “Every single abortion is not just a tragic loss with two victims… It is much more than that—it’s fuel. Fuel for the demonic, because it is the sacrifice of a child at the altar of Baal.”

And as we’ve covered in depth, Tim Reichert doesn’t screw around with his beliefs.

“Its no secret that Tim is pro-life as it’s part of his Catholic faith and lived experience. He’s been very transparent about his position,” said campaign spokesperson Audrey Hudson. “This election is about economics and inflation that is crushing the middle class.”

Hudson argued that “the only people who are talking about abortion as a campaign issue” are Reichert’s Democratic rivals…

The problem is that Reichert himself, the leading Republican candidates in Colorado’s new CD-8, and Republicans up and down the ballot, have all made a liar of this spokesperson. CD-8 candidates are tripping over each other to prove to primary voters in that tightly competitive district they are the most anti-abortion candidate. Both Republican candidates in Colorado’s Republican primary for governor have vowed to roll back the state’s new law codifying abortion rights. In the U.S. Senate primary, fallback establishment pick Joe O’Dea has likewise condemned Colorado’s new abortion statute, and promised to appoint conservative federal judges if elected. If O’Dea survives the June 28th primary he’s widely expected to attempt a pivot on the issue, but he’s already given abortion rights supporters plenty of justification to not give him the benefit of the doubt Cory Gardner received.

The repeal of Roe v. Wade is such a longstanding political objective of the right that it’s silly for them to attempt to downplay it in states where that makes for problematic politics. It was far safer and more politically beneficial to Republicans for Roe’s repeal to remain an unfulfilled goal, because the ensuing backlash against this massive rollback of personal freedom could itself be generationally significant. The throwback social agenda so many moderates and independents thought they could sidestep in order to enjoy tax cuts and deregulation defines the GOP now, and there’s no pretending otherwise.

There will be serious consequences.

Three Losers Predict Next Winner

Eli Bremer, Greg Moore, and Gino Campana (nobody knows what Greg Moore looks like)

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republican Erik Aadland rolled out three new endorsements in his bid to become the GOP nominee for Congress in CO-07:

Three of the Colorado Republicans who unsuccessfully sought this year’s U.S. Senate nomination formally endorsed congressional candidate Erik Aadland on Thursday, calling the West Point graduate the Republicans’ best chance to win the open 7th District seat.

Aadland, who jumped from the U.S. Senate race to the congressional primary in December, announced that former rivals Eli Bremer, Gino Campana and Greg Moore are supporting him ahead of the June 28 primary election. [Pols emphasis]

This story reads like it could be from “The Onion,” but it is nonetheless factually accurate. Three people who couldn’t even make it onto the Primary ballot in the race for U.S. Senate say that Erik Aadland gives Republicans their best chance at winning in CO-07. Because if anyone knows what it takes to win an election, it’s these three guys!

Erik Aadland, thoroughly contemplating.

Naturally, Aadland’s campaign then put all of this in a press release and sent it out to actual reporters.

As you may recall, Aadland started the 2022 election cycle as a candidate for U.S. Senate, a campaign that probably peaked with the endorsement of former Congressman Tom Tancredo last October. Aadland left the Senate race in December to run in CO-07 instead, where he now faces a GOP Primary against Tim “Demon Guy” Reichert and Laurel Imer for the chance to take on Democrat Brittany Pettersen in November.

[SIDE NOTE: Unfortunately for Aadland, Tancredo had already endorsed Imer in CO-07, so he couldn’t keep the Tanc’s endorsement in his new race. Tancredo later endorsed Gino Campana in the U.S. Senate race, because of course he did.]

As Luning writes, Eli Bremer, Gino Campana, and Greg Moore all say they “were impressed with Aadland when they were running against him for the Senate nomination, citing ‘the depths of his intelligence, empathy, and thorough contemplation.'” Reichert and Imer were apparently only capable of moderate contemplation.

The only other question left is this: Should Aadland not win the GOP nomination in C0-07, will the “Three Amigos” enthusiastically endorse Reichert or Imer next?

The GMS Podcast: The One With the Epic Rant on Abortion Rights

This week in episode 107 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii welcome back Christy Powell once more for the latest news on fundraising numbers for statewide races and one unforgettable diatribe about abortion rights (seriously, it could be its own episode — jump to the 22:45 mark).

But first, Jason and Ian consider the political implications in Colorado of the demise of Roe v. Wade and make sure to update you on where Republican candidates for federal office stand on the issue. We also dive into the big news in the race for Governor and listen to Republican candidate Greg Lopez talk himself into oblivion in an interview with 9News.

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

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

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