Reams Jumps Off the Stage To Stop Saine From Joining GOP Debate

(Lori Saine wins the debate in 0.5 seconds — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reams jumps to stop Saine.

Republican Steve Reams, the master of ceremonies at a GOP debate yesterday, leaped off the stage to cut off congressional candidate Lori Saine as she rushed to join the debate.

“I’m Lori Saine, and I accepted the invitation,” announced Saine as she approached her opponents on stage.

But Reams hit the floor and chased Saine to the aisle where she joined the ticket-holding onlookers.

The confrontation occurred after event organizers barred Saine from the debate because, they say, she missed the deadline to RSVP.

Saine says she asked to be included later, and it’s a bad “look” for Republicans to exclude a fellow Republican.

The sideshow got surprisingly little reaction from the audience, despite Reams’ jump from the stage and the pre-debate hullabaloo over whether Republicans should have allowed Saine to join the debate.

But Saine’s brush with civil disobedience was easy to miss. It was over in a blip, and Saine could barely be seen — much less heard — as she was nabbed by Reams in the cave-like Grizzly Rose event center, where the event, organized by the Republican Women of Weld, took place. Reams may have been leaping off the stage to get a note about the program, for all the audience could tell.

Watch here;

So the debate, featuring Saine’s three opponents for Colorado’s new congressional seat went on, uninterrupted.


Lori Saine Will Not Be Allowed To Participate in GOP Candidate Debate, Say Event Organizers

(Fear and loathing at the Grizzly Rose — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATED: This article initially stated that three Republican candidates running against congressional candidate Lori Saine joined other Republicans in deciding to exclude Saine from a GOP debate tomorrow after Saine failed to respond to emails inviting her to attend according to the Republican Women of Weld (RWW), the organization sponsoring Saturday’s debate — billed as the Colorado Republican Rumble — at the Grizzly Rose in North Denver.

In fact, according to an RWW spokeswoman, “The Republican Women of Weld officers took the vote & it was unanimous. The other candidates were not part of the meeting or vote.”

The confusion stemmed from an email posted on the RWW Facebook page.


“We regret to inform you that after talking with the other CD8 candidates and having a Republican Women of Weld officers meeting last night, it is unanimous NOT to allow Lori Saine to participate in our event,” wrote Republican Women of Weld President Gillian K. Smith in an email allegedly sent to Saine May 17 and posted on the RWW Facebook page.

The unanimous vote was taken by RWW officers, not the CD8 candidates.

The email on the RWW Facebook page states there was an April 5 deadline to confirm participation in the event, and all other candidates responded in time.

Saine claims she never saw the invitation emails from the Republican Women of Weld.

Judging from the email, it appears that event organizers didn’t try to reach Saine by phone, possibly due to previous frustrations they claim to have experienced in attempting to reach her by phone for a March event.

On the Chuck and Julie Show on May 19, Saine said she almost “fell off her chair” when she heard that she wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the debate.

“I received an email saying that the other three CD8 candidates voted to not let me debate them on Saturday. That’s not a good look,” Saine told hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden. “That’s the real story. That’s an email I received yesterday, and I almost fell out of my chair. I’m like, ‘You sent this to a congressional campaign.’

“I’m concerned about the look of this,” said Saine on the podcast. “Candidates being allowed to vote someone off the island.”


Who’s Afraid of Lori Saine? Fellow Republicans, That’s Who

We’re monitoring an intraparty spat that exploded into public view today between the Republican candidates running in the primary to compete in November for Colorado’s new CD-8 and their supporters, some of whom are set to meet tomorrow at Denver’s Grizzly Rose for debates featuring most of the big 2022 races called the “Republican Rumble.”

As you can see, all of the candidates for the principal contests this year are represented with what appears to be the sole exception of Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine running in CD-8. From what we can reconstruct externally, it appears that Saine did belatedly request to be included in the CD-8 debate, and her request to be included was supported by Saine’s opponent Jan Kulmann.

And that’s where it gets interesting:

This is one of the “moderators” of event’s debates, longtime local GOP minor celebrity Kelly Maher, irate beyond any rational explanation over the idea that Lori Saine should be allowed to take the stage with the other CD-8 candidates. Anytime a public figure’s over-the-top outrage boils down to “they didn’t RSVP on time,” you can be pretty confident there’s an ulterior motive at work. Kulmann, at least in this moment, is sticking to the high road:

So what’s really going on here? First and foremost, the local GOP establishment is broadcasting their fear of Lori Saine and preference for Barbara Kirkmeyer, who is by far the most establishment-connected of the three candidates. Saine’s fiery conservative rhetoric and inside knowledge of Kirkmeyer’s negatives sharing Weld County home turf pose a major threat, and the best we can figure is that Kulmann’s campaign advisor and wannabe Republican kingmaker Josh Penry sees value in Saine tearing into Kirkmeyer while Kulmann skates above the fray.

Though not without a parting shot from Kulmann’s spox:

No matter what happens at tomorrow’s “Republican Rumble,” Lori Saine has already succeeded in making the event all about her whether she’s allowed to take the stage or not. It wouldn’t surprise us if Saine deliberately kept the organizers of this event waiting for her RSVP in order to precipitate this last-minute drama over including her. Insiders may seethe, but that’s also what’s known as good politics.

As for Jan Kulmann, we’d be very careful about trying to use Lori Saine as either ally or leverage. We understand the theory, but the risk is that Saine takes sufficient advantage of Kulmann’s “sympathy” to actually win the primary. Ask yourself the honest question: who speaks for the Republican base today? The answer is clearly Lori Saine.

In today’s GOP, establishment howling only reinforces the point.

Rejecting GOP Advice To Be ‘Compassionate,’ Saine Goes on Anti-Abortion Offensive

(Can’t hide it under a bush oh no! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Defying the advice of national Republican leaders that GOP candidates should be “compassionate consensus builders” on abortion, Colorado congressional candidate and Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, a Republican, went on the offensive today in a Facebook ad, accusing her Democratic opponent, State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, of “pro-abortion zealotry,” which Saine calls “murder.”

“It’s time to confront and expose radical pro-abortion Democrats for who they are and defeat them by standing strong for what we believe,” states Saine in her 30-second advertisement.

“I’m calling out my abortionist opponent Yadira Caraveo for her militant pro-abortion zealotry, which includes forcing taxpayers to pay for Partial-Birth Abortions up to and including the moment of birth and forcing Catholic hospitals and physicians and nurses of all faiths to do abortions against their will. That’s not health care. That’s murder. And I’m not afraid to call it out.”

Taxpayer dollars are not used for abortions in Colorado and abortion is not allowed at the moment of birth.

Caraveo, who is a medical doctor, is pro-choice, and recently denounced the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

“As a health care provider, I give the pregnant women and teens that I care for choices about their futures. To live in a world where I have to tell them they have no choices is devastating,” she wrote on Facebook.


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.

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Colorado Republicans on Abortion Rights

If you’re reading these words we will assume that you are already aware that a leaked document indicates that the U.S. Supreme Court is getting ready to overturn Roe v. Wade in what would be a stunning rollback of abortion rights. This news will obviously have an enormous impact on the 2022 election; how each individual candidate approaches the subject will be perhaps more critical than it has ever been for American voters.

With that in mind, we thought it would be instructive to take a look at the positions on abortion taken by the various candidates for major political offices in Colorado. Since we can’t list the positions of every candidate — well, we could, but that would take longer than waiting for Hiedi Heidi Ganahl to answer a question — we’re going to focus on the candidates in competitive races for federal office in Colorado (U.S. Senate and Congress).

But before we do that, here’s a fantastic example from Ganahl herself of how NOT to respond to these questions:

Colorado state lawmakers recently passed legislation called the “Reproductive Health Equity Act” (RHEA), also known as HB22-1279, that essentially protects the rights of Colorado women to choose an abortion without government interference — like if, say, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to overturn Roe v. Wade. Ganahl vehemently opposes this law, but she won’t say if she would sign legislation banning an abortion in Colorado (which pretty much means she would). In short, Ganahl made it clear (again) that she opposes abortion rights but is too politically-terrified to talk about it in public.

Okay, back to the candidates for Congress…

As far as we know, there is no Democrat running in Colorado in 2022 who does NOT support abortion rights, so we’ll skip ahead to note where the relevant Republican candidates are standing on the issue.



Voters don’t have much of an option on the issue of abortion when it comes to Republican candidates Ron Hanks and Joe O’Dea. The only real difference is that Hanks doesn’t even try to dance around on the subject:

You’re not going to get much further to the right than Hanks when it comes to abortion. If there were an “Outlaw Abortion” button, Hanks would have already smashed it to pieces with his enthusiasm. Hanks would support outlawing abortion anywhere, at any time.

Joe O’Dea (R-ando)

O’Dea is less transparent about his opinion on abortion. He says that abortion is an issue that should be left up to the states to decide, which is his way of trying not to answer questions about Roe v. Wade. At the same time, O’Dea opposes the Reproductive Health Equity Act recently passed in Colorado…which protects the right to an abortion AT THE STATE LEVEL.

O’Dea isn’t likely going to clear this up anytime soon, because he doesn’t want to be talking about abortion at all should he win the June Primary Election for the right to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

We aren’t suggesting that Joe O’Dea opposes abortion rights in all cases. But O’Dea isn’t saying anything to the contrary.

If you’re a Republican Primary voter, O’Dea is potentially with you on this issue. In the meantime, he’s following the advice of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which has instructed GOP candidates to yell SQUIRREL! whenever they get a question on abortion or Roe v. Wade.



There are three Republicans running for Congress in CO-07. It’s safe to say that none of them support abortion rights.

Erik Aadland is a big fan of the ridiculous abortion restrictions recently enacted in Texas, so there’s no need to ask him about Roe v. Wade.

Laurel Imer thinks that women should be punished by the law in states that have outlawed abortion.

And Tim Reichert? Well…Tim Reichert thinks an abortion is a sacrifice to a demon named “Baal.” When you’ve reached the point in the abortion debate when you are talking about specific demons by name, you’ve pretty well made your opinion clear.




And finally, we come to the brand spanking new eighth congressional district. Here we have three four Republican candidates with fairly similar positions on abortion rights.

Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine is a staunch supporter of even the “Personhood” idea that a zygote needs a Social Security number. She makes no effort to pretend otherwise.

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann has made it clear that she opposes abortion rights and would work to dismantle them if elected to Congress.

State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer is equally blunt on the subject. Kirkmeyer believes that “life begins at conception” and sponsored an abortion ban in Colorado during the current legislative session.

Oh, and Tyler Allcorn…well, we’re sure he has an opinion.


Anyway, if abortion rights are a key voting issue for you this November, then your answers are pretty clear in all three major federal races in Colorado.

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

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

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

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Federal Fundraising Numbers to Watch: Q1 2022

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

U.S. Senate

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

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

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

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



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

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



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



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

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



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

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

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


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

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

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Inside Jan Kulmann’s Byzantine Management Style

Jan Kulmann will get medieval on your seat.

As the Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports today, a power play earlier this year by Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann–now running for the Republican nomination in Colorado’s brand-new Eighth Congressional District–is continuing to cause lots of controversy in that northern Denver suburb. Kulmann likes to say in campaign forums that she’s a mayor “in her spare time,” but whatever time she does spend appears to be spent on Game of Thrones-style intrigue:

Thornton faces a pair of citizen-initiated lawsuits that have so far cost the city more than $50,000 to fight — a situation that a group of residents blames on what they’ve dubbed the “Bully Bloc of Five” on the City Council.

“The root of the discontent with City Council is their code of conduct and their obnoxious behavior,” said Karin Baker, a nearly 20-year resident who filed suit over the council’s decision in February to oust former Councilwoman Jacque Phillips from her seat. “It’s a clown show.”

The council, by a 5-4 vote, determined that Phillips was no longer a resident of Thornton after she bought a home and took a job in southern Colorado.

Former Thornton City Councilor Jacque Phillips, defending herself in February just before the vote to boot her from the City Council, claimed this was a naked ploy to relieve Mayor Kulmann and the right-wing majority on the Thornton City Council of a fierce critic:

“This is an opportunity for them to work really hard a vacate the seat,” Phillips told FOX31 ahead of the council meeting Tuesday night. “It’s no secret that the relationship with myself and the mayor and the mayor pro tem has not been good.”

Phillips, an attorney, took a job as a director for a program in the San Luis Valley last July. She said she got a place down there because buying property is more affordable than renting.

“I’m also licensed to practice in D.C. I’ve done a lot of work in Aspen as well,” Phillips said. “I know where they are coming from. It has nothing to do with the residency, it’s a power grab. It’s political. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with council members working outside of the City of Thornton.”

In the era of telecommuting there’s certainly nothing unreasonable about people taking jobs in geographically far-flung locations, and there’s an argument that if we were to stop taking officials on their honor with respect to their “primary” residence among more than one they may own a lot of officials on both sides would get caught in that dragnet. What this looks like and the lawsuit alleges is that all Jacque Phillips is guilty of is supplying Kulmann and the “bully bloc” on the Thornton City Council with the thinnest of pretexts to override the vote constituents who elected her.

Looking at Kulmann’s power play on the Thornton City Council in context with what newly-ensconced Republican majorities are doing in Aurora and Douglas County, there’s a common thread of…well, ruthlessness in which the normal way of doing business is only adhered to if it serves the political goals of these power-hungry conservative cabals. Those who don’t cooperate wind up with all kinds of bad things happening to their careers.

Anyway, keep this all in mind next time Jan Kulmann tells you she’s some kind of doe-eyed “outsider.”

She knows enough about dirty politics to play them.

The Republican Party’s Weekend Disaster in 9 Parts

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


(1) Colorado Media Outlets All Saw the Same Thing

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(3) Danielle Neuschwanger Claims Fraud After Losing

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



(5) More Clowns = Better Circus

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

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

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

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

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


(6) The Tina Peters Assembly

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

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

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

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

This weekend Twitter take is…not wrong:


(7) No-mentum for Heidi Ganahl 

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



(8) All The Momentum for Ron Hanks

Just look at this photo, via Colorado Public Radio:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


(9) Ken Buck, Canary in the Coal Mine

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


Hold On to Your Hats, Republicans!

UPDATE #2: This is going well:


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


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

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

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

The Field Is Clear: Huge Break For Yadira Caraveo


State Representative, Pediatrician, and Congressional candidate Yadira Caraveo.

The Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish reports on the big news from the Democratic CD-8 congressional district assembly, where state Rep. Yadira Caraveo appears to have held off challenger Adams County commish Chaz Tedesco, avoiding a primary ahead of what’s set to be one of the nation’s hottest congressional races in the 2022 midterms:

State Rep. Yadira Caraveo secured the Democratic nomination in Colorado’s new 8th Congressional District on Tuesday, avoiding a costly primary and allowing her to build up campaign cash in what is gearing up to be one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races this year.

The Thornton lawmaker defeated Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco with 71% of the delegate votes cast at the 8th District Democratic assembly, which was held virtually. Tedesco secured 29% of the delegate vote, just short of the 30% he needed to make the primary ballot.

“I’m excited to continue building a winning coalition so that I can be a strong advocate for families and neighbors across Adams, Weld and Larimer counties in Congress next year,” Caraveo said in a written statement.

Assuming these results hold up it’s a tremendous coup for Caraveo, providing her with a much longer runway to organize her campaign while Republican opponents spend the next three months attacking one another. Caraveo was always the moral favorite in the Democratic primary, and now she has crucial time and space to up her practical game before plunging into a national marquee congressional race. By a vote of 71-29% with no petitions in reserve to save Tedesco, Caraveo turned her assembly experience into an unexpected best-case scenario.

And that bodes well for her. We’re adjusting our expectations accordingly.

Who’s In, Who’s Out for Congress?

UPDATE: The Colorado Democratic Party confirmed this afternoon that Charles “Chaz” Tedesco failed to meet the 30% threshold for ballot access in CO-08. Yadira Caraveo is thus the Democratic nominee for CO-08 in 2022.

Democrats held most of their congressional assemblies on Tuesday, which means we have a pretty good idea of which candidates are going to be on the Primary ballot in June in the various congressional races in Colorado.

We’re still waiting on announcements regarding petition signatures for a few candidates, as well as the results from a handful of GOP assemblies. Republican congressional assemblies in Districts 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 are on Friday, April 8.


CO-01 (Denver)


😀 Incumbent Rep. Diana DeGette qualified via assembly
😐 Neil Walia is still waiting on petition verification


😮 No Republican candidate has filed to run in this district



CO-02 (North and West Colorado)


😀 Incumbent Rep. Joe Neguse qualified via assembly


😮 No Republican candidate has filed to run in this district



CO-03 (West and Southern Colorado)


 😀 Sol Sandoval qualified via assembly
 😀 Alex Walker qualified via petition
 😀 Adam Frisch qualified via petition
 🙁 State Rep. Don Valdez failed to make threshold at assembly; his campaign is now over.


 😐 Incumbent Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert is going through assembly process
 😐 Maria Zimmerman is going through assembly process
 😐 State Sen. Don Coram is still waiting on petition verification



CO-04 (Eastern Plains)


😀 Ike McCorkle qualified via assembly


😐 Incumbent Rep. Ken Buck is on the ballot via the assembly (but barely)
😐 Bob Lewis is on the ballot after winning the GOP assembly




CO-05 (Colorado Springs)


 😀 David Torres qualified via assembly
 😀 Michael Colombe qualified via assembly


 😀 State Rep. Dave Williams qualified via assembly
 😀 Incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn qualified via petition
 😀 Rebecca Keltie qualified via petition



CO-06 (Aurora-ish)


 😀 Incumbent Rep. Jason Crow qualified via assembly




CO-07 (Jefferson County-ish)


 😀 State Sen. Brittany Pettersen qualified via assembly


 😀 Tim Reichert qualified via petition
 😐 Erik Aadland failed to qualify via petition but took top line at assembly
  😐 Laurel Imer qualified for the Primary ballot via assembly



CO-08 (North Metro-ish)


😀 State Rep. Yadira Caraveo qualified both via petition and assembly
🙁 Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco did not qualify for the ballot via assembly; his campaign is now over


😀 Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine qualified via assembly
😀 State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer qualified via petition
😀 Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann qualified via petition
😀 Tyler Allcorn qualified via petition
🙁 Jewels Gray failed to qualify via assembly; her campaign is over pending petition review


Saine Calls on GOP Opponents To ‘Unite on Team Lori’

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After gaining the support of an overwhelming 72.5% of Republican delegates at a GOP assembly Saturday, giving her the top-line position on the June 28 primary ballot, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine called on her Republican opponents in the race for Colorado’s new congressional seat to “reconsider their campaigns” and “unite on Team Lori so we can crush the Democrats in November.”

“With a massive 72.5% landslide win at today’s Colorado Congressional District 8 Republican Assembly, I’m proud to be the ONLY candidate with GRASSROOTS conservative support,” wrote Saine on Facebook, adding, “It’s time for others in this race to reconsider their candidacies and unite on Team Lori so we can crush the Democrats in November, ROLL BACK SOCIALISM AND FIGHT FOR FREEDOM!”


The problem for Saine is, her top opponents skipped Saturday’s assembly completely and petitioned their way onto the primary ballot, likely because they thought they’d lose to Saine — or another candidate who’s more popular among the Republicans who comprise the activist base of the Colorado Republican Party and attend the assemblies, like the one that took place Saturday.

Tyler Allcorn, a former Green Beret, state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R-Weld), and Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann submitted enough signatures to allow their names to appear on the ballot below Saine’s, without having to face a vote of Republican activists.

Another candidate, Jewels Gray, a businesswoman, got 27.5% of Saturday’s votes, shy of the 30% required to appear on the primary ballot. She also submitted signatures and is awaiting word from the Secretary of State’s office on whether she qualified for the ballot.

So it appears that at least four of the five GOP candidates running for the Eighth Congressional District seat will appear on the primary ballot in June.

Saine’s win Saturday, at a minimum, puts her conservative credentials in the spotlight going into the final lap of the primary campaign for the new seat, which surrounds Denver to the north.

It’s not clear which candidates will be splitting votes with whom in the primary election. The voting base in June will expand beyond the conservatives who attended Saturday’s assembly — and will include some unknown number of unaffiliated voters who choose to vote in the Republican primary.

Beyond Saine’s demonstrated appeal to the Republican base, it’s difficult to predict which candidates will draw which types of voters, say observers, and it’s equally unclear how many voters will turn out beyond the conservative base.

Still, you can expect all the candidates to prioritize, at least to some extent, outreach to right-wing Republican voters, who remain the most likely folks to vote in June.


The GMS Podcast: Mayor in Her Free Time (feat. Dusti Gurule)

Dusti Gurule

This week in episode 103 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Dusti Gurule, Executive Director of COLOR, about the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) which should be signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis today.

But first, we talk through a bizarre candidate forum among Republicans running for Congress in CO-08. Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, and Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann had a lot to say…and a lot of it was really weird.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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The Stefanik Effect: There Is No Moving On From Trump

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and we don’t talk about that guy.

This morning, Republican candidate for governor Hiedi Heidi Ganahl proudly announced her latest endorsement, as reported (notably) by the far-right fake news outlet Just The News owned by nationally known conservative pseudo-journalist procovateur John Solomon–Republican House Minority Caucus Chair Elise Stefanik:

“I’m endorsing the strongest candidate in the Colorado GOP primary and the woman who can most assuredly take on Jared Polis and his $24M bank account and win,” Stefanik wrote in a statement obtained by Just the News.

Ganahl said she is “blessed and honored to be endorsed by Elise.”

“I have so much respect for Elise,” the gubernatorial candidate told Just the News. “She’s truly a leader in the conservative movement. And it’s such a shining example for women across the country on how to fight for a great country.”

Stefanik’s endorsement of Ganahl comes just a few weeks after her co-endorsement of “women to watch” in the new CD-8 Republican primary Jan Kulmann and Barbara Kirkmeyer, as reported by the Phil Anschutz-owned Washington Examiner. This could be interpreted as a slight to the most vociferously pro-MAGA candidate in the race Lori Saine, but more important to both Kulmann and Kirkmeyer (and for that matter, Heidi Ganahl) is what Stefanik represents within the Republican coalition.

Stefanik’s entire claim to political power in Congress rests on her continuing support for Donald Trump. Stefanik’s rise in Trump’s orbit culminated in the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney as Republican caucus chair last year after Cheney turned against Trump over the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Despite being kicked off a Harvard University advisory committee for her stubborn embrace of the “Big Lie,” Stefanik continues to be richly rewarded in the Republican caucus for her loyalty to Trump, reportedly in consideration for GOP Whip or even higher positions in the event Republicans retake the House in the 2022 midterms.

In their upcoming primaries, all of these candidates are sure to trumpet Stefanik’s support. The flip side is that Stefanik belies every attempt by Republicans looking ahead to the general election to argue credibly that the party has moved on from 2020 and accepted the defeat of ex-President Trump. Stefanik’s influence in Republican primaries is a reminder that Trump is still very much in control of the Republican Party nationally, and that’s not the message smart Republicans want to carry to November.

But unless something unforeseen happens, it doesn’t look like they’ll have much choice.

Debate Diary: Not So Great in CO-08

Republican candidates for Congress in the new CO-08 got together last Thursday for a debate/forum at KHNC radio in Johnstown, so we decided to listen in and peck out another of our world famous “Debate Diaries.” 

The forum was sponsored by a group called the Youth Federalist Initiative (YFI), which touts itself as some sort of candidate training organization. The YFI “team” moderated the debate together – three young white dudes named Kawika Berthelette, Austin Rollison, and Evan Underwood

There were four candidates in attendance at the debate: Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, State Senator Barbara Kirkmeyer, Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, and a guy named Tyler Allcorn who says little about his background other than that he is a former “Green Beret” in the Army Special Forces.

Click here to listen to the debate yourself, or keep reading for our recap. If you’d rather just skip to our conclusions, here you go:

This was a debate of Republican candidates for Congress aimed entirely at Republican Primary voters. With that in mind, we’d have to call Saine the winner: She was the most consistent in her extreme right-wing rhetoric and maintained a single narrative as the one candidate most likely to stay true to her right-wing Republican roots.

Kirkmeyer was a close second, as the only candidate to mention her anti-choice position on abortion and her fondness for former President Donald Trump.

Allcorn has nothing insightful to say about anything; there’s no reason a Republican voter would back him over any of the other candidates based on what transpired in this debate.

The biggest surprise was Kulmann; we expected her to be more polished and prepared, but her answers were all over the place. She repeatedly stepped on her own narrative of being the “outsider” by talking about her decade in local elected office, and she flat-out lied about once being a candidate for school board. Kulmann also had the single worst line of the night when she said this: “I’m an oil and gas engineer, and I’m a mayor in my free time.” Kulmann really wants you to know that she works in the oil and gas industry, but that insistence came at the expense of her other qualifications. It’s not a good look to say that you are a half-assed mayor.

NOTE: What follows is a chronological re-hash of last Thursday’s debate. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time and/or the prevention of carpal tunnel syndrome.



Jan Kulmann Grabs CD-8’s Third Rail

So far the message from Republican Mayor of Thornton Jan Kulmann, running in the red-hot Republican CD-8 primary, has been long on “glittering generalities” and short on policy details other than the “drill baby drill” refrain Kulmann picked up working in the oil and gas industry. But yesterday, Kulmann finally took a stand on an issue that Republican primary voters are always keen to grouse about, immigration policy:

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann (R).

It’s nothing you wouldn’t expect in a Republican primary, but as Colorado Public Radio notes about the new ultra-competitive CD-8, there’s a risk in doing so:

Politically, it’s the state’s most evenly divided district. Unaffiliated voters make up 44 percent of active registered voters, while Democrats make up 28 percent and Republicans 25 percent. Averaging the outcome of eight recent races shows how narrow the divide truly is, with Democrats coming out with a negligible 1.3 percent advantage.

The district also has the highest proportion of Hispanic or Latino residents in the state; [Pols emphasis] only 52 percent of residents described themselves as non-Hispanic white on the U.S. Census, while 38.8 percent of residents identify as Hispanic. 4.1 percent of the people living in the district are of Asian background and 2.3 percent are Black.

Kulmann could have kept the point limited to the du jour issue of fentanyl smuggling, but she went on to decry “illegal border crossings” in general–personalizing the issue in a way she could have avoided. We’re not suggesting that Latino voters are monolithic on immigration or any other issue, but there’s no question that attacking immigrants in the state’s most Latino district is politically very risky. It plays directly into the hands of Democrats in the general election, who are fielding a choice of two well-known Latino elected officials in their primary. It’s another example of how Republican politics have diverged from the mainstream so much that there’s just no way to represent their agenda honestly without turning off a large, potentially decisive segment of voters.

Because if Kulmann doesn’t give the Republican base the red meat they’re looking for, Barbara Kirkmeyer and Lori Saine will! All of these candidates are locked into messages ahead of the June 28th primary that become toxic the following day. This may be Colorado’s most evenly-divided congressional seat by party registration, but that doesn’t tell the whole story.

If you thought for whatever reason Kulmann would be immune to these problems, now you know better.

Will Kirkmeyer Reject “Americans For Putin” Endorsement?

CBS News’ Kate Gibson reports: while American companies and institutional investors are divesting themselves from Russian holdings as fast as they can–even former Colorado Gov. Bill Owens resigned from the board of a Russian bank after a round of bad press–one big American corporation with an oversized political footprint is making a big deal of not doing so:

As hundreds of major U.S. companies exit Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, Koch Industries is staying put.

The industrial conglomerate — the second-largest privately owned business in America, with $115 billion in annual revenue — is among those defying public pressure and continuing to operate manufacturing plants and sell products across Russia, while up until Wednesday remaining mum on that nation’s relentless assault on Ukrainian cities…

Political groups supported by Charles Koch, the right-wing billionaire who is chairman and CEO of Koch Industries, oppose broad economic sanctions against Russia, according to Popular Information, a left-leaning newsletter run by Judd Legum.

The story proceeds to document the position of a number of Koch-orbit conservative political groups who, not surprisingly, oppose sanctions on Russia! Here in Colorado, the Koch political machine is primarily represented on the ground by the state’s Americans for Prosperity affiliate. And while we haven’t seen AFP Colorado weigh in on the Russian invasion of Ukraine yet, they have taken a position in the red-hot Republican CD-8 primary, endorsing state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer.

On the one hand, there’s a substantial amount of what we can only call pro-Russia propagandizing going on the conservative side, led by Fox News’ Tucker Carlson but also including Donald Trump’s initial comments on the invasion praising Russian President Vladimir Putin as a “genius.” Although neither side in American politics wants to provoke a war directly between the United States and Russia, overt sympathy for the aggressor in this war is only coming from one side of the aisle.

Nonetheless, ordinary Americans on both sides appear to be very much unified on sanctions against Russia and the seriousness of the threat posed by the invasion according to new polling out today. Despite all of Tucker Carlson’s monologues, Americans haven’t been pushed off their moral foundations enough to not see the invasion of Ukraine for what it is.

So while our local AFP shop works on their response to the Koch empire’s decision to keep selling their wares in Russia, Kirkmeyer should probably come up with a response to AFP’s support for her campaign.

Who knows? Maybe Kirkmeyer is a closet Putin fan too.

The Truth About Gasoline Prices

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: If you’re looking for accurate information about relationship between Russian oil and American energy prices, don’t ask local longtime oil and gas industry flack Kathleen Sgamma:

We’re glad the president is finally willing to sanction Russia as much as he’s been ‘sanctioning’ American oil and natural gas producers. [Pols emphasis]

In a season of bad hot takes this could be the worst yet, and it’s a window into the energy industry’s bunker mentality. This is how they really feel about sensible regulation of oil and gas drilling. Like Vladimir Putin feels after invading Ukraine!

Public-relations self-own of the week, folks. Original post follows.


As The Washington Post reports, President Biden will ban Russian oil exports to the United States as part of addition sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:

The Biden administration plans to ban imports of oil and natural gas from Russia as soon as Tuesday, following days of behind-the-scenes talks where officials studied far-flung ideas for protecting the global economy from an energy shock, four people with knowledge of the matter said.

The move represents one of America’s most far-reaching actions to penalize Moscow since the beginning of the war and would carry enormous geopolitical consequences, as the price of oil has already skyrocketed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, creating huge new costs for businesses and consumers…

…The administration up to now had sought to protect global energy markets from the impact of banning Russian oil and gas, while keeping a wary eye on soaring gas prices in the United States. The national average gas price on Tuesday was $4.17 per gallon, according to AAA, up from $3.62 a month ago and $2.77 a year ago.

But the ongoing atrocities committed by Russia in Ukraine, as well as bipartisan pressure from Congress, quickly changed the administration’s calculus.

The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is nearing an all-time high, and that cost will likely tick upward with a ban on Russian oil — although the U.S. only imports a small percentage of its oil and gas (O&G) from Russia.

According to a new poll from Quinnipiac University, 71% of Americans support a ban on importing O&G from Russia even if it means an increase in gasoline prices at home.

Nevertheless, the price of gasoline will continue to be a talking point eagerly used by Republicans in Colorado…even if it is completely dishonest.

With all of that in mind, we thought it was a good time to dig into the details on how and why gasoline prices are rising (SPOILER ALERT: It’s not the President of the United States). For more information, check out this timely twitter thread from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (or this great press conference response). The Associated Press also has a good explainer on the details of cutting off Russian O&G exports.

Now, here’s our O&G Q&A:


Q: Why are gasoline prices rising?

Crude oil is the single largest component of gasoline, and therefore the factor that has the most influence on the price at the pump. The market for crude oil bottomed out in April 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and production worldwide has not yet caught up with demand. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated concerns about supply disruptions, which in turn has spooked investors into decisions that have further increased prices of crude oil. 

Crude oil is a commodity that is traded by investors around the world; in fact, it is the single most widely-traded global commodity. If traders are paying more for crude oil, then so are gasoline producers…and those costs are then passed along to consumers. 

Basic supply and demand issues also affect the price of gasoline. It’s not a coincidence that gas prices generally rise in the summer months, when more Americans are taking road trips. 

Via the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)



Get More Smarter on Thursday (Feb. 3)

Happy Setsubun; it’s not any weirder than asking a groundhog to forecast the weather. 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 



The leader of ISIS has been killed in Syria after a raid by U.S. forces. As The New York Times reports:

President Biden said on Thursday that the leader of the Islamic State died during a raid by U.S. Special Operations commandos in a risky pre-dawn attack in northwest Syria. Rescue workers said women and children were among at least 13 people killed during the raid.

In brief remarks at the White House, Mr. Biden said the choice to target the ISIS leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, using the Special Forces was made to minimize civilian casualties, despite the greater risk to American troops.

Speaking in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, Mr. Biden was understated as he described the ISIS leader’s history, saying that he had ordered a series of atrocities, including against the Yazidi people. “Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more.”

He said the operation was a warning to terrorist groups.

“This operation is testament to America’s reach and capability to take out terrorist threats no matter where they try to hide anywhere in the world,” he said.

Biden added that all Americans involved have “returned safely from the operation.”


Schools in Douglas County are closed today, but not because of the weather. As Jessica Seaman reports for The Denver Post:

Douglas County School District canceled classes for Thursday as hundreds of teachers and other staff members are calling out of work in protest of recent actions by the school board…

…The protest, which includes a rally at 1 p.m. at the district’s administration building in Castle Rock Thursday afternoon, follows allegations made by three members of the district’s Board of Education that other board members are trying to oust Superintendent Corey Wise. The board also recently voted to change the district’s equity policy, which upset employees…

Republicans, including former Attorney General candidate George Brauchler, are losing their damn minds over this and promoting the doxxing of teachers. This led to a plea for civility from Gov. Jared Polis:


Colorado Public Radio has more on the problems in Douglas County under a new conservative-majority school board.


Democrats in the state legislature are pushing for bills to protect abortion rights amid new right-wing attacks. 


The Washington Post has the latest on concerns over a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine:

U.S. officials say they have evidence that Russia has developed a plan, approved at high levels in Moscow, to create a pretext for invading Ukraine by falsely pinning an attack on Ukrainian forces that could involve alleged casualties not only in eastern Ukraine but also in Russia.

The details of the plan have been declassified by U.S. intelligence and are expected to be revealed Thursday by the Biden administration, said four people familiar with the matter. The administration last month warned that the Russian government had sent operatives into eastern Ukraine, possibly in preparation for sabotage operations.

The alleged operation the United States plans to expose would involve broadcasting images of civilian casualties in eastern Ukraine — and potentially over the border in Russia — to a wide audience to drum up outrage against the Ukrainian government and create a pretext for invasion, two of the people said. It was unclear if the casualties would be real or faked, one U.S. official said.

President Biden on Wednesday ordered the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops to Eastern Europe.

And then there’s Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, a 2024 Presidential hopeful who is now calling on President Biden to do whatever Russia wants. It would be difficult to be more of a self-serving asshole than Hawley.


Click below to keep learning things…



Get More Smarter on Thursday (Jan. 13)

Governor Jared Polis delivers his “State of the State” speech today. In Iowa, they call it the “Condition of the State.” See, you’re already 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 



The Denver Post updates on the first day of Colorado’s legislative session, which (as always) was mostly about the speechifying:

Colorado’s 2022 legislative session started Wednesday under the shadow of a still critical pandemic, and with party leaders primed to spend months debating how to apportion a historically flush state budget, and make the state safer and more affordable.

The parties identify many of the same pressing problems, but present largely opposing ideas to address them. For the fourth straight year, however, Democrats control both the state House and Senate, plus the governor’s office, so they can always claim final say if they want it.

It’s evident once again that the COVID-19 pandemic is one subject area with little common ground. The politicization of the pandemic was clear as Democrats in both chambers donned masks and all but a couple of Republicans did not. Health care workers administered rapid virus tests outside the Capitol, and guests — unlike lawmakers — were required to mask up indoors. However, partitions between lawmakers’ desks that were taken down at the end of last year’s session did not go back up.

“Health care and public health will continue to guide many of the decisions we make in this building,” House Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver said. “Despite our exhaustion and fatigue, COVID has not relented yet.”

As the Post points out, this will be the last legislative session for many familiar names who are term-limited in 2022, including House Speaker Alec Garnett, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert.

Elsewhere, 9News previews today’s “State of the State” speech from Gov. Jared Polis.


As The Washington Post reports, Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema once again confirmed that the United States Senate is dumb:

Democrats’ hopes of finally pushing through voting rights legislation after months of Republican opposition appeared to be fatally wounded Thursday after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced she would not support changing Senate rules that have long allowed a minority of senators to block legislation.

Sinema’s position, outlined in a midday floor speech, echoed her previous public statements where she defended the filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule, as a tool to facilitate bipartisan cooperation and guard against wild swings in federal policy.

But the circumstances in which she reiterated it — as Senate Democratic leaders prepared to launch a decisive floor debate and less than an hour before President Biden was scheduled to arrive on Capitol Hill to deliver a final, forceful appeal for action — put an exclamation point on her party’s long and fruitless effort to counter restrictive Republican-passed state voting laws.

“While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said.

What, exactly, is Sinema’s suggestion instead? We’ll let you know when we hear it. But at least West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin approves!


Grocery workers at King Soopers stores in Colorado are on strike after failing to reach agreement on fixing what the employees call “unfair labor practices.” As Axios Denver reports, the picketing could go on for several weeks at minimum. 


The case of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and her efforts to tamper with voting equipment following the 2020 election is headed to a grand jury. And, as The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Peters rejected the state’s offer of a settlement agreement that would allow her access back into her own Elections Division, but only under strict supervision.

Peters said in a press release Wednesday that the “deal” the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office offered her wasn’t much of a deal, in part, because it called for her to repudiate some of her statements about election integrity.


Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) continues to raise big bucks in his bid for re-election. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Bennet raked in more than $2.1 million in the final three months of 2021, surpassing the Colorado Democrat’s own record for an off-year quarterly haul and boosting his re-election war chest to more than $4.7 million, his campaign said Wednesday.

The sum brings Bennet’s fundraising total for the 2022 midterm cycle to roughly $8.7 million as the primary field of his potential Republican challengers is still taking shape.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate/aspiring motivational speaker Gino Campana reported about $950,000 in receipts for Q4 — $500,000 of which came from himself.


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Get More Smarter on Monday (Dec. 20)

It’s (still not) beginning to look like a white Christmas. 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 


The Associated Press reports on the big political news over the weekend: The big reveal from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin that he would no longer entertain negotiations over the Build Back Better bill:

Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, dealing a potentially fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.

Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that after five-and-half months of negotiations among Democrats in which he was his party’s chief obstacle to passage, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

Manchin’s choice of words seemed to crack the door open to continued talks with Biden and top congressional Democrats over reshaping the legislation. But the West Virginia senator all but said the bill would die unless it met his demands for a smaller, less sweeping package — something that would be hard for many Democrats in the narrowly divided Congress to accept.

The bill would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to help millions of families with children by extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There is more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing carbon emissions, which experts consider the largest federal expenditure ever to combat climate change.

Other provisions would limit prescription drug price increases, create hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and bolster aid for the elderly, housing and job training. Nearly all of it would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.

The Washington Post takes a deeper look at how negotiations between Biden and Manchin went sideways. The White House says that Manchin broke his word; Manchin is (vaguely) blaming White House staff, indicating that they might have been mean to him. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, is vowing to bring the BBB bill to a vote in 2022.


Perhaps anticipating Manchin’s uselessness, Senate Democrats had already started shifting priorities toward advancing election reform measures. As The New York Times reports:

Schumer on Monday gave the clearest sign yet that he would try to force a fundamental change in Senate rules if needed to enact federal laws to offset voting restrictions being imposed by Republican-led legislatures around the country.

In a letter to colleagues, Mr. Schumer, the New York Democrat and majority leader, said that the Senate would take up stalled voting rights legislation as early as the first week of January and that if Republicans continued to filibuster, the Senate would “consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation.”

But it is not clear how far Democrats will be willing or able to go in working around the 60-vote requirement for most legislation and finding a way to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority. While several formerly reluctant senators have in recent weeks endorsed rules change for voting issues, at least two Democratic senators — Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have resisted.

Alarmed by state laws being enacted in the aftermath of the 2020 election that seem aimed at making it more difficult for people, particularly minorities, to vote, Democrats have tried repeatedly this year to set federal standards for early and mail-in voting and curb partisan gerrymandering, among other provisions. But they have been consistently thwarted by a Republican blockade.


President Biden is boosting fuel economy standards that had been decimated under President Trump. From The Associated Press:

In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

A final rule being issued Monday would raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026 — 25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration last year and 5% higher than a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in August.


Democrat Yadira Careveo announced a slew of new endorsements in her bid for Congress in CO-08, including support from House Speaker Alec Garnett and State Rep. Mary Young.


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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Dec. 15)

Today is probably an inside day. 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 


Be safe out there today. The weather is bananas, as this video of a freaking dust storm near Pueblo demonstrates. 


The brief, sad era of the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters move to Grand Junction is finally over. As The Hill newspaper reports:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will move several of its leadership positions back to Washington, D.C., after a controversial Trump-era move to send leadership to Grand Junction, Colo.

An email sent out by BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning that was obtained by The Hill states that the agency will “consolidate” most of its directors in Washington.

Specifically, it states that the director and deputy director of operations have already returned to the district, joining the deputy director for policy and programs. It said that 8 additional leaders including “most assistant directors and deputy assistant directors” will also return to D.C.

The message also said that 30 vacant headquarters senior positions will be based in D.C.

Another one bites the dust, eh Cory Gardner?


► Greg Sargent of The Washington Post devotes a column to the ridiculous arguments being made by John Eastman, the former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado who advised former President Trump on how to execute a coup:

Eastman has just sued the Jan. 6 committee and Verizon over the committee’s subpoena of his phone records, which the committee is seeking to shed further light on the plot to overturn the election. The lawsuit asks the court to block the subpoena.

Underlying this dispute is something larger than this particular lawsuit’s legal complexities, and larger than the battle between the committee and Trump’s co-conspirators. What’s really at stake is whether this effort to overturn U.S. democracy through extraordinary corruption and then mob violence merits a political and policy response of any kind.

The answer to this question from Trumpworld, and indeed from many congressional Republicans, is essentially “no.”

Eastman’s lawsuit captures the absurdity of this. One of its leading arguments is that the committee is “attempting to exercise a law enforcement function, rather than genuine legislative activity.”…

…In fact, there may be no human being alive who underscores the committee’s legislative purpose more clearly than John Eastman does. [Pols emphasis]


Weld County Commissioners came to their senses — somewhat — on Tuesday and decided to stop censoring social media postings about how residents can find access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In related news, more than 10,000 Coloradans have now died from COVID-19.


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