We made a slight, but significant, adjustment to “The Big Line” today.
For the first time, we have Republican Greg Lopez as a slight favorite over HiediHeidi Ganahl in the Republican Primary for Governor.
A lot of things can, and probably will, change in the coming weeks as June 28 draws nearer, but the buzz right now is that Lopez seems to be doing better than Ganahl in attracting GOP support. Ganahl, meanwhile, is trying to dispute reports that she has been largely absent on the campaign trail lately.
There is even a persistent rumor going around that Lopez is currently polling better than Ganahl; we can’t confirm or deny this rumor, but we’ve heard it enough times — from enough different people — that there may be some truth to the idea.
Whatever happens in the GOP Primary won’t change much for the General Election. Both Lopez and Ganahl would be HEAVY underdogs against incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November.
Lopez and Ganahl might flip back and forth in the coming weeks, but for today, this is how we see the Primary shaking out.
9NEWS’ Kyle Clarkreports on an audio recording of Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez, speaking a few days ago to Republicans in the remote mining town of Silverton about his plan to put a stop of the GOP’s terminal slide in recent Colorado elections. The plan is simple, and we’ve heard variations of it proposed in Colorado before: making rural votes worth more than urban votes.
Lopez outlined his proposal at a May 15 campaign stop in Silverton. An audio recording of the event made by a political tracker was provided to 9NEWS.
“One of the things that I’m going to do, and I’ve already put this plan together, is, as governor, I’m going to introduce a conversation about doing away with the popular vote for statewide elected officials and doing an electoral college vote for statewide elected officials,” Lopez said.
Lopez said his electoral college plan would weight counties’ votes based on their voter turnout percentage to encourage turnout.
“I’ve already got the plan in place,” Lopez said. “The most that any county can get is 11 electoral college votes. The least that a county can get is three.”
Back in 2019, failed attorney general candidate turned AM radio host George Brauchler proposed changing one chamber of the legislature, presumably the state senate, into a body representing the state’s 64 counties “equally” instead of districts divided equally by population. The numerical superiority of conservative rural counties would instantly flip the chamber to permanent Republican control, requiring only the democratic peculiarity of San Juan County’s 646 people having as much representative say as Denver’s 715,878.
And the people of Denver would somehow, you know, vote for this.
Similarly, 9NEWS did the math with Greg Lopez’s proposal for an “electoral college” for statewide races and found that, sure enough, dirt would triumph over people once again and elect Republicans even with a clear majority of Colorado voters voting against Republican candidates! After watching Donald Trump stake his claim to the presidency twice despite losing the popular vote by millions, Lopez is happily conceding that Colorado Republicans can’t win a majority of Colorado voters either and offering the GOP faithful who, let’s be honest, aren’t big fans of democracy these days anyway, a “solution.”
In reality, applying the inherent inequality of the federal Electoral College to the antiquated political geography of Colorado’s 64 rural counties makes a compelling argument against both the Electoral College and the U.S. Senate’s “equal representation of states.” The absurd results generated on our smaller scale application tell a much bigger story. It’s also a hell of a thing to admit to voters ahead of an election.
Maybe not in San Juan County, but everywhere people are.
(The best way to avoid gaffes is to stop showing up — promoted by Colorado Pols)
NOCO Ladies for Liberty hosts monthly meetings featuring Republican candidates
Some grassroots conservatives say Heidi Ganahl, a Republican candidate for governor, is avoiding events where she would have to share a stage with other candidates — a claim Ganahl’s campaign disputes.
In addition to her primary opponent Greg Lopez claiming Ganahl won’t do any televised debates, Mickie Nuffer, a Loveland grandmother who founded Northern Colorado Ladies for Liberty, says Ganahl backed out of a May 5 event upon learning Lopez would be there.
Nuffer, who founded the NOCO Ladies for Liberty in February of this year, says she was inspired to hold the gubernatorial event after hearing then-Republican candidate Danielle Neuschwanger speak in Fort Collins that same month Nuffer launched her group. Initially, Nuffer said, she planned to invite just Neuschwanger and Ganahl and have the event focus solely on women candidates, but that by the end of February her group decided a forum with the other main candidate Lopez made the most sense. When Neuschwanger failed to make the ballot via assembly, that left Ganahl and Lopez for the event.
“I confirmed all three and it was always with the understanding that it depended on what happened at our State Assembly,” said Nuffer. “So we knew that, Danielle, because of [the assembly vote], was not going to be on the GOP ballot.
“And so at that point, it was going to be Heidi and Greg. We started selling tickets for our event and I’ve been in constant contact with both of the campaigns because because of our rapid growth and we actually at one point had to switch venues.
“So we finally settled on May 5th at the Sweetheart Winery, and I get a call from Heidi’s campaign and they told me that they were not going to be able to make the event. They said they had gotten a copy of the Eventbrite [invitation] and saw that we had listed it as a forum, and that’s not what they agreed to. And I said, Well, the only thing that has changed from all of our conversations is that Danielle is not going to be there any because she was knocked off the GOP ballot. So that’s the only thing that changed. And they said, well, they had decided back — and I don’t know how how far back — but they decided that they were not going to do any more debates or forums and that’s why they were not going to join us.
“And so I said, ‘We are in the beginning stages of planning this evening. What kind of event would it have to be for Heidi to still come and join us? And they said that she would not come if there were any other candidates present. And what I was told is — basically in quotes — that ‘she did not want to get into a wild horse race with another candidate.’ So I certainly was not going to un-invite Greg at this point and so that’s where we’re at. I just thanked him for his time.
“Heidi is going around the state saying her message resonates with women, grandmothers, moms in the trenches, and I thought, well? It’s kind of interesting to me since here we are, a group of women, grandmothers…and yet obviously we were not her brand of women. I know today it’s hard to define what a woman is but obviously we didn’t qualify for her brand of woman.”
Greg Lopez is telling a similar story at recent campaign events. At the opening last month of his campaign headquarters in Parker, Lopez said that 9News and CBS Channel 4 each proposed televised debates to both campaigns, but that the Ganahl campaign refused them all…
As posted to Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl’sInstagram a week ago, speaking to party faithful on a tour of southern points in the state:
Look closely at the image displayed on screens beside Ganahl while she talks to voters:
As you can see, the local party (It’s not clear whether this is Fremont or Pueblo County) is promoting a “private showing” of the new and already thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory flick 2000 Mules from conservative whacktivist usual suspect Dinesh D’Souza–the same movie that Secretary of State candidate Tina Petersreceived court permission to travel to Florida and watch with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. Despite the fact that 2000 Mules lays out a completely new conspiracy theory with no relationship to Peters’ half-baked suspicions about Dominion Voting Systems, the 2020 election denier crowd including Peters has enthusiastically embraced this new supposed plot in order to keep their confirmation bias pointed forward.
Now that Heidi Ganahl and 2000 Mules are cross-promoting at Republican events, we’d say Heidi Ganahl has volunteered herself for some of those dreaded “divisive questions!” After refusing to divulge her views about the 2020 elections followed by a grudging concession that “Joe Biden is President” with no comment on whether he should be, Ganahl has insisted to the point of liability on ignoring, redirecting, and shooting the messenger when confronted about the subject. And then in private, Ganahl assures the party faithful that she cares “about everything that you care about.”
At the moment, what the base cares about is…mules.
The New York Timesreports in the aftermath of another horrific mass shooting this past weekend–this time in Buffalo, New York, and perpetrated by an avowed white supremacist who followed the by-now familiar procedure of posting his racist political manifesto online and then livestreaming the attack:
Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.
The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.
And in yet another deadly mass shooting, unfolding in Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”
Colorado state Rep. Dave Williams (R) with ex-Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
“Replacement theory” was long confined to the fringe of far-right Republican debate over immigration policy, but here in Colorado it’s been openly courted by the GOP establishment for many years. A talking point in various forms of archetype anti-immigrant extremist Rep. Tom Tancredo back in the mid aughts, the Western Conservative Summit hosted annually by Colorado Christian University’s political arm the Centennial Institutelater brought in globally prominent anti-immigrant politicians like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, who built his notoriety on the idea that Muslims are “replacing” the White population of Europe.
It was the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the subsequent revitalization of open racism seen at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that helped mainstream what were once considered views so repellent that even Republicans had no room for them in their tent. At the nation’s largest conservative media outlet Fox News, primetime host Tucker Carlson has referenced the idea hundreds of times since 2016.
And yes, as we’ve noted in this space several times, Colorado’s own far-right blast furnace of outrage Rep. Lauren Boebert has made “replacement theory” a central component of her platform. In April of last year:
BOEBERT: That’s because walls work. Any Democrat who tells you otherwise is an open borders nutjob. The truth is, they want borders wide open. It helped Democrats take over the entire state of California, and now we’re seeing in New York they are paying 15 grand to illegal immigrants. Fifteen grand because you came here illegally.
And by last September, as you can watch in the clip above, embracing the theory by name:
BOEBERT: To top it off, they want to grant amnesty and a path to citizenship to eight million illegal aliens. Yes, there is definitely a replacement theory that’s going on right now. [Pols emphasis] We are killing American jobs and bringing in illegal aliens from all over the world to replace them if Americans will not comply with the tyrannical orders that are coming down from the White House.
Since the mass shooting Saturday in Buffalo, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York has been a focal point of criticism after her own ads accusing Democrats of plotting a “permanent election insurrection” through mass immigration. Stefanik has enjoyed a rapid rise to leadership as a fastidiously loyal servant of Trump’s, and has been cultivating a power base through support for downballot candidates in this year’s midterms including Colorado gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl and CD-8 candidate Jan Kulmann. With Boebert and Stefanik both out there pushing their respective versions of the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto, every Republican they’ve touched should now face questions about it
Because the shooter chose to spell out his motivations in detail, there’s no debating them–any more than it can be debated that the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter committed his crimes in 2015 sincerely believing that he was stopping the sale of “baby parts.” Or that Trump knew exactly what he wanted when he told his supporters on January 6th to “fight like hell” or they “won’t have a country anymore.”
In all of these cases, responsibility can no longer be rationally denied.
Unless it’s Cinco de Mayo weekend and you want to be governor of Colorado!
We haven’t seen a definitive report yet, but it’s our understanding that Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl was able to escape Civic Center Park after these photos were taken despite the odds! That’s a big relief since last August, in an in-kind donation a column provided the Colorado Springs Gazette, Ganahl painted a very different picture of Denver’s downtown area:
Maybe walking by needles on the sidewalk, homeless camps across the city parks and leftover graffiti on buildings near our Capitol will slow them down? Maybe hearing from one of their neighbors that their car was stolen, or their apartment was broken into, or their favorite coffee shop had their window broken would cause them to hesitate? Things are changing in Colorado. A lot.
For those of you who are new to our state, just a couple years ago downtown Denver was a beautiful, clean vibrant place with a constant buzz of people laughing and admiring the views…
And what do we see above? Looks like “a beautiful, clean vibrant place with a constant buzz of people laughing and admiring the views” to us! Downtown Denver isn’t perfect, and in our memory never has been perfect, but it remains on balance the vibrant destination that actual residents say they love living in and near more than just about anywhere else in America.
It’s a problematically mixed message. Ganahl should have picked one.
This week in episode 108 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii look back at the 2022 legislative session and highlight some of the more important pieces of legislation to come out of the Gold Dome.
Later, Jason and Ian talk about Joe/John “O’Dancing” O’Dea (it will make sense when you listen); John Eastman; and Tina Peters.
The bill introduces tougher criminal penalties for the possession of a smaller amount of fentanyl, or other drugs laced with fentanyl. At the same time, reformers were able to win some new funding for treatment and other services.
The measure passed the legislature with the support of most Democrats and a small minority of Republicans. Many Republicans argued it didn’t go far enough to punish people involved with fentanyl, while some liberal Democrats warned it could help to restart a harmful “war on drugs” approach to addiction.
Perhaps the most notable change in the law is that the limit for felony possession of fentanyl has been lowered from 4 grams to 1 gram. Governor Jared Polis praised lawmakers for working “in a bipartisan, and comprehensive manner to reduce fentanyl deaths and get dealers off the streets and fentanyl our of our communities.” Blair Miller of Denver7 has more on the final bill.
► Colorado high school students are walking out of class to protest the likely reversal of Roe v. Wade:
Students from across the Denver metro are walking out to protest the leaked draft decision from the U.S. Supreme Court which seeks to overturn #RoevsWade
As we normally do in an election year, we’re asking Colorado Pols readers to predict the future in several key upcoming races.
Up first: The Republican nomination for Governor. Will it be top line candidate Greg Lopez or theoretical longtime GOP frontrunner HiediHeidi Ganahl who moves on from the June 28th Republican Primary?
*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?
When a particular political party has a strong candidate running at the top of the ticket, it generally benefits all of the other associated candidates down the ballot. When this happens, the common political lexicon is to say that lower-tier candidates are “riding the coattails” of the candidate at the top of the ticket.
But the reverse can also happen, which is what Colorado Republicans have experienced in recent election cycles and seem destined to deal with again this November. Republican gubernatorial candidate HiediHeidi Ganahl was recently a guest on KHOW radio (with Ryan Schuiling filling in as a guest host on The Leland Conway Show), where she proceeded to make a big splash that drenched several other unsuspecting Republicans.
After listening to Schuiling drown for a full minute while trying to downplay national polling showing widespread support for abortion rights, Ganahl was asked about the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) passed by the state legislature. Here’s her response:
GANAHL:Well, I mean, right, it’s disgusting. I don’t know any, um, many other moms – and I’m a mom of four – that believes that this is okay. We fight like crazy to keep our kids safe and the thought of, you know, letting a child die after birth…or giving birth and letting a child die, is abhorrent to the majority of women I know.
And so, I think we should do every single thing we can to overturn that law, and as governor I will fight to do that.Hopefully I’ll have the legislature to help me do that as well, and a good Attorney General – um, go John Kellner! [Pols emphasis]
You’ll want to add this to your playlist:
Here’s the audio of Ganahl’s entire response on the question, which concludes with her statement that incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is destroying the State of Colorado.
Ganahl’s extreme position on abortion rights is not a new revelation — she has regularly talked about reversing RHEA but won’t say if she would back legislation to restrict abortion rights — but this is the first time we can recall that Ganahl also tossed this live hand grenade to other Republicans in the legislature and to Republican Attorney General candidate John Kellner.
Perhaps Kellner is completely on board with efforts to overturn RHEA and/or rollback abortion rights in Colorado, but we’d imagine he’d prefer to answer that question himself. Ditto for other Republican candidates running for State House or State Senate in a state where voters overwhelmingly support abortion rights.
Former CU visiting professor John Eastman, CU Regent/GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl.
A new disclosure in the ongoing scandal surrounding the University of Colorado’s former visiting conservative scholar John Eastman, who is under investigation by the House Select Committee looking into the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, as reported today by the Denver Post’sElizabeth Hernandez:
John Eastman, a lawyer who represented Donald Trump following the president’s 2020 election loss, used his University of Colorado email account while serving as a visiting professor in Boulder to advise a Pennsylvania lawmaker on how to challenge that state’s electors, according to records submitted to Congress…
Eastman, CU Boulder’s visiting professor of conservative thought and policy during the 2020-2021 academic year, has come under increasing scrutiny for his role in advising Trump on how to stay in power after losing the 2020 election. A federal judge in California ruled in March that Trump and Eastman likely committed crimes in their efforts to overturn the election.
In addition to demonstrating how Eastman advised Pennsylvania state Rep. Russ Diamond on challenging that state’s results, the emails show CU Boulder reimbursed Eastman for around $500 for a trip he took to Philadelphia shortly after the November 2020 election to participate in an academic conference put on by his department, the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization.
It was during that visit to Philadelphia that Eastman’s role in advising Trump on how to remain in office began, The New York Times reported last year.
That Eastman was on the University of Colorado’s payroll while he advised ex-President Donald Trump on strategies to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election is not new information, but the use of CU email and reimbursement for the trip to Philadelphia during which Eastman became a central figure in the 2020 coup plot is news to us. The disclosure of these communications directly related to the plot through CU’s email system, apparently unknown to the Select Committee investigating January 6th, certainly does warrant additional investigation by the CU Board of Regents.
And once again, the CU Regent who volunteered to field all the questions about Eastman’s relationship with the university, HiediHeidi Ganahl, needs to start answering some. How did Ganahl volunteer to own John Eastman, you ask? It started with her effusive praise for Eastman, which came even after he was condemned nationwide for an op-ed suggesting Kamala Harris didn’t have the citizenship qualifications to serve as vice president. Ganahl then closed the deal on ownership of Eastman by running for governor.
With every new John Eastman headline, Heidi Ganahl’s silence gets louder.
► The 2022 legislative session in Colorado is down to its final days. Lawmakers have until Midnight on Wednesday to wrap up a number of important bills.
Axios Denver runs down a list of the most high-profile pieces of legislation still to be finalized. In a separate story, Axios looks at where things stand on perhaps the biggest issue yet to be decided: a change in the law regarding fentanyl possession:
The House is slated for a final vote Monday on the controversial legislation before advancing it to the state Senate, where sponsors Sens. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) and John Cooke (R-Greeley) will attempt to take it to the finish line.
Why it matters: Fentanyl deaths are soaring in Colorado, outpacing most other states — and many overdoses are occurring as users unknowingly ingest the synthetic opioid laced with other drugs.
What’s new: A GOP-sponsored, zero-tolerance amendment that would make any possession of fentanyl a felony failed on Friday with an unanimous down vote from House Democrats.
The current draft bill now makes it a felony to possess more than 1 gram of fentanyl in any form, while tightening criminal penalties for distributing the drug.
The editorial board of The Denver Post encourages lawmakers NOT to “criminalize addiction” in Colorado.
► The Colorado Sun breaks down the latest on a Capitol battle over property taxes:
Colorado’s property tax arms race ended Friday morning after conservative and liberal groups moved to withdraw the ballot measures they were pursuing for the November ballot that would have dramatically altered the tax code.
Democratic leaders in the legislature, meanwhile, vowed not to pursue an opposing ballot initiative that would have prevented property tax changes from being made through the statewide ballot.
In exchange, the legislature will move forward with Senate Bill 238 without changes, a measure that, if it is signed into law in the coming days as expected, will reduce projected property tax increases by $700 million over the next two years. The legislation was aimed at heading off an even bigger reduction being pushed by business interests.
The decision by all sides to back down ends a high-stakes game of chicken that threatened to grip the Capitol in the final days of the 2022 legislative session. In jeopardy were billions of dollars in funding for schools and local governments.
► Why stop with outlawing abortion when you can ban contraception as well? The Washington Post reports on yet another reason to never, ever visit Mississippi:
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) on Sunday refused to rule out the possibility that his state would ban certain forms of contraception, sidestepping questions about what would happen next if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
On CNN’s “State of the Union,” Reeves confirmed that, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, a trigger law passed in Mississippi in 2007 would go into effect that essentially outlaws abortions in the state, although it makes exceptions for rape and for the life of the mother.
When asked if Mississippi might next target the use of contraceptives such as the Plan B pill or intrauterine devices, Reeves demurred, saying that was not what the state was focused on “at this time.”
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.
Colorado Public Radioreporting, with the earth-shaking news this week that the U.S. Supreme Court is internally circulating a draft opinion that overturns Roe v. Wade as well as the Casey v. Planned Parenthood decisions upholding abortion rights, Colorado’s enthusiastic anti-abortion minority is plowing ahead with the next version of what Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected in statewide votes: a constitutional statewide ban on abortion.
The leaked opinion has emboldened abortion-rights opponents. Jeff Hunt from Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, said that his organization will continue to fight on a state level and plans to sue over Colorado’s Reproductive Health Equity Act law.
“It does not bode well for laws when you specifically carve out rights against a class of people,” Hunt said. “So, if you say a class of people — in this case, the preborn — do not have rights in the state, that does not work well in constitutional law. And we may challenge it there.”
Abortion-rights opponents are trying to bring the issue before Colorado voters this year. Angela Eicher and Rebecca Greenwood want to put Initiative No. 56 on the ballot for this year’s midterm elections, which would make abortion illegal.
In addition to a suit against the law just signed by Gov. Jared Poliscodifying abortion rights in Colorado statute and the latest version of the so-called “Personhood” constitutional abortion bans headed for the statewide ballot this November, as the Colorado Sunreports, Jeff Hunt wants to roll out billboards touting highly controversial “abortion reversal” for medication abortions:
Anti-abortion groups, meanwhile, are already making plans about how to change the minds of women who come to Colorado seeking to end their pregnancies. Expect more billboards saying it’s not too late to reverse an abortion after ingesting abortion pills, [Pols emphasis] said Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University.
He predicts more out-of-state money coming to Colorado to fund crisis centers for pregnant women, more volunteers offering “sidewalk counseling” outside abortion clinics, and more money to care for babies.
Just because patients travel to Colorado for care, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to persuade them to keep their pregnancies, Hunt said. “They don’t give up, in our opinion, until the murder has taken place,” he said.
With respect to so-called “abortion reversal,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not support the practice, saying it is “not supported by science.” As for “more out of state money” to hype abortion politics and harass patients outside Colorado abortion clinics, we’re filing all of that in the same category as another statewide ballot measure to ban abortion on the ballot this November.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Tina Peters at last filed her first campaign finance report, and it was pretty good (relative to her Republican opponents, anyway).
UPDATE: As of 3:41 pm, Peters has yet to file a campaign finance report.
The deadline to file Q1 fundraising reports in Colorado was midnight on Monday, May 2, which means we have our first good look at how much support the various campaigns for statewide office have generated…
…Except for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who as of this writing has yet to submit her first fundraising report as a candidate for Secretary of State. On the one hand, it is perfectly on-brand for Peters to miss her first fundraising deadline, since she clearly operates on the idea that laws are meant for everyone else. On the other (much larger) hand, candidates for SECRETARY OF STATE should probably follow the same rules they will be expected to enforce if elected.
We’ll update this post if and when Peters decides to file a fundraising report. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of how the rest of the statewide candidates fared in Q1.
As you read these numbers, remember something that we often repeat here at Colorado Pols: Fundraising isn’t just about money — it is an indicator of the level of support for a particular candidate. People generally don’t give money to candidates if they don’t believe they can win.
This has not been a great week to be Republican gubernatorial candidate HiediHeidi Ganahl. You could say that about most weeks since Ganahl first announced her candidacy last September, but this has been a particularly rough couple of days for the current CU Regent.
Ganahl has long been the presumed frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor and the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November, but her entire campaign has been what you could charitably call “underwhelming.” Over the weekend, Danielle Neuschwanger became the gubernatorial nominee of the American Constitution Party (ACN), which is a massive blow to whichever Republican candidate wins the nomination in June. On Monday, Ganahl essentially confirmed the weakness of her candidacy with another poor fundraising report.
Ganahl’s fundraising has been historically bad for a Republican gubernatorial candidate — a trend that continues with the first quarter of this year. There’s no positive way to spin the fact that the presumed GOP frontrunner begins the month of May with just $200k in the bank. It’s not fair to compare fundraising numbers with Polis, who will self-fund his re-election campaign to whatever tune he deems necessary; but as you’ll see with other fundraising numbers below, Ganahl’s totals don’t even look that great compared to campaigns for lower-profile offices.
The rest of the campaign finance numbers in this race aren’t all that relevant, since we wouldn’t expect either Greg Lopez or Neuschwanger to be raising a lot of money.
Incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser continues to raise boatloads of cash for his re-election bid, which has allowed him to already book a lot of television advertising time (hence Weiser’s large Q1 expenditures).
Republican John Kellner didn’t get a full quarter in which to fundraise — he didn’t really begin his AG campaign until February — but these are poor numbers nonetheless. Strong candidates often raise a good deal of money in their first quarter because that’s when they are first hitting up the donors with whom they have a close relationship. Kellner’s weak fundraising may also be an indication that he will be relying almost entirely on the assistance of the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) for most of his advertising expenditures.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold is setting new records for fundraising for a candidate for SOS. Similar to Weiser, this is allowing her to reserve a bunch of advertising time in advance.
We wrote about Republican Pam Anderson’sanemic numbers in an earlier post. If Anderson is going to win a Republican Primary in June, she’s likely going to need a significant expenditure from an outside group or PAC to boost her name ID. We still don’t know who Mike O’Donnell is, but it’s a bad sign for Anderson that his cash on hand numbers are nearly seven times larger.
Much like his Democratic colleagues (though to a lesser extent), incumbent Dave Young is raising enough money that he can start to book advertising spots in advance, which generally saves campaigns a good deal of money.
Republican Lang Sias, meanwhile, is raising the kind of money that would be great for a State House race but is not particularly impressive for a statewide campaign. Sias has been doing this long enough that he should have plenty of contacts for fundraising purposes; of course, he’s also been losing for long enough that those contacts may not be returning his phone calls. These weak fundraising numbers could be a sign that Sias is counting on a third-party expenditure to raise his name ID…or it might just be a reminder that he’s Lang Sias.
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 HiediHeidi 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:
NEW: Campaign spokeswoman for GOP gubernatorial candidate @heidiganahl declines to say if Ganahl would sign an abortion ban in Colorado but said the recent law establishing abortion rights in Colorado state law “must be undone.” #copolitics
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.
Michael Flynn, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015
The rabbit hole that leads to the “Big Lie” continues to take some unusual twists and turns.
Michael Flynn is the former National Security Adviser under President Donald Trump who has become something of a figurehead for “Big Lie” adherents who believe that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that Flynn recently endorsed Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters in the race for Colorado Secretary of State.
In his endorsement letter, which you can read below, Flynn writes, “watching the unfolding election fraud that occurred in Colorado, Tina is singularly responsible for exposing much of it.” Flynn concludes by stating that Peters “will stand up to the Biden administration as well as state level operatives bent on tyranny.”
Flynn’s endorsement might not mean a lot among people who still have most of their wits about them, but it could be significant in a three-way Republican Primary for Secretary of State. And if Peters is able to win the GOP nomination in June, two Flynn-backed statewide candidates will appear on the General Election ballot in Colorado…
When last we saw Neuschwanger, she was threatening to sue (and, somehow, incarcerate) State Republican Party Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown after Neuschwanger failed to make the 30% threshold required for ballot access at the Republican state assembly on April 9. Neuschwanger has been adamant that she was robbed in the “Great ClickerGate Conspiracy,” but she isn’t waiting any longer for that ball of red string to be unraveled. Instead, Neuschwanger is doing the only thing that would have been worse for Colorado Republicans than a bitter Primary fight: A vote-sucking General Election challenge.
Buoyed by polling data suggesting that she outperforms Republican HiediHeidi Ganahl in a hypothetical November matchup against incumbent Democrat Jared Polis, Neuschwanger refuses to go away despite finishing in third place at the GOP assembly behind Ganahl and top-line candidate Greg Lopez. This is nothing short of disastrous for Colorado Republicans.
The last time something like this happened was in 2010, when Tom Tancredo ran for Governor under the banner of the American Constitution Party (ACN) because establishment Republicans were horrified that some guy named Dan Maes was able to become the official GOP nominee for Governor. What makes this situation different is that Tancredo ran on the ACN ballot with the unofficial blessing of GOP bigwigs. Presumably, Republicans are much less enthusiastic about Neuschwanger’s ACN candidacy, but that doesn’t make it any less impactful.
Tom Tancredo, Dan Maes, and John Hickenlooper at a 2010 gubernatorial candidate forum.
It’s unlikely that Neuschwanger’s candidacy will have the same effect that Tancredo had in 2010, when his presence reduced Maes to just 11% of the General Election vote and damn near cost Republicans their “major party status” on future ballots in Colorado. The Tancredo/Maes dynamic allowed Democrat John Hickenlooper to cruise to victory in what was otherwise remembered as the Tea Party wave election (the final vote percentage in the 2010 race for Governor: 51% for Hickenlooper, 36% for Tancredo, and 11% for Maes).
Neuschwanger’s name on the November ballot may not cripple the Colorado Republican Party as it almost did in 2010, but she undoubtedly will take votes away from Ganahl or Lopez (whomever becomes the GOP nominee after the June Primary) in a race in which Republicans already faced an uphill battle in trying to oust a popular incumbent in Polis. And that might be enough to essentially end this race before it even gets started.
The 2022 Governor’s race had been dropping in priority for Republicans amid Ganahl’s silly campaign and the hopeless follies of Lopez (who won first place at the GOP assembly mostly for promising to pardon Tina Peters). When you add Neuschwanger’s ACN candidacy, it’s hard to argue that beating Polis is not a lost cause for Republicans.
► As the Washington Postreports, Russian billionaires who both owe Vladimir Putin and also in a way own him (that’s how oligarchies work) are getting tired of the war on Ukraine:
Even as opinion polls report overwhelming public support for the military campaign, amid pervasive state propaganda and new laws outlawing criticism of the war, cracks are starting to show. The dividing lines among factions of the Russian economic elite are becoming more marked, and some of the tycoons — especially those who made their fortunes before President Vladimir Putin came to power — have begun, tentatively, to speak.
Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for the latest updates on Russia’s war in Ukraine.
For many, the most immediate focus has been their own woes. Sweeping sanctions imposed by the West have brought down a new iron curtain on the Russian economy, freezing tens of billions of dollars of many of the tycoons’ assets along the way.
“In one day, they destroyed what was built over many years. It’s a catastrophe,” said one businessman who was summoned along with many of the country’s other richest men to meet Putin on the day of the invasion.
► Continuing revelations about apprehension and outrage from Republican leadership against Donald Trump and some of their own members (see: Rep. Lauren Boebert) in the immediate aftermath of the January 6th , 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pressing Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to explain himself–The Hill:
Pelosi said during her weekly press conference that audio of McCarthy raising issues regarding rhetoric from fellow Republicans in the days after the attack was “inconsistent” with his past opposition to efforts such as installing magnetometers at the House chamber entrance.
“It was interesting to me that the leader talked about the concern that he had — if in fact those were his words, which that’s up to you to decide — that he was concerned about his members causing danger here and at the same time complaining that we have magnetometers to keep guns off the floor of the House. It just seemed inconsistent to me,” Pelosi said…
“And they can’t say on one breath, I’m afraid that they’re going to cause danger to other members, and at the same time complained about my having magnetometers on the floor of the House,” she added.
► President Joe Biden is reportedly preparing to make good on campaign promises to provide some degree of student loan forgiveness–just how much and how soon remains unknown.
► In a congressional hearing yesterday, Colorado’s Rep. Ken Bucklet his inner nativist out to play in a wild race-baited tirade against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
(Neuschwanger’s going to November — Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Danielle Neuschwanger, coming soon to a ballot near you.
Former Colorado Republican gubernatorial hopeful Danielle Neuschwanger, who rode a wave of grassroots support to early straw poll victories, isn’t giving up her political hopes just yet. Yesterday during an interview on a conservative religious podcast, after claiming her former party rigged the assembly vote against her, Neuschwanger said she will be the Constitution Party’s nominee.
Reached for comment, Neuschwanger clarified her previous day’s comments, saying she’s only accepted an invitation to the American Constitution Party’s vacancy committee meeting and that the nomination process itself will take place this Saturday. Asked for more details about her political future, Neuschwanger declined to provide specifics, but promised that she’d have lots more to say at an event this Saturday in Parker.
Two weeks ago at the Republican Party state assembly in Colorado Springs, Neuschwanger came up just short of the required 30% threshold to make the primary ballot, tallying 27% of the delegates’ votes.
The vote followed an extended dispute over calls for using paper ballots instead of the electronic voting system provided by GOP officials. Immediately following the announced results for governor, Neuschwanger threatened legal action against GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown.
She now says she has proof that the party purchased the handheld clickers and associated software package “with the sole intent to rig the election.”
(Not so compassionate conservatives — Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Heidi Ganahl smiles as WallBuilders president Tim Barton likens angry conservative parents to Revolutionary War soldiers.
Tim Barton of the ultra-conservative anti-LGBTQ Wallbuilders group delivered the keynote speech Friday at the Christian Home Educators of Colorado’s (CHEC) annual “Homeschool Day at the Capitol.” last Friday.
Several Republican legislators and both GOP gubernatorial candidates, Heidi Ganahl and Greg Lopez, joined the conservative evangelical group on the west steps of the state Capitol.
Ganahl later shared pictures of the event on Facebook, praising and tagging CHEC directly in her post.
CHEC Board President Bill Roach praised the candidates and legislators as warriors for Jesus.
“We’re thankful for stalwart leaders,” said Roach. “It takes principled men and women who are not afraid of the enemy to stand. It’s an arduous job to stand in the minority and so many critical issues… I pray that you would give them fear of God and not fear of men. Father, we know that this building is not our safe house. We know that Jesus is our safe house. We’ve seen signatures and stamps of approval on wickedness that has come through here. … May they remember that you sit on the right hand of the father and you will not stop until all enemies are under your footstool. Lord, it’s tough days when evil is strong in this building, but pray with these behind me.”
When last we caught up with efforts to “recall” Governor Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, the crack grassroots organization pushed by right-wing activist Lori Cutunilli was trying to entice people into the depths of an underground parking garage with vague promises of booting one or more statewide elected Democratic officials out of office.
We’re checking back on the subject now because it has been 60 days since the “Recall Polis-Griswold” group began gathering petition signatures for the latest iteration of this particular lost cause. Today, April 25, the “Recall Polis-Griswold” committee was supposed to officially submit a minimum of 630,000 petition signatures in order to trigger a recall election for Polis and/or Griswold. Based on the following message posted to Facebook today by Cutunilli, it seems unlikely that anyone will be marching into the Secretary of State’s office with anything other than lost time.
Recall Polis-Griswold update posted to Facebook today.
We’re not sure exactly how long of an extension the “Recall Polis-Griswold” committee requested, but the details aren’t particularly important. Whether they are seeking another 60 or 90 days, they’re never going to come up with enough signatures to get an actual recall election underway before our regularly-scheduled 2022 election takes place.
For now, Cutunilli and friends might just have to hope that Polis and Griswold get re-elected in November, which would give them four more years to keep this nonsense train rolling.
DeSantis asked his Republican friends in the Florida legislature to dissolve a special improvement district that was created to bring Disney World to Orlando, Florida a half-century ago. Republican lawmakers obliged, and DeSantis signed the bill into law within a matter of days. Polis was rightly concerned about the idea that any government would sanction a private company for disagreeing with policy ideas. As he wrote in a widely-quoted Tweet on April 19:
Florida’s authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector are driving businesses away. In CO, we don’t meddle in affairs of companies like @Disney or @Twitter. Hey @Disney we’re ready for Mountain Disneyland and @twitter we’re ready for Twitter HQ2, whoever your owners are https://t.co/r7Vcvu20eb
Polis later suggested that Colorado would be happy to host Disney — or other companies that are being attacked by DeSantis over cultural grievances — should they wish to relocate to a different state.
All of this apparently riled up Republican gubernatorial candidate HiediHeidi Ganahl, who explained her beef in a Friday appearance on The Leland Conway Show on KHOW Radio (in which Ganahl was presented as a “gubanoral candidate”). Ganahl is so daft that she took Polis’s comments on Disney seriously:
LELAND CONWAY: I imagine, Heidi, [that] you see a lot of hypocrisy here.
HEIDI GANAHL: Oh my goodness, do I, Leland. Thanks for having me today. You know, as usual, Jared Polis is an out-of-touch failure and a hypocrite. You know, the media will not ask – and I don’t mean your media, the mainstream media – will not ask the hard questions of Polis. They’re allowing him to get away with the perception that he is innocently courting Disney, and very libertarian-ish [Pols emphasis], and this idea that he stays out of the business of corporations and small business is ridiculous. He’s almost destroyed small business owners across Colorado with all of his regulations and taxes and fees. 83 new ones, to be exact, since he got elected.
Ganahl is correct that the “mainstream media” has not asked Polis about “innocently courting Disney,” but she has the rationale all wrong. The reason Polis isn’t being asked about courting Disney is not because there is a big conspiracy brewing with the mainstream media; Polis isn’t getting these questions BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE understands that Polis was trolling DeSantis and making a joke in order to make a point.
Sorry to break it to you, Heidi, but Jared Polis is not really offering asylum to fictional mouse people.
Ganahl is such a ridiculous candidate that she grasps at anything she thinks can give her some sort of advantage in the culture wars 2022 election. Perhaps Ganahl doesn’t actually believe that Polis is trying to convince Disney World to rebuild in Colorado, though it’s entirely possible that she truly does think this is a real thing. The point here is that Ganahl is willing to entertain any absurdity if it allows her to criticize the incumbent Governor.
Heidi Ganahl is a non-serious person who wants to be elected to a very serious job. Unfortunately for Ganahl, silliness is not a good qualification for any public office.
The June 28th Primary Election is just about two months away, and most of the action will take place among Republicans. With primaries for U.S. Senate, Governor, Secretary of State, and Congress (C0-03, CO-04, CO-05, CO-07, and CO-08), there are at least 20 different Republican candidates trying to get their message out to the GOP faithful.
There are so many campaigns and candidates searching for time on a forum dais or a right-wing radio show that it’s difficult to keep track of who said what and when. Rather than go through each race individually, we decided to focus on some of the more, shall we say, interesting comments of the last week or so.
“Hang the rest of them”
Image from Ron Hanks’s U.S. Senate campaign website
Republican Senate candidate Ron Hanks was on KOA’s morning news show this week when the interview with Marty Lenz and April Zesbaugh took an odd turn. Hanks insisted that the Jan. 6 insurrection was conducted by Antifa; when he was challenged on this, Hanks fought back before calling for thousands of Americans to be hanged:
MARTY LENZ: Do you have any regrets about being in and around the crowd the day of the US Capitol riot?
RON HANKS:Not at all. Those were millions of peaceful Americans. It was a peaceful rally. The people I met out there were phenomenal and I think to impugn a million peaceful Americans is folly, and Bennett has done it. But in the spirit of bipartisanship, so has Mitch McConnell. So I have nothing but disdain for the both of them for doing that, for impugning the motives of one million Americans. That’s totally wrong. [Pols emphasis]
LENZ: So, you’re a military man. And I’m not talking about the ones peaceful prior to it. The ones that incurred on the Capitol and broke in and went after Capitol Police. You’re somebody that’s served in the military [and] that looks like that’s an insurrection. Do you see that differently?
RON HANKS:I see the million people I was with. If you are talking the Antifa types that were scaling the scaffolding…[Pols emphasis]
LENZ: No. With all due respect, they were not Antifa. I know you intellectually know that. I know you know that.
RON HANKS:Well, I don’t think you know that.[Pols emphasis]
LENZ: I think that is readily accessible observational reality respectfully to you on that. I think that’s a bridge too far for many people, sir, respectfully.
RON HANKS: Well, fair enough. A million peaceful Americans concerned about their country. That’s who I was there with. Hang the rest of them. That’s a disgrace. [Pols emphasis]
APRIL ZESBAUGH: Ron, we’re going to leave it there today, thanks for joining us.
Later, we listen in as Republican gubernatorial candidates Greg Lopez and HiediHeidi 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.