What You Need to Know from the First Gubernatorial Debate

Governor Jared Polis and Republican challenger Hiedi Heidi Ganahl squared off on Wednesday night in Pueblo for the first gubernatorial debate of the 2022 General Election. To the extent that there were any fireworks, they were more like mini sparklers than anything that went ‘boom.’

Wednesday’s forum was missing much of the suspense and build up from debates in prior years, in large part because the race for Governor is a foregone conclusion at this point. Recent polling from Fox 31/Emerson College/The Hill shows that Polis is well ahead of Ganahl (+17 points, in fact), which isn’t likely to change all that much considering that Ganahl doesn’t have the resources to run television ads (her campaign is completely dark) and isn’t going to get any national financial support from Republicans.

You can read more about the debate from The Denver Post, Colorado Public Radio, and The Colorado Sun. To watch the debate yourself, CLICK HERE and skip ahead to about the 1:13:00 mark and avoid the excruciatingly-long introductory period. The very short version of Wednesday’s debate went something like this:

 

Ganahl’s campaign stacked the room in Pueblo with supporters in an effort to create the appearance of interest in her campaign, which came off sort of like when a large family cheers obnoxiously at a high school graduation. Ganahl aggressively attacked Polis from the start; in her opening statement, for example, Ganahl rattled off a few biographical sentences before launching into a rapid-fire barrage of one grievance after another about Polis. It was not an unexpected strategy, but Ganahl rarely got around to saying anything about her own campaign as the forum moved along. When she did talk about her vision for the office, Ganahl was characterteristically vague.

As The Colorado Sun noted:

“I am going to take Colorado to zero income tax,” Ganahl said, touting a pledge she unveiled months ago but still has not explained how she would do so without decimating the state budget.

Colorado Public Radio noted the same problem:

Ganahl reiterated her campaign promise to eliminate the income tax, which brings in more than $13 billion a year to the state and supplies more than half of the general fund. She also wants to cut the gas tax in half…

…Cutting more than $13 billion from the budget would require finding savings equal to the state’s current general fund spending on education, health care, human services and corrections, combined.

Ganahl said that she wants to cut the size of the state government by 10 percent each year, and claimed that she could find extra money amounting to at least 5% of the state budget which she calculated “might be a billion or two right there.” Throughout the evening, Ganahl threw out random numbers like she was emceeing a game of keno.

There are several more gubernatorial debates planned between now and Election Day — many more than we really need to see. If the rest of the forums follow the same script, Ganahl is going to need to come up with some new tricks to keep them from just turning into re-runs.

The Real Heidi Ganahl Stands Up, and She is Completely Bananas

There was a time during the 2022 race for Governor where we wondered if GOP candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was actually a true believer in the mold of the Qanon-loving, MAGA Republican election deniers that dominate the base of the Republican Party…or if she was merely pandering to the base in order to make sure she won the Republican Primary for Governor.

We once assumed — in retrospect very generously — that Ganahl was trying to walk a tightrope connecting her to the GOP base when she consistently refused to say that the 2020 Presidential election was conducted fairly. But as time went on and Ganahl held fast to her refusal to answer what she called “divisive questions,” this position became harder to defend. Ganahl continued to stand by the likes of former visiting CU Professor and coup architect John Eastman, and then in July she picked an election denier (Danny Moore) as her running mate and nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

As more evidence mounted, we started to wonder if perhaps Ganahl actually believed all of this election truther nonsense.

Now?

We’re absolutely sure of it. Heidi Ganahl, the Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado, is at least as crazy as every other wackadoodle conspiracy theorist in our state…and maybe more.

As Heidi Beedle reports for the Colorado Times Recorder:

Heidi Ganahl is the latest Republican to repeat outrageous and thoroughly debunked claims about furries in public schools.

“Not many people know that we have furries in Colorado schools,” said Ganahl during a Saturday appearance on Jimmy Sengenberger’s KNUS radio show.

“Have you heard about this story?” Ganahl asked Sengenberger. “Yeah, kids identifying as cats. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s happening all over Colorado and schools are tolerating it. It’s insane. What on earth are we doing? Knock it off, schools. Put your foot down. Like, stop it. Let’s get back to teaching basics and not allow this woke ideology, ideological stuff, infiltrate our schools. And it is happening here in Colorado. It’s why I moved from Boulder Valley to Douglas County, because it was happening in my kids schools four years ago.” [Pols emphasis]

Ganahl joins Republican Colorado Springs House Scott Bottoms and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) in repeating patently ridiculous — and false — claims about furries in public schools. The outrage over students who are a part of the niche subculture that embraces anthropomorphic art and cosplay — and is predominantly LGBTQ — stems from remarks made by Nebraska Sen. Bruce Bostelman, a conservative Republican, who repeated false claims about furries using litter boxes in schools during a televised debate on a bill intended to help students who have behavioral problems.

Bostelman has since apologized and retracted his statements.

 

Yes, Ganahl actually said all of this. Listen for yourself:

 

 

Clearly, this story is gaining legs (er, peels):

 

Last week Ganahl unveiled a transportation “plan” that was just a bunch of bullet points about roads she wanted to fix, wrapped in a package of ideas that incumbent Gov. Jared Polis was already doing. We wrote that her “plan” was further proof that Ganahl was not a serious person, nor a serious candidate.

We’ve now crossed over into a different territory altogether. Ganahl legitimately believes that Colorado schools are allowing children — most of whom she claims can’t read or do math — to run around in cat costumes instead of “teaching the basics” in class. She literally said ON THE RADIO — two days ago — that she moved from Boulder to Douglas County so that her children could escape this feline furry fanaticism. If this were really happening like Ganahl claims, wouldn’t everyone know about it by now?

Heidi Ganahl is out of her goddamned mind. We’d offer anyone the opportunity to “change our mind,” but it would be a pointless endeavor. You can’t. Nobody can.

This is the actual Republican nominee for Governor in Colorado in 2022.

New Episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

Boebert Pens Angry Letter to Biden on CORE Act

Lauren Boebert drafting her letter to President Biden.

As Kimberly Nicoletti reports for The Aspen Times, supporters of the long effort to pass the CORE Act, which would designate new national monuments and federal lands, are hoping a final decision is just around the corner:

Colorado ski towns could have a national monument right in their backyards, relatively speaking, and supporters hope it happens this fall.

On Saturday, Vet Voice Foundation, community leaders, elected officials, and 10th Mountain veterans — including a 100-year-old 10th Mountain veteran — will gather with the public at the Colorado Snowsports Museum for a rally to support the proposed Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument…

CORE is a 10-year citizens’ campaign that has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives five times but stalled in the Senate. It would safeguard areas including the Thompson Divide, the San Juan Mountains, the Continental Divide and Camp Hale, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area. [Pols emphasis]

CORE Act champions, including Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper, Rep. Neguse and Gov. Polis, are urging the Biden administration to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide region a national monument through executive action.

As readers of Colorado Pols probably know, the CORE Act is something that has wide support across Colorado but has been regularly opposed by some Republicans doing the bidding of the extraction and logging industries. Republicans often pretend that their opposition is because of other interests — including a tortured attempt to claim that the CORE Act would increase wildfires — but those arguments are specious at best.

Speaking of “specious,” Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert recently drafted a letter to President Biden signed by fellow Colorado Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn (as well as non-Colorado lunatics such as Reps. Louis Gohmert, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar) asking Biden to oppose the CORE Act. The idiocy of this letter is instructive for understanding the lack of legitimate arguments against protecting more than 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado for recreational use. You can read the full letter here (Boebert-AntiquitiesAct-PDF); we’ve broken down the main arguments below.

Mr. Biden,

We write with grave concern regarding new efforts to unilaterally impose severe land-use restrictions on the people of Colorado and across the American West. For years, partisan big-city Democrats – with the full backing and support of the far-Left green energy cartel – have attempted to implement massive new land grabs through the so-called Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. The CORE Act land grab seeks to impose increased land restrictions on nearly 400,000 acres, 73,000 acres of which would be designated as new wilderness and close numerous forms of outdoor recreation and multiple-use, exacerbating wildfires in the process.

Boebert can’t even bother to address Biden as “President,” but that’s pretty standard childishness from the representative of the third congressional district. The first paragraph is filled with MAGA jargon such as “big-city Democrats” and “far-Left green energy cartel,” and it concludes by claiming that the CORE Act would “exacerbate wildfires.” We’re not sure how the logic works here, but presumably Boebert is concerned that private industry won’t be allowed to rake the forests if the CORE Act is implemented.

This is a good point to stop and remind readers that both Boebert and Buck were among a minority in Congress who just this month voted AGAINST the Wildfire Recovery Act for reasons neither person has bothered to explain.

Boebert’s letter warns that “without local buy-in, any designation of land under the Antiquities Act will be subject to considerable controversy, as well as never-ending litigation.” What the letter does not mention is that there is, in fact, substantial “local buy-in” for the CORE Act.

A small sample of local support for the CORE Act that this letter conveniently ignores.

This is where things get particularly ridiculous. The letter lists 59 “stakeholders” that have formally objected to the CORE Act. Before we get into that list, remember that the CORE Act only deals with public lands in Colorado.

There are a handful of national organizations included in her letter among 59 opposition “stakeholders,” such as the American Energy Alliance; the Independent Petroleum Association of America; Industrial Miners Association; and groups called “Protect Americans Now” and “Less Government.” There are also a number of corporations, such as Encore Energy; Prime Fuels Corp.; and Sabre Gold.

Colorado Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn oppose the CORE Act.

The “stakeholders” list also includes four organizations from Arizona; four organizations based in New Mexico; and even one that is from California (California Farm Bureau). How this is relevant is not a question we can answer, though it would be fun to ask Boebert why she thinks California should be involved in decisions that affect Colorado.

There are a handful of groups on Boebert’s list that are actually located in Colorado, among them the Colorado Livestock Association and the Colorado Wool Growers Association. Opposition is also listed as coming from Colorado counties such as Archuleta; Cheyenne; “Freemont” [sic]; Dolores; Mesa; Mineral; and Montezuma. Not mentioned, of course, is the pesky fact that the CORE Act would not designate any new protected land in any of these counties.

Boebert’s letter concludes with these dire warnings:

While Camp Hale and our servicemembers that were stationed there made important contributions to World War II, we don’t support the efforts of extremist environmentalists who are seeking to hijack this historic place to create a new land designation – a designation that literally does not exist – to prohibit timber harvesting and mining on nearly 30,000 acres of land.

A second request made by our colleagues would permanently withdraw 200,000 acres of land in the Thompson Divide – an area blessed with an abundance of natural gas deposits – from energy exploration. Notwithstanding the fact that natural gas prices have surged to a 14-year high, this request is a solution in search of a problem since the area of controversy has already been administratively withdrawn. [Pols emphasis]

Um, okay.

The CORE Act unites and improves four previously introduced bills: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act; the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act; the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act; and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.

The Antiquities Act grants the President power to determine how much land to protect under historic or scientific interest. Despite protests from Boebert, Buck, Lamborn and friends, President Biden could take executive action to finally make the CORE Act a reality at any time.

Poll: Who Will Win The Governor’s Race? (9/23)

Jared Polis, Heidi Ganahl.

Keeping up with our completely unscientific polling of readers about the major 2022 Colorado races, it’s time to ask your opinion of the gubernatorial race in the third week of September. Incumbent Gov. Jared Polis is being challenged this year by the only remaining Republican statewide elected official in Colorado, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl.

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

Who will win Colorado's race for governor in 2022?

View Results

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Fox 31/Emerson: Polis and Bennet with Double-Digit Leads

UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on the response from the various campaigns to today’s polling numbers.

Up first, the frat house that is the Joe O’Dea campaign strikes back with its familiar brand of inexplicable chest-pounding:

A spokesman for O’Dea’s campaign disputed the poll’s findings in a text message to Colorado Politics.

“If this is a 10 point race, Joe Biden’s inflation crisis was transitory and Michael Bennet is a professional fly fisherman,” said Kyle Kohli, O’Dea’s communications director.

Saying his candidate has “massive appeal to voters who are sick of both political parties,” Kohli added that the campaign feels as good about O’Dea’s chances as they did when he won the primary in late June despite massive spending by Democrats to boost his more conservative opponent.

Righto! O’Dea spokesperson Kyle Kohli should have erred more toward this response from the campaign for gubernatorial no-hopeful Heidi Ganahl:

Ganahl spokeswoman Lexi Swearingen said her candidate is “looking forward to surprising people again this November,” noting that the Republican won the CU regent’s race six years ago amid predictions she wouldn’t.

This statement is significantly less ridiculous than the one from Kohli, though it wrongly presupposes that more than a handful of Coloradans had any sort of opinion whatsoever on the 2016 CU Regent race. But at least Ganahl’s campaign is taking their lumps with a modicum of grace.

Finally, here’s what the O’Dea and Ganahl campaigns SHOULD have done:

Bennet’s and Polis’ campaigns didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The numbers speak for themselves.

—–

The big Colorado political news this morning comes via a new  FOX31/Channel 2/Emerson College/The Hill poll showing that Democrats hold commanding leads in the two top-ticket races in Colorado.

As The Hill newspaper reports:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) are on track to win their reelection bids in November, with each man holding a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger, according to a new Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey released Thursday.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis leads Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl by an astronomical 17 points with less than four weeks to go until Colorado voters start receiving their mail ballots.

Fox 31 is trying their best to make these numbers seem less terrible for Ganahl, but no amount of sugarcoating can change the taste for Republicans:

Of the respondents, 53% said they would vote for Polis if the election were held today, while 36% would vote for Ganahl. But a significant minority of voters said they are still undecided — 9% for this race.

Even if Ganahl picked up every last undecided voter in this poll, she’d still be trailing Polis by 8 points.

Meanwhile, in the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet is polling 10 points ahead of Republican Joe O’Dea. The poll shows that 14% of Colorado voters remain undecided, while 4% plan to vote for “Someone Else.”

As The Hill notes, these numbers do not comport with recent claims from national Republicans:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told reporters on Tuesday that O’Dea is “barely behind” Bennet in the polls and has a real chance of ousting Colorado’s senior senator this year.

If Scott and the NRSC really believed this, of course, then they would be spending at least some money in Colorado to support O’Dea. But they aren’t.

The Republican path to victory in Colorado is in here somewhere. Maybe.

These new numbers certainly track with other recent public polling in Colorado’s Senate race. Even conservative pollster McLaughlin and Associates had Bennet with an 8-point lead over O’Dea in its mid-August survey. There has been less available public polling in the race for Governor, largely because no serious political professional has been able to find any daylight for Ganahl’s bumbling campaign.

Interestingly, both Ganahl and O’Dea are stuck at about 36% support. This doesn’t suggest a ceiling for the Republican candidates, but there’s not a ton of room for potential growth based on top-ticket races in Colorado over the last decade. Bennet may not be polling at 50%, for example, but recent history suggests that he can win re-election handily regardless; in the last three election cycles, no top-ticket Republican candidate has finished with more than 44% of the total vote in Colorado.

Of course Democrats (and Republicans) still need to keep pushing hard through Election Day to turn out every possible voter, but we’re starting to get a pretty good picture of how things might look in November.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Governor Jared Polis

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Governor Jared Polis about the 2022 campaign, truth in advertising, executing an agenda during COVID, saving people money, and the best cut of meat of a cow: The brisket. We also ask Gov. Polis for his thoughts on the recent immigrant relocation stunt pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Here’s Gov. Polis’s recipe for the perfect brisket rub:

♦ 1 cup brown sugar
♦ 1 tablespoon paprika
♦ 1 teaspoon black pepper
♦ 2 teaspoons salt
♦ 2 teaspoons ground mustard
♦ 2 teaspoons garlic powder
♦ ½ teaspoon cumin
♦ ½ teaspoon coriander
♦ 1 teaspoon rosemary (crumbled)

Rub the brisket and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before cooking. How long to cook it depends on how large a brisket you’ve got, but it’s usually around six hours at 250 in the oven.

About halfway through cooking, open the oven, flip over the brisket, and pour some Worcestershire sauce and/or ketchup on the brisket after flipping it over. Then cook it for the remaining time.

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

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

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

Motion To Dismiss History’s Silliest Campaign Finance Complaint

Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown.

Back in early August as the state ramped up to mail out “Colorado Cashback” refund checks to Colorado taxpayers–refunds mandated by the 1992 so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” reformulated to give lower-income taxpayers a substantial increase at the expense of wealthier taxpayers — former militia leader and current Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown filed a campaign finance complaint against Gov. Jared Polis. Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reported at that time:

Governor Jared Polis and the Colorado GOP are tangling over a letter taxpayers will receive with their TABOR refund checks in the coming weeks; Republicans accuse Polis of using the communication to boost his reelection chances.

The letter, which Polis described to CPR as informative, comes with the governor’s signature at the bottom. On Thursday, Kristi Burton Brown, the executive director of the Colorado Republican party, filed a campaign finance complaint alleging it amounts to electioneering at the taxpayers’ expense.

“This letter blatantly misleads voters by refusing to say the word ‘TABOR’ or ‘Taxpayer Bill of Rights.’ Instead, the Governor uses his own campaign language of ‘Colorado Cashback,’ a phrase he coined during his campaign for re-election,” states Burton Brown in the complaint.

The complaint against Gov. Polis was heavily covered by local news media, earning stories  in the Colorado Sun, Colorado Newsline, the Denver Post, the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog, and KDVR FOX-31 among other outlets. Of all of these outlets, only Ernest Luning and Marianne Goodland of the Gazette looked critically at the substance of the complaint, finding the obvious problem without much difficulty:

The GOP’s complaint, filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office…charges Polis with instead referring to the checks as part of the Colorado CashBack, alleging the phrase was “coined during his campaign for re-election,” though the phrase appears to have been first used by legislators when they introduced the bill to authorize the accelerated refund program. [Pols emphasis]

May 2022 Tweet from Rep. Lindsey Daugherty celebrating the Colorado Cashback refunds.

The complaint asserts without any justification that the term “Colorado Cashback” was created by Gov. Polis’ campaign, when that’s plainly not the case–lawmakers called the rejiggered TABOR refunds the “Colorado Cashback” plan when the legislation was debated last spring (Tweet right). This means the whole basis of Brown’s complaint is bogus–but that didn’t stop the local press from spending almost a week castigating Gov. Polis on the GOP’s behalf before any such determination could be made.

Well folks, today that determination was made by the Elections Division of the Colorado Secretary of State’s office–filing a motion to dismiss Brown’s complaint, finding “there is insufficient evidence to support a finding that Respondents violated Colorado campaign finance law.”

As it turns out, Brown never even tried to provide evidence to back up her contentions:

In support of her allegations, Complainant attached the July 7th letter and a portion of the fiscal note for SB 22-233 referencing the state expenditures related to the refund mechanism. Complainant did not explain why she believed the term “Colorado Cashback” was associated with Respondent Candidate’s campaign nor did she provide any evidence of the campaign using the term in the Complaint or in response to the Division’s request for information…

Complainant illustrated how Respondent Governor Polis did not embrace or use the term TABOR in association with SB 22-233 or the refund checks but presented no evidence that “Colorado Cashback” is campaign language, a campaign slogan, or a term that was coined by Respondent Candidate during his campaign, as alleged in the Complaint. [Pols emphasis]

The reason Brown couldn’t give the Elections Division any evidence that “Colorado Cashback” is a campaign slogan is that is clearly was not, having been used by lawmakers as far back as April to describe the one-time TABOR refund mechanism legislation Senate Bill 22-233. Republicans can seethe that Democrats neglected to mention the word “TABOR,” but there’s no law that says anyone ever had to. And as for the content of the letter to taxpayers accompanying the check?

[T]he plain language of the letter does not concern the nomination, retention, or election of any person to any public office, nor does it reference, let alone support or oppose, any state or local ballot measure. While Complainant alleges that letter supports the (re)election of Respondent Candidate to office, Complainant has failed to provide evidence that the letter is an electioneering communication not subject to the normal course and scope of business exemption. [Pols emphasis]

The flimsy factual basis of this complaint was apparent the day it was filed, and any competent campaign finance lawyer asked by any reporter inquiring would have told them this had zero chance of being upheld after a full review. That raises real questions about why the local press rushed to give this baseless complaint so much attention. For Republicans this is still on balance a misinformation victory handed to them by the media, since far fewer voters will hear that the story was debunked than saw the original reporting about the complaint.

All we can say is, hopefully the media’s attention continues even though Kristi Burton Brown doesn’t want it anymore. Every news outlet who reported about the original complaint now has an obligation to publicize its debunking just as vigorously.

Unleash the Idiocy: Heidi Ganahl Promotes Another Silly Plan

Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has been an official candidate for Governor for more than a year now, but as we noted on Thursday, time has absolutely not sharpened Ganahl’s political instincts.

Yesterday, Ganahl stood in a field near the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) headquarters building to unveil — nay, UNLEASH — her plan for fixing Colorado’s roads. This was not so much a “plan” as it was a couple of bullet points about roads that Ganahl would like to see fixed.

Much like her “plan” for eliminating the income tax in Colorado and her “plan” to somehow invent new water sources, Ganahl continually demonstrates that she has barely thought about any of these important issues beyond whatever words she can fit into a Tweet condemning incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

As Nathaniel Minor reports for Colorado Public Radio, Ganahl’s press event on Thursday was prototypically silly:

She said the plan would make personal vehicular travel a higher priority for the state Department of Transportation than it is currently under Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

“Jared Polis is stealing one of our basic freedoms,” Ganahl said at a press conference near CDOT headquarters in Denver. “Driving gives you the freedom to go where you want, when you want.”…

In reality, while Polis has supported significant funding boosts for electric vehicles, public transportation (except for RTD), and other climate-friendly transportation efforts, his Department of Transportation is in the middle of its own decade-long plan to spend billions of dollars on roads — including expansion projects. [Pols emphasis]

D’Oh!

Ganahl has repeatedly said that she wants to eliminate Colorado’s income tax and cut the gas tax in half, proposals that would eliminate some $10 billion from Colorado’s budget. Ganahl has acknowledged that she literally HAS NO ACTUAL PROPOSAL for how this would even work or what Colorado would do to replace one-third of its budget. Ganahl’s campaign spokesperson says only, “We have a policy team working on it.”

Ganahl says her transportation plan would cost about $10 billion. Between this proposal and her income tax/gas tax reductions, Ganahl has already allocated two-thirds of the entire state budget. Reality has never been Ganahl’s strong suit as a politician.

We’re kinda surprised that Ganahl didn’t just promise to drive every Coloradan herself.

So how would Ganahl fund her transportation priorities other than relying on magic fairy dust? The very first bullet point in Ganahl’s transportation plan is this: “Will not raise taxes.” It’s a fun thing to say, but it doesn’t really track with her actual proposal. From CPR:

At the heart of Ganahl’s $10 billion transportation plan is a ballot initiative that would be voted on in 2024. The measure would ask voters to repeal the 2021 transportation bill and its related fees on things like deliveries, ride-sharing services and gasoline and replace that revenue with new taxes that would mirror the fees.

“I’m taking this plan to the voters to get approval, and we will call them taxes as they are,” she said. “That’s the key, it’s just being honest and authentic and transparent with the people of Colorado.”

The transportation taxes in Ganahl’s proposal differ from the fees in the Polis-backed 2021 bill in a few important ways. First, the taxes would be temporary, sunsetting in 10 years. Second, there are significant restrictions on how fee revenue can be spent. Ganahl could more easily shift spending to road projects if the revenue came from taxes. Third, the taxes would be voter-approved. The fees in the 2021 transportation package did not require voter approval because of the way the law was written.

And what happens if Colorado voters turn her down?

“It’ll pass, don’t worry,” Ganahl said of her proposed ballot initiative. She did not say what her contingency plan would be if it failed. [Pols emphasis]

In fairness to Ganahl, you can’t expect her to have a “contingency plan” when she doesn’t have a serious plan in the first place. In order to have a “Plan B,” you kinda need a “Plan A.”

And what about the rest of the money needed to fix all of these roads?

Ganahl’s plan would also rely on $3 billion in public-private partnerships and $3.5 billion in state general fund allocations. She said she was “confident” the legislature could find that money despite her plans to eliminate the state income tax. [Pols emphasis]

“If the people of Colorado are going to approve the funding from the voters, the general assembly must meet the people halfway,” she said.

Flying DeLorean not included

If Ganahl is just going to rely on all of these theoretical things taking place one after another, she might as well promise to just build a bunch of new highway lanes throughout the Denver Metro area. Which, of course, she did!

Ganahl embraces toll lanes, which have been standard practice for CDOT for years. Her plan calls for continuous toll lanes from Castle Rock to Fort Collins, which would require widening Interstate 25 through the south side of the metro all the way to downtown. CDOT and the Denver Regional Council of Governments just backed away from a planned expansion for part of that stretch of highway.

Really, the only thing missing from Ganahl’s transportation proposal is a pledge to make sure that every Coloradan has a flying car by 2024.

Colorado Public Radio noted that Ganahl’s transportation plan was actually very similar to what Gov. Polis has proposed. As Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Kailee Stiles said, “Heidi’s first plan is more like a wishlist…of things the Governor is already doing.”

Heidi Ganahl is not a serious person, let alone a serious candidate. She is the most ill-prepared and uninformed candidate for public office that Colorado has seen since Dan Maes was earning 11% of the vote as the GOP nominee for Governor in 2010.

Throwback Thursday: Ganahl Launches Campaign for Governor

As Kyle Clark of 9News reminds us today via Twitter, we have reached the one year anniversary of the (first) launch of Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for Governor (Sept. 14 is the official anniversary):

Ganahl has actually “launched” her campaign for Governor more than once, which is as stupid as it sounds, but shit officially started rolling downhill shortly after her initial announcement on Sept. 14, 2021. Despite having spent more than a year prepping for a gubernatorial run, Ganahl’s campaign was a mess from the jump; as an example, the “issues” page of her website was still Latin text filler (“Lorem Ipsum“) for weeks after her announcement.

Within a month of her campaign kickoff, Ganahl had already fired her campaign manager, which was another preview of things to come; you would need more than one hand to count the number of people who have theoretically been in charge of the Ganahl campaign in the last 12 months.

As we wrote in December 2021:

Ganahl’s campaign launch began with a bungled effort at generating suspense in advance of a formal announcement in an ominous location. Once things got going, Ganahl proved completely unprepared to answer even basic questions from reporters and struggled to elaborate on a nonexistent platform of ideas. Ganahl’s campaign ended up cutting its 2-week statewide tour in half when it became clear that nobody, anywhere, wanted to listen to her speak.

Ganahl’s gubernatorial kickoff was legitimately one of the saddest efforts we’ve seen in recent Colorado political history. Before the month was out, multiple REPUBLICAN political experts were publicly acknowledging that her campaign would have to improve just to reach “dumpster fire” status.

And then things GOT WORSE.

In fact, it’s fair to say that since launching her campaign for Governor (the first time), every subsequent day for Heidi Ganahl has been worse than the one that came before.
 

 

Unfortunately for Ganahl, she still has two more months of misery ahead of her. The Ganahl campaign has no message, no tangible policy ideas, very little money, and no hope of national support. Her attacks on Democratic Gov. Jared Polis have been just plain silly (and often embarrassing). Ganahl is doing so poorly that her campaign can’t even manufacture a poll showing her ahead of Polis even after respondents are subjected to a battery of negative information about the incumbent.

Oh, and the next General Election television ad you see featuring Ganahl…will also be the first General Election ad featuring Ganahl.

Five weeks from today, Colorado voters will have started to return their mail ballots for the 2022 General Election. Three weeks later, Ganahl will finally be able to stop pretending that anybody wants to “Meat Heidi” at the State Capitol. The only suspense remaining? Whether or not Ganahl will capture the mythical title of “worst major candidate in Colorado history.”

Happy “Throwback Thursday”! If Ganahl could go back in time and do it all over again, we’re fairly confident that she would not do this again.

Ganahl Reaches “If, Then” Stage of Denial

As Andrew Kenney of Colorado Public Radio notes today, Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl totally has all the momentum in her race against incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis

…If your definition of “momentum” is promoting your own nonsense internal polling as a proof point:

This is where we’re at with Ganahl’s campaign with about a month to go until ballots drop: IF a bunch of different things were to happen soon, THEN Ganahl could have Polis right where she wants him!

To some extent, this is even true. IF Ganahl wasn’t an historically-awful candidate, AND Polis wasn’t a popular incumbent in a blue state, THEN she might have a chance.

But she is…and he is…and she doesn’t.

The GMS Podcast: Asshats in Key States

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

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

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

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

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

MAGA Millionaire Tries to Rescue MAGA Candidate for Governor

Steve Wells, Heidi Ganahl

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl filed her latest campaign finance report on Tuesday, and it was as underwhelming as everything else she has done since launching her bid for Governor last September.

Through Sept. 6, 2022, Ganahl has raised $1.6 million, loaned her campaign $250k, and spent about $1.6 million in total. She enters the last two months of the General Election campaign with $188,407 in the bank.

This is not good by any comparison. At about this same time in 2018, then-Republican gubernatorial hopeful Walker Stapleton had about three times as much money in the bank ($555,000) and would end up raising and spending in excess of $4 million total. Stapleton lost the race for Governor to Democrat Jared Polis by about 11 points.

Ganahl has obviously not been able to entice multiple donors to support her campaign, and there’s no indication that national Republican groups — such as the Republican Governor’s Association — are planning on parachuting in at the last minute to boost her chances against the incumbent Polis. There hasn’t been reliable public polling indicating that Ganahl even has a chance in November; even ultra-conservative pollsters haven’t been able to figure out a way to massage the numbers enough to show Ganahl within the margin of error against Polis.

Nevertheless, there is still one MAGA Republican in Colorado who is apparently willing to light his money on fire in support of Ganahl’s lost cause…or, at least, in opposition to her Democratic opponent. As The Colorado Sun reports, a Weld County rancher and oil and gas “booster” is committing big bucks in an effort to unseat Polis:

Wells Ranch, the company owned by Wells, put another $5 million into Deep Colorado Wells, the state-level super PAC he formed in June.

This brings Wells Ranch’s total investment in the PAC to $6 million. And it makes the ranch the biggest donor to a state-level super PAC in Colorado so far this cycle. [Pols emphasis]

While the group’s stated mission is to support Republican candidates, nearly all of Deep Colorado Wells’ $600,000 in spending last month went toward opposing Polis and supporting Ganahl.

Wells told The Sun he isn’t sure how much he’ll spend to defeat Polis. [Pols emphasis]

“MAGA Republican?” Check!

This doesn’t seem like a particularly well-thought out plan considering that Colorado voters will be casting ballots in six weeks and Polis is already on the air (Ganahl, meanwhile, is not). The Polis campaign has reserved at least $4.4 million in television ads from now through Election Day and has $3.3 million more in the bank; Polis is self-funding most of his campaign and could contribute many more millions if necessary (Polis spent more than $23 million of his own money in 2018).

In short, if Wells is really committed to defeating Polis, he’s either going to need to spend a LOT more money or gain access to a time machine so that any ads get enough repetition to get through to voters before ballots drop in mailboxes in mid-October. It would also help if Republicans hadn’t nominated someone who is likely the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history, but that can’t be fixed at this point.

Now, you’re probably asking, Who in the hell is Steve Wells? 

Wells is a wingnut MAGA Republican millionaire who first caught our attention in 2019 when he pledged $100,000 to the recall campaign against then Democratic State Rep. Rochelle Galindo. Wells owns a bunch of property in Weld County that is home to a good amount of oil and gas drilling. He also owns a company called Wells Trucking, but most of Wells’ wealth appears to come from oil and gas operations on his properties.

Wells operates an independent expenditure committee (IEC) called Deep Colorado Wells. The IEC has its own website that is mostly filled with long, strange video rants from Wells himself, in which he sits at a table in a game room of some sort and yells at rhetorical clouds facing a camera that apparently does not include an external microphone.

From the website “Deep Colorado Wells”

 

Wells is apparently angry with Polis for a number of reasons — many of which are listed on this Geocities-inspired website — including inflation, vehicle theft, and fentanyl. Wells is also a Climate Change denier, as this 2016 story from the Christian Science Monitor outlines:

On his ranch near Greeley, Mr. Wells sits inside his “office,” an enormous warehouse filled with hunting trophies, flags, eagle images, rodeo posters, and mementos: a 1927 green beer-delivery truck, a guitar signed by rock star and Second Amendment crusader Ted Nugent, and a ’92 Harley Davidson low-rider in a glass case.

His understanding of the climate and of climate science comes from the numerous articles he reads every day, sifting through them “to search for the truth.”

What strikes him as convincing? Articles about emissions from Mt. St. Helens influencing climate more than humans (a claim opposed by most scientists), and ones detailing NASA data showing the Antarctic ice cap is growing (a paradox that scientists acknowledge, though most say it is insignificant in terms of broad warming trends).

The articles fit into a broader pattern of partisan distrust. He recounts what he sees as a litany of Democratic failures and distortions on energy and the environment.

“Jimmy Carter said we’d be out of oil by the year 2000 and we were headed for an ice age, and that didn’t pan out,” Wells says. “Then it was acid rain. Then we started the global warming thing, and now we’ve started on climate change. You need to follow the money to figure out the truth. If you look at Al Gore’s net worth since he got out of office versus now, he’s made a lot of money with this so-called energy issue.” [Pols emphasis]

Um, yeah. You get the idea.

Wells claims that specific policy decisions drive his political spending — he said he got involved in the Galindo recall because of SB-181, the infamous legislation that (turns out) did not destroy the oil and gas industry in Colorado — but it’s clear from the ranting on his IEC website that he mostly enjoys being able to shake a larger fist than most people.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that a MAGA millionaire has stepped forward to support a MAGA Republican candidate — even if that candidate is the feckless Ganahl.

On the other hand, the fact that this doesn’t make much sense might be exactly why it makes all the sense in the world (the MAGA World…not the real one).

First General Election Ads for Polis and Caraveo

Democrats running in two of the most-watched political races of 2022 are up with their first television ads of the General Election.

Here’s Democratic Gov. Jared Polis (and his shoes) in his first re-election spot for Governor:

 

Elsewhere, Democrat Yadira Caraveo has launched her first television ad in her race for Congress in the new CO-08:

 

Big Government Is Not Taking Over Your Thermostat

Denver7’s Jaclyn Allen reports on a not-really new program from Xcel Energy designed to help cope with extremely high electrical consumption during hot summer days, which Tuesday was apparently engaged for the first time to the surprise of a number of homeowners who (sorry to say this) shouldn’t have been surprised:

Xcel confirmed to Contact Denver7 that 22,000 customers who had signed up for the Colorado AC Rewards program were locked out of their smart thermostats for hours on Tuesday.

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel. [Pols emphasis]

Customers receive a $100 credit for enrolling in the program and $25 annually, but Romine said customers also agree to give up some control to save energy and money and make the system more reliable.

“So, it helps everybody for people to participate in these programs. It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful,” said Romine.

Many new homes built in Colorado today utilize a smart thermostat that both consumers and–if given permission by the consumer–utility companies can access to help manage power consumption during peak periods. This helps avoid the much less pleasant alternative of rolling blackouts when the power grid hits capacity. It’s also available to existing homeowners who upgrade to compatible smart thermostats.

And again, AC Rewards is a 100% voluntary and compensated program that no consumer is forced to participate in. But that’s not stopping Republicans like this Maryland congressional candidate from declaring an impending thermostatic dystopia and trying to turn this voluntary program into a stick to beat Colorado Democrats with:

Here in the reality-based community, we know that Democratic politicians aren’t trying to punish Coloradans with Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency programs any more than consumers are being forced to participate in them. That Tuesday was the first time the system was activated in this emergency capacity since it rolled out in 2019 shows how sparingly the smart thermostat’s emergency override is employed. Given a choice between limits on power in an emergency versus losing power entirely, it’s an easy choice. Or at least it should be.

If you’re determined to uncover a nefarious plot behind everything, that’s all you tend to find.

Polis Appoints DA in Southern Colorado

Gov. Polis, left, and Anne Kelly this morning in Alamosa

Governor Jared Polis today appointed Anne Kelly as the new District Attorney in JD-12 (San Luis Valley).

Attorney General Phil Weiser had been providing oversight in the district since Democrat Alonzo Payne resigned in early July after numerous complaints about a lack of timely communications regarding prosecutions and allegations that Payne had violated the Colorado Crime Victim Rights Act.

As Shelly Bradbury of The Denver Post reports:

Kelly will take over Thursday as district attorney in the 12th Judicial District, which covers Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties.

She previously worked as a prosecutor on the Front Range, working in the 18th, 19th and 20th judicial districts, which include Weld, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, as well as Boulder, where she was credited with starting a program aimed at helping victims of domestic violence, the Daily Camera newspaper reported.

She will replace Alonzo Payne, a reform-minded prosecutor who resigned in July amid a recall effort led by the city of Alamosa and backed by residents upset with his style of prosecution, professionalism and treatment of victims — and amid an unprecedented investigation by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser into violations of the state’s Victim Rights Act.

Kelly was chosen by a panel of law enforcement veterans. She will serve as the DA in JD-12 until a new District Attorney is elected.

Here’s the New “This is What Momentum Looks Like”

“Colorado is in Play” is the new “This is What Momentum Looks Like.”

Back in October 2017, supporters of then-gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler were inexplicably crowing that “this is what momentum looks like” after their candidate raised less than $100k in the third quarter fundraising period and picked up a handful of endorsements from law enforcement types in Colorado. About a month later, Brauchler dropped out of the race for Governor in order to run for Attorney General; Democrat Phil Weiser went on to handily defeat Brauchler in November 2018, giving Brauchler TWO statewide defeats in the same cycle.

Brauchler’s lack of momentum was as obvious at the time as it was in hindsight, and that story was the first thing that came to mind on Tuesday when new numbers for the 2022 races for Senate and Governor were released by a notorious right-wing polling outfit. We’ll get to those polling results in a moment, but the response from the campaign of GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea was to gleefully repeat the idea that “Colorado is in play.”

This is not new, of course. Here’s longtime Republican (cough, “Unaffiliated,” cough) consultant Rob Witwer making the same declaration back on June 9:

You’re probably wondering at this point if Colorado is truly “in play” in 2022. That depends a lot on your definition of “in play,” and to answer that question, we need to address those new polling numbers from Trafalgar Group released on Tuesday.

Trafalgar Group is a polling outfit that is well known for being exceedingly optimistic about Republican chances in most of their pre-election surveys. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Trafalgar is wrong in its polling data, but you do need to take their findings with at least a few grains of salt. Robert Cahaly, Trafalgar’s main pollster, famously insisted in late 2020 that then-President Trump was going to win re-election because “social desirability bias” meant that there were a large number of “shy Trump supporters” who weren’t showing up in everybody else’s polling data. As The New York Times wrote on Nov. 8, 2020:

Trafalgar does not disclose its methods, and is considered far too shadowy by other pollsters to be taken seriously.

Trafalgar Group does not have much of a history in Colorado. The last time — and perhaps the only time — Trafalgar released a public poll in Colorado was in 2016, when they showed numbers just before Election Day that indicated Democrat Hillary Clinton was ahead of Republican Donald Trump by just 0.4%. Clinton ended up carrying Colorado by about 5 points. There are a couple of other oddities in Trafalgar’s new Senate and Governor polls in Colorado in 2022, but here’s what they claim as of Tuesday:

 

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Heidi Ganahl is Committed to Running a Campaign About Nothing

Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl kicked off her campaign for Governor last September with a series of interviews that were a complete disaster, punctuated by a laughable attempt to get tough with 9News reporter Marshall Zelinger (“Why all the divisive questions?“). She blamed the media for her own failure to answer basic and very obvious questions, which in truth just exposed the fact that Ganahl hadn’t even really thought about the answers.

After that round of interview #FAILs, Ganahl went more than 9 months without speaking to a mainstream media outlet and regularly complaining about journalists on right-wing radio shows. She only relented to a handful of interviews when the June 28th Primary Election was drawing near. As soon as the Primary ended, Ganahl was back to bashing the media (and specifically 9News) for not covering her campaign…which is hard for the media to do when you WON’T TALK TO THEM.

When she introduced her Lieutenant Governor pick — or, at least, the person who agreed to do it — in July, she invited the Colorado media and then absolutely refused to answer questions whatsoever. And then came Tuesday.

On Tuesday, Ganahl joined all of the major candidates for office in Colorado at a Republican Party press conference in Denver in which the entire GOP largely lit itself on fire with a bunch of ridiculous comments. During her time at the microphone, Ganahl repeated her “Heidi Hole” policy idea, which includes eliminating the state income tax and cutting the gas tax in half. As other news outlets have noted, this proposal would create a preposterous $10 BILLION hole in the state budget; Ganahl doesn’t have any ideas for how to deal with such a massive gap, nor does she seem to be thinking much about it. The last official word we heard from her campaign was via a spokesperson who said, “We have a policy team working on it.”

After the GOP press conference, Ganahl sat down for another interview with Zelinger and 9News. It was only her second interview with 9News — the most-watched news station in the entire state — in the last 11 months. Just like last September, Zelinger asked some very obvious and fair questions; and again, Ganahl responded with word-salad nonsense. Take a look, or read the transcript that follows:

 

ZELINGER: “Income tax, you say you want zero percent income tax. Same idea. You do that, what’s getting cut or where is the money coming from?”

Sorry, Dora. There’s no answer in here.

GANAHL: “So Marshall, my intention is to put more money back into the pockets of the people of Colorado. One of the ways we can do that is to take us to zero income tax. We can do it about one percent a year over my first term, a little bit more than that if you average it out. We’ve got to tighten our belt. We’ve got to reduce the size of government. Jared Polis has added almost 4,000 full-time employees equivalence into the government. He’s grown the size of government by over 20%. That’s one way we can reduce the cost. The other way is to attract new business. The five top performing economies in states across the United States are zero income tax states. It is absolutely beneficial to the State of Colorado to do so. We also need to affect fraud and waste, there’s plenty of that to go around, and some of the Polis pork that he’s added in as governor. Finally, special interests and favors. That’s something we’ve got to address as well, as he talked about with Disney. [Pols gibberish emphasis] Something like that is not OK for the people of Colorado and for the small business owners who are really hurting right now.”

ZELINGER: “The five states, I think, have higher property taxes and higher state sales tax, so would you be for that?”

GANAHL: “I have no intention of raising other taxes in order to accomplish this goal. I am a governor, I will be a governor who has big, bold ideas for this state. I’m tenacious. I’m a leader. I’ve had a lot of experience. I manage a $5 billion budget at CU. I help do that as a Regent. I will roll up my sleeves and get this done for the people of Colorado.”

Ganahl has big, bold ideas for this state. Those ideas just happen to be completely implausible.

Zelinger does a good job in the rest of this 9News story explaining the MASSIVE problems that would result from eliminating the income tax without replacing that revenue with something else. The math is inescapable, as Ganahl would understand if she paused for even a minute to consider the mechanics of her policy ideas.

Zelinger then turns his attention to Ganahl’s proposal to cut the gas tax in half, pointing out that the gas tax provides money to the Colorado Department of Transportation for highways; counties for road maintenance; cities for streets; and funding for the Colorado State Patrol…

 

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GOP Waves White Flag on “Colorado Cashback” Brouhaha

Republicans fold: make it rain, Governor Polis.

As readers know, the state has enjoyed a healthy temporary bounty of revenue over the last couple of years, and under the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, revenue arbitrarily determined by TABOR’s Byzantine formula to be “excess” must be refunded to taxpayers through a variety of prescribed means. This year, the Democratic majority in the General Assembly passed a one-time change to the distribution formula for TABOR refund checks to individual taxpayers that significantly increased the amount paid to taxpayers making less than $50,000 per year. The bill also moved up the distribution of these refunds to this summer instead of next tax season.

Republicans howled that Democrats, who have been trying to break TABOR’s grip on the state’s fiscal policy for many years, were suddenly taking credit for the money TABOR forces the state to refund without respect to need. But this “inside baseball” crying foul means nothing to the thousands of lower-income households who are getting a significantly bigger check than they would have if this year’s TABOR refunds had been administered by a Republican majority. Redirecting TABOR into a means of providing direct economic stimulus to those who need it most–and are most likely to plow that stimulus right back into the economy–is major ideological and political coup for Democrats.

What’s the best proof of this? Republicans don’t want to fight about it anymore.

In response to this unexpected concession from gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, local conservative fiscal policy talking head Michael Fields likewise waved the white flag on continuing to challenge the Democrat’s change in the TABOR distribution formula to benefit lower-income households:

After weeks of bitterly complaining about Democrats “rebranding” TABOR refunds into the “Colorado Cashback,” Heidi Ganahl just conceded that the biggest policy change Democrats made was a good idea! If the GOP’s candidate for governor supports Democrats altering TABOR to, as Barack Obama once put it, “spread the wealth around,” the contrived bluster from Republicans loses most of its steam.

Making lemonade out of lemons is a concept that voters can easily understand.

New Dark Money Group Targets Polis with Violent Rhetoric

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: Attorney General Phil Weiser calls for this video to be pulled down and for candidates on both sides to condemn its violent rhetoric:

—–

FRIDAY UPDATE: In a press release, the Colorado Democratic Party calls on Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl to condemn this language:

A new dark money group supporting Heidi Ganahl’s weak run for governor released a video saying they wanted to “put lead on the target” this election cycle, referring to Governor Polis.

Colorado Democratic Party Chair Morgan Carroll released the following statement in response:

“In a state that has experienced multiple, horrific mass shootings, this kind of language is not acceptable. The use of violence, even as a metaphor, cannot be a part of normal political discourse. I am appalled at the levels Republicans will sink for political gain. Heidi Ganahl needs to condemn this ad and the group behind it immediately.”

—–

[Original post:  at 2:48 PM MDT]

Restore the Rockies’ is the best way to put lead on the target and keep it there until November 8.”

We got word about a new Independent Expenditure Committee (IEC) that popped up today in Colorado called “Restore the Rockies” that plans to run advertisements and other electioneering communications attacking Gov. Jared Polis and supporting Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.

This particular IEC lists an official address as a UPS store in Highlands Ranch and appears to be organized by a Utah-based group called McCauley and Associates PC. A quick online search led us to a video that seems to be an advertisement for potential donors who might be interested in contributing to “Restore the Rockies” and the lost cause of a Republican campaign for Governor in Colorado.

Judging from the video, these apparent Ganahl allies are at least as incompetent as the candidate herself — but with a much more sinister tone. We uploaded the video to our own YouTube channel because “Restore the Rockies” will probably try to change the script as soon as someone realizes how terrible it sounds. You can see the entire video at the end of this post; here’s the relevant part and a transcription that follows:

Restore the Rockies” is the best way to put lead on the target and keep it there until November 8. [Pols emphasis]

“Join us in the fight. We can defeat Polis together. Help us restore the Rockies.”

Nope

“Put lead on the target” is absolutely disgusting rhetoric. Full stop.

There have been at least 337 mass shootings in the United States in 2022 alone. This sort of violent rhetoric is completely unacceptable in any political campaign and should be immediately condemned by Ganahl herself. We’re not saying Ganahl is responsible for the content here, but no candidate for public office can stay quiet on this subject.

As for “Restore the Rockies,” they might as well just pack up shop and forget about trying to be involved in the 2022 election cycle. Once you use violent, threatening rhetoric about another candidate, anything else you say thereafter is meaningless; you will forever be known as the organization that metaphorically suggested shooting a politician.

The full video can be viewed after the jump below, along with the committee registration information for “Restore the Rockies.”

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 28)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

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

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver)

First, The Washington Post reports on the big deal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

As POLITICO skeptically concluded:

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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The Reviews Are In: The Ganahl/Moore Ticket Bombs

We noted on Friday that the first public appearance for Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Heidi Ganahl’s running mate did not go well. Ganahl formally introduced Danny Moore, her choice for Lieutenant Governor (LG), at an event in Aurora in which reporters were both invited and shunned. The Ganahl campaign ludicrously explained that neither Ganahl nor Moore had “time” to take questions from journalists; those reporters who tried to do their jobs anyway, such as Alex Burness of The Denver Post, were quite literally shoved aside.

If the Ganahl/Moore ticket were an attempt at a blockbuster movie release, it would rank somewhere between “Jaws: The Revenge” and “Battlefield Earth.” Both The Durango Herald and The Aurora Sentinel were as gobsmacked as everyone else by both Ganahl’s bizarre selection for LG and the sloppy process that preceded the announcement.

Here’s the editorial board of The Durango Herald on Saturday asking, “Who exactly is Heidi Ganahl?“:

It’s a bit of a surprise that Heidi Ganahl, Colorado’s Republican nominee for governor, selected an election denier as her running mate. Navy veteran and business consultant Danny Moore was booted from his role as chairman of the state’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission after Facebook posts surfaced in which he wrote that President Biden was “elected by the Democrat steal.”

Throughout Ganahl’s run up to the primaries, she ranged from gingerly sidestepping to outright refusing to answer questions about whether Biden was legitimately elected. Ganahl instead focused on economic and safety issues. We imagined her to be a reasonable, moderate Republican.

Now, we don’t know who she is. For Ganahl to choose her running mate, someone who lost a leadership position because of election-fraud posts, is downright bizarre. [Pols emphasis]

The Herald eventually comes to a realization that we have reached in this space: Perhaps Ganahl really is a true believer in the “Big Lie” and the idea that the 2020 election was fraudulent:

Maybe she’s intending to reach more of a conservative base. Maybe Ganahl is a closet election denier. We don’t know because so far, Ganahl hasn’t come clean on her innermost political beliefs. [Pols emphasis] To build trust, voters need to know who they’re dealing with, no matter their political affiliations. Otherwise, we’ll make assumptions based on the company she keeps.

 

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The GMS Podcast: Tiny Guns and Boxes of Dirt (feat. Dave Young)

State Treasurer Dave Young

This week in episode 115 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young about all sorts of topics. Young explains how a State Treasurer impacts your life, from the Secure Savings Act to his idea for an “Infrastructure Bank” program. We also find out more about some of the weird items sitting inside the unclaimed property vault…including the world’s tiniest gun.

Later, Jason and Ian discuss Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s strange choice of a running mate and answer a listener question about the selection of a Lieutenant Governor. We also have more on Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and some terrible votes cast by Colorado Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn.

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

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

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The Problem With Promising Big Tax Cuts (The “Heidi Hole”)

The “Heidi Hole”

Regular readers of Colorado Pols know that we’ve long been critical of politicians who promise to make big cuts to taxes and/or government spending without offering a logical explanation for how they would balance out budget items for other necessary public functions. The problem is simple: If you remove a significant portion of revenue, what happens to the programs and policies that were being funded by that money?

It’s usually Republicans campaigning for a first major office who make these election-year promises, and their explanations are often ludicrously vague. They’ll say something like, There is plenty of money in government coffers; we just need to trim the fat and prioritize better. It’s as if they want you to believe that there is a giant pile of gold sitting in the basement of the State Capitol that officials are hoarding and refusing to tap into.

The Colorado Sun’sUnaffiliated” newsletter digs into this conundrum for Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl today, and it’s clear that the candidate herself has absolutely no idea how to make the math work. You really should read the entire story yourself, but here’s the gist of Ganahl’s story problem:

Heidi Ganahl, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, is campaigning on a bold promise to eliminate Colorado’s 4.55% individual income tax, the largest source of revenue for the state’s general fund, during her first four-year term.

But Ganahl, a University of Colorado regent and the only remaining Republican in statewide elected office, hasn’t explained how she plans to eliminate Colorado’s income tax without dramatically affecting the state’s budget, nearly one-third of which was made up of income tax dollars in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

Ganahl would either have to slash programs and services to make up for the lost revenue — likely including education funding — or find billions of dollars elsewhere by trying to hike other taxes or enacting new fees. 

“It’s doable,” she said last month without offering detailed plans on how she would do it. “It’s not going to happen overnight.” [Pols emphasis]

As the “Unaffiliated” explains, income taxes in Colorado account for more than 60% of the state’s general fund revenue, or about $9.5 BILLION dollars. To put that in perspective, the most recent state budget allocated more than $5 billion for base spending on K-12 public education.

“Conservatives have mostly avoided calls to eliminate the income tax, which has been around since 1937, because no one has presented a feasible way to do it.”

     — The Colorado Sun (7/22/22)

Even right-wing conservative activists in Colorado who otherwise support Ganahl can’t agree with her income tax elimination campaign pledge:

Ganahl would have to find a way to eliminate the income tax without breaking state government.

Michael Fields, a conservative fiscal policy activist who has been pushing for incremental income tax rate cuts, said it wouldn’t be feasible to eliminate the state’s income tax overnight. [Pols emphasis] “You would definitely have to fill in a lot of that revenue with some other source,” he said.

Has Ganahl even considered the mechanics of her “say anything to get elected” platform?

Nope.

Heidi Ganahl poses with her campaign’s fiscal policy expert

Ganahl’s spokesperson, Lexi Swearingen, tells The Colorado Sun, “We have a policy team working on it” and pledges that the campaign will explain the specifics of her plan later this summer. In other words, Ganahl has been saying for months that she plans to eliminate the income tax…but she hasn’t actually considered how that might even work.

But wait…the “Heidi Hole” in Colorado’s budget is even bigger than this.

Ganahl has also been saying on the campaign trail that she plans to cut the gas tax in half if elected Governor. In Fiscal Year 2019-20, the gas tax brought in $624.5 million, used primarily for road and infrastructure improvements.

All told, eliminating the income tax AND half of the gas tax would create a budgetary “Heidi Hole” of more than $10 billion in the first year aloneThat’s much too big a hole to fill up with rhetoric alone.

The Colorado Sun is not the first to question Ganahl’s tax cut promises — Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner gave Ganahl plenty of chances to explain her ill-planned proposals in an interview in June:

WARNER: You have called for two big changes in state finances. You promised to eliminate the state income tax, which you would phase out during your four-year term, and you vowed to cut the state gas tax in half. You’ve said you can do that and still build roads and provide other services. The state income tax brings in about $9 billion a year, and the gas tax raises $600 million a year. What would you cut to make up for that loss of revenue?

GANAHL: Government has grown too much. I think one of the most important things we can do is reduce the size of our bureaucracies, our agencies, and put decision-making over people’s lives, businesses and families back in the hands of Coloradans. I think that we can attack fraud and waste and also look at the return on investment in the dollars that we are spending.

Later in that same interview, Warner tries again. “I hear you talking about growth and oversight and regulation,” he says. “I don’t hear where you would get $9 billion and another $600 million in savings.” Ganahl’s response is to just restate what she said earlier.

Perhaps reporters could ask Ganahl for clarification today as she holds her first event with her Lieutenant Governor pick, Danny Moore.

Or not.

In short, Ganahl’s tax cut promises are about as plausible as pledging to relocate the State Capitol to the moon. In fact, at this point she might as well just start telling supporters that she will cut ALL of their taxes and provide each Colorado family with a new puppy if elected.

Unserious candidates make unserious promises. Thus has it always been, and thus shall it ever be.

Heidi Ganahl’s Inexplicable Defense of Danny Moore

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was originally scheduled to hold her first public event today with Danny Moore, her running mate and Lieutenant Governor pick. The Ganahl campaign wisely rescheduled the Aurora event after remembering that today is the 10th anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shootings, in which 10 people were killed and 70 others injured. Instead, Ganahl and Moore will appear for the first time in public at an event on Friday.

Thus we have a few more days to try to understand why Ganahl selected a “Big Lie” adherent as a running mate after spending the last 10 months trying to duck questions about whether or not she believes the 2020 election was fraudulent. This decision led to news headlines like the one below from The Denver Post:

Via The Denver Post (7/18/22)

During an appearance on The Mandy Connell Show on KOA Radio earlier this week, Ganahl took a strange approach to explaining why she chose Moore. Her basic answer was that Moore is not really an election denier, which is an inexplicable narrative attempt given the mountains of evidence to the contrary. Here’s that exchange:

 

MANDY CONNELL: So, before the show, I started looking at the news coverage of the announcement of Danny [Moore]….the news coverage all leads with ‘Ganahl picks election denier.’ What exactly is the story behind that as you understand it.

HEIDI GANAHL: Danny is not an election denier. He had concerns, just like many people across Colorado and this country did, about what happened in the election and election integrity…and as a citizen was asking questions and made a post on Facebook that caused some drama when he was on the [Colorado Congressional] Redistricting Commission. [Pols emphasis]

“Danny [Moore] is not an election denier,” says Ganahl. Saying it doesn’t make it true.

As multiple news outlets reported in March 2021, Moore did a lot more than just post something on Facebook on a single occasion. There was so much evidence for this, in fact, that 9News anchor Kyle Clark said matter-of-factly, “Danny Moore is an election rigging conspiracy theorist.” In his defense, Moore tried to make an absurd argument that he was just trying to “spark a conversation.”

Moore was still denying being a denier and going with this silly excuse in May 2021, which is an important part of this timeline. Because as The Colorado Times Recorder reported, Danny Moore hosted attorney and coup architect John Eastman at his home for an event in April 2021. During an informal “election integrity” forum on April 24, 2021, Eastman both praised and defended Moore:

 

John Eastman

JOHN EASTMAN: Defend Danny Moore! [Pols emphasis] He just got removed as the chairman of the redistricting commission but he’s still on the commission. He’s terrific. He hosted me for a Leadership Program of the Rockies event at his house, just Wednesday night. Defend him. They’re going to go after him, because he’s trying to make this an honest process. And so, let him know that he has your support.

If Danny Moore is not an election denier, then it is REALLY WEIRD that he spends so much time talking about how the 2020 election was fraudulent. It is even stranger that he would open up his home to other election deniers, including the man who tried to orchestrate a coup based on nonsense claims of a fraudulent election.

Does Ganahl think that she can just make this all go away if she keeps saying, “Danny Moore is not an election denier?” This is as ludicrous as standing on the pavement this week and saying, It’s not hot outside. You wouldn’t stand next to her, sweating profusely, and respond, Yeah, you’re right; this is a very comfortable temperature.

Instead of lying about your running mate and his belief in the “Big Lie,” it would have been much easier to select a Lieutenant Governor who didn’t have this in his background. This also would have allowed Ganahl herself to back away from her long refusal to give a straight answer about the “Big Lie.” But now, Ganahl is back to square one after everything she said (or refused to say) over the last 10 months about election fraud.

It’s tough to say with a straight face that you are not an election denier when you pick an election denier for your running mate. But this, apparently, is exactly what Heidi Ganahl wants to be doing for the last 3 months of her campaign.