The Sad Final Days of the Top of the GOP Ticket

Ganahl and O’Dea are less of a “Dream Team” and more of a “Creamed Team”

You can count the number of days until the end of the 2022 election cycle on one hand. As Election Day looms, Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and GOP gubernatorial no-hopeful Hiedi Heidi Ganahl are caught in a weird illogical loop of desperation and internal lies.

Before we update you on the strange last days of each campaign, it’s important to keep this in mind: The last two public polls in each race have shown both O’Dea and Ganahl losing by YUGE margins. On Wednesday, the University of Colorado’s American Politics Research Lab released polling data showing Democrat Michael Bennet leading O’Dea by 12 points and Democrat Jared Polis running ahead of Ganahl by 16. These numbers come on the heels of a poll from Global Strategy Group indicating an 11-point advantage for Bennet and an 18-point lead for Polis.

You could argue about methodologies and polling mechanics until you are purple in the face — and it’s more likely than not that both of these races end up being somewhat tighter after the actual votes are counted — but it’s pretty unlikely that these two recent polls are completely wrong. The question for O’Dea and Ganahl, then, is not if they can win on Tuesday, but if they can avoid being completely annihilated.

With that in mind, here’s what O’Dea and Ganahl have been doing in the last few days aside from avoiding populated areas of Colorado


Lighting Money on Fire

O’Dea put another $1 million of his own money into his campaign on Monday, upping his total personal commitment to more than $4.2 million. Ganahl wrote her campaign another big check last month and has now committed about $2 million of her own money ($1.4 million in loans and $600,000 in contributions).

O’Dea’s $1 million contribution on Monday is an egregious example of a candidate getting positively robbed by his own consultants. By every public metric, the Colorado Senate race is not close enough that a $1 million contribution in the last week will make much of a difference. O’Dea’s previous personal contributions are certainly excusable but are a sunk cost at this point; writing your campaign another $1 million check in the final week is the very definition of good money chasing bad. Any respectable campaign consultant should have told O’Dea that this late contribution was too little, too late.


Running to the Right

Ganahl didn’t really try to moderate her positions after the Primary Election. O’Dea did make that attempt — poorly — but in recent weeks he’s become much more of a right-wing nutter. For example, O’Dea followed up his nightmare interview with Jake Tapper of CNN on Tuesday by talking gibberish on MSNBC, calling Democrat Hillary Clinton the original “election denier.”


There are a lot of Colorado Republicans who wouldn’t blink at making this claim, but O’Dea was supposedly different. O’Dea claimed to be a less-insane Republican who was “not a politician,” but you know who else says insane shit like this? Right-wing Republican politicians.

Ganahl, meanwhile, sent out this message in an email late Wednesday:





We feel more than comfortable saying that the ONLY people who would be excited to know that Ganahl was talking to freaking NewsMax are right-wing Republicans who were already committed to supporting her campaign. There’s a better than even chance that Ganahl is interviewed by Alex Jones before Tuesday.

It’s bad enough that Ganahl took the time to talk to NewsMax, but it’s insane that she sent out an email crowing about her appearance. Is it possible that Ganahl thinks she is running to be Governor of Alabama?

Whoever thought this was a good idea apparently also convinced O’Dea. The Republican Senate candidate made his own inexplicable appearance on NewsMax today. Again, if these candidates are worried about their base heading into the final days of the election, then they’re royally screwed.


Time Travel

Supporters of both Ganahl and O’Dea have been spending a lot of time this week trying really hard to downplay the anti-choice positions of their candidates…and then getting punched in the teeth immediately afterward:



O’Dea supporters have been attempting the same switcheroo, with the same basic results.



If you’re wondering why Ganahl and O’Dea are trying to reassure their base at the same time that supporters are working to make them look less-extreme…well, so are we.



Facing Reality

They’re not laughing WITH you.



National media outlets are also finally starting to realize that the “O’Dea Surprise” is more like a weird casserole than a tasty treat. As Jim Newell reports for Slate:

“So are you doing the ‘this race is going to be closer than you think’ story too?” A Colorado politics reporter asked me my first night in Denver.

I was not the first national reporter to do a “fly-in” from D.C. to see Mitch McConnell’s “perfect candidate.” We were becoming tiresome. Perhaps all the more so because Bennet had been maintaining a roughly 10-point advantage on O’Dea in polling averages. Sometimes they’re “sleeper races” for a reason. (“I’m doing something post-that,” I said, stupidly.).

As we’ve written before in this space, all of the other national stories about Colorado’s Senate race had followed the same pattern of asking if Bennet could be in trouble and then coming to the conclusion that Bennet is not in trouble. Newell, at least, skips to the end:

Being the “perfect candidate” in a long-shot state sounds exhausting. Had Colorado Republicans nominated the nearest available warm body, they would not have had any expectations of possibly winning, and the warm body would have coasted freely to an unremarked-upon 15-point loss. O’Dea, though, built up hopes among Republicans and fears among Democrats. Barring some wild change in polling, he could be walking on eggshells to a much remarked-upon 5- to 10-point loss. (For all of McConnell’s talk about how he would be “all-in” on the state, his aligned super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, only kicked in a perfunctory $1.25 million in mid-October.)

As for Ganahl, she’s finding out that her “Mad Mom on a Meme Mission” nonsense is not resonating with, well, actual moms.


Via The American Politics Research Lab at the University of Colorado.



The Ganahl and O’Dea campaigns have been two of the strangest statewide efforts that we have seen in Colorado in a long time. Perhaps we should give them some credit for keeping it weird until the bitter end…

But really, we’re just ready for them both to go away.

CU Poll: Dems Owning 2022, GOP MIGHT Accept Results

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

Adding to a growing consensus of polling in recent weeks, the University of Colorado’s American Politics Research Lab released their latest Colorado Political Climate Survey, with numbers in line with other recent polls showing Gov. Jared Polis rapidly pulling away in the Colorado governor’s race, incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet prevailing over Republican challenger Joe O’Dea by a healthy twelve points, and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, considered the most vulnerable of the three downballot statewide offices, solidly beating Republican Pam Anderson by a ten-point margin.

Less encouraging for what comes after November 8th, the survey found once again a disturbingly wide partisan gap in trust in the integrity of Colorado’s elections, which until Donald Trump began his campaign to overturn the results of an election he lost enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan confidence:

We asked Coloradans about whether they felt elections both 1) across the country and 2) in Colorado would be conducted fairly and accurately. Overall, 54% of Coloradans agreed they would be conducted fairly nationally (with 20% saying they weren’t sure), while 71% agreed they would be fairly in Colorado. In a pattern often repeated, we see substantial differences by partisanship – 73% of Democrats agreed elections would be fair and accurate when asked about the country as a whole, while only 41% of Republicans said the same. When asked about Colorado’s elections, 92% of Democrats expressed agreement with a statement, but only 57% of Republicans agreed (Independents posted 53% agreement). Most Coloradans agreed (75%) that in Colorado all citizens who want to vote in the elections will be able to do so.

We also asked about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, and the need for electoral reforms in the wake of the 2020 elections (both “across the states” and in Colorado in particular). 63% of Coloradans agree that Biden legitimately won enough votes to be elected President (though this number is polarized by partisanship, with 95% of Democrats agreeing, and only 34% of Republicans agreeing).

What happens when Republicans don’t accept election results.

The whole report is worth reading, which you can find here along with links to past year’s surveys.

Although concerning, these numbers do indicate some recovery in popular confidence in American elections from the prior year’s survey, when only 32% of Republicans believed the upcoming election would be fair and accurate compared to 42% today. The persistently more favorable opinion Colorado Republicans have of Colorado’s election system, even though it features most of the accessibility attributes that Trump attacked in 2020 as avenues for election fraud, is another hopeful sign that local Republican officials will accept the result in the event of the defeat this and every other poll now clearly forecasts.

That’s still way too many Republicans who won’t, and we’ll have to wait and see how they respond.

State Sen. Kevin Priola Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Kevin Priola (D-Henderson).

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii are joined by State Sen. Kevin Priola of Henderson, who made lots of news this fall by switching parties from Republican to Democrat. Senator Priola talks about how he ended up leaving the Republican Party, how he plans to vote in 2022, and what it feels like to be rooting for a different team this election cycle.

Later, we update listeners on all the latest news from the top races in Colorado, including GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s closing “argument.” We also discuss the relentless disgusting editorializing from The Colorado Springs Gazette; and we introduce a new segment for the show that we’re just calling “That’s Bullshit!”

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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Heidi Ganahl and Friends are Rickrolling Colorado Republicans

Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you

We’ve known each other for so long
Your heart’s been aching, but you’re too shy to say it (say it)
Inside, we both know what’s been going on (going on)
We know the game and we’re gonna play it

Rick Astley, “Never Gonna Give You Up”

September 24, 2022

Those lyrics from the “iconic” 1987 ballad from Rick Astley were probably not intended as a love song to the Furry-Lago conspiracy movement that popped up in Colorado this fall, but you can’t argue that they don’t fit perfectly.

It has now been 34 days since Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl first told Jimmy Sengenberger of KNUS radio that Colorado schools had been invaded by “furries” — children dressed up in animal costumes. While Ganahl herself has largely stopped her daily furry conspiracy routine, the story lives on in the right-wing media landscape.

Today, it is the national publication The Federalist that has decided it is “never gonna give [furries] up.” The rhetorical gymnastics required to make this sound like a serious story are almost impressive. As the suspiciously-named Tristan Justice reports:

A Colorado school district in the wealthy western suburbs of Denver gave a blanket statement to the local press dismissing parental concerns about an issue that’s galvanized the state’s contest for governor. [Pols emphasis]

In September, Heidi Ganahl, the Republican candidate for governor, gave an interview to a local radio host in which she described a new phenomenon hitting Colorado classrooms.

“Not many people know that we have ‘furries’ in Colorado schools,” Ganahl told 710KNUS. “Have you heard about this? Yeah, kids identifying as cats. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s happening all over Colorado and the schools are tolerating it.”

Without any evidence, either from school officials or interviews with parents, the left-wing Colorado Times Recorder wrote off the comments as a conspiracy. [Pols emphasis]

Via The Federalist (10/28/22)

We have to stop here before we delve any further into this story. First off, the idea that Furry-Lago has “galvanized” Ganahl’s campaign only makes sense if you have a completely different understanding of the word “galvanized” than everyone else who regularly uses the English language. The “furries” conspiracy has decimated Ganahl’s credibility not just as a candidate, but as a sane human being in general. That fact that Ganahl herself no longer mentions this subject unprompted is an undeniable argument otherwise.

The last paragraph above is particularly absurd, but it also inadvertently speaks to the very problem here. Tristan Justice (seriously, is that really his name?) argues that the Colorado Times Recorder labeled this a silly conspiracy theory “without evidence.” The burden of proof here is on the people who are promoting the idea in the first place — it is not the responsibility of EVERYONE ELSE to come up with evidence that your insane idea is wrong.

For example, if someone says, “I invented a perpetual motion machine,” then it is the responsibility of THAT PERSON to provide proof of their invention. If that person’s response was, “You can’t prove that I didn’t invent a perpetual motion machine,” then they would rightly be disregarded as a lunatic. Demanding that someone else prove a negative is the “Scientific Method” on meth.

The rest of the Federalist story is dedicated to arguing that a handful of parents who have complained about “furries” — without providing any evidence — are actually the people who are correct and that it is the 99% of the population who think they are crazy who are involved in a broader conspiracy to keep it all under wraps. Occam’s Razor was practically created to address this very scenario.

Lindsay Datko, right, with GOP consultant Matt Connelly

Essentially, the point of the Federalist story is to use the same CORA’d emails promoted by nutjobs like Lindsay Datko at Jeffco Kids First to argue that “furries” must exist in schools BECAUSE there are a handful of parents who have complained about it to school administrators. Seriously, THAT is the argument. In other words, if you can convince a dozen people to write an email to a school administrator that Elvis Presley and Tupac are substitute teachers, then it must be true. God help the children of these parents should their families ever decide to start a home schooling curriculum.

The Federalist story also brings up the mythical photographic evidence of furries that Ganahl once claimed that her campaign was collecting. In early October, Ganahl told George Brauchler of KNUS radio that her campaign “provided a list of 30 schools [in which] parents and students have told us this is happening. We’ve provided pictures, but we’ve blurred out the faces.” None of these photos have ever emerged, anywhere (and no reporter in Colorado has ever acknowledged receiving the images) but stories about their existence just won’t go away. From the Federalist:

On Wednesday, a group of parents who met at a local coffee shop presented pictures of students dressed up as animals in local schools to The Federalist. The images were shared on the condition they not be published to protect the privacy of minors. [Pols emphasis]

“The word ‘furries’ is what the kids call them, which is why parents call them that,” explained Lindsay Datko, a co-founder of Jeffco Kids First.

As you may recall, the only photographic “evidence” that has ever been provided as proof of this “furry” epidemic came after 9News questioned the Ganahl campaign in late September and received this photo in response:

This was the original “proof” of “furries” in Colorado schools that the Ganahl campaign provided to 9News.


This picture is indeed evidence of the existence of animal costumes. It is not, however, proof that children are wearing these costumes in schools.

Anyway, the fact that Furry-Lago continues to be discussed as a serious issue by national right-wing news outlets underscores just how toxic Ganahl has become for Colorado Republicans. Here’s what Kyle Clark of 9News told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on Todd’s podcast earlier this week:

CHUCK TODD: If Joe O’Dea were the Republican nominee for Governor, would he be more competitive?

KYLE CLARK: To be honest with you Chuck, pretty much anybody would be more competitive. The governor’s race as it has been run by Heidi Ganahl has been baffling to observers. And if you talk to Republicans privately, they will express frustration bordering on anger, because they feel like this could have been an opportunity to make that race a lot more competitive…but if that race had been close, as opposed to the 15, 16, 18 point margin the polls are showing, that would have helped O’Dea. That would have helped Barb Kirkmeyer in CD-8.

But the Ganahl campaign has honestly been – they’ve chased one conspiracy theory after another, as opposed to focusing on crime, inflation, [and] the issues that could help. [Pols emphasis]

TODD: If Republicans lose close races all over the state, that’s where the finger pointing is going to be?

CLARK: Without question.

TODD: Interesting

Republican Joe O’Dea is not going to beat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, and he certainly would not have ousted incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis, but Clark is correct in saying that Republicans have every right to be pointing fingers at Ganahl’s radioactive campaign for weakening Republican candidates down-ballot.

In 2018, Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton was a bad candidate running a bad campaign who lost by 11 points to Polis…but he didn’t cripple the rest of the GOP ticket along the way. Stapleton didn’t hijack the Republican message in the final weeks of the election by distracting everyone with nonsense conspiracy theories.

Beginning on November 9th, Colorado Republicans should immediately disassociate themselves with anyone even remotely connected with Ganahl — starting with the people who continued to promote her candidacy long after she had become a national embarrassment.

What they’ll probably do instead is elect Ganahl to be the chairperson of the Colorado Republican Party for the 2024 election cycle.

“Never gonna give you up”…

Mistake Reveals Ganahl Campaign’s Disgusting Twitter Account

UPDATE #2: Not long after Ganahl’s campaign claimed to Ernest Luning that it had nothing to do with the “9mm News” account, the account in question Tweeted this:

Which is interesting only because we remember Ganahl’s campaign account Tweeting out basically the same thing back in August:

It’s almost like they’re TRYING to screw up.

Oh, and VICE News noticed Ganahl’s mistake, too.


UPDATE: “We believe you,” said nobody:


If you follow Colorado politics on social media, there’s a decent chance that you may have run across a “parody” Twitter account in the last year called “9mm News.” The account has authored about 3,400 different Tweets just since February 2022, the majority of which fall into a few basic categories (and often a combination) of the following: 1) Direct attacks targeting Colorado media outlets and reporters; 2) Attacks on Democratic candidates and political operatives; and 3) Outright racist, homophobic, or transphobic diatribes.

The “9mm News” account also criticizes anyone who might disagree with Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, which we now know is because it is directly associated with Ganahl’s campaign. As Kyle Clark of 9News — a frequent target of the account — noticed on Monday morning:

That Tweet — and the evidence of its connection to the Ganahl campaign — did not disappear forever, of course. Here’s a screenshot (the yellow arrow is ours):


We put together a collage of Tweets sent out by “9mm News” in the last several months; you can see that after the jump below. The account is toxic even by the lowest of standards online. It attacks and retweets disgusting criticism of virtually every political reporter in Colorado and most Colorado Democratic politicians. The account also veers off in all sorts of weird directions (including a regular defense of ivermectin, the horse de-worming medication that MAGA Republicans promoted heavily during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic).

It’s not clear if Ganahl herself regularly used this account to anonymously criticize her many detractors, but quite honestly…would anybody be at all surprised if she was directly involved? AT THE VERY LEAST, Ganahl’s campaign should immediately disavow this account and blame it on the always-convenient “rogue staffer,” but we doubt that will happen, either. A majority of the messages that come from “9mm News” are just less-cautious versions of the messages that Ganahl has been repeating herself since she launched her campaign for Governor last September.

We’re still two weeks away from Election Day, but Ganahl has already established herself as both the worst statewide candidate in modern Colorado history and the architect of the most incompetent campaign in memory. She may also be the most generally toxic person in Colorado politics today (though Rep. Lauren Boebert has a pretty firm grip on that title).

For all of us, no matter your political affiliation, Heidi Ganahl just needs to go away.



One Year of Running in Circles

The editorial board of The Denver Post formally backed incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday, joining every serious newspaper in Colorado that plans to make endorsements for public office in 2022.

We’d guess that supporting Polis was not a particularly difficult decision for the Post editorial board given the persistent lunacy of Republican gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. You could no more craft a logical endorsement of Ganahl than you could advocate for replacing your car tires with giant wheels of cheese. It is nevertheless instructive to look at what the Post had to say because of three critical paragraphs at the very end of the endorsement:

Ganahl is asking voters to look past the current Republican realities. While presenting herself as a law-and-order supporter, Ganahl has linked herself too closely to a fringe Republican movement — led by former President Donald Trump — aiming to undermine America’s democracy and turn Americans against one another with outrageous claims that a vast conspiracy of Democratic Party operatives have rigged our elections.

Ganahl did not want to talk about the issue when asked if she was concerned about Trump’s actions.

“I’m concerned about a media that is completely biased and out of control … I know who you are going to endorse, so we don’t have to complete the conversation if this is how it’s going to go,” Ganahl said. “Danny (Moore) and I have both said loud and clear that Biden is the president, the media just doesn’t want to cover it, and we are focused on beating Jared Polis.” [Pols emphasis]

If you have been following the 2022 race for Governor in Colorado, this will all sound very familiar. Ganahl is ending her gubernatorial campaign in basically the exact same place she began.

When Ganahl formally launched her bid for Governor in September 2021, she talked with a group of reporters and immediately set the precedent for a combative relationship with Colorado media outlets based on her non-answer to one simple question: Do you think there was fraud in the 2020 election?

This was, and remains, an important topic for any 2022 candidate — particularly a candidate for statewide office. It is no small thing to acknowledge that you believe in the system of democracy in which you are seeking to take part. Ganahl whiffed on the question when asked by multiple reporters (including The Denver Post). She followed that up with a disastrous interview with Marshall Zelinger of 9News in which she tried (and failed) to change the subject.

Weirdly exasperated by the same question she had already failed to answer, Ganahl responded: “Why all the divisive questions?”

When Zelinger did not just allow Ganahl to change the subject, she followed up with this:

“Oh my goodness, Marshall. Let’s talk about what’s important to the people of Colorado. And that’s kids, it’s skyrocketing crime. I just said that kids are killing themselves at record rates and we want to talk about other things that aren’t that important to many people.”

Sitting down with the editorial board of The Denver Post one year later, Ganahl seems to be utterly incapable of understanding that the reason people keep asking her this question IS BECAUSE SHE NEVER PROVIDES AN ANSWER.

This is not rocket surgery. If you don’t answer a question, you can bet that journalists will keep asking — particularly when you simultaneously select a noted election denier as your running mate.

Ganahl and her Lieutenant Governor choice, Danny Moore, now say that “Joe Biden is the President,” which is not an answer to a question about election fraud. Ganahl won’t elaborate on this no matter how many times she is asked. The only logical conclusion to make amid this defiance is that Ganahl truly believes in Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

This is strange, because surely Ganahl had to understand that being a full-fledged election denier would make her unelectable in Colorado. The alternative is even weirder: If Ganahl actually does NOT believe in the “Big Lie,” then she flushed her credibility down the toilet for no reason at all.

Whatever the answer, the end result is the same. This entire campaign was a complete waste of time for Ganahl and every one of her supporters. When you’re running in circles, you always end up right back where you started.

Podcast: The Blue Wave Cometh (feat. Andrew Baumann)

Andrew Baumann

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado. Baumann explains why the latest poll numbers here look so darn good for Democrats and whether any of that could change in the final weeks of the 2022 election.

We also update you on the latest news from the election season, including a conversation on (some) of the 11 statewide ballot measures in Colorado; we discuss how much longer the Colorado Springs Gazette will be taken seriously given its absurd editorial department; and we offer an important tip for all potential candidates for future office.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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


As we wrote earlier today, we’re getting to see more and more of the REAL Hiedi Heidi Ganahl with just a few weeks left in the 2022 campaign cycle. As her odds of defeating incumbent Democrat Jared Polis continue to plummet, Ganahl is inversely becoming more emboldened to let her true freak flag fly untethered.

In fact, this late-October version of The Real Heidi Ganahl is getting difficult to keep up with. As soon as we had written our earlier post, we learned that Ganahl had launched herself into yet another ludicrous conspiracy theory.

Here’s the latest press release from the Ganahl for Governor campaign:

Heidi Ganahl, Colorado Republican Gubernatorial Candidate, has stated unequivocally that she will NOT require COVID-19 vaccinations for any child, regardless of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Today, the CDC’s independent advisory committee, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), will vote on whether to recommend updating the childhood immunization schedule to include the COVID vaccine. Regardless of their decision, and the possible recommendation of the CDC, Ganahl wants it made clear that, as governor, she will NOT mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for Colorado schools.

As Kyle Clark of 9News pointed out via Twitter, this is complete and utter nonsense:


Here’s the story cited above from The Washington Post:

On Tuesday morning, a Fox News contributor claimed on Twitter that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was set to mandate that schoolchildren get coronavirus vaccines. By Tuesday evening, the claim was being repeated by the nation’s most popular cable news show, and had been amplified to millions more on social media.

“The CDC is about to add the Covid vaccine to the childhood immunization schedule, which would make the vax mandatory for kids to attend school,” host Tucker Carlson tweeted, sharing a segment from his show that has been viewed more than 1.5 million times online.

But the claim was wrong: The CDC cannot mandate that schoolchildren receive vaccines, a decision left up to states and jurisdictions, the agency and multiple public health officials said. [Pols emphasis] The initial tweet by Nicole Saphier, a radiologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, also misconstrued a planned meeting of CDC advisers, who voted Wednesday to add coronavirus vaccines to the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC), a safety-net program that offers the shots at no cost. A separate meeting set for Thursday would address the agency’s immunization schedule for children.

Public health experts said there is a legitimate debate over whether schoolchildren should be required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus — but the incendiary and erroneous claim by the Fox News personalities is the latest example of how critics can twist the facts about the CDC and the coronavirus, potentially contributing to lower vaccination rates, fading trust in federal health officials and other consequences for public health. [Pols emphasis]

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) did not — and was never planning to vote — on mandating COVID-19 vaccinations for children. But much like Ganahl’s inexplicable obsession with the widely-debunked claim that “furries” are invading Colorado schools, Ganahl and her campaign heard a right-wing rumor AND JUST RAN WITH IT.

This is an incredibly irresponsible thing for any adult human being to do, but it’s beyond the pale for a major party candidate for Governor to spread patently-false and easily verifiable misinformation in a desperate attempt to drum up a few more votes from the MAGA Republican types whose vote Ganahl does not need to still be searching for.

Perhaps Ganahl has decided that her reputation is so decimated that she is free to barf out every ridiculous right-wing rumor that she comes across in the final weeks before Election Day. It may even be true that Ganahl would be hard-pressed to make things any worse than they already are, but she is nevertheless causing very real damage to the Republican Party in general.

There are still plenty of voters who will be looking at Republican candidates on their ballot and consciously (or not) connecting the GOP’s top-of-ticket candidate to every other Republican on the ballot below her name. If we were one of those GOP candidates, we’d be extremely worried about what comes next.

No, Colorado is Not #2 in Fentanyl Deaths

Heidi Ganahl and Joe O’Dea have both often repeated false statistics about fentanyl deaths in Colorado.

Republican politicians in Colorado have fallen in love with a dubious talking point about fentanyl deaths in our state that has prompted at least two local news outlets to debunk the statistic. As Election Day draws closer, this talking point is getting shared with increasing frequency by Republican candidates.

And it’s wrong.

The talking point is some variation of this: “Colorado is #2 in the country in fentanyl deaths.” Gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl says it all the time. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and Attorney General candidate John Kellner are among the Republican candidates who have recently started repeating the number.

But as both The Colorado Sun and The Denver Post report, that number is just straight-up false. More importantly, experts say that attributing this scary-sounding statistic to Colorado is missing the point of the fentanyl problem in general.

Let’s start with The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul via its “Unaffiliated” newsletter following a recent gubernatorial debate:

Ganahl claimed during the debate that Colorado is “No. 2 in fentanyl deaths.” That’s wrong. [Pols emphasis]

Ganahl’s campaign, when asked for evidence to back up the claim, pointed to a line in an Axios Denver story about fentanyl deaths in Colorado to back up this claim.

The news outlet accurately reported “Colorado’s uptick (in fentanyl deaths) ranked second in the country from 2019 to 2021, according to a report published this month from the nonprofit Families Against Fentanyl.” Families Against Fentanyl, an organization that advocates for tougher policies against the drug and better awareness around it, found that the number of fentanyl deaths in Colorado increased by 382% between the fiscal year ending in May 2019 and the fiscal year ending in May 2021, from 147 to 709. That rate of increase ranked second among states over that time frame.

But Colorado’s per capita fentanyl death rate from June 2020 to May 2021 didn’t even rank in the top 20, according to Families Against Fentanyl. West Virginia was No. 1. Colorado was No. 33. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado was, however, in the top 10 — at No. 7 — when it comes to states with the highest rate of fentanyl death increases from 2015 to 2021, according to Families Against Fentanyl.

And here’s Seth Klamann of The Denver Post:

Where does Colorado rank in fentanyl deaths?

In short, not second. [Pols emphasis] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not list deaths specifically for fentanyl, but it does for synthetic narcotics — of which fentanyl is the dominant substance. According to that data, Colorado’s provisional, accidental overdose rate involving synthetic narcotics in 2021 was 16.8 per 100,000 residents, which was 31st in the nation and paled in comparison to top-ranked West Virginia, which had an overdose rate of just over 66.

A separate report, compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation, ranked Colorado 30th for opioid overdoses through 2020; Kaiser’s calculation is a slightly larger category than the CDC’s and would include heroin and prescription pills as well as fentanyl.

The truth is that it is difficult to come up with an accurate number of fentanyl deaths IN ANY STATE because the drug is normally included in data sets among a broader category of “opiates” or “synthetic narcotics.”

“Parsing out inter-state differences is sort of a useless exercise.”

Josh Blum of Denver Health

As Klamann notes in the Post, talking about fentanyl death rates in a given state is fairly pointless anyway:

That’s part of the reason why Josh Blum, the head of outpatient substance use treatment at Denver Health and a leading addiction specialist in the state, says that comparing states is a “useless exercise.” There’s no way to say how fentanyl’s presence in one place compares to others: Is there more fentanyl in Kansas versus Colorado? Is the drug supply in Illinois as contaminated with fentanyl as it is here, where heroin, meth and cocaine are often laced with the drug? A RAND Corporation study published earlier this year found that the potency of the drug supply varies even among neighboring states.

Blum noted that Colorado has several major cross-country interstates, plus a major metropolitan area, which makes it more conducive for drug traffickers. He ticked off other factors that make cross-state comparisons difficult: Colorado has a younger population, he said, which would mean residents are more likely to initiate drug use.

Colorado’s numbers are probably skewed because we do a pretty good job of tracking data on fentanyl deaths. By contrast, our neighbor to the north (Wyoming) has been particularly bad about collecting accurate information.

Colorado ranks 30th in the country when it comes to opioid overdose death rates per 100,000 people. That includes fentanyl deaths, but again, it also counts other opioid deaths.

In general, we wouldn’t listen to anything that Ganahl repeats out loud. Ganahl has a troubling history of not bothering to fact-check her own, uh, facts. She has claimed that “60% of Colorado kids can’t read, write, or do math,” which is silly, and she’s absolutely positive that there is an epidemic of “furries” in Colorado schools no matter how many times this conspiracy theory is debunked.

Likewise, John Kellner has regularly cherry-picked crime statistics he uses to attack incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser; the data actually shows that crime rates in Kellner’s judicial district are significantly higher than statewide averages. As for O’Dea…well, he changes his story on issues like the rest of us change our underwear.

Nobody would argue that tackling the fentanyl crisis is not an important issue, in Colorado or nationwide. But in order to have an honest discussion that leads to real results, we need to first start with accurate information.

PNC/GSG Poll: Colorado Democrats on the Cusp of Glory

The Denver Post’s Seth Klamann reports today on the latest Mountaineer poll from Global Strategy Group and liberal activist group ProgressNow Colorado–numbers that cannot be spun any way positively for Republicans three weeks out from the 2022 midterm elections, and the downward trajectory for Republicans in the gubernatorial race in particular opening the possibility of a rout on Election Night that Colorado Democrats could scarcely have dreamed of at the beginning of the year.

If the Global Strategy Group poll is to be believed, Republicans have a lot of catching up to do over the next three weeks. About 52% of likely voters surveyed said that, if Election Day were tomorrow, they would vote to re-elect Gov. Jared Polis, compared to 34% who said they would vote for CU Regent Heidi Ganahl; another 8% said they were undecided. It’s a larger lead than FiveThirtyEight’s analysis, which still gives Polis a sizable 16-point advantage.

Respondents were also asked about Ganahl’s repeated comments about children allegedly identifying as cats in schools across Colorado, a claim that school officials thoroughly rejected. The poll showed that 71% of respondents said the claim wasn’t an important issue at all.

A message sent to Ganahl’s campaign Tuesday was not returned. A Polis spokeswoman told the Post the governor was “working hard to earn the support of Colorado voters.”

The poll gave Bennet an 11-point lead over challenger Joe O’Dea among likely voters, with 7% undecided. It’s a stronger projection than FiveThirtyEight, which has Bennet up eight points as of last week, or polls aggregated by Real Clear Politics, which gives the Democrat a 7.7-point average lead. The race has received national attention as one that Republicans believe they can win in what they hope will be a wave election repudiating President Joe Biden and his fellow Democrats up and down the ticket.

It’s the latest in a spate of recent polls showing that Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor has unrecoverably tanked. Multiple polls now have Ganahl losing to Gov. Jared Polis in the 15-20% range, and three weeks out from the election there’s just no realistic hope of turning those numbers around.

The situation is little better for U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, who before this poll was locked 7-10% behind incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. Despite months of national press phoning in stories insisting that Colorado’s U.S. Senate race could become competitive, there is nothing to suggest that has actually happened. If anything, O’Dea is losing ground as the election nears.

Down the ballot there’s even more good news for Democrats, with incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Attorney General Phil Weiser holding solid leads over their Republican challengers:

The poll showed comfortable leads for both Attorney General Phil Weiser and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, both Democrats. Weiser had a seven-point lead over challenger John Kellner among likely voters, but with a sizable 12% of respondents undecided. The poll found Griswold with a 10-point lead over Republican Pam Anderson, with 10% of respondents reporting they’re undecided.

Although the poll didn’t survey the Treasurer’s race, the Attorney General and Secretary of State races have by far seen the most attention of the downballot statewide races. If these numbers are accurate both Weiser and Griswold are successfully weathering shrilly negative campaigns waged against them. Griswold in particular has been the subject of intense opprobrium from the state’s political elite and pundit class, and should take comfort from the durable show of support indicated in this poll.

You can read the full poll memo from Global Strategy Group here. Given the overall consistency of this latest poll with so many other recent surveys, the only way we can see at this point for Republicans in Colorado to have a shot at winning on November 8th is not just for this poll to be wrong, but all of the polling from every responsible pollster who has polled Colorado to be wrong. The unexcludable lingering possibility of exactly that is why we don’t expect Democrats to become complacent over these good polling numbers in the final few weeks of the 2022 campaign.

We expect them to close the deal.

Newspaper Endorsement Roundup for 2022

Sen. Michael Bennet is endorsed by every major newspaper making a decision in Colorado.

Several Colorado newspapers have decided against making endorsements in political races in 2022, including The Pueblo Chieftain, The Ft. Collins Coloradoan, and The Greeley Tribune.

The Colorado Springs Gazette, meanwhile, has turned its candidate endorsement process into a ridiculous partisan pit of repetitive Republican talking points. The Gazette has completely given up on even pretending to be nonpartisan by endorsing only Republican candidates — even those, such as GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl — for whom it is virtually impossible to make a coherent argument of support.

The good news is that there are still a handful of Colorado newspapers that are making thoughtful, considered endorsements of candidates in 2022. We rounded up the endorsements in some of Colorado’s top-tier races that are available as of this writing, including some notable lines. Included in our list below are The Denver Post, The Durango Herald, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and The Aurora Sentinel.

Two statewide candidates — Sen. Michael Bennet and Attorney General Phil Weiser — picked up endorsements from all four newspapers. Governor Jared Polis will undoubtedly join that list once The Denver Post makes its endorsement.

Also noteworthy: Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert failed to receive a single endorsement other than the rubber-stamp backing of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The two most important newspapers in CO-03 both backed Democratic challenger Adam Frisch instead of Boebert.



The GMS Podcast: It’s Voting Time! (feat. Alec Garnett)

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii sit down once again with House Speaker Alec Garnett to talk about the next generation of House leadership and his predictions for the 2022 election.

Later, we update you on everything you need to know about the latest in the major campaigns in Colorado. We also talk about a judge’s ruling on the Republican recall effort targeting State Sen. Kevin Priola, and together we listen to some bizarre videos courtesy of Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Governor’s Race is Over, CO-08 a Toss-Up

Many Colorado voters will be receiving a ballot in the mail one week from today. As we inch closer to actually voting in Colorado, it looks like the political environment is trending in the right left direction.

According to the prognosticators at Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball (The University of Virginia Center for Politics), there’s significant movement in Colorado:



We can’t argue with either assessment here. Let’s start in Colorado’s newest congressional district, where “Sabato” is rethinking some old thoughts:

We may have been a bit too bullish on Republicans in CO-8, the newly-drawn district that Biden won by about 4.5 points. This is the kind of swing seat that an opposition party should be able to flip in a midterm, but it remains close and competitive with heavy and bipartisan outside spending. Moving this seat to Toss-up also helps to balance out the Leans Republican group a little bit, as the GOP grip on a number of these is tenuous…

Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D), Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R).

The battle between Democrat Yadira Caraveo and Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer continues to generate significant outside spending — it is now among the top dozen most expensive House races in the country — which is another reason to believe that CO-08 is a true toss-up. If CO-08 was the Republican-leaning district that the GOP thought it was, this kind of spending wouldn’t still be necessary.

In the race for Governor, “Sabato” sees the same thing that everyone else does: Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis is in no danger from the bumbling carnival that is Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor:

In Colorado, we are confident enough in Gov. Jared Polis’s prospects that we are upgrading his contest from Likely Democratic to Safe Democratic. Republicans fielded University of Colorado Board of Regents member Heidi Ganahl — who is the sole remaining GOP statewide official left there — but the race hasn’t emerged as a top contest.

Recent polling has shown Ganahl trailing Polis by 17, 17, and 18 points, respectively…and those polls don’t fully account for the tremendous damage Ganahl inflicted on herself with 10 days of crazy talk about “furries” invading Colorado schools. At the beginning of October we changed “The Big Line” to give Polis to a 95% chance of winning, and that still might be too conservative.

Finally, here’s what “Sabato” has to say about Colorado’s Senate race:

A late Republican break could also endanger Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), but as of now he appears to be fine.

Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is also theoretically in danger of being struck by a meteor. Bennet isn’t as safe as Polis, but national Republicans are still “keeping an eye on” Republican candidate Joe O’Dea despite the fact that voters are going to start marking ballots in less than a week. If Republicans haven’t dropped significant resources on O’Dea’s behalf within the next 10 days, it will be too late to change anything.

Heidi Ganahl Embraces the No-Mentum

Let’s start today’s lesson with three numbers: 17, 17, 18.

In the three most recent publicly-available polls in the Colorado race for Governor, these are the margins in which incumbent Democrat Jared Polis is shown to be leading Republican challenger Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. According to a new poll out today from Marist, Polis now leads Ganahl by 18 points — a one-point increase from polling in late September showing Polis with a 17-point advantage.

As it turns out, spending 10 days talking about nonexistent “furries” invading Colorado schools is not a particularly useful exercise when it comes to voter outreach.

Mail ballots start their journey to voter mailboxes on Monday. While Ganahl is finally running television ads — though not many — she is refusing to participate in the two gubernatorial forums that would attract the widest audience (those two forums, combined, are hosted by 9News, Denver7, The Denver Post, and Colorado Public Radio). In other words, there’s very little chance that Ganahl can reach more than a few handfuls of undecided voters before most people have cast their ballots.

Ganahl’s campaign seems to be anticipating bad news on Nov. 8, but it’s still a little jarring to see that the Republican nominee for Governor won’t be in attendance when the GOP hosts its Election Night Party:

Somebody’s missing


You might recall that in the days before the June 28th Primary Election, Ganahl was planning to eschew a public election night party in favor of a smaller gathering at her home. As we noted at the time, we hadn’t seen a major party candidate avoid a public Election Night party since Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser barricaded himself inside his living room in 2016.

Ganahl eventually changed her mind and decided to hold a watch party at the same facility where Tina Peters was finding out that she would not be the GOP nominee for Secretary of State. Perhaps Ganahl will shift course again before Nov. 8, but her absence from the invitation above is a pretty good sign that she has come to the realization that she is not going to be Colorado’s next governor.

At least we’re all in agreement on that point.

Get More Weiserer (feat. Attorney General Phil Weiser)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk at length with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser about his re-election campaign, law enforcement issues in Colorado, and why you should brace yourself for the next Supreme Court docket.

Later, we talk more about Furry Lago and Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s decision to take her conspiracy theory a step too far; we update on the latest in several top races in Colorado; a majority of Republican candidates in the United States are full-on election deniers; and why a lesson from Aurora should inform voters about crime narratives being pushed by Republican candidates. Also, the one and only Christy Powell returns for another legendary rant.

*We’re about to hit 50,000 downloads of the Get More Smarter podcast, which is as amazing to us as it might be to you. Thanks to each and every one of you for listening, for subscribing, and for sharing the show with your friends. Ever since we started, Colorado has gone from purple to bright, bright blue. Coincidence? Probably, but we’re gonna take the credit anyway. 

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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Ganahl Finally Goes Up On Television (Barely)

True in more ways than one.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl took time out from her busy schedule of making baseless allegations about “furries” in schools to film her first television ad of the cycle.

You can watch the ad below after the jump…which might be about the only place you’ll see it. Ganahl’s television ad buy is less than $300k for both Denver and Colorado Springs and runs through Nov. 6.

If you’re unfamiliar with the cost of television advertising, $300k would be a decent ad buy in a congressional race — if that was for one week of air time. Ganahl’s ad buy is in the same ballpark as what Republican self-funder Tim Walsh is spending to run cable television ads in a STATE SENATE race in SD-20 (Lakewood-ish).

Ganahl’s campaign may still increase the amount of money it spends on television, but unless she finds some sort of buried treasure in the next week or two, it won’t be much of a bump. Ganahl’s campaign reported about $937k in the bank at the end of September, most of which was due to loans from Ganahl herself. After paying for things like staff salaries, office space, and lighting cash on fire to warm her hands, there won’t be a lot of money left over unless Ganahl decides to write more personal checks to her campaign.

At least Ganahl won’t suffer the indignity of being a major party candidate for Governor who didn’t have enough support to even run ads on television. As for all the other self-inflicted indignities…well, Ganahl is just going to have to live with those.



Who Will Win the Race for Governor? (10/6)

Jared Polis, Jared Polis

The last time we asked this question, here’s what you thought.

Given the catastrophic meltdown of Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign, we’re rewording this poll question. Who will win the race for Governor in November? Will it be incumbent Democrat Jared Polis, or incumbent Democrat Jared Polis?


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


Who Will Win the Race for Governor? (10/6)

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The GMS Podcast: Crazier Than a Bag of Squirrels

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand what in the holy hell is wrong with Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl and her obsession with furries.

Later, we talk about GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and his definition of “Chickeenos”; the weird maybe-not-a-coincidence campaign strategy that many Republicans across the country seem to be following; and the strangest part of former President Donald Trump’s de-classification explanation (it’s not what you think).

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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Heidi Ganahl Campaign Goes Radioactive

UPDATE: Heidi Ganahl…quintuples down? Sextuples down? It defies comprehension:

Meanwhile, 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark helpfully recaps the recent history of the nationwide conservative “furry panic” that seems to have swept the nation since the spring, discredited at every stop but simply making its way to the next locale like a bad carnival.

The one thing we can promise is that in Colorado, this nuttery has a hard stop coming on November 8th.


At what point do Colorado Republicans abandon gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl altogether?

Mail ballots will be going out to voters in 14 days. Election Day is just 36 days from today.

Heidi Ganahl is NOT going to be elected Governor in Colorado. The latest polling has her trailing Democratic Gov. Jared Polis by 17 points, and national forecasters are moving Colorado’s race for Governor into the “SAFE DEM” category. Polis could be hit by a bus three or four different times and Ganahl still wouldn’t be able to pull ahead of the incumbent with a campaign that has no money, no coherent message, and is now just being openly ridiculed across the board.

The really bad news for Colorado Republicans is that there are still 36 days for Ganahl’s campaign to cause lasting political damage to anyone who remains associated with this epic disaster. We wrote on Friday about how Ganahl completely fell apart at a candidate forum amid questioning from Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton. Somehow, against all odds, Ganahl’s campaign got even worse over the next couple of days.

Remember, everything you read below has taken place in just the last couple of days…



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.


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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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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?

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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.