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.

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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]


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.

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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:



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…



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.”


“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.”



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



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


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…



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.



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

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

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

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?


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.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 19)

Tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shootings that killed 12 people and injured 70 others. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has had a lot of bad days in the 10 months since she announced her campaign, but Monday has to rank near the top of that terrible list. Ganahl announced her running mate and Lieutenant Governor choice on Monday; it was not an Hispanic male leader from rural Colorado, as Ganahl had been teasing for weeks. Instead, Ganahl chose “Big Lie” believer Danny Moore, a Centennial businessman with no governing experience who lives about 9 miles away from her in the South Denver Metro Area. 

Most Colorado media outlets reacted similarly, which is to say that they largely panned Ganahl’s odd selection. This headline from Colorado Public Radio sums up much of the reaction.

Ganahl’s campaign was planning to hold a public event with Moore on Wednesday in Aurora until somebody realized that it was the 10th Anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shootings:


Is Climate Change man-made? That debate is almost irrelevant at this point other than to guide potential solutions to the problem. Make no mistake — it IS a problem. As The Washington Post reports:

Has it ever, in human history, been this hot in the British Isles? Maybe not.

If you want to mark an unnatural, scary, real-world data point for climate change, it is here in Britain, right now, which saw its hottest day on record Tuesday, with temperatures hitting 40.2 Celsius or 104 Fahrenheit at London Heathrow. It’s an extreme-weather episode, a freak peak heat, not seen since modern record keeping began a century and a half ago.

And probably not since weather observation got serious here in 1659. And maybe far longer.

Hitting 40C, for British climate scientists, is a kind of a unicorn event that had appeared in their models but until recently seemed almost unbelievable and unattainable this soon.

Much of Europe is experiencing unprecedented heat waves. If nothing else, we must do what we can to prevent British men from walking around shirtless.


Meanwhile, President Biden may be preparing to act aggressively to combat Climate Change. This from a separate story in The Washington Post:

President Biden is considering declaring a national climate emergency as soon as this week as he seeks to salvage his environmental agenda in the wake of stalled talks on Capitol Hill, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.

The potential move comes days after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told Democratic leaders that he does not support his party’s efforts to advance a sprawling economic package this month that includes billions of dollars to address global warming. If an emergency is invoked, it could empower the Biden administration in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and foster cleaner energy.

In anticipation of a potential announcement, Biden is set to travel to Somerset, Mass., to deliver a speech on climate change on Wednesday.


Republican Primary Election losers Ron Hanks (U.S. Senate) and Tina Peters (Secretary of State) will not be granted recounts from the June 28th Primary because neither campaign has the financial resources to pay for such an effort.

The recount request was silly anyway, since neither Hanks nor Peters finished anywhere close enough to their respective opponents to justify such a time-consuming and pointless endeavor. Nevertheless, some Republican activists are still discussing options for challenging the 2022 Primary Election results. These folks really need a new hobby.


Click below to keep learning things…



Ganahl/Moore: The Park Meadows Mall Ticket

The Republican candidate for Governor, Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, did more than lie to Coloradans with the announcement of her Lieutenant Governor choice. In selecting Centennial businessman Danny Moore to be her running mate, Ganahl undercut one of her regular attacks on incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

Ganahl often alleges — without any evidence — that Polis doesn’t pay enough attention to Coloradans outside of the Denver Metro area. On July 11, for example, Ganahl Tweeted this:


We’ve said many times in this space that the Republican cries of a “War on Rural Colorado” are just silly, but Ganahl has nevertheless made this one of her main talking points. Since Ganahl lives in Metro Denver (in the Lone Tree area), her campaign seemed to understand the importance of the perception of adding a non-Denver running mate to the ticket; this is why Ganahl had been teasing that her LG pick would be an Hispanic male leader from rural Colorado. But when that option backed out on her, Ganahl had to scramble to find somebody else who was willing to run alongside her in the General Election.

In selecting the Centennial-based Moore, Ganahl chose a running mate who lives 9 miles away from her home in Lone Tree. We’re not going to list exact addresses here, but you can see the general area in which both candidates live in the image below:

Heidi Ganahl and Danny Moore live about 9 miles apart, on either side of the Park Meadows Mall in South Denver.

This isn’t a huge issue, of course; it matters only because it contradicts something that Ganahl regularly uses as a talking point in the Governor’s race.

Ganahl says she will be a Governor for all of Colorado…but mostly for those who shop at Park Meadows Mall.

Heidi Ganahl Lied About Her Running Mate

UPDATE: Wherefore art thou, Felix?


Heidi Ganahl

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl (finally) announced her Lieutenant Governor running mate on Monday morning.

It was not who she said it would be.

Earlier this month, Ganahl said on a right-wing radio show that she would name on July 7 an Hispanic male as her running mate — someone who was a leader in rural Colorado. That day came and went with no announcement, as 9News reported:

Ganahl spoke with Casper Stockham on KLZ 560 AM radio on July 1 and said she would make her pick on Thursday.

“We also have a great lieutenant governor pick that we’re going to announce next Thursday,” Ganahl said on the show. “But he is a, a very strong Hispanic leader from rural Colorado, who I think, will help us do the job of uniting Colorado.” [Pols emphasis]

Las Animas County Commissioner Felix Lopez was obviously Ganahl’s initial choice, but he backed out on Ganahl just before July 7. Ganahl’s campaign stayed quiet until last Friday, when it claimed that an LG announcement would be coming today (for reals this time).

This was the announcement: Ganahl has selected Danny Moore, a businessman from Centennial who only checks one of those three boxes that she talked about in a half-dozen interviews after the June 28th Primary:

Who is Danny Moore? Moore is a true “Big Lie” believer who has tried to cover his tracks with lame attempts at claiming that he is just “trying to spark a conversation.” Back in early 2021, Moore was briefly named the Chairman of the Colorado Congressional Redistricting Commission before it was revealed that he hadn’t been truthful about his “Big Lie” commitments; the rest of the Commission promptly voted 11-0 to remove Moore as Chairman despite his ridiculous attempts to claim that concerns about him were racially motivated. If Ganahl wanted to avoid more questions about her beliefs about election fraud in 2020, selecting Moore will do just the opposite.

Moore has no governing experience whatsoever, but he and Ganahl know each other from their many years working together for the Leadership Program of the Rockies, a right-wing candidate brainwashing factory.

The next obvious question is this: WHY Danny Moore? After all, Moore only checks one of the three boxes Ganahl had indicated for her running mate selection. As we noted earlier, Felix Lopez was supposed to be the Ganahl choice; 9News followed up on that story and got Lopez on the phone — briefly — before the Las Animas County Commissioner pretended he had a bad phone connection and hung up on reporter Marshall Zelinger (no, seriously — watch this 9News segment). No rational person could watch that 9News story and come away believing that Lopez was not Ganahl’s first choice. Hence this Tweet from Kyle Clark of 9News:

So, the short answer about “WHY Danny Moore” is this: He said yes.  Seriously — that might be the main reason.

Ganahl needed someone to be her running mate, and she couldn’t spend weeks getting rejected by other candidates. Ganahl and Moore will hold an event together on Wednesday during which they will likely both get very angry about being asked about the 2020 election results. The Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) will probably send out a supportive statement and then run like hell out of Colorado for the rest of the 2022 election cycle.

If Ganahl’s LG pick seems very odd, just know that you are not alone. Colorado media outlets have generally responded to the news of Moore’s selection with much head-scratching:

Via The Denver Post (7/18/22)

From The Denver Post:

The selection of Moore is the latest example of Ganahl embracing far-right conspiracists. She’s now working on this campaign with top associates of former President Donald Trump, Brad Parscale and Boris Epshteyn, and she recently appeared on Steve Bannon’s show, WarRoom. Ganahl, an elected University of Colorado regent, has consistently declined to condemn John Eastman, the former CU visiting professor who was central in the plot to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election.

At many points during her winning primary campaign, she refused to say whether she felt Joe Biden was legitimately elected and chastised journalists for asking her about it.


We’ll continue to follow this story and update as necessary.

Ganahl: Most Colorado Kids Can’t Read, Write, or Do Math

Earlier this year we posted a bracket-style look at the worst major political campaigns in the last two decades in Colorado. The Winningest Loser in our bracket was Republican Bob Beauprez’s disastrous campaign for Governor in 2006, but we noted at the time that 2022 Republican gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was making a run at the title with her dumpster fire of a campaign.

Indeed, the closer we get to Election Day, the more Ganahl’s campaign seems to be morphing into Beauprez’s 2006 debacle. Here’s yet another example…

In August 2006, Beauprez was forced to make a half-assed apology for making a ridiculous claim about abortion during an interview on Colorado Public Radio’s “Colorado Matters” (in fact, we still have the transcript of that interview in our archives). Beauprez had claimed that more than 70% of African-Americans were getting abortions, a figure that is so ludicrous that it doesn’t even need a complete fact checking:

“I’ve seen numbers as high as 70 percent – maybe even more – in the African-American community that I think is just appalling.”

Beauprez’s apology was not great, but at least he acknowledged his own idiocy: “I was wrong about the statistic I quoted in a recent interview with Colorado Public Radio and I apologize to the African American Community and anyone else who was offended,” said Beauprez in a statement. “I should have verified the statistic before repeating it.” [Pols emphasis]

This is a lesson that Ganahl should have learned. We recently stumbled across this “Mom on a Mission” video from Ganahl’s campaign that tries to use an equally-absurd statistic as fact. You can click on the link above to watch the entire 34-second video, but here’s the key part:

“And 60% of our kids here in this state cannot read, write, or do math. That is not okay.”

— Republican gubernatorial nominee Heidi Ganahl



Again, we don’t need to spend any time doing serious research to know that this statistic is straight bananas. Ganahl would have you believe that 6 in 10 Colorado children are both illiterate and incapable of solving basic math problems. This is as dumb as saying that 100% of Colorado children under the age of 3 are unable to read, write, or do math…but at least that figure would be accurate.

Ganahl is an elected Regent at the University of Colorado, so she should have at least absorbed SOME information about public education just by osmosis over the last 5-6 years. Of course, this isn’t the only time Ganahl has said something bizarre about public education in Colorado; she also seems to think that we are teaching sex education to kindergarteners, which is silly.

So where did Ganahl come up with this 60% figure? Here’s our guess:

Over the course of her campaign for Governor, Ganahl has regularly mentioned statistics about how Colorado children perform in schools. You can find plenty of numbers showing that X% of kids test below grade level in various subjects, which is a completely fair thing to point out (however, Colorado students generally test better than the national average when it comes to reading). But the details matter. At some point, Ganahl stopped parsing out the numbers for different grade levels and subjects and just lumped it all into one ridiculous percentage.

And that number just keeps rising. By the time we reach November, Ganahl will be saying that 90% of the state’s entire population is illiterate.

Ganahl has long acknowledged that she’ll say pretty much whatever you want her to say if she thinks it might earn your support. Most politicians will exaggerate on various issues to some degree, but this is different — it’s just flat out lying. For the Ganahl campaign, such an approach seems to be standard operating procedure.

Ganahl Choice for Running Mate May Have Backed Out

UPDATE (4:11 pm): We’ve been trying to think through how this all went so awry for the Ganahl campaign. The only thing that really made sense is that perhaps Felix Lopez rejected Ganahl’s offer to be her running mate. If Lopez backed out at the last minute, it would be plausible that Ganahl’s campaign was in such a rush to deny that Lopez was ever the choice in the first place so that they could refute later reporting that he might have turned Ganahl down.

From what we hear, this is pretty close to what actually happened. We’re fairly confident that Lopez was the choice for LG and that’s who Ganahl had been talking about for the last week. Sometime in the last day or two — maybe even today — Lopez had a change of heart and told Ganahl that he had decided not to join the campaign.

This would be an odd but appropriate bit of karma for Ganahl, who reportedly turned down Walker Stapleton’s offer to be his running mate in 2018.


UPDATE (3:11 pm):


UPDATE (3:00 pm): Colorado Politics has removed Luning’s story altogether now, which is weird. Most news outlets would stand by the reporting and let it play out.

Also, still no public word from Ganahl’s campaign.

And, again, the only reason any of this is happening today is because Ganahl spent the last week saying she was going to announce her running mate today. This is a massive own-goal by the Ganahl campaign.


UPDATE (2:30 pm): It would be legitimately difficult for any campaign to intentionally make this much of a mess:


UPDATE (1:30 pm): It looks like we were on the right track below. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Ganahl has chosen Las Animas County Commissioner Felix Lopez as her running mate:

Ganahl teased her lieutenant governor pick Saturday in a radio interview, saying she planned to introduce a Hispanic leader from rural Colorado as her running mate on Thursday, though her campaign later decided to postpone the announcement until later this month, a spokeswoman told Colorado Politics.

Welp. So much for that postponement.


Heidi Ganahl making her #FAIL face

For the second consecutive election cycle, the Republican nominee for Governor is bungling the announcement of a Lieutenant Governor running mate.

Over the course of the last week or so, Republican gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has told anyone who would listen that she was going to announce her pick for Lieutenant Governor on Thursday, July 7.

But despite repeatedly hyping up the big announcement, Ganahl’s campaign has decided NOT to break the news on her Lieutenant Governor (LG) today.

It’s never a good idea to make a significant announcement the week of July 4th — lots of people are tuned out and/or on vacation (including reporters) — but this is something that a less-incompetent campaign would have figured out before allowing its candidate to repeatedly promise such big news.

Ganahl has been hyping this news since before the June 28th Primary Election. For example:

♦ Ganahl first told Steffan Tubbs of KOA Radio — the day before the Primary Election — that she had selected a potential running mate: “It’s an amazing Hispanic leader from rural Colorado,” she said on June 27.

♦ Ganahl said the same thing on The George Brauchler Show on KNUS radio on the day of the Primary Election, telling the host on June 28 that she had chosen an “Hispanic leader in rural Colorado.”

♦ On Wednesday, June 29 — the day after Ganahl’s Primary Election victory over Greg Lopez — she said on The Jimmy Sengenberger Show on KNUS radio that “We’re gonna announce [a running mate] in the next couple of days…he’s a great Hispanic leader from rural Colorado and is going to just wow people.”

♦ On Thursday, June 29, Ganahl told Dan Caplis on his KNUS radio show that she would soon announce “a strong Hispanic leader from rural Colorado” as her Lieutenant Governor choice.

Most recently, Ganahl teased a specific date for her LG announcement while speaking on KLZ 560 radio. Last Saturday (July 2), Ganahl said that she had “A great LG pick that we’ll announce on Thursday…a strong hispanic leader from rural Colorado that can help us unite Colorado.”

Maybe Ganahl didn’t mean to be so specific and was saying that she would announce a running mate on some future Thursday. Or, more likely, they just messed this up.

Ganahl’s campaign has been remarkably awful from the outset. It is not unusual for the Ganahl campaign to make weird event changes at the last minute, and it would seem that things haven’t gotten much better now that Ganahl is being advised by known coup plotters. Failing to make a long-promised announcement is just another in a long line of stupid (and avoidable) mistakes for this campaign.

Lang Sias in 2018

Unlike her 2018 predecessor, Ganahl is under no official pressure to make a quick LG announcement. Four years ago, Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton had to rush to unveil the yawn-inducing Lang Sias as his running mate because state statutes required that such a decision be made within seven days of the Primary Election. This became a problem for the Stapleton campaign, both in terms of public perception and for official reasons; Stapleton’s campaign probably broke the law by missing this deadline and trying to back-date an agreement with Sias.

[FUN FACT: Ganahl was believed to have been Stapleton’s first choice as a running mate, but she turned him down.]

That requirement has since changed so that a gubernatorial nominee has seven days after the certification of the Primary Election to officially name a running mate. Under the current statute that gives Ganahl another few weeks to screw this up.

So, who is it gonna be? According to Ganahl, her running mate has already been selected. She says it is a male Hispanic leader from rural Colorado, and from what we hear, Ganahl’s LG pick is a current county commissioner.

Here’s a short list of potential running mates who fit this criteria: Longinos Gonzalez (El Paso County); Ronnie Maez (Archuleta County); Felix Lopez (Las Animas County); and Carlos Garcia (Conejos County).

Gonzalez doesn’t make as much sense because it’s a bit of a stretch to call El Paso County a “rural” community. That leaves Maez, Lopez, and Garcia. Of those three potential candidates, Lopez has the highest (relative) current profile as the President of Colorado Counties, Inc. Oddly enough, he also has the same last name as the Republican candidate Ganahl just defeated in the Primary, Greg Lopez.

We’ll have to wait a bit longer to find out if Ganahl is going to once again share the ballot with a Republican named Lopez, which brings us to another problem with this delayed announcement: The longer Ganahl waits, the more likely it is that the name of her running mate gets leaked. If that happens, her official announcement becomes a lot less interesting as a news item.

Regardless of what happens here, breaking her promise of a big announcement just adds to Ganahl’s long list of mistakes as a candidate for governor. Go ahead and mark another ‘X’ in the #FAIL ledger.

Republicans Attack Polis By…Noting His Accomplishments?

Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) is the Chairperson of the Colorado Republican Party, which is a lot of responsibility for someone whose previous job – literally the last position she held prior to being elected GOP Chair – was serving as President of FEC United. If you’re unfamiliar with FEC United, they are an armed militia group founded by right-wing conspiracy enthusiast Joe Oltmann. Burton Brown served as the head of this militia group right up until she was elected GOP Chair in March 2021.

The reason we bring this up is to say that KBB is definitely more familiar with conspiracy theory nuttery than she is with real world campaign messaging. For proof of this, look no further than this positively idiotic narrative attempt that KBB tweeted out on Wednesday morning about Democratic Gov. Jared Polis

Making this document public before turning off the “grammar check” on your word processor is a silly mistake that many people have made before; sadly for KBB, there is no automated way to check whether your paragraphs make logical sense aside from any grammatical errors. The text in KBB’s tweet is also difficult to read, but luckily for us, there is also an email version sent out by the Colorado Republican Party.

Let’s take a closer look at this word vomit titled “52 Times Jared Polis and the Democrats Lied or Hurt Working Families.” Why 52? Maybe to honor the number of states in America.