The GMS Podcast: Caucus Conundrum (feat. Rep. Joe Neguse)

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

This week in episode 102 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii examine the results of a very strange weekend for Colorado Republicans at their county assemblies.

Later, we talk with Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) about campaigning in a newly-redrawn congressional district; chairing the U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands; passage of legislation to create the Amache National Historic Site; and his efforts to assist Ukrainian refugees escaping the war with Russia.

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Gov. Polis has an admirer at The Bulwark

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This week, The Bulwark’s Tim Miller shares an interview teaser for an episode of Not My Party on Snapchat  (in his own style) and writes an article about Jared Polis.

In the article, the theme is “Look to the Colorado governor for a model of how you can build a coalition of the normal and decent.”

it has been Polis, more than maybe any other Democrat in the country, who has succeeded at delivering for Colorado on the central promise of the Joe Biden presidency—one that has consistently flummoxed the president himself: returning a bit of normalcy to our tumultuous partisan politics.

Polis has brought down the temperature, brought politicians from across the aisle into the fold, and governed in a way that appeals to (or at least earns grudging acknowledgement from) many Republican voters.

In a midterm year looking ugly for Democrats, Polis is running for re-election—and that normalcy is paying big dividends for him.

Interesting to read a conservative, never-Trump, political orphan gay man talking about about a not-conservative, never-Trump, gay man who is a Democratic governor.

Sorry Heidi: There Is No GOP “Leading Candidate” For Governor

An announcement from Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl about a “gubernatorial forum” tonight in Colorado Springs struck us with its newly-added presumptuous tagline:

As you can see, Ganahl is now billing herself as the “leading Republican candidate for governor.” In the advertising world, “leading,” like “best-selling,” is a claim you’re supposed to be able to justify with hard metrics–otherwise it’s better to go with more vague superlatives like “fastest-growing” that don’t necessary imply they are actually, you know, #1.

Not to mention the age-old saying: “if you have to say you are, you aren’t.”

But that got us thinking in all fairness: what’s the metric by which Heidi Ganahl could plausibly justify calling herself the “leading candidate?” There’s only one head-to-head matchup poll that’s been done pitting Ganahl and her upstart Republican opponent Danielle Neuschwanger against incumbent Gov. Jared Polis, and in that poll Neuschwanger performed better against Polis than Ganahl.

At last week’s candidate forum in DougCo, Ganahl reacted poorly to this being pointed out:

Would the metric Heidi is relying on be fundraising, then? Ganahl has technically raised the most of the Republican primary pack, but by any objective scale her fundraising has been extremely anemic compared to other Republican primary candidates in Colorado running for U.S. Senate and even congressional races. Ganahl certainly hasn’t demonstrated the fundraising ability to distinguish herself beyond the resources any Republican nominee could reasonably expect to start flowing after the primary.

So if it’s not polling and not fundraising, which most people would call the two most important benchmarks, where else can Ganahl point to justify her claim to be the “leading candidate for governor?” It’s not social media footprint either. Danielle Neuschwanger has well over twice the number of Twitter followers as Ganahl. Then we went over to Ganahl’s Youtube page to see how her overproduced campaign videos are going over:


The Get More Smarter Podcast: Episode 100!!!

This week in episode 100 — yes, 100 — of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with two different guests about two very important subjects related to Colorado politics.

First, we chat with Skyler McKinley of AAA Colorado to get the real story on how and why gas prices are rising…and how it has nothing to do with politicians in either party.

Later, Andrew Baumann of Global Strategy Group walks us through the latest numbers from the “Mountaineer” polling project. Why is little-known Republican Danielle Neuschwanger polling better than Hiedi Heidi Ganahl in the GOP race for governor? Baumann also explains how the “crimenado” narrative is less perilous to Democrats than you might think, as well as the problems with Colorado Republicans continuing to attach themselves to former President Donald Trump.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (March 11)

It’s been two years since the coronavirus pandemic began. 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 


Republicans across Colorado continue to attack Democrats for crimes committed in the last couple of years. One Republican, however, has had enough of this nonsense. Says Republican Rep. Shane Sandridge: “I don’t care what party you’re in. Just tell the truth.”


The three Republican candidates for Governor met on Tuesday for a forum sponsored by the Douglas County Republican Women. We chronicled the entire debate, which primarily demonstrated that none of these people — Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, Greg Lopez, and Danielle Neuschwanger — should be allowed anywhere near a position of leadership. 


Colorado’s Congressional delegation is mostly united on a decision to ban Russian imports of oil and gas. You’ll never guess who is taking a different position (okay, you’ll probably guess). As Colorado Public Radio reports:

While members of Colorado’s congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle have been quick to rally around the idea of banning Russian energy imports after the country’s invasion of Ukraine, the challenge of making up the difference remains a bone of contention.

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert was the only member of the delegation not to support the Russian oil ban bill. She offered her own version, which would ban oil imports from Russia, Iran and Venezuela, as well as open up Alaska’s ANWR for fossil fuel development and expedite pipeline approvals, among other things. Her bill is not expected to advance.

Republicans such as Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are calling, unsurprisingly, for the government to do more to open up oil and gas production in the United States. This is absolutely not the problem, however; the oil and gas industry doesn’t WANT to drill more, because they’re making too much money as it is.


President Biden is promoting even more stringent sanctions against Russia. From The Washington Post:

President Biden said the U.S. and its allies would strip Russia of routine trade benefits, adding to the financial pressure on Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine.

The Group of 7 nations and the European Union also will take the first step toward implementing similar measures, which would have a more dramatic impact upon the Russian economy.

Biden called the actions “another crushing blow to Russia’s economy,” which already has been pummeled by comprehensive financial sanctions.

“The free world is coming together to confront Putin,” the president said in remarks from the White House.



Click below to keep learning things…



Debate Diary: Republican Candidates for Governor in 2022

The three Republican candidates for Governor got together for a candidate forum in Douglas County on Tuesday. You know what that means – it’s time for another Debate Diary!!!

On Tuesday, March 8, Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, Greg Lopez, and Danielle Neuschwanger took center stage at The Lone Tree Hub for a candidate forum moderated by former State Sen. Bill Cadman and right-wing chucklehead Jon Caldara. You can watch the entire forum here, or keep reading for our blow-by-blow coverage of the event.

With only three candidates, this GOP debate wasn’t nearly as long as the Senate candidate forums we’ve seen earlier this year (click HERE and HERE to read those). But what this event lacked in length it more than made up for in sheer inanity.

Ganahl demonstrated an unmistakable lack of personality coupled with a minimal amount of substance; if you watched this forum without any prior knowledge of the candidates, it would not have been obvious that Ganahl is supposed to be the GOP frontrunner. She was by far the most aggressive in attacking the other two candidates, which is also a weird look for someone who is supposed to be carrying the “frontrunner” banner.

Neuschwanger was the most interesting and memorable of the candidates, but she is also undoubtedly a few sandwiches short of a picnic. For instance, Neuschwanger repeatedly promised to fire the entire State of Colorado workforce on her first day in office.

As for Greg Lopez…he was Greg Lopez.

From left to right: Heidi Ganahl, Greg Lopez, and Danielle Neuschwanger

Anyway, let’s get to it…

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



How Is “Recall Polis 4.0” Going, You Ask?

You probably didn’t ask, but as readers know the 2022 iteration of the cottage industry pretending to be on a campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis for cash and prizes, depending on your reckoning either the third or fourth such campaign since Polis’ election in 2018, is in the field once again–and hard up against a pressing daily requirement to gather at least 10,500 valid Colorado voter signatures on two separate petitions to stay on track for the required 630,000+ each for Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

By now, if this campaign were to have even the slightest chance at succeeding, we would need to see recall petition gatherers on every street corner–a much larger effort than what’s required to put a statewide ballot initiative up for a vote even under the state’s new restrictive ballot measure petition requirements. For a campaign that hasn’t raised enough money to cover the physical cost of printing petitions, that’s a level of organization that nobody rationally expects.

So are there any signs of life out there? Well…

Last Saturday, if you ventured into the depths of the Englewood Civic Center’s parking garage and found this older model Dodge Durango, you could be one of the lucky few to sign Recall Polis/Griswold 2022 petitions. Can you think of more inviting space in which to hand over your personal information? You may have needed to explain to an Englewood cop either coming or going that you weren’t there to buy drugs.

If you’ve already written off the governor’s race, then maybe you don’t care. But if the goal is actually to compete against Polis in the regular election that is already coming up in November, every moment spent on attempting to recall Polis before then is wasted. For a campaign starting off down double digits in polling, this is a distraction Republicans can’t afford.

Best case scenario for both sides: Recall Polis 4.0 stays a black-market product traded in parking garages.

Silly Sweeping Statements Starring Heidi Ganahl

GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl (R).

Although standards are not what they once were in the post-Trump era, one of the hallmarks of an undisciplined campaign is a reliance on overbroad statements about issues that tend to reveal more ignorance about the subject at hand than anything else. In recent weeks, gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl’s call to “end all mandates except FREEDOM” prompted quite a bit of head-scratching from anyone who actually sat down for as moment to make sense of what she’s saying. Are we just talking about COVID vaccinations or is this about all childhood vaccines? Is this about more than vaccines?

Even if we’re just talking about vaccinations, as recently as a few years ago Republicans and Democrats with any credibility agreed that vaccine mandates for children attending school make sense. Taking Ganahl at her word, she’s way outside what has been the mainstream for most of our lives.

Along with the ambiguous call to “mandate freedom” in Ganahl’s stump speeches, there’s another line we’ve heard a couple of times now (most recently in Grand Junction this weekend, audio below) that, while it might sound appealing in friendly confines, fares poorly under scrutiny:

GANAHL: And I will Day One roll back every single executive order that [Polis] has signed–over 500 of them. [Pols emphasis]

This is very close to what Ganahl said to right-wing AM radio host Mandy “Half Breed” Connell on KOA radio last week, so it’s definitely a rehearsed line:

CONNELL: What would you do if you were elected governor? Like, what would be your strategy Day One?

GANAHL: Well, Jared Polis does a lot of his dirty work through boards and commissions and through executive orders so that he doesn’t have, so he can be kind of hands off so I would repeal every executive order I possibly could, which there’s over 500 right now that he’s put in place. [Pols emphasis]



First of all, most of the emergency executive orders from the COVID-19 pandemic, which are by far the most contentious, are already expired with the end of the state of emergency. So in those cases there’s literally nothing to repeal. Dozens more of the executive orders Ganahl promised to “roll back” are natural disaster declarations for fires, floods, and avalanches across the state. How would that even work, and what kind of harm would that do to the affected victims? Among others, Ganahl just vowed to repeal Gov. Polis’ executive order granting tribal authorities access to law enforcement databases for child welfare, multiple orders promoting election cybersecurity, and expanding rural broadband. Are these really issues that Ganahl wants to go on the record opposing?

Finally, let’s not forget Executive Order D2022-011, Colorado’s Response to and Condemnation of Russia’s Unlawful Ukrainian Invasion. Unless Heidi Ganahl tells us differently, we have no choice but to conclude that the GOP’s candidate for governor of Colorado is calling for the repeal of the state’s condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That’s national news–and unless you’re Vladimir Putin it’s not the good kind.

As we’ve been saying patiently to politicos on both sides for so many years, words mean things. And when silly sweeping statements come round to bite you in the backside like an ill-mannered chihuahua, there’s no one to blame but yourself.

This is what an unserious campaign looks like.

The Slow Death of the Republican Crimenado Narrative

Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert (R)

Republicans, including fledgling gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, are trying really, really, really hard to cement a 2022 election narrative that crime is out of control in Colorado and it’s all because of Democrats. Vote for us, say Republicans, and your catalytic converters will be safe once again!

This entire effort is getting rather silly. Research show that increases in crime in Colorado have generally mirrored those in the rest of the country, but Republicans have cherry-picked statistics in a dubious scientific manner in order to support their rhetoric that Colorado is more murdery than other states as a result of policies enacted by Democratic lawmakers. We’ll get to that canard in a moment, but first let’s consider how Republicans are dealing with the crime issue right now.

On Wednesday, NOT A SINGLE REPUBLICAN voted to advance legislation out of the House Judiciary Committee intended to cut down on identity-based crimes. Two weeks ago, a bill to reduce youth violence also passed out of the House Judiciary Committee…again, without one Republican vote of support.

For months, Republicans have brayed about “Democratic bills” that have led to a rise in crime throughout Colorado. Yet Republicans are actively opposing crime-prevention measures during the current legislative session. Republicans don’t appear to be interested in preventing crime; their focus is instead on keeping people in jail who have already committed crimes. Or, perhaps Republicans will only work on crime prevention if Coloradans vote for them in November.

Now, let’s get back to the Republican claim that Democrats are responsible for an increase in crime because of legislation passed in recent years. Even if you were able to definitively state that Colorado has more crime than other states and it is because of recent legislation, then you would need to blame Republicans as much as Democrats. Take a look at the list below of the various crime-related bills that Republicans point toward as proof of their “crimenado” nonsense. You’ll notice that most of them have…wait for it…Republican support.

For example, consider HB19-1263, which is the legislation that Republicans generally point toward when they complain that Democrats have made it easier for bad guys to flood Colorado with fentanyl. That bill had bi-partisan support and received eight Republican votes when it was passed. This is why some Republicans, such as State Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, are now being forced to throw their fellow Republicans under the bus rather than abandon their shaky rhetoric altogether.

Of all of the crime-related bills that get shoehorned into the “crimenado” narrative, only one was passed without any Republican support — and that was legislation (HB21-1251) about regulating the use of ketamine when detaining suspects who are considered overly-aggressive when confronted by police officers. If you want to say that crime is on the rise because Democrats made it harder for paramedics to inject a suspect with ketamine…well, good luck with that.

Look, we get it: Republicans think that scaring Colorado voters about an increase in crime is their best bet for getting elected in November. They might even be correct in that assessment. The problem, of course, is that this narrative of Democrats making life easier for criminals is not supported by actual facts.

It Is To Laugh: Recall Polis 4.0 (Maybe) Collecting Signatures

The sad end of “Recall Polis 1.0.”

Practically from the moment Gov. Jared Polis was elected in 2018, Republicans in the state have been trying to recall him. Immediately following the 2019 legislative session, the first Recall Polis campaign–actually several competing and mutually distrustful campaigns of which one eventually emerged to collect signatures–launched their 60-day window to collect the over 630,000 valid Colorado voters signatures required to qualify a recall question for the statewide ballot. That campaign never turned in their petitions to verify the signatures but only claimed to have gathered around 300,000–less than half what was required, even without the “padding” necessary to withstand validity checks.

The Recall Polis movement should have ended there, but it didn’t. In 2020, the “Recall Polis 2.0” (or Recall Polis 2020) campaign tried again and failed by an unverifiable but presumably even greater margin, lacking even the meager resources that the first attempt had. An unsuccessful court battle to extend their signature gathering time led to promises throughout most of 2021 of an imminent “Recall Polis 3.0” campaign, now expanded to two petitions calling for the recall of Gov. Polis as well as Secretary of State Jena Griswold. Given that the group hasn’t raised enough money to cover even printing petitions for one race, it wasn’t surprising that no campaign to collect signatures ever kicked off.

Until last week, gentle readers!

Over at the Recall Polis/Griswold 2022 website, the fundraising page to collect those welfare checks from patriotic invalids is live. The countdown for their 60-day window to collect a total of over 1.2 million valid Colorado voter signatures kicked off last Thursday, so it’s all hands on deck!

Back in 2019, there was a argument that although having zero chance of success, a petition drive to recall Gov. Polis could be a useful activity to keep the conservative base organized ahead of Polis’ next election. Instead, the humiliating failure of every single one of these campaigns helped discredit not just Polis’ opponents but the misuse of recall power in general that has plagued Colorado politics for almost a decade. In 2022, the year Polis is actually up for election, the “Recall Polis 4.0” petition drive is a laughably counterproductive diversion of resources away from what Republicans should always have been focused on: winning this November.

For the next 60 days, get ready for fake news about signatures the recall campaign isn’t really gathering, increasing tension as the realization of futility sets in, concluding in a sad little press conference that absolutely, positively refuses to accept defeat. No voters will be won over by this sloppy exercise, which will serve as a metaphor going into November for failure by Republicans to lay a glove on our state’s popular incumbent governor.

Democrats can only say thanks again.

The GMS Podcast: It’s Really Happening!!!

Tina Peters’s mug shot

This week in episode 98 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii marvel at something we predicted all the way back in September 2021: Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is running for Secretary of State!!!

We also discuss doxxing in Douglas County; Hiedi Heidi Ganahl using the NextDoor app as her source for crime news; a new anti-choice ballot measure in Colorado; and a Republican endorsement for U.S. Senate that is the kiss of death.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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Guns at Polling Places? You Bet, Says Heidi Ganahl

I said I love me some guns, oh yeah!

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has been traveling around Colorado speaking to small GOP audiences in advance of the April State Assembly. Ganahl doesn’t even pretend that she isn’t pandering to the right wing; Two-Sidey Heidi just tells every crowd what she thinks they want to hear, regardless of how much it exposes her to problems in a potential General Election matchup with incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

On Thursday, Ganahl was conducting a meet-and-greet in Pueblo when the discussion turned to guns and a bill in the state legislature seeking to restrict the ability to openly carry a weapon at polling places.

House Bill 22-1086, “The Vote Without Fear Act,” is sponsored by gun safety advocate Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial). According to the bill text, the proposal “prohibits a person from openly carrying a firearm within any polling location or central count facility, or within 100 feet of a ballot drop box or any building in which a polling location or central count facility is located, while an election or any related ongoing election administration activity is in progress.” The point here is pretty obvious: Nobody should feel intimidated by another person while casting their ballot in an election.

But Ganahl, of course, is much more worried that people who insist on carrying guns might be sad if they couldn’t vote without one. Listen below to what she had to say about this bill, or read the transcription that follows:

GANAHL: “And we’ve got to follow the Constitution. I’ve got to trust people and follow the Constitution. I’ve got to defend your Second Amendment rights. I’m the daughter of a police officer. I got concealed carry. I was raised to know how to shoot and we cannot let them degrade our rights anymore at the Capitol. Have you guys seen this? What’s it called? Vote for, say — about having guns around — open carry around the polling? Yeah, polling places. That’s their latest tactic to, you know, basically water down our rights.”

This probably plays well to a right-wing audience, but it is a position that could prove costly in a General Election. We seriously doubt most Colorado voters would oppose the idea of keeping firearms away from polling places.

“The Vote Without Fear Act” passed out of a House committee this week and now heads to the floor for discussion. Republican lawmakers have made been making silly arguments in opposition to the legislation, as Nick Coltrain reported this week for The Denver Post:

Rep. Mary Bradfield, R-Colorado Springs, decried voter intimidation but said that her constituents sent her to the Capitol to protect their Second Amendment rights.

“Voter intimidation is wrong at any time. It was wrong in the past, it’s wrong today and it’s going to be wrong in the next election,” Bradfield said. “… But I see what happens here with the passage of this bill is what my constituents will see as their Second Amendment rights beginning to be eroded. That is troublesome.”

In other words, carrying a gun is more of a fundamental right than being able to vote without intimidation. That’s not a position that we’d be excited to defend in an election year.

Throwback Thursday: Bob Beauprez And The 2014 “Crimenado”

2014 GOP gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez (right).

With Colorado Republicans pulling out all of the logically consistent stops in order to blame local Democrats for crime rates on the rise in our state along with most of the country in the last three years, let’s take a brief trip back to the last time the issue of crime became a political sparring ground in our state, the 2014 governor’s race between incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. Ernest Luning at the then-Colorado Statesman reported in May of 2014 on a controversial and exceedingly bitter line of attack on Hickenlooper pressed by Beauprez, falsely blaming the murder of Colorado Department of Corrections director Tom Clements on Hickenlooper being “soft on crime.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez this week linked Gov. John Hickenlooper’s policies to last year’s murder of Colorado Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements, who was gunned down by parolee Evan Ebel after the white supremacist prison gang member removed his ankle monitor and killed part-time pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon…

“There’s an important piece of a healthy economy that John Hickenlooper’s completely missed. That’s the public safety component,” Beauprez told about 100 supporters gathered at the Tavern Tech Center in Greenwood Village.

“You’ll all remember the name Evan Ebel,” Beauprez continued. “If you don’t remember Evan Ebel, you certainly remember Tom Clements. Tom Clements was our director of Corrections in Colorado. Evan Ebel was paroled directly from — they call it ‘administrative segregation’ — directly from solitary confinement onto our streets, and within a matter of hours, he killed a pizza driver, guy working a second job to try to keep his family whole. Killed him for his uniform, his pizza delivery uniform. Then about 48 hours later, he knocked on Tom Clements’ door and killed him.”

Beauprez’s attack on Hickenlooper over the death of Tom Clements, which continued into the fall with a controversial ad (still above) that invoked Clements’ murder to ask “with John Hickenlooper as governor, is your family safe?” mangled the timeline of events leading up to the tragedy, but perhaps the most cruel and thoughtless aspect of misusing Clements’ murder as a political football is that Clements at the time of his murder was working to reduce solitary confinement of problem inmates–the very issue that Beauprez bewailed in his attack on Hickenlooper.

In the end Bob Beauprez lost the 2014 race for governor, blighting a year that overall was still pretty good for Colorado Republicans–arguably the last election in Colorado in which they came away with something to celebrate. The problem then as with today is that voters actually understand the complex origins of rising crime far better than politicians looking to scare them believe. Beauprez’s dark and brooding negative campaign ads contrasted unfavorably with Hickenlooper’s positive message and personal popularity, and turned voters off.

In 2022, here we’ll go again.

Confirmation Bias 101: Challenging The “Crimenado” Narrative

George Brauchler.

One of the principal issues that Republicans in Colorado are running on for the 2022 midterms is fear over increasing crime rates. An undeniable increase in violent crimes has been accompanied by a lesser but still measurable increase in property crimes in the last several years across the nation, though still not at historic levels seen before crime levels plunged in the 1990s, has Republicans coast to coast looking for ways they can pin this complicated societal development on their political adversaries via the straightest line possible.

Apropos, Westword’s Conor McCormick-Cavanagh has a feature-length story out today on how the “crimenado” also known as the “crime tsunami” scare tactics are being rolled out in our state, backed by a report on the subject from a conservative policy “stink tank” known as the Common Sense Institute. It’s a revealing look at how this nationwide message strategy is being grafted on to Republican campaigns here in Colorado–arguing flat-out that criminal justice reforms passed in Colorado in recent years are the cause of the increase in crime the state is experiencing:

“Crime has undeniably and dramatically increased over the last decade in Colorado,” the report states. “The primary and consistent policy trend in Colorado has been to discourage the jailing of those arrested for committing crimes and to reduce the severity of punishment for those convicted. However well-intended, these recent policies must be monitored to ensure the costs from the unintended — albeit predictable — consequences do not outweigh the anticipated benefits.”

“It is simply undeniable that the legislature over the last decade or so has made it easier to decrease penalties for criminal conduct,” Brauchler says, citing the creation of a framework that allowed for the more frequent granting of personal recognizance bonds. And the uptick in crime “seems to be happening at the same time.” [Pols emphasis]

The problem big enough to drive a truck through in failed Attorney General candidate-turned AM radio provocateur George Brauchler’s argument is that the increase in crime in Colorado is in no way unique to Colorado, and that makes it extremely difficult to argue that a policy change solely affecting our state is responsible. In this case, the old saying “correlation is not causation” is backed up by the simple fact that the cause Brauchler is arguing here cannot explain rising crime rates elsewhere.

But let’s take a step back. You do accept that correlation, as the old axiom goes, is not necessarily causation–right?

“A correlation is not causation” is a “ridiculous statement,” Brauchler responds. [Pols emphasis]

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman pretending to be homeless.

That’s not what we learned in Philosophy 101! Let’s get some actual expertise in here, shall we?

“This report wouldn’t meet the research standards of a freshman term paper,” says Christie Donner, executive director of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, who is often on the opposite side of prosecutors like Brauchler and Morrissey when testifying at the Colorado Capitol. “I was actually pretty surprised at how shoddy this was.”

…Brauchler’s view of that research axiom is exactly “why he shouldn’t be writing research reports,” Donner suggests. [Pols emphasis] “It means whoever said that statement doesn’t understand research and shouldn’t be writing a report. It’s an aggrandized op-ed. For people who are actually serious about this, we really do know the difference between what’s coincidence, what’s correlative and what’s causal.”

At the end of January, one of the new GOP majority members of the Aurora City Council ran into an earned media debacle when she stated that the city she represents is “not safe” and that the chief of police should be fired. In response, Republican Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman was forced on the defensive, noting the nationwide increase in crime rates and calling on his City Council majority to “acknowledge” the situation “without creating an unnecessary sense of fear throughout our community.”

Mayor Coffman didn’t realize it at the time, but what he said in defense of Aurora’s reputation applies equally to the entire state of Colorado, and therefore directly undercuts the “crimenado” narrative Coffman’s fellow Republicans are trying to exploit for political advantage in this year’s midterm elections.

In both cases, truth in context is how you defeat the scare tactics.

“Deus Ex Rando” Saves Ganahl From Another Unforced Error

Heidi Ganahl.

As the Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish reports, a convenient short-lived primary challenge from a candidate no one has ever heard of has provided Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl the chance to undo an odd and inexplicable error she made early in her campaign (among so very, very many), accepting campaign spending limits prescribed by Amendment 27 in order to increase her per-donor contribution maximum:

As the Colorado Sun reported earlier, the spending-limit pledge is rarely used, and candidates often agree to it only in error. But Ganahl and Pam Anderson, a GOP candidate for secretary of state, both agreed to the limits at the start of their campaigns — on purpose.

By agreeing to a $3.4 million limit spending, Ganahl was able to accept individual campaign donations that were double the traditional $1,250 limit.

There’s an out, however, and Ganahl decided to use it Monday. When another candidate files to enter a contest but doesn’t accept the voluntary spending limits, those who are already in the race and have accepted the limits have the option of backing out of their pledge.

And that’s exactly what happened when someone named Bradley Wynn of Denver filed to run for governor as a Republican on January 18, only to formally withdraw from the race ten days later rather than file the required personal financial disclosure. We don’t know anything about Bradley Wynn, with no political donation history in Colorado we can find, and Wynn claims he doesn’t know Ganahl. But it looks like the pretext Wynn gave Ganahl to back out of the campaign spending limit pledge will be his lifetime contribution to Colorado politics.

As for Ganahl personally, the decision to accept binding spending limits against a self-funding candidate with limitless resources was a silly and amateurish mistake from a campaign typified by such mistakes–one she needed to undo before the general election cycle began. If it comes out that Ganahl colluded with Bradley Wynn to arrange for Ganahl’s window to walk back the campaign spending limit, obviously, that’s a huge problem–and the timing is awfully suspicious.

Absent anything nefarious, Wynn’s brief time in the race was a stroke of luck for a beleaguered candidate who needs all the luck she can get. None of this was necessary, and none of it makes Ganahl look like a frontrunner.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Jan. 24)

Happy Day of the Unification of the Romanian Principalities. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 



Russia is moving ever closer toward a potential invasion of Ukraine, which would have ramifications across the geopolitical spectrum. From The Washington Post:

The tense conflict over Ukraine shifted further into full crisis mode Monday, with NATO saying it was moving more military equipment into Eastern Europe and Russia continuing to build up massed forces along the border with Ukraine, amid fears that it will invade its neighbor.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was watching NATO’s moves and President Vladimir Putin was “taking measures to ensure that our security and our interests are properly protected.”

The Belarusian Defense Ministry said Monday that Russia troops continued to arrive in the country, which borders Ukraine, ahead of a major training exercise next month. Further video surfaced on social media Monday showing Russian military convoys and trains with military equipment moving across southern Russia and Belarus

NATO said Monday it would send additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe. That followed reports that the Biden administration was considering sending thousands of U.S. forces as well as armaments to reinforce NATO allies in Poland and the Baltics and imposing new export controls aimed at damaging strategic Russian industries.

Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department ordered nonessential Ukraine embassy staff, as well as families of all staff members, to leave the country.


It may still be too early to know what kind of Republican Primary fight State Sen. Don Coram (R-Montrose) will be able to put up in CO-03, but as Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Coram isn’t going to be shy about throwing punches against incumbent Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

“If I wanted to make a million dollars, maybe I should try ‘consulting’ for an oil and gas firm for $500,000 a year and lie about it on public filings,” Coram said, referring to Boebert’s husband, Jayson. “That seemed to have worked out for others in this race.” [Pols emphasis]

Boebert failed to report the $460,601 income her husband earned in 2019 when she filed her first financial statement with the Federal Election Commission. That figure wasn’t known until she filed her second statement last year, showing he also earned $478,386 in 2020 from the same oil and gas consulting services.

Coram, like others, have pointed out that Boebert has advocated and voted for things that related to the oil and gas industry, saying that would constitute “enrichment.”

“Bottom line, this is just another production created by Lauren Boebert to distract from her record as an out-of-touch extremist who would rather spend time defending the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene than doing her job representing the people of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District,” Coram said.

CLICK HERE for more background on the Jayson Boebert story.


Alex Burness of The Denver Post looks at how Democrats plan to save Coloradans money in 2022.


Colorado Democrats are planning a reproductive rights bill in the state legislature as worries mount of a “post-Roe” world. From Colorado Newsline:

The policy is planned as a backstop in case the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that established the constitutional right to abortion. While Coloradans currently have access to abortion at all stages of pregnancy, the bill would add an affirmative statement to that effect in Colorado law…

…State Rep. Meg Froelich, a Greenwood Village Democrat, is sponsoring the bill along with House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, a Pueblo Democrat, and Sen. Julie Gonzales, a Democrat from Denver. The lawmakers first announced their intention to run the bill during a December press conference. Froelich later provided more details.

“It will state clearly that access to abortion and the full range of reproductive health care — so, ‘full range of reproductive health care, including abortion,’ is the way that we talk about it — is a fundamental right in Colorado and that the government cannot interfere with that right,” Froelich told Newsline.

The bill would attest to the rights of all Coloradans to access, and to refuse, reproductive or contraceptive care.


Just a few days after Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper announced that she would not run for Congress in CO-07, Democratic State Rep. Brianna Titone made a similar decision and endorsed State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter.


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Yet Another Sad Trombone for Heidi Ganahl

Re-enactment of Heidi Ganahl’s Q4 fundraising period.

As readers of this blog are well aware, we have regularly labeled the gubernatorial campaign of Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl as the worst campaign for governor in the entire country. For her part, Ganahl has been very helpful in cementing that argument through her own campaign #FAILs.

Ganahl’s gubernatorial campaign quietly filed its Q4 2021 fundraising report over the weekend. We say “quietly” because we wouldn’t want anybody to know these numbers, either.

In the last three months of 2021, Ganahl raised $267,000 and wrote herself a check for $200,000, leaving her fledgling campaign with $351,430 in the bank to start 2022.

If you’re wondering how these numbers compare to previous Republican candidates for governor — none of whom were ultimately elected to the position — we did the research for you.

It’s not good.


We include Dan Maes here because he did (improbably) go on to win the Republican Party nomination for governor after Scott McInnis imploded in a plagiarism scandal. Other than Maes, however, no legitimate Republican candidate for governor has started an election year in the last decade-plus with less money in the bank than Ganahl. And it’s not like fundraising dollars are being split among multiple Republican candidates in 2022. Ganahl is bombing despite being the clear frontrunner for the GOP nomination.

The only thing that saved Ganahl from a Maes-like fundraising quarter is her own $200,000 contribution to the campaign. Ganahl burned through $239,000 in Q4, largely to pay salaries and fees for various consultants. Had she not written herself that check, she would have only added $28,224 to her campaign coffers in the final months of 2021.

Perhaps Ganahl is able and/or willing to self-fund her campaign to the tune of many millions of dollars. If not, there is no realistic scenario whereby she ends up being the next governor of Colorado.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Jan. 13)

Governor Jared Polis delivers his “State of the State” speech today. In Iowa, they call it the “Condition of the State.” See, you’re already More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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Heidi Ganahl “Kicking Off” Campaign for Governor (Again)

This time, it’s really, really personal!

We’ve written over and over again in this space that Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country in 2022.

We’re not wrong, and here’s more proof: Ganahl is planning a big “2022 Kickoff” for her campaign…nevermind that she already did that back in September.

As we wrote last month, Ganahl’s September 2021 kickoff was legitimately one of the saddest statewide campaign launches that we’ve ever seen. She completely botched efforts at building even a modicum of suspense; presented herself as a bumbling idiot in multiple media interviews; didn’t even bother to offer even a basic platform of ideas; and ended up cutting a planned two-week launch tour in half because nobody was showing up to any of her events. Fellow Republicans were publicly stating that her campaign was a disaster before it was even a month old.

We can’t blame Ganahl for WANTING a do-over for her campaign, but that’s not how any of this works. You can’t just shake the old Etch-a-Sketch and start again; ask 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton how well that worked out. Or Mitt Romney, circa 2012.

Ganahl’s re-kickoff campaign reminds us of this spoof trailer from the “Back to the Future” trilogy of movies teasing a future “Jaws 19” with the tagline, “This time, it’s really, really personal.” Perhaps Ganahl will follow a similar formula and “kick off” her 2022 campaign once a month for the rest of the year.

Joe Biden Heads For Colorado Disaster Zone


9NEWS reports, President Joe Biden accompanied by Gov. Jared Polis, Rep. Joe Neguse of Boulder, and both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators will visit Louisville and Superior this afternoon to assess the damage from devastating wind-driven wildfires that destroyed nearly 1,000 homes one week ago:

Biden will be joined by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Neguse (D-Colorado) on Friday’s tour. It was announced Friday morning that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Sen. John Hickenlooper will also join them. Both will travel with the president on Air Force One before touring fire damage and visiting with survivors…

Once in the area, the officials, also including First Lady Jill Biden, will tour an area of Louisville that was damaged by the Marshall Fire. Following the damage tour the president will meet with survivors at the Louisville Recreation & Senior Center and deliver brief remarks about the federal response to the fire.

“This week, many in the Boulder County community – throughout Superior and Louisville – are beginning the long road to recovery in the wake of the unprecedented and terrible Marshall Fire,” Neguse said in a statement.

Traffic through the Denver metro area is not expected to be disrupted, with the President taking a helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base across town to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jeffco. President Biden’s remarks are scheduled for 5:15PM local time (video will stream above).

All we can say is, it’s refreshing to have a presidential President in these moments of need.

The GOP “Crimenado” Narrative Hits a Snag

It has been three months since Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl officially launched her campaign for governor. Nobody would argue with a straight face that things are going well for the last remaining statewide elected official in Colorado (Ganahl is currently a CU Regent). In fact, Ganahl appears to be running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country in 2022, which is almost impressive when you consider that 36 states will be holding elections for governor.

Ganahl has had trouble finding staffers, supporters, donors, or spellcheckers, which is at least consistent with a campaign that also has no policy ideas. As she struggles to find purchase in the 2022 election cycle, Ganahl has focused her attention on one particularly dubious narrative: “Crimenado!”

“Crimenado” is Ganahl’s attempt to shift the election away from questions about her own ability to govern. Instead, she wants Colorado voters to believe that the single most important issue of 2022 is that our streets are teeming with criminals. To hear Ganahl tell it, the City of Denver has burned to the ground two or three times in 2021 alone.

Ganahl’s Twitter account is a perfect reflection of the narrative that she hopes to land in order to get her elected Governor next November. Ganahl basically tweets about two things: University of Colorado athletics and stories about crime in Colorado. As of this writing, six of her last 10 tweets are about criminal malfeasance. She is practically gleeful in retweeting stories about murder, including this montage from Dec. 6 prefaced with this commentary: “It breaks my heart to continue seeing crime increasing in our state day after day, week after week. Colorado is a place people run TO, not FROM. As your governor, I will make fighting crime a priority.”

In her zeal to exploit the idea of criminals rampaging through the streets with impunity, you can see how events this week seemed irresistible to Ganahl. But here, she is already running into her own sort of trouble. Roughly 12 hours after news broke of a shooting spree in Denver and Lakewood, Ganahl jumped at the opportunity to blame Gov. Jared Polis:



If you have been following the reporting on this story, you’ll probably recognize the problem with Ganahl’s finger-pointing. It now appears that the suspected gunman was a right-wing extremist acting out his own violent fantasy.

Via Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline


Ganahl was eager to try to shoehorn a mass tragedy into her narrative against Gov. Polis, yet new reporting on the shooter suggests that he was exactly the sort of alt-right lunatic that experts on domestic extremism have warned about for years and have manifested multiple times since Donald Trump descended the escalator in 2015.


Via Heidi Beedle of The Colorado Springs Independent


More about the shooter’s motives will no doubt become known over the course of the investigation, but if the immediate picture we’re seeing continues to come into focus, then Ganahl’s eagerness to politicize a horrific tragedy as an issue of street crime instead of say, violent extremism, certainly raises questions about her judgment as a candidate for governor and her own moral sensibilities about the lives affected. And more to the point, these violent movements are exactly the problem with winking and nodding to the most fringe elements of the Trump base, which has been a quieter theme since Ganahl first announced her campaign. 

The truth about crime, in Colorado and elsewhere, is much more complicated than Ganahl and friends would have you believe. As Alex Burness of The Denver Post noted this week, gun violence has been a problem FOR DECADES, not merely since Polis took office in January 2019. And while there is some data indicating that violent crime rates have increased over the last 25 years, that information needs to contain the appropriate perspective; as Alayna Alvarez noted for Axios Denver in September, “The rate of some violent crimes, like murder, remains far lower in Colorado than those recorded throughout the 1980s and ’90s.”

Via Newsweek (12/29/21)

The problem with extremists armed to the teeth who are egged on by the irresponsible rhetoric of right-wing Republicans…well, that is also a very real trend that needs attention from leaders without ideological blinders.

The next time you see Ganahl or one of her surrogates yammering about Colorado’s “Crimenado,” remember this story.

Top Ten Stories of 2021 #7: Polis and the Crucible of COVID-19

Gov. Jared Polis (right).

Despite the hope as 2021 began that the world would finally see relief from the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re ending the year with a new variant of the virus tearing at record speeds through the population. As of today almost 820,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, a number that includes just over 10,000 dead here in Colorado. Across the nation, differing responses by state governments have led to a stark disparity in death rates from the pandemic, ranging from an extreme of 348 per 100,000 in Mississippi to very low rates of 75 and 71 deaths per 100,000 people in Hawaii and Vermont respectively.

In Colorado, we’ve done better on the whole than most states through the pandemic’s successive waves: 40th out of 50 states in COVID-19 deaths, a rate of 170 per 100,000. Economically, Colorado has bounced back well along with the rest of the country from the economic shock of 2020’s virus-imposed shutdowns, and many of the worst fears such as a massive revenue shortfall for the state and an eviction crisis as rental assistance phased out did not materialize.

Politically, the pandemic has represented a challenge for Colorado’s majority Democrats beyond the scope of anything imaginable before. The need for swift action to prevent the flooding of hospitals with sick and dying COVID patients in the spring of 2020 before vaccines and (credible) therapies were available met a wave of political resistance that, while always comprising a small noisy minority, succeeded in disrupting enforcement of restrictions since then–even as the harshest measures were dropped as quickly as possible.

Debate continues on how effectively this strategy was for Republicans at the polls, but the effect has been devastating in human terms. It is not hyperbole to argue that the politicization by Republicans of the response to COVID-19 is a principal cause of the United States having the most COVID-19 deaths of any nation on Earth. It is a transgression of a magnitude that most Americans, let alone most Republicans, are unable to fully process contemporaneously. That will be the job of historians.

Gov. Jared Polis is a progressive Democrat on the preponderance of issues, but he also has a well-known libertarian streak that has manifested itself to the consternation of some of his liberal colleagues like his call to replace income taxes with a range of new taxes that would better “capture wealth.” It’s fair to say that Gov. Polis was sensitive to the criticism he received over the lockdown and subsequent mask statewide public health orders, and that’s in part why he has been reticent to re-impose a statewide mask mandate during the current surge of cases caused by the Omicron variant. At the same time, however, the growing vaccinated population and therapeutics that have been proven to work have mitigated death and hospitalization rates even as case numbers spike once again.

Republicans have tried desperately to paint Gov. Polis as some kind of authoritarian dictator imposing his will by fiat, but the reality is that Polis has been very cautious and measured about imposing public health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic–to the point of drawing criticism from his left on several occasions. That reality just doesn’t fit with the right’s breathless narrative, and public polling shows that a majority of voters still trust Polis and the Democratic majority despite a year and a half of attacks from the right. Gov. Polis’ approval has “narrowed” to around +12, and at this point that looks like Polis’ floor going into next year’s elections. Fostering resentment against Colorado Democrats over necessary COVID restrictions didn’t work in 2020 when the lockdowns were much fresher in voters’ minds, and it’s not going to work to unseat Gov. Polis in 2022.

History will record that Jared Polis threaded a very difficult needle in a moment of historic crisis.

And at least with respect to COVID-19, history will be much less kind to Polis’ Republican critics.

Top Ten Stories of 2021 #8: Heidi Ganahl Fails Miserably

Heidi Ganahl prepares to (not) answer a question from a reporter.

The office of Governor was an open seat in 2018, which prompted several candidates on both sides of the political aisle to take a shot at the top job in the state. After a fairly anticlimactic Primary Election — on both sides — Democrat Jared Polis went on to defeat listless Republican Walker Stapleton by an 11 point margin in November 2018.

Republicans were hoping for a better outcome in 2020 with incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner; but after an uninspiring re-election campaign, Gardner was trounced by Democrat John Hickenlooper (53-44) in a race that never even seemed to be that close. Gardner’s loss left the Republican Party with one — one! — remaining statewide elected official in Colorado, University of Colorado Regent Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.

With a depleted bench of potential candidates small enough to fit inside a phone booth, Republicans had few options as they looked ahead to 2022…so they turned to the “last Republican standing” in an effort to break their string of recent top-of-ticket failures. But barring some sort of miracle in the months ahead, Ganahl is destined for an electoral disaster of Stapleton/Gardner proportions. 


Ganahl expressed early interest in running for Governor and set out on a statewide “podcast tour” that was clearly designed to raise her profile in advance of an official campaign launch. Ganahl and her advisers eventually ditched the podcast nonsense and kicked off a formal campaign for governor in September that demonstrated less potential than a backup quarterback for the Denver Broncos.

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 early October, Ganahl hosted a speaking event featuring right-wing nutjob Dennis Prager in which she and her guest both chuckled at the idea that Prager was legitimately TRYING to get infected with COVID-19 (making the entire thing even more ridiculous, listeners who could not attend the event in person were asked to text questions to “HIEDI,” which is not how Ganahl actually spells her first name). A few days later, Prager indeed tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in Ganahl getting media coverage for hosting a superspreader event.

Ganahl dumped her campaign manager after one month on the job, right around the time that her campaign was reporting a brutal batch of initial fundraising numbers; were it not for a $50,000 loan from the candidate herself, Ganahl’s campaign would have finished Q3 with a measly five figures in the bank.

As we enter 2022, Ganahl has been alternating between trying to appeal to fringe right-wing militia groups and almost gleefully spreading news reports of violent criminal acts in Colorado. It is no exaggeration to say that Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country.

Clear-headed Colorado Republicans might not have truly believed that they could defeat Polis in 2022, but down-ballot candidates were surely hoping to ride the coattails of their gubernatorial nominee for a few extra votes next fall. The fact that Ganahl is as good as it gets for the GOP tells you everything you need to know about the current state of the Colorado Republican Party.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 9)

On this day in 1979, smallpox was officially declared to have been eradicated. 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 


 Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) may have done significant damage to her political future with her recent anti-Muslim rhetoric. On Wednesday, the editorial board of The Durango Herald straight up called for Boebert to be defeated in 2022, using some of the strongest and most direct language we can recall from a local media outlet. This came just days after Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw blasted members of the House Freedom Caucus, which includes Boebert, as “performance artists” with no interest in doing the hard work of governing. 

“The woman is an embarrassment – to her district and her party…Boebert is not representing Western Colorado. Nor does she seem interested in doing so. Enough is enough.”

     — Editorial in The Durango Herald (12/8/21)


The publisher of the Montrose Daily Press and the Delta County Independent also recently called for Boebert’s ouster in 2022, for the same basic reasons. Writes Dennis Anderson: “She’s become a national embarrassment, but, more importantly, she’s become an embarrassment to western Colorado.”

For her part, Boebert responded to the latest criticism in a very predictable manner: She set herself up as the victim in this saga.


Meanwhile, The Associated Press reports that progressive Democrats continue to push House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take some sort of punitive action against Boebert. A resolution was introduced on Wednesday to remove Boebert from her House committee assignments.


We say it all the time in this space: Elections matter.

Look no further than Aurora for the latest example.


 As Colorado Public Radio reports, we may get a better look at a prominent “dark money” group that has been operating in Colorado:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday ordered a nonprofit organization to reveal its donors and pay a $40,000 fine, saying it violated Colorado law by contributing millions of dollars to conservative causes in the 2020 election.

The group, Unite for Colorado, paid for signature gathering and digital advertisements related to several ballot initiatives last year, according to documents in a complaint that prompted the fine. As is common with “dark money” nonprofits, it did not disclose where its funding came from.

Critics of the group argued that Unite for Colorado crossed the line between nonprofits and political groups. A complaint filed in August 2020 argued that the group was spending so heavily — and was so closely involved in politics — that it should have registered as a political issue committee and reported more detail on its financial activities.



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