Of Whores and Asswipes: The Colorado GOP Fractures Further

The Colorado Republican Party was already in the midst of a massive civil war even before the 2022 election inflicted unthinkable losses on the GOP. What has happened since has taken this internal conflict to an entirely new level. It’s like Infinity War, but in this case there are no heroes — only villains.

In case you missed it, Democrats won every statewide race last month by wide margins and added to supermajorities in the state legislature, where 69 of 100 total elected representatives now carry a ‘D’ next to their name. Democrat Adam Frisch even came within a few hundred votes of defeating Rep. Lauren Boebert in CO-03, a district that Donald Trump carried by 9 points in 2020. The Bluenami that swept through Colorado has resulted in some very grim assessments from longtime Republican fixtures. Soon-to-be former State Rep. Colin Larson of Jefferson County — who was in line to become House Minority Leader before he lost his own re-election bid to Democrat Tammy Storycalled the 2022 election an “extinction-level event” for the Republican Party in Colorado.

So, naturally, right-wing Republicans have decided that the only way forward is to lurch even further to the right. A group of very loud and very angry Republicans rallied on Wednesday outside a Boot Barn store in Greenwood Village to voice scream their frustrations with the Colorado Republican Party and embattled Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown (KBB).

Anil Mathai, ranting outside the Boot Barn on Wednesday.

The “whores” and “asswipes” comments came from Anil Mathai, a former Adams County GOP chairperson, who blamed unnamed political consultants for taking their money and leaving Republicans with no victories to celebrate.

“We have a Republican Party that is full of whores. They listened to the consultants, right? They keep telling you about messaging, right? They are liars — they have done something different. They have not held to the Republican platform, which is conservative. They’ve not held to the U.S. Constitution. And then you wonder why these asswipes can’t win a race.” [Pols emphasis]

This attack on Republican consultants is not without merit, of course, and activists are backing up their barking with official complaints. A Republican named Marcie Little filed a campaign finance complaint even before Election Day accusing a bunch of establishment Republicans of a multitude of misdeeds. The complaint specifically accuses Larson, Restore Colorado Leadership Fund (527), Restore Colorado Leadership Fund IEC, Frank McNulty, Square State Strategy Group, LLC, Daniel Cole, Cole Communications, and Victors Canvassing of various campaign finance violations [Marcie Little Complaint (PDF)].

But let’s get back to the Boot Barn, where Ernest Luning has more for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

“Our Republican Party leadership has failed us,” said Aaron Wood, an organizer of a press conference held across the street from state GOP headquarters in Greenwood Village. [Pols emphasis]

Wood, founder of the conservative Freedom Fathers group, and a dozen others took turns speaking from the bed of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Western-wear retailer as roughly 100 supporters braved sub-freezing temperatures to hear their pleas to restore the state’s Republican Party to its conservative foundations.

Speaker after speaker at the press conference blasted state GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown, whose two-year term running the state party ends in March.

Through a spokesman, Burton Brown declined to comment. Earlier on Wednesday, she said she plans to announce by the end of December whether she’s seeking a second term as state chair.

Tina Peters is…inevitable.

[Burton Brown was also busy on Wednesday issuing a legally-dubious demand for Frisch to “withdraw” as a candidate from CO-03 in order to prevent a MANDATORY RECOUNT as prescribed by Colorado statute. Frisch has already conceded to Boebert, but rather than staying quiet and enjoying one of the GOP’s rare victories, KBB felt compelled to vomit out a bunch of nonsense.]

In short, right-wing Republicans in Colorado have convinced themselves that the best way to win back voters in our state is to nominate candidates who are MORE extreme than the lot that got pummeled in November. This is sort of like trying to put out a fire by covering it with matches, but it’s also difficult to completely dismiss the idea considering just how poorly Republicans performed in 2022.

The first step for the right-wing base is finding a new leader. While KBB has apparently not yet decided whether she will seek re-election as State Party Chair in 2023 — and we have no idea how she could possibly make an argument for another term — our “Infinity War” theme continues with news that Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is interested in the job because she believes that Colorado is actually a “red state” (recent election results from 2022, 2020, 2018, and 2016 notwithstanding).

“We are not a blue state. We’re not even a purple state. We are a red state.”

     — Political Supervillain Tina Peters

 

As Luning reports:

A potential candidate for the party position blamed Burton Brown for Republican losses in the November election.

“Our country’s being taken away from us,” said Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who provided the pickup truck the speakers used as a podium. “It starts with the treachery of the GOP in our state. You know, there’s these speakers that are going to talk about the infractions of Kristi Burton Brown, the inactivity of Kristi Burton Brown, to stand up and inform the chairs in every county on how to come against the election fraud.” …

Peters told Colorado Politics after she addressed the crowd that she’s open to running for state party chair.

“If the people ask me to, and if it’s the right thing, then I will do it,” she said. “But it has to come from the people.” [Pols emphasis]

Outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams — who lost a 2022 Primary Election in CO-05 to incumbent Doug Lamborn — is also considering a bid for State Party Chair. Former congressional candidate Erik Aadland is thinking about it as well, since he knows so much about how to win an election and all. But if Peters runs, she’s the odds-on favorite to win; the people who gave her topline on the SOS Primary ballot following last Spring’s Republican State Assembly are the same group of people who are going to show up to cast a vote for Party Chair.

 

 

“Peace Out!”

Peters has probably already decided to run for Chair; what she told Luning is basically the same thing she said before announcing her bid for Secretary of State in February. But she’s also going to be busy next year when her election tampering case goes to trial; coincidentally on Wednesday, news came out that a second former Peters employee named Sandra Brown has made a deal with prosecutors to testify against her old boss. It seems ridiculous that Peters might be running the Colorado Republican Party from a prison cell in 2024…but again, can things really get worse than they were in 2022?

If you’re waiting for some adults to get involved and prevent right-wing activists from blowing up what was already a box full of ashes, you had better get comfortable. Republican State Sen. Bob Rankin of Carbondale announced today that he is resigning from the State Senate as of January 10th. Rankin and former Republican State Sen. Kevin Priola were possibly the last remaining rationale actors in the upper chamber of the state legislature. Rankin is bouncing out entirely, while Priola decided to change parties and become a Democrat. If Rankin and Priola don’t even want to be Republican lawmakers, what sane person would want to be the State GOP chairperson for the next two years?

Colorado Republicans might have been able to prevent this timeline from becoming reality if they had clearly and forcibly rejected Trump and MAGA-ism after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. Instead, they allowed someone like KBB to ride her support for election deniers all the way to becoming Chair of the State Republican Party. If you’re shocked that right-wing Republicans are now saying that KBB “hates America,” then you really haven’t been paying attention.

Once you give the inmates the keys to the asylum, you can’t very well expect them to lock up.

At Least He’s Not Your Loser Senate Candidate

Mehmet Oz, Joe O’Dea.

As the Philly Voice’s Michael Tanenbaum reports, defeated Pennsylvania GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mehmet Oz is finding his once-bankable star power has faded after Oz’s nasty and unsuccessful bid to hold Pat Toomey’s seat:

“I can’t imagine ‘The Dr. Oz Show’ being rebooted at this point,” Robert Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University, told The Wrap on Monday.

The tabloid RadarOnline quoted an unnamed insider who said Oz is now being confronted with the stark reality of having entered politics, which inherently makes him more of a divisive figure than he was previously.

“He can’t even get a word with his former producers,” the unnamed source said. “Dr. Oz is a social creature who likes to hear himself talk, and it’s beginning to dawn on him that he’s just not wanted in Hollywood circles anymore.”

Another unnamed source described Oz as desperate to get his show back…

In Dr. Oz’s case, the problem may not solely be political baggage. We’re not sure if Oz was ever what you’d call a credible source of medical knowledge, but in the last few years his show witnessed a descent into wholesale quackery that punched large holes in Oz’s credibility even before he became Donald Trump’s anointed candidate to run for the Senate in Pennsylvania. It’s a much greater problem than for example Colorado’s U.S. Senate loser Joe O’Dea faces, since Democrats will still need O’Dea to pour concrete on the public projects that always made up the bulk of O’Dea’s business.

But in the same way we can’t imagine Heidi Ganahl’s motivational slogan business having the same appeal after Ganahl’s disastrous campaign spent courting Colorado’s hateful political fringe, it will be even harder for at least half the country to believe anything Dr. Oz says now. It’s probably time for Oz to hang up broadcast TV and join the conservative speaking tour circuit, which won’t be as lucrative as Oz’s Oprah-blessed former career.

It’s reasonable to speculate that O’Dea regrets running. Before the end, Dr. Oz may regret it much more.

No Peace On Kristi Burton Brown’s Right

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown in 2021.

A holiday week press release from an organization calling itself the Save Colorado Project, which reportedly has some connection to Western Slope far-right election denial whacktivist Sherronna Bishop, announces a press conference for “High Noon” tomorrow at Colorado Republican Party headquarters in Greenwood Village calling for “new leadership” for the party in the wake of another round of devastating electoral defeats:

After publicly rejecting America First, Top Line candidates, Republican Chair Kristi Burton Brown promised her center left candidates were the solution to winning in Colorado. She was wrong and so were those that supported this approach. For 15 years now the Colorado Republican party leadership has repeatedly dismissed inspiring grassroots candidates.

Our Republican Party leadership has failed us. They strayed from the foundation of what we stand for. We are no longer interested in, nor will we consent to the ongoing betrayal of our core American values by those who were trusted to lead.

The establishment continues to play by the rules of the past. Those manipulations are no longer working, nor do we want them to. We are seeking transparency and honesty to be pillars of the new Republican party that will be established. New leadership is critical to guide us back to the core tenets of our platform.

We have seen the resolve of grassroots from every corner of Colorado. We are simply regular people who are sick of losing everything, feeling unsafe and watching the destruction of Colorado under the Democrat Governor, Jared Polis. Polis’s complete control of our state and the partnership of Republicans in Name Only must end. This union has accelerated the radical agenda that has led Colorado into historic inflation, violence and crime as we just witnessed in Colorado Springs this weekend. Crime is flourishing under weak leadership and bad policies. We have had enough…

Rep. Lauren Boebert with 2020 primary campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.

It’s not like Bishop and the motley crew of fringe Republican primary losers, like Ron Hanks and Tina Peters, represent the answer to the Republican Party’s fundamental viability problems in Colorado, but few can argue that GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown’s term has been an even greater failure than her last couple of predecessors–doing more to aggravate the party’s long-term challenges in this blue-shifting state than alleviate them. Brown’s tone-deafness on abortion severely undermined her party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate, and Brown’s managerial ineptitude allowed Democrats to run circles around their opponents’ field campaign efforts.

But that’s not what Sherronna Bishop is mad about! Bishop’s problem is how Kristi Burton Brown “publicly rejected” Bishop’s favored “America First Top Line” candidates like Ron Hanks and Tina Peters in the Republican primary last June. There is a bubble of perception within the Republican Party that absolutely believes Tina Peters is a hero and “RINO” Republicans like KBB are the problem. We may presume to know better locally, but remember that FOX News propaganda minister Tucker Carlson fed his millions of viewers a much more favorable version of Peters’ story last July.

The one thing no one can argue with is that what Colorado Republicans tried this year didn’t work.

Their sweeping failure provides little guidance on how to do better, inviting the wrong answers.

ICYMI, And Lauren Boebert Hopes Donald Trump Did

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Lost in the holiday week’s news but worth a mention lest it disappear down the memory hole–a week ago Friday, just after accepting Adam Frisch’s concession in this year’s heartbreakingly close CD-3 race, soon-to-be sophomore Ultra-MAGA trainwreck Rep. Lauren Boebert was asked about her support for ex-President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced just a few days before. Newsweek’s Andrew Stanton took notice of Boebert’s cagey answer:

Boebert was asked about whether she would endorse Trump during an interview with Denver news station KCNC-TV on Friday. While she maintained she is a “huge supporter” of the former president, she avoided saying she would back his presidential bid.

“He is an amazing friend, and certainly an inspiration. I love his policies. America was stronger than ever under his policies. We had peace through strength, and he was certainly motivation for me to stand up for what I know is right,” Boebert said. “I certainly would not turn my back on President Trump. I am a huge supporter of his.”

But then, after a deep breath and a big smile that suggests Boebert knows she’s taking a big risk:

“I love Governor Ron DeSantis. He is America’s governor, and he has the same policies,” she said, adding that 2024 remains “in the far future.” [Pols emphasis]

Record scratch moment. Trump announced his re-election campaign on November 15th, and it’s safe to say that Trump does not consider the 2024 election season to be “in the far future.” Lines are being drawn right now, and Trump is counting on his cadre of Ultra-MAGA Republicans to remain loyal. A number, including Boebert’s competitor for the far-right spotlight Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have formally endorsed Trump’s 2024 bid.

A Boebert spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement that “the Congresswoman supports President Trump 100%.”

Unfortunately for Boebert, there’s no way that Trump will interpret Boebert’s “love” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who has “the same policies” as Trump to be “100% support” for Trump. Readers will recall that defeated GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s dissing of Trump took many months to arrive on Trump’s radar, coinciding with O’Dea dissing Trump on CNN in mid-October— either while Trump himself was watching, or someone close enough to alert Trump was.

For a candidate who had no idea how vulnerable she was until almost losing a safe Republican seat, Boebert is taking an awful risk by hedging her bet on the 2024 nominee against the man Boebert owes her own position to more than perhaps anyone except Scott Tipton. Although Trump’s campaign launch was greeted with the same disdain as establishment Republicans had in 2015 when Trump descended the golden escalator, Trump remains the leading contender for the 2024 nomination.

And like Joe O’Dea found out the hard way, Trump’s wrath remains a dangerous thing.

Winners and Losers of the 2022 Election (Part 2)

As we wrote on Thursday, we had been waiting to post our annual post-election “Winners and Losers” list until we actually knew all of the election winners and losers (we’re looking at you, Lauren Boebert).

Click here for Part 1 (The “Winners”) of our end-of-cycle analysis, or read on for Part 2 “The Losers.”

 

The 2022 “Extinction Level Event” for Republicans

 

The Losingest Losers of 2022

 

(more…)

Winners and Losers from the 2022 Election (Part 1)

We’ve been waiting to publish our annual “Winners and Losers” lists from the election until all of the big races had been finalized. But with the outcome in CO-03 likely headed to a recount, it’s time to just move ahead.

Up first is our list of “Winners” from 2022. This is not merely a list of winning candidates, of course, but a deeper dive into the winningest winners of the election cycle. We’ll post our “Losers” list separately.

 

The Winningest Winners of 2022

 

Reality

Republican candidates lied with impunity in 2022, but Colorado voters chose instead to believe their own eyes about the state of the state in which they live. Colorado schools are not overrun by kids in “furry” costumes. Colorado is not #2 in fentanyl deaths. Denver is not a smoking crater in the ground. Jared Polis did not steal your car. Google is not out to get Joe O’Dea

 

Felix Lopez

Er, maybe not.

In politics, as in life, sometimes your best moves are the ones you DON’T make. Republican Las Animas County Commissioner Felix Lopez was GOP gubernatorial nominee Heidi Ganahl’s first choice to be her running mate and Lieutenant Governor – to the point that Ganahl was teasing an announcement in early July. But Lopez started having second thoughts as an announcement neared and ultimately decided to back out. Ganahl’s candidacy ended up being so historically bad that everyone who was at all associated with her campaign will be forever tainted. Perhaps Lopez is not interested in seeking higher office, but at least now he still has that option.

 

Lisa Cutter and Tammy Story

These Jefferson County Democrats were significantly impacted by redistricting and other political decisions taking place in their respective orbits. 

When Brittany Pettersen decided to seek a seat in Congress, Cutter was the obvious choice to run for Pettersen’s Lakewood-area State Senate seat. The problem for Cutter was that Republican Tim Walsh was willing and able to spend more than a million dollars of his own money to become a state senator himself. Despite a barrage of advertising in SD-20, Cutter ended up winning by nearly 10 points.

Story was a State Senator herself when redistricting changed the political landscape and chopped up her Southwest Jefferson County Senate district. Instead of taking the loss and moving on, Story decided to run for a State House seat in South Jeffco (HD-25) and ended up pulling off an upset (an incumbent State Senator running for State House is incredibly rare). Story’s narrow victory in HD-25 proved very consequential for Republicans, because it ousted incumbent Rep. Colin Larson – who was likely to become the next House Minority Leader if he had been re-elected.

 

Steve Fenberg

Senate President Steve Fenberg has now led his caucus to three consecutive majorities, including an unprecedented 23-vote majority in 2022. Fenberg should remain in charge of the State Senate through 2024 and will be well-positioned for higher office when he’s finished.

 

Jared Polis 

Winning re-election had been a foregone conclusion for months, given the sheer ineptitude of Republican Heidi Ganahl. But winning re-election by 20 points was something that virtually nobody saw coming. Polis is only the fourth major statewide candidate in Colorado to win by 20+ points since 1990. Polis was first elected Governor in 2018 by an 11-point margin; clearly, Colorado voters approve of both Polis and his policies. 

 

Michael Bennet

The incumbent Democratic Senator had been elected twice before, but had never quite reached 50% of the total vote in Colorado (he came really close in 2016). As of this writing, Bennet is on the cusp of surpassing 56% of the total vote, extending his margin of victory over Republican Joe O’Dea to 15 points.

 

Most Colorado Media Outlets

National media outlets played a silly game that we documented repeatedly in which they pretended that Republican Joe O’Dea might knock off incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who ended up winning by 15 points. Most Colorado media outlets did not buy into this nonsense narrative and instead focused on actual on-the-ground reporting to guide their coverage – in this race and every other in Colorado. 

Kyle Clark of 9News

Colorado journalists did a good job asking the relevant questions of candidates, from Heidi Ganahl’s September 2021 campaign kickoff to the fall 2022 debates. For example:

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun asking O’Dea if he voted YES on Proposition 115, a 2020 ballot measure that sought to make abortion illegal after 22 weeks of pregnancy (a measure opposed by 69% of Colorado voters). This was a great question that clarified O’Dea’s impossible efforts to dance around the subject and take every side of the abortion issue, and it was a question that only a good local reporter would know to ask;

Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs asking Ganahl if she really believed that Colorado schools were being overrun by “furries.” Ganahl doubled-down on her nonsense claims, validating Soicher’s question;

♦ Longtime Denver Post editor Dean Singleton hosting a candidate forum in which he repeatedly pressed Ganahl to provide actual details on some of her loudest claims (including her nonsense proposal to eliminate Colorado’s income tax without a plan for how to make up the resulting $11 billion budget shortfall);

 Multiple news outlets reporting the facts about various residency questions for several candidates.

Kyle Clark of 9News pressing O’Dea to provide proof for his claim that Google was “censoring” his campaign, which led to one of our favorite quotes of the election cycle

♦ 9News, Fox 31, Denver7 and other outlets calling out CD-8 candidate Barb Kirkmeyer’s indefensible lie that Democrats “legalized fentanyl.” In taking apart this falsehood, 9News educated viewers on how reporters evaluate misleading statements from candidates, and what escalates a merely false statement from a “lie” (when a candidate, in this case Kirkmeyer, KNOWS that what they are saying is untrue).

In future elections, we’d like more of this, please. 

There were exceptions to this trend, unfortunately. Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver regularly showed that she has no interest whatsoever in trying to get a story correct; she was just about the only local journalist who bought into the nonsense “O’Dea surprise” narrative pushed by Republican operatives. Many of her “truth tests” were flat out wrong on the details and the facts presented. Her ridiculous story suggesting that every school district in Colorado was covering up a non-existent “furry” epidemic should never have made it onto the air. Whether Boyd is just lazy or an outright hack, we would be embarrassed to work with her. 

 

Residents of CO-03

Enough of this, thanks.

Regardless of the final outcome between incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, voters in CO-03 stood up and declared that they were fed up with Boebert’s silly theatrics and her lack of accomplishments in the district. Multiple stories emerged before and after the election in which voters – many of them Republicans – told reporters that they were embarrassed by Boebert’s antics and just wanted a Representative who would do the actual job required of them.

If Boebert does manage to eke out another term, Republicans would be wise to organize strong opposition in a GOP Primary so that they aren’t facing another election in which they could lose a seat that otherwise favors Republicans by 9 points.  

 

Non-Republican Polling Outfits 

Lots of Republican pollsters made fools of themselves in 2022. Meanwhile, polling from Global Strategy Group (including the “Mountaineer”) and the University of Colorado did a good job of accurately measuring what was really happening in our state. The Colorado Sun covered this well in a recent edition of its “Unaffiliated” newsletter. 

 

Colorado’s Election System

Colorado’s all-mail ballot system worked perfectly once again. It is both easy to cast a ballot in Colorado and difficult to vote fraudulently. You can track your ballot in Colorado through its entire life cycle, from when it gets sent out in the mail to when it is received by your county clerk. The only people who want more restrictions on voting are those who want fewer people to cast ballots. 

This Tweet from former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was “liked” and “shared” by several Colorado Republican “leaders.” What critics of Colorado’s voting system are really saying is that they believe we should change the voting age to “middle-age white people” so that Republicans might be able to win elections in Colorado.

 

 

Mike Lynch 

It’s tough to find a Republican “Winner” from 2022, but we’ll go with Lynch after the Northern Colorado Republican was elected House Minority Leader following another awful Election Day for the GOP. We debated about whether to put this in the “Losers” category, however, because being the House Minority Leader in a Republican caucus in 2023 is like “winning” a basket full of rattlesnakes infected with COVID. 

 

Women in the General Assembly

For the first time in state history, more than 50% of the members of the Colorado legislature are women. That’s pretty cool. 

 

Yadira Caraveo

Caraveo’s victory in the newly-formed CO-08 was considered by some national prognosticators – including Nathaniel Rakich of 538.com – to be a YUGE surprise. Given how blue Colorado has become, we’re not sure Caraveo qualifies as a “biggest upset,” but defeating Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer in a close race is still an impressive victory.

 

Brittany Pettersen

It’s no easy task to follow a beloved politician such as retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter, especially when the district is redrawn in a significant fashion. No matter. Pettersen ran a virtually flawless campaign and cruised to a 15-point victory over Republican Erik Aadland. She’ll be safe here for the next decade. 

 

Heidi Ganahl: The New Best Loser in Colorado History

We’re #1! We’re #1!

Now that the 2022 election is behind us (most of us, anyway), there are a number of questions to be answered. Chief among them: Just how historically bad was Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for Governor?

Bad. Really, really bad. Like, all-time bad.

In fact, we’d say that Ganahl has dethroned Bob Beauprez as the single worst statewide candidate and campaign in modern Colorado history. If you disagree, consider that the margin between Ganahl and Democrat Jared Polis is now 20 points wide.  That’s right — updated election results show that Polis beat Ganahl by better than 20 points.

If you still disagree, keep reading. To put our theory to the test, we brought in some help from the Ghost of Bill Owens

Owens was the last Republican to be elected Governor in Colorado, winning a second term in 2002. Owens isn’t dead (as far as we know), but his party is virtually deceased, so the metaphor works well enough.

Published below is our conversation, conducted with the Ghost of Bill Owens in the Republican spirit land known as Rur-al-Colorado. 

 

COLORADO POLS: Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, the Republican candidate for Governor in Colorado in 2022, is the worst major statewide candidate AND campaign in Colorado history. Change our mind.

 

Woody is in there!

GHOST OF BILL OWENS: Boo! Oh, nevermind. I’m not sure that I could make an intelligent counter-argument for you. But first, a question: What do you mean “candidate AND campaign?”

 

POLS: Well, you can have a bad candidate with a good campaign, or vice-versa. They don’t necessarily have to go hand-in-hand. 

For example, Lauren Boebert was not a great candidate in 2020 when she defeated Scott Tipton for the Republican nomination in CO-03. Boebert was almost completely unknown, but she managed to put together a campaign to beat a long-term incumbent in Tipton, who basically fell asleep that Spring and didn’t wake up again until the day after the election.

Oddly enough, Boebert might lose her seat in Congress after pulling a “Tipton” herself once cycle later. She didn’t spend a lot of time campaigning in her district; in the last few weeks of the 2022 election, Boebert was in Tennessee to deliver a Christian Nationalism speech and then went to Mar-a-Lago in Florida for…for whatever it is that people do there. 

Anyway, back to Ganahl. Let’s look at some comparisons:

 

See what we mean? Ganahl wasn’t even able to get to 40% of the vote in Colorado, which is downright remarkable. Every other statewide Republican candidate received somewhere between 41% and 43% of the total vote in their respective races). Even David Torres, the Democratic candidate for Congress in beet-red Colorado Springs, managed to get 40% of the vote running against incumbent Republican Doug Lamborn (56%). Hundreds of thousands of Colorado voters who were willing to say “Yes” to the rest of the GOP ticket just could not force themselves to vote for Ganahl. 

Ganahl remained below even her own floor: A recent exit poll memo in Colorado conducted by Global Strategy Group found that only 42% of voters even considered voting for Heidi Ganahl

Here are a few more numbers to consider:

♦ Global Strategy Group found that Ganahl lost Unaffiliated voters in Colorado by 33 points. Yes, that’s two threes.

♦ There were six statewide races in Colorado in 2022 (U.S. Senate, Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, and the State Board of Education at-large position). Out of 12 major party candidates on the ballot in these races, Ganahl is THE ONLY ONE who is not going to reach at least 1 million total votes.

 

By the way, Polis is the first major statewide candidate in Colorado in 20 years to win a General Election by at least 20 points. The first since…

 

GOBO: Me.

POLS: Right. You, or whatever. In 2002, Bill Owens defeated Democrat Rollie Heath by nearly 33 points to win re-election as Governor. In fairness to Heath, he joined the race fully understanding that it was virtually unwinnable that year and was the sacrificial lamb for Democrats so that Owens wouldn’t run unopposed. 

This is an incredibly rare occurrence. We’ve only seen a 20+ point statewide race 4 times since 1990 (Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell in 1998 and Roy Romer in 1990). 

 

GOBO: Good times. But what about Dan Maes?

POLS: Ah, yes. Dan Maes. This is always the first name that comes up on this topic. Maes was another completely-unknown Republican who won the GOP nomination for Governor in 2010 with Scott McInnis weighed down by a plagiarism scandal. Republicans were so convinced that Maes would be a disaster in a General Election against popular Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper that they recruited Tom Tancredo to run as the American Constitution Party candidate for Governor. Maes ended up with only 11% of the vote; had he dropped under 10%, Republicans would have lost their official “major party status” for 2012.

Maes was not a good candidate, but he was more of a dunce who was in the right place at the right time when McInnis cratered in the Republican Primary. Since nobody else had been challenging McInnis for the GOP nomination, Maes was the beneficiary of being the only “Not Scott” candidate. Maes performed poorly in the 2010 General Election in large part because Republican bigwigs sandbagged him and refused to help. Maes didn’t really know what he was doing as a statewide candidate, and Republicans weren’t interested in helping him. Maes should not have won the GOP nomination in the first place, but that was the Party’s fault, not his, for an inability to organize another option to McInnis.

Here’s what makes Ganahl different: She HAD all of the advantages that were denied to Maes but could not or would not capitalize on them. Starting off her campaign as an election denier really crippled any momentum in the early stages. Still, Ganahl managed to win a Republican Primary and then inexplicably just kept moving to the right

 

GOBO: Wait, that means Ganahl is worse than Bob Beauprez in 2006?

POLS: Beauprez’s 2006 campaign for governor was absolutely the Best Loser in Colorado until he was out-losered by Ganahl. Beauprez was a schmuck of a candidate who said really stupid things (such as his absurd claim that 70% of African-American pregnancies end in abortion) and made equally-terrible decisions (choosing Janet Rowland as his running mate after she suggested that homosexuality was a gateway to bestiality). He also lost by a sizable margin to Bill Ritter, the former Denver DA who was nobody’s first, second, third, or even fourth choice on the Democratic side (at the time, there were a lot of bigger-named Democrats who decided against running, among them Hickenlooper, House Speaker Andrew Romanoff and Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald).

But Beauprez did have a second act, sort of. In 2014, he won the Republican nomination for Governor and gave then-incumbent Governor John Hickenlooper a scare before ultimately losing by 3 points.

Still, we’ll always have this:

Bob Beauprez saw the future way back in 2006.

 

POLS: Here’s another question: Could you see Ganahl making a comeback in a few years after all her nonsense about furries in schools; election conspiracies; and failing to raise enough money to even have a legitimate television advertising budget?

GOBO: [Thinking] I guess you’ve got me there. Ganahl couldn’t get elected as a local PTA President after everything she said in the last few months.

 

POLS: Exactly. She’s radioactive. 

Look at how many Republican candidates were severely hurt by Ganahl’s awful campaign. Ganahl was probably never going to beat Polis, but if she could have made it a race, it would likely have made a big difference in turnout for down-ticket races. How many extra votes might Boebert (CO-03) or Barbara Kirkmeyer (CO-08) have picked up if there had been even a modest enthusiasm among Republicans for the top of the ticket?

 

GOBO: What about Joe O’Dea’s Senate campaign? Wasn’t he a drag on other Republicans?

POLS: Sure, but not like Ganahl. O’Dea’s campaign is definitely in the top 20 of worst major campaigns of all time, but he was more of a drag by virtue of being uninteresting. Ganahl was an unshakable anchor on the entire Republican Party.

GOBO: Ganahl was not a great candidate, but she was the best the GOP had this year…

 

POLS: Was she? Surely Greg Lopez, who lost to Ganahl in the GOP Primary, could have at least made it to 40% of the vote in Colorado. You might have done better if you painted a smiley face on a rock and made it the Republican nominee; at least the rock wouldn’t have been talking about furries.

GOBO: Fine, I concede that Ganahl is the worst candidate and campaign in state history. Lesson learned, amirite?

 

POLS: There are indeed a lot of lessons for Republicans. The real question is whether the Colorado GOP is at all interested in learning any of those answers. 

In multiple post-mortem news stories after the election, Republicans claimed that they had a great slate of candidates (they did not) and some great issues to run on (they did, but they screwed that up). They complained about too many liberal voters moving to Colorado, but they never adjusted their message to have a conversation with those voters. 

As for Ganahl, she spent 99% of her time complaining about Polis and talking about every negative statistic related to Colorado that she could dig up. Listening to her was exhausting. Her policy ideas were so shallow and ridiculous that she even managed to exasperate longtime Republican and Denver Post publisher Dean Singleton.

Were Republicans surprised by how ridiculous Ganahl became from the moment she announced her campaign? Were they unprepared by how quickly things went from bad to worse? If they were surprised…why, and how come nobody came to the rescue? Surely somebody had talked with Ganahl before she launched her campaign, right? Were they so blinded by their dislike of Polis that they didn’t see their own disaster of a candidate?

 

GOBO: Are all those questions for me?

A fitting metaphor if ever there was one.

POLS: No, they’re mostly rhetorical…though still probably worth answering if you are a Republican. 

GOBO: Okay, riddle me one last thing: Was the candidate or the campaign worse?

POLS: Ooh, that’s tough. Also, how is it that we are now answering your questions?

It’s difficult to separate the candidate from the campaign here, given that Ganahl had 47 different campaign managers [that’s an exaggeration, but it was a lot] and seemed to direct most of the strategery by herself, with the occasional input from nitwits like Lindsey Datko of Jeffco Kids First.   

It’s interesting, and sad, to think that 18 months ago, Ganahl was a fairly well-respected CU Regent who was the sole remaining Republican to have been elected statewide in Colorado. Today, she is “that furry lady.” And that’s only to the extent that anyone would even recognize her due to her lack of advertising during the campaign. 

GOBO: Maybe that’s the silver lining here.

POLS: What’s that?

GOBO: It’s probably good that most Coloradans don’t know what Ganahl looks like – that means fewer people who will recognize her in public.

POLS: Fair point. Now, can someone please tell her to take a break? As the old saying goes, we can’t miss you if you won’t go away.

 

Shellacking Or No, Looks Like Trump’s Gonna Jump

Despite the unexpectedly poor showing for Republicans across the nation in last week’s midterm elections, especially but not limited to Republicans loyal to and boosted by ex-President Donald Trump, all news reports as of this writing indicate that Trump plans to proceed with his “very big announcement” tomorrow at Mar-a-Lago that he’ll be running for President once again in 2024. CNBC reported Saturday:

“We had tremendous success — why would anything change?” Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

Longtime Trump aide Jason Miller said Friday morning that Trump will definitely be announcing his campaign next Tuesday.

“I spoke with the President Trump this morning. He was on the golf course and I talked to him about Tuesday which is really his focus,” Miller said on the podcast of Steve Bannon, a former senior Trump advisor, NBC reported.

“He said, ‘There doesn’t need to be any question. Of course I’m running. I’m going to do this and I want to make sure that people know that I’m fired up and we got to get the country back,’” Miller said.

As the New York Times reports, Trump’s determination to get back in the ring seems to have only hardened since last Tuesday’s election despite the bad night for his favored candidates–meaning Trump is not listening to Republicans begging him to put off this announcement until after the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month:

Mr. Trump’s plans to run for president, which he is expected to announce on Tuesday, could force the issue in ways not seen since his first campaign, as party leaders are asked to declare their allegiances to him or to other potential rivals…

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking House Republican, endorsed Mr. Trump for president on Friday ahead of his anticipated campaign announcement on Tuesday.

“President Trump has always put America First, and I look forward to supporting him so we can save America,” Ms. Stefanik said on Twitter.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, as readers recall, tried to expand her sphere of influence to include the Republican nominee in Colorado’s brand-new CD-8 by endorsing both Barb Kirkmeyer and primary rival Jan Kulmann. Stefanik is still considered upwardly mobile in the House GOP caucus, and a candidate to someday replace GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last week, Trump endorsed McCarthy’s re-election as GOP Leader and Stefanik as GOP caucus chair, and it’s hard to imagine McCarthy not returning the favor.

And we assume Colorado’s Rep.-by-a-thread Lauren Boebert will be on hand tomorrow evening in Palm Beach.

From there, Trump’s campaign will impose a loyalty test that every Republican will have to reckon with for themselves. After the violence on January 6th and many Republicans including McCarthy turned against Trump briefly only to come crawling back, realistic hope that this party might someday stand up to Trump was largely dashed. If Trump blows through his primary opposition this time as he did in 2016, Republicans will face the question Joe O’Dea stumbled over disastrously on the campaign trail: whether to vote for Trump if he wins the nomination, or commit the greatest sin any Republican can.

In the end, even Joe O’Dea was prepared to dance with the Trump who brought him.

Devastated Republicans Grope For Answers They Can’t Handle

Defeated GOP Rep. Colin Larson.

Going into last Tuesday’s elections, Colorado Republicans thought they had hit the bottom of their years-long slide into the political abyss–a process that began in 2004 when Democrats retook the state legislature after years of Republican dominance, and then continued with only a few exceptions for over a decade before accelerating in backlash against Donald Trump in 2018 to the greatest level of political dominance Democrats have enjoyed in this state since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President.

As it turned out, they had much farther to fall. Before Tuesday, local Republicans honestly believed they had a chance at retaking the Colorado Senate and narrowing the House majority, in addition to winning the U.S. Senate race and the state’s newest highly competitive congressional district. Instead, Democrats expanded their legislative majorities, easily defeated every statewide Republican candidate, and claimed the new CD-8 for a 5-3 Democratic majority congressional delegation–a majority that may yet grow to 6-2, in the event Democratic CD-3 challenger Adam Frisch prevails as the final votes are counted in his race against freshman GOP compounding calamity Rep. Lauren Boebert.

Speaking to Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland, GOP Rep. Colin Larson, who was expected to lead the House Minority in 2023 but was instead defeated in his re-election bid, echoes the total dejection Colorado Republicans are feeling after last week’s historic wipeout:

“Honestly I think Colorado Republicans need to take this and learn the lesson that the party is dead. [POls emphasis] This was an extinction-level event,” said Republican Rep. Colin Larson. “This was the asteroid that ended the reign of the dinosaur, and in this case, the dinosaur was the Republican party.”

Larson’s pessimism is understandable. He was poised to be the incoming House minority leader after the sudden death of Rep. Hugh McKean. Instead, Larson unexpectedly lost his own race in Jefferson County…

Dick Wadhams.

Former Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams, who himself was ousted from that job years ago by the Colorado GOP’s then-incipient radical wing, is equally morose about the party’s long-term future in Colorado:

“Frankly, it couldn’t be much worse,” said Dick Wadhams, the former chair of the Colorado Republican Party. Wadhams largely blamed demographic shifts and the national Republican brand.

“And I think we put up very strong candidates who were worthy of consideration by all Colorado voters [Pols emphasis] and yet they were soundly rejected in favor of Democratic candidates,” Wadhams said. “So I don’t know what it’s gonna take for this to come back the other way.”

Here we come to the first major misconception Republicans are wrestling with in the wake of last week’s defeats, and there’s no moving on for them without recognizing this despite the hurt feelings it may cause. The 2022 Republican slate in Colorado was one of the worst ever fielded by the party in its history. Dick Wadhams himself enthusiastically supported Heidi Ganahl and Joe O’Dea, but in retrospect as Republican candidates for U.S. Senate and governor both were totally unqualified dreadful political mismatches for Colorado’s blue-trending electorate. Ganahl and O’Dea’s paths to double-digit defeat were a bit different, with Ganahl inexplicably lurching right immediately after winning the primary while O’Dea took a bit longer to show his true immoderate colors. But in the end, both of these terrible candidates at the top dragged the entire Republican ticket in Colorado down.

Once we’ve established that the top GOP candidates in Colorado failed to live up to the insistent hype from their campaigns and friendly talking heads, we come to the next logical question. Was it the issues too? The Denver Post’s political team caught up with GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, and to no one’s surprise, the former poster child of the Personhood abortion ban measures remains a true believer:

But others questioned whether the state’s electorate had shifted fundamentally, thanks to liberal-minded out-of-staters moving in. That was the assessment of Kristi Burton Brown, the chairwoman of the Colorado Republican Party, on Tuesday night. Her candidates had run on the correct issues, she said, and would focus on them going forward. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s just not what voters chose tonight,” she said.

There’s no way to sugar-coat this. No one should be more pleased to see the Colorado GOP chair conclude that Republicans “had run on the correct issues” than Colorado Democrats. Kristi Burton Brown’s unshakeable anti-abortion convictions make it impossible for her to recognize that the backlash to the overturning of Roe v. Wade was a major component of Republican failure in this year’s elections. Brown’s inability to recognize this political shift leaves the party unable to change course as long as she remains in charge.

As for the other issue that motivated voters to turn out for Democrats this year, the Republican Party’s ongoing threat to democracy under ex-President Donald Trump? Back to Colorado Public Radio’s story:

“January 6th, we just thought it had fallen from most people’s minds,” [Rep. Colin Larson] said. [Pols emphasis] “That just was not the case. They weren’t willing to look past the party.”

Smart Colorado Republicans knew that Trump was toxic going all the way back to 2016 when they revolted in favor of Ted Cruz. But instead of the Republican Party making a clean break from Trump in the aftermath of the violent January 6th insurrection and Trump’s plot to overturn the 2020 elections, Trump has remained the party’s de facto leader. Republicans like Joe O’Dea and Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson who tried to triangulate off Trump this year either didn’t try hard enough (Anderson) or failed to persuade swing voters while bringing the wrath of the MAGA base down upon themselves (O’Dea).

As it turns out, Americans did not forget about January 6th. And as it turns out, overturning Roe v. Wade had dire political consequences for the party who sought that outcome for decades. There’s no “middle ground” for Republicans to stand on with these defining issues. There’s no “retooling” of the Republican Party’s message that can alter the fundamentals. This is not a question of packaging, it’s the product Republicans are offering that Colorado voters want no part of. Without the will to de-radicalize the MAGA base and truly moderate their wedge-issue-driven agenda, Colorado Republicans are glimpsing at long last what permanent minority status looks like.

The Get More Smarter Podcast Breaks Down the Bluenami

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Seth Masket, Director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, to break down the massive Bluenami that overtook Colorado on Election Day.

And, no, we still don’t know who won the race in CO-03 between Republican Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch.

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

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

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

Joe O’Dea: Con Man, Or Victim Of A Long Con?

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea waves goodbye to several million dollars.

The dust is settling after the sweeping Democratic triumph in Colorado in the 2022 elections Tuesday, turning what was once hyped as a coming “red wave” into a cementing of total control over state government by Democrats, expanding their majorities in the Colorado House and Senate and easily re-electing the downballot statewide Democrats who historically were regular victims of ticket-splitting. The results of the 2022 election show much less ticket-splitting in general than prior elections, with voters staying faithful to Democratic candidates all the way down the ballot.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, as readers know, the poll averages maintained 538 and other aggregators were pretty close to the outcome in the two top Colorado races: clearly showing gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl losing in excess of 15% and U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea losing around 10%. But in the final days before Tuesday’s election, Colorado’s poll averages in the Senate race were thrown off by what we now know were highly inaccurate partisan polls showing Republicans far more competitive than would turn out to be the case. As the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank reports, those bogus last-minute polls were part of a Republican headfake to motivate their own base and fool gullible reporters:

Political journalists were suckered by a wave of Republican junk polls in the closing weeks of the campaign. They were also swayed by some reputable polling organizations that, burned by past failures to capture MAGA voters, overweighted their polls to account for that in ways that simply didn’t make sense. And reporters fell for Republican feints and misdirection, as Republican operatives successfully created an artificial sense of momentum by talking about how they were spending money in reliably blue areas…

It was telling that Republican campaigns didn’t release their own polls to confirm the dubious results Trafalgar and Rasmussen were producing. Still, such polling helped skew handicapping websites. RealClearPolitics, for example, moved Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) into “toss-up” status in the closing days of his reelection bid. Bennet beat his Republican opponent by double digits. [Pols emphasis]

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner, Joe O’Dea.

Coming into the 2022 elections, Democrats nationwide were battling against an entrenched presumption that the party in power always suffers during the midterms. In Colorado, facing an electorate very much soured on the GOP brand, Republicans tried to position themselves as “a different kind of Republican” in the Cory Gardner mold–but general election voters never believed it according to the polls. Hype and spin from the campaign aside, O’Dea never lived up to the post-partisan image he wanted to project, and the “moderate” veneer O’Dea tried so hard to hold together fell apart under scrutiny. Attempts to show an endearing personality like riding his horse through the suburbs to get strip-mall sushi instead became punchlines for jokes about out-of-touch rich people.

As Election Day approached and the polls continued to show the major Colorado races locked in their respective ranges, the sudden bewildering announcement that Real Clear Politics had moved the Colorado Senate race to a toss-up gave Joe O’Dea’s campaign an infusion of false hope.

Real Clear Politics has shifted its prediction of a hotly contested Senate race in Colorado from leaning toward Democratic victory to a “toss up” as several high profile races across the country continue to tighten with Republicans hoping to take back control of the chamber next week.

On its updated election prediction map, Real Clear Politics now shows the race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet and his challenger, Republican construction magnate Joe O’Dea, is classified as a “toss up” after previously being viewed as “Leans Dem.”

The fake polls showing the race tightening led directly to this:

While Real Clear Politics moved Colorado’s Senate race to a “toss-up” based on polls that turned out to be completely wrong, O’Dea poured another million and a half dollars of his own money into his campaign–a significant percentage of the total of $4.6 million O’Dea ponied up throughout the race. It’s one of the clearest cases we’ve ever seen of a candidate “believing his own bullshit,” throwing good money after bad in a race that ended up close to the worst-case scenario.

That brings us to a central question of Joe O’Dea’s failed Senate campaign.

Did O’Dea’s campaign consultants, led by Josh Penry, take him for a ride?

Joe O’Dea proudly ran as a candidate with no political experience, and despite repeated promises never received significant outside help from national Republicans. This resulted in O’Dea, with a net worth upwards of $77 million, funding this race largely by himself–despite promises from Republican leadership like Mitch McConnell, who declared the party “all in” for O’Dea but never followed those words up with dollars. And when these last-minute fake polls flooded the averages, O’Dea’s consultants, who knew or should have known those polls were not reliable, nonetheless did not prevent O’Dea from dumping another million and a half into what we now know was a futile effort.

Looking at his race with the benefit of hindsight, O’Dea’s duplicitous attempt to triangulate off the Republican brand while bringing a who’s who of Republican big names to the state to campaign for him could be reasonably termed a con job. But it’s also possible that Joe O’Dea was the victim of a larger and longer con job, by consultants who pretended this campaign had a shot in order to extract money from Joe O’Dea.

Joe O’Dea never had a chance. If any one of O’Dea’s “crew” of loyalists had been honest enough to say so, he could have saved a lot of money. Instead, “Joe’s Crew,” with the help of the Republican fake news industrial complex, fleeced their sucker to the very end.

That’s sure what it looks like, anyway.

Why Republicans Can’t Have Nice Things (Like Election Victories)

Elephant fight!

The Republican Civil War in Colorado will not pause for elections.

While candidates and volunteers were working hard on GOTV efforts this weekend, El Paso County Republicans were busy spending several hours yelling at each other about some other really dumb thing. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

By an overwhelming margin, members of the county party’s central committee approved a resolution to “censure and condemn in the strongest possible terms” more than 30 current and former elected officials, GOP nominees and party volunteers associated with Peak Republicans, an effort launched this spring by local Republicans who said they couldn’t count on the county party to get behind Republican candidates.

The resolution, spearheaded by El Paso County GOP chairwoman Vickie Tonkins, ordered the Republicans to “cease and desist,” claiming the Peak Republicans aren’t allowed to call themselves Republicans, and demanded they issue a public apology. If they don’t, the resolution added, the county party wants the state GOP to step in and exercise its legal right to prevent any organization from using the word “Republican” in its name without permission.

We wrote last month about this latest idiotic argument that stems from the heavy-handed political tactics of the El Paso County Republican Party, which is full of paramilitary weirdos and fervent election deniers under the heavy hand of Chairperson Vicki Tonkins. The El Paso GOP has been hemorrhaging support for years and does not tolerate dissent; things regularly get so bad at county party meetings that the Colorado Springs Police Department or the El Paso County Sheriff are called to come restore some semblance of order.

El Paso County Republican Chairwoman Vicki Tonkins.

This current issue revolves around 2022 campaigns worried that the official county party wasn’t doing its job on volunteer coordination and GOTV efforts. Concerned about the ticking election clock, many El Paso County Republicans started their own group to make sure that this important election work was being done for both local and statewide candidates. Campaigns for both Senate hopeful Joe O’Dea and gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl have been working with “Peak Republicans” in the last month.

Among those formally censured by the El Paso County GOP on Saturday — for the crime of [checks notes again] using the word “Republican” — were State Sen. Larry Liston; State Reps. Mary Bradfield and Andres Pico; County Commissioners Cami Bremer and Holly Williams; Colorado Springs City Councilman Wayne Williams; and former state lawmakers Lois Landgraf and Kit Roupe. As Luning continues:

Tonkins argued during Saturday’s party meeting that the upstart outfit — run out of an office near Interstate 25 and Garden of the Gods Road — was confusing voters and candidates by “presenting itself” as the county party headquarters, though a lead organizer behind the effort said no one appears to be confused about what they’re doing. [Pols emphasis]

“It’s just a nickname, that’s all it is,” said organizer Jody Richie. The group hasn’t set up a formal organization but is instead acting like a vendor for candidates who want to get their messages out to voters, she said. She added that it appears Tonkins and the county party lack legal standing to tell the Peak Republicans whether or not they can use the name “Republicans,” according to a state law that grants that authority to the state party.

This is not a new complaint about the El Paso County GOP; in 2020, campaigns for former President Donald Trump and then-U.S. Senator Cory Gardner also set up separate local outreach offices.

Dave Williams

Outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams told Luning that this bickering in El Paso County is a continuation of a long-running feud “between the party’s old guard and current county party leadership.” Williams apparently tried dumping the problem on the State Republican Party, to no avail:

“If we’re going to succeed long-term, we do have to figure out how to work together when their side doesn’t win,” Williams added. “What’s disingenuous is they try to play innocent in all this, and that’s not the truth. It takes two to tango. If we really want peace and we really want unity, they’re going to have to step up and demonstrate some leadership…

…[State Republican Party Executive Director] Joe Jackson refuted Williams’ assertion that the state party hadn’t given any direction to the county GOP about its gripe with Peak Republicans.

“It’s unfortunate Rep. Williams feels the need to lie,” Jackson said in a text message to Colorado Politics. “As he well knows, the county party was given guidance to stop their attacks on fellow Republicans and help get out the vote instead. Just because they don’t like the advice doesn’t mean it wasn’t given.” [Pols emphasis]

Gah!

Again, Colorado Springs Republicans spent a good chunk of the last Saturday before Election Day arguing about who gets to say the word “Republican.”

Absolute lunacy.

Master GOP strategist Colin Larson

Elsewhere, Nick Coltrain and Seth Klamann of The Denver Post wrote an early preview of Tuesday’s midterm elections in Colorado that also included some strange quotes from local Republicans.

State Rep. Colin Larson, a Ken Caryl Republican, predicted a “red riptide” in Colorado, rather than a wave. Even 2010 — an infamously disastrous year nationally for Democrats — was blunted here, he said, and the state’s turned bluer in recent years.

Following a string of electoral setbacks and infighting over recent years, Larson said the Republican Party in Colorado has been “lost in the wilderness for a little while.” But he was critical of the Democrats’ singular control of the state in recent years, pointing to crime and the cost of living. He’s confident that a fiscal conservative streak remained here, citing the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights and voters’ refusal to strike it down. A re-focused Republican Party could still make inroads here and shade Colorado purple, he argued, and local legislative races will help signal if that’s possible.

“If Barbara Kirkmeyer wins,” he said, “and we win one or two statewide races, significantly narrow the (Democrats’) House majority, narrow the Senate majority, then we will signal the course has turned.” [Pols emphasis]

Larson is trying to both simultaneously LOWER expectations for Republicans on Tuesday and make a case that a few smaller victories would mean that Colorado is moving to the red column. You’d need to have a minor concussion for this to even begin to make sense.

Over in the other legislative chamber, State Sen. John Cooke is still using the same talking points from 10 years ago:

“If Democrats continue controlling the state senate, then I think Colorado is lost for a generation,” state Sen. John Cooke, the outgoing Republican leader, said. “It’s California, it’s Oregon.”

He predicted a future that’s anathema to many in his party: a kneecapped oil and gas industry; powerful oversight commissions staffed by the governor’s appointees and confirmed by an agreeable senate; a “war” on rural Colorado.

Colorado will turn into California! The oil and gas industry has been destroyed! There’s a war on rural Colorado!

Republicans keep saying this nonsense, year after year, and Colorado voters keep electing more Democrats. Maybe try something else?

It’s not really a mystery as to why Democrats have been so successful in Colorado over the last 4-5 election cycles. Democrats choose solid candidates who run professional campaigns and do a great job of organizing volunteers and supporters.

Republicans nominate candidates like Ganahl, repeat tired talking points, and spend the weekend before Election Day lowering already shin-high expectations and yelling at each other over trivial nonsense.

The Facts About Facts

“With respect, your word is not evidence, sir.”

 — Kyle Clark responding to Joe O’Dea’s claims that Google is “censoring” his campaign (10/28/22).

Glenn Kessler of The Washington Post wrote a detailed breakdown this week on the truth about election fraud in the United States. The short version is that actual cases of voter fraud in a given election number in the dozens. Total. Nationwide.

Kessler notes that the conservative Heritage Foundation has maintained a database counting 1,384 cases of voter fraud since 1979. That works out to an average of 32 examples of voter fraud per year…out of a total vote count in the BILLIONS.

But it is a paragraph that appears much later in Kessler’s story that caught our attention for a different reason:

Trump ignores that at least 86 judges, including Trump appointees, rejected at least one post-election lawsuit filed by Trump or his supporters and that they consistently found there was no substantive evidence to support claims of fraud and irregularities. “Calling an election unfair does not make it so,” wrote Trump federal appeals court nominee Stephanos Bibas in one opinion. [Pols emphasis] “Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”

This line stuck out to us because it is reminiscent of an important — if largely overlooked — exchange from last month’s U.S. Senate debate on 9News in which moderator Kyle Clark asked GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea if he had any proof of his claims that Google was censoring his campaign (O’Dea did not). Here’s that discussion:

KYLE CLARK: Mr. O’Dea, would you like to provide any evidence [that Google is censoring your campaign]?

JOE O’DEA: I’m not going to do it here tonight, Kyle. I’m not debating you. I’m debating Michael Bennet.

CLARK: Well, I’m asking you if you’re interested in backing up this allegation…

O’DEA: I told you, you can go look it up. It happened. Two weeks, they downed our Google efforts so we couldn’t…search for our stuff. It’s documented.

CLARK: It actually…it is not. Because these things are public. And we looked again this morning. And you have run Google ads without a single day of interruption since April 14th.

O’DEA: That’s not true. That’s just not true.

CLARK: The public can go, and they can go look…

O’DEA: They can go look. That’s just not true.

CLARK: …at the transparency portal, and they can see that you have run ads…

O’DEA: That’s not true.

CLARK: …every single day, without interruption. There’s a single ad pulled in June for an unspecified violation…

O’DEA: A single ad, they pulled…

CLARK: …which your campaign won’t tell us what that was for, or if you attempted to fix it. So just one last question: Serious allegation, about a behemoth company, that you could regulate as a U.S. Senator, do you have any evidence?

O’DEA: I just told you, they pulled one of our ads for two weeks. That’s the evidence…

CLARK: With respect, your word is not evidence, sir. Any evidence? [Pols emphasis]

O’DEA: It’s there, you can find it.

CLARK: Very good.

What Clark said at the end is incredibly important, and it applies to numerous 2022 candidates — most of whom are Republicans.

O’Dea absolutely has the legal right to make an unsupported claim about Google censoring his campaign. We would not argue otherwise.

What O’Dea does NOT get to do is argue that his statement at all resembles a “fact.” We must all push back on this approach at every opportunity. It is too dangerous to ignore.

Wheeee!!!

We saw a similar example of this “it’s a fact because I said so” mentality in Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s month-long obsession with the idea that “furries” are invading Colorado schools. Ganahl insisted that “furries in schools” was a real thing because some parents of students told her that it was happening.

Peggy Propst, a Republican candidate for the State Board of Education in Colorado, said during a recent interview that she knows that schools are providing litter boxes for little furries; it’s true, she said, because she heard it somewhere. By this metric, we could say that it is a known fact that Propst milks cats every morning for her cereal. It’s true because we just said it!

Shaun Boyd, a silly “reporter” at CBS4 Denver, was somehow convinced to later run an entire story arguing that the furry conspiracy was real because some people said it was. Josh Moody, a higher education reporter, rightly called Boyd’s story “perhaps the worst education journalism I’ve seen.”

This troubling trend of trying to re-define the meaning of “facts” is different than other nonsense we’ve seen in 2022. For example, Republican congressional candidate Barbara Kirkmeyer has been getting hammered for saying in a TV ad that Democrats in the state legislature legalized fentanyl. Kirkmeyer knows better, so this is more a flat lie than a redefinition of a “fact.”

Republican Attorney General candidate and current JD-18 District Attorney John Kellner wants voters to believe that he’ll do a better job than incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser on fighting crime, despite the FACT that data clearly shows crime rates have increased in Kellner’s judicial district at a much faster rate than in the rest of the state. We’d classify this as more akin to typical political bullshit than a redefinition of “facts.”

Former Trump White House adviser Kellyanne Conway infamously used the phrase “alternative facts” in 2017. It was wrong then, and it’s wrong now.

These are FACTS: Trees are tall. Concrete is hard. This sentence you are reading is written in English.

These are just words: “This one guy told me that Jared Polis is a lizard person from a hostile planet in a distant galaxy.” We like words. Words are cool. But words are not facts.

Look, we realize that we might just be shouting into the abyss on this subject, but it needs to be said over and over and over, because we are truly doomed as a society if we just allow reality to be co-opted by gibberish.

Joe O’Dea Courts Dozens of Voters in Final Days of Campaign

UPDATE: On a Thursday night before Election Day, Joe O’Dea was in Rifle, Colorado.

 

 

There are about 10,000 people who live in Rifle. About 45% of Coloradans cast ballots in the last midterm election in 2018.

You can do the rest of the math yourself. This is NOT what we would be doing five days from Election Day if we were trying to win a statewide race.

 

—–

Remember me?

Way back in 2008, Republican Senate candidate Bob Schaffer telegraphed his pending 10-point defeat to Democrat Mark Udall by spending the final week of the election puttering around the Eastern Plains of Colorado. Schaffer even started running a television ad in which he spoke to the camera in front of a barn and some cows, which was about as country as Schaffer got in that race.

Schaffer was apparently trying to appeal to rural Colorado voters in the final days of that campaign, which was a weird strategy given that the vast majority of Colorado voters don’t live in rural parts of the state.

Fourteen years later, another Republican Senate candidate is preparing for his own likely defeat by doing pretty much the same thing. Denver businessman Joe O’Dea is touring Southwest Colorado and the Eastern Plains in the waning days of his campaign…which is as even weirder in 2022 than it was in 2008.

As Reuben Schafir (probably no relation) reports for The Durango Herald today:

Joe O’Dea, the GOP challenger to Sen. Michael Bennet, visited La Plata County for the first time since the primaries this week. He stopped briefly in Durango after holding a campaign event Monday afternoon in Pagosa Springs. Former state Sen. Ellen Roberts confirmed she had a private meeting with O’Dea on Monday to discuss issues important to the region. [Pols emphasis]

According to O’Dea, about 50 people attended the event in Pagosa Springs, which he held at the Den Restaurant. Although 49% of La Plata County voters are unaffiliated with a political party and the remaining 51% are approximately evenly split between the Democratic and Republican parties, O’Dea has not held a public campaign event in the county since March.

In their private meeting Monday, Roberts said O’Dea sought input on issues relevant to the region. She said the two discussed the Colorado River crisis as well as Front Rage dominance on political and policy issues, and that she reinforced how important it is for O’Dea to get to know the region.

“I am comfortable he had done that,” Roberts said. “He let me know all the places he’s going to be in the next week and many of them are western and out on the eastern plain, so I’m comfortable that he’s spending a lot of time with the whole state and not just the Denver-metro area.” [Pols emphasis]

 

 

O’Dea seems to have wrapped up the support of former Republican state lawmaker Ellen Roberts. That’s nice for O’Dea, but it may not be the best use of his time at the moment. The election, you may have heard, is next week. More than 90% of Colorado voters live along the Front Range between Ft. Collins and Pueblo…and O’Dea is driving AROUND them.

Cory Gardner on Election Day 2020

In the Fall of 2018, then-Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton also visited Pagosa Springs — but Stapleton went through town in September.

When they know that defeat is inevitable, statewide Republican candidates have been known to end up in strange places in the last few days before an election. Schaffer was spending half a day touring a power plant in the last week in 2008. On Election Day in 2020, then-Sen. Cory Gardner started the day waving to no-one in Greeley. Recently, Gardner told Republicans in Akron that the key to victory in November was to “run up the score” in rural Colorado, which is a really terrible piece of advice for simple mathematical reasons.

Perhaps O’Dea is touring smaller parts of Colorado in an effort to avoid scrutiny in the final days of his doomed campaign. The Durango Herald story mentioned earlier is also noteworthy for an important acknowledgement by the reporter in response to O’Dea’s false claims about Bennet’s record:

The O’Dea-Bennet race splashed across headlines after tensions between the two reached a boiling point during their only televised debate Friday. O’Dea repeated a claim that Bennet has written only “one bill in 13 years that became law.” Bennet responded that the claim was not true, calling O’Dea a liar.

The claim rests on the fact that many of the other bills Bennet has written have become incorporated into other pieces of legislation but have not been passed as stand-alone laws…

…O’Dea has promised to lead in the mold of Sen. Joe Manchin, who he says is an example of how a senator ought to buck his or her party to serve a state. He says Manchin’s work to approve the permitting of a pipeline in West Virginia is exemplary of the way that a senator should put a state first – however, Manchin backed off that legislation after colleagues from both sides expressed disdain for the amendment. If the statistics on Bennet’s work during his time in the Senate are to be interpreted the way O’Dea has repeatedly done, Manchin has also only written one bill that has been passed into law. [Pols emphasis]

D’Oh!

Oh, well. By the time O’Dea finally rolls back into his home in Greenwood Village, there won’t be anything left to do but crack open a beer and pour it into a glass of ice.

Get More Smarter Before Election Day!

This week on a special pre-election episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii make their final prognostications for the 2022 Election.

We also talk again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado, about what to watch out for on Election Night once numbers start trickling in nationally. Later, Jason and Ian show off what they’ve learned from Republicans in 2022 by attempting to repeat — from memory — stump speeches for Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.

Remember, friends: Vote early, not often. If you’re still holding onto your ballot, DO NOT drop it in the mail; instead, take your completed ballot to one of many drop boxes in your area. For more information, head over to GoVoteColorado.gov.

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

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

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

The Sad Final Days of the Top of the GOP Ticket

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

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

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

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

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

 

Lighting Money on Fire

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

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

 

Running to the Right

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

 

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

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

 

 

NewsMax?

Really?

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

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

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

 

Time Travel

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Facing Reality

They’re not laughing WITH you.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Oof.

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

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

CU Poll: Dems Owning 2022, GOP MIGHT Accept Results

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

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

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

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

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

What happens when Republicans don’t accept election results.

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

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

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

O’Dea Continues Another GOP Tradition: Bombing on National TV

We wrote earlier about Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea inexplicably spending the last week of the 2022 election cycle touring the Western Slope and Eastern Plains of Colorado. This is a strange tradition for GOP Senate candidates who know they are about to lose, from Bob Schaffer in 2008 to Cory Gardner in 2020.

On the checklist of bad traditions among Republican Senate candidates in Colorado, there is another box that O’Dea apparently decided to mark off: Completely imploding on national television. When Democrat Michael Bennet was running for his first full term in the Senate in 2010, his Republican opponent was then-District Attorney Ken Buck. That race went down the wire, and most observers believe Buck lost the Senate race with a disastrous late-October appearance on “Meet the Press” in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism and used the term “buyer’s remorse” in discussing the case of an alleged rape in his judicial district four years earlier.

Buck’s “Meet the Press” appearance was so bad it was even lampooned by “Saturday Night Live.” Had Buck not bombed so memorably, he might well have been elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Joe O’Dea makes his “nailed it” face after repeating for the 100th time his joke about how he doesn’t even agree with his wife 98% of the time.

On Tuesday evening, O’Dea sat down for an interview with Jake Tapper of CNN and flopped in a much different manner. You really should watch the entire seven-minute interview to grasp the extent of the problem for O’Dea, but we’ll break it down into a couple of pieces.

But first, it’s important to understand some context here. Candidates don’t just end up talking to Jake Tapper on CNN; this is the sort of interview that campaign staffers (or national GOP helpers) work hard to arrange. A couple of people had to go to a lot of trouble to get this interview to happen in the last few days before an election. Some of those same people apparently didn’t bother to prepare O’Dea for some difficult questions.

This is a masterclass in how to show voters that you have absolutely no business being anywhere near Congress.

Tapper’s first question is about former President Donald Trump’s outspoken opposition to O’Dea after the Colorado businessman said he would campaign against Trump in 2024. O’Dea dodges this question, which leads to Tapper replaying a moment from a Senate debate last week when Bennet talked about O’Dea’s previous support for Trump.

 

Tapper asks O’Dea “did it bother you” when Trump pushed his family separation policy at the border or said that there were fine people on both sides after white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville, VA in 2017. Here’s O’Dea’s response:

JOE O’DEA: Well, I believe that [President] Obama started that policy to be quite frank with you.

JAKE TAPPER: Not really.

Gah!

O’Dea goes on to say that the border is “leaking like a sieve” and talks about fentanyl “coming right up I-25.” Tapper notes that former President Trump did not solve the border problem, either, and adds that every time immigration reform has come up in Congress in the last 20 years, it is Republicans in the House of Representatives who have blocked it from becoming law. Tapper asks O’Dea if Republicans share some of the blame for a lack of action on immigration reform. O’Dea calls the border situation “a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions”; he says that he is going to run an immigration reform bill and make sure it passes both the Senate and the House.

This is the point where things really start to go downhill for O’Dea. Tapper asks O’Dea about his appearance on “Meet the Press” last week and a question from Chuck Todd about whether O’Dea is comfortable with the idea of using migrants as a “political tool” (such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard).

TAPPER: Do you think it was right for them to ship off migrants under false pretenses into other parts of the country? That part of it — not just bringing attention to [the issue], but that part of it — was that the right thing to do?

O’DEA: [long pause] Well, I know that President Biden is shipping them all over the country right now in airplanes. Nobody said a word.

What? President Biden is flying migrants all over the country?

It appears at this point that a small part of O’Dea’s brain realized that he is screwing up, so he reverts to repeating his same talking points from before.

O’DEA: Every state is a border state now. We’ve got a humanitarian crisis down there — epic proportions. And I believe that Gov. Abbott and Gov. DeSantis are trying to bring some attention to this because of the failed policies of Joe Biden. And Michael Bennet’s right with him. 98% of the time he has failed because he’s with his President instead of stepping out and getting something done. We need change, and that’s why I got into this race.

Epic proportions!

Tapper then shifts to a question about gun violence that clearly surprises O’Dea (for some reason).

We are all Jake Tapper when listening to Joe O’Dea.

TAPPER: You do not support raising the age limit for purchasing a semi-automatic weapon — the kind used in Uvalde [Texas] and other massacres. Why should an 18-year-old be able to purchase a semi-automatic weapon before he’s even mature enough to buy a beer?

O’DEA: [long pause] Look, this is about crime. We don’t need any more gun laws. What we need is more cops. And this is about Michael Bennet and Joe Biden having the wrong priorities. Here they pass this inflation reduction act — 87,000 new bureaucrats for the IRS — instead of focusing that money on getting our border under control, focusing that money on putting more cops on the ground here. Colorado had one heck of a weekend. I gotta tell you that we had 12 shootings this weekend, and we lost some Coloradans. Crime is at an all time high here.

TAPPER: Yeah, but, why should a 19-year-old be able to buy a semi-automatic weapon when he can’t even buy a beer or a handgun? That’s my question.

O’DEA: Well, he can sign up and go into our military. So, I just believe that we don’t need any more gun laws. What we need is more cops…

TAPPER: You’re…I’m…I’m sure you know of all the training that enlistees undergo when it comes to how to use a firearm.

Mercifully for O’Dea, Tapper wraps up the interview at this point. Unfortunately for O’Dea, his inch-deep understanding of a bevy of important issues has already been revealed. When the best thing you can say about O’Dea’s interview was that it wasn’t quite as bad as Ken Buck in 2010, you know things did not go well.

In fact, you might even say this interview was a disaster…of epic proportions.

Joe O’Dea Begins Final Sad Week as Senate Candidate

Republican Joe O’Dea is wrapping up his long, strange trip as a 2022 candidate for U.S. Senate by doubling-down on an obvious lie and hanging out with former Sen. Cory Gardner, whose last election cycle concluded with a nearly 10-point loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper.

Before we get to Gardner, we’ll start with Friday’s final Senate debate between O’Dea and incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. This video clip from the Colorado Democratic Party is a pretty good summary of O’Dea’s final few weeks as a statewide candidate:

As you can see, O’Dea got a little emotional about being called out for a ridiculous lie that is still being pushed by his campaign despite the fact that it has been widely debunked…including by O’Dea himself. We’ve been covering the O’Dea campaign’s absurd claims that his campaign is being “censored” by Google — something that appears to be a desperate effort to raise a few more dollars before O’Dea turns back into a little-known contractor on November 8th. In fact, just last week O’Dea told Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs that his “crack team” had already “addressed” the fake problem with Google and “cleaned it up.”

That doesn’t mean that O’Dea’s campaign has stopped running its fake conspiracy fundraising ads, however, which is why Kyle Clark of 9News asked him about it during Friday’s debate:

KYLE CLARK: Mr. O’Dea, would you like to provide any evidence [that Google is censoring your campaign]?

JOE O’DEA: I’m not going to do it here tonight, Kyle. I’m not debating you. I’m debating Michael Bennet.

CLARK: Well, I’m asking you if you’re interested in backing up this allegation…

O’DEA: I told you, you can go look it up. It happened. Two weeks, they downed our Google efforts so we couldn’t…search for our stuff. It’s documented.

CLARK: It actually…it is not. Because these things are public. And we looked again this morning. And you have run Google ads without a single day of interruption since April 14th.

O’DEA: That’s not true. That’s just not true.

CLARK: The public can go, and they can go look…

O’DEA: They can go look. That’s just not true.

CLARK: …at the transparency portal, and they can see that you have run ads…

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea tries to wave away the truth.

O’DEA: That’s not true.

CLARK: …every single day, without interruption. There’s a single ad pulled in June for an unspecified violation…

O’DEA: A single ad, they pulled…

CLARK: …which your campaign won’t tell us what that was for, or if you attempted to fix it. So just one last question: Serious allegation, about a behemoth company, that you could regulate as a U.S. Senator, do you have any evidence?

O’DEA: I just told you, they pulled one of our ads for two weeks. That’s the evidence…

CLARK: With respect, your word is not evidence, sir. Any evidence?

O’DEA: It’s there, you can find it.

CLARK: Very good.

This is a very weird hill to die upon. It’s not “furries” weird, but it’s still strange.

O’Dea’s campaign is apparently so desperate to raise money in the last week of the election that O’Dea is willing to keep this ridiculous conspiracy theory alive…AND to call on 2020’s big election loser to help him collect a few thousand more dollars for his doomed Senate bid. Via Punchbowl News, the original orange Republican leader (former House Speaker John Boehner) will join former Sen. Cory Gardner for a last-minute fundraiser in Denver that is probably more about cultivating O’Dea as a future GOP donor:

 

We can’t imagine that Tuesday’s fundraiser is going to make much of a difference for O’Dea’s campaign. Are there a lot of people who have not yet donated to O’Dea who are interested in shelling out $10,000 for a photo with two former elected officials and a guy who is only slightly more likely than you are to be in the U.S. Senate next month? This might have been a decent fundraising event two months ago, but not one week before Election Day.

Anyway, there are just a few more days left Joe, and you’ll have all the time in the world to live your best #HorseSushi life.

State Sen. Kevin Priola Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Kevin Priola (D-Henderson).

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

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

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

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

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O’Dea to Campaign with Chris Christie

(Time for some traffic problems — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A lovely bridge built by Joe O’Dea’s company and paid for with your tax dollars.

Colorado U.S. Senate hopeful Joe O’Dea is holding a campaign event this Saturday in Denver with former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

O’Dea lists transportation infrastructure as a priority issue and his leadership experience is running a company that builds roads and bridges. This makes Christie is an ironic choice considering he infamously closed lanes on a New Jersey bridge in order to cause a traffic jam for political retribution, a scandal that essentially destroyed his political career.

The announcement of the Christie event comes just days after his endorsement by Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who is also campaigning on behalf of several election fraud conspiracist candidates this year. Christie, was infamously a Trump sycophant during the 2016 campaign before turning on him later in his presidency.

Today he is one of the few Republicans to blame Trump for the Jan. 6 insurrection. That position makes Christie quite a contrast from the far-right Desantis and from O’Dea himself, who said Trump does not deserve blame for the deadly riot and who has acknowledged that while he would prefer Desantis, he will vote for Trump if the former president is the 2024 Republican nominee.

Christie also recently called out Desantis over his hypocritical request for federal disaster relief following Hurricane Ian’s devastation of Florida’s Gulf coast. Christie noted Desantis’ 2013 vote against a similar relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy which wreaked havoc on New Jersey nearly a decade ago. At the time Christie also levied the same attack against all four Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Christie called Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman (both of whom have endorsed O’Dea) as well as Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn, all hypocrites for requesting federal flood aid following their votes against Sandy relief.

Christie’s previous efforts to aid Colorado Republicans haven’t been without controversy. In 2014 while stumping for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Christie attacked the state’s quality of life over legal marijuana.

(more…)

Newsline: O’Dea Repeats False Bennet Legislation Claim

(Republished under Creative Commons license by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Michael Bennet speaks at the Colorado Water Congress in Steamboat Springs on Aug. 23, 2022. (Chase Woodruff/Colorado Newsline)

by Chase Woodruff, Colorado Newsline
October 27, 2022

In Tuesday night’s U.S. Senate debate in Colorado, Republican challenger Joe O’Dea saved his most pointed attack on incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet for his closing statement, after Bennet would have the ability to respond.

“Bennet passed one bill — one bill — in 13 years that he wrote,” O’Dea claimed.

In one of the only tense moments in what otherwise was a night of civil exchanges at Grand Junction’s Colorado Mesa University, a frustrated Bennet interrupted O’Dea: “That’s completely untrue.”

Bennet was right. O’Dea’s false claim — which is also being spread by his campaign staff and allies, and appears in a new TV ad — rests on a misleading search result on a government website and a misunderstanding of how legislation is routinely passed in Congress.

Dozens of individual pieces of legislation sponsored by Bennet have been signed into law after they were added via amendment to larger appropriations or omnibus bills, according to a Newsline review of the congressional record.

Many of the approved amendments are easily traceable using functions on Congress.gov, the official website maintained by the Library of Congress. Others are harder-to-track cases in which Bennet-authored legislation appeared in a larger bill as it was newly introduced, or won passage in a companion bill from the House of Representatives.

(more…)

Colorado Senate Race Ends With a Whimper and a Shrug

This is the face of a guy who just wants to go get some #HorseSushi and a mug of iced beer.

Colorado’s U.S. Senate race is entering its final days with a big ol’ heaping plate of “whatever.”

For weeks, national news outlets pretended that the battle between incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Joe O’Dea could be a closely-watched race on Election Day. But with less than two weeks to go, reality has sunk in for O’Dea as he faces anger from the right and apathy from everywhere else.

During Tuesday’s Senate debate at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, O’Dea displayed the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager asked to wake up early on a weekend morning. In fact, the most notable takeaway in watching O’Dea might have been his audibly heavy breathing whenever Bennet was talking. O’Dea flubbed many of his lines; declined to use up his full allotment of time in responses; and literally read aloud his closing remarks from a piece of paper (remarks you would think a Senate candidate would have memorized by now).

O’Dea has seen the polls, all of which show him losing badly to Bennet. O’Dea knows that he won’t have the resources to do anything about it in the final stretch of the race, with his campaign resorting to weird tinfoil hat conspiracy theories in a desperate attempt to raise a few more bucks from conspiracy-minded donors.

Quite frankly, we can’t blame O’Dea for having trouble mustering up any excitement. The writing is on the wall. The fat lady is getting ready to sing. Pick your cliché.

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote on Tuesday:

Last week, a super PAC affiliated with Mitch McConnell announced it was pulling nearly $6 million out of the New Hampshire Senate race. On Tuesday, the group dumped an additional $6 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race…

Seemingly gone for Republicans are the dreams of picking up the likes of the New Hampshire seat, where Sen. Maggie Hassan is seeking a second term. Ditto Republican hopes of beating Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. [Pols emphasis]

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

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun continued this theme today:

O’Dea hasn’t benefited from the kind of NRSC spending Republicans running in other U.S. Senate races have benefited from. And [NRSC Chairman Rick] Scott wouldn’t commit Sunday to allocating more money in Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

In Arizona, for instance, the NRSC has spent nearly $7 million opposing Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. In North Carolina, the group has spent $6 million. The NRSC has spent more than $3 million in each Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The NRSC, by comparison, has spent just $241,000 in Colorado on O’Dea’s behalf, and that was in August.

“We spent money defining Bennet. We spent money on polling. We spent money on get-out-the-vote. We spent money on texting. Things like that,” Scott told The Sun.

When asked whether the NRSC would spend millions in Colorado in the next two weeks before Election Day, Scott said “we’re working to raise money every day.”The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has spent $1.25 million in Colorado on O’Dea’s behalf. That’s a fraction of the amount the group has allocated to races in other states.

This is a continuation of the national Republican message from earlier this month (which was a continuation from the previous month) that “We’re keeping an eye on Colorado.” It’s reminiscent of a kid asking his mom if they could go out for ice cream, and the mom saying, “We’ll see”; it’s not a definite “no”, but you know enough not to put on your shoes.

With the caveat that, yes, Coloradans still need to cast their ballots, yada, yada…the reality is that the U.S. Senate race is pretty well wrapped up.