Heidi Ganahl Takes The Stage With “2000 Mules”

As posted to Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl’s Instagram a week ago, speaking to party faithful on a tour of southern points in the state:

Look closely at the image displayed on screens beside Ganahl while she talks to voters:

As you can see, the local party (It’s not clear whether this is Fremont or Pueblo County) is promoting a “private showing” of the new and already thoroughly discredited conspiracy theory flick 2000 Mules from conservative whacktivist usual suspect Dinesh D’Souza–the same movie that Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters received court permission to travel to Florida and watch with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago earlier this month. Despite the fact that 2000 Mules lays out a completely new conspiracy theory with no relationship to Peters’ half-baked suspicions about Dominion Voting Systems, the 2020 election denier crowd including Peters has enthusiastically embraced this new supposed plot in order to keep their confirmation bias pointed forward.

Now that Heidi Ganahl and 2000 Mules are cross-promoting at Republican events, we’d say Heidi Ganahl has volunteered herself for some of those dreaded “divisive questions!” After refusing to divulge her views about the 2020 elections followed by a grudging concession that “Joe Biden is President” with no comment on whether he should be, Ganahl has insisted to the point of liability on ignoring, redirecting, and shooting the messenger when confronted about the subject. And then in private, Ganahl assures the party faithful that she cares “about everything that you care about.”

At the moment, what the base cares about is…mules.

So let’s hear from Heidi Ganahl about the mules.

Who Will be the Republican Nominee for SOS in 2022?

As we normally do in an election year, we’re asking Colorado Pols readers to predict the future in several key upcoming races.

This poll is about the Republican race for Secretary of State in 2022. Read our “Debate Diary” from last week’s SOS forum, and then vote below. Will Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters emerge victorious on June 28, or will it be former Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson? And what about Mike O’Donnell? Who will move on to challenge incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold in November?

Tina Peters, Mike O’Donnell, and Pam Anderson

 

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

 

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for SOS in 2022?

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Debate Diary: Republican Candidates for Secretary of State

The three Republican candidates for Colorado Secretary of State (SOS) took part in a candidate forum on Thursday, May 12. Republicans Tina Peters, Mike O’Donnell, and Pam Anderson met for what we believe to be the first time at the Foothills Republican Club in Jefferson County.

Of course, we HAD to commemorate the event with another one of our world famous Debate Diaries.

But before we get started with our “Debate Diary,” we should note a few things that might help make sense of what you’re about to read:

♦ We’ve seen a lot of political debates in Colorado over the years. Without a doubt, this was the single most incomprehensible candidate forum we have ever witnessed. 

 

The format of the forum was bizarre, with the first candidate who answered a question getting an extra minute to add more to their response once the other candidates were finished; most of the time, nobody had any use for this extra minute. The forum moderator was also terrible (more on that in a moment), which made it difficult to understand what the candidates were supposed to be talking about.  

But the biggest problem with this forum was with the candidates themselves. Anderson is clearly the most knowledgeable and qualified of the three SOS candidates, but she has a weird habit of leaving out key words or phrases in her answers or tossing out responses that need more context. For example, at one point Anderson said, “I know exactly where we need to go to solve the problem,” but it is unclear both what she means by a solution and what problem she is referencing in the first place.

O’Donnell adds nothing of substance to the conversation. He mostly talks about how he has been going line-by-line through the voter rolls and flagging things that he finds “weird.” Occasionally O’Donnell would toss in a bold statement near the end of his answer that nobody ever follows up on; for example, he alleged at one point that ballots are being bought and sold in Colorado. O’Donnell also seems to think that the SOS can overturn legislation.

And then there’s Peters. Her responses only make sense if you are VERY familiar with what Peters has been doing in the last 18 months; if you were watching this debate with a limited background on the candidates, you’d likely find most of Peters’s answers to be complete gibberish. Peters also makes no effort to give a good faith answer to any question, which limits any potential for debate. If Peters starts to get cornered on an issue, she responds by repeating the numbers of a particular statute or rattling off impenetrable acronyms.  

 

It’s hard to be bad at moderating a candidate forum, but Chris Murphy figured out a way. He’s absolutely brutal. Moderating a candidate forum is not rocket surgery; you just need to remember that a) Nobody is there to see you, and b) Questions should never be longer than the answers. 

It’s clear on several occasions that the candidates don’t really know much about what Murphy is referencing in a particular question. Things get even more confusing when Murphy throws in a personal anecdote that is (at best) tangentially related to the topic.  

Murphy also has a strange habit of taking a long time to set up a question and then, at the end, asking the candidates to answer a bunch of other questions. For example, Tell us how you would improve the mail ballot process, and also what is your favorite color and do you like Joe Biden and do you think Jena Griswold spells her name wrong?

 

Tina Peters said “I broke no laws/rules” about a dozen times. It’s more than a little conspicuous. 

 

We’re referencing the 9News live stream of the SOS debate for this diary; you can watch yourself below. 9News anchor/reporter Kyle Clark also live tweeted the debate if you’re interested in some extra reading.

Alright, let’s get to it. As always, unless otherwise noted, consider all comments paraphrased in the interest of time and/or preventing carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

(more…)

Joe Stengel Briefly Back To Play “Big Lie” Bag Man

Former Colorado House Minority Leader Joe Stengel (R).

Colorado Newsline reports on the latest twist in the lawsuit from Secretary of State Jena Griswold against Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder, who has admitting to making an unauthorized copy of a voting system’s hard drive due to unfounded suspicions that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. Unlike Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who is facing multiple felony counts after data she copied from election systems was distributed to conspiracy theorists, Schroeder claims the data he stole was only given to attorneys for “safekeeping.”

After Schroeder’s idiotic defense of his clearly indefensible actions was duly shredded by Elbert County District Judge Gary Kramer, it’s game over for this particular sideshow of the quixotic far-right quest to prove that Trump should still be president–which has, once again, despite all the time and effort and incoherent screeching failed to produce any actual evidence. And Clerk Schroeder had to give up the name of the lawyer who held the data:

Joe Stengel, a former Republican Colorado House minority leader, is the mystery attorney at the center of an election security lawsuit in Elbert County, newly unsealed court documents reveal.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold in January opened an investigation into the activities of Elbert County Clerk Dallas Schroeder as a potential security breach after learning that Schroeder, with the help of activists who reject the results of the 2020 election, had made full copies, or “forensic images,” of the hard drives of Elbert’s Dominion Voting Systems machines. She deemed the copies “unauthorized,” and in February she sued Schroeder after finding the Republican clerk’s response to her inquiries unsatisfactory.

Few readers have been around long enough to remember, but as we documented back in 2006, former GOP state Rep. Joe Stengel’s political career ended quite abruptly when it was found he had overbilled the state for legislator’s per diem compensation, even for days when he was vacationing in Hawaii–resulting in Stengel stepping down as House Minority Leader and ending previously-entertained aspirations of a run for higher office.

So, Stengel is not exactly what you’d call the most sterling example of credibility coming in to this story. And far from vouching for the copied election system data’s chain of custody:

An affidavit submitted by Joseph P. Stengel Jr., a Greenwood Village real estate attorney, says he was retained by John Case, Schroeder’s lawyer, on Jan. 25. On that date Case delivered to Stengel a red metal box, which contained one of the election system hard drive copies, and Stengel stored it in a fireproof safe, the affidavit says.

On Feb. 3, Case instructed Stengel to take photographs of the metal box, and Stengel noticed from the photograph that a yellow seal on the box was broken.

In his own affidavit, Case offered an explanation for why the seal was broken.

“I assume that I must have broken the yellow plastic latch on January 25, 2022, when I tried to force the Red Metal Box under the driver seat” of his vehicle when he delivered the box to Stengel, Case wrote. [Pols emphasis]

In short, we’re taking Joe Stengel’s word (under sworn affidavit, so we guess there’s that) that the broken seal on the box containing the data nobody should have copied to begin with doesn’t actually mean the data inside has been compromised. Because the other lawyer swears he broke the seal trying to jam the box under the passenger seat of his car. But not to worry, because Clerk Schroeder thought this was a defensible chain of custody!

Obviously, this is not an accounting of events that can be trusted beyond the word of people with a motive for dishonesty. Again, the only real threat to our election system that exists here is the unauthorized copying of sensitive data committed by Clerk Schroeder that could if distributed lead to future successful attacks on election systems. They couldn’t even keep up a pretense of good security, delivering a box with its tamper proof seal literally tampered with. It would be pure comedy if the conspiracy theories that drove them to do this hadn’t already provoked violence.

If Clerks Tina Peters and now Dallas Schroeder haven’t made the case for the election “internal security” bill passed by the Colorado General Assembly this year to stop hare-brained clerks from disregarding security protocols and hacking the very systems they are charged with protecting, we don’t know what possibly could. These people may never be short of excuses, but there’s absolutely no good excuse.

The GMS Podcast: Falling on Ridiculously Dull Swords

This week in episode 108 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii look back at the 2022 legislative session and highlight some of the more important pieces of legislation to come out of the Gold Dome.

Later, Jason and Ian talk about Joe/John “O’Dancing” O’Dea (it will make sense when you listen); John Eastman; and Tina Peters.

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

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

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Tina Peters: From Jail Scrubs To The Red Carpet

GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters (R), under less glamorous circumstances. (Photo courtesy Mesa County Sheriff)

Whatever you may think of Tina Peters, the frontrunner in the Republican primary for the nomination to challenge incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold despite facing multiple felony charges, she is unquestionably enjoying the ride of her life as a nationally-famous figure in the continuing movement to prove despite any evidence that the 2020 presidential election was somehow stolen from Donald Trump.

This week, as the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, after obtaining permission from the court, Peters traveled to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate to preview the new conspiracy theory flick 2000 Mules from long-discredited far-right whacktivist Dinesh D’Souza:

Indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is allowed to travel out of state, but only if she provides specific details about where she is going beforehand and gets court approval, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein said Friday.

Peters drew some attention over that when she tweeted Thursday evening from Mar-a-Lago, a resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where she attended a private viewing of a conspiracy theory movie about election fraud with former President Donald Trump…

“While I have some concerns about Ms. Peters as a potential flight risk, due to her access to private flight travel and history of going into hiding during this investigation, I must balance the importance of assuring her appearance in court against the risk that her bond conditions do not improperly influence the upcoming election,” Rubinstein said. “I struck that balance by asking the court to allow travel provided she gave details about her whereabouts when out of state.”

To be clear, D’Souza’s conspiracy theory doesn’t seem to be related to Tina Peters’ conspiracy theory that Dominion Voting Systems tabulation computers were internally compromised. But since Peters’ theories have already been thoroughly reviewed and laughed off by experts, it was time to move on to something new. Peters has demonstrated the utmost loyalty to the overriding cause of putting Donald Trump back into office by any means necessary, putting her very freedom in jeopardy–so she retains her star status even if her version of supposed events didn’t pan out.

Because none of this is about what’s true. It’s about loyalty to Trump.

A costly trip to Mar-a-Lago where Peters’ deep-pocketed benefactor Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell also was in attendance raises the usual questions of who is paying Peters’ expenses, for which Peters is currently the subject of an Ethics Commission complaint–though if she is able to count this trip to kiss Trump’s ring as a campaign expense, Peters has certainly raised enough money to cover it.

The adulation Tina Peters is receiving from the MAGA movement for her alleged misconduct that–again–failed to prove the underlying contentions about Dominion machines’ supposed vulnerabilities or, most importantly, that any of their hypothetical scenarios for fraud had actually occurred, is playing out on a parallel track to her criminal indictment. At some point, these two parallel tracks are going to collide. For Peters’ sake, she hopes not before June 28th–or even better, November 8th.

In the meantime, we suppose, enjoy the ride!

That’s what we would do if we were facing hard time.

The GMS Podcast: The One With the Epic Rant on Abortion Rights

This week in episode 107 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii welcome back Christy Powell once more for the latest news on fundraising numbers for statewide races and one unforgettable diatribe about abortion rights (seriously, it could be its own episode — jump to the 22:45 mark).

But first, Jason and Ian consider the political implications in Colorado of the demise of Roe v. Wade and make sure to update you on where Republican candidates for federal office stand on the issue. We also dive into the big news in the race for Governor and listen to Republican candidate Greg Lopez talk himself into oblivion in an interview with 9News.

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Tina Peters Buries Pam Anderson’s Fundraising

GOP gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, with GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters.

It seems fitting that embattled Republican Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters, who is facing criminal charges, contempt of court penalties, and an ethics commission investigation all pertaining to her role in the theft and leak of election system data, was one of the last state candidates to submit fundraising numbers for the most recent period earning herself a modest fine. But as the press release from Peters’ campaign makes clear, she’s not sweating the $150 fine for reporting late:

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters filed her campaign’s first fundraising report Tuesday May 3rd. Peters’ financials show that her fundraising for the first period of 2022, dwarfs the other two candidates vying for the Republican nomination in Colorado’s Secretary of State primary June 28th. The primary will choose which Republican faces off with Democrat Secretary of State, Jena Griswold, in November.

Clerk Peters, is the frontrunner and will lead the ballot after having secured 61% of the delegates at Colorado’s Republican Assembly in April. Griswold has focused much of her own fundraising on Peters being her presumptive opponent.

Now Peters has built a seemingly insurmountable lead in fundraising for the Republican primary, despite having only announced for the race on Valentine’s Day. Peters’ report totals $158,728 raised in donations and those were recorded in the final eight weeks of the sixteen-week reporting period. After almost 2000 donors averaged $77.00 per donation, Peters has approximately $100,000 cash on hand heading into May. Contrast that with Pam Anderson who is her primary opponent, Anderson reported just $5,665.97 on hand, as of her May 2nd report…

Tina Peters kicked off her campaign for Secretary of State in February already under a cloud of criminal and ethics investigations, but the attention she has received as a national figure in the conspiracy theories keeping the hopes of Donald Trump’s most diehard supporters alive has given her a powerful advantage in terms of fundraising over her milquetoast primary opponent Pam Anderson. Peters’ strong performance further underscores Anderson’s weakness in this race, running on a message not just disagreed with but considered treasonous by a majority of Republican voters.

In the Republican primary for Colorado Secretary of State, all the momentum now is with Tina Peters. By every available metric, Peters is the frontrunner. Peters dominated the vote at the state assembly, and now holds a commanding lead in fundraising. Peters is getting orders of magnitude more earned media attention. Coverage one might perceive as negative about Peters’ criminal case, at least until June 28th, is not a major liability with GOP primary voters. To the extent they’ve heard of Peters, a large percentage will see her as a hero.

Regardless of their affiliation, anyone denying this is out of touch with today’s Republican Party.

Boebert And The Coup Crew: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

Here’s a photo reportedly taken last night at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, where Arizona Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchem, another major proponent of conspiracy theories that Trump should have won the 2020 presidential election, of freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado in the company of three of America’s biggest “Big Lie” pushers:

That’s “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell, who as readers know has been spending a lot of time in Colorado recently supporting criminally indicted Republican Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters. Peters is facing a separate ethics complaint over the financial and other support from Lindell to Peters since the controversy over her alleged breach of election system security, including lodging and private jet flights during the month Peters spent in hiding in August and September of 2021.

And then there’s Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis, Trump’s coup-torneys who along with then-CU Benson Center visiting scholar John Eastman helped formulate the plan to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory on January 6th, 2021. It looks like Giuliani has given up on the goopy hair dye that famously flowed down his face at a press conference in late 2020–and that’s good.

But this photo raises a whole slew of new questions for those of us who have been following the criminal case against Clerk Tina Peters. In addition to the support Mike Lindell gave Peters while she was on the lam, Lindell claims to have donated over $800,000 to Peters’ legal defense fund. Boebert, on the other hand, has more or less thrown Peters and her former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop under the bus, even thanking the prosecutor for his fair investigation–developments that left Bishop “heartbroken” and some supporters wondering if “Soros has got to her.”

It seems like Boebert and Lindell should have a lot to talk about.

All of these individuals are also under varying degrees of scrutiny by the Select Committee looking into the violence at the Capitol on January 6th. Boebert’s own participation in what’s been described as “early stage” meetings to plan the strategy to flip the election on January 6th, and the extent to which she was considered a potential security risk even by fellow Republicans, has just recently come into focus. Boebert’s trademark audacity, hugging the scandals she should be running from and begging her opponents to call her out in an endless quest for undifferentiated attention, is on full blast.

Now we’ll see if any of the questions raised get answered.

Statewide Fundraising: Bad News for Ganahl and the GOP

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Tina Peters at last filed her first campaign finance report, and it was pretty good (relative to her Republican opponents, anyway).

—–

UPDATE: As of 3:41 pm, Peters has yet to file a campaign finance report.

—–

The deadline to file Q1 fundraising reports in Colorado was midnight on Monday, May 2, which means we have our first good look at how much support the various campaigns for statewide office have generated…

…Except for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who as of this writing has yet to submit her first fundraising report as a candidate for Secretary of State. On the one hand, it is perfectly on-brand for Peters to miss her first fundraising deadline, since she clearly operates on the idea that laws are meant for everyone else. On the other (much larger) hand, candidates for SECRETARY OF STATE should probably follow the same rules they will be expected to enforce if elected.

We’ll update this post if and when Peters decides to file a fundraising report. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of how the rest of the statewide candidates fared in Q1.

As you read these numbers, remember something that we often repeat here at Colorado Pols: Fundraising isn’t just about money — it is an indicator of the level of support for a particular candidate. People generally don’t give money to candidates if they don’t believe they can win. 

 

GOVERNOR

This has not been a great week to be Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. You could say that about most weeks since Ganahl first announced her candidacy last September, but this has been a particularly rough couple of days for the current CU Regent.

Ganahl has long been the presumed frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor and the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November, but her entire campaign has been what you could charitably call “underwhelming.” Over the weekend, Danielle Neuschwanger became the gubernatorial nominee of the American Constitution Party (ACN), which is a massive blow to whichever Republican candidate wins the nomination in June. On Monday, Ganahl essentially confirmed the weakness of her candidacy with another poor fundraising report.

Ganahl’s fundraising has been historically bad for a Republican gubernatorial candidate — a trend that continues with the first quarter of this year. There’s no positive way to spin the fact that the presumed GOP frontrunner begins the month of May with just $200k in the bank. It’s not fair to compare fundraising numbers with Polis, who will self-fund his re-election campaign to whatever tune he deems necessary; but as you’ll see with other fundraising numbers below, Ganahl’s totals don’t even look that great compared to campaigns for lower-profile offices.

The rest of the campaign finance numbers in this race aren’t all that relevant, since we wouldn’t expect either Greg Lopez or Neuschwanger to be raising a lot of money.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL

Incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser continues to raise boatloads of cash for his re-election bid, which has allowed him to already book a lot of television advertising time (hence Weiser’s large Q1 expenditures).

Republican John Kellner didn’t get a full quarter in which to fundraise — he didn’t really begin his AG campaign until February — but these are poor numbers nonetheless. Strong candidates often raise a good deal of money in their first quarter because that’s when they are first hitting up the donors with whom they have a close relationship. Kellner’s weak fundraising may also be an indication that he will be relying almost entirely on the assistance of the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) for most of his advertising expenditures.

 

SECRETARY OF STATE

Incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold is setting new records for fundraising for a candidate for SOS. Similar to Weiser, this is allowing her to reserve a bunch of advertising time in advance.

We wrote about Republican Pam Anderson’s anemic numbers in an earlier post. If Anderson is going to win a Republican Primary in June, she’s likely going to need a significant expenditure from an outside group or PAC to boost her name ID. We still don’t know who Mike O’Donnell is, but it’s a bad sign for Anderson that his cash on hand numbers are nearly seven times larger.

 

STATE TREASURER

Much like his Democratic colleagues (though to a lesser extent), incumbent Dave Young is raising enough money that he can start to book advertising spots in advance, which generally saves campaigns a good deal of money.

Republican Lang Sias, meanwhile, is raising the kind of money that would be great for a State House race but is not particularly impressive for a statewide campaign. Sias has been doing this long enough that he should have plenty of contacts for fundraising purposes; of course, he’s also been losing for long enough that those contacts may not be returning his phone calls. These weak fundraising numbers could be a sign that Sias is counting on a third-party expenditure to raise his name ID…or it might just be a reminder that he’s Lang Sias.

Pam Anderson’s Got A Very Big Little Problem

Fundraising reports for the most recent period are starting to show up for candidates in the Republican primary to run for Colorado Secretary of State–and if you’re in that minority of Colorado Republicans who doesn’t want the 2022 election to be a rehash of the 2020 presidential elections, which might incline you to support ex-Jeffco Clerk Pam Anderson, we’ve got bad news for you:

Republican ex-Jeffco Clerk Pam Anderson.

Pam Anderson is basically broke, with a shockingly low $5,665 balance of cash on hand at the end of the reporting period last week. To put these numbers in some perspective, Rep. Ron Hanks, who has been dismissed by some for his supposed inability to raise money, has almost three times Anderson’s cash on hand according to his latest report. Anderson’s principal opponent Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters has not yet reported her fundraising haul, but the national attention Peters is receiving as a central player in the “dead-ender” plot to restore Donald Trump to the presidency–for which she may end up in jail for a very long time–could mean she’s been raising a lot of money these past few months. We’ll be watching closely for Peters’ report to be submitted.

As for Anderson, this surprisingly anemic fundraising is just more evidence that she is a candidate without a constituency–at least without a majority coalition she would need to actually be competitive against her incumbent opponent Jena Griswold, who posted a massive $850,000 haul for the same period and ended the same period with $300,000 on hand. There’s simply no good reason for Colorado voters to hand the state’s election system over to Donald Trump’s party, no matter how many times Anderson insists that (R) after her name is not what it looks like. Absent a major turnaround that we don’t see any impetus for, Anderson is setting up to be an honorable placeholder who saves Colorado Republicans from further embarrassment in a race that’s off the table.

Or, Anderson actually loses to Tina Peters. It’s time to starting planning for the worst.

Michael Flynn Backs Tina Peters for SOS

Michael Flynn, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015

The rabbit hole that leads to the “Big Lie” continues to take some unusual twists and turns.

Michael Flynn is the former National Security Adviser under President Donald Trump who has become something of a figurehead for “Big Lie” adherents who believe that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump. Perhaps it should come as no surprise, then, that Flynn recently endorsed Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters in the race for Colorado Secretary of State.

In his endorsement letter, which you can read below, Flynn writes, “watching the unfolding election fraud that occurred in Colorado, Tina is singularly responsible for exposing much of it.” Flynn concludes by stating that Peters “will stand up to the Biden administration as well as state level operatives bent on tyranny.”

Flynn’s endorsement might not mean a lot among people who still have most of their wits about them, but it could be significant in a three-way Republican Primary for Secretary of State. And if Peters is able to win the GOP nomination in June, two Flynn-backed statewide candidates will appear on the General Election ballot in Colorado…

The other Flynn candidate? Danielle Neuschwanger, the newly-minted American Constitution Party nominee for Governor in 2022.

 

Michael Flynn endorses Tina Peters for Colorado SOS

Recall Polis People Ask for More Time to Fail

When last we caught up with efforts to “recall” Governor Jared Polis and Secretary of State Jena Griswold, the crack grassroots organization pushed by right-wing activist Lori Cutunilli was trying to entice people into the depths of an underground parking garage with vague promises of booting one or more statewide elected Democratic officials out of office.

We’re checking back on the subject now because it has been 60 days since the “Recall Polis-Griswold” group began gathering petition signatures for the latest iteration of this particular lost cause. Today, April 25, the “Recall Polis-Griswold” committee was supposed to officially submit a minimum of 630,000 petition signatures in order to trigger a recall election for Polis and/or Griswold. Based on the following message posted to Facebook today by Cutunilli, it seems unlikely that anyone will be marching into the Secretary of State’s office with anything other than lost time.

Recall Polis-Griswold update posted to Facebook today.

 

We’re not sure exactly how long of an extension the “Recall Polis-Griswold” committee requested, but the details aren’t particularly important. Whether they are seeking another 60 or 90 days, they’re never going to come up with enough signatures to get an actual recall election underway before our regularly-scheduled 2022 election takes place.

For now, Cutunilli and friends might just have to hope that Polis and Griswold get re-elected in November, which would give them four more years to keep this nonsense train rolling.

Pam Anderson’s Inevitable “Big Lie” Pandering Phase Begins

Republican ex-Jeffco Clerk Pam Anderson.

Although indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’s campaign for Colorado Secretary of State is getting most of the attention, particularly since Peters won top line on the June 28th primary ballot with 60% of the state assembly delegate vote, fellow Republican and former Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson’s own campaign has stayed relatively quiet through the high tide of party activist blowtorching. Anderson qualified for the ballot via petitions days before the assembly, and we’ve heard nothing from Anderson regarding the voting controversy plaguing the GOP gubernatorial race among others coming out of the assembly.

Anderson is running ostensibly as a candidate who “both sides can trust,” being a registered Republican who has a record of defending the integrity of elections from fellow Republicans like former Secretary of State Scott Gessler–who went on to become part of former President Donald Trump’s legal team seeking to overturn the 2020 presidential election and now serves among many other clients as Clerk Peters’ attorney. In a state that has migrated steadily leftward over the last 15+ years, Anderson knows that a Republican running as a Republican statewide in Colorado has a major disadvantage–especially a Republican running to run Colorado’s elections immediately after Trump’s attempt to steal one. If she can just survive until June 28th, Anderson believes she can come out of the closet (as it were) and fully embrace triangulation against her own party.

Unfortunately for Pam Anderson, she still has to run in the Republican primary. And at this moment, there is no metric by which she can be considered the favorite. After the party faithful overwhelmingly showed their support for Clerk Peters and by extension the “Big Lie” last weekend, Anderson is putting her conciliatory message on the shelf:

And what’s that “more work” Pam Anderson says needs doing to our elections, you ask?

Forget what you’ve heard about the old Pam Anderson–the new Pam Anderson is going to “crack down” (her words) on “ballot harvesting,” fight nefarious federal voting rights legislation and anything else those rascally Democrats come up with, and “expand post election audits” which sure reads like approval of the failed “Fraudit” circus in Arizona! How any of this is supposed to “insulate the office from undue partisan influence” is tough to figure, since these are all nakedly partisan Republican talking points.

It’s very simple: Anderson saw what happened last weekend and knew she had to appease the election conspiracist majority of the Republican Party in order to shore up support for the primary. The problem is that this new red meat-slinging Pam Anderson is so at odds with the old Pam Anderson that it doesn’t seem authentic. The timing implies weakness not strength, and she’s inflicting damage that can’t be undone to her post-primary image.

But it was bound to happen. Otherwise, Anderson is running in a party that no longer exists.

The GMS Podcast: For a Better Circus, Add More Clowns

This week in episode 105 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii guest host Christy Powell spend an entire episode breaking down the fantastic disaster that was last weekend’s Republican Party state assembly. Which other Republicans are dancing alongside Secretary of State nominee Tina Peters?

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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The Republican Party’s Weekend Disaster in 9 Parts

Colorado Republicans spent the weekend in Colorado Springs finalizing candidate positions for various important races in 2022. In case you haven’t heard, the GOP State Assembly did not go well. Here’s what happened…

 

(1) Colorado Media Outlets All Saw the Same Thing

Colorado political reporters came to the same obvious conclusion following Saturday’s circus: The “Big Lie” reigns supreme in the Colorado Republican Party. Here’s a sampling:

♦ The Denver Post: “Colorado GOP embraces election conspiracy theories in nominations for Secretary of State, Senate”

Axios Denver: “Colorado GOP nominates election deniers to 2022 primary ballot”

Colorado Public Radio: “False claims about 2020 election front and center as Tina Peters clinches spot in GOP secretary of state race”

9News: “Far-right challengers gaining ground ahead of GOP primary”

Colorado Newsline: “Far-right conspiracy theorists triumphant at Republican state assembly”

 

(2) If This Weekend Surprised You, Then You Haven’t Been Paying Attention

Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) was elected to her current post early last year after basically running on the “Big Lie.” She flat-out said at one point that the Colorado Republican Party is NEVER going back to the Pre-Trump days (though she later tried to walk that back). 

Presumptive GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has been flailing since her 2021 campaign kickoff about her persistent refusal to acknowledge that the 2020 election was legitimate. You can see from Saturday’s results why Ganahl has been so terrified to waffle on the “Big Lie” where the GOP base is concerned.

On Friday night, Republicans heard from a “Big Lie” keynote speaker at their Centennial Dinner: Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs.

Republicans spent HOURS on Saturday arguing over multiple efforts from groups trying to force the Party to abandon electronic voting in favor of paper ballots. Did Republicans really think that NOBODY would bring this up at their State Assembly? 

“We had to take two different votes on whether to do paper ballots,” said KBB on KNUS radio on Monday. One of the requests for paper ballots came from local militia group FEC United; KBB herself served as the President of FEC United prior to becoming State Republican Party Chair. 

On Monday, the founder of FEC United, Joe Oltmann, was still pushing an extensive, elaborate, and completely insane conspiracy theory about electronic voting “problems.”

 

(3) Danielle Neuschwanger Claims Fraud After Losing

Again, in the “of course this happened” category.

The odds that a Republican candidate was going to lose on Saturday and then immediately claim election fraud as the reason were approximately 100%.

Danielle Neuschwanger finished in third place in the race for Governor, behind Greg Lopez and Ganahl, but short of the 30% threshold that would get her name on the June Primary ballot. Neuschwanger then publicly alleged that there were some sort of voting irregularities and that she would refuse to concede (not that anybody needs Neuschwanger to concede in order to move on to June). We know this happened because Neuschwanger posted a video of herself making this very argument:

Near the end of the video, an unidentified man can be heard yelling, “We didn’t lose! We got screwed!”

On KNUS radio on Monday morning, KBB elaborated on this event, adding that Neuschwanger’s husband threatened to beat up her father! Totally normal stuff.

 

 

(4) Raise Your Hand if You Want to be on the Ballot!

Republicans allowed nominations from the floor on Saturday. This did not go well.

The first problem with this approach came when Oltmann was nominated for Governor (and seconded by State Rep. Pat Neville). Oltmann had no intention of accepting this nomination, but he DID use his time on stage to endorse two other Republicans: Ron Hanks for Senate and Tina Peters for Secretary of State. Both KBB and Republican Party Vice-Chair Priscilla Rahn bemoaned this on Monday on KNUS radio as a waste of everyone’s time. You’d think KBB might have had some advance knowledge of this given the fact that she basically worked for Oltmann 18 months ago.

Following the vote for Governor, two different people were then nominated from the floor for Attorney General. We wrote earlier about Stanley Thorne, but there was a second woman nominated for AG who admitted soon thereafter THAT SHE WASN’T EVEN AN ATTORNEY. Thorne, by the way, is a licensed attorney, but not in Colorado (he’s also apparently not a registered Republican). 

In the end, District Attorney John Kellner escaped Colorado Springs without a Primary opponent, but he can’t be feeling too pleased with himself. As we wrote on Sunday:

Apparently 42% of Colorado Republicans said they would prefer “any random asshole” for Attorney General rather than John Kellner…EVEN if that person is not even a registered Republican in Colorado.

 

 

(5) More Clowns = Better Circus

Saturday was unquestionably a dumpster fire for the Colorado Republican Party, but that didn’t stop KBB from attempting her own lame spin on the results:

It is true that State Treasurer candidate Lang Sias does not have a Republican opponent. As we noted earlier, AG candidate John Kellner would have had a Primary had Stanley Thorne actually been a registered Republican. In order to find a third candidate for this “no Primary”  narrative, KBB had to include some guy running for state school board.

Meanwhile, Republicans do have a primary fight for Governor, U.S. Senate, and Secretary of State. All three Republican incumbents in Congress will have a Primary in June, and both open seats (CO-07 and CO-08) have multiple-candidate Primary battles. Republicans also have NO candidates in CO-01, CO-02, or CO-06. 

But, sure, YAY for Sias, Kellner, and school board guy.

In case you were wondering, Democrats have no primary battles for any statewide race. Democrats also have no Primary fight in any congressional race. The Republican spin on this is just silly. 

 

(6) The Tina Peters Assembly

Greg Lopez  won top line at the assembly BECAUSE he promised to pardon Peters of any crimes committed during her tenure as Mesa County Clerk and Recorder. Stanley Thorne got 42% of the vote in the race for AG because he and others claimed that John Kellner failed to support Peters with sufficient vigor. 

The biggest surprise from Saturday’s assembly might be that no Republican candidate publicly proposed to marry Peters. 

This is the part where we remind you that Tina Peters spent a night in jail literally one month ago. She might yet be jailed on a contempt of court charge, and we don’t even know about the federal crimes she could get dinged for in the coming months.

If there is a ray of hope for the GOP, it is that Mike O’Donnell made the June Primary ballot, giving Republicans a three-way Primary for SOS. O’Donnell is a long shot to win, but he could be helpful to the GOP if he is able to siphon votes away from Tina Peters to the benefit of Pam Anderson (who skipped the assembly after getting on the ballot via the petition route).

This weekend Twitter take is…not wrong:

 

(7) No-mentum for Heidi Ganahl 

Despite her endless pandering to the Republican base, presumed GOP gubernatorial frontrunner Heidi Ganahl came in second to Greg Lopez, who collected basically the same vote percentage that he received in his 2018 bid for Governor. We don’t need to tell you that it’s bad news that Ganahl is basically an afterthought following the biggest weekend of the year for Colorado Republicans.

 

 

(8) All The Momentum for Ron Hanks

Just look at this photo, via Colorado Public Radio:

 

Republican operatives have insisted for months that Ron Hanks is not a real candidate for U.S. Senate and would have no chance in a GOP Primary. We’ve long believed that reality was exactly the opposite of this position. 

On Saturday Hanks SHUT OUT every other Republican Senate candidate, emerging from the State Assembly as the only person to make the Primary ballot via this process (if you’re wondering how this happened, see point #2 above). Hanks will face Joe O’Dea in June after O’Dea was the only Republican Senate candidate with the sense to collect petition signatures instead of relying on the GOP’s lunatic base.

Hanks has raised very little money for his U.S. Senate campaign and is about as far away from the average Colorado voter on policy issues as a candidate could get. But he might well win the Republican Primary in June, following in the footsteps of 2016 Senate hopeful Darryl Glenn

There is still a lot to be told on the other side of the GOP ledger. Gino Campana is a multi-millionaire former Ft. Collins City Council Member who regularly touted his connections to Donald Trump and even hired Kellyanne Conway as a consultant. He didn’t make the ballot.

Eli Bremer is a former Chair of the El Paso County Republican Party and a onetime Olympic athlete (albeit in the “modern pentathlon”) who was the first Republican candidate to enter the race in 2021. He didn’t make the ballot. 

Deborah Flora is a former radio host and onetime “Miss Colorado” who entered Saturday touting the endorsement of Texas Senator Ted Cruz. She also left Broadmoor World Arena on Saturday in need of a new hobby.

Campana, Bremer, and Flora spent a lot of time and paid a lot of consultants a lot of money for a whole lot of nothing. 

 

(9) Ken Buck, Canary in the Coal Mine

We knew things were going to be (extra) weird on Saturday after incumbent Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) almost failed to get his name on the June Primary ballot during Friday’s CO-04 assembly. Buck finished in second place behind somebody named Bob Lewis. Buck will likely still win the GOP Primary, but getting just 38% of the vote from your own base is pretty sad for an incumbent Congressman. 

 

The GMS Podcast: Whose Demon is it Anyway?

Sen. Julie Gonzales and Scott Wasserman

This week in episode 104 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with State Sen. Julie Gonzales (D-Denver) and Bell Policy Center President Scott Wasserman about what Colorado can (and should) do with TABOR refunds and affordable housing funding.

But first, we talk about a demon named Ba’al and why you should never use words like “sacrifice” and “altar” when you are a candidate for Congress and your name is Tim Reichert.

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Special Discount Code: #MYPILLOWFAIL

The much-balleyhooed rally at the Colorado State Capitol featuring “MyPillow” guy Mike Lindell along with some of Colorado’s leading Donald Trump dead-ender diehards like Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters and U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks kicked off at noon as promised today, but we regret to inform any hoping otherwise that revolution is unlikely to ensue:

Crowd estimates vary, but that looks to us like somewhere around 100 patriots at the high end. Small in number though they may have been, attendees at today’s rally more than made up for it with such amazing material for Democratic retransmission as this:

It’s not the first time we’ve said it, but if Clerk Peters had competent representation in her criminal case where she is facing multiple felony charges in her failed attempt to prove the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen, they would advise her to not go anywhere near a bunch of people freely confessing to breaking “those laws” on her behalf. Peters’ supporters don’t care that they’re admitting to the commission of a crime, because they wrongly believe a higher ideal was being served. And the guileless incrimination apparently didn’t stop there:

Considering the possible six months Peters faces locked up for contempt of court, followed up the prospect of many years in prison for the crimes she stands accused of, a ginormous violation of Colorado’s ethics in government law Amendment 41–we think it’s the biggest since the law’s passage back in 2006–is perhaps the least of her troubles. But we’re still talking about an awful lot of money, especially if the Independent Ethics Commission imposes a fine twice that amount. An ethics complaint on the question of Peters’ “legal defense fund” is pending, but now they have a figure to work with–and, well it’s a doozy. Still unresolved besides is the amount of money Lindell spent hiding Peters out last August and September.

But none of this matters at today’s rally. This is a celebration of faith. None of it’s going to keep Tina Peters out of prison, or override Colorado’s ethics in government laws, but her folk hero status is at this point cemented.

For a few hundred very passionate people and one very rich pillow guy, anyway.

The GMS Podcast: Mayor in Her Free Time (feat. Dusti Gurule)

Dusti Gurule

This week in episode 103 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Dusti Gurule, Executive Director of COLOR, about the passage of the Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) which should be signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis today.

But first, we talk through a bizarre candidate forum among Republicans running for Congress in CO-08. Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, and Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann had a lot to say…and a lot of it was really weird.

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Ready To Get Red Pillowed, Colorado?

Because ready or not:

One week from tomorrow the loudest election conspiracy theorist in America “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell will be in Colorado to headline a rally for his dear friend and recipient of much Big Pillow largesse, indicted but still-in-it-to-win-it Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters. Also headlining is the Colorado GOP U.S. Senate primary’s leading “election truther” Ron Hanks–potentially delivering a big boost for both candidates with Republican party faithful ahead of the crucial GOP state assembly the following weekend. While some local Republicans are calling, in a few cases pleading for the party to move on from Donald Trump and focus on gains in the upcoming midterms, a majority of Republicans according to polls are still not ready to do that. This rally is for them, and if you think it’s crazy then this rally is simply not for you.

Also, Denver is the capital city of Colorado but the building is the State Capitol.

If we’re going to get into correcting these people, that’s the smallest of potatoes.

And Now Comes The Tina Peters Blitz

As the Colorado Sun’s political team reports in today’s Unaffiliated newsletter, indicted Mesa County Clerk and Republican Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters was everywhere over the weekend for Republican Party county assemblies across the state, receiving standing ovations that had to make Peters feel at least a little better about the crappy jail chow she was forced to eat for about 24 hours:

The Mesa County Clerk who faces felony charges for tampering with voting machines is now running for secretary of state, and was among several statewide contenders who stopped by the Castle View High School gym to woo the delegates.

About 400 people attended the event, many dressed in red, white and blue, some sporting signs or buttons for their favored candidates. Many of those candidates hosted tables, greeting delegates as they arrived, offering donuts, candy and other snacks as well as plenty of campaign literature.

But Peters got the biggest reception from the crowd, as she continued to reference her baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election…

KJCT-TV Grand Junction reports that Clerk Peters is in Denver this week to testify/protest/otherwise rabblerouse against Senate Bill 22-153, legislation introduced to specifically address the kind of “insider threat” to election integrity Peters is accused of in her failed quest to prove that Donald Trump should still be President:

Peters was at the state capitol Monday and called the bill a power grab by Sec. Griswold.

“Senate Bill 153 should chill every citizen to the bone, because it is a blatant power grab by Secretary of State Jena Griswold,” said Peters. “Senate Bill 22-153 is clearly a knee-jerk response to elections investigations in Mesa County and the multiple damning reports that the investigation has produced.”

Alex Burness of the Denver Post reporting that Peters is at the Capitol again today to keep the protest against SB22-153 alive:

Heidi Ganahl, with now-indicted Clerk Tina Peters.

Back in reality, where all of the “reports” compiled by pro-Trump conspiracy theorists working backward from their confirmation bias to back up Peters’ contentions have found no evidence of any actual attempt to alter any election results, and mostly evidence of their own lack of qualification to analyze the information allegedly stolen by Peters, we laugh–but it’s clear at this point that Peters is getting a very different and far more sympathetic reaction from the Republican Party faithful. Rather than hunkering down and focusing on the criminal case that could send Peters away for decades, she’s seeking protection in the loving arms of similarly deluded Trump supporters.

And in the short term, it just might work.

In our Get More Smarter interview aired yesterday with veteran political reporter Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel, we talked about the possibility that Peters’ legal “persecution” could propel Peters in the current MAGA-addled world inhabited by Republican primary voters (starts at 00:30:07):

SILVERII: Do you care to conjecture or prognosticate on her chances of actually becoming the Republican nominee for Secretary of State?

ASHBY: No.

SILVERII: Fair enough. (laughter)

BANE: However, I’m going to ask you this though. I think being indicted actually makes her the favorite in the Republican primary because because of how wacky the Republican base is right now?

ASHBY: You know, it definitely gives her some publicity, statewide publicity, [Pols emphasis] and depending on where you are on that issue you may like her more, you may hate her more, I mean who knows how that’s gonna work out.

Based on the poll numbers that show belief in the “Big Lie” underpinning Peters’ celebrity status has stubbornly dug in in the 14 months since Trump lost the 2020 presidential election among Republican base voters, there is a plausible scenario in which Peters could win the GOP state assembly contest on April 9th over “Never Trumper RINO” opponent Pam Anderson. Anderson is also awaiting approval of submitted petitions, but we expect them both to be on the June 28th ballot. From there, it’s in no small part a question of how (and how quickly) Peters’ criminal case proceeds. This race hasn’t attracted nearly as much attention as Lauren Boebert’s CD-3 primary against Sen. Don Coram, and with a clear alternative in the form of the Democratic incumbent SoS we don’t see a groundswell of unaffiliated support for Anderson to oppose Peters.

As long as Peters can avoid making a fool of herself enough to physically stay out of jail during her upcoming trial, and there’s no guarantees there as we know, her campaign could become a MAGA cause célèbre with a footprint beyond Mesa County or even Colorado. Peters winning the Republican primary in June would put Colorado Republicans on a collision course with reality in November, and wreck any chance the party may have had to “move on” from the Trump era that further weakened Republicans in this state. This is why Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown called for Peters to exit the race on the day of Peters’ indictment.

Today, Tina Peters is at the Capitol and Brown is facing her own calls to resign.

As surely as Peters is innocent until proven guilty, she’s free to contend for her party’s hearts and minds. The simple fact is that Republican leadership is afraid of Peters and the Republican grassroots voters who support her, just like they fear Donald Trump. It’s their base too, and Peters is the one giving MAGA voters (and Trump) what they want to hear.

The biggest problem Republicans have in Tina Peters is the one they can’t admit.

After She Called for Indicted Election Official to End Campaign, CO Republican Party Chair Urged To Resign by GOP Leader

(Whose party is it anyway? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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Following calls by Colorado Republican executive officers for Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters to suspend her statewide campaign for Secretary of State in response to a ten-count indictment filed against her, members of the GOP State Executive and State Central Committees are criticizing the move as a violation of neutrality in primary campaigns, and at least one is urging the GOP chair, Kristi Burton Brown, to resign or be removed from her position.

Colorado’s National Committeeman, Randy Corporon, and Chuck Bonniwell, both members of the Colorado Republican state executive committee, voiced their criticism of Burton Brown on their respective political talk shows last Friday and Saturday.

Both Corporon and Bonniwell say that Burton Brown’s statement, issued last Wednesday, calling for Peters to suspend her campaign in deference to the party’s reputation and best interests as the “party of law and order” betrayed the neutrality required by party officers in primary races where multiple Republicans are vying for the party’s nomination.

Burton Brown’s statement was issued with an addendum by Joe Jackson, executive director of the Colorado GOP, asserting the party’s impartiality in the primary race for Secretary of State and other Republican contests. The statement can not be found in social media posts by the Colorado GOP.

Peters recently announced her run for Secretary of State, challenging Pam Anderson for the Republican slot in next November’s general election against incumbent Jena Griswold. Mike O’Donnell is also vying for the nomination, while David Whinney dropped out of the race, shortly after Peters announced.

(more…)

The GMS Podcast: The Worst Campaigns (feat. Charles Ashby)

This week in episode 101 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the worst statewide campaigns in Colorado over the last 20 years. Could any of the 2022 campaigns join this list?

We ask that same question of three-time returning guest Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, who also stops by to catch us up on the bizarre saga of embattled Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters. Ashby walks us through Peters’ various legal challenges, as well as her experience having spent one night in jail (did she have a pillow to herself?)

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Pugliese In, Sandridge Out in Colorado Springs House District

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: The Colorado Sun’s “Unaffiliated” newsletter apparently agrees with us on the timeline of events:

State Rep. Shane Sandridge, R-Colorado Springs, suspended his reelection campaign Thursday after Republican Rose Pugliese, a former Mesa County Commissioner who now lives in Colorado Springs, announced a bid for his seat.

—–

FRIDAY UPDATE: Keep an eye on this. Rose Pugliese seems to be going out of her way to make it look like she only decided to run for HD-14 after incumbent Rep. Shane Sandridge announced that he would not seek re-election (see Facebook post below). From what we hear, it was the other way around — Sandridge decided not to run again after learning that Pugliese was going to challenge him in a Primary Election.

Sandridge did not publicly announce anything on Wednesday, and even if he had, Pugliese filed her campaign affidavit at 1:01 pm on that same day. In other words, Pugliese would like you to believe that she officially filed to run for HD-14 literally within hours of hearing that Sandridge would not seek re-election.

Did Sandridge tell her personally that he wasn’t going to run again? Otherwise…Pugliese effectively filed paperwork for the State House of Representatives based on a rumor that Sandridge wasn’t running again. That would be odd, even by her standards.

—–

UPDATE: We hear that Sandridge has apparently decided NOT to seek re-election in 2022, so Pugliese probably walks into this seat. Apparently, this is the reward Sandridge gets for trying to speak the truth.

—–

Shane Sandridge and Rose Pugliese

[Originally published at 10:04 am on March 17, 2022]

Former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese appears to have finally found something to run for in 2022, but there’s a catch: Republican State Rep. Shane Sandridge is already there.

Pugliese has filed her paperwork to run for the State House of Representatives in 2022 in HD-14, a Colorado Springs district that is not winnable for Democrats because of overwhelming voter registration numbers that favor Republicans. This is a particularly odd choice for Pugliese when you consider that Sandridge, a pretty firm right-wing Republican, is seeking his third term in office in 2022. Her timing is also strange in that Republicans started caucusing two weeks ago.

So why is Pugliese running here? Two reasons: 1) She needs something to run for, and 2) House Minority Leader Hugh McKean does not like Sandridge, particularly after their infamous “belly bump” last weekend.

Pugliese has long been a candidate in search of an office, however, so it’s not a complete surprise that she jumped in the HD-14 race at the last minute. She was briefly registered to run for State Senate in SD-7 at one point this cycle before she took a long, long look at running for Secretary of State — a race she ultimately decided against pursuing. As you might recall, Pugliese was also very nearly appointed Mesa County Attorney this time last year, even though she had already moved to Colorado Springs (that would have been one hell of a daily commute).

Pugliese has long been boosted by Republicans as a “rising star” in Colorado, but running against another Republican in a safe House District is probably not what folks had in mind for her career back when The Denver Post was profiling up-and-coming Republicans (side note: That profile included Suzanne Staiert Taheri, who bombed as a State Senate candidate in 2020, and State Sen. Kevin Priola, who chose not to run for Congress in CO-08 despite the fact that the seat was partially created with him in mind).

Pugliese filed her candidate paperwork on Wednesday, March 16.

Matt Soper Shows Again Why Trump’s GOP Can’t Be Fixed

Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta)

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports on Senate Bill 22-153, legislation supported by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold to emplace additional internal safeguards to help prevent the kinds of election security breaches allegedly committed by Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Elbert County Clerk Dallas “Even More Based Than Ricky” Schroeder. Peters is getting by far the most attention after the election system data she stole was leaked to far-right conspiracy theorists, resulting in none of the hoped-for evidence that the 2020 election was stolen but creating a whole new security problem in the process.

Republican Matt Crane of the Colorado Country Clerks Association sums up Peters’ problem as a combination of ignorance “low information” and exploitation by “bad actors,” which we take to mean everyone from Donald Trump down to local agitators who encouraged Peters to break the law on a supposed higher mission:

“I think what we saw in Mesa County was a low-information clerk, which made her susceptible to grifters and bad actors,” said Crane. Peters did not have experience in elections administration before being elected clerk in 2018.

The county clerks “overwhelmingly” support the new bill to beef up election security from insider threats, says Crane, another sign that despite a whisper campaign of dissent against Jena Griswold since her election in 2018 she remains fully capable of leading and uniting the state’s elections officials in both parties. Despite this, partisan Republicans are mobilizing against the bill via their usual unabashed Griswold demonization, after which we expect they’ll wonder guilelessly again why Griswold keeps getting death threats:

“Jena Griswold not only wants to be the Secretary of State; she wants to become judge and jury as well. The extreme portions of this bill are a transparent attempt to stoke fear and distrust in local elections and center all the power with Jena — all without checks or balances,” said GOP State Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown…

It takes a quantity of gall we do not possess for the chair of the Colorado Republican Party to accuse Democrats (or anyone else) of stoking “fear and distrust in local elections.” Donald Trump’s refusal to accept the outcome of the 2020 president election has accomplished more to “stoke fear and distrust” in elections than any event in modern American history. The psychological projection at work in this statement is so astoundingly perfect that it’s a struggle to respond–and that’s no accident.

That’s how “Big Lies” work.

And if that’s not bad enough, here’s Clerk Peters’ own Rep. Matt Soper kicking the Orwellian doublespeak into overdrive:

“Seeing a bill like this being run immediately, in response to what happened in Mesa County, is troubling,” [Pols emphasis] said Republican Rep. Matt Soper, who represents most of the county in the House. “Quite frankly (it) angers me because I don’t think we ought to be writing legislation for just one particular element that has occurred out in society, knowing that the law that’s currently on the books has been playing out.”

Soper said he’s open to voting for the bill, if it’s amended to address some of his concerns. But he also noted that it’s hard for Republicans to embrace a proposal when Democratic Secretary of State Jena Griswold is championing it.

“She’s made the office incredibly partisan, and it didn’t have to be that way,” he said. [Pols emphasis] “It makes the politics around this very difficult to vote for, even if reading through the bill there’s a lot of things that Republicans and Democrats could agree with here.”

As we know from the case proceeding against Elbert County’s similarly deluded clerk Dallas Schroeder, this bill is not just in response to “what happened in Mesa County.” The “one particular element” in society responsible for the continued spread of the “Big Lie” that Donald Trump should still be President constitutes a majority of Soper’s own party. As for the allegation that SoS Griswold has “made the office incredibly partisan,” that’s probably due to the fact that Griswold has spent three years on the front lines of the greatest assault on American democracy in our lifetimes, and it’s one side waging the assault.

Matt Soper’s side. Soper himself joined in the Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy theorizing while venting about losses in Grand Junction city elections. There’s no nice way to say this: Soper has become of the “bad actors” fellow Republican Matt Crane is talking about. And by attacking Griswold instead of the true bad actors in their own party, all of these Republicans from Kristi Burton Brown to SoS candidate Pam Anderson discredit themselves with general election voters.

Rarely in history have so many discredited people refused to just stop talking.