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.

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Another Tina Peters Conspirator Flips

Tina Peters on the red carpet at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, another tough day for indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters as a second deputy cops a plea agreement to testify against Peters in exchange for sentencing leniency:

Sandra Brown, who was fired by county officials in December 2021 over her involvement in alleged tampering with election equipment, faced two felony charges of attempting to influence a public servant and conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation…

The plea deal called for reducing the second charge to a misdemeanor count of official misconduct, and asking Mesa County District Judge Matthew Barrett for a minimal sentence, one that still could include jail time.

In her allocution, Brown said she was acting under orders from Peters, knew something was amiss but didn’t speak up.

“My job was to protect the integrity of the elections, and there were steps that I could have taken that would have done that in a better job,” she told Barrett. “There were things going on that I should have questioned and didn’t.”

Along with Peters’ deputy clerk Belinda Knisley, Sandra Brown has in-depth knowledge of what they’re both now laying at Clerk Peters’ feet–a criminal conspiracy to make and distribute unauthorized copies of sensitive election system software, by stealing the identity of a local resident to allow an election conspiracy theorist access to the equipment. These crimes were committed with the goal of uncovering evidence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump, which of course did not exist.

With Peters’ two top deputies now lining up to testify against her in a case that could sentence Peters to prison for the rest of her natural life, the time has come for Peters to end the charade, cooperate with investigators, and even shed some light on who put her up to this career-ending mistake in the first place. Peters did all of this in the service of Trump, perhaps sincere in the belief that once Trump was “rightfully” restored to the presidency she would be pardoned. The crimes Peters stands accused of are disqualifying from public office, but in the end Peters is also a bit player in a much larger folly.

What Peters needs to do now is follow the example of January 6th insurrectionists who have repudiated Trump and acknowledged they were misled about the 2020 elections. This is not shaping up to be a close case at trial, and the possible 35-year jail sentence the 67-year-old Peters faces should motivate Peters to seek a deal of her own. The seriousness of Peters’ alleged misconduct may indeed warrant that stiff sentence. But we have to believe sparing taxpayers the expense of a trial, not to mention some remorse, would help Peters avoid the worst possible consequences.

If there’s anyone out there that Peters still listens to, the message is simple: Trump isn’t worth this.

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.

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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.

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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.

Tina Peters Backs Ganahl, Scolds Neuschwanger

Heidi Ganahl and Tina Peters

We haven’t seen or heard much from Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters lately, which is a bit of a surprise given that she has plenty of time on her hands. Peters is not allowed to be anywhere near election equipment on account of breaking into her own election system in 2021, a crime for which she is facing multiple investigations and which may result in Peters spending a significant chunk of time in prison in the very near future.

But today, Peters popped up in an online video that is both entertaining and completely insane but that also provides a look into the finger-pointing taking place among Colorado Republicans ahead of what will likely be a tough night on Tuesday.

Peters says that she has made a decision on which candidate to endorse in the race for Governor in Colorado. Her pick — SURPRISE! — is Republican candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.

Why is Peters making this endorsement NOW? No idea. Why would anyone have been in suspense about which candidate Peters WOULD endorse? Can’t tell you.

Here’s how Peters explains the process she went through for endorsing a candidate for Governor in Colorado:

What brought me to this decision is that [California Governor] Gavin Newsom just passed a law that will kill babies 28 days after they are born.

Say what?

In late September, Newsom did sign 13 bills in California related to preserving a woman’s reproductive rights. As far as we can tell, Newsom did not somehow make it legal to murder a four-week-old baby.

Jay Sekulow says that Colorado is next.

Colorado is going to legalize murder? That seems unlikely. But if hack attorney/podcaster Jay Sekulow Tweets about it, then it must be true!

We must do everything that we can to make sure that Jared Polis is not our next Governor. The only person leading in the polls that can do this is Heidi Ganahl.

So, because California is apparently allowing babies to be aborted after they are born, Peters has decided to endorse Ganahl for Governor…in Colorado. At least her logic is consistently baffling. Also, there is no public poll showing that Ganahl is even CLOSE to Polis, but whatever.

Tina Peters talking on the phone with Danielle Neuschwanger

At about the 1:07 mark in the video above, Peters then says that she is very disturbed by a conversation she had with American Constitution Party (ACP) candidate Danielle Neuschwanger. Since nothing Peters said earlier makes any logical sense, you won’t be surprised to learn that this section is equally confusing.

The video shifts to Peters yelling at Neuschwanger in front of a truck somewhere. Her beef is that Neuschwanger’s presence on the ballot will throw the gubernatorial election to incumbent Democrat Jared Polis. It’s hard to make out all of what Neuschwanger says, but the details aren’t that important; they key thing to know is that this is a preview of one of the idiotic arguments that Republicans will try to make after Ganahl gets pummeled at the polls: It’s all Danielle Neuschwanger’s fault!

It’s also not clear what Peters thinks Neuschwanger could do at this point even if she was in complete agreement about her “campaign” hurting Ganahl. Neuschwanger’s name is on the ballot. That ship sailed a LONG time ago. As a Clerk and Recorder herself, you would think this would be one thing that Peters would understand.

Regardless, there is approximately NO FREAKING CHANCE that Neuschwanger will earn enough votes to make any sort of difference on the outcome of the race for Governor.

In the 2020 Senate election in Colorado, the Libertarian candidate received 1.74% of the total vote. The “Approval Voting” Party candidate earned 0.3% of the vote, while the “Unity Party” candidate finished with 0.28%.

In the 2018 Governor’s race in Colorado, the Libertarian candidate received 2.75% of the vote and the “Unity Party” hopeful finished with 1.02%.

It’s certainly possible that Neuschwanger does better than recent third-party candidates, but it’s not going to make a difference as to who gets elected Governor. Recent polls show Polis leading Ganahl by 15-18 points. If Neuschwanger does better than previous third-party candidates, it could maybe change the Polis win margin from, say, +14 to +15.

As we noted last week, the finger-pointing is already well underway for Republicans. It’s all over but the shouting…and there will be a lot of shouting.

The importance of Colorado’s Secretary of State race

Coloradans have been consistently clear. We are tired of election deniers and conspiracy theorists.

Pam Anderson, the Republican candidate for Secretary of State, kicked off her campaign claiming she was not “that kind of Republican.” But as this year has progressed, Anderson has shown her true colors–defending election deniers like Lt. Governor Danny Moore, and refusing to call out conspiracy theorists she appears on stage with on the campaign trail.

Whether out of political convenience or cowardice, Pam Anderson has aligned herself with insurrectionists and election deniers. Anderson has refused to condemn or return the donations from campaign donors who believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. To placate extremists during her primary campaign, Anderson vaguely promised to conduct superfluous “audits” and other measures sought by election conspiracy theorists. As Jefferson County clerk, when presented with the option of securing JeffCo’s elections by modernizing voting equipment, Anderson instead chose to redecorate her offices. In addition, Anderson’s office mistakenly sent notices to thousands of voters falsely claiming their ballots had not been counted.

The good news is that we have a great Secretary of State already, Jena Griswold, who is unafraid to stand up to election deniers, and has spent the last four years ensuring safe and fair elections in Colorado. Griswold stood up to Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 elections at great personal risk.

As Joe Biden, said the other day, this is about our very democracy and its survival. Unfortunately, Pam Anderson has proven herself unwilling to make the honorable choice and reject the election deniers and insurrectionists.

There are just a few days left in this year’s elections, and the Colorado Secretary of State’s race is one of the most important on the ballot. If you haven’t already returned your ballot, take a moment right now to consult the Colorado Progressive Voters Guide and get it done today. Then check with JustVoteColorado.org to find your ballot drop box.

Thanks for helping progressives hold the line in Colorado all the way down your ballot.

Sincerely,

Sara Loflin, Executive Director

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.

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CU Poll: Dems Owning 2022, GOP MIGHT Accept Results

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

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

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

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

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

What happens when Republicans don’t accept election results.

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

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

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

State Sen. Kevin Priola Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Kevin Priola (D-Henderson).

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

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

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at 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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Voting in Person? Public Transportation is Free on Election Day

Here’s a cool program worth highlighting from a press release via the Secretary of State’s office:

Today, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, Regional Transportation District (RTD) General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson, Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick, and Denver County Clerk and Recorder Paul D. López highlighted two upcoming zero fare days on RTD services throughout the region, removing a cost barrier for people to travel by bus or train and cast their ballot. RTD serves the Denver, Boulder, and Aurora metro communities

RTD services will be zero fare to all users on Friday, October 28, 2022, and Tuesday, November 8, 2022. October 28 marks National Vote Early Day, a nonpartisan day of awareness about the tools available to many Americans – including in Colorado – to vote early. November 8 is Election Day. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado voters can find their nearest ballot drop box or voting center by visiting GoVoteColorado.gov, and can use RTD’s trip planner to find the best route to get there.

Colorado continues to do a great job of making it easy to vote — however you choose to cast your ballot.

Pam Anderson’s Selective Opposition to Election Deniers

Republican Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson on Monday evening

Last night, Colorado candidates for Secretary of State took part in one of the few public debates in that contest. The forum televised by 9News featured a lot of detailed discussion about elections and voting that was about as interesting as it sounds, but there was one key exchange between incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold and Republican challenger Pam Anderson that is worth highlighting.

We’ve written several times in this space about Anderson’s selective opposition to election deniers (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). Anderson, the former Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County, launched her campaign for Secretary of State by claiming that Griswold was “too partisan” while standing herself up as a true Republican champion of fair elections. Anderson likes to say that it is “critically important” to inform the public “that elections are safe and secure” and that she will be a Secretary of State that “both sides can trust.” This all sounds great, except that Anderson’s deeds do not always match her rhetoric.

The sad truth is that Pam Anderson is totally against election deniers…except when she is not.

On Monday evening, Anderson was asked to explain how it is that she talks about opposing election deniers while also regularly campaigning with election deniers. Her response was pretty bad:

 

 

KYLE CLARK: Ms. Anderson, you in fact have campaign alongside election deniers, including the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Danny Moore. But you recently criticized a scheduled event featuring Moore and fellow election denier, FEC United’s Joe Oltmann. You called him ‘reprehensible.’ Can you explain to us why you are comfortable keeping company with SOME election deniers but not other election deniers? [Pols emphasis]

PAM ANDERSON: So, I am a registered Republican and a center point of my campaign is to go to voters where invited to push back on false, misleading information and conspiracy. It’s been a real honor to go and go talk about my campaign for 10 minutes and then answer questions for an hour and 45 minutes. Now, I haven’t seen my opponent doing that. Thirty-second spots saying, ‘Trust me, I’m your government’ isn’t going to get us through this.

I have pushed back against President Trump, former President Trump, candidate President Trump, and anyone who seeks to mislead it [sic]. My opponent won’t even stand up to her party when they spent millions of dollars propping up the candidates, saying exactly what she says she hates. So I’ve done it when it’s difficult. I will continue to do that against either party that misleads our voters.

Anderson’s initial response here is to provide a similar answer to what Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has said about 2020 election denialism. It’s the Why can’t we just have a conversation? argument. Or Danny Moore’s I’m just saying… explanation.

Pam Anderson (left) with Danny Moore (center) and Joe O’Dea (right)

 

To his credit, Clark was not satisfied with Anderson’s gibberish about her opposition to multiple iterations of Donald Trump, which will also come into play again in a moment.

CLARK: But I’m trying to understand the difference. Why will you literally stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate, Danny Moore, who is an election denier…but then another election denier, Joe Oltmann, you said that the two of them campaigning together is reprehensible. Where’s the line? [Pols emphasis]

ANDERSON: Actually, when Danny Moore was appointed by the Governor candidate, Heidi Ganahl, I said that I was disappointed in that appointment because of his comments. What I will continue to do is not, um, wag my finger and lecture people about their questions, but talk to them. I don’t think that we…if we vilify people with good conscience, like voters, we should push back on candidates. I’ve reached out to all of them to provide information, opportunities to visit with county clerks, to learn more about elections. And I think that’s made a difference.

I will continue to run my own race, who I am, representing all voters, regardless — in a non-partisan way — not dividing people and vilifying them.

Election denier Heidi Ganahl (left) and Pam Anderson. Also, Lang Sias.

At this point, Griswold asks if she can add a comment.

JENA GRISWOLD: I just want to explain how dangerous this is to Colorado elections and why it’s so personal to me. You know, the “Big Lie” is why Tina Peters breached her election infrastructure. The “Big Lie” is why the Chafee County Clerk works behind bulletproof glass. The “Big Lie” is why a man was just sentenced to 18 months in prison for threatening my life. This has real effects. These lies are destabilizing our democracy. And Coloradans can always expect from me never to campaign with election deniers, to stand up…if there’s a Democratic election denier, I will stand up to them. If there is a Republican, I will stand up to them.

Coloradans can also expect me to very clearly state I will never vote for someone trying to take away our right to vote. That’s another distinction between my opponent and me. She refuses to say that she will not support Donald Trump if he runs again.

CLARK: (to Anderson) Is that the case?

ANDERSON: That is absolutely false. I’ve said as a principled election official that I won’t tell you who I will vote for but I will continue to push back. I will also tell you that there is no nuance for me, ever, on this issue. [Pols emphasis]

Gah!

It’s a really bad look to spend three minutes providing nuanced answers about your opposition to election deniers and THEN proclaim “there is no nuance for me, ever, on this issue.”

What might be worse is talking at length about your opposition to Donald Trump and THEN refusing to say whether or not you would support Trump in 2024. Why would you do this?

In fact, Anderson’s answer reminds us of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. From CNN:

Asked on his charter plane whether Donald Trump’s questioning of President Barack Obama’s birthplace gave him pause, Romney simply said he was grateful for all his supporters.

“You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Anderson doesn’t really have the political courage she claims to possess. People who oppose election deniers don’t campaign with election deniers, just like people who oppose white supremacists don’t take pictures with Klan members. It’s not more complicated than this.

Likewise, people who say they oppose conspiracy theories don’t promote conspiracy theories in order to win elections…which is exactly what Anderson did in April 2022 when she claimed that she would “crack down on ballot harvesting” despite the fact that “ballot harvesting” isn’t a real thing that actually happens.

Pam Anderson may be perplexed that others find it odd that she claims to oppose election deniers but regularly campaigns with them. Colorado voters will likely be less confused.

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MAGA World Turns On Joe O’Dea, Colorado GOP Ticket

Now that Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has presented himself on vengeful ex-President Donald Trump’s radar after O’Dea vowed to campaign against Trump in 2024 on national television while Trump happened to be watching, what was once grudging acquiescence to O’Dea among Trump loyalists has flipped like a switch to full-on hostility:

Looming large.

As the Washington Post’s Liz Goodwin reported this weekend from Castle Rock, the Republican rank-and-file is both very much aware of and not happy with O’Dea’s dissing of the Dear Leader:

Barbara Hildebrand left the rally for Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and other Republicans here this week in a cloud of frustration.

“I’m really upset about what [O’Dea] said about Trump,” Hildebrand said as she made a beeline for the door. [Pols emphasis] “I’m an ultra-MAGA … Hasn’t he seen the rallies that Trump has? I mean, those are a lot of people. And he’s alienated them…”

“The idea that you can make up enthusiasm with the unaffiliated by distancing yourself from the base — I’ve never seen it work,” said Randy Corporon, a Republican National Committee member and local conservative talk radio host who said he is worried some Republican voters in the state will leave the Senate race blank on their ballot in protest. A libertarian candidate, who has been endorsed by one of O’Dea’s more conservative primary rivals, also could siphon off some GOP votes.

Earlier this month, as readers know, O’Dea’s vanquished primary opponent Rep. Ron Hanks announced his endorsement of the Libertarian candidate in the U.S. Senate race, Brian Peotter, largely due to O’Dea’s tepid support for Trump. After Trump’s displeasure with O’Dea went public, Peotter is getting a fresh burst of attention from MAGA loyalists like election conspiracy theorist Ashe Epp–here writing for ex-shock jocks Chuck Boniwell and Julie Hayden’s Glendale Cherry Creek Chronicle:

U.S. Senate — In the Senate race, it’s incumbent Michael Bennett, or Pro-Choice, Never Trumper Joe O’Dea. President Trump came out against Joe O’Dea in October in response to the candidate’s recent attacks against 45.

Pro-Life Libertarian Brian Peotter is also running for Senate in Colorado, and he is the top polling Libertarian in America. Despite Peotter’s popularity, he is being restricted from debating, an obvious attempt to limit his exposure to the people.

And once you’ve opened the door to undervoting and/or voting third-party in protest, why stop at the U.S. Senate race?

The Post endorsement tells you everything you need to know about the Secretary of State race: A vote for either major party candidate in this race is effectively a vote for the fraud-denying establishment. Soros (Griswold) or Zuckerberg (Anderson) — that’s the “choice.”

The uniparty wants you to believe these are your only choices, though the American Constitution Party has put up Amanda Campbell and the Libertarians are running Bennett Rutledge. Either is a vote for change.

And in the governor’s race:

Then of course, there is the Governor race, where incumbent Democrat Jared Polis is facing off against Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl. There is zero excitement for either candidate across the state.

The American Constitution Party is running Danielle Neuschwanger in this race. Remember, the Governor’s results determine major or minor party status in Colorado, and voters need another party choice in our state. Bonus points for banishing the Republicans to minor status with less than 10%.

Even in the attorney general’s race, Epp writes, “there are options.”

During the Republican Assembly and Convention in the spring, former Republican Stanley Thorne won a spot on the primary ballot for AG, but the Republican establishment — led by Kristi Burton Brown, George Brauchler, and Kellner himself — kept Thorne off the ballot. Thorne has qualified for “write-in” status, and voters can simply write “THORNE” into the space indicated on their ballot.

In the last two U.S. Senate elections, Libertarian candidate performance declined from 3.62% in 2016 to 1.74% in 2020. Current polling shows Brian Peotter substantially outperforming those results, and Peotter’s very conservative (especially for a Libertarian) message means he’ll siphon support almost entirely from Joe O’Dea.

But that’s not where it will end. Now that the former President has shattered Republican unity at the top of the ticket, the collateral damage from that disunity could factor in races all the way down the ballot–at least to the extent that alternative MAGA-approved candidates exist to reap the benefit. This continuing spoiler threat from what should have been inconsequential minor candidates in late October, as it has been ever since Danielle Neuschwanger turned her longshot run for the GOP nomination into a personal vendetta against Heidi Ganahl, is just more proof of the fundamental weakness of the Republican ticket in Colorado this year.

Trump fracturing what’s left of the GOP coalition may turn mere defeat for Colorado Republicans into a landslide.

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

Andrew Baumann

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

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

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at 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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PNC/GSG Poll: Colorado Democrats on the Cusp of Glory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We expect them to close the deal.

Newspaper Endorsement Roundup for 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at 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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Inside Pam Anderson’s Inch-Deep Case For Election

GOP “Unity Tour.” Highlighted from left: Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson, Lt. Gov. candidate Danny Moore, U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea.

GOP Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson.

After two contentious debates in the last week between the candidates running for Colorado Secretary of State, this often-overlooked but crucial downballot statewide race is finally getting its share of attention this week. Incumbent Secretary of State Jena Griswold is facing off against former GOP Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson in a race that has pitched between allegations of “partisanship” against Griswold and Anderson campaigning as a Republican for the state’s chief elections official in the immediate aftermath of GOP-engineered attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

In an in-depth interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio, Anderson was finally confronted about campaigning with election deniers as part of the Republican ticket in Colorado this year, and Anderson’s response was unconvincing to say the least:

WARNER: One theme you have touched on now is taking the politics out of being Secretary of State, and out of elections, frankly, or the administration of them. While you have been clear that there was no widespread fraud, and that the 2020 election is legitimate, your opponent has criticized you for not doing more to stand up to Republican candidates who have spread misinformation. Two prominent ones that come to mind are the GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor Danny Moore and the 7th Congressional District candidate Erik Aadland. Does it make you uncomfortable that The Big Lie is being parroted by prominent candidates in your own party?

ANDERSON: It makes me uncomfortable that my opponent is mischaracterizing what I’ve done. [Pols emphasis] The center point for my campaign is standing up against the lie, standing up against the conspiracy, which I have done not only to the candidates that I’ve run with on the same ticket …

WARNER: You’ve had those conversations?

ANDERSON: Absolutely. Gone into the room and pushed back on this false information. Provided accurate information like the loss but not stolen report, that demonstrates under the rule of law, the accuracy of the outcome of the election. I will continue to stand up and push back regardless of the source, Republican, Democrat, or unaffiliated for accurate evidence-based elections.

The problem is that there is absolutely zero evidence of Anderson having “pushed back on false information” while appearing on stage with election deniers including Lt. Gov. nominee Danny Moore, GOP conspiracy theorist attorney Randy Corporon, and plenty of others. We know that Anderson is not having these conversations, because she said herself that she doesn’t want to “divide or ostracize people” in reference to election conspiracy theories held by her campaign donors and supporters.

Every time Pam Anderson appears on the “GOP Unity Tour” with election deniers and does not call them out, publicly, on that stage, Anderson is making a liar of herself. If combating election misinformation really was Anderson’s “center point,” she would drive the election deniers she shares the stage with off the stage like Jesus throwing the moneychangers from the temple. How else would the audience know or care that Anderson disagrees with them?

(more…)

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Fractured El Paso County GOP Imperils Statewide Candidates

El Paso County Republican Chairwoman Vicki Tonkins.

Mary Shinn of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports on continuing strife among El Paso County Republicans, the fallout from the county party’s takeover by “America First” fringe-right activists led by controversial but durable chair Vickie Tonkins. The acrimony between the Tonkins wing of the party and the would-be “establishment” wing peaked again during the recent Republican primary, and hasn’t receded–to the extent that a number of Republican candidates have set up an alternate campaign operation to replace the nominally official Republican field campaign:

The Peak Republicans office near Interstate 25 and Garden of the Gods Road was set up during intense Republican primary election battles locally and is now functioning as a campaign headquarters for many candidates that have not received dollars, volunteers, or other support from the official local party…

The move to suppress the Republican vote is really unprecedented, said Jody Richie, a campaign manager for about seven local Republican candidates. The failure for the party leadership to support general-election Republican candidates is also unusual. Despite the infighting, though, she says campaign efforts are going well and she has assembled a list with more than 1,000 volunteers.

“We are just not letting that get in our way,” Richie said of the infighting.

Republican Party Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins pushed back on statements she has failed to support candidates in an email to The Gazette, saying that everyday people are stopping by the party offices for signs and literature.

Be that as it may,

Campaigns for O’Dea, Anderson, Ganahl and others are working with the alternative Republican Party headquarters to get their message out, said Lois Landgraf, a former state representative who helped organize the office. [Pols emphasis]

It’s an old rule in Colorado politics that in order to win statewide, it is necessary to run up the score in base areas while not losing too badly in the regions of the state one is destined by demographics to lose. Chaos in the Republican Party’s most populous stronghold less than a month from the election is a huge problem, for not just Republicans running in El Paso County, but every statewide Republican campaign counting on maximum turnout from El Paso County voters to win.

Prospective Republican volunteers with no knowledge of this schism will naturally turn to the official Republican party, but that’s not who the candidates running want them to talk to. And how do you fix that without spreading a seriously demoralizing message about the state of the El Paso County Republican Party?

It’s not the only hurdle Colorado Republicans face, but it’s one they certainly do not need.

Get More Weiserer (feat. Attorney General Phil Weiser)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser

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

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

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

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at 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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Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State? (10/1)

Jena Griswold, Pam Anderson

Who ya got in this one?

Click here to see the results from the last time we asked this question. Click below to vote anew.

Will incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold win re-election, or will Republican challenger Pam Anderson get the ‘W’?

 

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

 

Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State? (10/1)

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Which Way is Down? Republicans Follow Each Other

Take a look at the following quotes and see if any of them sound familiar. We’ll number each quote to make it easier to check your answers later.

 

1) “I’ve not seen anything that is even a semblance of a campaign.”

 

2) “She’s running an aggressive and low-budget campaign for school board, but she happens to be running for governor.”

 

3) “Isn’t that sad that Democrats have to spend so much money?…We don’t need as much money as [our opponent] needs because our message is better.”

 

4) “Winning elections is not about having a lot of money. It’s about having enough money.”

 

Any one of these quotes could be referencing Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. Some of them could even apply to the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea. In truth, none of them are even about Colorado. 

Quote #1 is about Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania.

Quote #2 is about Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon in Michigan.

Quote #3 is Tudor Dixon herself. 

Quote #4 is from Dan Cox, the Republican candidate for Governor in Maryland. 

There is a clear theme emerging across the country for Republican candidates running for top-tier statewide offices. These candidates all rely on extreme, divisive rhetoric but have proven to be incapable or uninterested in raising the kind of money that is necessary to get their message out to a majority of voters. 

As The New York Times reported earlier this week, Republicans are struggling to compete with their Democratic opponents when it comes to both money and exposure to voters:

Along with Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed candidates for governor in five other states — Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan — have combined to air zero television advertisements since winning their primaries.

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, the R.G.A.’s co-chairman, was asked about whether he views Mr. Mastriano as a viable candidate during a question-and-answer session this month at Georgetown University.

“We don’t fund lost causes and we don’t fund landslides,” Mr. Ducey said. “You have to show us something, you have to demonstrate that you can move numbers and you can raise resources.”

Trump has not endorsed Ganahl or O’Dea, but the story is similar in Colorado. O’Dea has been running television ads for several weeks, but his campaign has recently been buying ad time on a day-to-day basis and has no television presence on network TV (O’Dea’s ads are only available on cable television). Ganahl hasn’t run a single television ad, which puts her in the same position as Republican candidates for Governor in Illinois (Darren Bailey), Massachusetts (Geoff Diehl), Maryland (Cox), and Pennsylvania (Mastriano).

As The Denver Post reported a few weeks ago, it’s not just Ganahl who is struggling to find enough money to reach out to voters in Colorado: None of the statewide Republican candidates (for Attorney General, State Treasurer, or Secretary of State) have the resources to do much more than complain on social media. This has been an issue for Colorado Republicans throughout the 2022 election cycle.

But Governor is a much more important office, and here Ganahl’s financial problems mirror Republicans in other states. At the end of August in Maryland, Dan Cox had been outraised by Democrat Wes Moore by a 10-to-1 margin, ending the fundraising period with all of $130,000 in the bank. Ganahl concluded the fundraising period that ended on Sept. 6 with $188,000 cash-on-hand.  

The similarities with many of these MAGA Republicans make their campaign strategies look oddly intentional. Take a look at what Chris Cillizza of CNN recently wrote about Mastriano in Pennsylvania:

Mastriano is running one of the most unorthodox campaigns ever in such a high-profile race. He has not run a single television ad in the general election. He doesn’t do interviews with mainstream media, choosing instead to deal with conservative media outlets.

Got your thumb! Wait, that’s MY thumb

It’s eerie how similar that is to the Ganahl campaign in Colorado. Up until the week before the June 28th Primary Election, Ganahl hadn’t conducted a single interview with a mainstream media outlet anywhere in the state since her Sept. 2021 campaign kickoff. 

It’s not just a lack of fundraising or television advertising where you can find similarities between Ganahl and other MAGA Republican candidates. The Washington Post recently ran a story wondering if Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey could get elected in Illinois after spending so much of his time and rhetoric bashing Chicago as a “crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.” 

Sound familiar? It should. Ganahl has spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Denver as some sort of crime-infested hellhole.

Like many MAGA Republican candidates, Ganahl is running essentially the same General Election campaign that she ran ahead of the Primary Election.

“When you have candidates who essentially aren’t helping themselves by staking out either extreme positions or extreme positions on weird issues that only speak to a real core Trump part of the base, it’s not a surprise that there are going to be struggles,” said Republican strategist Doug Heye in a recent interview with The Hill newspaper. 

You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to understand this, so why do Ganahl and other MAGA Republican candidates continue rushing toward the same brick wall? The fact that this strategy seems to be so prevalent among multiple candidates suggests that it is an intentional incompetence at work – like they are doing this on purpose

If nothing else, what we’re seeing from Republicans in 2022 may be idiocy by osmosis. For example, it makes sense that Joe O’Dea would pick up some strange habits when he spends so much time with MAGA Republicans such as JD Vance (Ohio) and Blake Masters (Arizona). It doesn’t defy logic that this collective weirdness isn’t helping MAGA Republicans get elected.

As GOP pollster Whit Ayres told The Hill newspaper: “People are looking for good judgment and good sense and good decisionmaking out of governors. Anything that casts doubt on the judgment or the common sense of a gubernatorial candidate undermines that candidate’s potential to get elected governor.”

You could say the same thing about candidates for every major political office. Doing the opposite hasn’t been working for Republicans thus far, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to have worked on Nov. 8. 

Perhaps these candidates have adopted an alteration to the infamous Qanon slogan: “Where We Go One, We Go All…to Defeat.” 

Conservative Nonprofit To Hire Tina Peters To Spread The Big Lie

(MAGA job security — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Clerk Tina Peters pitching her movie screening and Q&A.

Conspiracist clerk Tina Peters, who faces multiple felony charges for election-fraud-related crimes, answered questions at a pair of screenings of the faux-documentary “Selection Code” last week in Pueblo and Colorado Springs. The conspiracy movie, which stars Peters herself, makes debunked claims that not only the 2020 presidential election but also the 2021 Grand Junction municipal election were stolen from the rightful conservative winners.

A far-right nonprofit group led by members of two prominent Colorado conservative organizations, Colorado Christian University and the Independence Institute, sponsored the events. Americans for America (A4A) collected the money for the event series, “Ten For Tina.”

“Ten For Tina” event flyer. QR code links to Americans for America site.

Reached for comment, A4A President Regina Thomson describes the event as a “in effect, a fundraiser for Tina.”

Thomson, a 2016 RNC delegate, says the group is asking for donations for tomorrow’s event in order to fund a contract to pay Peters to “go out and speak and educate on election integrity issues” starting next year. “Right now as an elected official, any money she gets other than her paycheck she has to file a report with the secretary of state and tell them what she got, and she’s under so much scrutiny that we’re not going to put her in that kind of spot at the moment,” says Thomson. “So we’re looking forward to contracting with her right after the first of the year to go out and speak on the same thing she’s speaking about now, when she’s not an elected official any longer.”

“She’s one of our upcoming projects to go out and speak on election integrity,” says Thomson. “It’s all legal and above board, it’s just that we don’t want her to have a target on her back any bigger than she does until she’s out of office.”

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Here Come the Political Ads!

We are six weeks away from Election Day and three weeks from ballots going out in the mail. This means that top-tier campaigns that plan to use television as a significant part of their advertising strategy are hitting the airwaves with gusto.

Click after the jump to see all the latest television ads running in Colorado, nearly all of which are from Democrats (we’re listing ads from campaigns, not dark money or third-party spots). We’re also not ignoring ads for Republican candidates — there just aren’t many of them to even discuss.

If we missed any new ads, please drop them in the comments section…

 

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