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.

Winners and Losers of the 2022 Election (Part 2)

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

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

 

The 2022 “Extinction Level Event” for Republicans

 

The Losingest Losers of 2022

 

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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.

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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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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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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Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer? (10/13)

Dave Young and Lang Sias

Three and a half weeks out from Election Day 2022, let’s take another read of the Colorado Treasurer race (here are the results from two weeks ago). Will incumbent Treasurer Dave Young hold off the challenge from Republican multitool in search of a win Lang Sias?

*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 State Treasurer? (10/13)

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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 State Treasurer? (9/30)

Dave Young and Lang Sias

Vote! Vote! Vote! Here are the results from the last time we asked this question.

Who will win the race for State Treasurer in November? Will it be incumbent Democrat Dave Young, or perennial Republican candidate Lang Sias?

 

*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 State Treasurer? (9/30)

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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.” 

CO Treasurer Candidate Sias Cashed Campaign Check From QAnon-Promoting Jan. 6 Participant

(Wendy Meritt everywhere — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lang Sias campaigning with redpilled GOP donor Wendy Meritt

Republican Lang Sias wants to be Colorado’s next treasurer, but first he has to convince voters that he’s the best choice to manage the state’s multi-billion dollar finances.

Yet, after learning that a QAnon-supporting Jan. 6 participant gave his campaign $1,250 — the maximum amount allowed — Sias won’t say whether he’s returning the money.

His campaign manager Tiffany Coolidge did not respond to an email request for comment, despite having responded to the Colorado Times Recorder’s inquiries about this same donor in connection with GOP Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson, whose campaign Coolidge is also running.

The donor, Wendy Meritt, is a wealthy Republican fundraiser and activist who tweeted about attending Trump’s Stop the Steal rally and then walking down to the Capitol, where she says she saw police removing barricades to allow pro-Trump crowd to get closer.

Meritt gave the maximum allowable donation not only to Sias but also to gubernatorial hopeful Heidi Ganahl and Attorney General nominee John Kellner. She’s contributed even more to Joe O’Dea’s U.S. Senate campaign, which makes sense considering her husband Xernie is O’Dea’s longtime business partner at Concrete Express, Inc.

At the state GOP primary night watch party back in June, Sias appeared in a brief campaign video with Meritt, similar to the one Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson recorded with Meritt that same evening.

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New Episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii update the progress of every key race in Colorado now that we’ve passed the 50 day mark until Election Day.

We also talk about the latest embarrassing antics of Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Ken Buck — including wontons! — and give an attaboy to local media for taking time to do some important election narrative fact-checking.

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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GOP Sec. of State Candidate Won’t Disavow Endorsement of Jan. 6 Participant

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Secretary of State hopeful Pam Anderson has made rejecting the Big Lie a central message of her campaign, but a new video shows her arm-in-arm with a major state GOP activist and fundraiser who’s not only pushed QAnon-linked election conspiracy theories, but also participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

As the Colorado Times Recorder reported last week, prominent Republican fundraiser Wendy Meritt tweeted about being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, claimed the violence was carried out by Antifa, and pushed multiple election fraud conspiracies.

Meritt, whose husband Xernie is U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s longtime business partner, deleted her Twitter account following the publication of our article.

Anderson has previously campaigned with fellow GOP candidates who have denied the legitimacy of the 2020 election, including gubernatorial nominee Heidi Ganahl’s Lt. Gov. pick Danny Moore, and statehouse candidate Stephanie Wheeler.

Meritt, however, is the only one who has publicly posted about participating in the Jan. 6 insurrection or promoted the QAnon-linked “Italygate” conspiracy, which claims Italian military satellites remotely switched voted from the Trump to Biden.

The Colorado Times Recorder asked Anderson if she was aware of Meritt’s beliefs or participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection when they made the video, and if not, would she disavow Meritt’s endorsement

Anderson” offered the following response, which does not include a disavowal.

“I have not had a conversation with Ms. Meritt, a private citizen, about the details of her political views besides what you see-her congratulations and appreciation of my primary win against Tina Peters and Mike O’Donnell,” said Anderson. “I will continue to run on my strong message of uniting and informing Coloradans behind our election system, not further divide or ostracize people.“

Anderson’s refusal to disavow the endorsement of a conspiracist election denier seems at odds with a candidate who today promoted her appearance on the cover of Time Magazine as an “election defender.

Anderson also declined to answer the Colorado Times Recorder’s inquiry as to whether she would call on her fellow Republican candidates to return Ms. Meritt’s many thousands of dollars’ worth of campaign contributions. Meritt has given the maximum amount not only to the O’Dea campaign, but also to Ganahl and the campaigns of Lang Sias and John Kellner, Colorado Republicans running for state treasurer and Attorney General, respectively.

Running for Treasurer Without Really Running for Treasurer

Dave Young and Lang Sias

Longtime candidate Lang Sias is continuing a recent Republican tradition in Colorado of running for the office of State Treasurer without really running for the office of State Treasurer.

We haven’t heard much from Sias as a candidate for State Treasurer. He hasn’t raised much money for his campaign, and on the race occasion when we do see something with his name attached, it’s usually for a negative reason. Sias is basically running for Treasurer in 2022 because he likes being a candidate (even though he usually loses) and because no other Republican showed much interest in this race.

And as we saw from last weekend’s Club 20 debate, Sias can’t articulate a reason as to why voters should elect him State Treasurer, let alone much of an understanding of what the job even entails.

Before we dive into that debate, a little more background on this trend is required: Back in 2010, Republican Walker Stapleton ran for State Treasurer primarily as a way to increase his name ID for a future gubernatorial run. Stapleton’s two campaigns for Treasurer, in 2010 and 2014, were mostly about airing his grievances with the administrations of Democratic Governors Bill Ritter and John Hickenlooper.

Stapleton’s performance as State Treasurer mirrored his indifference as a candidate. Stapleton rarely bothered to show up to his Capitol office for months on end. His out-to-lunch approach to the job ended up costing Colorado taxpayers millions of dollars because of funding delays that he tried to avoid discussing. Stapleton did little to reform PERA, the public employee’s retirement fund, and rarely even showed up to meetings (Stapleton’s penchant for missing these meetings even came up in a debate question last weekend when the moderator asked, “Will you attend all of the meetings?”)

Stapleton’s indifference/incompetence made it easy for Democrat Dave Young to campaign for an open seat in 2018. Young defeated super-shady Republican Brian Watson, a man who was just recently charged with securities fraud and deceiving hundreds of investors in a real estate scheme. When Young took over as Treasurer in January 2019, his first order of business was essentially to clean up the mess that Stapleton left behind. For example, Young needed only about 90 days to clean up a backlog of claims from the Great Colorado Payback that Stapleton failed to take care of in eight years.

Young is seeking re-election in 2022 and has a lot of impressive accomplishments to discuss. Sias, meanwhile, seems to be basing his entire narrative on the idea that you should vote for him because he is not a Democrat. But don’t take our word for it: Watch the Club 20 debate yourself.

In his opening statement, Young focuses on two programs implemented during his first term in office: The Colorado Secure Savings Program, which helps lower-income Coloradans save for retirement, and the CLIMBER loan fund for Colorado small businesses.

Sias, meanwhile, talks about being a pilot in the Navy and a Top Gun instructor. Sias says he wants to “restore balance” to Colorado’s statewide leadership (he says there are too many Democrats) and closes by saying that he will “not engage in any empire building” in the State Treasurer’s office, whatever that means.

 

Sias really starts to show his complete lack of a campaign narrative in response to an early question about the Treasurer’s office supporting small businesses in Western Colorado:

SIAS: As the Treasurer, I will be charged with running the same two statewide programs that Treasurer Young referred to, and I will do those with enthusiasm and I will do it with a real attention to detail.

In other words, Elect me, and I will do the same thing that Dave Young is already doing!

Sias concludes his answer by saying that he will “weigh in” on economic and taxation issues, which allows Young to begin his response to the question with this:

YOUNG: Actually, I’m currently weighing in on tax policy. I’m a member of the tax policy task force. We just met a couple of days ago. We continue to look at comprehensive changes to tax policy.

Again, the same takeaway here: Sias pledges to do something that Young IS ALREADY DOING.

A bit later in the debate, a question about PERA creates another bad comparison for Sias:

 

Sias talks about supporting a 2018 bill to make changes to PERA and criticizes Young for voting against that bill. Young then fires back with an explanation that crushes Sias:

YOUNG: The reason I voted against that bill is because the actual details of the bill were not available to legislators — the financials were not available to legislators in the 11th hour when the vote was being taken on the last day of the 2018 session.

It’s my commitment to make sure that [we do] the due diligence that is necessary in the Treasury to ensure that decisions are made that are appropriate and that we don’t have a repeat of the bad decision making that we had in 2000 that caused this steep decline in the funding of PERA.

Oof.

Sias next runs into more trouble on a question about “debt issuances”:

 

Really great answers, Lang!

Sias pledges to “keep all politics out of investment decisions,” which is an answer that has nothing to do with the question. Young asks for the question to be repeated, and then makes Sias look ridiculous:

YOUNG: I believe that this was not about investment but about debt issuance. Representative Sias may not be aware, but we have a very wide range of professionals that we tap in the financial services community.

Young goes into a bunch of details about how debt issuance is handled in the Treasurer’s office, then concludes with this:

YOUNG: This work is very intense on debt issuance. I’m not sure that Representative Sias was really dialed in on the question.

In response? Sias says, “Oh, I’m quite well dialed-in.”

Ugh.

Lang Sias wants to be elected as State Treasurer because…Lang Sias wants to be elected as State Treasurer (or, really, to any office). It’s the same reason that Walker Stapleton once wanted to be elected as Treasurer, and we saw how that turned out.

As you can see from this debate, there is one candidate for State Treasurer who seems to really understand the job and how to execute those responsibilities. It ain’t broke, and Lang can’t fix it anyway, so maybe we should just stick with Dave Young.

Republicans Giveth, But Not Nearly as Mucheth

 

The latest fundraising figures for state races were released earlier this week, and most of the news for Republicans was pretty grim.

Take a look at the cash-on-hand (COH) numbers for Republicans in the top four state races in 2018 compared to 2022:

These are not good numbers, but perhaps Colorado Republicans can feel a bit better knowing that donors are much less interested in giving money to Republican candidates everywhere in 2022. As POLITICO reports today:

The number of online donors to the Republican Party unexpectedly dropped in the first half of 2022, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance data — one in a series of setbacks that have tempered expectations of a red wave in November.

Online fundraising usually ramps up dramatically and predictably over the course of an election cycle. But campaign finance data show that in the first half of this year, the number of people giving federal contributions to Republican candidates and committees through WinRed — the GOP’s widely used donation processing platform — fell to around 913,000 down from roughly 956,000 contributors during the six months prior.

The surprising dip illustrates broader fundraising difficulties that have plagued GOP candidates in key races across the country this summer, even amid hopes that the party could retake control of Congress. It reflects the party’s long-standing challenges in building donor lists to power its campaigns.

Heidi Ganahl, Lang Sias, and Pam Anderson are broketh.

Former President Donald Trump has been blamed by some Republicans for hoovering up many potential donors — Trump has raised more than $100 million online since leaving office — though POLITICO’s analysis suggests that only about 13 percent of online Republican donors have given only to Trump this cycle.

Still, Trump’s committees are sitting on tens of millions of dollars that aren’t likely to be spent helping other Republicans this fall.

Nationally, Senate Republicans are still fighting with each other; the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is running on fumes, and NRSC head Rick Scott is blaming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting that Scott recruited a bunch of dolts as candidates in some of the most important pickup opportunities in the country.

The GMS Podcast: Dark Brandon’s MAGA Smackdown

Charles Ashby, sans beard

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss President Biden’s momentous speech last week calling out “MAGA Republicans” and what it means for the 2022 election in Colorado. We also update on the apparently very expensive recall effort against new Democratic State Sen. Kevin Priola; big new problems facing Republican State Sen. Dennis Hisey in El Paso County; and top GOP candidates who are scrubbing all mention of “abortion” from their campaign materials.

Our interview this week is with podcast favorite Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, who stops by to update us on the always-weird Tina Peters saga, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s Christian Nationalism, and the Western Slope perspective on the final stretch of the 2022 election.

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

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

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

Bad Polling, No Money for Colorado Republicans

There are 68 days left until Election Day on Nov. 8. That’s not a lot of time left to make your case to voters, but that number is deceiving for elections in Colorado; because Colorado is a mail-ballot state, there are now only 6 weeks remaining until voters start to find ballots in their mailboxes.

To put it a different way, a good chunk of Colorado voters will be filling out a ballot in about 42 days.

With the always-important caveat that things could still change, it would be really difficult to take a reasonable look at the data and conclude that Republicans are not in deep trouble in Colorado. Here’s why…

 

U.S. Senate

Even the most conservative pollsters in America can’t find a way to show Republican Joe O’Dea pulling closer to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. New polling data out today shows that things are actually getting much worse for O’Dea as Election Day draws near.

According to Public Policy Polling (PPP), Bennet currently leads O’Dea by an 11-point margin, with O’Dea only attracting the support of 35% of respondents.

Equally concerning for Republicans are the favorability ratings for O’Dea, which are upside down; 29% of respondents give O’Dea an “unfavorable” rating, while just 27% have a positive view of Mr. #HorseSushi. The O’Dea campaign team responded to these results today by trying to make lemonade out of dandelions:

But…but…Michael Bennet isn’t polling at 50 percent! So what? If this PPP poll is correct, Bennet will only need 36% of the vote to win re-election to the U.S. Senate.

Bennet received just about 50% of the vote in 2016, when he won re-election over Republican Darryl Glenn by 6 points in a race that was never in doubt. In 2010, Bennet didn’t reach 50% of the vote, defeating Republican Ken Buck by a 48-46 margin. You don’t get a bigger office in the U.S. Senate if you surpass 50% of the vote.

The PPP poll shows that 44% of voters are “unsure” about O’Dea, which is probably because they have no idea who he is. O’Dea might be able to dig into that number with more outreach and communications to voters, but they don’t have the resources to do that. As Manu Raju and Alex Rogers report for CNN, Senate Republicans are STILL undecided about whether it is worth investing any real money in Colorado on Joe O’Dea:

the big-spending GOP outside groups are uncertain whether O’Dea can knock off incumbent Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet – and whether their money should be spent elsewhere.

So far, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has not reserved future advertising in Colorado, after spending just $241,000, according to AdImpact data. [Pols emphasis]

McConnell’s powerful super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, has yet to spend money there but is “keeping an eye on the race” and “impressed” with O’Dea’s performance, the group’s spokesman said. The group recently announced it would spend $28 million in Ohio, and cut millions in Arizona, committing to defend J.D. Vance in an increasingly red state rather than help Blake Masters in a battleground, as both Trump-endorsed candidates struggle.

It’s not hard to read between the lines here: Colorado voters are going to start making their selections in six weeks, but there is still no movement from national Republican groups and little reason for them to suddenly get more involved. Without a big infusion of national money, the little-known O’Dea is toast; Bennet has thus far outraised O’Dea by an 8-to-1 margin.

 

Governor

The Heidi Ganahl/Danny Moore ticket never took off.

Let’s be honest: This race has been over for awhile now.

Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is the most inept candidate for major office that Colorado has seen this century, and maybe ever. Even if this race were close, and there is no indication that it is, Ganahl would almost certainly make some idiotic mistake that would cripple her chances of defeating incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis.

Ganahl doesn’t have much money in her campaign coffers — while Polis has virtually unlimited financial resources — and national Republicans haven’t so much as hinted at paying attention to this race since…well, maybe ever. A year ago, Polis was polling 20 points higher than Ganahl; that was before Ganahl started proving to Colorado voters that she has no idea what she is doing. Polis won’t win by 20 in November, but there’s no reason to think either side will be sweating out the results on Election Night.

As we saw earlier in the U.S. Senate polling, conservative pollsters also can’t figure out a way to make this look like a real race. Both of the polls below are from outfits known to be extremely favorable to Republican candidates (Remington Research Group and Trafalgar Group). In Georgia, for example, Trafalgar has Republican candidates for top-ticket races polling much better than most other recent surveys. In Colorado, there’s no way to make the math work for Ganahl:

(Details at 538.com)

 

Generic Congressional Ballot

Finally, the “generic congressional ballot” we discussed earlier this month keeps moving in favor of Democrats. The GCB doesn’t mean that Colorado Democrats are going to perform 9 points better than Republicans, but it does indicate that voters are predisposed to support a Democrat…particularly when they know little about the Republican candidate (we’re looking at you, Joe O’Dea).

(Details at 538.com)

 

Republicans could potentially yet recover in Colorado, but they’re running out of time to keep saying, “there’s still time.” It’s worth noting that national Republicans aren’t just reluctant to spend money in the U.S. Senate or Governor races — the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) has also thus far avoided spending money in Colorado on behalf of Republican candidate John Kellner. At the moment, there appear to be no coattails for any Republican candidate to grab onto.

The 2018 election in Colorado was a MASSIVE wave year for Democrats. For the most part, that trend continued in 2020. There’s little reason to argue that Colorado is not on a similar course in 2022.

Worried About Climate Change? Pay Attention to State Treasurer

The short version of Summer 2022

Today President Biden is expected to sign into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which (among other things) includes the most significant investment in combatting Climate Change in the history of history — $375 billion over the next ten years.

The bill was pushed through in the Senate with a significant lift from Colorado Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet; the involvement of Bennet has naturally become a significant election issue, with his Republican opponent Joe O’Dea stating flatly that “I didn’t see anything in there that I like” when asked about the final passage of the bill. But the issue of Climate Change isn’t just confined to federal races this fall.

As David Gelles of The New York Times wrote last week, Republican State Treasurers are joining forces across the country in an effort to fight back against proposed policy changes for dealing with Climate Change:

Nearly two dozen Republican state treasurers around the country are working to thwart climate action on state and federal levels, fighting regulations that would make clear the economic risks posed by a warming world, lobbying against climate-minded nominees to key federal posts and using the tax dollars they control to punish companies that want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Over the past year, treasurers in nearly half the United States have been coordinating tactics and talking points, meeting in private and cheering each other in public as part of a well-funded campaign to protect the fossil fuel companies that bolster their local economies. [Pols emphasis]

Last week, Riley Moore, the treasurer of West Virginia, announced that several major banks — including Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo — would be barred from government contracts with his state because they are reducing their investments in coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel.

Mr. Moore and the treasurers of Louisiana and Arkansas have pulled more than $700 million out of BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, over objections that the firm is too focused on environmental issues. At the same time, the treasurers of Utah and Idaho are pressuring the private sector to drop climate action and other causes they label as “woke.”

And treasurers from Pennsylvania, Arizona and Oklahoma joined a larger campaign to thwart the nominations of federal regulators who wanted to require that banks, funds and companies disclose the financial risks posed by a warming planet.

Dave Young and Lang Sias

As Gelles explains, this effort is largely being coordinated by a Kansas-based organization called the “State Financial Officers Foundation,” with assistance from well-known right-wing organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute and the American Petroleum Institute.

On Monday, Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young issued the following statement regarding this new information:

“I condemn the partisan politics on display in this gross misappropriation of power,” said Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young. “As Treasurer, I have never and will never use the power that the people of Colorado have entrusted me with to block climate action.

“This is a direct reaction to the work that other Democratic Treasurers and I have been doing to ensure we are working toward a sustainable future.”

Colorado Republicans in general have been avoiding the topic of Climate Change as much as possible. That silence includes Lang Sias, the Republican nominee for State Treasurer and perpetual candidate for the GOP who is still working out the locations of various cities in Colorado.

We do know that Sias helped carry water for the Heartland Institute during his single term in the state legislature, and his voting record during his brief time in the state legislature provides some insight into his Climate Change positions. Sias voted against holding oil and gas producers liable for damages resulting from drilling, leaks or spills; he also opposed legislation targeting greenhouse gas emission reduction goals.

In fact, Conservation Colorado gave Sias a 10% lifetime voting record on environmental issues, so we can probably safely assume that Sias would be interest in joining up with other GOP State Treasurers in fighting against efforts to reduce the impacts of Climate Change.

Climate Change is an issue that affects everyone, everywhere — including the office of State Treasurer. If you need a simple way to explain to friends or family about who you plan to support in the race for Treasurer, this is a great place to start.

KBB Fails Again: Last Thing Republicans Need Is “Party Unity”

“Unity”–election denier attorney Randy Corporon with Heidi Ganahl, Pam Anderson, Joe O’Dea.

As Colorado Newsline’s Sara Wilson reports, yesterday most of the upper slate of Colorado Republican candidates up for election this November came together for a rally to showcase their united front going into the 2022 midterm elections–a redux of the original much-maligned “Commitment to Colorado” rally one year ago organized by Colorado Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown at a Denver gas station.

From “KBB’s” point of view as party chair, this “unity rally” was useful, even necessary. But for several Republican candidates whose best shot at winning in blue-ish Colorado is differentiating themselves from the party’s tarnished brand, it was a major strategic mistake:

Republicans were marking one year since they unveiled their “Commitment to Colorado” legislative package of over 40 bills they said prioritized affordability, safety and expanded educational choice. Five of those bills passed the Legislature…

Mostly, however, the press conference was an opportunity for Republican candidates to offer their stump speeches and present a unified front that toes the party line, following a bumpy summer that saw failed Republican candidates push false claims of primary election fraud. [Pols emphasis]

“I’m proud to stand up and support every candidate here today as the professionals, entrepreneurs and problem solvers that will bring their background and experience to the table to address the most challenging issues that Colorado faces today,” secretary of state candidate Pam Anderson said…

Heidi Ganahl, Lang Sias, Pam Anderson at a recent campaign event.

Less than two weeks ago, GOP Colorado Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson released a statement condemning Heidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor after the selection of election denier Danny Moore as Ganahl’s running mate. There was no reason to doubt Anderson until yesterday, when she took the stage with Ganahl and local election denialist attorney Randy Corporon (image top right) to “support every candidate here today.” How can Anderson possibly explain this contradiction?

Answer: she can’t. Pam Anderson has simply decided that her values are not worth making waves on the Republican ticket. If Anderson wanted to convince wary Colorado voters that the (R) after her name does not mean she will accommodate future Republican attempts to overturn elections they don’t win, she needed to stay far away from this whole crowd–especially now that Ganahl’s campaign is tainted by persistent election denial. For Pam Anderson, “unity” with the rest of the Republican ticket wrecks her entire message.

Anderson wasn’t the only candidate on stage yesterday with little to gain and lots to lose from Colorado Republican “party unity”–Joe O’Dea, who is trying mightily to project a Cory Gardner-style “different kind of Republican” image of his own, is the owner of the Mile High Station events venue where yesterday’s event was located:

U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea used his time to criticize the major climate, health and tax bill Democrats in the Senate passed over the weekend. He called the legislation, which Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote for, a tax that “goes against everything we believe here in Colorado.” He did not mention the climate change and clean energy provisions in the bill.

After hiding for months behind the obstruction of Pretendocratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the recent outbreak of progress in Washington, D.C. has put Joe O’Dea in the unwelcome position of being forced to trash-talk overwhelmingly popular legislation. Joe O’Dea’s flight from hot-button Republican issues like abortion and marriage equality gives him little to work with in terms of differentiating himself from his moderate incumbent opponent, but the remaining option of disparaging legislation supported by 73% of the public and even 52% of Republicans is not great either.

In both of these cases, we’re talking about completely self-inflicted embarrassment. For candidates triangulating off their own party’s brand like O’Dea and Anderson, a “party unity” rally is almost perfectly counterproductive. It’s true that the chair of the party is going to be naturally reluctant to accept this reality.

That’s why candidates need to think for themselves.

Too late this election, better luck next time.

Tom Tancredo Endorsement is the Kiss of Death

Tom Tancredo

Republican Erik Aadland announced this week that his campaign for CO-07 has received the endorsement of former Congressman and Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo. This is not much of a surprise given that Tancredo endorsed Aadland for U.S. Senate back in September 2021 (Aadland dropped out of that race to run for CO-07 in December 2021).

Tancredo’s endorsement is a bad sign for Aadland, who is running against Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen for the seat being vacated by the retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter. We compiled a list of Tancredo endorsements in notable races over the years, and the numbers speak for themselves; of the 22 candidates Tancredo has endorsed going back to 2006, only three went on to win a General Election.

Should Aadland lose in November and Libertarian Brian Peotter fail to win a U.S. Senate seat — which seems pretty likely — this will move Tancredo’s winning percentage on endorsements to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12%.

We can’t say for sure that the list below is a comprehensive look at all of Tancredo’s endorsements over the years; we did the best we could without wasting the better part of an entire day searching for more. The point is the same regardless: Tancredo’s support is a pretty solid way of predicting how a candidate will fare in November.

Which is to say, not good at all.

Click below to see the details…

(more…)

Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer? (8/5)

Dave Young and Lang Sias

You know the routine, Polsters.

This week we’re asking you to predict the outcome in the race for State Treasurer in 2022. Will incumbent Democrat Dave Young win re-election, or will perpetual Republican candidate Lang Sias win just his second race in six tries?

*As always in our completely non-scientific polls, we want to know what you THINK will happen — not what you want to happen or which candidate you personally support. If you were placing a sizable wager on the outcome of this race, which candidate would you choose?

 

Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer? (8/5)

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Tina Peters Improves Fundraising Totals AFTER Losing

Defeated GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters

Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on a very weird fundraising story involving Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who was soundly defeated on June 28th in her bid to be the Republican nominee for Secretary of State:

Campaign finance reports show embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters has raised more than $519,000 since June 23, nearly all of which flooded into her campaign coffers a month after she was defeated in the Republican primary for Colorado Secretary of State. [Pols emphasis]

According to campaign finance reports filed Monday night, nearly $504,000 of the total $519,000 came in during a seven-day period between July 21 and July 27.

Out of 5,612 reported contributions, all but some 200 came in well after the June 28 primary. About 21% of those contributions came from Colorado residents, and more than a dozen appear to conflict with Colorado’s campaign finance rules.

We noted last week that Peters had raised more than $250,000 in order to pay for a doomed recount in the SOS race. That recount is currently underway and expected to be completed on Thursday. Peters has repeatedly asked that any recount be conducted by a hand count, but state law and election rules — implemented under former Republican SOS Scott Gessler — require that recounts can only be done via existing machines.

Historically, recounts only find — at best — that tens of votes were inaccurately counted; Peters needs the recount to change about 89,000 votes from winner Pam Anderson. Needless to say, this ain’t happening.

The more interesting part of this story now is the amount of money that Peters continues to raise for a dead campaign. Peters’ campaign for SOS has now raised a total of $733,135, which means that 70% of all of the money collected this cycle has come AFTER SHE LOST THE PRIMARY ELECTION.

Fundraising numbers for Republican statewide candidates since 6/23/22

 

We can’t say for sure that something like this has ever happened before in Colorado…but if it has, we don’t recall any of the details. As you can see from the chart above, Peters is crushing the other statewide Republican candidates in fundraising since June 23 even though her name won’t appear on the November ballot.

The major difference here is that Peters is getting fundraising help from acolytes of Steve Bannon, who have been duped into believing that she has a chance to see the Primary Election results overturned after a completed recount. Had Peters been able to tap into this fundraising source ahead of the June 28th Primary, she might have been able to beat Anderson the first time; if nothing else, Peters would have certainly had more than the $230,000 that she managed to raise on her own.

The moral of this story, other than “never give money to Tina Peters for any reason,” is that it is always better for candidates to raise money before Election Day.

Lang Sias is Really, Really Bad at This

We haven’t heard a lot about the race for State Treasurer in 2022, which is not all that unusual. For one thing, few Coloradans understand what the State Treasurer actually does – and that may include the Republican candidate seeking the office this fall.

Incumbent Democrat Dave Young is running for re-election against Republican Lang Sias, who is mostly known for losing 4 out of 5 political races in the last decade. With a background as a fighter pilot, Sias is a decent theoretical candidate, but he has never been able to figure out how to win in Colorado despite many attempts. 

For a good look at why Sias is such a perennially-terrible candidate, check out this story from Vail Daily:

Lang Sias said his incumbent opponent, Colorado Treasurer Dave Young, “rubber stamps” too many policies of the federal Biden administration, as well as the Democrat-controlled Colorado Legislature.

Sias, a Jefferson County resident, cited his experience in the Colorado House of Representatives, adding he wants to combine fiscally conservative principles with working with Democrats on policy issues.

Sias noted an “elitist mindset” of too many people working in state government.

This is your pitch? That Dave Young “rubber stamps” federal policies that he literally HAS NO CONTROL OVER WHATSOEVER? Why would Young, or any State Treasurer, attempt to block lawful expenditures? (BTW, the only reason Sias served briefly in the State House is because he won a Republican vacancy committee after Libby Szabo resigned for a job as Jefferson County Commissioner).

Sias also says that there is an “elitist mindset” of people in state government. What the hell does that mean, and what does that have to do with the office of State Treasurer?

But we saved the best (or worst) part for last. This one quote from Sias is so fantastically dumb that it sums up his entire failed political career:

“This state is a lot bigger than Denver and Boulder,” Sias said. “We need a voice outside (that circle).”

Folks, Lang Sias lives in Arvada, a suburb in the Denver Metro area that is literally right between Denver and Boulder. Dave Young, on the other hand, IS FROM GREELEY. With this one quote, Sias is basically making the case that you should support his opponent instead of him in November. 

Lang Sias says we need a voice for State Treasurer who is from outside the Denver/Boulder area. That definition would not include…Lang Sias.

 

This statement from Sias is also not helpful to the two Republicans who were campaigning with him in Vail. Secretary of State hopeful Pam Anderson lives in Jefferson County, while Attorney General candidate John Kellner hails from Arapahoe County. Sias is repeating idiotic Republican talking points that don’t apply to him or the candidates he is stumping alongside.

As we’ve written before in this space, Sias should probably find a different hobby that better suits his particular set of skills, whatever those may be. You would have to work really hard to be worse at politics than Lang Sias.

(NOTE: If you are interested in learning more about the State Treasurer, check out the Get More Smarter Podcast interview with current Treasurer Dave Young).