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).
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.
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 HiediHeidi 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.
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.
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 HiediHeidi 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.
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 HiediHeidi Ganahl’s campaign for governor.
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?
Later, we talk more about Furry Lago and HiediHeidi 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.
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?
(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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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?
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).
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on Wednesday reached a deal with Democratic leaders on a spending package that aims to lower health-care costs, combat climate change and reduce the federal deficit, marking a massive potential breakthrough for President Biden’s long-stalled economic agenda.
The new agreement, brokered between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), opens the door for party lawmakers to try to advance the measure next week. It caps off months of fierce debate, delay and acrimony, a level of infighting that some Democrats saw as detrimental to their political fate ahead of this fall’s critical elections.
Under the deal, Schumer secured Manchin’s support for roughly $433 billion in new spending, most of which is focused on climate change and clean energy production. It is the largest such investment in U.S. history, and a marked departure from Manchin’s position only days earlier. The Democrats coupled the spending with provisions that aim to lower health-care costs for Americans, chiefly by allowing Medicare to begin negotiating the price of select prescription drugs on behalf of seniors.
Several Democrats and climate activists credited Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado with keeping the lines of communication to Mr. Manchin open.
“When a lot of people said ‘That’s the end’ and everyone’s writing it off, I went to everybody I knew and said, ‘Wait a minute, we can’t quit,” said Mr. Hickenlooper, a onetime geologist for an oil and gas company. “We don’t have a satisfactory alternative.”
Many were wary about continuing negotiations because “they didn’t want to have their heart broken again,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. But, he said, Mr. Manchin insisted that he was still open to a deal.
For more perspective on how Hickenlooper kept this deal afloat, check out this story from POLITICO last week:
It’s a pretty perennial problem. A group of lawmakers — sometimes leadership, sometimes rank-and-file — demand the cancellation of some or all of the Senate’s month-long August recess. This time, Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) floated the possibility to potentially still work out a deal with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on climate change and energy provisions.
We’re going to keep an eye on the Hickenlooper-Manchin dynamic. Both are former Democratic governors in big energy-producing states.
In keeping this discussion alive, Hickenlooper may have also given a big boost to fellow Sen. Michael Bennet; the deal with Manchin severely undercuts a message that Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea had been pushing hard for the last few weeks.
► Colorado Congresspeople Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Ken Buck were two of just 20 Republicans to vote NO on legislation called the “Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act.” The bill is a reauthorization of funding for programs that include shelters, mental health care, education and job training for victims of human trafficking.
The U.S. economy shrank from April through June for a second straight quarter, contracting at a 0.9% annual pace and raising fears that the nation may be approaching a recession.
► Don’t miss this week’s episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring a great interview with State Treasurer Dave Young that includes a discussion about all the weird things found inside the unclaimed property vault:
This week in episode 115 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Colorado State Treasurer Dave Young about all sorts of topics. Young explains how a State Treasurer impacts your life, from the Secure Savings Act to his idea for an “Infrastructure Bank” program. We also find out more about some of the weird items sitting inside the unclaimed property vault…including the world’s tiniest gun.
Later, Jason and Ian discuss Republican gubernatorial candidate HiediHeidi Ganahl’s strange choice of a running mate and answer a listener question about the selection of a Lieutenant Governor. We also have more on Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea and some terrible votes cast by Colorado Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn.
This week in episode 107 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii welcome back Christy Powell once more for the latest news on fundraising numbers for statewide races and one unforgettable diatribe about abortion rights (seriously, it could be its own episode — jump to the 22:45 mark).
But first, Jason and Ian consider the political implications in Colorado of the demise of Roe v. Wade and make sure to update you on where Republican candidates for federal office stand on the issue. We also dive into the big news in the race for Governor and listen to Republican candidate Greg Lopez talk himself into oblivion in an interview with 9News.
WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Tina Peters at last filed her first campaign finance report, and it was pretty good (relative to her Republican opponents, anyway).
UPDATE: As of 3:41 pm, Peters has yet to file a campaign finance report.
The deadline to file Q1 fundraising reports in Colorado was midnight on Monday, May 2, which means we have our first good look at how much support the various campaigns for statewide office have generated…
…Except for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who as of this writing has yet to submit her first fundraising report as a candidate for Secretary of State. On the one hand, it is perfectly on-brand for Peters to miss her first fundraising deadline, since she clearly operates on the idea that laws are meant for everyone else. On the other (much larger) hand, candidates for SECRETARY OF STATE should probably follow the same rules they will be expected to enforce if elected.
We’ll update this post if and when Peters decides to file a fundraising report. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of how the rest of the statewide candidates fared in Q1.
As you read these numbers, remember something that we often repeat here at Colorado Pols: Fundraising isn’t just about money — it is an indicator of the level of support for a particular candidate. People generally don’t give money to candidates if they don’t believe they can win.
This has not been a great week to be Republican gubernatorial candidate HiediHeidi Ganahl. You could say that about most weeks since Ganahl first announced her candidacy last September, but this has been a particularly rough couple of days for the current CU Regent.
Ganahl has long been the presumed frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor and the chance to challenge incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis in November, but her entire campaign has been what you could charitably call “underwhelming.” Over the weekend, Danielle Neuschwanger became the gubernatorial nominee of the American Constitution Party (ACN), which is a massive blow to whichever Republican candidate wins the nomination in June. On Monday, Ganahl essentially confirmed the weakness of her candidacy with another poor fundraising report.
Ganahl’s fundraising has been historically bad for a Republican gubernatorial candidate — a trend that continues with the first quarter of this year. There’s no positive way to spin the fact that the presumed GOP frontrunner begins the month of May with just $200k in the bank. It’s not fair to compare fundraising numbers with Polis, who will self-fund his re-election campaign to whatever tune he deems necessary; but as you’ll see with other fundraising numbers below, Ganahl’s totals don’t even look that great compared to campaigns for lower-profile offices.
The rest of the campaign finance numbers in this race aren’t all that relevant, since we wouldn’t expect either Greg Lopez or Neuschwanger to be raising a lot of money.
Incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser continues to raise boatloads of cash for his re-election bid, which has allowed him to already book a lot of television advertising time (hence Weiser’s large Q1 expenditures).
Republican John Kellner didn’t get a full quarter in which to fundraise — he didn’t really begin his AG campaign until February — but these are poor numbers nonetheless. Strong candidates often raise a good deal of money in their first quarter because that’s when they are first hitting up the donors with whom they have a close relationship. Kellner’s weak fundraising may also be an indication that he will be relying almost entirely on the assistance of the Republican Attorney General’s Association (RAGA) for most of his advertising expenditures.
SECRETARY OF STATE
Incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold is setting new records for fundraising for a candidate for SOS. Similar to Weiser, this is allowing her to reserve a bunch of advertising time in advance.
We wrote about Republican Pam Anderson’sanemic numbers in an earlier post. If Anderson is going to win a Republican Primary in June, she’s likely going to need a significant expenditure from an outside group or PAC to boost her name ID. We still don’t know who Mike O’Donnell is, but it’s a bad sign for Anderson that his cash on hand numbers are nearly seven times larger.
Much like his Democratic colleagues (though to a lesser extent), incumbent Dave Young is raising enough money that he can start to book advertising spots in advance, which generally saves campaigns a good deal of money.
Republican Lang Sias, meanwhile, is raising the kind of money that would be great for a State House race but is not particularly impressive for a statewide campaign. Sias has been doing this long enough that he should have plenty of contacts for fundraising purposes; of course, he’s also been losing for long enough that those contacts may not be returning his phone calls. These weak fundraising numbers could be a sign that Sias is counting on a third-party expenditure to raise his name ID…or it might just be a reminder that he’s Lang Sias.
With all of the fundraising reports from 2021 now available, we took a moment to make some adjustments to The Big Line: 2022. Here’s a brief synopsis of what changed (and what didn’t):
Incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet remains the clear favorite here, so the only movement is on the Republican side. You can argue whether or not State Rep. Ron Hanks is a clear threat to Bennet given his fundraising troubles, but Hanks is following the same script that won Darryl Glenn the GOP Senate nomination in 2016. Gino Campana and Joe O’Dea look to have the most resources of all the Republican candidates, which puts them in the best position to attract undecided voters in June.
Eli Bremer and Deborah Flora drop into a lower tier after last week’s Senate debate in Lakewood showed that they don’t have anything interesting to say nor a clear strategy moving forward. Hanks, Campana, Bremer, and Flora are all going the State Assembly route for ballot access; there’s probably only room for two of them.
No real movement here. HiediHeidi Ganahl is still Hiedi Heidi Ganahl.
This race will likely be decided in the June Republican Primary between Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and State Sen. Don Coram. Democrat Don Valdez has seen his fundraising numbers drop off significantly, while Sol Sandoval continues to spend as much money as she brings in to her campaign; both Democrats are just treading water at this point.
Brittany Pettersen has cleared the Democratic field and is well-positioned to win this race. On the Republican side, State Rep. Colin Larsonis probably not running, but some big Trump donor named Timothy Reichert has stepped into the fray.
While the race in CO-07 seems to be getting clearer, the opposite is taking place in Colorado’s newest congressional district. Fundraising numbers for the top five hopefuls were pretty similar at the end of 2021. Both the Democratic and Republican Primaries are shaping up to be close fights. Keep an eye on Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine; if she can maintain her fundraising efforts, she’ll be in good shape to bring home the right-wing base in June.
Lang Sias (right) with GOP gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton in July 2018.
Colorado Republicans are having a difficult time finding candidates willing to run for statewide office in 2022. Since the GOP can’t manage to find anyone new who is willing to embrace the base and turn off everyone else, they are now looking at ways to recycle.
We’re just 14 months away from the 2022 election, and Republicans still need candidates for Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State. As we’ve said many times in this space, the Republican bench in Colorado is a phone booth after two massive Democratic wave years that saw topline candidates pummeled by an average of 10 points. The candidates that Republicans DO have are a disaster, which certainly doesn’t help recruitment efforts; we wouldn’t want to share a ticket with Heidi Ganahl and Eli Bremer, either.
There haven’t been many rumors of potential candidates for Attorney General, where incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser has already raised more than $1.7 million for his re-election campaign. Republicans thought they had a candidate for Secretary of State (SOS) in former Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese, but she decided against a run in part because of the Tina Peters disaster. Term-limited Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Meyers is now rumored to be looking at challenging incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold, assuming Peters doesn’t run herself.
That leaves us with the office of State Treasurer, where the GOP is apparently going back to a well that has already turned up dry multiple times. That’s right, friends: Lang Sias still isn’t done getting kicked in the face by Colorado voters.
If you’re not familiar with Sias, that’s probably because he hasn’t had much success in Colorado politics. The 2020 election marked the first time in a decade that Sias was not a candidate for public office.
The beatings will continue until Lang Sias improves.
So why would Sias return to the political stage in 2022? Because he…can? Honestly, we have no idea.
There are certainly some Republican political consultants who are telling Sias that he can totally beat Democratic incumbent Dave Young, which might be music to Lang’s ambitious ears. Of course, some of those consultants are probably the same people who told Sias that he could be a State Senator or a Congressman (they are also the same people who will read this and tell Sias that “Democrats are afraid of you,” as though anyone would be scared of a candidate with his track record of failure).
By most accounts, Sias seems to be a likable guy with big dreams but limited charisma who is more interesting to Republican power brokers than he is to Colorado voters. If Sias runs for Treasurer and can avoid a Republican Primary, maybe he can change his political fortunes. History would suggest otherwise.
We’re all guilty, from time to time, of listening to what we WANT to hear at the expense of what we NEED to hear. In Sias’ case, what he needs to hear is this: Maybe you should try something else.
I’m no expert in political stategery, but you’d think the Friday afternoon right before the 20th anniversary of 9/11 would be a time for a politician to dump unflattering news, not enter a race for governor. #copoliticshttps://t.co/f5cGrF5Pj9
UPDATE: It’s official, at 3:00PM on Friday afternoon via the Denver Post:
Heidi Ganahl, the only Republican to hold a statewide elected office, filed Friday as a candidate for governor, according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Ganahl is an entrepreneur who founded the pet care service Camp Bow Wow and currently serves as a University of Colorado regent.
She told Colorado Politics she is making an “announcement” Tuesday in Monument, but did not specify what she’d say. She did not answer The Post’s calls Friday afternoon. The filing shows a “Heidi for Governor” candidate committee, which is the finance arm of a campaign.
It’s not just you–this most certainly an unforced error that takes the suspense out of Heidi Ganahl’s announcement Tuesday. Then again, since it’s been obvious that Ganahl was running for something for many months now, her contrived “podcast tour” pre-launch campaign was turning into an ethical dilemma all its own.
Let the word go forth for the Friday news dump: Heidi Ganahl is definitely running for something.
As we first reported here at Colorado Pols, Republican CU Regent Heidi Ganahl — the sole remaining statewide elected official for the GOP — will announce next week that she will seek the Republican nomination for Governor in 2022.
Ganahl…will end the mystery of her political future at an event next Tuesday in El Paso County.
She’s saving the news until then. The event is being planned in Monument, but the time and location have not yet been disclosed.
Apparently Ganahl’s entire announcement is one big riddle wrapped inside an enigma stuffed inside a gum wrapper:
At various times, observers have speculated that she might run for state treasurer, which has long been a springboard to higher office for Colorado politicians — see Roy Romer, Bill Owens, Gail Schoettler, Cary Kennedy and Walker Stapleton…
…More remotely, Ganahl has been sized up to take on U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the Democrat’s re-election bid next year.
“I’m making a big announcement on Tuesday in the town where I grew up, Monument,” Ganahl told Colorado Politics Thursday night. “I love Colorado and our future is too important to risk.”
Ganahl’s big move toward running for higher office in Colorado has been stage-managed as much as possible by GOP advisers (though it hasn’t been helped by regular rumors of waffling about WHICH office to seek in 2022), including a statewide “podcast tour” that was largely ignored by media outlets. This all changes next week, when Ganahl will have to start answering real questions about issues such as whether or not the 2020 election was fraudulent (get ready to hear a lot more about Ganahl’s connections with Trump insurrection adviser John Eastman) and how she would deal with the COVID-19 pandemic while preserving all of the freedumbs that a right-wing Republican base seems to value more than the health of their own families.
Assuming that Ganahl is actually running for something in 2022, she’ll immediately take the mantle as the best statewide candidate that Republicans can muster this election cycle. And, no, that’s not really a compliment.
Back in June, we went through the five statewide offices that will be on the ballot in 2022 in an attempt to provide some clarity about who (on the Republican side) might be running for what in Colorado. Two months later, the 2022 election situation (and The Big Line) remains what you might charitably call, “fluid” for the GOP. Here’s a look at where things stand as of today with each of the five big statewide races…
Former El Paso County Republican Party Chairperson Eli Bremer made it official earlier this month that he will seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022, with his eyes on incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet next November. Bremer is virtually unknown to most Colorado voters and isn’t even a slam dunk choice for more politically-astute Republicans, but he’s probably a better option for the GOP than Juli Henry, strange newcomer Erik Aadland or Peter Yu, who ran a no-hope campaign in CO-02 in 2020 before losing to incumbent Democrat Joe Neguse.
The big remaining question for Republicans is whether someone else might join the GOP field for Senate, with right-wing radio host/attorney Dan Caplis still pondering a campaign of his own. Caplis is certainly not more likely to defeat Bennet in a General Election, but he could make the Republican Primary more interesting.
Bottom Line: If Republicans had a good candidate to run for U.S. Senate in 2022, that person would likely already be in the race. Bennet wasn’t going to be a national target for Republicans anyway — not after former Sen. Cory Gardner face-planted last November — so the eventual GOP nominee is essentially just the person who will finish in second place 15 months from now.
Republicans know that they aren’t going to beat incumbent Democrat Jared Polis in 2022, but somebody has to try. Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez has been running for Governor since [checks calendar] August 2019, but his ceiling isn’t much higher than the third place finish he had in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary.
University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl is the lone remaining Republican statewide officeholder in Colorado. She has been teasing a potential run for Governor since late 2020. After flirting with the possibility of running for State Treasurer instead, it appears that Ganahl will indeed jump into the race (officially) sometime in early September.
Bottom Line: This is Polis’ race to lose. Ganahl’s candidacy doesn’t change that.
Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet is the first U.S. Senator from Colorado to even seek a third term in office since Gordon Allott in 1966 (remember to credit Colorado Pols when you get this question right while playing “Obscure Colorado Trivia Pursuit”). Bennet dispatched then-District Attorney Ken Buck in 2010 before lucking out with Darryl Glenn as his Republican opponent in 2016, and the trend toward terrible GOP opponents seems likely to continue.
A few Republicans have officially filed paperwork to run in 2022, including people named Juli Henry, Peter Yu, and Erik Aadland. Since Donald Trump will be “re-appointed” as President before any of these names are likely to end up in the U.S. Senate, let’s just move along…
Former El Paso County GOP Chairman Eli Bremerindicated his interest in a Senate run back in February (as first reported by Luning); that trial balloon was met with a collective shrug from Republicans, but Bremer hasn’t given up on this dream just yet. Aside from Bremer, two names seem to be popping up more than others for Republicans: Clarice Navarro and Dan Caplis (no, seriously).
Navarro is a former State Representative from Pueblo who resigned her seat in 2017 to take a job in the Trump administration as the Colorado Farm Service Agency’s state executive director. Navarro currently works as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s District Director, which appears to be a fairly irrelevant position. Boebert political advisers like Laura Carno are advising Navarro on making a bid for Senate, and Navarro is taking a close look at running from what we hear.
Caplis is a silly right-wing radio host and ambulance-chasing defense lawyer who has been threatening to run for one office or another for more than a decade. Last fall, Caplis was talking about challenging Gov. Jared Polis in 2022, but he seems to have since changed his focus to the U.S. Senate. Normally we’d just ignore Caplis, but from what we hear, he is actively trying to put together a staff and is willing to front the money for salaries, which is more than can be said for any other potential Republican candidate at this point.
Bottom Line: After Democrat John Hickenlooper’s convincing 2020 Senate win, national Republicans aren’t going to target Bennet in 2022. Whoever emerges as the Republican nominee will have to do most of the work themselves. Bennet is safe here.
Brian Watson, thankfully NOT Colorado’s State Treasurer in 2020
Democrat Dave Young defeated Republican Brian Watson in 2018 in the race for State Treasurer. What looked initially like a close race ended up with Young defeating Watson by a seven-point margin, so perhaps Colorado was never that close to ending up with Watson in charge of the state’s finances. But we came close enough to what could have been an absolute disaster for the state.
Watson has always been a shady character with a litany of financial-related problems in his past, none of which were a very good selling point for a candidate for State Treasurer. We learned more about Watson’s troubles in April after the FBI served a search warrant at his home for information related to potential fraudulent activity tied to Watson’s Northstar Commercial Partners business.
We haven’t heard much since then about the FBI’s investigation, but as the website BusinessDen reports today, Watson could be in serious trouble:
In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Virginia, where Northstar was developing multiple data center projects for Amazon, the retail giant said the April 2 raid “was executed on the same day that Watson and other Northstar-related Defendants received notice that their roles related to developing several properties in the Dulles corridor were being terminated based on evidence of their misconduct.”
“The evidence revealed that Defendants paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to obtain non-competitive contracts that Defendants used to obtain tens of millions of dollars in illicit gains from development projects at Virginia real estate sites Amazon leased or purchased since 2018,” the lawsuit read.
According to BusinessDen, court filings detail nine kickback payments totaling $415 million. Amazon is accusing Northstar Commercial Partners of racketeering and fraud.
“If I had cash, I’d bury it in my mattress and run the risk of my mattress catching on fire before I’d give him a dime. He’s a snake-oil salesman. He belongs in a carny show.”
Keep this in mind in 2020 when you see endorsements from individuals and editorial boards — including the Colorado Springs Gazette — that touted Watson in 2018. Nobody could have predicted the kind of trouble that Watson faces today, but it was always pretty obvious that he was a questionable choice to hold public office in Colorado.