Search Results for: hickenlooper

Hickenlooper Unleashes His Inner Democrat

Another recent jam from Sen. Hickenlooper

The headline here is intentionally snarky.

You might remember about a year ago at this time, then-Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was getting gouged by Democratic Primary challenger Andrew Romanoff and friends for Hick’s purported lack of commitment to Democratic policies. Nevermind, of course, that Hickenlooper campaigned on a progressive agenda centered around building partnerships and helping everyone do better in our economic system.

Since Hickenlooper entered office as Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator in January, the former Governor has been doing basically what he said he would do — which (again) was to be a Democratic Senator. The latest example of this comes via press release from Hickenlooper’s Senate office:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. [Pols emphasis] The Firefighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act recognizes the right of emergency services providers to join a union as well as bargain for fair working conditions, hours, and wages.

Many states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, already have local collective bargaining protections for emergency personnel, but federal law does not protect these essential workers. In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel look out for our safety every day, and it’s time for the federal government to look out for theirs,” said Hickenlooper, Chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “This bill guarantees their right to negotiate for healthy working conditions and a living wage.”

There he goes again: Fracken-collective-bargaining-looper.

We didn’t intentionally write this to sound like a “told you so” argument, but it kinda ended up there in the end.

Sen. John Hickenlooper Plays His Banjo “For The People”

It’s a performance that might not take the world by storm, but Sen. John Hickenlooper released a video yesterday in support of the For The People Act, a major Democratic agenda item already passed by the U.S. House that would solidify and expand voting rights across the nation–in the face of a multistate Republican campaign underway right now to crack down on the franchise in retaliation for Donald Trump losing the 2020 elections:


We’ll concede from the outset that Hickenlooper’s banjo plucking is better than his singing. But here’s another reminder that Hickenlooper, despite what you may have heard during last year’s acrimonious Democratic primary, is proving to be a reliable–and engaging–advocate for the Democratic agenda as a U.S. Senator.

Can Hick pluck his way into Joe Manchin’s heart? That remains to be seen, but we love that he’s trying.

Bennet, Hickenlooper Back Paid Sick Leave Legislation

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators have signed onto the “Health Families Act,” the latest version of federal legislation that seeks to require employers to provide paid sick leave for workers. From a press release:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined 36 of their Senate colleagues to introduce the Healthy Families Act, paid sick days legislation to help keep workers, communities and our economy healthy. The bill is similar to a new Colorado state law expanding paid sick leave to all employees.

Today, one in four workers still do not have access to paid sick days. For these 32 million private sector workers—who are disproportionately women and people of color—getting sick or having to care for a sick loved one means having to choose between losing a paycheck or going into work sick and risking the health of their colleagues and their community. This inequity isn’t just bad for workers—it’s bad for our public health and our economy too, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Recent studies show that requiring employers to provide paid sick days reduces the spread of flu-like illnesses and reduces emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year. Another study showed that the emergency paid leave provision passed in 2020 helped slow the spread of COVID-19 by roughly 15,000 cases per day

…The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are sick or to care for a sick family member—as well as to seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act.

Congressional Democrats have tried for years to pass legislation requiring some sort of paid leave for workers, which has left states to do much of the heavy lifting on an issue that has become increasingly important in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado lawmakers passed legislation last year that requires all but the smallest businesses in the state to provide paid sick leave to employees. This week, New Mexico lawmakers became the 10th state to add some sort of paid family and sick leave requirements.

A national family leave program is still critically important for the rest of the country. Just this week, State Senators in Texas approved legislation that BANS cities and counties from requiring businesses to provide paid sick leave to employees.

Senator Hickenlooper Gets More Smarter

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver)

Check out a new BONUS episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver).

Hickenlooper joins hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii to discuss what it has been like to serve in the U.S. Senate after decades of public service in Colorado. Hickenlooper also talks about the COVID-19 stimulus bill; the “For the People Act”; his thoughts on ending the filibuster; and whether or not Jason can come along on a tour of Area 51 (Hickenlooper is the Chair of the Space and Science Subcommittee).

Senator Hickenlooper also makes a big announcement about his first town hall meeting, so take a listen!

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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*Note: Our interview with Senator Hickenlooper ended before news of the Monday shooting at a Boulder King Soopers, which is why the topic is not mentioned here.

Bennet, Hickenlooper Co-Sponsor “For the People Act”

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have signed on to co-sponsor the “For the People Act,” the election reform bill introduced today that is a companion to H.R. 1, which passed the House of Representatives on March 3.

As CNBC reports:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said “everything is on the table” to pass a comprehensive voting reform bill, the For the People Act, during a press conference introducing the legislation Wednesday.

“We will see if our Republican friends join us. If they don’t join us, our caucus will come together and decide the appropriate action to take,” Schumer said. “Failure is not an option.”

The legislation, also known as S.1, includes provisions that aim to make it easier to register and vote, prevent gerrymandering, improve election cybersecurity and reform campaign finance, among other initiatives.

The bill faces an uphill battle in the Senate, where it would require a minimum of 10 Republican votes to defeat a filibuster and move to a final vote on passage.

Click here for a section-by-section breakdown of S.1, the “For the People Act.”

Gardner or Hickenlooper…and By How Much?

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper.

When we last asked this question in early September, the results indicated again that Democrat John Hickenlooper is headed for a comfortable victory over Republican Cory Gardner in November.

Ballots will start going out in a little more than two weeks, so it’s time to ask once more: Who is going to win Colorado’s marquee race? Senator Cory Gardner or former Governor John Hickenlooper? This is obviously not a scientific survey, but Colorado Pols readers have traditionally been pretty accurate in predicting the outcomes of big races in Colorado.

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

Click after the jump to cast your vote…



Cory Gardner’s Hickenlooper Wannabe Campaign Continues

Hot on the heels of Sen. Cory Gardner’s last negative ad, in which Gardner lovingly hand-washes somebody’s Maserati while reciting various falsehoods about former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s record, Gardner has a new TV spot out today lamenting the fact that Hickenlooper is running negative ads about Gardner:

Back in 2010, Hickenlooper ran a particularly well-received ad in that year’s gubernatorial race depicting himself showering fully clothed–highlighting the fact that in that he didn’t campaign on negative attacks against his opponent. Of course, in 2010 Hickenlooper didn’t need to go negative, since the Republican gubernatorial campaign that year collapsed in a heap of plagiarism allegations and the emergence of a laughably unqualified GOP nominee who proceeded to garner 11% of the vote.

In 2020, nobody is going to begrudge Hickenlooper for taking the gloves off against Cory Gardner, certainly not after the ruthless character assassination campaign waged by Republicans against Hick from the moment he got into the U.S. Senate race. But with this latest ad from Gardner, there’s something else becoming quite clear: Gardner is mimicking Hickenlooper’s greatest hits as his own campaign strategy. And it’s…weird:

Here’s the problem: everybody knows Hickenlooper is the beer-drinking friendly former governor who once took a shower fully clothed. When Cory Gardner steps out of that shower, or toasts you with his Coors Light or whatever he’s drinking in the ad above, the viewer doesn’t think of Cory Gardner–they think about John Hickenlooper. Sure there’s a message in the ad attacking Hickenlooper, but the visual is just Gardner pretending to be Hickenlooper. With Gardner struggling to offer an affirmative case for re-election in a state that has abandoned his politics, these ads are practically an admission that Gardner has nothing original to offer. They’re the ads you make on the way to losing.

All that’s left now is for Gardner to jump out of his own plane.

Hickenlooper or Gardner…and by How Much?

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper

We haven’t asked readers this question since early July, when the consensus seemed to be that Democrat John Hickenlooper is headed for a comfortable victory over Republican Cory Gardner in November.

What say you now, Polsters? Who is going to win Colorado’s marquee race? Senator Cory Gardner or former Governor John Hickenlooper?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

Click after the jump to cast your vote…


Hickenlooper: 51%, Gardner: 42%

As Jon Murray reports for The Denver Post:

These are pretty consistent numbers for Hickenlooper that track with what we’ve been hearing on the race. A previous poll announced just after the Primary Election on July 1 showed Hickenlooper with a 51-40 margin over Gardner. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Gardner’s campaign have been on a heavy anti-Hickenlooper ad blitz ever since, and it appears they have barely been able to dent Hickenlooper’s previous lead.

If the PPP/GiffordsCourage poll cited above is accurate, that 7% undecided number should be freaking out Team Gardner; it essentially means that Gardner would need to run the table with undecided voters in order to even get close to Hickenlooper by November 3. The NRSC no doubt sees similar internal numbers, which would logically mean that Gardner will continue to be left off the list of endangered Senate Republicans getting big help from national Republican groups.

An open letter to the people of Colorado: in defense of John Hickenlooper

I never once voted for John Hickenlooper.  In fact, I spent a considerable amount of my life opposing the former governor.  2020 has shown us that not only can circumstances change rapidly, so can our perspective. The twenty-first century was first dominated with overseas wars for oil and morphed into a public health crisis the likes of which have not been witnessed for over a century.  While I have never voted for John Hickenlooper before, I write an open letter to all Coloradans as to why they should vote for the former two term governor for the U.S. Senate

I love Colorado.  As the saying goes, I was not fortunate enough to be born here, but I got here as fast as I could!  In May of 2009, at the age of nineteen, I packed up my 1991 Jeep Cherokee with all of my earthly possessions and drove the 1,600 miles from Oakland, NJ to Aurora, CO.  I moved here like many of you, with my vehicle filled to the brim, as well as an overwhelming sense of hope that a better life awaited me in the Centennial State.

Shortly after I moved to Aurora, I was hired to work for Colorado State Representative Cindy Acree (R-40).  Not only was I the legislative aide to Representative Acree; I had the distinct honor to also work for state Representatives Timothy Dore (R-64), Clarice Navarro (R-47) and Polly Lawrence (R-39) from 2010-2014.  I was elected to two terms as the President of the Denver Metro Young Republicans (2013-2014).   Suffice it to say, not only was I a very committed Republican activist for many years.

Before we continue any further, in the spirit of full disclosure, in October 2012 then-Governor John Hickenlooper appointed me to serve on a Selective Service System local board, an office that I still occupy today (a fact I find remarkable because I was working for the National Republican Congressional Committee just months prior to my appointment).

Our federal government, led ostensibly by President Donald Trump and his administration, has made America the single worst nation on the planet for the spread and lack of containment of this once in a generation pandemic.  America appears to be the hot spot worldwide, as other nations like Sweden, Japan and South Korea seem to have a handle on the situation.

All elected federal office holders share the blame for the failures of our national government to competently deal with this crisis, especially the elected Republicans who continue to defend the president.  Here at home, I watch our 9 federal legislators we send to Washington, D.C. contribute to the dysfunction and discord that President Trump creates every day.  Never have I been so thoroughly disappointed in an elected official in my life than I have with our junior United States Senator Cory Gardner, a man I once voted for.

In 2014, after serving two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Cory Gardner famously ran TV ads with a simple promise, to be “an independent voice for Colorado and call out my party when they do the wrong thing.”   After six years, one would find it difficult to point to areas where he has demonstrated his independence.  Colorado has a proud tradition of electing legislators on both sides of the aisle who deliver great things for Colorado.   Pat Schroeder and Joel Hefley couldn’t agree on a breakfast order but they were always working together for what was best for Colorado.

Marijuana is the number one area where Colorado has pioneered a different, tenth amendment compliant approach to the regulation and taxation of both hemp and cannabis.  Cory Gardner may claim he has been “working” on this issue but his “work” has gone nowhere.  He has failed in the fight to allow legal Colorado marijuana businesses access to credit unions or traditional banking resources they desperately need.

The recent impeachment trial of President Trump proves that Senator Gardner is now a lemming willing to say or do anything that Majority Leader McConnell and President Donald Trump wish. The senator surprisingly moved his seat from his assigned desk in the back row to a seat in the first row, so he could be seen by the news cameras.  Now, two possibilities exist, either this was an exercise in pure vanity or he wanted to publicly support the president.  In contrast, our senior Senator Michael Bennet sat in his normal seat at his assigned desk for the impeachment.

Rather than answer for any of the above, he refuses to give straight answers to reporters.  Probably most disappointing is his refusal to host public town hall meetings.   The last time the senator hosted a public forum was 2017.

His incompetence is nearly eclipsed by his impotence at delivering on his promises to the people of Colorado.   The senator from Yuma has traded his John Deere tractor for a golf cart and 18 holes at Mar-a-Lago.   Florida has two very competent senators, I don’t think they need a third (or a fourth if you count New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez, but I digress….)

The Democratic Primary for US Senate this year was boisterous.   In spite of my earlier Republican bona fides, I am now a registered Democrat and an elected Precinct Committee Person for Precinct 604 in Denver County.  I collected signatures on behalf of Lorena Garcia (in January and February prior to the COVID-19 quarantine) and I voted for Andrew Romanoff in the June 30th primary election.

That being said, here we are, with John Hickenlooper.   A man I didn’t vote for three times.  He spent sixteen years in office (8 as mayor and 8 as governor) and not a single scandal in that time would make me question his fitness for office today.  Former House Speaker Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch, who recently filed a complaint with the Independent Ethics Commission against John Hickenlooper, will say, “But, Josh, he violated Amendment 41, he was fined $2,700 by the IEC so he must be a crook!”

Is John Hickenlooper unethical? The Independent Ethics Committee thoroughly looked at six incidents that McNulty claimed was evidence of corruption but ruled that just two of those six events were improper from his time as governor:

  • Trip to Italy:  The governor paid for his commercial flight to Italy for the Bilderberg Meetings in Turin, Italy ($1,500.00) but was found guilty of accepting “free meals and limo rides” to and from the festivities.
  • Colorado to Connecticut: The governor and at least one Republican state senator traveled to Connecticut for the dedication of the U.S.S. Colorado.   Larry Mizel, millionaire owner of MDC Holdings paid for the governor to fly in a private jet to the event.   The governor did reimburse Mr. Mizel for the flight but accepted food and ground travel while in Connecticut.

After sixteen years in public life, this is all they can dig up on the guy?  What a weak attempt by Republicans to slander a good man in order to save their puppet Cory Gardner.  You should expect more scurrilous attacks as we get closer to the election.  If the worst thing they can say about John Hickenlooper is that he had someone else pay for his expensive meals and few free rides in a stretch limo, then I simply laugh at how absurd their accusations of “corruption” are.

I ask you to judge John Hickenlooper and Cory Garder as the flawed men they are.  No one among us is perfectly innocent or genuinely evil.   I personally believe it is beyond dispute that both of the major party candidates for the United States Senate are decent human beings.  As I conclude this missive, I ask you to do serious research into both John Hickenlooper and Cory Gardner as we approach the November general election.   Colorado can once again be a beacon of enlightenment and compassion when we realize not only what is at stake but that the outcome is within our power to change.

Vox Populi Vox Dei,

Joshua S. Hursa

Mr. Joshua S. Hursa is a small business owner, Colorado notary public, medical marijuana patient/advocate, and political activist.  He resides in Denver, Colorado.  

Mr. Hursa has served as a local board member for the U.S. Selective Service System since 2012.  He also serves as the Education Director for the Aurora Historical Society.  

To find out more about The Hursa Family of Companies visit

Hickenlooper Reports Another Monster Fundraising Quarter

UPDATE: Gardner raised $3.6 million in Q2, meaning Hickenlooper has now outraised the incumbent in three consecutive fundraising quarters. Gardner has $10.7 million cash on hand, which is about $1 million more than he had in the bank after Q1; in other words, Gardner’s burn rate is not great. Hickenlooper has $4.6 million cash on hand despite having to spend significant resources in advance of the June 30 Primary.


You raised what?

As The Associated Press reports:

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Senate campaign reports a $5.2 million fundraising haul over the past three months, calling it a record for any Senate candidate in state history. [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper’s haul is significant, though it comes as his fellow Democratic hopefuls have been shattering Senate fundraising records nationally. Hickenlooper in November will be facing Sen. Cory Gardner, who is considered the most vulnerable Republican senator up for reelection. Hickenlooper, a former presidential candidate, outraised Gardner in the first three months of the year.

Today is the reporting deadline for Q2 federal fundraising numbers, so we should know by the end of the day how incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) fared in the money department. Hickenlooper’s $5.2 million Q2 is nearly a million dollars more than the previous quarterly record in Colorado…which was held by Gardner ($4.3 million in Q3 2014).

Hickenlooper’s Senate campaign has now set fundraising records in three consecutive quarters, following a $2.8 million haul in Q4 2019 and $4.1 million in Q1 2020. Hickenlooper outraised Gardner by 65% in the first quarter of this year, though Gardner entered Q2 with more cash on hand because he’s been raising money for six years (Hickenlooper entered the 2020 Senate race last August).

It would not be a surprise if Gardner again fails to report a strong financial quarter. As POLITICO reported earlier this week, Senate Republicans are growing increasingly nervous about falling behind their Democratic counterparts when it comes to fundraising. A weak Q2 would put Gardner in further danger of being ultimately abandoned by the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) as Republicans try to save their narrow majority.

Why Hickenlooper Beat Romanoff

John Hickenlooper, Andrew Romanoff.

A few days after the 2010 U.S. Senate Primary Election, in which Sen. Michael Bennet defeated challenger Andrew Romanoff by 8 points, we took a long look at how and why Bennet emerged victorious despite not being particularly well-known among Colorado Democrats. Most of what we wrote on August 13, 2010 holds up remarkably well in comparison to the 2020 Democratic Senate Primary race between Romanoff and former Gov. John Hickenlooper, which Hickenlooper won by about 18 points.

Ten years ago, we cited four main reasons as to why Bennet beat Romanoff: 1) Ballot chasing, 2) Messaging, 3) Romanoff getting mired in details, and 4) Fundraising. The 2020 election is not an apples-to-apples comparison, of course, but the point here is that Romanoff made many of the same mistakes he made in 2010. Ballot chasing was less relevant in 2020 because of campaigning restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that Colorado is now an all-mail ballot state. The other three points are all pretty similar when you look at the two Senate Primary races. With that in mind, we’ll drop the first item from 2010 and add a different explanation:


Hickenlooper or Gardner?

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper

We regularly offer up completely non-scientific polls here on Colorado Pols, and our wise readers are often pretty accurate in their estimations. Don’t believe us? Check out the results of last week’s poll on the predicted outcome of the Democratic Senate Primary.

Now that the 2020 Primary Election is in the books, it’s time to look ahead to November. Who is going to win Colorado’s marquee race? Senator Cory Gardner or former Governor John Hickenlooper?

As always, we want to know what you think will happen here — not what you want to happen or who you personally might support. If you had to place a bet — right now — on one of the following options, what would you select?

Click after the jump to cast your vote…


9NEWS/Clarity Media: Hickenlooper 58%, Romanoff 28%

As announced by 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger a short while ago this evening, a new poll of the Colorado Democratic U.S. Senate primary slams home just days before voting ends the overwhelming advantage enjoyed by former Gov John Hickenlooper in this race:

More poll details can be found here.

A thirty-point advantage for Hickenlooper in this poll underscores a simple fact: all of the recent hullaballoo over Hickenlooper’s stumbles is still not enough to overcome eight years of beneficial experience as the popular though quirky and unpolished Democratic governor of Colorado, and years before that as Denver’s equally personable brewer-mayor. Every attempt to take Hickenlooper down politically immediately runs into an enduring positive impression he left with the voters of Colorado after leaving office.

The numbers in this poll explain very clearly why Democrats focused in defeating incumbent GOP Sen. Cory Gardner have stuck with Hickenlooper around the rough edges: 67% say that Hickenlooper has the better chance of beating Gardner than Andrew Romanoff, and 62% say Hickenlooper is “an ethical guy who made some mistakes”–a clear indicator that the recently concluded ethics proceeding that resulted in some minor findings of fault for travel expenses did not do lasting damage to Hick’s reputation.

From the moment Hickenlooper entered the U.S. Senate race last summer, the result anticipated in this poll was the most likely outcome. Hickenlooper is the only contender in the primary who ever demonstrated the organizing and fundraising capacity for a contested U.S. Senate race. In an election with enormous importance for Democrats and a growing chance to actually retake the Senate, any advantage in one race that allows Democrats to allocate resources into another is crucial to the larger strategy.

This poll tells us that Colorado Democratic primary voters get it.

Gardner Misrepresents Hickenlooper Quote, Says Matthew Shepard Foundation Exec

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A leader of one of the state’s most prominent LGBT advocacy organizations says U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s recent attack on former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is “cynical” and “beneath” the Gardner campaign.

Jason Marsden, vice president of the Mathew Shepard Foundation, told the Colorado Times Recorder that Gardner, a Republican, misrepresented a decade-old interview to attack Hickenlooper, his likely Democratic opponent in November’s election.

Gardner’s attack came during a virtual campaign event with Republican supporters in southern Colorado last week, in which the first-term senator recounted being “offended years ago” with Hickenlooper’s characterization of rural Coloradans.

“I was offended years ago when John Hickenlooper was asked to describe rural Colorado he said that we were just a bunch of backwards-looking people,” said Gardner during the virtual event. “That’s what he thinks about rural Colorado–we’re just a bunch of backwards-looking people and we have to change our mind in order to stop being backwards. Remember what happened in rural Colorado. You had a whole bunch of counties that tried to secede under his leadership and what he did.”

Gardner’s claim that the Hickenlooper was “asked to describe rural Colorado” is false, based on a recording of the interview, which took place in 2009 at the opening gala for the Denver headquarters of the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

The interviewer actually asked then Denver Mayor Hickenlooper why the organization chose to locate in Denver rather Wyoming where the Shepard family lived and where Matthew was murdered.

“I think a couple things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming,” Hickenlooper began. “Colorado and Wyoming are very similar. We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico.”

“We’re neighbors,” said the interviewer.

“Right, well in a sense we’re all community,” Hickenlooper replied. “At the same time Denver has I think one of the more robust politically active gay lesbian, bisexual & transgender communities really in the United States.”

Marsden of the Matthew Shepard Foundation remembers the conversation well.


Cory Gardner Says Hickenlooper’s Silence Means He Must Agree With Whatever He Hasn’t Criticized

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has been notoriously difficult to reach for comment recently, particularly when it comes to criticizing President Trump.

Gardner’s reluctance to publicly cross his party’s leader has been widely reported, but that didn’t stop him from attacking his likely election opponent, former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, for failing to do the same.

Asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt if Hickenlooper has called on Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to “get out of the way” [referring to negotiations over the most recent COVID-19 stimulus bill], Gardner derided Hickenlooper’s “absolute silence.”

Gardner went on to claim that Hickenlooper’s silence must mean that he agrees with those he has failed to criticize, in this case Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi.

Hewitt: “Has your opponent, John Hickenlooper, I mean, he hasn’t won yet, but has John Hickenlooper called on Chuck Schumer to get the hell out of the way?”

Gardner: “Silence. There’s absolute silence because they must appreciate the politics, the style. They must like holding the American small businesses hostage to a political outcome that quite frankly, I don’t know if it’s in disagreement. There’s no Republicans out there saying, ‘Well, hospitals don’t need more money.’ We ran out of money in a fund that was approved unanimously two, three weeks ago. And now they’re holding it up. You know, you look at how many millions and millions of jobs have been saved by the paycheck protection program. And they would rather play politics.”

Gardner’s claim that not publicly criticizing a politician’s negotiating style is tantamount to agreement is striking considering his own behavior in a very similar situation.

Last October, Gardner repeatedly refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether he believed it was appropriate for President Trump to have asked the Ukranian president to investigate Joe Biden.

Reporter Joe St. George’s video immediately went viral, generating 2.7 million views and numerous national headlines over the following months. Gardner has yet to answer the question.

Attempts to reach Gardner’s office via phone and email were unsuccessful. This article will be updated with any response received.

Watch Hewitt’s full interview with Gardner here.

Research & Rhetoric: How Republicans Manufactured a Political Attack on John Hickenlooper

(Read this – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Even in its purest form, political opposition research is by its nature a fishing expedition. Researchers scour public records for evidence of lawbreaking or wrongdoing by their target. Any evidence found can then be used for legal action, media pitches or paid advertising.

When a political goal is prioritized over factual accuracy, however, then the endeavor is less about catching fish and more about slinging mud. How much mud depends on how much those paying for it can afford.   

In the case of former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO), a trio of conservative attack groups sprung into existence to turn what might have been a standard political hit based on public records into a red herring about September 11th.

The groups have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into amplifying a single misleading news headline that created a false impression that an obscure line item in the governor’s budget has something to do with the terrorist attacks of 2001.

That misnomer about 9/11 has not been repeated by the mainstream media since first appearing in print last fall, but that has not stopped the groups from airing that attack for weeks.

The catalyst for these relentless ads? A political research project that started over two years ago.

In spring of 2018, more than a year before then-Gov. Hickenlooper would declare his candidacy for the presidency, national GOP opposition research firm America Rising requested records of all his out-of-state travel expenses while in office. He wasn’t the only target; the Republican firm was looking for dirt on all the Democratic contenders. Furthermore, his name was already in the mix as a potential challenger to Sen Cory Gardner. As a former Governor, Hickenlooper traveled extensively to promote Colorado’s interests across the nation and overseas. Within a week, the state produced 161 pages of records. 

Seven months later, Republican lawyer and former Speaker of the Colorado statehouse Frank McNulty, who had already been working with the same public records of travel documents obtained by America Rising, filed paperwork for a nonprofit organization, the Public Trust Institute (PTI). 


Hickenlooper Raises $4.1M; Gardner $2.5M; Romanoff $420k

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper owns the Q1 fundraising period.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper may have set a new fundraising record for a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Colorado with $4.1 million raised in Q1 — besting the $4 million quarter posted by former Sen. Mark Udall in Q3 2014. Hickenlooper also outraised incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) by about 65%.

Hickenlooper’s big Q1 is significantly better than the $2.8 million he raised in Q4 2019, which is all the more impressive considering that in-person fundraisers weren’t really possible in the month of March because of coronavirus.

Gardner’s campaign, meanwhile, reporting raising less than $2.5 million in Q1. It’s worth repeating that Hickenlooper crushed Gardner’s fundraising number despite the coronavirus quarantine and Gardner’s incumbent status (and Gardner’s in-person fundraiser with President Trump). Gardner’s campaign still has nearly $10 million in the bank, but Hickenlooper has essentially gotten halfway to that number in less than 8 months.

As for Democrat Andrew Romanoff, he continues to struggle on the fundraising front. Romanoff raised about $420k in Q1 — about one-tenth of Hickenlooper’s total — leaving his campaign with roughly $805k in the bank (Hickenlooper has about $4.9 million cash on hand). If you’re looking for a silver lining for the former House Speaker, his campaign at least spent less money than it raised this quarter (which was not the case in Q4 2019). As we wrote in this space last October regarding the Democratic field of candidates, there’s Hickenlooper…and then there’s everyone else.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: John Hickenlooper

We mentioned on Friday that we would have some bonus content for The Get More Smarter Podcast, and here it is: An in-depth interview with current U.S. Senate candidate and former Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Listen in as host Jason Bane talks with Hickenlooper about campaigning during coronavirus; what he thinks about the government response to COVID-19; what it’s like to be a Governor in a time of crisis; and the challenges of getting your hair cut during a quarantine.

If you missed last week’s episode, check it out when you’re done here.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at

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Hickenlooper Makes Ballot, Exits Assembly

UPDATE: According to the Hickenlooper campaign, they collected a total of 14,925 valid signatures for a validity rate of 86%. Here’s how that breaks down by congressional district (1,500 is required):

♦ Congressional District 1: 2,220

♦ Congressional District 2: 2,199

♦ Congressional District 3: 2,206

♦ Congressional District 4: 2,054

♦ Congressional District 5: 2,210

♦ Congressional District 6: 1,979

♦ Congressional District 7: 2,057


Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, former Gov. John Hickenlooper has qualified for the ballot by submitting the required number of valid petition signatures in record time–and will withdraw from the now-imperiled assembly process:

Since he’s already qualified for the ballot, Hickenlooper told Colorado Politics he plans to withdraw from the assembly process, which has been upended in recent days as the state scrambles to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Today we received word that, thanks to the tremendous work of our team and grassroots volunteers, we have qualified for the U.S. Senate ballot,” Hickenlooper said in statement.

“Because we have already earned a place on the ballot and ongoing public health and safety concerns, we will be withdrawing from the assembly process at this time. This will allow us to direct our resources towards building a campaign ready to win the nomination in June and defeat Senator Gardner in November.”

This year’s non-presidential precinct caucuses were very poorly attended, and at this point it’s unknown exactly how the assembly process is going to proceed during the ongoing public health emergency. There’s little question the present complicating factors are disruptive to every candidate and every campaign–but candidates who are better organized are still going to have the advantage.

Hickenlooper Submits Petitions in (Probably) Record Time

The U.S. Senate campaign for former Gov. John Hickenlooper today filed petition signatures for inclusion on the Democratic Primary ballot in June. Hickenlooper’s campaign had previously said that it would pursue both the petition signature and caucus routes for ballot access.

The Hickenlooper campaign had until March 17 to submit petition signatures for ballot access; Hick’s camp began collecting signatures on Jan. 21, which means it took less than a month to reach the goal (candidates for U.S. Senate must collect 1,500 valid signatures from each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts). It’s difficult to say for sure that Hickenlooper set the mark for the shortest time required for a statewide candidate to collect petition signatures — there are no real records for this — but we certainly can’t recall another campaign putting signatures together this quickly.

Ethics Complaint Against Hickenlooper Falls Apart

We’ve been following the silly saga of an ethics complaint filed against former Gov. John Hickenlooper by a partisan “watchdog” organization ever since allegations against the now-U.S. Senate candidate first appeared in late 2018. These charges always looked flimsy, and they are now completely dissolving as we get closer to a conclusive hearing by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission in March.

“The Public Trust Institute…acknowledged that it had no evidence…”

— The Colorado Sun (via “The Unaffiliated” newsletter, 2/14/20)

This “ethics complaint” was filed in October 2018 by an organization called The Public Trust Institute, a right-wing group headed up by the shady former Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty. Hickenlooper and allies have long argued that the complaint was nothing but a politically-motivated hit job, and it’s always been tough to disagree; The Public Trust Institute, after all, was created literally two days before it filed the Hickenlooper allegations. Subsequent reports have revealed that the information provided in the ethics complaint came from America Rising PAC, a well-known Republican opposition research firm.

Frank McNulty

Unfortunately for PTI and America Rising PAC, no amount of research can dig up facts that don’t exist. Check out this paragraph from “The Unaffiliated,” a political newsletter published by The Colorado Sun (no link available):

This week, in a little-noticed move, the commission dismissed elements of key claims made in the complaint regarding the airfare and hotel for Hickenlooper’s trip to the Bilderberg conference in Italy, the cost of a hotel during a trip to Connecticut and the use of a private airline terminal in New Jersey. The Public Trust Institute, the dark-money funded conservative political group that filed the complaint in 2018, acknowledged that it had no evidence to show those travel arrangements amounted to an inappropriate gift to the governor and the state’s Independent Ethics Commission dismissed those matters. [Pols emphasis]

From the beginning, the entire purpose of this “ethics complaint” was to generate some negative headlines for Hickenlooper that could be exploited by Republicans in 2020 — whether Hickenlooper was a candidate for President or for U.S. Senate. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) eventually ended up spending less than $1,000 on a half-assed digital advertising campaign that was abandoned just days later.

It is absurd that an “ethics complaint” supported with zero evidence could generate media coverage of any kind, but McNulty and friends worked Colorado reporters hard to squeeze out a tiny bit of hysteria by insisting that ignoring the Hickenlooper allegations was an example of liberal media bias. McNulty’s biggest success was to get The Denver Post to start referring to money allocated to Colorado through “The Bush Tax Cuts” as a “Post-9/11 Recovery Fund,” which then emboldened them to allege that Hickenlooper’s legal defense was coming from a fund meant for 9/11 survivors. This was nonsense, but it generated a few news clips nonetheless.

The editorial board of The Denver Post was correct in November 2019 when it wrote, “the most sensational accusations [in this complaint] are easy to dismiss.” Common sense should have prevailed among journalists by then, even as McNulty and pals like Suzanne Staiert furiously tried to keep the fires burning, but the hint of potential scandal in an otherwise boring U.S. Senate primary helped the story to limp along for a bit longer.

Anybody can file an “ethics complaint” with the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission — you can do it yourself right now by just downloading the complaint form. The moral of this story is simple: A mere complaint doth not a scandal make.

Also, stop taking calls from Frank McNulty.

Hickenlooper Posts Massive Fundraising Haul

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper

Democrat John Hickenlooper released some jaw-dropping fundraising numbers today in the race for U.S. Senate, with $2.8 million raised in the last three months of 2019.

According to a press release:

Ninety-three percent of contributions the campaign received were $200 or less, and the average grassroots contribution was $26.

This quarterly total sets a record for Senate campaigns in Colorado in the off year. In 2019, Hickenlooper received contributions from each of the state’s 64 counties and $0 from corporate PACs.

Hickenlooper for Colorado heads into the election year with $3.2 million cash on hand.

Hickenlooper’s $2.8 million quarter in Q4 (2019) is easily the best quarterly fundraising period for an off-year election in Colorado — particularly for a non-incumbent candidate. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) raised $2.4 million in Q3 last year with the power of incumbency and a Republican Senate Majority in his favor.

Hickenlooper’s Q4 bests his initial fundraising haul of $2.1 million in Q3, which itself was more than four times the amount raised by his closest Democratic competitor (Andrew Romanoff).

We’re still waiting to see what Gardner raised in Q4. For comparison’s sake, Arizona Republican Sen. Martha McSally raised more than $4 million in Q4 but still trailed Democratic challenger Mark Kelly, who hauled in an incredible $6.3 million.

There’s Hickenlooper, Then There’s Everyone Else

Democrat Andrew Romanoff filed his Q3 fundraising report just under the deadline on Tuesday, submitting his numbers at 11:32 pm (according to the FEC). Romanoff’s report — $503k raised and a total cash-on-hand (COH) amount of $725k — concludes the Q3 fundraising period for the 8 remaining Democratic U.S. Senate candidates.

The numbers speak for themselves:


As you can see from the chart above, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is in a completely different stratosphere than the rest of the Democratic field. You could add up the total COH amounts for every candidate not named Hickenlooper — and then double that total — and you still wouldn’t reach the amount of money Hickenlooper has in the bank after just five weeks as a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper

Only Romanoff is anywhere near Hickenlooper’s fundraising figures (the rest of the field could barely combine to run a competitive STATE Senate race), yet Hickenlooper more than quadrupled Romanoff’s returns in a matter of weeks. The writing is on the wall regardless of whether Romanoff chooses to read the words himself. After about nine months as a U.S. Senate candidate, Romanoff is consistently turning in fundraising quarters that would be solid for a competitive Congressional race.

You know how often a candidate ends up winning an election after being exponentially outraised by an opponent? About as regularly as incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) gives an honest answer to a question. Can it be done? Sure. Is it likely to happen? Nope.

As we’ve said many times in this space, campaign fundraising is about much more than just paying staffers and keeping the lights on — it’s a barometer of the candidate’s appeal. People generally give money to campaigns that they think have the best chance of winning; it’s human nature to support the strongest perceived candidate. In the first congressional district, for example, weak fundraising was a clear sign for Crisanta Duran that her challenge of incumbent Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) wasn’t going anywhere. DeGette wasn’t knocking it out of the park on the fundraising front, but by comparison she was well ahead of her challenger.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that Hickenlooper is clearly the candidate best equipped to defeat Gardner, who raised $2.45 million in Q3 and is sitting on a warchest of $6.7 million. If beating Gardner is the primary concern for Democrats in 2020, then Hickenlooper is unquestionably the right opponent. If it’s about something else…well, that’s a question only Romanoff can answer.