Cool Story, But YOU VOTED AGAINST THAT

UPDATE: It looks like Boebert already did it, taking credit for $77.5 million in federal grants “benefiting CO-03”.

 

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Last summer we wrote about federal funding “earmarks,” also known as “Member Designated Projects” and “Community Project Funding Requests,” that included an oft-quoted graphic showing how Republicans in Colorado’s congressional delegation were responsible for all of $0 in federal funding returning to our state…

 

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Dahlkemper Won’t Run in CO-07; Path Clear for Pettersen

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood)

The dominoes continue to fall in the wake of Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s surprise retirement announcement earlier this month — and they keep falling in favor of State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood).

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper has decided against running for the Colorado congressional seat held by retiring Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Instead, the Lakewood Democrat plans to stick with her bid for re-election, she told Colorado Politics.

Dahlkemper, a former member of the Jefferson County school board, said last week that she was considering joining the Democratic primary after Perlmutter’s surprise announcement on Jan. 10 that he wouldn’t seek a ninth term representing the Jefferson County-based 7th Congressional District.

“I’m lov[ing] serving as a county commissioner and working on issues that matter in Jefferson County — reducing wildfire risk, expanding open space and trails, helping small businesses and struggling families navigate COVID recovery and more,” Dahlkemper said in an email. “My focus is on re-election this November. Even though I’ve won two countywide elections in Jeffco, I’m not taking anything for granted this November.”

Dahlkemper’s decision to stay out of the Democratic Primary in CO-07 is significant news. Dahlkemper is the wife of former state lawmaker Mike Feeley, who famously lost the first race for CO-07 in 2002 to Republican Bob Beauprez by a mere 121 votes; she has built up a solid political career of her own after serving on the Jefferson County School Board and winning a seat on the Jeffco Board of County Commissioners in 2018.

Pettersen shot out of the gates quickly in CO-07, officially announcing her candidacy one day after Perlmutter’s retirement news broke. Her campaign promptly rolled out a massive list of major Democratic endorsements, followed by an announcement that she had banked $200,000 within five days of launching.

Pettersen may yet face a Primary challenge in June, but it would be tough for any Democrat to catch up to her now. State Rep. Brianna Titone (D-Arvada) has talked about running but doesn’t have the same campaign infrastructure in place. We’ve heard whisper of a few other potential names on the Democratic side, though nothing concrete. Anybody still pondering a decision had better move quickly with precinct caucuses beginning in early March.

On the Republican side, Laurel Imer and Erik Aadland have been in the race since 2021. State Rep. Colin Larson (R-Littleton) said last week that he planned to make a decision on a potential campaign by the end of this week; according to Luning, Larson is still thinking it through and now says he’ll have something to say “next week.”

MAGA Candidates Drop Craziest Anti-Abortion Bill Yet

Rep. Ron Hanks (R).

Against the backdrop of the 6-3 conservative U.S. Supreme Court hearing arguments in cases that could well mean the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights for all Americans, Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly are back in 2022 with an assortment of anti-abortion bills. Former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville has reintroduced his perennial bill making abortion a class 1 felony, and as we discussed yesterday, CD-8 candidate and Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer signed on as the Senate sponsor of a reprise “abortion surveillance” bill similar to one that died in the 2021 session.

But folks, none of those bills can hold a proverbial candle to House Bill 22-1079, sponsored by two upwardly aspiring GOP House members, Rep. Dave Williams running in CD-5 and Rep. Ron Hanks in the race for the GOP nomination to take on incumbent U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. House Bill 1079, “Concerning Abolishing Abortion in Colorado,” takes the fight to ban abortion “from fertilization to natural death” to a disturbing new level:

The bill requires the state to enforce homicide and assault provisions without regard to the opinion of the United States supreme court in Roe v. Wade and other supreme court decisions, past and future.

The bill authorizes the state to disregard any federal court decision that purports to enjoin or void this requirement and subjects a Colorado judge to impeachment or removal [Pols emphasis] if the judge purports to enjoin, stay, overrule, or void the requirement.

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

In short, what we have here is an assertion of state sovereignty over federal law, following the anachronistic idea that states can simply nullify laws they don’t like. It’s an argument that was mostly settled by the American Civil War, and again in the 1958 Supreme Court case of Cooper v. Aaron–only much more recently becoming a renewed legal debate topic as right-wing controlled legislatures have attempted bills like the one above.

This bill will of course not live through its first committee hearing in the Democratic-controlled Colorado House, let alone pass into law where it would be subjected to a court challenge. But when you consider that this legislation instructing the state to defy the U.S. Supreme Court is sponsored by two Colorado Republican candidates for federal office, it’s more than a little concerning. It’s another stark reminder how the abortion rights Coloradans were assured for years would never be in danger no matter how many Republicans got elected are in grave danger today.

And it shows again how abortion, an issue that has ruined Colorado Republican candidates and galvanized Colorado voters to turn out to protect abortion rights over and over in general elections, is perceived completely differently in the context of a Republican primary. Williams and Hanks don’t consider this issue to be a liability–in fact their chances in the primaries they’re running in improve the more extreme a position they take, and they’re simply not strategizing beyond that date. In a Republican primary, anti-abortion extremism is the coin of the realm, and that’s why Neville’s bill merely making an abortion a felony wasn’t enough this year.

Like Maya Angelou said, when they show you this clearly what they stand for, believe them.

CD-8 Contender Kirkmeyer Jumps On Anti-Abortion Bill

Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R).

For the second year in a row, GOP Rep. Stephanie Luck representing Otero along with portions of Fremont, and Pee-ebla Counties is the prime sponsor of legislation just introduced into the Colorado House that would require doctors to supply data on every abortion in Colorado to a new database set up by the state. Failure to make these reports would subject doctors and nurses to administrative sanction under the state’s malpractice statute. Rep. Luck is also the sponsor for a second straight year of a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for COVID patients, but we’ll save that for another blog post.

Because this year unlike last, Rep. Luck has a Senate sponsor for her anti-abortion measure–aspiring CD-8 candidate and state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer:

To be clear, this bill has approximately one-half snowball’s chance in Hell of passing the Democratic-dominated House and making it to the Senate. But what we have here is another opportunity for a candidate for higher office in the legislature to plant the flag on an issue near and dear to Republican primary voters–much like Reps. Ron Hanks and Dave Williams did yesterday during the debate over a voting rights resolution.

Kirkmeyer is competing against Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann to be the GOP’s “corporate wing” opponent to hard-charging conservative Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, the natural choice of the Republican grassroots and loudest supporter of ex-President Donald Trump. Although Kirkmeyer has a far-right record of her own to run on as one of the principal supporters of the ill-fated attempt by northeastern counties to secede from the rest of Colorado a few years ago, the tree of GOP primary victory must be watered with the blood dripping from chuncks of wedge-issue red meat.

Legislative grandstanding is a trick Lori Saine knows well, of course, and neither Saine nor Kulmann have it in their bag in 2022. If Kirkmeyer wants traction in this three-way race, she’ll milk that bully pulpit for all it’s worth.

All the while serving as a warning to general election voters, who in Colorado overwhelmingly support abortion rights and are more aware of the threat to abortion rights this year than perhaps ever before. But that’s a conversation for after June 28th.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Jan. 19)

You’re gonna need a coat today. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

As The New York Times reports, the U.S. Senate is debating a voting rights bill that might be DOA:

Democrats are pushing forward with what appears to be a futile bid to enact voting rights protections over Republican opposition, planning a vote Wednesday evening on legislation that they say is urgently needed to counter widespread balloting suppression efforts as they move toward a showdown over the Senate filibuster rules that the G.O.P. has repeatedly used to block it.

Senators will spend the day debating the bill, which the House approved last week, and arguing over the very nature of their institution as they clash over the rights of the minority to thwart legislation, and whether the filibuster — a storied Senate tool for asserting them — needs to be weakened.

Though they brought up the legislation on Tuesday using a procedural shortcut that avoided an initial Republican blockade, Democrats were far short of the votes needed to win its passage over unified G.O.P. opposition, and lacked the votes needed in their own party to change Senate rules and enact it unilaterally.

Still, they announced that they would mount a long-shot effort to establish an exception to the filibuster for voting rights bills, requiring opponents to hold the floor for an old-style “talking filibuster” that would allow a final, 51-senator majority vote — instead of the 60 now needed — to move forward after all senators had exhausted their opportunities to speak.

If Democrats can’t get Republicans to do the right thing on voting rights, it appears that the backup plan is to at least force them to go on record with their opposition.

In related news, the progressive political group Emily’s List announced that it will no longer support Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, on account of the fact that Sinema is not really a progressive lawmaker anymore.

 

As Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters could soon have a lot of extra time on her hands:

About the same time the Mesa County commissioners were voting to remove Clerk Tina Peters permanently as the top election official on Tuesday, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office filed a new lawsuit seeking to do the same thing.

Similar to its lawsuit against Peters last year that led to her being temporarily removed as the county’s designated election official for the 2021 Coordinated Election, this new lawsuit details things Peters has done and said in an effort to show she isn’t trustworthy to oversee elections.

Peters is facing numerous investigations into possible criminal misconduct and wire fraud, including a local grand jury probe into allegations she and at least four others engaged in tampering with election equipment and official misconduct.

Click here to read more about Peters and her escalating problems.

 

Colorado Republicans in the state legislature seem determined to prove to voters that they are completely unserious. This headline from The Denver Post speaks volumes:

Via The Denver Post (1/19/22)

 

Colorado will provide free KN95 surgical masks thanks in part to a federal government subsidy. Denver7 has more on where you can get your masks.

 

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood) has confirmed her status as the frontrunner in CO-07, as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Democratic congressional candidate Brittany Pettersen amassed more than $200,000 in the first five days of her bid for the Colorado seat held by retiring U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, her campaign said.

The Lakewood state senator had received nearly 500 donations through Sunday since announcing her candidacy a week ago, her campaign said, bringing in $157,325 on top of the $44,773 she had left over from a previous run for the same office.

“We did it!” Pettersen said, announcing the total in an email to supporters. “Our campaign has $202,099 in the bank, and we did it in just 5 days!”

Last week Pettersen also announced a slate of 72 endorsements in a 72-hour period, including high-profile Democrats such as House Speaker Alec Garnett.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Jan. 14)

If you have a few spare billion dollars in your couch cushions, you should consider buying the Denver Broncos. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

 Governor Jared Polis delivered the annual “State of the State” speech on Thursday. Here’s coverage from Colorado Public Radio, The Denver Post, Denver7, and The Colorado Sun, among others.

 

Congressional Democrats are hoping to add paid leave and increased sfunding for COVID-19 prevention and treatment to a new long-term spending package.

 

As CNN reports, it’s looking more and more like Russia will invade Ukraine in the coming weeks:

A senior US official warned Thursday that the “drumbeat of war is sounding loud” following a week’s worth of diplomacy between the West and Russia that wrapped up Thursday.

The effort ended without clear breakthroughs over the tens of thousands of Russian troops amassed on the Ukrainian border, leaving prospects for future diplomacy and de-escalation in doubt as Russian officials suggested they could soon turn to military options.

Both US and Russian officials sounded a pessimistic note over the talks following Thursday’s meeting in Vienna at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). It was the third session that capped a week of intensive meetings that the United States and its NATO allies hoped could spur Russia to pursue a path of “de-escalation and diplomacy” rather than mobilizing the tens of thousands of Russian troops whose presence has swelled along Ukraine’s borders.

But Russian officials reacted with frustration and impatience coming out of the meetings, suggesting they were poised to abandon discussions over the US and NATO’s refusal to entertain Moscow’s key demands: A guarantee that Ukraine will never be permitted to join NATO and that the alliance roll back its expansion in Eastern Europe. The US and its NATO allies have repeatedly said such proposals from Moscow are non-starters.

As The Washington Post reports, Russia is working on creating a reason for their own invasion: 

The Russian government has sent operatives into eastern Ukraine in preparation for potential sabotage operations that would serve as a pretext for invasion, the Biden administration said on Friday.

“We have information that indicates Russia has already prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation in eastern Ukraine,” a U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity under ground rules established by the Biden administration, said in an email. “The operatives are trained in urban warfare and in using explosives to carry out acts of sabotage against Russia’s own proxy-forces.”

Also on Friday, Ukraine government websites were hit by a cyberattack that sure looks like it came from Russia.

 

Democrats in Colorado’s Congressional Delegation are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate local police efforts after a man with a history of noted trouble went on a shooting spree in Denver and Lakewood last month. The letter from Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter is aimed at trying to make sure that there were no information-sharing gaps between police agencies that might have helped prevent the tragedy. 

 

Republican State Rep. Mark Baisley has had an, um, interesting week. First he proposed wrapping voting machines in tin foil to discourage people from putting them in the microwave, or something, and then he took to the podium at a GOP press conference to inarticulately explain his upcoming legislation to ignore scientific evidence and declare that natural immunity from COVID-19 is just as good as getting vaccinated. 

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Jan. 13)

Governor Jared Polis delivers his “State of the State” speech today. In Iowa, they call it the “Condition of the State.” See, you’re already More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

The Denver Post updates on the first day of Colorado’s legislative session, which (as always) was mostly about the speechifying:

Colorado’s 2022 legislative session started Wednesday under the shadow of a still critical pandemic, and with party leaders primed to spend months debating how to apportion a historically flush state budget, and make the state safer and more affordable.

The parties identify many of the same pressing problems, but present largely opposing ideas to address them. For the fourth straight year, however, Democrats control both the state House and Senate, plus the governor’s office, so they can always claim final say if they want it.

It’s evident once again that the COVID-19 pandemic is one subject area with little common ground. The politicization of the pandemic was clear as Democrats in both chambers donned masks and all but a couple of Republicans did not. Health care workers administered rapid virus tests outside the Capitol, and guests — unlike lawmakers — were required to mask up indoors. However, partitions between lawmakers’ desks that were taken down at the end of last year’s session did not go back up.

“Health care and public health will continue to guide many of the decisions we make in this building,” House Speaker Alec Garnett of Denver said. “Despite our exhaustion and fatigue, COVID has not relented yet.”

As the Post points out, this will be the last legislative session for many familiar names who are term-limited in 2022, including House Speaker Alec Garnett, House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, Senate President Leroy Garcia, and Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert.

Elsewhere, 9News previews today’s “State of the State” speech from Gov. Jared Polis.

 

As The Washington Post reports, Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema once again confirmed that the United States Senate is dumb:

Democrats’ hopes of finally pushing through voting rights legislation after months of Republican opposition appeared to be fatally wounded Thursday after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) announced she would not support changing Senate rules that have long allowed a minority of senators to block legislation.

Sinema’s position, outlined in a midday floor speech, echoed her previous public statements where she defended the filibuster, the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule, as a tool to facilitate bipartisan cooperation and guard against wild swings in federal policy.

But the circumstances in which she reiterated it — as Senate Democratic leaders prepared to launch a decisive floor debate and less than an hour before President Biden was scheduled to arrive on Capitol Hill to deliver a final, forceful appeal for action — put an exclamation point on her party’s long and fruitless effort to counter restrictive Republican-passed state voting laws.

“While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country,” Sinema said.

What, exactly, is Sinema’s suggestion instead? We’ll let you know when we hear it. But at least West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin approves!

 

Grocery workers at King Soopers stores in Colorado are on strike after failing to reach agreement on fixing what the employees call “unfair labor practices.” As Axios Denver reports, the picketing could go on for several weeks at minimum. 

 

The case of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and her efforts to tamper with voting equipment following the 2020 election is headed to a grand jury. And, as The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Peters rejected the state’s offer of a settlement agreement that would allow her access back into her own Elections Division, but only under strict supervision.

Peters said in a press release Wednesday that the “deal” the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office offered her wasn’t much of a deal, in part, because it called for her to repudiate some of her statements about election integrity.

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) continues to raise big bucks in his bid for re-election. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Bennet raked in more than $2.1 million in the final three months of 2021, surpassing the Colorado Democrat’s own record for an off-year quarterly haul and boosting his re-election war chest to more than $4.7 million, his campaign said Wednesday.

The sum brings Bennet’s fundraising total for the 2022 midterm cycle to roughly $8.7 million as the primary field of his potential Republican challengers is still taking shape.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate/aspiring motivational speaker Gino Campana reported about $950,000 in receipts for Q4 — $500,000 of which came from himself.

 

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Tancredo, Soper Line Up For Lori Saine

Tom Tancredo, Matt Soper.

A press release from Republican CD-8 contender Lori Saine, fighting out of Firestone, Colorado for the GOP nomination in one of America’s most competitive new congressional districts, announces the support of a big name in Republican primary voter eyes–former Congressman and anti-immigrant firebrand Rep. Tom Tancredo:

Former Congressman Tom Tancredo is leading an all-star cast of conservative leaders endorsing Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine in the Republican Primary for Colorado’s new Eighth Congressional District.

“Progressives have had their way for decades no matter which party was in charge. Now the left sees that America is waking up to Socialism. But too often Republicans are afraid to reverse what the Democrats did. Not Lori Saine,” Congressman Tancredo noted. “Lori Saine’s got the record.”

Tancredo, who led the fight in Congress stopping former president George W. Bush’s plans to give amnesty and eventually citizenship for millions of illegals, said that “people can promise they’re strong conservatives, but Lori Saine gets things done and moves the ball for freedom.”

Tom Tancredo made himself unwelcome in the Bush II White House for his relentless and frequently tasteless anti-immigration posturing, but in the 15 years since then, the Republican Party has undeniably shifted both ideologically and in terms of coarseness toward Tancredo’s style. Although Tancredo’s own presidential and then Colorado gubernatorial aspirations sputtered out, he remains a popular figure among the proudly deplorable Colorado Republican rank-and-file.

In addition to Tancredo, Saine announced the endorsements of a number of former House colleagues:

Also backing Saine are State Representatives Mark Baisley, Kim Ransom, Shane Sandridge, Richard Holtorf, Patrick Neville and Matt Soper, Platteville Councilman Troy Blum, Dacono Mayor Pro-Tem Kathryn Wittman and Dacono Councilmember Jackie Thomas.

In addition, Saine is endorsed by former State Senators Dave Schulteis and Kevin Lundberg as well as author and Second Amendment Activist John Lott Jr., author of “More Guns, Less Crime.”

While most of these endorsers are hard-right usual suspects who were Saine’s close allies in the Colorado House, Rep. Matt Soper stands out as an odd match–that is, if you’re still operating on the impression that Soper represents some kind of newer more intelligent model of Republican. But the truth is, Saine’s work while in office with the infamous American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) special interest bill-mill has given her connections outside the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners/Neville clan machine that Saine has always been associated with.

Again, none of these endorsements are worth much in the general election, in fact they’ll be liabilities to shove down the memory like Lauren Boebert’s support for “QAnon.” For the purposes of the CD-8 Republican primary, however, these are influential voices lining up in Saine’s column. Lori Saine, part of a slate of Colorado MAGA candidates running in Republican primaries in CD-5 and the U.S. Senate, know their target audience.

Pro Tip: Don’t Spring a Pop Quiz After Your Political Speech

Former Ft. Collins City Council member Gino Campana is one of a handful of Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate and the opportunity to lose in November to incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. Campana is fairly new to campaigning for a bigger office, so he’s still working out the nuances of how to do things like communicating a coherent message and not boring the hell out of small crowds of people.

Campana was speaking to a group of Republicans at a U.S. Senate candidate forum/COVID-19 superspreader event on Tuesday night in Jefferson County when he decided to spring a pop quiz on the audience. It…did not go well:

You really need to listen to the audio to get the full #FAIL experience. Campana asks the crowd to essentially repeat what he just told them about himself, using a line that should never be repeated by a candidate for political office anywhere, ever again:

I’m Gino Campana, and I’m running for the U.S. Senate to do what?

After a moment of awkward silence, someone in the crowd sputters out — in a completely unintentionally-hilarious manner — “Uh, to…beat…Michael Bennet?”

Are you not entertained?

Note that Campana is pounding on the table as he asks these questions, as though making loud noises will help shake out the answers he’s looking for. Campana then prompts:

And???

This follow-up question elicits only crickets, so Campana provides the answer:

Fight for the American dream, guys. You heard it a lot tonight.

Apparently not, Gino. You might have SAID it a lot, but nobody seems to have been listening. But good call on admonishing the crowd for not paying sufficient attention to your rambling nonsense!

Should you find yourself running for political office in the near future, please: Don’t do this. You’ll thank us later.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 12)

Sine Hi-ya? The traditional final legislative day is called “Sine Die,” but we don’t know what the equivalent term is for the first day of session. We’ll just go with this. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

 

LET’S GET READY TO STUMBLLLEEE…

The 2022 Colorado legislative session formally kicks off today. Colorado Republicans have been using their time this week mostly to kick themselves in the ass.

House Minority Leader Hugh McKean thought it would be a good idea to compare Democratic policies to actual rape as a guest on a right-wing talk show.

McKean’s rape comments after he and other Republicans tried really, really hard to pretend that Democratic priorities laid out on Monday were all just ideas that had been stolen from Republicans, or something. In other words, as soon as Republicans start voting against Democratic bills, they’re going to have to explain why they are opposing what they claim are their own ideas.

As for the policies expected to be tacked in the legislative session, here’s a good primer from Colorado Public Radio.

 

► President Joe Biden on Tuesday used a major speech to call for changes to the Senate filibuster rules in order to pass election reform legislation. From The Washington Post:

Biden threw his full support Tuesday behind changing the Senate filibuster to ease passage of voting rights bills, using a major speech in Atlanta to endorse an idea increasingly backed by Democrats and civil rights activists seeking momentum on what has been an intractable issue.

The remarks from Biden, who was a senator for 36 years, amounted to his strongest endorsement yet of changes he had resisted for most of his career. The president made clear that he, like many others in his party, now believes the filibuster is being abused to block legislation that is fundamental to democracy.

“The United States Senate, designed to be the world’s greatest deliberative body, has been rendered a shell of its former self,” Biden told hundreds of college students, civil rights activists and elected officials at the Atlanta University Center. “I believe that the threat to our democracy is so grave that we must find a way to pass these voting rights bills.”

Whether or not this new push to change the filibuster will succeed depends in part (again) on West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who is not making very good arguments in opposition.

 

Grocery workers at King Soopers stores in Colorado are on strike after failing to reach agreement on fixing what the employees call “unfair labor practices.” Fortunately, you have plenty of other options for grocery shopping if you want to support the workers. The Denver Post has more details in a handy “need to know” story.

 

Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen jumped into the now-open race in CO-07 on Tuesday. Pettersen is the early favorite to succeed retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

 

 Former President Trump cut short an interview with National Public Radio after being asked to defend his “Big Lie” nonsense.

 

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Brittany Pettersen Announces Run for Congress in CO-07

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen and son Davis.

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen officially announced today that she will seek the now-open seat in CO-07 being vacated by the retirement of eight-term Rep. Ed Perlmutter.

As John Aguilar reports for The Denver Post:

“Getting good people elected to office is more urgent than ever,” said the state senator from Lakewood, who served in the state House as well. “When I see threats to the very fabric of our democracy, the stakes couldn’t be higher.”

Pettersen, 40, is so far the most prominent Democrat to go after the 7th Congressional District seat that’s been held by Perlmutter since 2007. He announced Monday that he plans to retire when his term ends in January 2023.

In her 10 years serving in the state legislature, Pettersen said several issues have risen for her as critical: mental health, gun safety, education and opioid addiction. Her mother became “wildly addicted” to pain pills after hurting her back and it took years to get her the treatment she needed.

“It was through my life experiences that I saw how absolutely broken our behavioral services system is,” Pettersen said. “I have taken my story to fight for others.”

She is also proud of her work on getting Colorado’s red flag gun bill passed in 2019. The controversial bill created the legal framework for judges to order the removal of firearms from people they determine to be at risk of harming themselves or others.

Pettersen’s entry into the CO-07 race is no surprise; the Jefferson County native was briefly a candidate for Congress in 2017 and has been open about her interest in eventually succeeding Perlmutter. As Pettersen noted in a press release this morning:

“Congressman Perlmutter’s leadership embodies his love of our state and our country. Ed has always reminded me, both through his words and his actions, that being elected isn’t about him, it’s about fighting for the good people of the 7th Congressional District to make their lives better.”

Pettersen’s announcement included endorsements from several prominent Democrats, including State Senators Jessie Danielson, Janet Buckner, and Dominick Moreno. That show of support, coupled with her quick jump into the race, establishes Pettersen as the early favorite in a newly-redrawn district that stretches further south than it has since the seat was first created in 2002 but is still centered around Jefferson County. According to the Colorado Redistricting Commission’s analysis of recent elections, the new CO-07 favors Democrats by 7 percentage points; national prognosticators, such as “Sabato’s Crystal Ball,” have labeled the district “clearly Democratic.

Two Republican candidates — Laurel Imer and Erik Aadland — have already been running in CO-07, though neither are particularly well-known names or experienced campaigners. State Rep. Colin Larson, one of the few remaining elected Republicans in Jefferson County, has been threatening to jump into the race and reportedly plans to make a decision within the next week or so. As is the case with the rest of the Republican Party in Colorado, the cupboard is pretty bare for other potential GOP candidates.

On the Democratic side, Arvada State Rep. Brianna Titone and Wheat Ridge Rep. Monica Duran have expressed interest in a Congressional run, though either would face an uphill battle against Pettersen. Former State Senator and current Jefferson County Commissioner Andy Kerr — who was also briefly a CO-07 candidate in 2017 — is not believed to be interested in the race. Fellow Jeffco Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper is a possibility, though she announced her own re-election campaign just last weekend.

It’s entirely possible, and perhaps even likely, that the race for CO-07 will just come down to Pettersen and whichever no-hope Republican emerges from the June Primary election. Those looking for more Congressional political drama may have to settle for the crowded field in Colorado’s new CO-08.

Boebert’s Shtick Doesn’t Work on Don Coram

Possible campaign slogan.

As we noted last week, Republican State Sen. Don Coram of Montrose has officially filed to run for Congress in a GOP Primary against incumbent Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) in Colorado’s third congressional district.

It’s too early to tell if Coram, a self-described “moderate” Republican, can put together the kind of campaign operation necessary to knock off Boebert, whose gun-toting, anti-everything persona has come to define the Republican Party in Colorado. But it’s also clear that Boebert is going to need to get a little more creative with her attacks than just rolling out the same old tired lines she uses against Democrats.

Coram’s response to Boebert’s initial barbs is absolutely pitch-perfect for an electorate that may be seeking a little more substance from its representative in Congress:

Boebert is clearly counting on being able to shoo Coram aside with whatever talking point she hears on right-wing outlets such as Fox News or OANN, but Coram’s “aw-shucks” response takes much of the venom out of those attacks. It won’t be enough to defeat Boebert on its own, but it’s a good start.

BREAKING: Ed Perlmutter Ends An Era

UPDATE: The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul:

The new 7th District is forecast to favor Democrats by 7 percentage points, and thus lean heavily in the party’s favor. That’s based on an analysis of the results of eight statewide races between 2016 and 2020…

Two Republicans were already seeking to unseat Perlmutter this year: Erik Aadland, an Army veteran who was initially running for U.S. Senate, and Laurel Imer, who served as a 2020 delegate for President Donald Trump and ran unsuccessfully for a state House seat two years ago.

A number of Democrats are expected to race to replace Perlmutter in the 7th District. State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood, has vowed to seek to represent the seat when Perlmutter steps down.

—–

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D).

As posted a few minutes ago to Facebook, popular longtime Democratic incumbent Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Jefferson County announcing that he will not be running for re-election in 2022:

After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to run for reelection. I have loved representing my friends, neighbors and fellow Coloradans in the Congress of the United States of America. I will miss meeting the voters of the new 7th District – it is truly the most beautiful district in America. It’s got the best of Colorado in it and even though the numbers are slightly tighter we will win. I’ve never shied away from a challenge but it’s time for me to move on and explore other opportunities. There comes a time when you pass the torch to the next generation of leaders. I’m deeply gratified that our bench in the 7th District is deep and fortunately we have a strong group of leaders who are ready and able to take up that torch.

I have had the privilege of serving my community for 25 years in some elected capacity and it has been an honor of a lifetime. I am particularly proud of the work my staff and I have done to ensure hardworking families can continue to enjoy our Colorado way of life. We’ve helped expand renewable energy research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory creating thousands of good-paying jobs; helped grow Colorado’s aerospace community, including securing funding for the Orion project and pushing forward with human space exploration; elevating the public safety risk of the cash-only cannabis industry here in our state and across the country; and ensuring Veterans across the Rocky Mountain region get the best possible care with the completion of the world-class VA Medical Center in Aurora.

I want to thank my wife Nancy, my family, my staff, my colleagues and especially my deepest gratitude goes to the people of Jefferson and Adams Counties for the honor of serving them in the U.S. House of Representatives all these years. The masthead of the Denver Post once said, “Tis a privilege to live in Colorado” and indeed it is. It’s been a privilege and honor of a lifetime to serve Colorado, the state I love and have always called home.

We’ll be watching for the tributes to roll in, and well as the expected announcement of a candidate to succeed Rep. Perlmutter in Congress. CD-7 as redrawn in last year’s redistricting cycle is somewhat less but still sufficiently blue to be an expected hold for Democrats, and as we saw when Perlmutter briefly ran for governor in 2018 some of Colorado’s best candidates on the bench in Jefferson County are ready to take the baton.

Top Ten Stories of 2021 #3: Lauren Boebert Fulfills Your Worst Nightmares

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and the former occupant of the White House.

On December 30, 2020, we wrote about Republican Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert’s meteoric rise from unknown slinger of undercooked pork products in Garfield County to election to Congress on a high-energy low-information pro-Donald Trump platform spiced with a dash of the then-prevalent “QAnon” conspiracy theory:

Sneaking past Tipton’s somnolent re-election campaign to a ten-point primary victory, Boebert immediately found herself under national scrutiny as part of a contingent of Republican candidates in 2020 who openly supported or otherwise courted support from the “QAnon” movement. Boebert toed an uneven line of not-quite walking back her previous statements, much like now Rep.-elect and “Qaucus Queen” Marjorie Taylor Greene was forced to do in Greene’s much more safely Republican Georgia district. Like Greene, it was never really believable–particularly as Boebert continued to echo “QAnon” talking points to her growing social media following at every opportunity.

As Boebert campaigned in the summer and fall of 2020, it became clear she had no interest in venues which required any kind of rigorous examination of her qualifications or agenda. Boebert dodged debates, skipped meetings with editorial boards not considered fully in the Republican tank, and avoided any other event where she might be made to answer an unscripted question. The few forums in which she tried to participate went very, very badly, and resulted in a wave of editorial boards politely saying the same thing: “this person has absolutely no business in Congress.”

But as it turns out, even we could not have predicted how quickly Boebert would become not just the standard-bearer for Trump’s continuing domination of Republican politics in Colorado, but also a nexus of legitimate scandal that could at any point explode into a career-threatening liability. There was a possibility that after unexpectedly taking down Rep. Scott Tipton in the 2020 GOP primary and then beating her Democratic challenger by a smaller margin than Tipton had beaten the same candidate two years before, Boebert might have adopted a more cautious approach as a legislator.

But as we know one year later, “cautious” is not Lauren Boebert’s style.

With no comprehension of complex issues from which to form a coherent legislative agenda, Boebert has continued in office to follow Donald Trump’s public engagement strategy, if anything even more forcefully than while on the campaign trail. It’s a strategy, in short, of continuously earning press attention through cultivating outrage–churning out new offenses to bury old ones, and over time normalizing what was once totally unacceptable behavior. Like Trump, Boebert continuously pushing the boundaries of decency is lavishly praised by the pro-Trump Republican base, and the cycle continues to escalate.

In an entire year of no-apologies full-blast bombast, Boebert blinked only once: over the Thanksgiving holiday, Boebert was compelled by authority figures unknown to apologize “to the entire Muslim community” for false stories she told suggesting U.S. Capitol Police believed fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar was a terrorist threat. Even that brief moment of contrition didn’t hold up, as Boebert went right back to berating Rep. Omar in the phone call Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had arranged for her to personally apologize. Omar and progressive Democrats demanded that Democratic leadership remove Boebert from her committee assignments, but already fatigued by dealing with other Republican problem children, Democrats chose to highlight the failure of Republican leadership to take action instead.

On a practical level, Boebert has very little to offer the voters of her district in terms of bankable accomplishments. Instead of making requests in the appropriations process for multiple important projects that would have directly benefited her constituents, Boebert joined in the GOP tantrum over “earmarks” and delivered nothing. Instead of winning friends and influencing colleagues on the House Natural Resources Committee, Boebert pulls stunts that distract from her value to the energy industry that subsidizes her. All that, and continued brushes with ethics and campaign finance oversight from Boebert’s suspiciously sloppy campaign funds that “accidentally” got used repeatedly for personal expenses. Speaking about Boebert as a partner in the most basic sense in representing Colorado, Rep. Jason Crow said it best to the Colorado Sun in today’s Unaffiliated newsletter:

Crow explained that he has been able to work with Republican U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn over the past year to get work done for Colorado. U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Garfield County, is the exception.

“Ms. Boebert remains a substantial problem, in my view,” Crow said Wednesday. [Pols emphasis] “It’s different with her because her rhetoric is just so inciteful and hateful and poses such a direct danger to my constituents, people I represent. Immigrants and refugees. The Muslim community. And those who are disenfranchised or marginalized in so many ways.”

For all of these reasons, in addition to a list of prospective Democratic challengers lining up, Boebert is facing a Republican primary challenge from two opponents including State Sen. Don Coram of Montrose. Local newspapers like the Durango Herald and Montrose Press are demanding Boebert’s ouster. Sen. Coram has no intention of trying to out-outrage Boebert to win the Republican primary, instead hoping to appeal to Republicans in CD-3 tired of Boebert’s high-liability low-results record as well as anti-Boebert votes from unaffiliated voters who will all receive a mail-in GOP primary ballot. Coram does have a path to victory–but in the event Coram prevails, will Boebert accept defeat?

In Colorado, in every conceivable way, Boebert is the face of Trump’s party and movement. Like Trump, the end of Boebert’s story has not yet been written. And like Trump, we’re more than a little nervous about how the story will end.

Stay tuned for the top stories of 2022, because no matter what happens Boebert will be in them.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 6)

One year ago today, something very bad happened and it’s still too soon to joke about it. Let’s Get More Smarter anyway. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

► President Joe Biden spoke this morning on the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn his victory in the 2020 elections. Politico:

President Joe Biden on Thursday marked one year since his predecessor’s supporters besieged the Capitol with a pointed rebuke of the violence — and a declaration that Donald Trump bears “singular responsibility” for the attack.

“His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy, our Constitution,” Biden said of the former president. Trump, he added, is “not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over seven million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.”

…Calling out Trump and his GOP allies marks a notable tonal shift for Biden. Since taking office, he’s largely held off on sharp barbs toward the foe he could face again in 2024. But Biden hewed to one of his post-election conventions on Thursday: He did not use Trump’s name while criticizing the former president.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim spoke with Rep. Jason Crow, credited with bravery by his colleagues in the face of the chaos of that day, and other Democratic members of Congress (unsurprisingly, Republicans like Rep. Lauren Boebert weren’t available to talk):

Crow said that as the House was locked down, his brain went into “Ranger mode.”

“I wasn’t really allowing myself to kind of process or think about it,” he said. “I was just triaging the information and trying to figure out our way out, because at that moment, we were trapped and surrounded by a violent mob.”

A famous photo shows Crow holding the hand of a panicked looking Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, comforting her as she lays back on the floor of the gallery.

On the floor below, Rep. Joe Neguse, who had been tapped to help lead the arguments for the Democrats that day, spent those chaotic minutes reaching out to his family.

For more on the anniversary of the January 6th insurection, Axios recaps the role of ex-CU professor John Eastman and local attorney Jenna Ellis in drafting plans to overturn the 2020 presidential elections on January 20th. Here’s the latest updates on Coloradans facing charges for their role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol courtesy Westword.

 

► President Biden is headed to Colorado tomorrow to meet with Gov. Jared Polis and see firsthand the devastation from the December 30th Marshall Fire, the most destructive in Colorado history in terms of homes destroyed. Denver Post:

Accompanying Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic U.S. Rep Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, the president will survey the damage and discuss “urgently needed federal support,” according to a news release from Neguse’s office…

“We cannot expect our communities to bear the burden of this disaster on their own,” Neguse said in a statement Wednesday. “We must bring the full force of the federal government to bear as our communities work to rebuild and recover.”

Over $25 million has been raised to support fire victims despite crass attempts to politicize the relief efforts.

 

As the drama over the Build Back Better legislation continues in D.C., Sen. John Hickenlooper joined with a group of Democratic Senators insisting that climate change funds be preserved in the rewrite of the bill currently underway.

 

Meanwhile, the renewed push to get voting rights legislation through the Senate by any means necessary continues.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Top Ten Stories of 2021 #4: A Very MAGA Threesome

Lori Saine, Dave Williams, Ron Hanks.

Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, but as readers know Trump remains the most powerful individual within the Republican Party today–a grip that tightened in Trump’s first year out of office as the GOP purged itself of dissenters, and enforced a litmus test on Republican candidates requiring them to maintain (or at least not publicly dispute) that the 2020 presidential election was wrongfully decided. Loyalty to Trump, hostility toward both Democrats and disloyal Republicans, and unquestioning belief in what’s become known as the “Big Lie” have effectively displaced conservative policy goals as the Republican Party’s reason for existence.

The rise of Trump and the “post-truth” politics he rode to prominence on have spawned a new wave of Republican candidates, who like Trump subsist on appeals to the lowest common denominator and have no strategic interest in making factual arguments. In some cases, like freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, Trump was the catalyst to make the jump into public life. Others, like the three 2022 candidates for federal office we’re discussing today, predate Trump but still owe their own rises to prominence to Trump’s.

Weld County Commissioner and absent-minded pistolpacker Lori Saine running in a hot GOP primary for the state’s new highly competitive CD-8, state Rep. Dave Williams challenging Doug Lamborn in CD-5, and state Rep. Ron Hanks who literally blasted his way into the U.S. Senate GOP primary, are along with Boebert running as unapologetic MAGA loyalists–who agree with Trump that there’s no “moving on” until what they believe and don’t even try to tell them different was a stolen election is overturned. Hanks and Williams have tag-teamed community meetings in El Paso County on the subject, and Hanks regularly appears in Grand Junction to support embattled Clerk Tina Peters as the wire fraud investigation against her continues. One of Saine’s final acts before exiting the state legislature in 2020 was to convene a half-baked Legislative Audit Committee hearing that ended up reaffirming Colorado’s elections are safe and secure.

The reason that none of these candidates can be written off in their respective primaries is simple: a majority of Republicans agree with them on the subject of the 2020 election. Despite a lack of any evidence, multiple counts and recounts, audits both legitimate and not so much concluding that the results are accurate, if the polling of GOP primary voters is correct this could be their single issue in 2022.

Saine, Williams, Hanks, and Boebert are all counting on it.

Top Ten Stories of 2021 #10: CD-8, Mother of All Battlegrounds

Last April, as the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reported, Colorado was awarded as a result of population growth in the past decade an eighth seat in Congress–Western census winners along with Oregon, Montana, and Texas, while California, Illinois, and New York each gave up seats:

Colorado’s population jumped to 5,773,714, last year from 5,029,196 in 2010, a 14.8% increase. The nation’s population grew by 7.4% during that span to more than 330 million. America’s growth rate was its slowest since the 1930s.

Colorado is among six states that are gaining one or more congressional seats. Seven states will lose seats, including New York, which was 89 people away from keeping the seat.

The question of how and where to draw this new congressional seat was resolved by Colorado’s brand-new independent congressional redistricting commission. Of all the proposals for where to locate this new district, the historically underrepresented north Denver metro area was the early preference for Democrats. The new map approved by the Colorado Supreme Court is anchored by the northern Denver suburb of Thornton in the south and Greeley at the north end of the district. This district was drawn, much like CD-7 was originally in the 2000 redistricting cycle, to be tightly competitive based on past electoral performance. The extent to which this new district could defy easy prediction is best illustrated by this mindbending reality: voters in the new CD-8 supported both Michael Bennet and Donald Trump in 2016 by similarly narrow margins.

For the inaugural CD-8 race in 2022 both parties have energetic primaries shaping up, although the Republican field is attracting by far the most attention. Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine is the easy choice in this primary for the MAGA faithful as a Lauren Boebert-style firebreather years before Boebert made it cool. Meanwhile, the GOP’s corporate/consultant class is effectively split between Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer of Weld County and Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann. State Sen. Kevin Priola was once considered a possible contender for this seat as well, but strong opposition from fiscal conservatives appears to have iced him out.

On the Democratic side, state Rep. Yadira Caraveo has a path to winning the nomination, with challenger Adams County commissioner Chaz Tedesco working his labor connections and winning his share of endorsements. The winner of the Democratic primary will have the crucial task of winning over the district’s large Latino population as well as blue-collar working families who are receptive to core Democratic economic arguments but also based on past results swingable. In the long term, much like the rest of Denver’s suburbs represented by CDs 6 and 7 have matured into Democratic strongholds, there’s every reason to believe that this district will become similarly less competitive over time.

Faced with that inevitability, it’s Republicans who have much more to lose in this inaugural contest.

The GMS Podcast: Quick Hits to End a Long Year

This week in episode 95 of the Get More Smarter Podcast — the final episode of 2021 — hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii dedicate an entire show to a bunch of “quick hits.” In other words, we talk about a lot of different subjects but spend a shorter amount of time on each topic.

Among those topics, we discuss the filibuster; Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl; the Colorado Attorney General’s race; Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert; Rep. Doug Lamborn; calling the cops on the El Paso County Republican Party; former Sen. Cory Gardner; and the single most important “achievement” of the Trump Presidency.

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

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

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

2021 Leaving Mesa County GOP Mad, Sad, And No Less Crazy

Clockwise from bottom left: Mesa County commissioners Scott McInnis, Cody Davis, Janet Rowland, and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland has a good story today catching up on the ongoing controversy in Mesa County, as a criminal investigation into a breach of election system security facilitated by Clerk Tina Peters continues in uneasy silence following FBI and local law enforcement having executed search warrants on Peters and several alleged co-conspirators just over a month ago.

While the world awaits the results of that investigation, Mesa County Republicans have settled into two firmly opposed camps: those who agree with the all-GOP Board of Commissioners that Clerk Peters messed up, and those who believe that conclusion makes anyone who agrees a mortal enemy of the God-given freedom to not accept election results one doesn’t like. And as you can expect, that conflict is playing hell with party unity:

What state investigators quickly pieced together was that Mesa’s Clerk and Recorder, Republican Tina Peters, had let an unauthorized person access the voting machines and be present for a secure software system update. That individual made copies of hard drives and took pictures — and now those images were up online.

What happened after the news broke, McInnis said, was a cascading series of mini crises. The machines were decertified, leaving county commissioners to quickly replace them before the November election. And then there were all the legal questions — and fights — to navigate.

“It’s been a major disruption in the administration office of the county. It’s been a major consumer of legal hours in our legal department. We have nine attorneys or something like that, but so it’s been a major disruption in this county.”

All of that legal time and other safeguards comes with a cost, which McInnis estimated could top a million dollars for what he called Peters’ “little fishing expedition.”

Tine Peters supporters rally in Grand Junction.

Unfortunately for Commissioner and Republican politician so locally beloved he got a canyon named after himself Scott “McLobbyist” McInnis, Mesa County Republican Party chairman Kevin McCarney has come to a somewhat different conclusion:

“It creates a problem for us as a party,” said Mesa County GOP Chair Kevin McCarney. “Having the county commissioners and the county clerk at each other’s throat, is not a good look for us. And it’s both sides’ fault. I’m not gonna lie. Both sides are at fault in this.” [Pols emphasis]

Chairman McCarney is in a tough position, of course. A large percentage of rank-and-file Republicans believe despite the lack of any evidence that the 2020 elections were stolen, so to acknowledge that what Peters did was wrong would put him on the wrong side of that noisy (especially in Mesa County) contingent. At the same time, the Colorado Republican Party’s chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown has advised Republican candidates to not wade into Peters’ case citing the likelihood of a crime having been committed. Even Rep. Lauren Boebert came away from an ethically questionable meeting with the Mesa County DA Dan Rubenstein assured that the investigation against Peters was being conducted appropriately.

With all of this in mind, how can “both sides” rationally be to blame here? It’s this: the all-GOP Mesa County Commissioners may be at odds with her today, but they supported Tina Peters when it suited them politically–just like they supported Lauren Boebert. Politicians who are more loyal to Donald Trump than they are to upholding American democracy are what led American politics to their acrimonious present state, of which “MesaGate” is just one symptom. And in that context, every Republican politician who benefited from Trump’s movement shares the blame.

That’s probably outside the scope of Chairman McCarney’s comprehension.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s what’s keeping Scott McInnis awake at night.

Inside Gino Campana’s Weird New Bennet Attack

Gino Campana is a Ft. Collins businessman seeking the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate for the right to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) next November. We haven’t mentioned Campana much in this space because, frankly, there isn’t a whole lot to discuss.

Campana launched his campaign in October with an online video that seemed more like a commercial for Ancestry.com than a political spot. His general narrative seems to be that he is a moderate-ish Republican businessman who is able to form sentences on his own. Campana’s big claim to fame is getting appointed to something called the Public Buildings Reform Board by former President Donald Trump — an offer that came literally within the final month of the Trump administration and thus never materialized into a real job.

Email from Gino Campana Senate campaign

Thus far, Campana has been trying to navigate inside a space that is not quite “raving lunatic Big Lie advocate” but also allows him to avoid the dreaded “RINO” label (during an interview with right-wing radio host Peter Boyles in October, Campana used about 10,000 words to — sort of — answer the question, “Did Trump win the 2020 election?”). Because nobody seems to be paying much attention to his campaign, last week Campana launched a new narrative effort targeted at Bennet that will only make a modicum of sense if you watch a crapload of Fox News.

Campana recently sent out an email to supporters calling on Sen. Bennet to condemn some thing that happened at some school in Denver that only got right-wing media attention because of a poorly-worded sign.

According to a Fox News story (via Yahoo!) from last Friday, an anti-critical race theory group called Parents Defending Education filed a civil rights complaint after Centennial Elementary school in Denver tried to do a thing:

Centennial had a sign announcing its “families of color playground night.” Earlier this week, the school defended the event in a statement provided to Fox News. “Our school leaders met with some of the Black families whose children attend our school to determine ways for these families to feel more included in our school community,” the statement said.

“Some of these families shared with us that, since the only time many of them see one another is at drop-off and pick-up times, we host some events where Black families can meet one another, connect with one another and share their experiences about the school with one another. We are honoring their request. All families are welcome to attend all of our events, and families from a variety of backgrounds have done so.” [Pols emphasis]

Campana jumped on this “woke segregation” and finagled his way onto the Jimmy Lakey Show in order to somehow blame this on Bennet:

What does this have to do with “segregation”? Absolutely NOTHING. But here’s how Campana attempts to connect the dots:

CAMPANA: [Bennet] is in a unique position to comment on this because he was the superintendent of Denver Public Schools. And these teachings didn’t happen overnight. It happened over a course of time, and he was there 15 years ago, and perhaps the seed was planted 15 years ago or six years ago.

Before being appointed to a vacant U.S. Senate seat by then-Governor Bill Ritter, Bennet served as the Superintendent of Denver Public Schools for about three and a half years (2005-09). According to Campana, the poorly-worded sign outside Centennial Elementary school is all part of a sinister plan that Bennet set in motion “15 years ago or six years ago,” and Bennet’s refusal to discuss this matter is proof that he is complicit in a broader effort to allow families of different racial backgrounds to meet together on a school playground.

What?

Look, we get what Campana is doing here: He’s attempting the same tactic that many of his Republican brethren have used for several years. In this case, the general formula is to use the word “woke” in a sentence about brown people so that you can attract support and a few bucks from ignorant racists. But Campana could appeal to the same breed of supporter by merely repeating QAnon conspiracies alleging that Bennet drinks fresh baby blood while riding around on a unicorn with Chelsea Clinton. This is a silly attack designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator of Republican voter in Colorado.

Serious candidates for serious political offices don’t spend significant chunks of time scribbling out nonsense on an etch-a-sketch board. That Campana even thinks that he can (or should) do this is a pretty strong indictment of his abilities as a politician.

If you’ve been wondering what to make of Campana as a candidate for U.S. Senate, you now have your answer.

Kulmann Won’t Say if Presidential Election Was Legitimate

(Aaand another one — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jan Kulmann (R).

Another Republican congressional candidate in Colorado is refusing to say whether last year’s presidential election was legitimate.

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann, who’s running for Colorado’s new congressional seat, refused to answer the question last week, “Was the 2020 election stolen?”

In an extraordinary exchange with Republican radio host George Brauchler, who himself sits near the top of a thin GOP bench in Colorado, Kulmann dodged the election question so brazenly that Brauchler responded with, “That feels like either a yes or no; I don’t know how to interpret that, Jan, and I’m not trying to push too hard here.”

Brauchler: I’m going to ask you about two topics that are constantly in the news over the past 18 plus months, and you’re going to be asked this by the mainstream media. I guess I’m not part of the mainstream media. Nonetheless, I’m going to ask you ahead of time just to — and I’ve asked everybody this that’s been on: one, was the 2020 election stolen? Where do you come down on that? And, two, vaccine and mask mandates? Where do you come down on those?
Kulmann: Well, we start with the election, so knocking on doors for the last few months, what I heard was that there’s a real fear that people feel like their votes are not going to count. And so what I’ve encouraged people to do is, if you don’t vote, your vote doesn’t count. And so we can worry about policies that make sure that election integrity is the foremost important thing that we have because I want to make it as easy to vote as possible but as hard to cheat as possible.
Brauchler: I love that, but if I’m Marshall Zelinger, I’m going to push you and say, ‘In your opinion, was the 2020 election stolen?’
Kulmann: I think Biden is the president. And what’s unfortunate is he’s a horrible president. And so we have an opportunity in ’22 to take back the House and we have an opportunity in ’24 to take back the White House.
Brauchler: That feels like either a yes or no. I don’t know how to interpret that, Jan. And I’m not trying to push too hard here. But I want to be clear, –no other show you go on –like on the TV– will stop at just that. Those are all great answers. And by the way, they’re consistent with what I hear from a lot of people. But this is my own little advice as a guy who lost a statewide race: At some point, there’s just going to end up being a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ push to get there, and then it’ll get spun a different way. Let me ask you the other one where are you on the mask and the vaccine mandate?
Kulmann: I am absolutely against vaccine mandates. I’m pro-vaccine, I actually got the vaccine and I think it’s a good thing, but I don’t think that you should force that on anyone for any reason. On the mask side, I think we’ve gone too far for too long. Masks were great when we had no other opportunity. Now that we have ways of dealing with this virus in a different way, masks are just another level of control, and I think we need to figure out a way to live with this virus instead of just hiding from it.

In a monologue after his Dec. 13 KNUS interview with Kulmann, Brauchler explained in more detail why he thinks Kulman’s failure to answer the Big-Lie question is a problem.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Dec. 20)

It’s (still not) beginning to look like a white Christmas. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The Associated Press reports on the big political news over the weekend: The big reveal from West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin that he would no longer entertain negotiations over the Build Back Better bill:

Manchin said Sunday he cannot back his party’s signature $2 trillion social and environment bill, dealing a potentially fatal blow to President Joe Biden’s leading domestic initiative heading into an election year when Democrats’ narrow hold on Congress was already in peril.

Manchin told “Fox News Sunday” that after five-and-half months of negotiations among Democrats in which he was his party’s chief obstacle to passage, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can’t. I’ve tried everything humanly possible. I can’t get there.”

Manchin’s choice of words seemed to crack the door open to continued talks with Biden and top congressional Democrats over reshaping the legislation. But the West Virginia senator all but said the bill would die unless it met his demands for a smaller, less sweeping package — something that would be hard for many Democrats in the narrowly divided Congress to accept.

The bill would provide hundreds of billions of dollars to help millions of families with children by extending a more generous child tax credit, creating free preschool and bolstering child care aid. There is more than $500 billion for tax breaks and spending aimed at curbing carbon emissions, which experts consider the largest federal expenditure ever to combat climate change.

Other provisions would limit prescription drug price increases, create hearing benefits for Medicare recipients and bolster aid for the elderly, housing and job training. Nearly all of it would be paid for with higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.

The Washington Post takes a deeper look at how negotiations between Biden and Manchin went sideways. The White House says that Manchin broke his word; Manchin is (vaguely) blaming White House staff, indicating that they might have been mean to him. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, meanwhile, is vowing to bring the BBB bill to a vote in 2022.

 

Perhaps anticipating Manchin’s uselessness, Senate Democrats had already started shifting priorities toward advancing election reform measures. As The New York Times reports:

Schumer on Monday gave the clearest sign yet that he would try to force a fundamental change in Senate rules if needed to enact federal laws to offset voting restrictions being imposed by Republican-led legislatures around the country.

In a letter to colleagues, Mr. Schumer, the New York Democrat and majority leader, said that the Senate would take up stalled voting rights legislation as early as the first week of January and that if Republicans continued to filibuster, the Senate would “consider changes to any rules which prevent us from debating and reaching final conclusion on important legislation.”

But it is not clear how far Democrats will be willing or able to go in working around the 60-vote requirement for most legislation and finding a way to pass voting rights legislation with a simple majority. While several formerly reluctant senators have in recent weeks endorsed rules change for voting issues, at least two Democratic senators — Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — have resisted.

Alarmed by state laws being enacted in the aftermath of the 2020 election that seem aimed at making it more difficult for people, particularly minorities, to vote, Democrats have tried repeatedly this year to set federal standards for early and mail-in voting and curb partisan gerrymandering, among other provisions. But they have been consistently thwarted by a Republican blockade.

 

President Biden is boosting fuel economy standards that had been decimated under President Trump. From The Associated Press:

In a major step to fight climate change, the Biden administration is raising vehicle mileage standards to significantly reduce emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases.

A final rule being issued Monday would raise mileage standards starting in the 2023 model year, reaching a projected industry-wide target of 40 miles per gallon by 2026 — 25% higher than a rule finalized by the Trump administration last year and 5% higher than a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency in August.

 

Democrat Yadira Careveo announced a slew of new endorsements in her bid for Congress in CO-08, including support from House Speaker Alec Garnett and State Rep. Mary Young.

 

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 17)

Welcome to the halfway point between one of Rep. Lauren Boebert’s birthdays. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Scientists are racing to understand the true threat of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 as cases of infection are rising around the world. As David Leonhardt writes for The New York Times, it is red America that should be most worried about the spread:

In the U.S., partisanship is the biggest factor determining vaccination rates. If Democratic voters made up their own country, it would be one of the world’s most vaccinated, with more than 91 percent of adults having received at least one shot. Only about 60 percent of Republican adults have done so.

This vaccination gap has created a huge gap in death rates, one that has grown sharply during the second half of the year.

One telling detail is that Covid deaths in both swing counties and heavily Biden counties have not risen over the past two months, even as nationwide case numbers have surged. In heavily vaccinated communities, rising caseloads don’t automatically lead to rising death tolls.

In hundreds of U.S. counties, though, most adults still have not received a Covid vaccine shot. “Just since this summer, 150,000 unvaccinated Americans have needlessly lost their lives despite the widespread availability of vaccines,” Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine, in Houston, said yesterday.

The difference in COVID-19 survival rates between Blue and Red parts of the country has been evident for awhile now, but the data is still astonishing.

 

Here’s another reason why you should ignore right-wing narratives pushing back against COVID-19 precautions.

 

Meanwhile, as The Hill newspaper reports, new information demonstrates that former President Trump actively sought to undermine the nation’s COVID-19 response:

The Trump administration deliberately undermined the nation’s coronavirus response for political purposes, including by weakening testing guidance and championing widespread “herd immunity,” according to a new report from the House panel investigating the pandemic response.

The Democratic staff report released Friday was a summation of the year’s work investigating political interference in the pandemic response from Trump officials and the former president himself.

In interviews with officials and from uncovered emails and other documents, the committee found that the former administration failed to heed warnings about supply shortages, blocked public health officials from speaking publicly and neglected the pandemic response in order to focus on the 2020 presidential election and on promoting the lie that the election was “stolen” from Trump through widespread fraud.

 

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is warning that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 will soon become the dominant strain of the virus in Colorado. Good thing there is a FREAKING VACCINE YOU CAN TAKE. You are 47 times less likely to be hospitalized by COVID-19 in Colorado if you get vaccinated. 

 

Senate Democrats continue working on efforts to pass some sort of major election reform legislation, if West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin will let them do it. 

 

 

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Today Might be Lauren Boebert’s Birthday (Or Not)

Boebert’s Wikipedia entry lists her birthdate as 12/15/86…but her voter registration says 12/19/86.

If you have a minute to spare today, you might want to wish Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert a happy birthday.

Or…maybe you should wait until Sunday.

One of the weirder enduring mysteries about the freshman Republican Congressperson from CO-03 is that she and her office refuse to confirm the actual date of her birth. According to some police reports and her own Wikipedia entry, Boebert was born on December 15, 1986. But according to Boebert’s voter registration data (which is public information and was presumably filled out by Lauren Boebert herself), her birthdate is December 19, 1986.

As The Colorado Sun reported in September 2020, Boebert and staff have gone out of their way to avoid answering questions about her actual freaking birthdate:

The woman who carried off this upset was born Lauren Opal Roberts in Altamonte Springs, Florida, on Dec. 15 or 19, 1986. (Police reports list two dates.) [Pols emphasis] Her Wikipedia biographical information shows that when she was 12, her family moved to the Montbello neighborhood in Denver and then to Aurora…

…Neither Boebert nor [spokesperson Laura] Carno would respond to questions about missing and conflicting details of Boebert’s biography.

Boebert has glossed over any mention of a father. She has not explained why she has two birth dates in official records. [Pols emphasis]

Does it matter that we don’t know Boebert’s official DOB? Perhaps not, but it is supremely bizarre that she won’t just clarify this point. It’s not that the record just somehow got mixed up — the issue is that Boebert works very hard to NOT clear up the question. For what reason?

If you need a resolution here, we’d say to go with December 19th, since that’s what Boebert would have had to put down when she first registered to vote in Colorado on August 9, 2005. And if it turns out that her DOB is wrong on her voter registration form…well, that opens up a whole new can of worms.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Dec. 15)

Today is probably an inside day. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Be safe out there today. The weather is bananas, as this video of a freaking dust storm near Pueblo demonstrates. 

 

The brief, sad era of the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters move to Grand Junction is finally over. As The Hill newspaper reports:

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will move several of its leadership positions back to Washington, D.C., after a controversial Trump-era move to send leadership to Grand Junction, Colo.

An email sent out by BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning that was obtained by The Hill states that the agency will “consolidate” most of its directors in Washington.

Specifically, it states that the director and deputy director of operations have already returned to the district, joining the deputy director for policy and programs. It said that 8 additional leaders including “most assistant directors and deputy assistant directors” will also return to D.C.

The message also said that 30 vacant headquarters senior positions will be based in D.C.

Another one bites the dust, eh Cory Gardner?

 

► Greg Sargent of The Washington Post devotes a column to the ridiculous arguments being made by John Eastman, the former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado who advised former President Trump on how to execute a coup:

Eastman has just sued the Jan. 6 committee and Verizon over the committee’s subpoena of his phone records, which the committee is seeking to shed further light on the plot to overturn the election. The lawsuit asks the court to block the subpoena.

Underlying this dispute is something larger than this particular lawsuit’s legal complexities, and larger than the battle between the committee and Trump’s co-conspirators. What’s really at stake is whether this effort to overturn U.S. democracy through extraordinary corruption and then mob violence merits a political and policy response of any kind.

The answer to this question from Trumpworld, and indeed from many congressional Republicans, is essentially “no.”

Eastman’s lawsuit captures the absurdity of this. One of its leading arguments is that the committee is “attempting to exercise a law enforcement function, rather than genuine legislative activity.”…

…In fact, there may be no human being alive who underscores the committee’s legislative purpose more clearly than John Eastman does. [Pols emphasis]

 

Weld County Commissioners came to their senses — somewhat — on Tuesday and decided to stop censoring social media postings about how residents can find access to COVID-19 vaccines.

In related news, more than 10,000 Coloradans have now died from COVID-19.

 

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