Rep-Elect Brittany Pettersen Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen and son Davis.

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Brittany Pettersen, Congresswoman-elect from the seventh congressional district (and Ian’s wife). Pettersen takes us behind the scenes for a look at what it’s like for a newly-elected Member of Congress to spend the week after the election learning the ins and outs of life at the U.S. Capitol. 

Later, we discuss Rep. Lauren Boebert’s narrow victory in CO-03; Donald Trump’s very sad 2024 campaign announcement; and leadership elections at the State Capitol. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for listening!

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

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

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Winners and Losers of the 2022 Election (Part 2)

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

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

 

The 2022 “Extinction Level Event” for Republicans

 

The Losingest Losers of 2022

 

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Winners and Losers from the 2022 Election (Part 1)

We’ve been waiting to publish our annual “Winners and Losers” lists from the election until all of the big races had been finalized. But with the outcome in CO-03 likely headed to a recount, it’s time to just move ahead.

Up first is our list of “Winners” from 2022. This is not merely a list of winning candidates, of course, but a deeper dive into the winningest winners of the election cycle. We’ll post our “Losers” list separately.

 

The Winningest Winners of 2022

 

Reality

Republican candidates lied with impunity in 2022, but Colorado voters chose instead to believe their own eyes about the state of the state in which they live. Colorado schools are not overrun by kids in “furry” costumes. Colorado is not #2 in fentanyl deaths. Denver is not a smoking crater in the ground. Jared Polis did not steal your car. Google is not out to get Joe O’Dea

 

Felix Lopez

Er, maybe not.

In politics, as in life, sometimes your best moves are the ones you DON’T make. Republican Las Animas County Commissioner Felix Lopez was GOP gubernatorial nominee Heidi Ganahl’s first choice to be her running mate and Lieutenant Governor – to the point that Ganahl was teasing an announcement in early July. But Lopez started having second thoughts as an announcement neared and ultimately decided to back out. Ganahl’s candidacy ended up being so historically bad that everyone who was at all associated with her campaign will be forever tainted. Perhaps Lopez is not interested in seeking higher office, but at least now he still has that option.

 

Lisa Cutter and Tammy Story

These Jefferson County Democrats were significantly impacted by redistricting and other political decisions taking place in their respective orbits. 

When Brittany Pettersen decided to seek a seat in Congress, Cutter was the obvious choice to run for Pettersen’s Lakewood-area State Senate seat. The problem for Cutter was that Republican Tim Walsh was willing and able to spend more than a million dollars of his own money to become a state senator himself. Despite a barrage of advertising in SD-20, Cutter ended up winning by nearly 10 points.

Story was a State Senator herself when redistricting changed the political landscape and chopped up her Southwest Jefferson County Senate district. Instead of taking the loss and moving on, Story decided to run for a State House seat in South Jeffco (HD-25) and ended up pulling off an upset (an incumbent State Senator running for State House is incredibly rare). Story’s narrow victory in HD-25 proved very consequential for Republicans, because it ousted incumbent Rep. Colin Larson – who was likely to become the next House Minority Leader if he had been re-elected.

 

Steve Fenberg

Senate President Steve Fenberg has now led his caucus to three consecutive majorities, including an unprecedented 23-vote majority in 2022. Fenberg should remain in charge of the State Senate through 2024 and will be well-positioned for higher office when he’s finished.

 

Jared Polis 

Winning re-election had been a foregone conclusion for months, given the sheer ineptitude of Republican Heidi Ganahl. But winning re-election by 20 points was something that virtually nobody saw coming. Polis is only the fourth major statewide candidate in Colorado to win by 20+ points since 1990. Polis was first elected Governor in 2018 by an 11-point margin; clearly, Colorado voters approve of both Polis and his policies. 

 

Michael Bennet

The incumbent Democratic Senator had been elected twice before, but had never quite reached 50% of the total vote in Colorado (he came really close in 2016). As of this writing, Bennet is on the cusp of surpassing 56% of the total vote, extending his margin of victory over Republican Joe O’Dea to 15 points.

 

Most Colorado Media Outlets

National media outlets played a silly game that we documented repeatedly in which they pretended that Republican Joe O’Dea might knock off incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who ended up winning by 15 points. Most Colorado media outlets did not buy into this nonsense narrative and instead focused on actual on-the-ground reporting to guide their coverage – in this race and every other in Colorado. 

Kyle Clark of 9News

Colorado journalists did a good job asking the relevant questions of candidates, from Heidi Ganahl’s September 2021 campaign kickoff to the fall 2022 debates. For example:

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun asking O’Dea if he voted YES on Proposition 115, a 2020 ballot measure that sought to make abortion illegal after 22 weeks of pregnancy (a measure opposed by 69% of Colorado voters). This was a great question that clarified O’Dea’s impossible efforts to dance around the subject and take every side of the abortion issue, and it was a question that only a good local reporter would know to ask;

Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs asking Ganahl if she really believed that Colorado schools were being overrun by “furries.” Ganahl doubled-down on her nonsense claims, validating Soicher’s question;

♦ Longtime Denver Post editor Dean Singleton hosting a candidate forum in which he repeatedly pressed Ganahl to provide actual details on some of her loudest claims (including her nonsense proposal to eliminate Colorado’s income tax without a plan for how to make up the resulting $11 billion budget shortfall);

 Multiple news outlets reporting the facts about various residency questions for several candidates.

Kyle Clark of 9News pressing O’Dea to provide proof for his claim that Google was “censoring” his campaign, which led to one of our favorite quotes of the election cycle

♦ 9News, Fox 31, Denver7 and other outlets calling out CD-8 candidate Barb Kirkmeyer’s indefensible lie that Democrats “legalized fentanyl.” In taking apart this falsehood, 9News educated viewers on how reporters evaluate misleading statements from candidates, and what escalates a merely false statement from a “lie” (when a candidate, in this case Kirkmeyer, KNOWS that what they are saying is untrue).

In future elections, we’d like more of this, please. 

There were exceptions to this trend, unfortunately. Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver regularly showed that she has no interest whatsoever in trying to get a story correct; she was just about the only local journalist who bought into the nonsense “O’Dea surprise” narrative pushed by Republican operatives. Many of her “truth tests” were flat out wrong on the details and the facts presented. Her ridiculous story suggesting that every school district in Colorado was covering up a non-existent “furry” epidemic should never have made it onto the air. Whether Boyd is just lazy or an outright hack, we would be embarrassed to work with her. 

 

Residents of CO-03

Enough of this, thanks.

Regardless of the final outcome between incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, voters in CO-03 stood up and declared that they were fed up with Boebert’s silly theatrics and her lack of accomplishments in the district. Multiple stories emerged before and after the election in which voters – many of them Republicans – told reporters that they were embarrassed by Boebert’s antics and just wanted a Representative who would do the actual job required of them.

If Boebert does manage to eke out another term, Republicans would be wise to organize strong opposition in a GOP Primary so that they aren’t facing another election in which they could lose a seat that otherwise favors Republicans by 9 points.  

 

Non-Republican Polling Outfits 

Lots of Republican pollsters made fools of themselves in 2022. Meanwhile, polling from Global Strategy Group (including the “Mountaineer”) and the University of Colorado did a good job of accurately measuring what was really happening in our state. The Colorado Sun covered this well in a recent edition of its “Unaffiliated” newsletter. 

 

Colorado’s Election System

Colorado’s all-mail ballot system worked perfectly once again. It is both easy to cast a ballot in Colorado and difficult to vote fraudulently. You can track your ballot in Colorado through its entire life cycle, from when it gets sent out in the mail to when it is received by your county clerk. The only people who want more restrictions on voting are those who want fewer people to cast ballots. 

This Tweet from former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was “liked” and “shared” by several Colorado Republican “leaders.” What critics of Colorado’s voting system are really saying is that they believe we should change the voting age to “middle-age white people” so that Republicans might be able to win elections in Colorado.

 

 

Mike Lynch 

It’s tough to find a Republican “Winner” from 2022, but we’ll go with Lynch after the Northern Colorado Republican was elected House Minority Leader following another awful Election Day for the GOP. We debated about whether to put this in the “Losers” category, however, because being the House Minority Leader in a Republican caucus in 2023 is like “winning” a basket full of rattlesnakes infected with COVID. 

 

Women in the General Assembly

For the first time in state history, more than 50% of the members of the Colorado legislature are women. That’s pretty cool. 

 

Yadira Caraveo

Caraveo’s victory in the newly-formed CO-08 was considered by some national prognosticators – including Nathaniel Rakich of 538.com – to be a YUGE surprise. Given how blue Colorado has become, we’re not sure Caraveo qualifies as a “biggest upset,” but defeating Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer in a close race is still an impressive victory.

 

Brittany Pettersen

It’s no easy task to follow a beloved politician such as retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter, especially when the district is redrawn in a significant fashion. No matter. Pettersen ran a virtually flawless campaign and cruised to a 15-point victory over Republican Erik Aadland. She’ll be safe here for the next decade. 

 

Leadership Battles Continue Within Republican Ranks

On the day that former President Donald Trump is set to announce another bid for the White House, Congressional Republicans found that the schism in their ranks that helped create a disappointing 2022 election is still, uh, schisming.

House Republicans elected (sort of) Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker, but whether he can actually fulfill that role won’t be known until January. Republicans are justifiably irritated that McCarthy had so much trouble leading the GOP toward re-taking the House after they only needed to flip 5 seats.

There was talk on Monday from some less-crazy Republicans that a Congress-wide Speakership battle might still be upcoming, though perhaps that will be avoided now. Nevertheless, as the Omaha World-Herald reports:

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said that he would be willing to reach across the aisle to elect a speaker if necessary.

Bacon plans to support McCarthy, but he said on Monday that he would work with Democrats to find a new candidate if McCarthy doesn’t get enough votes, in order to keep Congress from becoming gridlocked and ineffective.

“If we have total gridlock, I’m going to work with like-minded people across the aisle to find someone agreeable for speaker,” Bacon said. “We have to govern. We can’t afford to let our country be stuck in neutral.”

Elsewhere, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has an official challenger to his bid to hold on to power. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in 2022, announced that he will battle the old turtle for GOP Senate supremacy.

NRSC Chairman Rick Scott (R-Creepy)

Via POLITICO:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) announced a challenge to Mitch McConnell in a closed-door party lunch on Tuesday afternoon, the first such opposition that the Senate GOP leader is facing in 15 years at the helm.

The challenge emerged after Republicans’ disappointing midterm performance provoked a tremendous round of finger-pointing. Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and got nudged to mount opposition to McConnell by former President Donald Trump, was at odds with the GOP leader over strategy and tactics for months before Election Day.

McConnell says he already has the votes locked up to win a Wednesday leadership election, and Scott is not expected to garner enough support to come close to toppling the leader. But Scott is pressing forward anyway, as a band of conservatives pushes to delay leadership elections until all the Senate races are determined. [Pols emphasis]

That last paragraph makes this fight particularly interesting. Scott probably can’t win against McConnell, but he’s going to try anyway just to prove some sort of point.

Yes, Mitch, there will be 2 candidates for Senate Minority Leader.

As The Washington Post reported earlier today:

Allies of Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Tuesday called out the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund for its lack of spending on ads supporting GOP candidate Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff.

It’s the latest show of tensions between McConnell (R-Ky.) and Scott, who have long been at odds over messaging, strategy and the direction of the Republican Party, and comes just three weeks before the Dec. 6 runoff.

Curt Anderson, a top adviser to Scott, on Tuesday noted on Twitter that the super PAC aligned with the Senate minority leader has yet to run ads attacking Sen. Raphael G. Warnock, the Democratic incumbent. “Have they given up?” he asked. In a later tweet, Anderson tagged the Senate Leadership Fund’s Twitter account, saying that “the Georgia runoff is 1/4 over with. Election is scheduled for December 6. FYI.”

McConnell and Scott have been battling for months about which direction to drive the Senate Republican caucus in 2024. Scott has been accused by some of screwing up the NRSC in 2022 and pissing away hundreds of millions of dollars; animosity was already stirring after Scott rolled out some asinine policy proposals earlier this year. McConnell, meanwhile, has taken criticism for not doing enough to help Republicans via his own PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund.

It’s certainly possible that Congress may convene in January with McCarthy and McConnell both in their long-expected leadership roles. But the fact that these questions don’t already have answers is another ominous sign for a reeling Republican Party.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Nov. 15)

It’s been a few months since we posted one of these news roundups. Now that the election season is over, 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 

 

Former President Donald Trump is expected to announce a new bid for the White House today at an event at Mar-a-Lago. Many Republicans don’t seem particularly thrilled about the idea, as NBC News reports:

“Personalities come and go,” said Dave Ball, the GOP chair in Pennsylvania’s Washington County, who has supported and defended Trump. “Sometimes you have overstayed your welcome. You’ve got new people, new faces come, and you have to change with the times sometimes.”

In interviews, more than two dozen state GOP leaders, elected officials and operatives said Trump’s heavy involvement in midterm contests up and down the ballot doomed them in swing states, leaving intact the Democrats’ blue wall in Pennsylvania and the industrial Midwest and costing them a winnable Senate seat in Nevada. Trump loomed large in the minds of voters, exit polls showed, and in many key races, voters rejected his hand-picked candidates.

Those Republicans, including those who supported him in the past and others who tolerated him but rarely spoke out publicly, said they increasingly see Trump and Trumpism as losing propositions and would prefer he not run for president again in 2024. Trump is preparing to do just that, with a Tuesday announcement expected at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Trump had wanted to announce his 2024 Presidential run before the midterm elections, but advisers apparently talked him out of that decision.

 

Trump has invited a bunch of MAGA Republicans in Congress to join him at Mar-a-Lago this evening for his big announcement. But before that can happen, Republicans need to gather to vote in leadership elections. California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy is expected to be elected House Speaker, though his power has been significantly diminished already after struggling to net more than a mere five seats that were required for Republicans to gain control of the House of Representatives. 

As The Washington Post explains, the right-wing of the right-wing is promising to make McCarthy’s ascension quite the headache:

If McCarthy doesn’t get 218 today, it will show he is working from a position of weakness as he tries to secure more support in the coming weeks. (Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) announced Monday evening on Newsmax that he will be nominated by his colleagues to challenge McCarthy.) 

Members of the far-right House Freedom Caucus are asking for concessions on conference rules and seats on key committees in exchange for their votes. [Pols emphasis]

The biggest rule change far-right members want is to reinstate a rule called the motion to vacate, which allows any member, at any time, the ability to submit a motion to remove the speaker. McCarthy doesn’t want to make this concession since the rule could be held over his head by recalcitrant members whenever they don’t get their way.

The House Freedom Caucus includes Colorado Rep. Ken Buck and Congresswoman-in-limbo Lauren Boebert.

 

Speaking of Boebert, the next big update on a potential outcome in her close battle with Democrat Adam Frisch will come tomorrow (though CO-03 seems headed for a recount anyway). Both campaigns are rushing to “cure” ballots, as Colorado Newsline explains. A bunch of military and overseas ballots are also expected to arrive in Colorado by Wednesday.

 

Colorado Republicans are still struggling to understand how they got wiped out in last week’s Bluenami. The latest local story, via Fox 31, is mostly about blaming Trump for their losses. Republicans have also reached that grieving stage wherein everybody pretends that there were moral victories that were won. 

As we wrote on Monday, the Colorado GOP seems to be struggling to comprehend some fairly obvious shortcomings.

 

Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast for a deep dive into last week’s election results with Seth Masket of the University of Denver’s Center on American Politics.

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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Shellacking Or No, Looks Like Trump’s Gonna Jump

Despite the unexpectedly poor showing for Republicans across the nation in last week’s midterm elections, especially but not limited to Republicans loyal to and boosted by ex-President Donald Trump, all news reports as of this writing indicate that Trump plans to proceed with his “very big announcement” tomorrow at Mar-a-Lago that he’ll be running for President once again in 2024. CNBC reported Saturday:

“We had tremendous success — why would anything change?” Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

Longtime Trump aide Jason Miller said Friday morning that Trump will definitely be announcing his campaign next Tuesday.

“I spoke with the President Trump this morning. He was on the golf course and I talked to him about Tuesday which is really his focus,” Miller said on the podcast of Steve Bannon, a former senior Trump advisor, NBC reported.

“He said, ‘There doesn’t need to be any question. Of course I’m running. I’m going to do this and I want to make sure that people know that I’m fired up and we got to get the country back,’” Miller said.

As the New York Times reports, Trump’s determination to get back in the ring seems to have only hardened since last Tuesday’s election despite the bad night for his favored candidates–meaning Trump is not listening to Republicans begging him to put off this announcement until after the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month:

Mr. Trump’s plans to run for president, which he is expected to announce on Tuesday, could force the issue in ways not seen since his first campaign, as party leaders are asked to declare their allegiances to him or to other potential rivals…

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking House Republican, endorsed Mr. Trump for president on Friday ahead of his anticipated campaign announcement on Tuesday.

“President Trump has always put America First, and I look forward to supporting him so we can save America,” Ms. Stefanik said on Twitter.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, as readers recall, tried to expand her sphere of influence to include the Republican nominee in Colorado’s brand-new CD-8 by endorsing both Barb Kirkmeyer and primary rival Jan Kulmann. Stefanik is still considered upwardly mobile in the House GOP caucus, and a candidate to someday replace GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last week, Trump endorsed McCarthy’s re-election as GOP Leader and Stefanik as GOP caucus chair, and it’s hard to imagine McCarthy not returning the favor.

And we assume Colorado’s Rep.-by-a-thread Lauren Boebert will be on hand tomorrow evening in Palm Beach.

From there, Trump’s campaign will impose a loyalty test that every Republican will have to reckon with for themselves. After the violence on January 6th and many Republicans including McCarthy turned against Trump briefly only to come crawling back, realistic hope that this party might someday stand up to Trump was largely dashed. If Trump blows through his primary opposition this time as he did in 2016, Republicans will face the question Joe O’Dea stumbled over disastrously on the campaign trail: whether to vote for Trump if he wins the nomination, or commit the greatest sin any Republican can.

In the end, even Joe O’Dea was prepared to dance with the Trump who brought him.

The Get More Smarter Podcast Breaks Down the Bluenami

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Seth Masket, Director of the Center on American Politics at the University of Denver, to break down the massive Bluenami that overtook Colorado on Election Day.

And, no, we still don’t know who won the race in CO-03 between Republican Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch.

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

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

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These Election Questions Are Still Awaiting Answers

UPDATE 6:00PM: CD-8 GOP candidate Barb Kirkmeyer concedes secession defeat to Yadira Caraveo.

—–

Several Colorado races are still waiting to be decided today, including the final margins for control of the State Senate and State House.

Here’s what we’re watching (results current as of 11:42 am):

A clearly nervous Lauren Boebert late Tuesday night.

CONGRESS

Democrat Adam Frisch remains ahead of Republican incumbent Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in CO-03.

Democrat Yadira Caraveo is also still leading Republican Barb Kirkmeyer in CO-08.

Remarkably, these two seats could actually play a significant role in deciding whether or not Democrats retain majority control in Congress.

The race in CO-03 has narrowed, but Frisch is still leading Boebert by 2,449 votes (50.4% to 49.6%).

In CO-08, Caraveo is ahead of Kirkmeyer by 3,451 votes (49% to 47%).

We should know more after about 2:00 today, but from what we hear, Democrats crunching the numbers are feeling pretty confident that both Frisch and Caraveo will maintain their leads.

 

STATE SENATE

Democrats will maintain majority control of the Senate — a scenario that was certainly not a foregone conclusion entering Election Day. The question now is about how much Democrats might grow that advantage.

We’re keeping a close eye on SD-3 (Pueblo), SD-11 (Colorado Springs), SD-15 (Fort Collins), and SD-24 (Adams County).

In SD-3, Democrat Nick Hinrichsen has a 2,933-vote lead over Republican Stephen Varela (53% to 47%).

In SD-11, Democrat Tony Exum leads Republican Dennis Hisey by 1,978 votes (51% to 44%).

In SD-24, Democrat Kyle Mullica is ahead of Republican Courtney Potter by 5,043 votes (55% to 43%).

Also noteworthy — and a bit unexpected — is the race in SD-15, where Democrat Janice Marchman is ahead of incumbent Republican Sen. Rob Woodward by 2,137 votes (52% to 48%).

If Democrats hold on to leads in these four seats, they will expand their Senate majority from a 21-14 margin to a 23-12 advantage.

 

State Rep. Colin Larson, the man who was to be House Minority Leader

STATE HOUSE

There are several races in the State House that are still undecided. The most interesting to watch are in HD-16 (El Paso County), HD-19 (Northern Colorado), HD-25 (Jefferson County), HD-43 (Douglas County), and HD-50 (Greeley).

Of this group, HD-25 is of particular interest. Incumbent Republican Rep. Colin Larson is currently losing to Democrat Tammy Story by 1,596 votes (51% to 47%). Following the death of former House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, Larson was widely viewed as the person most likely end up as House Minority Leader. Now it looks like he won’t be in the House AT ALL.

HD-19 is another surprise, with Democrat Jennifer Lea Parenti leading incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Woog by 1,639 votes (51% to 46%).

In HD-16, Democrat Stephanie Vigil is leading Republican Dave Donelson by just 737 votes (50% to 47%).

In HD-43, Democrat Bob Marshall is ahead of Republican Kurt Huffman by 823 votes (51% to 49%).

In HD-50, incumbent Democratic Rep. Mary Young leads Republican Ryan Gonzalez by 426 votes (50% to 47%).

Democrats already held an unprecedented majority in the State House with a 41-24 margin. Should the above results hold, Democrats will control a beyond-unprecedented 46-19 super majority in the lower chamber. 

By the time the counting is complete, Democrats may well hold a total of 69 of the 100 legislative seats in both chambers combined.

The Invisible Face of the Colorado Republican Party

Rep. Lauren Boebert screaming at President Biden during the 2022 “State of the Union” speech.

Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert will likely be a bit nervous on Election Night as she waits to find out if recent polling numbers showing Democrat Adam Frisch gaining ground in CO-03 prove to be accurate.

As we’ve noted before, Boebert is unquestionably the face of the Colorado Republican Party — and that’s probably the case even if she were to lose re-election. As Kyle Clark of 9News recently told Chuck Todd on “The Chuck ToddCast:”

The Colorado Republican Party is at a low point for statewide power since before World War II. They desperately are looking for a win. Ever since Cory Gardner left the scene, they’ve had NOONE. Lauren Boebert is the face of the party here. [Pols emphasis]

Two years after Boebert was first elected to Congress, it’s worth taking a look at why she is still the face of the Colorado Republican Party. Boebert is incredibly unpopular statewide; the latest polling numbers from “The Rocky Mountaineer” show that her approval ratings in Colorado are 19 points underwater (26% “favorable” vs. 45% “unfavorable”). More Coloradans believe in UFOs than Boebert.

Via “The Rocky Mountaineer” (Oct. 2022)

 

In her home state, Boebert is so toxic that the two main newspapers in her district that are making endorsements — The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel and The Durango Herald — are backing her opponent. The Denver Post recently ran this headline along with its endorsement of Frisch in CO-03:

Via The Denver Post (Oct. 31, 2022)

“We beg voters in western and southern Colorado not to give Rep. Lauren Boebert their vote.”

The Denver Post editorial board (10/31/22)

As The Denver Post editorial board writes:

We beg voters in western and southern Colorado not to give Rep. Lauren Boebert their vote.

Boebert has not represented the 3rd Congressional District well. Almost exclusively, she has spent her time and efforts contributing to the toxic political environment in this nation…

…We grieve that this is who represents our great state in Congress – a state known for our moderate positions and our policy-first approach to politics.

Rejecting all Boebert has come to represent – angry rants without offering real solutions — is important for the 3rd Congressional District, Colorado and this great nation. Frisch is a solid candidate who will stand in for the district in an honorable way.

Go ahead and try to find a more harshly-worded endorsement in Colorado in the last decade. We’ll wait…

 

Filling a Vacuum with a Vacuum

Invisible Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner left the Colorado Republican Party without another face.

Of course, much of Boebert’s name ID in Colorado is the result of a complete lack of other options for the GOP. The last remaining statewide elected Republican in Colorado is CU Regent Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, who is a week away from losing the gubernatorial race to incumbent Democrat Jared Polis by somewhere between 10 and 20 points. Former Senator Cory Gardner is locked away in a wood-paneled bunker in Yuma muttering about crypto currency. After Boebert, the most visible Republican in Colorado could well be Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, but her new office in 2023 is likely to be behind bars. 

Boebert’s Republican colleagues in Colorado’s congressional delegation are Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck. When he’s not violating ethics rules, Lamborn spends most of his time looking for silly legislation to co-sponsor. As for Buck, the former State Party Chairman desperately wants to be seen as a MAGA Republican leader, but he can’t figure out anything to do for attention other than to keep talking about investigating longtime Democratic bogeyman George Soros for funding Antifa, or something.

 

Where’s Boebert?

Rep. Lauren Boebert (second from right) with Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago this month.

As far as we can tell, Boebert has not endorsed a single Republican in Colorado in 2022 — likely because no GOP candidate wants to be associated with the former Rifle restaurant owner. Boebert does endorse MAGA Republican candidates around the country, even if those candidates don’t bother to spell her name correctly; outside of Colorado, Boebert is more of a curiosity than a political leader.

Boebert shows up at events in Colorado from time to time, often bringing one of her MAGA buddies (such as Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz) along with her. But Boebert’s political base is not in Colorado — it is made up of national MAGA Republicans who donate small sums of money in response to her latest vile social media post. In the last couple of months, you’d have a better chance finding Boebert speaking about her bizarre version of Christianity in another state than running across her somewhere in her own congressional district. It speaks volumes that Boebert is spending as much time at Mar-a-Lago in Florida as she is in Colorado in the final weeks of the 2022 election cycle.

 

The Face of 2024

Colorado Republicans have a lot of problems that aren’t likely to get much better a week from today. But one of the issues that should be at the top of the GOP’s post-election list should be figuring out a different figurehead before 2024.

Boebert is unquestionably the current face of the Colorado Republican Party at the moment, but there’s no good reason as to why. Boebert is extraordinarily disliked in her home state, which might account for why she is rarely here. Her brand is irrevocably toxic to local media outlets, and while she has shown a talent for raising money, she does virtually nothing to help her fellow Republicans in Colorado.

Boebert’s re-election is a Catch-22 for Republicans; if she does win another term and Republicans control a majority in the House of Representatives, she and her fellow “Freedom Caucus” members will spend more time breaking things than governing. If you thought Boebert was a distraction in her first term, just wait until she gets handed a larger microphone.

The person most associated with the Colorado Republican Party is also one of the people who is the least helpful to the GOP. We’d call this “odd,” but it’s actually a pretty good explanation for how Colorado Republicans ended up where they are today.

Joe O’Dea Begins Final Sad Week as Senate Candidate

Republican Joe O’Dea is wrapping up his long, strange trip as a 2022 candidate for U.S. Senate by doubling-down on an obvious lie and hanging out with former Sen. Cory Gardner, whose last election cycle concluded with a nearly 10-point loss to Democrat John Hickenlooper.

Before we get to Gardner, we’ll start with Friday’s final Senate debate between O’Dea and incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. This video clip from the Colorado Democratic Party is a pretty good summary of O’Dea’s final few weeks as a statewide candidate:

As you can see, O’Dea got a little emotional about being called out for a ridiculous lie that is still being pushed by his campaign despite the fact that it has been widely debunked…including by O’Dea himself. We’ve been covering the O’Dea campaign’s absurd claims that his campaign is being “censored” by Google — something that appears to be a desperate effort to raise a few more dollars before O’Dea turns back into a little-known contractor on November 8th. In fact, just last week O’Dea told Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs that his “crack team” had already “addressed” the fake problem with Google and “cleaned it up.”

That doesn’t mean that O’Dea’s campaign has stopped running its fake conspiracy fundraising ads, however, which is why Kyle Clark of 9News asked him about it during Friday’s debate:

KYLE CLARK: Mr. O’Dea, would you like to provide any evidence [that Google is censoring your campaign]?

JOE O’DEA: I’m not going to do it here tonight, Kyle. I’m not debating you. I’m debating Michael Bennet.

CLARK: Well, I’m asking you if you’re interested in backing up this allegation…

O’DEA: I told you, you can go look it up. It happened. Two weeks, they downed our Google efforts so we couldn’t…search for our stuff. It’s documented.

CLARK: It actually…it is not. Because these things are public. And we looked again this morning. And you have run Google ads without a single day of interruption since April 14th.

O’DEA: That’s not true. That’s just not true.

CLARK: The public can go, and they can go look…

O’DEA: They can go look. That’s just not true.

CLARK: …at the transparency portal, and they can see that you have run ads…

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea tries to wave away the truth.

O’DEA: That’s not true.

CLARK: …every single day, without interruption. There’s a single ad pulled in June for an unspecified violation…

O’DEA: A single ad, they pulled…

CLARK: …which your campaign won’t tell us what that was for, or if you attempted to fix it. So just one last question: Serious allegation, about a behemoth company, that you could regulate as a U.S. Senator, do you have any evidence?

O’DEA: I just told you, they pulled one of our ads for two weeks. That’s the evidence…

CLARK: With respect, your word is not evidence, sir. Any evidence?

O’DEA: It’s there, you can find it.

CLARK: Very good.

This is a very weird hill to die upon. It’s not “furries” weird, but it’s still strange.

O’Dea’s campaign is apparently so desperate to raise money in the last week of the election that O’Dea is willing to keep this ridiculous conspiracy theory alive…AND to call on 2020’s big election loser to help him collect a few thousand more dollars for his doomed Senate bid. Via Punchbowl News, the original orange Republican leader (former House Speaker John Boehner) will join former Sen. Cory Gardner for a last-minute fundraiser in Denver that is probably more about cultivating O’Dea as a future GOP donor:

 

We can’t imagine that Tuesday’s fundraiser is going to make much of a difference for O’Dea’s campaign. Are there a lot of people who have not yet donated to O’Dea who are interested in shelling out $10,000 for a photo with two former elected officials and a guy who is only slightly more likely than you are to be in the U.S. Senate next month? This might have been a decent fundraising event two months ago, but not one week before Election Day.

Anyway, there are just a few more days left Joe, and you’ll have all the time in the world to live your best #HorseSushi life.

State Sen. Kevin Priola Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Kevin Priola (D-Henderson).

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

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

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

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

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Assault On Paul Pelosi Appears Politically Motivated

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and her husband Paul.

We’re monitoring terrible news out of San Francisco today that appears to be getting worse by the minute, as Politico reports on the violent attack early this morning on Paul Pelosi, husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:

The intruder who allegedly assaulted Nancy Pelosi’s husband in the couple’s San Francisco home early Friday morning was searching for the House speaker, according to a source briefed on the attack.

The assailant broke into the Pelosi residence shouting “where is Nancy, where is Nancy?” before violently assaulting Paul Pelosi, according to the source. [Pols emphasis]

A spokesperson for Nancy Pelosi announced the attack in a statement Friday morning, confirming that the alleged assailant is in custody, and the motivation for the attack is under investigation. The speaker was not in San Francisco at the time of the attack and Paul Pelosi, 82, was taken to the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, the spokesperson said.

Information is slowly coming out on the suspect, further confirming the apparent motive:

Paul Pelosi was described initially as “expected to make a full recovery,” but the latest reports suggest he is undergoing brain surgery after the assault. Watch this space for updates and statements from local officials as they come in. Local media has documented the rise in recent threats of violence against public officials as the midterm elections approach, in particular Democratic officials and especially women Democratic officials, including a man sentenced to federal prison this year for threatening Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold. The years-long campaign of deeply personal right-wing vitriol against Speaker Pelosi is more intense due to her high-ranking position, but it’s the same motivation.

There’s no analogue on the left for this behavior, and we have to stop pretending there is.

Colorado Senate Race Ends With a Whimper and a Shrug

This is the face of a guy who just wants to go get some #HorseSushi and a mug of iced beer.

Colorado’s U.S. Senate race is entering its final days with a big ol’ heaping plate of “whatever.”

For weeks, national news outlets pretended that the battle between incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet and Republican challenger Joe O’Dea could be a closely-watched race on Election Day. But with less than two weeks to go, reality has sunk in for O’Dea as he faces anger from the right and apathy from everywhere else.

During Tuesday’s Senate debate at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, O’Dea displayed the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager asked to wake up early on a weekend morning. In fact, the most notable takeaway in watching O’Dea might have been his audibly heavy breathing whenever Bennet was talking. O’Dea flubbed many of his lines; declined to use up his full allotment of time in responses; and literally read aloud his closing remarks from a piece of paper (remarks you would think a Senate candidate would have memorized by now).

O’Dea has seen the polls, all of which show him losing badly to Bennet. O’Dea knows that he won’t have the resources to do anything about it in the final stretch of the race, with his campaign resorting to weird tinfoil hat conspiracy theories in a desperate attempt to raise a few more bucks from conspiracy-minded donors.

Quite frankly, we can’t blame O’Dea for having trouble mustering up any excitement. The writing is on the wall. The fat lady is getting ready to sing. Pick your cliché.

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza wrote on Tuesday:

Last week, a super PAC affiliated with Mitch McConnell announced it was pulling nearly $6 million out of the New Hampshire Senate race. On Tuesday, the group dumped an additional $6 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race…

Seemingly gone for Republicans are the dreams of picking up the likes of the New Hampshire seat, where Sen. Maggie Hassan is seeking a second term. Ditto Republican hopes of beating Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. [Pols emphasis]

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

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun continued this theme today:

O’Dea hasn’t benefited from the kind of NRSC spending Republicans running in other U.S. Senate races have benefited from. And [NRSC Chairman Rick] Scott wouldn’t commit Sunday to allocating more money in Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

In Arizona, for instance, the NRSC has spent nearly $7 million opposing Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. In North Carolina, the group has spent $6 million. The NRSC has spent more than $3 million in each Georgia and Pennsylvania.

The NRSC, by comparison, has spent just $241,000 in Colorado on O’Dea’s behalf, and that was in August.

“We spent money defining Bennet. We spent money on polling. We spent money on get-out-the-vote. We spent money on texting. Things like that,” Scott told The Sun.

When asked whether the NRSC would spend millions in Colorado in the next two weeks before Election Day, Scott said “we’re working to raise money every day.”The Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has spent $1.25 million in Colorado on O’Dea’s behalf. That’s a fraction of the amount the group has allocated to races in other states.

This is a continuation of the national Republican message from earlier this month (which was a continuation from the previous month) that “We’re keeping an eye on Colorado.” It’s reminiscent of a kid asking his mom if they could go out for ice cream, and the mom saying, “We’ll see”; it’s not a definite “no”, but you know enough not to put on your shoes.

With the caveat that, yes, Coloradans still need to cast their ballots, yada, yada…the reality is that the U.S. Senate race is pretty well wrapped up.

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

Andrew Baumann

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

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

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

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

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

The Best Ad of 2022 Shows Democrats the Way on Fentanyl

This new television ad from the CO-07 campaign of Democrat Brittany Pettersen is the single best spot we have seen in Colorado in 2022. Take a look:

 

 

This single TV ad absolutely demolishes attacks by Republican opponent Erik Aadland intended to label Pettersen as being on the wrong side of the debate about the proliferation of fentanyl and the opioid crisis in general. It is an incredibly powerful spot that is beautifully produced, but what makes it so strong is the story it tells.

Republicans up and down the ballot have been using “fentanyl” as their primary bogeyman in 2022, distorting the issue to such a degree that Colorado media outlets finally started pushing back on the nonsense. But an increase in “fentanyl” use isn’t some new issue that Democrats have been ignoring, despite what Republican politicians such as Hiedi Heidi Ganahl would like voters to believe.

This ad shows Democrats how to reshape the fentanyl crisis as an issue that they have worked hard to address in a thoughtful manner — which is a narrative that also happens to be true. There are no easy solutions here, but Democrats have not shied away from trying to find an answer that doesn’t involve just locking away any person who ever even thought about a substance that might include fentanyl.

We’ve seen it time and time again: Good storytelling ALWAYS beats empty talking points.

In Which Erik Aadland Realizes That He’s Sunk

Aaaaaaaaadland!

Republican Erik Aadland is sinking fast, and he has finally realized that national Republicans will not be extending any branches to save him.

Aadland is a full-fledged election denier who began the 2022 election cycle as a candidate for U.S. Senate before switching metaphorical horses and capturing the GOP nominee for Congress in CO-07 (Jefferson County-ish) for the right to take on Democrat Brittany Pettersen.

Aadland used his “Big Lie” beliefs to garner enough Republican support to win the June 28th Primary, but his subsequent efforts to scrub away the MAGA went over about as well as Joe O’Dea pouring a Michelob Ultra into a glass of ice. Aadland has struggled to raise money for his campaign, but even if he had the resources to reach more voters, it’s not clear that he has a coherent message for them anyway. National Republicans have been pouring money into Colorado’s eighth congressional district but have largely ignored CO-07 because of its Democratic-leaning electorate and Pettersen’s strong, well-financed campaign operation.

As The Colorado Times Recorder explains today via Twitter, the reality of Aadland’s situation is sinking in (pun intended):

 

Some Colorado Republicans have attempted to make the ridiculous argument that Democratic spending in CO-07 is a sign that Aadland is doing well, but Aadland’s admission today correctly blows up that strained logic. National Republicans (or Democrats) don’t expend resources in races that they don’t think they can win.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone not sipping the MAGA Kool-Aid. Aadland is a completely-unknown candidate who has been running a middling campaign against a well-known and well-prepared Democratic opponent. He kept hope of national help alive for as long as he reasonably could, but you can’t rely on big lies about your own lack of movement forever.

For Aadland, the end is near here.

Death, Taxes, and Doug Lamborn Sponsoring Stupid Bills

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is dumb mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore!

There are a few things in life that you can always count on — and Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs sponsoring pointless legislation is right at the top of that list.

While Lamborn may not really even use the Internet, he is very attuned to the manufactured concerns of right-wingers everywhere. Lamborn’s congressional office sent out this press release today:

Today, Congressman Lamborn joined House Republican Conference Vice Chairman Mike Johnson in introducing legislation to prohibit federal, state, local governments, and private organizations from using federal tax dollars to expose children under 10 to sexually explicit material.

“I am appalled at the far-left’s crusade to indoctrinate young, innocent children with their ‘woke’ agenda,” said Congressman Lamborn. “This legislation will stop taxpayer dollars from funding programs exposing children under 10 to radical, confusing, sexually-oriented material. I thank Vice Chairman Johnson for his leadership on this critical issue and will continue fighting against dangerous ideologies that harm our youth.”

The “Stop Sexualization of Children Act of 2022” seeks to put an immediate stop to a thing that doesn’t appear to be much of a problem. The bill “prohibits the use of federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10.” And our personal favorite: “The bill prohibits federal funds from being used to host or promote events where adults dance salaciously or strip for children.”

It’s nice that Lamborn has taken a break from trying to prosecute Big Bird, but this legislation is definitely the result of people in Congress who don’t have enough real work in their inbox. According to Lamborn’s press release, there are two whole examples of this problem:

Planned Parenthood, for example, is encouraging legislatures and school boards around the country to implement sexual education curricula that teaches radical gender theory to children under 10. Children should be learning about reading, writing, and mathematics, not radical gender theory.

That’s pretty weak. Here’s the other one, which is at least a tad more specific:

Federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services were recently used to fund an event in Alaska where a drag queen performed for children. The Department of Defense is funding drag shows for families on military bases, and incorporating radical gender ideology into curricula at DOD schools. HHS and DOD funding should be used to keep our country healthy and safe, not to stage burlesque shows for children.

This is how communism starts, or something.

“The Department of Defense is funding drag shows for families on military bases.” The only mention of this that we could find outside of Fox News or OANN comes from this story in May via The Los Angeles Blade:

A drag queen story scheduled to be held at the library in honor of Pride month at Ramstein Air Base was abruptly cancelled by the command staff of the 86th Airlift Wing on Thursday.

According to Stars & Stripes, the 86th Air Wing’s public affairs sent a statement to a radical-right anti-LGBTQ+ news outlet in Canada, The Post Millennial, which had requested comment to its article about the event and also accused the Air Force of pushing a more “woke” agenda among servicemen…

…The Post Millennial’s story framed its reporting using hard-line right terms and descriptions of the LGBTQ+ community; “Drag Queen Story Hour has become a phenomenon in recent years, with men dressing up in clownish, garish costumes of women to read to children- Many drag queens have sexualized names, like Penny Tration.”

This all seems very silly, but perhaps this is why Lamborn is the political version of an unkillable zombie who is able to defeat all challengers in his right-wing district despite rarely running much of a campaign.

Just wait until he finds out about the “furries” invading Colorado schools.

National Republicans Toss a Few Bucks at O’Dea

Please, sir. May I have some more?

As Natalie Allison reports for POLITICO, one of two major national Republican Super PACs associated with GOP efforts to win majority control of the U.S. Senate has at last contributed some money toward efforts to help Republican Joe O’Dea defeat incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet:

The question has remained for months about whether the Senate Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, would put money into a state President Joe Biden won by 13 points in 2020. Republicans this summer nominated Joe O’Dea, a construction entrepreneur who is running as a centrist and has distanced himself from Donald Trump, saying he would be willing to buck his party in the mold of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) if elected.

The Senate Leadership Fund on Friday made a $1.25 million contribution to the pro-O’Dea super PAC American Policy Fund, an investment the group first confirmed with POLITICO. The spend is significantly smaller than SLF’s expenditures in other battleground states this year, though spokesperson Jack Pandol said they “aren’t closing the door on further investment” in Colorado, and are “keeping an eye on” the race against Sen. Michael Bennet. [Pols emphasis]

“Keeping an eye on Colorado” is something that Republicans have been saying for at least a year. It’s the equivalent of a parent responding to a child with, “That’s nice, dear.”

It would be a much more important story if national Republicans have decided to spend real money in Colorado; $1.25 million is a relative pittance compared to what McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund (SLF) is spending in other top races around the country — though it’s $1.24 million more than the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has committed to Colorado. As you can see from this graphic put together by Reuters that covers outside spending through Oct. 3, a $1.25 million “investment” in Colorado is peanuts:

Via Reuters

 

Spending from SLF is arriving pretty late for O’Dea. Mail ballots in Colorado start going out to voters in exactly one week, which will make it hard for any ads to sink in with the electorate before voters are done thinking about 2022. This is probably one reason why the SLF is writing a check to the Super PAC “American Policy Fund,” a contractor-aligned group that has really been the only outside source of advertising for O’Dea. The SLF money isn’t part of any new program for O’Dea — it’s merely a contribution to the same group that is already running ads in Colorado.

Sen. Michael Bennet

Meanwhile, as POLITICO reports, Democrats ARE spending bigger on behalf of Bennet:

The new support for O’Dea’s bid comes as outside Democratic groups have jumped into the race to help Bennet, even as public polling has shown Bennet with a steady lead. On Friday, the League of Conservation Voters’ super PAC bought $1.3 million worth of ads in support of Bennet, following a combined $5 million in recent weeks from Giffords PAC, the gun control super PAC associated with former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and another Democratic group.

Bennet’s campaign has also outraised O’Dea by an 8-to-1 margin; while Bennet has been all over the television, O’Dea’s campaign has been buying TV time on a week-by-week basis. It’s important to note that television ads reserved by candidate campaigns are significantly cheaper than those that come from PACs, so Bennet should continue to saturate the airwaves while O’Dea’s campaign rifles through the couch cushions.

So what is the point of McConnell’s late, meager spending in Colorado? Perhaps McConnell and the SLF want to be able to say that they tried to help O’Dea in Colorado. Maybe it is a way for McConnell to tell future candidates, with a straight(ish) face, that he really does support people who are not complete MAGA Republican weirdos. Whatever the reason, this is not an amount of money that is designed to change the outcome of a Senate race.

For O’Dea, $1.25 million is better than nothing…but it’s not nearly enough to be good enough for something.

Get More Weiserer (feat. Attorney General Phil Weiser)

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser

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

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

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

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

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

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Who Will Win Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race? (10/6)

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

Here’s what readers thought the last time we asked this question.

Now we’re asking again: Who will win Colorado’s U.S. Senate race? Will incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet earn a third term, or will Republican businessman Joe O’Dea pull off the upset?

 

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

 

Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race? (10/6)

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Maybe Joe O’Dea Can…Nope, Nevermind

UPDATE: As The Washington Post reports in a story about Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker:

With polls showing Republican candidates underperforming the fundamentals in several key Senate races, Walker — for all his previous problems, which were many — hasn’t lagged as badly as some. And just two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) named Georgia and Nevada as the GOP’s best pickup opportunities, apparently over others in Arizona, Colorado and New Hampshire. [Pols emphasisi]

Oof.

—–

Joe O'Dea

GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea

One of the most persistent — and bizarre — storylines this fall has been the steady stream of national publications writing about Colorado’s U.S. Senate race as though it just might be an opportunity for Republicans to pick up a Senate seat.

Multiple national outlets, from The Washington Post to The New York Times, have published stories in recent months considering whether the underfunded and little-known Republican Joe O’Dea could knock off incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in November. Every single one of these stories follow the same basic script:

  1. Republicans think O’Dea could upset Bennet in 2022;
  2. Here are a few quotes from Republicans saying that O’Dea could beat Bennet;
  3. O’Dea has some different positions on abortion and Donald Trump (sort of);
  4. Here are some quotes from Democrats saying that O’Dea will NOT beat Bennet;
  5. Bennet is way ahead of O’Dea in fundraising and polling numbers;
  6. Nevermind our original premise because Bennet will probably win.

It’s uncanny, and it’s as pointless as responding to one of those spam text messages that just says, “Hi.”

The latest national reporter to embark on this paint-by-numbers journey is Caroline Vakil of The Hill newspaper:

Republicans are hoping Colorado Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s move to distance himself from the more extreme elements of the party will help them pull off a win in what could be a potential sleeper race come November.

O’Dea, a construction company executive running to unseat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), has expressed support for some abortion rights while also bucking his party by suggesting former President Trump shouldn’t run in 2024.

Republicans argue that by branding himself as a moderate, O’Dea will appeal to critical voting blocs in the state, like independents and Hispanic voters, even if some in the party acknowledge he likely faces an uphill climb.

“I think that those same unaffiliated voters that voted so overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates in ‘18 and ‘20 are ready to look at Republican candidates in 2022. And I think Joe O’Dea is the perfect kind of candidate to appeal to them,” said Dick Wadhams, a former state GOP chair. [Pols emphasis]

This quote from former Republican State Party Chair Dick Wadhams is perfectly emblematic of the kind of response that national publications include in their stories about Colorado’s Senate race. Wadhams is quoted because he presumably knows what he’s talking about after spending 400 years in Republican politics, although the last time Wadhams was involved in a winning scenario for the GOP was when Wayne Allard was a U.S. Senator.

If you’re asking yourself, “Who in the hell is Wayne Allard,” then you’re getting what we’re putting down here.

Democrats have absolutely CRUSHED Republicans in Colorado in the last two election cycles, but Wadhams says things will be different in 2022 because…um…well…

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Darryl Glenn was a called a “unicorn,” too.

This is all the same fact-free punditry from the same Republicans who keep losing big races in Colorado year after year after year. For example, Axios published a story about O’Dea this summer calling him a political “unicorn,” which is the same thing that some pundits said about Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn when he was running against Bennet in 2016.

There’s absolutely no logical reason to suspect that 2022 will be different for Republicans than 2018 and 2020, particularly when they are running the same program again and again. We learned today, for example, that former Republican President George W. Bush will host a fundraiser for O’Dea later this month. In 2018, Bush showed up in Colorado in October to raise money for Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, who went on to lose to Democrat Jared Polis by nearly 11 points. Bush isn’t even going to bother coming to Colorado for O’Dea; that fundraiser will be held in his home state of Texas.

In fact, there’s more reason to believe that 2022 might actually be WORSE for Colorado Republicans than it has been in recent cycles. The GOP’s top-ticket candidate, gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, is a complete lunatic whose campaign somehow gets worse the closer we get to Election Day and threatens to drag other Republicans down with it. Even Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert could be in trouble in November, and CO-03 is a district that last elected a Democrat in 2008.

Ganahl isn’t getting any financial help from national Republicans, and neither is O’Dea; the top two Republican campaigns in Colorado are running on fumes. Republicans are pouring millions of dollars into states like Georgia (for Herschel Walker) and Pennsylvania (for Dr. Oz), both of which have terribly-flawed Senate candidates but are still considered more winnable than Colorado. This is the most telling stat of all: National Republicans have spent all of about $100,000 on O’Dea; they’ll spend more than that in Georgia today.

Again, none of these national stories about O’Dea have translated to an increase in support, because nobody actually believes that O’Dea has much of a chance. Polling consistently shows Bennet with an 8-10 point lead, and the incumbent Democrat has outraised O’Dea by orders of magnitude. O’Dea’s campaign has, for several weeks, been buying television ad time on a weekly and sometimes daily basis because it doesn’t have the resources to do anything else.

Thus, The Hill ends up right where all of the other national publications land: In reality.

Indeed, Colorado has not been particularly kind to Republican candidates in recent years. Hillary Clinton won the state against former President Trump by roughly 5 percentage points in 2016, and President Biden won it in 2020 by more than 13 percentage points.

The last time Republicans won a Senate seat in the Centennial State was back in 2014, when Cory Gardner ousted Sen. Mark Udall (D). Gardner later lost reelection to Sen. John Hickenlooper (D) in 2020…

While Democrats — and even some Republicans — believe that Bennet will ultimately prevail in November, they note the political headwinds their party still faces. [Pols emphasis]

Taking a dozen different positions on abortion rights or supporting Trump makes O’Dea different than some other GOP candidates, but it doesn’t make him any better.

All of these national stories start out with an interesting premise but end up with the same inevitable conclusion. In that way, at least, they have captured the true essence of O’Dea’s campaign for Senate.

Which Way is Down? Republicans Follow Each Other

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

Quote #3 is Tudor Dixon herself. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Got your thumb! Wait, that’s MY thumb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast

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

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

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

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

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

At Least He’s Not Your Wing-Wiping Valor Stealer Insurrectionist

J.R. Majewski and HWSNBN.

As the New York Times’ Neil Vigdor reports, a Trump-endorsed QAnon-curious January 6th participant Republican congressional candidate’s campaign for Congress is careening out of control, after his self-professed record of military service turned out to be wildly overstated:

J.R. Majewski, a Republican House candidate in northern Ohio, has frequently promoted himself as a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but the U.S. Air Force has no record that he served there, unraveling a central narrative of his political ascension that has been heralded by former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Majewski, 42, was deployed for six months in 2002 to Qatar, the Persian Gulf nation that is now home to the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, according to Air Force records obtained by The New York Times.

The Associated Press reported earlier about Mr. Majewski’s misrepresentations of his military service, noting that he worked as a “passenger operations specialist” while he was in Qatar, helping to load and unload planes. In addition to Air Force records, it used information that it had obtained through a public records request from the National Archives but that was not immediately available on Thursday.

From a House Majority PAC ad targeting J.R. Majewski (R).

In short, this hard-charging MAGA Republican basically has nothing else to run for Congress on other than his claims to have been a combat veteran in Afghanistan, when the record indicates the closest he got to the combat zone was hundreds of miles away in Qatar loading and unloading airplanes–“in the rear with the gear” is the term we heard in a movie once. But as the AP reports, J.R. Majewski, whose past verifiable vocations include “pro-Trump hip hop performer,” embellished that mundane record very bigly campaigning for office:

Throughout his campaign Majewski has offered his Air Force service as a valuable credential. The tagline “veteran for Congress” appears on campaign merchandise. He ran a Facebook ad promoting himself as “combat veteran.” And in a campaign video released this year, Majewski marauds through a vacant factory with a rifle while pledging to restore an America that is “independent and strong like the country I fought for.”

More recently, the House Republican campaign committee released a biography that describes Majewski as a veteran whose “squadron was one of the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11.” A campaign ad posted online Tuesday by Majewski supporters flashed the words “Afghanistan War Veteran” across the screen alongside a picture of a younger Majewski in his dress uniform.

A biography posted on his campaign website does not mention Afghanistan, but in an August 2021 tweet criticizing the U.S. withdrawal from the country, Majewski said he would “gladly suit up and go back to Afghanistan.”

Majewski is running in a newly redrawn congressional district against Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who (very) longtime readers will remember was a member of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus along with Colorado GOP Rep. Bob Schaffer some 15 years ago. The district as redrawn now tilts slightly Republican, which has given the party hopes of unseating one the of the state’s longest-serving Democratic officials.

The fallout from the revelations appeared to be swift and significant, with the National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday canceling television ads it had booked for the final six weeks of the campaign in support of Mr. Majewski, according to AdImpact, a firm that tracks campaign advertising. The decision was also reported by Medium Buying, a political advertising news site.

It looks like Kevin McCarthy’s shrinking path to a majority will not pass through Toledo.

Wildfire Recovery Act Passes, No Thanks to Boebert and Buck

Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) celebrated the passage on Tuesday of legislation intended to help communities recover from devastating wildfires.

Via press release from Neguse’s office:

Congressman Joe Neguse and Congressman John Curtis (R-UT), Co-Chairs and Founders of the Bipartisan Wildfire Caucus, announced that the House of Representatives passed their legislation to help ensure impacted communities have the resources they need to recover from devastating wildfires. The bipartisan Wildfire Recovery Act would increase flexibility in the federal cost share for Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) to bring in additional resources for communities as they rebuild from wildfire damage. [Pols emphasis] The bill is sponsored by California Senator Alex Padilla in the U.S. Senate.

“Coloradans have been impacted by multiple natural disasters in recent years, from the devastating wildfire season in 2020 to the record-breaking Marshall Fire just this past year. For them and for all the communities across this country impacted by wildfires, floods, and more, we must ensure full and adequate federal support for recovery,” said Congressman Joe Neguse. “The Wildfire Recovery Act helps to support state and local governments in cases of disaster, covering the costs of critical services needed for protection and recovery. The strong bipartisan support for this bill – demonstrated by the House vote today – gives me hope that Colorado families and communities will never again have to navigate recovery alone.”

The Wildfire Recovery Act has a ton of bipartisan sponsors, as you might expect for something that wouldn’t look like a political maneuver no matter how hard you squinted. In short, the legislation allows people impacted by devastating fires, such as the Marshall Fire in Boulder County in 2021 that destroyed more than 1,000 homes, to qualify for additional federal assistance through Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG).

The Wildfire Recovery Act was approved on the House Floor on Tuesday by a wide margin (328-88). Two of those ‘NO’ votes, all of which came from Republicans, were cast by Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Ken Buck (R-Greeleyish).

These votes are indefensible considering what Aldo Svaldi reported for The Denver Post on Tuesday:

Nearly 320,000 single-family homes in Colorado are at risk of wildfire damage with potential losses highest in El Paso County, according to CoreLogic, a property information firm that prepares an annual Wildfire Report.

California, Florida, Texas, Colorado and New Mexico are the top five states in terms of the number of homes susceptible to wildfire damage, CoreLogic estimates. But given their much smaller populations than the first three states, Colorado and New Mexico are more vulnerable on a percentage of homes basis.

As you can see from the map below, the five Colorado counties with homes that are most at-risk for severe fire damage include THREE that are within areas represented by Boebert (Eagle and La Plata) and Buck (Douglas).

Via the annual “Wildfire Report” from CoreLogic.

El Paso County is considered to have the highest risk of single-home damage, which is probably why even Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs voted for the Wildfire Recovery Act.

As far as we can tell, neither Buck nor Boebert have said anything about why they would have voted against a bill that would provide significant help for people IN THEIR OWN DISTRICTS.

It is inexplicable why any voter in Colorado would continue to support the likes of Boebert and Buck when they go to such great lengths to work against the interests of their constituents.