The Colorado Republican Party is Just One Big Conspiracy Now

If you are a Republican in Colorado, the “good news” and the “bad news” are remarkably similar these days. Whatever decisions are ultimately made about the future of the GOP, the individuals who are involved in the party are stuck in a bizarre negative feedback loop that doesn’t appear likely to end anytime soon. 

Let’s start with what could once have been objectively determined to be “good news.” On Saturday, Colorado Republicans managed to avoid disenfranchising more than a third of Colorado’s electorate when a majority of Republicans at a meeting of the State GOP central committee decided against opting out of the 2022 Primary election. As Jesse Paul reported for The Colorado Sun:

Colorado Republicans on Saturday rejected a contentious push to opt out of next year’s primaries, which would have blocked the state’s 1.7 million unaffiliated voters from helping to select the GOP’s 2022 general election candidates.

The vote, taken at a meeting in Pueblo of the party’s central committee members, was 241 opposed to opting out and 172 in favor, far less than the 75% support — or 380 votes — needed to pass.

The opt-out question received the support of just 34% of the Colorado GOP central committee. Backers of the initiative knew it was likely they would come up short of the 75% threshold, but were hoping to break 50% and send a clear message and potentially prompt a lawsuit challenging Colorado’s law allowing unaffiliated voters to participate in partisan primaries.

The central committee ultimately did vote to authorize the state party to file a legal challenge to the law, but it’s not clear if the lawsuit could proceed fast enough to affect the 2022 election. [Pols emphasis]

As you can see from that last paragraph, this fight still isn’t really over. By deciding to allow a lawsuit to go forward, Colorado Republicans kept alive a bugaboo that had been dividing the party faithful all summer. 

Backers of the primary opt-out included high-ranking members of the Colorado Republican Party, among them State Republican Party Secretary Marilyn Harris; State GOP Vice Chair Priscilla Rahn; and Republican National Committee member Randy Corporon. The State GOP Chair, however, was of the opinion that she should not have an opinion. As The Colorado Sun reported after Saturday’s vote:

“We are focused on 2022 and winning over all voters in Colorado,” Burton Brown said in a written statement after Saturday’s vote. She didn’t take a public position on the opt out question. [Pols emphasis]

That’s some bold leadership, Cotton. On the bright side, at least THIS GOP Chairperson hasn’t yet been accused of stealing money from GOP PACs.

Heidi Ganahl and Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

Republican candidates seeking office in 2022 were equally divided on Saturday’s big issue. Gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, who is a member of the state GOP central committee, ducked questions about the subject for weeks before finally telling Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as The Colorado Statesman that she would oppose opting out of the open primary. Fellow gubernatorial candidate Greg Lopez, however, didn’t respond to Luning’s request for comment. Republican Senate candidate Eli Bremer opposed opting out, but fellow Senate candidates Peter Yu and Erik Aadland both punted when asked to give an opinion. 

Colorado Republicans have a special talent for pointing fingers at others, and it is this distrust and paranoia that is the real lesson from Saturday’s central committee meeting. To hear Republicans explain things, everybody is out to get everybody else, and there’s no convincing them otherwise. 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 21)

There are 101 days left until 2022. 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 

 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Republicans will vote for the United States to default on its debt obligations. As The New York Times reports:

The House is expected on Tuesday to pass legislation that would keep the government funded through early December, lift the limit on federal borrowing through the end of 2022 and provide about $35 billion in emergency money for Afghan refugees and natural disaster recovery, setting up a clash with Republicans who have warned they will oppose the measure.

The bill, which Democrats released on Tuesday just hours before a planned vote, is needed to avert a government shutdown when funding lapses next week and avoid a first-ever debt default when the Treasury Department reaches the limit of its borrowing authority within weeks. But it has become ensnared in partisan politics, with Republicans refusing to allow a debt ceiling increase at a time when Democrats control Congress and the White House.

In pairing the debt limit raise with the spending package, Democrats hoped to pressure Republicans into dropping their opposition. But few, if any, Republicans are expected to support it.

And the prospects for passage in the 50-50 Senate appeared dim amid widespread opposition by Republicans, who have said they will neither vote for the legislation nor allow it to advance in the chamber, where 60 votes are needed to move forward.

This is the part in our story where you might say, But Democrats voted to prevent a government shutdown when Donald Trump was President. If you’re saying that, then we would remind you that Mitch McConnell DGAF.

 

President Biden took the stage in front of the U.N. General Assembly today for the first time as President. As NBC News reports:

Biden used his biggest moment so far on the international stage at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday to call on global leaders to take stronger action on Covid-19 and climate change, as he sought to re-establish America’s alliances and role in the international community.

Looking to signal a break from his predecessor’s isolationism, “America first” policies, he repeatedly pledged to work with other nations and to establish the United States as a leader in tackling the challenges facing the planet.

“We will lead, we will lead on all the greatest challenges of our time from Covid to climate, peace and security, human dignity and human rights, but we will not go it alone,” Biden said. “We will lead together with our allies and partners and in cooperation with all those who believe, as we do, that it is within our power to meet these challenges, to build a future that lifts all of our people to preserve this planet.”

The speech, his first as president at the meeting, was at a gathering very different than those in the past, with many world leaders opting to deliver their remarks virtually.

 

With a deadline to finish drawing new district boundaries just around the corner, The Colorado Sun looks at where things stand with Colorado’s independent redistricting commissions.

Meanwhile, it appears that Republican redistricting lobbyists are throwing caution (and the rules) to the wind in a last-ditch effort to influence the drawing of districts in GOP favor.

 

A new book on the end of the Donald Trump administration lays out some damning information about the degree to which former CU visiting professor John Eastman plotted to literally overthrow American democracy in order to keep Trump in the White House. This is likely to become a significant issue for CU Regent Heidi Ganahl as she campaigns for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

 

 Attorney General? Nope. State Treasurer? Nada. Secretary of State? Crickets.

Colorado Republicans don’t have any potential candidates for three of the four major statewide races that will be on the ballot in 2022. History suggests that they should already have several campaigns in operation by now.

 

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Disgraced GOP Hacks Still Monkeying With Redistricting Process

GOP operative Alan Philp.

As Colorado’s new independent redistricting commissions have ground through the work over the summer of drawing new maps for Colorado’s congressional and state legislative districts, Republican operatives working under a “dark money” front group known as the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition got caught red-handed trying to manipulate the process through undisclosed lobbying and pushing a flurry of Republican-favored maps through a variety of “independent” sources like the Colorado Farm Bureau.

Last month, a highly ill-advised recorded presentation from GOP state Rep. Matt Soper of Delta very frankly laid out the Republican redistricting power map, explaining how longtime GOP operatives Alan Philp, Frank McNulty, and Greg Brophy of the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition were actually in the employ of the Colorado Republican Party as well as the state House and Senate Republican caucuses to “represent our interests.” This isn’t new information but it’s useful to recap today:

QUESTION: Have you have you addressed the the matter of the extent to which the uh, this process has been influenced by the state GOP or people engaged by the state GOP?

SOPER: Yes, I’ll talk on that. So, the Colorado Republican Party, the House Republicans in the Hou-uh, Senate Republicans hired Alan Phillips [sic], Greg Brophy, and Frank McNulty to represent our interests. In speaking to all of them and and in listening to their presentations, their only goal is to increase the numbers in the State House and if possible increase numbers in the State Senate. [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Soper, as readers will recall, was bitterly angry at the time of this recording that fellow Republicans had called for Western Slope party faithful to “take one for the team” and allow for Delta County to be divided–presumably in the service of what Soper describes as the “only goal” of these operatives, which is to increase Republican numbers in the Colorado General Assembly:

SOPER: They are not concerned about the Western Slope, and as a matter of fact, anyone who is on the call with the state party who heard I think it was either Frank or Alan say, “Delta County is divided and you need to take one for the team.” They said that to Delta County’s Republican chair, Dave Bradford. I mean, that was just a slap in the face.

But as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Evan Wyloge reported at the time, Philp objected strongly to Soper’s characterization, and in the end Soper is the one who knuckled under:

Philp told The Gazette Soper is just wrong, and that he’s upset that Soper said Colorado Neighborhood Coalition’s efforts were paid to represent Republican interests in redistricting. McNulty also said Soper was incorrect on the payment arrangement.

“It’s just factually incorrect,” Philp said. “I don’t know Matt Soper and I don’t know where he got that. We don’t work for the Republican Party. We don’t work for the House Republicans. We don’t work for the Senate Republicans. We’ve not received any money from them.”

Soper wrote that he now believes the information he passed along about Colorado Neighborhood Coalition is wrong. Under IRS rules, the organization does not have to specify who is funding it.

Down goes Soper! Unfortunately for him, and for that matter Philp and crew as well as the Colorado Republican Party, everyone knows Soper was right the first time–and the distinction between the “dark money” group organized to push for Republican-friendly maps and the Colorado GOP itself is little more than accounting fiction. It’s for all of these reasons and more that the “Colorado Neighborhood Coalition” is set to be thoroughly investigated by the Secretary of State for its activities.

But that doesn’t appear to be slowing Alan Philp down as the redistricting process heads toward the finish line. In addition to maps tied to Philp submitted by special-interest vassal (think Amendment 74) Colorado Farm Bureau, Philp is connected to several other map proposals recently submitted to the commission from less-obviously Republican names like disaffected ex-Rep. Kathleen Curry of Garfield County. The Colorado Sun reports today that yet another Philp-drawn map was submitted this weekend–which Philp claims to have “consulted” with the Colorado Latino Leadership, Advocacy, and Research Organization (CLLARO) on. Philp has said in response to questions about his “ubiquity” that he even helps people draw maps he doesn’t like:

“We train people on map drawing. We help people draw maps,” Philp told the commissioners at a July public input hearing in Lakewood. “I want to make it very clear that when I help people draw maps it’s their map not my map.”

If you believe that, we have a bridge to sell you.

Rep. Soper’s description of Alan Philp’s job, “to increase [GOP] numbers in the State House and if possible increase numbers in the State Senate,” should be taken at Soper’s word despite his subsequent attempts to backpedal. Amendments Y&Z governing this process are explicit that maps drawn to protect incumbents or gerrymander undeserved majorities are illegal.

At this point, every draft map tied to Alan Philp must be considered tainted.

Philp wears many hats, but he has only one job.

The GMS Podcast: Heidi Ga-Not-Gonna-Be-Governor

This week on Episode #86 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii marvel at the bizarre pre-announcement announcement for Heidi Ganahl’s gubernatorial campaign; Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters gets her own segment jingle; we applaud President Biden’s vaccination requirements; and we discuss the horrible COVID-19 conditions in Idaho that have led to the creation of actual “death panels.”

Looking ahead to the 2022 election, Jason and Ian also explain the three “must answer” questions for any major candidate running for office.

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Sept. 17)

On this day in 1985, hockey player Alexander Ovechkin was born. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters returned from a long self-imposed exile and resurfaced finally in Grand Junction on Thursday. As The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appeared at an event in Grand Junction on Thursday night, vowing to fight investigations into her office, chastising the Colorado Secretary of State and asking supporters for donations to fund her legal defense.

“I’m so happy to be home. This is where my heart is and this is where we’re going to take back America,” Peters told a crowd gathered at Appleton Christian Church.

The event, which was livestreamed on the Stand For The Constitution Grand Junction Facebook Page, was billed as a “Stand With Tina” rally and featured a handful of speakers. It was Peters’ first public appearance in Grand Junction after an investigation into her office was announced in August….

…In addition to detailing a website where supporters could contribute to her defense fund, standwithtina.org, Peters also explained some of the events that led the clerk to allegedly tamper with county voting machines, prompting an investigation by the Secretary of State’s Office as well as the District Attorney.

Peters said after the 2020 election, she received calls and emails from hundreds of residents who believed the election was illegitimate, and she began investigating those claims on their behalf.

That’s right. Despite being under investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County DA, the Colorado Attorney General, and the FBI, Peters is back in town and soliciting donations to assist her legal defense for a crime she willingly committed.

CLICK HERE to read more about Peters.

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl doesn’t want to answer questions about whether the 2020 election was legitimate (SPOILER ALERT: It was), but as she is learning, every major media outlet in Colorado absolutely DOES consider this to be a litmus choice sort of question for candidates seeking public office in 2022.

Headline from The Denver Post (9/16/21)

 

 

As Jason Salzman of The Colorado Times Recorder writes, the ongoing Republican civil war in Colorado could have major implications as soon as this weekend. Colorado Republicans may vote to opt out of Colorado’s open Primary system so that right-wing activists can more easily control who wins the GOP nomination for any particular office. Many more moderate and rational Colorado Republicans are pleading with their base to not commit what many believe would be political suicide. Here’s more on what might happen Saturday from Axios Denver and The Colorado Sun.

 

 Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman is facing calls for his resignation following a report from the Colorado Attorney General’s office outlining significant longstanding racial biases and excessive force allegations surrounding the Aurora Police Department.

Fox 31 News has more on the response to the AG’s report from the Aurora police officers’ union. The Aurora Sentinel, meanwhile, details the problematic staffing troubles facing the APD:

A record number of Aurora police officers have left the department so far this year, surpassing the number of departures in all of 2020 and further straining an increasingly lean agency, according to data presented to Aurora city council members this week.

A total of 96 officers have parted ways with the Aurora Police Department so far in 2021, with another two staffers expected to split by week’s end, Deputy Chief Darin Parker told members of the council’s public safety policy committee Sept. 16…

…The number of exits among APD ranks through the middle of September already dwarfs totals from last year, when 87 officials left Aurora police — a 61% increase over 2019.

 

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (Sept. 16)

Happy Mexican Independence Day. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 Colorado Sun reports, there’s a new proposed congressional redistricting map out for discussion:

The latest draft of Colorado’s congressional map avoids putting the state’s current U.S. House members into the same district, while creating a sweeping district across most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado. The new 8th Congressional District in the north Denver metro region would be nearly 39% Hispanic.

The new map released Wednesday groups most of the Western Slope and southern Colorado into a single, L-shaped 3rd Congressional District. Northwest high-country counties including Routt, Jackson, Eagle, Summit and Grand are grouped with Larimer and Boulder into a proposed 2nd Congressional District. And the new districts would no longer pit Garfield County Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert against Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse of Lafayette.

And the proposed 7th District, now centered in the north and west metro area, would include much of Jefferson County but stretch to South Park in the central Rocky Mountains.

This new map is not without problems, as The Sun notes:

Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, disputed the congressional commission’s formula for determining the political competitiveness of a district.

“Measuring competitiveness by focusing on strong years for one party and ignoring 2014 — which was a strong year for the other party — is simply wrong,” Carroll said in a statement. “As a result, this could very likely end up a 4-4 map after the midterms, which is in no way reflective of Colorado voters.”

The Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission will debate this new map tonight. If at least eight votes can’t be garnered, the nonpartisan staff will produce a third proposed map on Sept. 23. CLICK HERE to see Congressional Map #2.

In other redistricting news, the Colorado Secretary of State’s office is investigating potential illegal lobbying activity committed by a handful of well-known Republican operatives. The Colorado Times Recorder also has the full video of a ham-handed presentation that Republican Rep. Matt Soper gave to several Republicans in July.

 

Republican Heidi Ganahl announced her campaign for Governor on Tuesday and is off to the worst start for a statewide candidate in recent memory.

Former State Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams has some biting criticism that applies to Ganahl, as The Colorado Times Recorder reports:

A day after Heidi Ganahl, the newly minted GOP gubernatorial candidate, refused to tell reporters whether she thought the last year’s presidential election was legitimate, Wadhams said Republicans won’t be “credible in a general election” unless they say the election was not stolen.

“I think candidates ought to look at the reporter and say, ‘I do not believe the election was stolen. I do not believe we should ban 1.6 million unaffiliated voters from voting in the primary.’ And I think we just ought to take a stand on this because it’s defining our party,” Wadhams told Peter Boyles.

“I honestly think we’ve got to have strong candidates who were willing to say, no, the election was not stolen because that’s the only way they can be credible in a general election.”

You know Republicans are worried about Ganahl’s campaign when they immediately start blaming the media for her troubles.

 

The Denver Post reports on a significant new finding from the Colorado Attorney General’s office:

Colorado’s attorney general will require the Aurora Police Department to make sweeping reforms after a year-long investigation found officers’ pattern of racially biased policing and use of excessive force routinely violated state and federal law.

The department’s officers persistently arrested and injured Black individuals and other people of color at higher rates than white residents, according to the investigation released Wednesday.

Officers also routinely used excessive force against people unnecessarily, failed to de-escalate encounters and failed to properly document information about individuals they stopped as required by state law, the investigation found.

The department’s training and accountability structures are inadequate and create a culture of violence, according to investigators’ 112-page report.

Anyone who has been paying any attention to Aurora in the last couple of years will not likely be surprised by this report. Attorney General Phil Weiser wants to create a consent decree to allow his office to work with the Aurora PD on making widespread reforms.

 

As Denver7 reports, ICU capacity in Colorado hospitals has reached its lowest levels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Republican Redistricting Lobbyists Investigated by State SOS

GOP operative Alan Philp

As the redistricting process in Colorado lumbers along toward a theoretical conclusion early next month, we’ve been following in this space the story of some well-known Republican operatives who can’t seem to figure out how to lobby staff and members of Colorado’s two independent redistricting commissions without breaking the law.

Former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former State Sen. Greg Brophy, and longtime Republican consultant Alan Philp have made a number of very obvious mistakes in their ham-handed efforts to tilt the drawing of new legislative and congressional maps toward GOP interests. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette, there is apparently enough concern with their activities to justify an investigation from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office:

An investigation into whether a secretly funded nonprofit organization has been illegally lobbying the state’s redistricting commissioners will move forward, after the secretary of state reviewed a complaint filed against the group and found enough evidence to warrant a full probe. [Pols emphasis]

The decision to further investigate Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, the 501c4 nonprofit organization run by longtime Republican operatives at the center of the complaint, could have broad implications for the transparency now required around the redistricting process, and comes after several efforts to influence the redistricting commissions without full transparency have emerged…

…The complaint, filed in August by former Democratic lawmaker Stanley Matsunaka, accuses two Colorado Neighborhood Coalition employees — former House Speaker Frank McNulty and former state lawmaker Greg Brophy — of lobbying the commissioners without registering their activity or their clients. Matsunaka also accused a third Colorado Neighborhood Coalition employee, former Colorado Republican Party executive director and now political consultant Alan Philp, of failing to file proper disclosures of his lobbying activity, even though he is registered as the group’s lobbyist.

Philp responded to questions from Wyloge by predictably calling the investigation a “partisan” attack before offering this amusing excuse:

Philp added that he believes he was told in an email by the Secretary of State’s Office, after the complaint was filed, that his disclosures were sufficient.

You have an email from the Secretary of State’s office, eh? Is there a reason you didn’t bother to save a copy of this email? This might have been a good thing to keep in your files if such a thing actually existed.

In related news, The Colorado Times Recorder posted the full video of a redistricting lobbyist training conducted in July by Republican State Rep. Matt Soper. This is the training in which Soper prefaces his comments to people involved in the training by saying, “I never want you to mention that you heard this coming from me.”

The net effect of all these shenanigans from Republicans is to shine a light back on their own partisan interference in the redistricting process, which is something that makes redistricting commissioners and staff very nervous…and absolutely isn’t going to help them in trying to get new maps drawn in their favor.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Sept. 10)

It’s going to be really, really hot outside in Colorado…unusually hot, in fact. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Biden on Thursday announced new COVID-19 vaccine requirements for all federal workers and a choice for for companies with more than 100 employees to require either vaccines or weekly testing procedures. As The New York Times reports:

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, said the policy was necessary, and likened it to military service in a time of war.

“To date, we have relied on a volunteer army,” Dr. Schaffner said. “But particularly with the Delta variant, the enemy has been reinforced, and now a volunteer army is not sufficient. We need to institute a draft.”

Amazon, which will be shipping Covid-19 testing kits at cost, said it was proud to help with the plan.

“We know vaccines, coupled with widespread and convenient testing, serve as powerful tools to help slow the spread of Covid-19 in our communities, keeping the U.S. economy open, and protecting America’s work force,” said Brian Huseman, vice president of public policy for the retailer.

Biden’s vaccination requirement plan comes amid new reports from the CDC that unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than their vaccinated counterparts. That didn’t stop the Colorado Republican Party from going all “freedumb”:

 

President Biden is telling Republicans complaining about a vaccine requirement to “have at it.

 

Denver7 has more on how the new vaccine mandates might affect Colorado companies.

 

 The movement by Colorado Republicans to opt-out of an open primary in Colorado gained more momentum. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

Two of the Colorado GOP’s three officers now support forgoing the party’s 2022 primaries to prevent unaffiliated voters from helping to pick Republicans’ general election candidates.

Secretary Marilyn Harris joined Vice Chair Priscilla Rahn in calling for the Colorado GOP’s executive committee to vote Sept. 18 to cancel the primaries and let candidates go through the caucus and assembly process instead.

“After studying all the facts and considering both sides, it is clear that the best option for Colorado Republicans is to opt out of the corrupt open primary system that dishonest Democrats unfairly administer,” Harris wrote in a letter last week. “If we opt out, we ensure election integrity by stopping crooked Democrats from corrupting our nomination elections.”

This is really not a good idea for the GOP, as many more moderate Republicans have pointed out recently. And as The Sun notes:

Republicans cannot win in Colorado without the support of unaffiliated voters, as we’ve written before, who at the end of July represented 43% of registered voters in the state. Republicans, meanwhile, made up just 26% of registered voters.

The vote that could end Republican participation in an open primary system is scheduled for next Saturday, Sept. 18. Those who seek to get out of the open primary process could get some dubious “discounted” legal advice.

 

 As a CU Regent, Heidi Ganahl is currently the sole statewide elected official for the Republican Party. After months of trying to raise her name ID and pondering different campaign scenarios, Ganahl appears to at last be nearing a formal announcement that she will run for Governor in 2022.

 

 President Biden will visit Denver on Monday as part of his “Build Back Better” tour. Details on Biden’s specific destination are still being finalized.

 

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Boebert Calls Her Own Bluff on 2022

When we wrote in this space on Tuesday about the new proposed Congressional maps in Colorado, we noted that for all of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s tough talk about taking on Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) in 2022, the truth was that Boebert wanted nothing to do with this potential matchup.

As we noted at the time:

This is a good time to remind you that Members of Congress DO NOT need to actually live within the boundaries of the district they represent. The chances are probably pretty good that Boebert would just run in CO-03 instead of challenging Neguse in a district with a slight Democratic lean in terms of registered voters.

At roughly the same time on Friday that the Redistricting Commission staff were presenting the new proposed map to the Redistricting Commissioners, Boebert was Tweeting out a completely false accusation against the Commission Staff that was full of false bravado:

 

Less than a week later, Boebert was singing a much different tune. Here’s what she Tweeted out today:

 

Given that the newest proposed redistricting map is NOT final and could still change significantly in the coming weeks, there was no real need for Boebert to call her own bluff so soon. But like most bullies and blowhards, Boebert is more comfortable pretending to be a “fighter” in a district in which she already has a built-in advantage.

If you draw a line in the sand with Boebert, she’ll raise her voice and puff out her chest…and then she’ll just step back and draw a different line.

Two Things to Not Be Doing on 9/11 Anniversary

This Saturday will mark 20 years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans. President Biden will be commemorating the anniversary in an appropriate manner, as The Washington Post reported last weekend:

Biden will travel to New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania on Sept. 11 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at all three sites where they occurred, the White House announced Saturday.

Biden will be accompanied by first lady Jill Biden when he visits Lower Manhattan in New York City; Shanksville, Pa.; and the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., where planes crashed after terrorists hijacked them Sept. 11, 2001, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Last Friday, Biden signed an executive order authorizing the release of classified government documents relating to 9/11 investigations, which is something that he had promised to do while campaigning for the White House in 2020.

Former President George W. Bush, who was in office at the time of the attacks, will be in Shanksville, PA with wife Laura Bush on Saturday. Former President Barack Obama will recognize the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by visiting New York City.

This is a real thing.

As for former President Donald Trump, he has some different plans for Saturday. As CBS News explains:

On the day other ex-presidents visit memorial sites to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 2001 terrorist attacks, former President Trump will be providing commentary on a boxing match between former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort.

Donald Trump Jr. will join his father during the Triller Fight Club evening matchup in Hollywood, Florida. The Trumps’ “unfiltered boxing commentary” and match will be available on Pay-Per-View and FITE, according to a press release.

There are two things you need to understand about what Donald Trump and Don Jr. will be doing on Saturday: 1) They will provide commentary for the entire four-fight telecast on an “alternate” broadcast, which means they aren’t even going to be the primary event voices, and 2) The main event is a gimmick boxing match between a soon-to-be 59-year-old former boxer and a 44-year-old former MMA fighter. The winner of the main event won’t be any closer to earning a professional boxing title than you or your neighbor.

(NOTE: Holyfield is only on the card as a replacement for recently un-retired fighter Oscar De La Hoya, who was hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. This entire event was supposed to take place in California but was moved to Florida over the weekend after the California State Athletic Commission REFUSED TO SANCTION THE BOUT on account of the fact that Holyfield is an old man who hasn’t boxed since 2011).

Trump has rightly been getting roasted on social media for his 9/11 plans. CNN’s Chris Cillizza called it “the single most Donald Trump thing Donald Trump has ever done”:

When I first heard that Donald Trump — you know, the former President of the United States — was going to provide ringside commentary for a boxing match featuring former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield, I figured it was a prank. When I found out that the event was set for September 11 — the 20th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil in history — I was sure it was a prank.

It’s not a prank.

This is the guy that the Republican Party is still devoted to following despite his 2020 re-election loss? Really? REALLY?

Tom Tancredo

Anyway, this isn’t the only completely-inappropriate thing that a Republican is doing on Saturday. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Republican Erik Aadland plans to kick off his 2022 campaign for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat on Saturday at a rally in Lakewood headlined by former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.

A decorated Army combat veteran who joined the GOP this spring, Aadland is one of four Republicans running for the nomination to take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who is seeking a third term in next year’s election. It’s his first run for office.

Aadland told Colorado Politics that he’s formally launching his campaign on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks because of the date’s importance. [Pols emphasis]

That’s right! “This guy” is hosting former Congressman Tom Tancredo to kick off his campaign for U.S. Senate in Colorado on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

The preceding sentence is a string of words that should have never been written or read by anyone, ever. Unfortunately, everything in this entire post is true.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 8)

Happy “International Literacy Day.” Please read responsibly. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

As Meg Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Colorado have reached their highest levels since January and are approaching the peak levels of Spring 2020:

Data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment showed 12,877 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 957 people were hospitalized with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The last time more people infected with the virus were receiving hospital care was Jan. 6, when the state was still recovering from the massive winter spike.

Counting only people with confirmed infections, 862 were hospitalized, which is only 26 fewer than on the worst day in April 2020, said Beth Carlton, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health at Colorado School of Public Health. The state’s COVID-19 trackers generally focus on hospitalizations where the person has tested positive, because of volatility in the number of people being evaluated for the virus from day to day.

“The number of people in the hospital is high, and poised to exceed the April 2020 peak,” she said.

Think about this for a moment: Hospitalizations in Colorado could soon surpass levels from the very first month in which COVID-19 was spreading through our state. Hospitalizations over Labor Day Weekend were worse this year than in 2020.

Vax that thang up, people! And lock up the mindless assholes who are trying to prevent other people from getting vaccinated. And stop listening to these people.

Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise everywhere, it seems, with doctors growing more concerned about an uptick in pediatric cases. Some school districts in Texas are moving to mandatory mask requirements after the death of two middle school teachers.

 

The Washington Post reports on a big solar energy announcement from President Biden:

The Biden administration announced a blueprint Wednesday outlining how solar energy could produce nearly half of the nation’s electricity by mid-century, part of its ambitious bid to address climate change.

The new Energy Department analysis shows how the United States can scale up production of solar panels, which now provide 3 percent of the nation’s electricity, to 45 percent over the next three decades.

The move, which would transform the nation’s energy industry and infrastructure, shows how President Biden is determined to reshape the economy and cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the face of staunch political opposition.

While the administration has not set a specific solar energy target, the president has called for 100 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from clean energy by 2035.

Remember when we had a President who was so anti-renewable energy that he believed wind turbines caused cancer? Elections matter.

 

The Denver Post reports on the 169 new laws that took effect in Colorado on Tuesday.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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So, About that New Congressional Redistricting Map…

If you were paying attention to Colorado politics over the weekend, you might have noticed a lot of people running around like they were on fire.

On Friday, Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released a new proposed map of Colorado’s eight Congressional districts (officially called “First Staff Plan”). As Thy Vo and Sandra Fish report for The Colorado Sun today, there is much wringing of hands and discussions of viewpoints considering some pretty significant new district lines being proposed:

The dozen members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission questioned nonpartisan staff Monday about the latest draft map of the state’s U.S. House districts as they prepare to hear from the public about the plan this week.

The map, introduced Friday based on 2020 census data and which has thrown Colorado’s political world into a tizzy, is markedly different from an initial proposal based on 2019 population estimates.

Before we go any further, we should point out that the map introduced on Friday is not necessarily the map that will determine Congressional boundaries for 2022. The Redistricting Commission will hold four public hearings this week for comment on the First Staff Plan (FSP) Map, which can be confirmed with a ‘YES’ vote from 8 of the 12 Commission members. If this map is NOT approved, the nonpartisan redistricting staff can present as many as two additional proposals before the Sept. 28 deadline to finalize redistricting boundaries.

But if the “FSP Map” ends up being close to a final version of what we can expect for the next decade, then there is plenty to talk about. Here’s what that map looks like (CLICK HERE for a bigger version):

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Come Home Tina Peters!

This week on Episode #85 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the whereabouts of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters; we get ready for a Republican campaign for Governor; we wonder (and not for the first time) what in the hell Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is trying to say; and we ponder the never-ending list of troubles for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle)

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Colorado Democrats Push to Lower Medicare Age to 60

(Clockwise from top left): Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter, and Jason Crow

All four of Colorado’s Democratic Members of Congress — Reps. Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Jason Crow, and Ed Perlmutter — have signed onto legislation seeking to lower the age for Medicare eligibility from 65 to 60.

As CNN reports:

This legislation comes as Democrats are working to expand Medicare benefits through their multi-trillion-dollar spending proposal being used to fulfill much of President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. The lawmakers are introducing this legislation with the hopes of it being included in the final reconciliation package

…Lowering the eligibility age from 65 to 60 is widely popular across the Democratic caucus, with 70% pledging to support the measure earlier this year. It is even a priority that Biden himself has called for. Lowering the eligibility age by five years would expand Medicare to at least 23 million people, according to the cosponsors of the legislation.

In addition to trying to include a lower Medicare eligibility age in the reconciliation package, Democrats also want to use the voting maneuver, which allows them to pass legislation without relying on Republican votes, to also include a historic of expansion of Medicare to cover hearing, dental and vision care for the first time.

Polling data shows that reducing the age for Medicare qualification and expanding the program to cover hearing, dental, and vision care are both broadly popular ideas.

Get More Smarter on Friday (September 3)

Enjoy the last big weekend of summer. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Extended unemployment benefits for thousands of Coloradans will run out on Saturday, as CBS4 Denver reports:

Standard UI benefits are only available for 26 weeks. But with the pandemic came enhanced benefits, providing a temporary boost. That boost is over on Sept. 4.

Claimants on regular state unemployment will still receive their weekly benefits, but the extra $300 provided by Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation every week will end.

About 107,000 Coloradans had come to rely on those extended benefits, though some employers struggling to find workers have claimed that the benefits were preventing many people from applying for jobs. Research has shown that extended UI benefits had no impact on job growth.

As The New York Times explains, the real threat to the American economy is still the COVID-19 pandemic:

The American economy slowed abruptly last month, adding 235,000 jobs, a sharp drop from the huge gains recorded earlier in the summer and an indication that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is putting a damper on hiring.

The Labor Department report on Friday follows a sharp increase in coronavirus cases and deaths that has undermined hopes that restrictions on daily activities were nearing an end.

The unemployment rate was 5.2 percent, compared with 5.4 percent in July. Economists polled by Bloomberg has been looking for gain of 725,000 jobs.

Here in Colorado, the economy is stable enough that residents can actually expect the largest tax refunds in two decades. From The Denver Post:

The savings are split among three categories: a sales tax refund, a temporary cut to the state’s flat income tax rate (in this case, from 4.55% to 4.5%), and reimbursements to local governments.

For the sales tax refund, the average single filer is expected to get $69 on average, the state controller estimates, and joint filers on average should see refunds of $166. Those would be the largest TABOR refunds in 20 years.

 

Republicans across the country are now facing the flip-side of the story related to the draconian new abortion ban in Texas. Republican candidates for 2022 and 2024 won’t be able to avoid answering questions about whether or not they support the Texas law, which is a particular problem in places (such as Colorado) where voters are overwhelmingly pro-choice. Here in Colorado, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer responded to an inquiry on the subject by saying that he “wasn’t comfortable” answering questions about the Texas law.

In related news, Denver7 reports on how the Texas abortion ban is likely to impact Colorado:

Already, Planned Parenthood in Texas is encouraging women to travel to Colorado and other surrounding states to have their abortions after six weeks. Colorado for Life exists to protect and defend every unborn life, which includes ending “abortion tourism” in Colorado.

Karen Middleton is the president of Cobalt, a pro-choice group, that, in part, helps women financially come from more conservative states to Colorado.

“We are already starting to get calls. What will happen is if they can’t get legal access to abortions in Texas, they will go to another state and legally access that elsewhere. Colorado’s doors are open,” Middleton said.

Upwards of 15% of the abortions in Colorado are for women coming from other states, according to Middleton. Many fly in to get the procedure and fly right back the same day.

 

The all-Republican Mesa County Board of Commissioners allowed right-wing activist Sherronna Bishop to present her “proof” of 2020 election fraud this week. Bishop, who was Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s campaign manager in 2020, sat down in front of the Mesa County Commissioners and offered ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that would even begin to corroborate her election fraud clams.

 

As Charles Ashby reports for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters is insisting that she is doing her job remotely…from wherever she is at the moment:

There is nothing wrong with working remotely, whether it’s from her home office or at some undisclosed location in the nation, according to an email Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters sent to several county officials Wednesday evening.

In a response to the Mesa County Attorney’s Office over a Colorado Open Records Act request from a county resident, Peters scolded Commissioners Janet Rowland and Scott McInnis for implying that she’s not doing her job.

“For the others copied in to this email, I am working starting at 7 a.m. everyday with stand ups and direction for my staff as well as during the day,” Peters wrote. “Regarding the ‘rudderless’ office Scott has asserted, and me being accused by Janet of being ‘MIA,’ I can assure everyone, that is not the case.”

You’ll forgive us if we aren’t inclined to take the word of someone who is hiding out in an unknown location and is currently under investigation by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County District Attorney, the Colorado Attorney General’s office, and the FBI.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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And Now, the Flip Side of the Texas Abortion Ban

UPDATE: Witness this mealy-mouthed nonsense from Maine Sen. Susan Collins:

 

In other words…SQUIRREL!

—–

Headline via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As NBC News reports, President Biden is reacting strongly to a new abortion ban in Texas that took effect on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene with an opinion:

President Joe Biden said Thursday he is launching a “whole-of-government” response to try to safeguard access to abortions in Texas after the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the state’s near-total ban on the procedure.

In a statement, Biden said he was directing the Office of the White House Counsel and his Gender Policy Council to involve the Health and Human Services Department and the Justice Department to evaluate what “legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.”…

…The president called the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling overnight “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade” since the decision nearly 50 years ago.

“Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women,” Biden said. “This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman — it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”

Again, via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As we wrote yesterday, the draconian new anti-abortion law in Texas is a harsh lesson that elections have consequences. The reaction to the law from President Biden and other Democratic politicians — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to hold a floor vote on a bill that would ensure a woman’s right to an abortion in federal law — is also a reminder that bad policy positions can themselves have serious political reverberations. This could even be the case in deep-red Texas, since a majority of that state’s voters actually OPPOSE the new law.

Republican politicians (and media outlets) often insist that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and that voters shouldn’t select candidates in a given election based upon their personal beliefs about access to safe abortion and contraception care. In fact, Republican politicians often downplay the issue of abortion because they know that any such discussion can cost them votes. This has been true in Colorado in recent elections, as this Denver Post story from the 2010 U.S. Senate race demonstrates:

As a Republican primary candidate, Ken Buck took absolutist positions on abortion and “personhood” — declaring that if elected to the U.S. Senate he would sponsor a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and backing a proposed state law that would outlaw some common forms of birth control.

Now, faced with televised attacks from incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet over those strident views, Buck is painstakingly trying to modify positions that may not match the beliefs of the unaffiliated moderates who will ultimately decide the contest. [Pols emphasis]

Before the Republican caucuses, Buck answered a Christian family group’s questionnaire and said he supported Amendment 62, the “Personhood Amendment,” on the Colorado ballot.

Buck said Saturday through his campaign spokesman that he will now vote against the measure.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer would rather fight you in a duel than answer questions about abortion.

What was true in 2010 remains that way in 2021. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eli Bremer wants absolutely nothing to do with questions about the Texas law:

El Paso County Republican Eli Bremer, a former GOP official and Olympian, said in a text message to Colorado Politics that he wasn’t comfortable commenting [Pols emphasis] because it wasn’t clear whether the high court was simply waiting for another case that could establish a clearer precedent to reach its docket.

Bremer, like Buck 11 years earlier, is smart enough to understand that while his right-wing base might be fervently anti-abortion, the majority of people in Colorado absolutely ARE NOT. Colorado voters have consistently rejected anti-abortion measures of all shapes and sizes when given the opportunity (just search for “personhood fail” in the sidebar). The polling data below, conducted in November 2020, affirms this point: More than 70% of Colorado voters are clearly in the “pro-choice” category.

November 2020 polling from Global Strategy Group for Cobalt

 

Unlike others such as State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, Bremer may prefer to stay far away from commenting on this subject. Unfortunately for Bremer, that’s not how this whole “politics” thing works. Recent statewide Republican candidates in Colorado such as Cory Gardner (U.S. Senate, 2020) and Walker Stapleton (Governor, 2018) were unapologetically anti-abortion, and each lost their respective races by an average of 10 points. Neither Gardner nor Stapleton, however, had to contend with a ridiculous abortion ban that is the subject of widespread derision (note the two headlines from “The Onion“).

The Texas law may or may not survive a court challenge, but either way, it is now a must-answer question for politicians in 2022.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 1)

Welcome to September. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

There’s good news and bad news on the COVID-19 front, as The Aurora Sentinel explains:

As of Tuesday 75% of Colorado adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, but for children who are too young to be vaccinated, their risk from the virus is as high as it has been since the pandemic started.

At a Tuesday news conference to discuss the coronavirus, state epidemiologist Dr. Rachel Herlihy said that Colorado has seen a “pretty rapid rise in pediatric cases” beginning in July.

“This is the first time in the pandemic that we’re really seeing this high rate in children,” she said…

…Unvaccinated people make up the majority of hospitalizations, said Scott Bookman, Colorado’s COVID-19 incident commander. The hospitalization rate of the unvaccinated is seven times that or people who are fully vaccinated.

CNN has more on the concerning rise of COVID cases among children:

Contrary to research early in the pandemic, children are just as likely to become infected as adults. According to the CDC, Covid-19 infection rates for adolescents aged 5 to 17 were as high as in adults 18 to 49, and higher than rates in adults over 50.

There have been 4.8 million cases of Covid-19 in children since April 2020, according to the American Association of Pediatrics, making up about 15% of all documented cases in the United States. In the last month, the number of new weekly cases has surged to near-peak levels.

Areas across the country with lower than average vaccination rates are experiencing higher increases in Covid-19 cases among children. In Mississippi, where only 37.7% of residents are fully vaccinated, there has been a 29% increase in cumulative Covid-19 cases in children over the past two weeks.

 

The United States military presence in Afghanistan officially came to an end this week. Colorado Public Radio has reaction from some of the members of Colorado’s congressional delegation. As Axios reports, Denver ranks among the most popular locations for Afghan refugees relocating to the United States.

While boots may be off the ground in Afghanistan, the political infighting continues — driven in large part by a wave of misinformation propagated by Republicans.

Meanwhile, President Biden previewed a new foreign policy goal in a speech defending the withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. As The New York Times reports, Biden’s speech points to the end of a long era of attempts at nation-building.
 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) almost seems determined to find a way to get herself into legal trouble. As The Colorado Sun reports:

Boebert has removed her name from business paperwork linked to the oil and gas consulting firm run by her husband, Jayson, after drawing scrutiny for nearly $1 million in payments it received from Terra Energy, a drilling company operating in her district…

…The changes, made after The Colorado Sun reported the congresswoman’s ties to Boebert Consulting, distance Boebert from the two companies, which are registered to the couple’s home in Silt. But it’s not clear what ownership or stake, if any, Lauren Boebert has in either company.

A spokesperson for Boebert’s congressional office did not answer a question last month about whether the congresswoman is an owner of Boebert Consulting, and did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

This sure seems like an admission of wrongdoing on Boebert’s part regarding the mysterious new wealth she recently reported from her husband, Jayson. This comes at a time when her various scandals are piling up quickly and attracting a new level of national attention.

As if Boebert didn’t have enough problems, she learned this week that she is among the Republican Members of Congress who are being investigated for their role in the January 6th insurrection.

 

National Public Radio reports on a new abortion ban in Texas that went into effect today:

With the U.S. Supreme Court mum, a new law went into effect in Texas that bans abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. That’s well before many women even know they are pregnant.

The law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion — including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Private citizens who bring these suits don’t need to show any connection to those they are suing.

The law makes no exceptions for cases involving rape or incest.

If federal courts allow the Texas abortion ban to stand, other states around the country will likely move swiftly to enact similar bans of their own. As The Daily Beast notes, this is a hugely significant moment for reproductive rights in America.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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The Dumbassery Continues for GOP Redistricting Consultants

Last week we discussed the story of the bumbling Republican “consultants” working to influence the drawing of new Congressional and legislative district maps through the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions. Through a series of bad decisions and “don’t say that out loud” moments, Republicans gave an already-jittery nonpartisan redistricting staff plenty of reason to question the impartiality of certain communities and organizations trying to influence the final map-making process.

Together, these four stooges — former House Speaker Frank McNulty, former State Sen. Greg Brophy, Republican consultant Alan Philp, and State Rep. Matt Soper — shone a spotlight on blatant Republican interference in the redistricting process. As we wrote on August 25:

All of this partisan posturing from Republicans will likely (and rightly) cause both nonpartisan staff and commissioners to worry about the appearance of being inappropriately swayed by undisclosed Republican lobbying efforts.

If the commission is worried about the appearance of partisan influence from Republicans, then they are likely to give extra scrutiny to any map boundaries that might so much as appear to be advantageous to the GOP. This, of course, is the exact opposite outcome from what Republicans were hoping to achieve in this process.

Now that you’re caught up, let’s look at how things just got even worse for Philp and the gang. As Evan Wyloge reports for The Colorado Springs Gazette, the fumbling and bumbling continues:

Days after a formal complaint accused a secretly funded nonprofit organization of violating redistricting lobbying disclosure laws, a video recording obtained by The Gazette reveals the same group helped craft maps proposed by the prominent Colorado Farm Bureau, contradicting what the Farm Bureau’s president told the state’s redistricting commissioners. [Pols emphasis]

The Farm Bureau president Carlyle Currier told the state’s independent redistricting commissioners on Aug. 19 that he was there to present his organization’s map proposal, which aligned with their advocacy for “the interests of farmers, ranchers and real Colorado.” And he told the commissioners that his submission came solely from his group: “I want to note that these maps were created by our staff, and only myself and our vice president have reviewed them.”

Alan Philp

But in a video training recorded two days earlier on Aug. 17 for a group of Pueblo County Republicans, Colorado Neighborhood Coalition’s registered lobbyist Alan Philp presented a map that he said in the video he expected would be presented at the Pueblo hearing, two days later.

“This is a map of Southern Colorado that is probably similar to one that you’ll see on Friday that is being proposed by someone,” Philp said in the video training. “I don’t know that he has agreed to do it yet, so I’m not going to share his name, but it keeps Pueblo County whole, and then the rest of Southern Colorado — east of the San Juans and Wolf Creek Pass, the San Luis Valley, Fremont, into the lower Ark — makes for a perfect Southern Colorado district. So that’s kind of what we’re hoping it ends up as.”

Philp and the Colorado Farm Bureau’s president have since told The Gazette that Philp was referencing the Colorado Farm Bureau’s map proposals, and that Philp helped the group draw the maps, which was previously not publicly disclosed by either group. [Pols emphasis]

In short, the Colorado Farm Bureau presented maps to the redistricting commissions that were supposed to only represent Farm Bureau interests but were actually another example of partisan plans sketched out by Republican consultants. And as Philp acknowledged to The Gazette, there are plenty more examples of this partisan coordination:

Philp said he’s helped others draw maps, including maps he said he doesn’t like, but he said it would be inappropriate to provide a list of all the groups or individuals he’s worked with. [Pols emphasis]

D’oh! 

Usually this sort of slow drip of negative news is something that you would try to engineer AGAINST a political opponent in order to inflict maximum damage. We can’t recall a recent example of a partisan campaign or group doing this to itself.

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions are expected to release new draft maps over the course of the next two weeks.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Boebert’s Big Bogus Bonus Bribe

This week on Episode #84 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii dig deep into the ever-expanding weirdness in Mesa County and its on-the-lam Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

We also dive into two BIG problems for Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), who is accumulating serious problems at astonishing speed. Later, we try to understand the karmic significance of running across a chicken strolling down (but not across) the road in front of you.

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

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

The Real Boebert Question: Election Day or Indictment Day?

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and husband Jayson Boebert.

Given all of the problems facing Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), we thought it might be time to start asking a more longer-term question…

Which will come first for Boebert: Election Day 2022 or “Indictment Day” for any number of potential crimes?

Click below to cast your vote in another one of our completely nonscientific polls. As always in these polls, we want to know what you THINK is going to happen, not what you might prefer personally.

Which Will Happen First for Rep. Lauren "Q*Bert" Boebert?

View Results

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We’ll re-run this poll regularly to get a sense for how the winds might be shifting in Boebertland.

Get More Smarter on Friday (August 27)

We’re almost three-quarters of the way through 2021. 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

 One day after a bombing at an airport in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 13 U.S. service members, Marine Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, indicated that more attacks are expected to come from “ISIS-K.” The New York Times explains everything you need to know about “ISIS-K,” the different flavor of ISIS that is responsible for the attack in Kabul.

On Thursday, President Biden promised that the U.S. would retaliate against ISIS-K for the suicide bombing attack that killed more than 100 people in total. From The Washington Post:

In emotional comments at the White House, Biden made clear that the attack would not cause him to rethink his strategy. Rather, he said, it reinforced his belief that the war must end and that the evacuation must proceed. He framed the deaths as the sacrifice of heroes performing a noble mission, and he suggested that any move to cut short the evacuation of Americans and their Afghan supporters would amount to caving to the terrorists.

“I bear responsibility for, fundamentally, all that has happened,” Biden said, addressing the nation hours after the deadly attack. His voice broke as he invoked Scripture, history and personal loss to decry the double suicide bombing at the entrance to the Kabul airport, which stands as the last small acreage controlled by the United States in Afghanistan nearly 20 years after the war began.

Biden promised to track down the killers responsible for the massacre, who he suggested were members of the terrorist group ISIS-K. “To those who carried out this attack: We will not forgive,” he said. “We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay.”

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) addressed Thursday’s attack in Kabul in an interview with MSNBC. The former Army Ranger who served in Afghanistan reaffirmed his belief that the withdrawal of U.S. forces was the correct decision, but stressed that the U.S. must remember its obligation to Afghanistan allies.

 

 As The Associated Press reports, the U.S. Supreme court ruled that evictions may resume in this country after a long COVID-related moratorium.

In related news, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell indicated that it might be time to start thinking about scaling back stimulus efforts as the economy continues to show signs of improvement even amidst another surge of COVID-19 cases.

 

As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, the Vice Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, Priscilla Rahn, has come out in support of efforts to cancel the GOP Primary Elections in order to help ensure that only the most strident right-wing candidates can win the Republican nomination for basically every elected office. This is a terrible idea for Republicans that is opposed by many moderates, but supporters such as Rahn believe that the only way forward for the GOP is to lurch ever rightward.

 

 The Denver Post asks the same question that has been top of mind for many Colorado politicos lately: WHERE IS TINA PETERS?

The Mesa County Clerk and Recorder has been hiding in an undisclosed location for weeks since being investigated for helping to break in to election computers in order to prove some sort of cockamamie argument about 2020 election fraud. Peters and her supporters have insisted that she is on the lam because of concerns for her personal safety, but a recent review of emails received by the Mesa Clerk’s office indicates that this is complete nonsense.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 26)

Teddy! 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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Now that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from the FDA, Republicans are having a hard time trying to figure out where to stand on the issue of mandatory vaccinations. As The Washington Post explains:

In the days since the FDA’s authorization and Biden’s call, Republicans who have otherwise fought tooth and nail against vaccine mandates have been surprisingly quiet about the prospect of employer mandates. And the few who have spoken out have generally said employers should be allowed to implement them.

The issue has played out in recent weeks and months in a number of states, with some lawmakers pushing for bans on mandates. But unlike the party’s posture toward school mask mandates, government vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, there is little cohesion on this subject. So far, only one state bans employer vaccine mandates: Montana…

…[South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem] essentially said conservatives should give businesses the freedom to take this step. And that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow for a Republican base that has been spoon-fed anti-mandate rhetoric — often tinged with conspiracy theories — by its leaders for so long.

Supporting pre-emptive bans on vaccine mandates doesn’t really jibe with “conservative” ideals to leave private businesses alone to make their own decisions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, however, is plowing ahead anyway.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is facing new calls for investigations related to her bizarre disclosure last week in which she apparently remembered that her husband, Jayson, gets paid a half-million dollars a year to “consult” for an oil and gas company.

 

The redistricting process in Colorado is (finally) nearing its final stages. This is bad news for Republicans, who picked a terrible time to get caught breaking the law on lobbying disclosures.

In related news, Bente Birkland of Colorado Public Radio looks at how a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting process is being corrupted by partisanship:

Colorado’s new redistricting process was intended to replace politicians with independent commissioners, and party interests with public input. But recent developments show there are still plenty of ways for partisans to try to influence the process.

On Tuesday, Democratic attorney Mark Grueskin filed a complaint against three prominent Colorado Republicans — former state sen. Greg Brophy, former state House Speaker Frank McNulty, and Alan Philp with the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition — alleging that they have been trying to influence the state’s redistricting process without properly disclosing their efforts.

The complaint filed on behalf of a voter in Larimer county, alleges the men either failed to properly register as lobbyists while conducting meetings related to redistricting and proposing ideas for maps, or they didn’t disclose income.

Colorado Republicans are trying to convince Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters to end her time on the lam and return to Colorado to face the music for allegedly compromising election security in a ham-handed attempt to prove some sort of 2020 election fraud. The Washington Post has more on how a nutty conspiracy theory is causing real-world security problems in Mesa County.

The office of Colorado’s Attorney General has joined in the investigation of Peters. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County District Attorney, and the FBI are already looking into Peters’ misdeeds.

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is touring Colorado and getting an earful from residents about Climate Change worries.

Meanwhile, Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reports that Bennet’s 2022 re-election campaign is cruising along with solid fundraising and little Republican opposition.

 

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Complaint Filed Over Boebert’s Suddenly Big Bucks

Lauren and Jayson Boebert.

As Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, the grassroots organizing group Rural Colorado United is pressing the case against freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, filing a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics following up on their call for Boebert to release her tax returns–all in response to Rep. Boebert’s still-mysterious disclosure last week of almost $1 million allegedly paid to the Boebert family’s sole proprietorship by Terra Energy Partners in 2019 and 2020:

Former state Rep. Bri Buentello, D-Pueblo, a persistent Boebert critic, alleges in the complaint that the payments — first revealed in a personal financial disclosure form filed last week by Boebert — could run afoul of federal bribery statutes and a House rule that forbids influence trading, pointing to legislation Boebert has introduced this year to boost the oil and gas industry, a major economic driver in her district…

Buentello alleges in her complaint that the large payments are “inconsistent with Mr. Boebert’s qualifications relative to that level of compensation,” citing employment compensation data that show oil and gas workers in similar positions typically make $41,000-$84,000, with top earners pulling in $174,000 annually. She also notes that Jayson Boebert’s compensation went up from 2019 to 2020, despite a pronounced nationwide slump in drilling activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The disproportionate size and belated disclosure of this compensation raises questions about when these funds were actually paid to Jayson Boebert, and whether this compensation was made in exchange for actions taken by Rep. Lauren Boebert since being sworn into Congress in January,” Buentello wrote. [Pols emphasis]

In other words, bribery.

With respect to the continuing questions about disclosure requirements, it’s possible that Boebert’s staff made an error in disclosing the amounts allegedly paid by Terra Energy Partners to the Boebert family LLC–although this is disputed by at least one experienced ethics attorney, who has examined the case and contends that the joint nature of that LLC obligated Boebert to disclose years before she did:

“The disclosure laws require lawmakers to reveal the source of all earned income, ownership interests, and certain affiliations with LLCs. Rep. Boebert’s reports raise red flags regarding her compliance with the law,” [senior counsel and director of ethics for the Campaign Legal Center Kedric] Payne said.

But disclosure is not the main focus of Rural Colorado United’s complaint. As serious a matter as failing to disclose a blatant conflict of interest may be, if this questionably large sum of money was paid after Lauren Boebert was elected to Congress and falsely attested in whole or part to be income from before she was elected to Congress, a much more straightforward crime has been committed.

There’s plenty here for the Ethics Committee to ponder, though we could see a prosecutor getting there first.

The one thing that’s increasingly clear is that this newest scandal, which sprang to life one week ago on the heels of a separate investigation into thousands of dollars in “mistaken” personal charges to Boebert’s campaign account, is not going away. For a political neophyte who carved out a precarious niche by outraging her way into the headlines, these are the wrong kinds of headlines.

Eli Bremer Doesn’t Want to be Taken Seriously

UPDATE: We’re sorry to report it gets even sillier:

Real Americans (see: Boebert, Lauren) don’t need any stinking stock photos of their guns.

Even Jeb! Bush has Eli Bremer beat.

—–

Earlier this month, Republican Eli Bremer formally announced his intention to seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in 2022. Bremer made his announcement with a weird online video that largely only targeted a right-wing audience. He didn’t do any sort of event IN COLORADO, and we haven’t seen or heard much from him since he made his candidacy official.

We haven’t been clear on how serious to take Bremer’s candidacy; after all, he is relatively unknown in Colorado and has had trouble winning even minor elections for official Republican Party positions. But Bremer clarified how his campaign should be perceived with this Tweet today:

 

You absolutely should be offended that a candidate for U.S. Senate is hinting that Americans should basically take up arms and attack “leftist politicians.” You’ll get no argument from us that this is gross and irresponsible.

From a strategic political perspective, however, our take is a little different. This, in a word, is silly.

This is the kind of base level mouthbreather pandering that we would expect from someone like that Erik Aadland guy, whom nobody would consider a serious candidate for U.S. Senate. This is a “look at me!” Tweet designed to attract low-information, small-donation Republican donors. This is not a message from someone who is thinking at all about how they can appeal to a broad swath of voters in Colorado. Politicians who do this sort of thing are basically saying, “Don’t take me seriously.”

In short, real candidates with plausible political ambitions beyond winning a Republican Primary in a bright-red district don’t casually suggest armed rebellions. Eli Bremer just maced himself in the face.

Republicans Screw Up at Wrong Time on Redistricting

The redistricting process in Colorado is much different in 2021 than it was 10 years earlier because of Amendments Y&Z, which created an “independent” redistricting process for redrawing both Congressional and legislative district boundaries. Many of the political players have remained the same, however, and the Republican operatives working on redistricting have already managed to get themselves into a serious legal and ethical mess.

Via ColoradoPolitics.com (8/24/21)

As Evan Wyloge reported on Tuesday for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

A complaint filed today with the Colorado Secretary of State accuses a group of secretly-funded political operatives of illegally lobbying the state’s redistricting commissioners.

The complaint, filed by former Democratic state lawmaker Stanley Matsunaka, accuses former Colorado House Speaker Frank McNulty and former Colorado House and Senate member Greg Brophy, both Republicans, of lobbying the state’s independent redistricting commissioners, without formally registering as lobbyists. It also accuses Republican political consultant Alan Philp, along with McNulty and Brophy, of failing to report payment for lobbying activity.

All three are paid by a 501c4 nonprofit group called Colorado Neighborhood Coalition to work on redistricting. Because of the 501c4 status of the group, it’s not required to disclose where the group’s money came from. When 501c4 nonprofit groups spend in elections, they’re called “dark money” groups.

Former House Speaker Frank McNulty — who sometimes pretends to be some sort of ethics watchdog — was one of the main characters in the 2011 redistricting drama, as was former State Sen. Greg Brophy. Longtime Republican political consultant Alan Philp has been one of the GOP’s chief redistricting strategists since 2001. The gang is back together in 2021, working for the “Colorado Neighborhood Coalition” (CNC) and seem to be treating the lobbying rules with complete indifference — as well as the same lack of seriousness and subtlety that drove policy decisions when they were in the legislature.

Alan Philp

The 2018 changes that voters approved (Amendments Y&Z) were, in part, supposed to make the redistricting process more transparent to the public. One of the key provisions required ANYONE who lobbies the independent redistricting commissioners to register and report that activity with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. But of the three GOP consultants listed earlier, only Philp has formally registered as a redistricting lobbyist, and even then he has only reported receiving $2,000 from CNC since April. 

As Wyloge reports, there are plenty of public records and other examples of McNulty, Brophy, and Philp working hard to influence redistricting commissioners privately and at public hearings held around the state over the last couple of months. McNulty responded to the complaint in Wyloge’s story by predictably playing the victim card, saying “This is just another attempt by partisan Democrats to suppress involvement in a public process.”

This is a weak response from McNulty that was previously contradicted by his pal Brophy. In July, Wyloge wrote about concerns regarding illegal lobbying on redistricting and caught Brophy changing his story:

“I am being paid by Colorado Neighborhood Coalition, but I’m not lobbying,” Brophy said of his work for the organization. “I don’t have any communications with the commissioners about the maps they’re drawing. I don’t do that.”

Greg Brophy

But that’s NOT what Brophy was saying a few months earlier, as Wyloge notes later:

In March, Brophy appeared on a YouTube talk show run by Action 22, an association of rural counties in southern Colorado, where he promoted “two almost exclusively rural districts,” and said he saw Action 22 as a clearinghouse for promoting those ideas.

Action 22, along with two other rural county associations, submitted a map with two rural districts, like Brophy and Gardner had promoted, and the submission was integrated into the preliminary draft congressional maps now being toured around the state, the commissions’ staff has said.

“I’m encouraging people to participate. I’m calling it grassroots organizing,” Brophy said. “Maybe this will get me a visit with my friends on the ethics committee. Who knows.” [Pols emphasis]

Whoops!

The redistricting shenanigans of McNulty, Brophy, and Philp were also revealed by Republican State Rep. Matt Soper in a “training video” he conducted in July. Wyloge wrote about the Soper video for Colorado Politics, as did other media outlets. 

Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta)

Here’s what The Colorado Sun reported in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter on August 20:

Soper was caught criticizing the preliminary legislative maps and giving talking points to local activists during a July 18 virtual meeting with a group of conservative Western Slope activists. Video of the meeting was circulated to a number of media outlets this week.

Soper pointed out several issues he has with the proposed House map, which draws him and Montrose Republican Rep. Marc Catlin in the same district, and New Castle GOP Rep. Perry Will out of his current district. Soper also objected to a new division of Delta and Mesa counties, and argued the new configuration would make it harder for a Republican to win.

“I’m going to tell you this, but I never want you to mention that you heard this coming from me,” Soper said, before giving activists additional talking points. “I’ve heard over and over again, they don’t want to hear from incumbents … all of us are relying on everyone on this call to make the arguments we can’t make.”

Delta County Republicans were told by GOP officials to “take one for the team,” Soper said during the virtual meeting. “That was just a slap in the face. And it really just shows we’re a divided Republican Party as well.” [Pols emphasis]

First of all, Soper SHOULD have been smart enough to understand that nothing good ever comes after any sentence that begins with You didn’t hear this from me, but… That wasn’t the only mistake Soper made, however. As Wyloge reported last week:

In the video, Soper also told the training participants that a set of high-profile lobbyists who work for an organization whose donors are secret have been advocating for the GOP lawmakers’ interests, even though the group’s representatives have said they aren’t working for Republicans.

“The Colorado Republican Party, the House Republicans and Senate Republicans hired Alan Philp, Greg Brophy and Frank McNulty to represent our interests,” Soper told the training participants. [Pols emphasis]

Yeah…you definitely weren’t supposed to say that out loud, Rep. Soper. 

McNulty, Brophy, and Philp all denied that they were trying to influence the redistricting process on the behalf of Colorado Republicans, with Philp going so far as to claim “I don’t know Matt Soper.” 

Riiight. 

Frank McNulty

The Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions are expected to release new draft district maps in early September. All of this partisan posturing from Republicans will likely (and rightly) cause both nonpartisan staff and commissioners to worry about the appearance of being inappropriately swayed by undisclosed Republican lobbying efforts. The oddest part of what McNulty, Philp, and Brophy were doing was peacocking as some sort of warriors for fairness and neutrality. Everybody with a casual knowledge of Colorado political history for the past two decades knows that McNulty and Philp are hired precisely to stack redistricting plans in favor of the Republicans. It’s laughable for them to pretend otherwise. 

You might recall that the entire redistricting process got off to a questionable start in March when Republican Danny Moore was elected as the Chair of the Congressional redistricting committee after failing to mention that he was a full-on election fraud truther. Moore was quickly removed as Chair in a unanimous vote by the independent redistricting commission, but the incident cast the entire process in a partisan light that everyone involved had hoped to avoid.

The antics of Soper, McNulty, Brophy, and Philp are shining a new light on blatant Republican interference in the redistricting process, contrary to the rules laid out in Amendments Y&Z…and at precisely the wrong time for the GOP.