Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 20)

Today is 10/20/20! Is that a thing? 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► Be careful out there, Colorado! New cases of COVID-19 have hit a record high in our state, as The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 6,722 cases of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, more than triple the most recent low of 2,016 in the last week of August. Three times last week, the state recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.

Last week’s total was the highest since the state has had reliable data, though it’s likely there were more cases in the virus’s initial surge in March and April that weren’t found due to lack of testing at the time.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We also want Coloradans who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested.”

 

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t have a Donald Trump problem; he has a Cory Gardner problem.


 

Today is the self-imposed deadline for Congress to reach a deal on another coronavirus aid package. As CNN reports, it’s probably not happening:

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that the “window is closing” on a potential deal for a stimulus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deadline arrives for Democrats and the Trump administration to resolve policy differences if they want to pass a bill before Election Day.

“I think there’s still an outside chance something will get done before the elections. But the window is closing,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Pelosi said Sunday that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin must reached an agreement by end of the day Tuesday, the last feasible date to get a bill passed through both chambers of Congress by November 3. The two sides have been divided for months on the topline figure as well as what should be in the bill…

…Clyburn, who is the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the chamber, accused Republicans of not being willing to compromise with Democrats and argued that Pelosi “is trying to stand up for people who are being left out of this deal.”

As we’ve written repeatedly in this space, the real hangup in all of these stimulus talks has been SENATE REPUBLICANS.

 

According to Republican polling outfit Magellan Strategies, which regularly tracks ballot returns in Colorado, roughly one-third of Colorado voters have already returned a ballot. Turnout in Colorado is heavily tilted toward Democratic voters at the moment, with some 35% of registered Democrats having returned their ballots as of this morning. Total ballot returns are at 921,342 (for comparison, more than 2.85 million votes were cast in Colorado in 2016).

The Denver Post has more on Colorado’s massive voter turnout numbers.

 

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed Colorado’s wildfires on Monday as part of a warning about Climate Change. As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado’w wildfire season in 2020 is unusual…and ominous:

All told, they add up to a fire season that is longer than most on record for the state, the result of extended drought conditions, high temperatures and a monsoon that just never arrived.

“We haven’t gotten any rain. We haven’t got any snow,” said Jennifer Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fire researcher. “Coupled with hotter temperatures, you’ve essentially got a hairdryer blowing at Colorado right now that’s making our fuels incredibly dry for very long periods of time.”

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, precipitation in the state over the past 30 days has been less than 10 percent of normal. Colorado did not receive the usual monsoon rains or snowfall that’s common in the fall.

That kind of weather typically prevents large, destructive wildfires from starting, Balch said and dampens those still burning from the summer like the record-breaking Cameron Peak fire. She said just a dozen wildfires over 1,000 acres have begun in October in the past 35 years.

 

Can you speak something OUT of existence? President Trump is sure trying. According to CNN, which is keeping track, Trump has claimed at least 38 times that COVID-19 will just “disappear.”

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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FACT CHECK: Gerber Says She Isn’t “a QAnon” But She’s Promoted the Conspiracy Theory

(Who? Me? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican state Senate candidate Lynn Gerber took to Facebook over the weekend to dispute reports that she supports the QAnon conspiracy theory.

“Accusing me of being a QAnon is ridiculous, frankly I didn’t know much about it until they said I was one,” wrote Gerber, who’s trying to oust incumbent Democrat Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada.

UPDATE: After publication of this story, Gerber edited the portion of her post addressing QAnon. It now reads:

“Her party accusing me of being a QAnon along with other lies is ridiculous and false.”

Gerber also “loved” a comment from yesterday supporting QAnon, that claims “the rabbit hole goes far deeper than anyone can imagine and it’s scary. …the fact’s [sic] being released about the Russia hoax and the Biden’s is just the beginning.”

Gerber “loved” the main comment and “liked” the reply.

The Colorado Times Recorder reported in September on Gerber’s previous Facebook posts and comments from late June and early July.

On June 30, Gerber shared a QAnon video titled “COVID 911: The DEEP STATE Insurgency,” which compiles a myriad of conspiracies. She shared it with the statement: “Something to listen to!”

Just over a week later on July 8, Gerber shared another QAnon video as a comment on the “Reopen Colorado” page, in response to a post about Larimer County mask orders.

“This is so good,” another commenter replied when Gerber shared the QAnon video.

Gerber deleted her June 30 post sometime in mid-September, but her July 8 comment remains online today.

Below, read Gerber’s full response on Facebook to reports that she follows QAnon:

“The lies about me by powerful people within a party are Typical dirty politics. Money and political power is ruining our Colorado. It is simply wrong how certain individuals abuse their power, and the dark money that comes into our state. Things must change. The division of good people no matter the party is heartbreaking. My hope is that people in my District will look past the lies and do some research. Senator Zenzinger is a politician, fact. She does her best to look good on the outside, but make no mistake she is a politician through and through. I worked with her on animal welfare legislation that went nowhere because of politics. Accusing me of being a QAnon is ridiculous, frankly I didn’t know much about it until they said I was one. We need leaders. I was asked and called to service. I have been serving my community for the last 30 plus years. I will work for the people and the agenda our party is founded on. Fact check people. So vote for a politician or someone who is a common sense voice for the people, the choice is yours.”

Gerber did not respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. This article will be updated with any response received.

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Colorado Is Voting In Historic Numbers

It’s unprecedented:

Much as we have no frame of objective reference with which to compare John Hickenlooper’s game-ending $22 million fundraising haul in the third quarter, there is simply no way to adequately put in perspective the massive and swift rate of return of ballots that just arrived this week in Colorado mail boxes; after all, this is our first experience with voting during a global pandemic. Nevertheless, here’s the breakdown of returned ballots by party affiliation as of yesterday, also showing an historic shift:

In previous Colorado mail ballot elections going back to the first in 2013, the prevalent trend for ballot returns has been Republican voters quickly getting their ballots back to county clerks, with Democrats filling in later and through Election Day. In 2020, this trend is completely reversed, with Democratic ballots flying back to clerks in unprecedented numbers and Republicans a distant third behind unaffiliated voters. It’s been suggested that this may be due to more Republicans choosing in-person voting on Election Day citing President Donald Trump’s baseless conspiracy theorizing about mail ballots. Or, we’re seeing dampened enthusiasm from Republicans in the face of an oncoming Democratic landslide.

Either way, Democrats in Colorado we’ve talked to are in something close to a state of disbelief over what’s happening, and determined to avoid becoming complacent until this election is not just over, but mutually agreed to be over–a point that, the bigger the landslide, the faster we’ll arrive for the good of the whole country.

We can’t predict outcomes everywhere, but we’re looking at an early election night in our state.

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Senior Trump Campaign Advisor John Pence Stumps With Colorado Republicans

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senior Trump campaign advisor John Pence (left) prepares to speak at his first of multiple campaign events in Colorado today.

Senior Trump campaign advisor and Vice Presidential nephew John Pence is stumping for Colorado Republicans’ campaign events today. He joined state senate candidate Doug Townsend at a small front yard event in Denver’s Montclair neighborhood. In his introduction Townsend noted that Pence, “works closely with the White House Office of Political Affairs and the Republican National Committee to organize the President’s political activities.”

Pence spoke in broad strokes about the need to vote Republican, not only at the statehouse level but for Cory Gardner and Donald Trump.

“Your great Senator Cory Gardner needs to be sent back to Washington for six more years,” said Pence. “He’s fighting for common-sense, pro-growth policies. He’s also fighting for the beauty of Colorado. He championed the Great American Outdoors Act- the largest piece of environmental legislation to be passed since the days of President Roosevelt.”

Pence characterized the election in the direst of fundamental terms:

“My uncle likes to talk about how usually elections are about Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, but this election is about whether America remains America. Whether we see the greatness that is this country. Whether we stand for this land of the free because of the brave, or whether we accept the notion that America is systematically this or systematically that.” [He may have meant ‘systemically.’]

He also emphasized “law and order,” and decried the property damage that accompanied some of the widespread protests against police brutality. “There’s a freedom of expression in America,” Pence warned. “There is not a freedom of destruction in America.”

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Notable Updates to “The Big Line”

We’re officially into the last month of the election cycle, so we’ve made some adjustments to our predictions for various outcomes in “The Big Line.”

The biggest change is in CO-3, where we have moved Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush into the lead for the first time:

Take a look and tell us why we’re wrong.

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Some CO Republicans in Key Races Are Hiding Their Stance on Trump

(Can you blame ’em? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Multiple Colorado Republicans in swing districts won’t say anything about what’s arguably the most important topic of the November election: Donald Trump.

State House candidate Caroline Cornell is one such Republican.

Asked by the Colorado Times Recorder if she supports Trump, Cornell hung up the phone after saying, “I’m—I don’t—I’m afraid I have to get on another call right now. I’ll have to call you back.”

Cornell, who’s challenging Democrat Tom Sullivan in a swing state House district in the Centennial area, didn’t return the call.

Republican Suzanne Staiert, who faces Democrat Chris Kolker in one of the most competitive state senate races of the year, didn’t want to talk about Trump either–even though her stance on him, like Cornell’s, could not be found in multiple searches.

“What do you say when people ask you whether you support Trump,” I asked Staiert.

“I’ve never been asked,” she replied.

“Do you?” I asked.

“I’m not going to talk to you. I don’t consider you an actual newspaper,” she said, without saying if she thought it was a legitimate question.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 24)

Election Day is now 40 days away. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► Dear Leader Trump is worried enough about his odds of winning another term in office that he is refusing to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the increasingly-likely scenario in which he loses to Democrat Joe Biden. As The New York Times reports:

Via The New York Times (9/23/20)

Asked whether he would “commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the November election,” Mr. Trump demurred, passing on a chance to call for a calm and orderly election process.

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” he told a reporter during a news conference at the White House. “You know that I’ve been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster.”…

…“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” the president said. That was an apparent reference to mail-in ballots, which for months he has railed against, without evidence, as rife with fraud and likely to produce a delayed, tainted or outright illegitimate election result.

Mr. Trump’s refusal — or inability — to endorse perhaps the most fundamental tenet of American democracy, as any president in memory surely would have, was the latest instance in which he has cast grave uncertainty around the November election and its aftermath. Democrats are growing increasingly alarmed as Mr. Trump repeatedly questions the integrity of the vote and suggests that he might not accept the results if he loses.

Democrats may be growing increasingly alarmed, but what about Republicans? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that there would be an “orderly transition” in January but wouldn’t comment on Trump’s earlier statement. Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) blasted the suggestion that a peaceful transfer of power would even be questioned by a sitting President. But for the most part, Republicans stayed quiet. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner? He said some…words:

 

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s recent comments about the upcoming election are quite troubling:

Add it all up and we have a President who is now on record saying: a) he won’t commit to a peaceful transition of power unless b) all mail-in ballots are eliminated because c) that would mean he would win again and d) has repeatedly raised the possibility of staying on beyond even the eight-year term limit on the presidency…

…So, what Trump is doing is creating the perfect excuse to never concede: He is saying that the vote will be fair and he will agree to a peaceful transition of power if there are no mail-in votes. Which he knows literally cannot happen. And so, if he loses, he already has his fallback plan in place: The acceptance of mail-in ballots means the entire election was a hoax and a fraud. And why should he admit he lost an election that was rigged against him?…

…If you don’t think that’s a uniquely dangerous position to hold for the continued strength of our democracy, well, you’re just not paying attention.

 

With coronavirus cases increasing in the area, Boulder County Public Health issued a new order for residents between the age of 18-22. As Denver7 reports:

In an effort to slow the sharp rise of positive COVID-19 cases in Boulder, and transmission of those 18 to 22 years old, Boulder County Public Health issued a new public health order that prohibits all people in that age group from gatherings of any size.

This applies to all indoor, outdoor, on-campus and off-campus locations, according to the order.

In addition, the order identified 36 addresses where people have repeatedly violated the public health orders, and requires those individuals to stay at their residence at all times. The only exceptions to this part of the order are to seek medical care, exercise outside alone, and obtain necessary supplies such as food, pet food, medical supplies and products needed for safety and sanitation via curbside pickup or contact-less delivery.

 

► Sandra Fish of The Colorado Sun takes a look at Senate District 27, which appears to be the top State Senate battleground of 2020. This story is not good for Republican candidate Suzanne Staiert:

Staiert is representing a dark money nonprofit whose affiliated super PAC spent $175,000 on advertising supporting her campaign.

It’s the newest twist in a nasty campaign filled with mailers and digital and TV advertising that question her past job as deputy secretary of state. She even filed a criminal complaint regarding one of the mailers that she says is false.

Staiert faces Democrat Chris Kolker, a financial planner, in a seat being vacated by current Republican state Sen. Jack Tate. Kolker is an afterthought in the campaign, barely mentioned in the messages from outside political groups who are aiming at Staiert, the attorney who pressed ethics complaints against former Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

More than $508,000 in outside spending is targeting Senate District 27, most of it opposing Staiert. It’s one of the Democratic Party’s top legislative contests in the November election, and a Sun analysis shows the district is seeing the most outside money of any statehouse race so far.

Staiert has a strange record of shady affiliations with dark money groups. She is also very sensitive to any sort of criticism. “It’s been really just stressful and unpleasant,” says Staiert of the common practice of examining candidate records and backgrounds.

 

 Several new data points make the case that another Blue Wave is coming to Colorado. Read until the end for the “Holy Shit Numbers.”

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Watch Closely When Politically Connected Gun Nuts Kill

UPDATE #2: The Loveland Reporter-Herald updates that Brandon McLaughlin has been released from Larimer County Jail as the investigation continues, over the objections of the family of the victim:

“Frustration does not even come close to how the family feels about this decision from the DA,” she said when reached by telephone after the hearing. “We are crestfallen. We are shocked. And every single member of the family is devastated that this happened today.”

She said that prosecutors explained that the investigation is continuing and could result in future charges. But for today, the man who shot their son, brother, husband and father was released from jail without charges.

“We don’t know what that means,” Kimber Kreutzer said. “We don’t know what they are investigating. I know that the case is closed, and I know that Brandon McLaughlin gets to leave jail, and we as a family do not agree with that decision. The whole family is united that we did not want to see him leave jail.”

We’ll be following this closely.

—–

UPDATE: The Fort Collins Coloradans updates from today’s hearing–no formal charges yet, though Brandon McLaughlin reportedly is still in custody on a $100,000 bond:

“It is clear that Mr. McLaughlin shot and killed the victim; however, the exact circumstances of the interaction between the two men remain unclear,” Jodi Lacey, district attorney’s office spokesperson, said in an email.

Investigators are still trying to determine whether McLaughlin acted in self-defense or in defense of someone else, and if not, if he acted with intent or deliberation, according to Wednesday’s announcement.

A first-degree murder conviction requires the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant acted after deliberation with the intent to cause the death of another person. The lesser charge of second-degree murder only requires a determination that the person knowingly caused the death of another person, according to state law.

We’ll continue to follow this story as it develops, but at the very least it’s confirmation of the old rule that where guns are present, tragedy ensues. It’s true even in the most devout of gun-worshipping households.

And depending on what happens next, the resolution of this case could raise its own questions.

—–

Brandon Gerald McLaughlin, charged with first-degree murder in Larimer County.

This afternoon at 1:30PM in the Larimer County Justice Center, there’s a hearing on a disturbing case out of Berthoud of an alleged first-degree murder committed earlier this month by a man with connections to Northern Colorado’s increasingly notorious far-right gun rights activism scene. As the Loveland Reporter-Herald reported last week:

[Brandon] McLaughlin, 37, was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder on Sept. 5 by Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies when they responded to an early-morning disturbance involving a gun and found the victim, 37-year-old Edward Brooks Kreutzer, at the scene.

An autopsy performed by Larimer County Coroner James A. Wilkerson IV found that the manner of Kreutzer’s death was homicide and the cause of death was multiple gunshot wounds.

In the first appearance Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Robert Axmacher said the evidence in the case was “overwhelming” against McLaughlin and asked that bond be set to a $250,000 cash, property or surety bond…

Despite this request for a high bond, the attorney for accused murderer Brandon McLaughlin, Dagna Van Der Jagt, persuaded presiding Judge Greg Lammons to reduce the bond to a workable figure for the defendant:

Eighth Judicial District Judge Greg Lammons who is presiding over the case set McLaughlin’s bond at $100,000 and included the prohibition of alcohol, drugs and weapons, enhanced pretrial release supervision, GPS monitoring and prohibits McLaughlin from going within a certain distance of Kreutzer’s widow’s place of employment or the home where his child resides.

There’s no reason to assume any impropriety in the decision to allow this first-degree murder suspect to bond out of jail awaiting trial, although bonds for first-degree murder defendants are considered rare. With that said, there’s a high degree of interest around today’s hearing in Larimer County because of who the defendant is connected with. Lesley Hollywood of the local gun-rights group Rally For Our Rights testified on McLaughlin’s behalf at his bond hearing, saying that McLaughlin has been an “absolutely wonderful father” to their daughter and should be released on bond. Hollywood and the defense attorney in this case, Dagna Van Der Jagt, are both graduates of the right-wing Leadership Program of the Rockies political candidate training program. Since the passage of Colorado’s landmark gun safety bills in 2013 and continuing with 2019’s “red flag” law, Hollywood (not her real name of course) has found her calling as Dudley Brown’s “soccer mom” counterpart.

As for McLoughlin personally, we’re looking for more information beyond a photo of him in 2011 wearing a Revolutionary War costume beating a drum with the Northern Colorado Tea Party at the Colorado Capitol. It appears that social media presences for this individual have been scrubbed, and despite the very high degree of loquatiousness from Lesley Hollywood about any and every news story on the subject of guns, she hasn’t had anything to say about this case on her own social media. Instead, Rally For Our Rights is plowing ahead with their 2020 voters guide, “Your Rights Your Guns Your Vote.”

For those who argue the solution to every problem in society is more guns, the optics of this situation are, needless to say, not good.

That’s what we know as of this writing, and we’ll be watching this case closely to see how it develops. What we have heard but obviously can’t confirm is that behind the scenes, this case is very much on the radar of local Republican officials. What we can say based on the available information is that it deserves much more attention than it has received up until now.

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The GMS Podcast: Sen. Leroy Garcia Gets More Smarter

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we talk with Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia about Pueblo politics, CO-3 candidates, and green chiles.

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also discuss a new poll showing what lots of other polls are showing: Trump and Gardner are losing by double digits and progressives and their policy positions are popular! President Trump knowingly lied about the coronavirus and has blood on his hands (including that of 2,000 Coloradans); and Cory Gardner still hasn’t said jack about it. We also find Cory auditioning for his next career as a luxury car washer and revisit some more old political slogans to see if there’s any wisdom in them.

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

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State Senate Candidate Lynn Gerber Is Latest CO Republican To Support QAnon

(QAnon takes the ‘burbs! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lynn Gerber, Colorado GOP candidate for SD19

Another Colorado Republican state legislative candidate has joined the ranks of public QAnon supporters.

Over the summer Lynn Gerber, who is running for a senate seat in Jefferson County, posted a pair of conspiracy videos, one of which is QAnon-branded propaganda.

QAnon conspiracist groups have grown so rapidly and promote such extreme disinformation that last year the FBI labeled them a domestic terror threat.

Several other Colorado Republican candidates have shared QAnon-linked conspiracies on social media, most prominently Lauren Boebert who is running for the 3rd Congressional District, but also Gerber’s fellow statehouse candidates Samantha Koch and Vanessa DeMott.

On June 30, Gerber shared a QAnon video titled “COVID 911: The DEEP STATE Insurgency,” which compiles a myriad of conspiracies.

“This is the perfect tool to clear up any doubt as to those who still don’t ‘trust the plan,'” reads the post. “POTUS has been ten steps ahead of all the DEEP STATE actors and their attempt to throw the world into chaos and bring in their dream of the NEW WORLD ORDER. They can’t stop what’s coming. Q. Patriots Are IN control. #WWG1WGA #QAnonArmy.”

The breadth of the disinformation contained in the video is staggering. It claims the COVID-19 pandemic, which at the time had killed 130,000 Americans, is both a hoax and yet also a man-made biological weapon created at the orders of former President Obama and the Democrats in order to sway the election. It goes on to assert that Democrats orchestrated George Floyd’s murder in order to launch nationwide protests, inverting the actual timeline of events- a classic conspiracy feature.

Facebook fact-checkers flagged the post as false information, linking to a thorough debunking memo by the Lead Stories FactChecker site.

“Is the COVID-19 pandemic a conspiracy manufactured by ‘Deep State Democrats’ and the ‘mass media’ to disrupt, even rig, the upcoming presidential election in a bid to topple Donald Trump?” states the memo. “And did the coronavirus provide the perfect cover for the mass racial justice protests since the death of George Floyd after being knelt on for nearly nine minutes by a Minneapolis police officer? No, there is no evidence to support any of this.”

Gerber shared the post on June 30. Facebook’s fact-checkers debunked it less than 48 hours later. Nevertheless, it remained on Gerber’s page for more than five weeks; it wasn’t removed until sometime after Sept 11.

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UNMASKED: The Dumbest Book Preview Video You’ll See Sunday


Former Sen. Kevin Lundberg (right).

From the high-commission conservative fundraising site Freedomfy–that’s right, kids, Jon Caldara has a piece of the action–comes a preview of an upcoming Very Important Self-Published Book™ written by a hefty group of Republican lawmakers and hard-right local activists just in time for the 2020 election season: UNMASKED2020: Colorado’s Radical Left Turn and a Warning to America.

Are you excited? Because we’re excited:

The book, UNMASKED2020: Colorado’s Radical Left Turn and a Warning to America, will consist of 15 chapters in approximately 200 pages, each written by a different contributor. Five of the fifteen coauthors are current or former elected Colorado legislators, including a former President of the State Senate and a former chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Two are involved with broadcast journalism, two are attorneys, one the director of a university-based think tank, one a former deputy administrator of a federal agency, and another a former Colorado regional coordinator for Americans for Prosperity.

The “partial list” of contributors to UNMASKED2020 isn’t exactly an “A-List” of Colorado Republicans, but it is a fair number with a few modestly notable names: former Colorado Senate President John Andrews, Jeff Hunt of the religious right Centennial Institute, former fringe-right Sen. Kevin Lundberg, local talk radio freakshow Randy Corporon, the “gruesome twosome” of Rep. Kim Ransom and Rep. Dave Williams, and Sen. Rob Woodward who colleagues know is a charming man to work both for and with. Lundberg narratives the preview video above, and let’s face it, folks: the man’s got a golden voice.

As for what these very fine people have to say in the actual book, it’s not looking real good.

“First the coronavirus pandemic upended everything. Then in May after another few weeks, racial tensions flared following the George Floyd death. Then before long, well-organized seditious elements began abusing the people’s freedom of assembly with violent nihilist riots. The shock and strain these compounding crises placed upon Colorado’s institutions of self-government, and on the elected officials leading them, can hardly be overstated…. But I agree with our chapter authors that these leaders and too many others in state government, local government, public health, and law enforcement did not rise to the occasion as we the people had a right to expect they should.”

-Former Senate President John Andrews, “A Warning to America”

“It is time for the elected leaders of our state to put public health officials back into their proper role. They must, once again, become objective scientists who are ready and able to give good counsel to our elected leaders and the public. Never again should public health officials become our unaccountable and unelected rulers.”

-Former Senator Kevin Lundberg, “Public Health Today Means Command and Control”

“In mid-February the grassroots activists received a slap in the face. The vaccination bill that was defeated last year came back to life. SB 20-163, “School Entry Immunization,” was introduced…. Like last year, hundreds of parents with children in-hand testified before the Senate committee hearing. Once again politicians disregarded the personal stories and comments from citizens and parents and passed the bill.”

-Kim Monson and Patti Kurgan, “Citizen Voices Silenced”

In short, if you believe that everything and everybody including your local fire department is out to get you, especially anybody who tells you to (gasp) wear a mask or (gasp even harder) vaccinate your kids, this book is for you! But based on every poll in sight on all of these issues, we can say pretty confidently that’s not anything remotely close to a majority of Colorado voters.

All told, this will earn Colorado Democrats more support than the Republicans it’s supposed to help.

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Ted Harvey’s “ScamPAC” Booted Off Facebook

Ex-Sen. Ted Harvey (R).

CNN reports on a relatively rare act of accountability from social media megaplatform Facebook, after the site finally deleted a post from President Donald Trump containing misinformation (polite for “lies”) about the COVID-19 pandemic–the so-called “Committee to Defend the President,” run by former Colorado state Sen. Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch, has had its paid advertising campaign shut down:

Facebook announced Thursday it was banning ads from The Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump super PAC. Facebook did not say how long the ban would last.

“As a result of the Committee to Defend the President’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, they will not be permitted to advertise for a period of time on our platform,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said. Stone declined to say what specifically led to Thursday’s action…

We have not seen the specific ad that led to this suspension, but back in February Harvey got into similar hot water over a dreadfully inaccurate ad attacking Joe Biden in the South Carolina Democratic primary–which Biden went on to win in a blowout. In a post to Facebook today, Harvey essentially says neener neener, we’ll advertise on platforms that don’t care what’s true:

Anyone who remembers Harvey’s time in the Colorado General Assembly already knows that he has a troubled relationship with facts in general, and this statement confirms another ad from Harvey’s PAC was forced by Facebook to be corrected prior to earning this suspension. Facebook has drawn considerable criticism in recent months for failing to crack down on the distribution of egregiously false information on their platform, so most people who like their social media free of pay-to-play falsehoods will call this a positive step.

It’s also worth remembering that the previous incarnation of the “Committee to Defend the President,” the Stop Hillary PAC run by the same duo of former Sen. Harvey and lawyer Dan Backer, made a dubious list of so-called “ScamPACs”–groups more about raising money to cover their own overhead than advertising or any other activity in support of their stated objective.

“Reallocating” their Facebook budget to platforms that allow lying is sure to take a lot of staff time.

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Garcia Smacks Down GOP Call To Voucher-fy Schools

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D).

Last week, the Colorado GOP Senate Minority issued a call for a special session of the state legislature for the purpose of redirecting public education funding away from schools on an “emergency basis” during the pandemic–a novel pretext for the entirely non-emergency objective of Republicans to “voucher-fy and charter-ize” education at the expense of neighborhood public schools. Because Republicans have no power to compel the legislature to do anything, the net effect of this was a press stunt everybody basically ignored.

But as the Pueblo Chieftain reports, Republicans provoked a fiery response from Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia worth noting for the permanent record, lest there be any confusion about their real intentions:

“The Republicans’ letter to the governor is the epitome of partisan gamesmanship. Rather than coming to the table in good faith, they chose to engage in underhanded tactics in an effort to score cheap political points. Sadly, this stunt and their subsequent proposal are to the detriment of students,” Garcia wrote.

“Their shortsighted plan would hollow out public schools – which are already struggling – and create an inconsistent, patchwork of learning experiences for our kids. We need holistic solutions that help our teachers and students get back to school safely, not extreme partisan policies meant to stoke political fires and grab press attention.

“It’s time to listen to those on the frontline of education, not rush to conclusions and force through a thinly-veiled voucher program that only further disenfranchises low-income and minority students.”

Although the immediate future for public school students in Colorado is uncertain due to emergency measures to keep students and teachers safe, this situation is not going to last forever. Using the pandemic as a pretext to pull funds from public schools and create a de facto voucher system is a shortsighted response to a short-term problem at best. At worst, it’s a manipulative play on pandemic anxiety to achieve a long-sought political objective for conservatives.

Instead of school vouchers, wear a mask–and do your part to get Colorado’s schools open safely.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 29)

Happy “International Tiger Day.” Please don’t try to have a beer with a tiger. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

As The New York Times reports, the United States has surpassed 150,000 deaths from COVID-19.

 

Senate Republicans and the White House can barely agree on what to eat for lunch (though it’s either hamburgers or meatloaf), so they’ve made little progress on a new coronavirus stimulus bill as extended unemployment benefits are about to run dry. As The Washington Post reports, President Trump is now talking about a mini-bill:

President Trump called for a quick fix Wednesday to address expiring unemployment benefits and a moratorium on evictions, saying the other parts of the GOP’s $1 trillion relief bill can wait.

“The rest of it, we’re so far apart, we don’t care, we really don’t care,” Trump told reporters outside the White House, referring to divisions between the two parties.

Democrats have repeatedly rejected the idea of a piecemeal approach that would involve a stand-alone unemployment insurance bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has not embraced the idea either, insisting any bill must include a five-year liability shield for businesses, health-care providers and others — a non-starter for Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking alongside Trump, said the two sides were “very far apart.”

This is the part where we remind you that the House of Representatives passed a coronavirus relief bill (the “HEROES Act”) in mid-May. Senate Republicans have been sitting around drawing doodles in their notebooks for more than two months now.

On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis laid out a list of items that Colorado needs Congress to provide ASAP:

Polis warned of dire consequences to the economic welfare of millions of Coloradans and to the state’s ability to contain the pandemic in a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation as the U.S. Senate begins deliberating the next phase of coronavirus relief while infections surge across the nation.

“The continued uncertainty regarding the extension and funding of key federal programs for Coloradans is making many of our neighbors contemplate extremely difficult choices regarding their financial futures,” Polis said.

 

Governor Jared Polis on Tuesday also called on all Coloradans to be more smarter about protecting themselves and others from COVID-19. From The Denver Post:

Coloradans who attend large events, don’t wear masks and don’t follow social-distancing guidelines are not only putting themselves but others at risk, Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday in response to concerns about a large event in Weld County over the weekend.

concert and rodeo in Weld County on Sunday drew about 2,000 people during the coronavirus pandemic in a county that has resisted the governor’s orders for wearing masks and other restrictions to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

Although county commissioners may believe they don’t have to enforce orders from the governor, Polis rejected the claim at a news conference Tuesday, saying it’s the law and the way to fight it is through the courts…

…“Attending large gatherings doesn’t just put yourself at risk but also puts your job and your family and your loved ones at risk,” Polis said. “No government policy can force anybody not to be stupid, but I’m calling on Coloradans not to be stupid.” [Pols emphasis]

 

Attorney General William Barr testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, delivering a masterful performance…assuming you were expecting a disgustingly corrupt and indifferent stance on just about anything he was asked. Vox.com explains how Barr has helped to make Trumpism possible in the United States. Dana Milbank of The Washington Post marvels at Barr’s clear-eyed support for meddling in U.S. elections.

Today, the House Judiciary Committee will hear from leaders of the nation’s four biggest tech giants: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Republicans Call for Special Session to De-Fund Schools

Colorado Republicans try not to let too much time go by each week without offering up some sort of cockamamie idea on one policy or another. Today the state GOP Senate caucus managed to combine the coronavirus and vouchers — coronavouchers! — into the same ridiculous demand. Senate President Leroy Garcia was having none of it:

This is a rather silly thing to request in general, let alone via social media exclusively, so what’s the point? In a word: Vouchers.

Senate Republicans are making a half-assed attempt to get media coverage for requesting a special legislative session so that they can introduce a bunch of school voucher proposals. The GOP wants to argue that vouchers — or “school choice” as Republicans like to call it — would make sense during a pandemic because then parents could redirect the tax money they pay for public schools into some sort of imaginary home schooling or private school “solution.”

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t make school vouchers (sorry, “school choice”) into a better idea any more than a hurricane should encourage you to reinvest all of your money into plywood manufacturers. The GOP says it wants a special session “to provide clarity to Colorado parents regarding the future of their children’s education during #COVID19,” but unless Republicans figured out a way to kill the coronavirus by re-writing the tax code, there’s really nothing to discuss here.

The coronavirus will sicken private and home-school teachers just as well as it will infect public school teachers. What “clarity” can Senate Republicans possibly provide to change this basic fact? We could take the money generated for all public education needs and light it on fire for all that would do to fix our pandemic problem.

As Sen. Garcia noted, this is nothing but a ridiculous political stunt from Colorado Republicans — and not a particularly clever one, either.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 20)

Today is the 8th anniversary of the Aurora Theater Shooting. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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 

 

Colorado is trending in the wrong direction on the coronavirus pandemic, reaching the highest number of statewide cases since May. Experts say that wearing masks in public can substantially slow the spread of COVID-19, but they are also encouraging Coloradans to avoid gathering in crowds altogether.

 

As The Washington Post reports, vulnerable Republican Senate candidates such as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner are finding themselves stuck in a corner as the Senate attempts to advance more coronavirus relief legislation despite opposition from the Trump administration:

As the Senate returns this week for a three-week sprint before the August break, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is facing competing demands from President Trump and Republican senators, including some who are up for reelection in states hit hard by the virus and are coming under withering attacks by Democratic challengers over the pandemic.

In particular, the expiration of an additional $600-per-week in unemployment insurance by July 31 is adding pressure on vulnerable GOP senators as 20 million to 30 million people remain out of work. McConnell and many other Republicans adamantly oppose extending the enhanced benefit at its current level, saying it discourages some from returning to work because they make more money by staying home…

…“We have to — together — get through this by making sure that people are able to get back to work, that businesses are able to survive, that individuals know that they’re going to be okay,” endangered Republican Sen. Cory Gardner (Colo.) said in a phone interview.

 

► President Trump is going to resume his regular airing of grievances daily coronavirus briefings this week. From The New York Times:

President Trump said on Monday that he is bringing back the daily coronavirus briefings that he halted in April, a tacit acknowledgment that the public health crisis that he has sought to put behind him is still ravaging much of the country.

With cases and deaths on the rise, Mr. Trump told reporters that he would probably hold the first of the new series of briefings on Tuesday at 5 p.m. He attributed his decision to revive them not to the increasing threat of the virus but to the fact that the briefings had high television ratings.

“I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching in the history of cable television. There’s never been anything like it,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a previously unannounced meeting with congressional Republicans. “It’s a great way to get information out to the public as to where we are with the vaccines, with the therapeutics.”

Trump views these daily briefings as official government versions of a political rally, though he had backed off the daily events amid concerns from advisers that he was “over-saturating” Americans with Trump talk.

 

► President Trump sat down for an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News over the weekend. Aaron Blake sums up the incredibly-bizarre interview for The Washington Post:

Trump’s interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace was a painful affair from start to finish. Wallace is always a good and tough interviewer, unlike the Fox opinion hosts Trump frequents, and he is always prepared, but this was on another level. The interview wasn’t overly adversarial; Wallace was perfectly willing to talk about the things Trump was interested in and to play ball when Trump responded in relatively good faith. It wasn’t slanted; instead it merely raised the very factual counterpoints dealt with frequently in coverage of Trump. And it wasn’t rushed, which meant that Wallace could dig into the points Trump was making without fear of neglecting other topics he wanted to touch on.

Chris Cillizza of CNN goes through the entire interview to highlight 55 of Trump’s most crazypants quotes from the Fox News interview. Here’s two of those quotes, along with Cillizza’s analysis:

3. “But when you talk about mortality rates, I think it’s the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.”

We don’t. We have the seventh highest coronavirus mortality rate in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Which Wallace told Trump. Trump is using numbers from the European CDC, according to Wallace.

4. “Look, I take responsibility always for everything because it’s ultimately my job, too.”

“I don’t take responsibility at all.” — Donald Trump, March 13

 

 

As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville appears likely to lose that title in a few months:

It is increasingly likely that Patrick Neville, the far-right leader of Colorado’s shrunken House GOP caucus, will be overthrown later this year.

Neville, of Castle Rock, has been minority leader since 2016, but Rep. Hugh McKean, a Loveland Republican, has been public about his plans to seek the job of minority leader heading into the 2021 legislative session in January. More than a dozen lawmakers and other Capitol sources say they believe McKean’s victory is all but assured.

This outcome was made much more likely on primary night in June, when a slate of Republican candidates more aligned with Neville’s vision was trounced by a group of less hard-right candidates.

We wrote about exactly this subject here at Colorado Pols just a few weeks ago. In a new post today, we break down the chaos among state Republicans.

Meanwhile, Neville is trying to raise money for his anti-mask wearing cause. Colorado is under a statewide mask ordinance as of last week, which isn’t making right-wing Republicans very happy.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Post-Primary Podcasting

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Post-Primary-Processing-Pallooza! A local gun group pulls the trigger and a tiny little flag that says BANG pops out of the barrel; Cory Gardner wears a mask; Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert wears a gun; we tempt the fates by attempting to be light hearted about the coronavirus; even Trump’s fake poll shows him losing by 10 points; and we may get a look at the Big Orange Guy’s tax returns after all!

If you missed our last episode, click here to catch up.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 13)

If you want to know what it feels like to be President Trump right now, just go stand outside on the pavement for about 10 minutes. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► President Trump is attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci because Fauci isn’t playing along with Trump’s plan to pretend the coronavirus outbreak is totally under control. As Maggie Haberman explains for The New York Times:

President Trump’s advisers undercut the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, over the weekend, anonymously providing details to various news outlets about statements he had made early in the coronavirus outbreak that they said were inaccurate.

The move to treat Dr. Fauci, who has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for decades, as if he were a warring political rival came as he has grown increasingly vocal in his concerns about the national surge in coronavirus cases, as well as his lack of access to Mr. Trump over the past several weeks. It has been accompanied by more measured public criticism from administration officials, including the president.

And it came just days after the White House called school reopening guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention overly restrictive, part of a pattern of the administration trying to sideline recommendations that could slow the reopening of the economy, which Mr. Trump views as vital to his flailing re-election effort.

Aides to Mr. Trump first released to The Washington Post what the paper called a “lengthy list” of remarks that Dr. Fauci had made about the virus when it was in its early stages.

As Philip Bump writes for The Washington Post:

What’s unusual about the White House’s efforts to undermine Anthony S. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice on the novel coronavirus pandemic, is that the only way in which Fauci has undercut the president is by being honest about the moment…

…What Fauci has done is make obvious both that the pandemic is as bad as it seems and that there are ways in which it can be addressed, which at times conflict with what Trump would like to see. Trump’s vision for what happens with the virus’s spread is fairly straightforward: Businesses reopen and kids go back to school and he gets reelected and then it just sort of becomes a nonissue somehow. Maybe he doesn’t get to that fourth step; it’s not clear. What Fauci and, more broadly, government and medical experts foresee is grimmer: With better containment and Americans taking more responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus, maybe we can keep the death toll down until there’s a vaccine.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) should theoretically be interested in defending Fauci, who he has called “a national treasure.”

If you’re wondering if you missed Sen. Cory Gardner’s comments on Dear Leader Trump’s late Friday decision to commute the sentence of Roger Stone, never fear…Gardner hasn’t said a damn thing!

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Trump’s “get out of jail” card for Stone is even worse than it looks at first glance:

These are not small crimes. Let’s be very clear what Stone did: He lied to Congress about his efforts to find out what WikiLeaks had in terms of hacked emails that were designed to damage Clinton. He also threatened someone — with death — unless that person lied to Congress about the nature of his role in the backchanneling of WikiLeaks information…

…And now Stone has been rewarded with a commutation of what was to be a 40-month prison sentence set to start Tuesday — not because he didn’t do what he was convicted of doing but rather because a) he stayed loyal to Trump (“There is no circumstance whatsoever under which I will bear false witness against the president,” Stone said when he was formally indicted) and b) his conviction played into Trump’s deep-seated resentments that the fact that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help him somehow invalidates his victory.

 

Douglas County Republicans are classy. A certain section of rich, white, suburbanites in Metro Denver are out of their freaking minds.

Meanwhile, a mask requirement for Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas counties goes into effect on July 24.

 

As The Denver Post reports, President Trump’s ban on temporary worker visas is causing havoc in Colorado:

“Honestly, it’s just horrendous,” Brian Carlson, the CEO of Lafayette-based Green Landscape Solutions, said. “What I tell people is at this point my business plan comes down to a lottery or luck.”

But 2020 is not just any year — the visa roller coaster has come off the tracks. The H-2B and other programs have been frozen by presidential decree. Whether or not that will mean the hundreds of thousands of Colorado workers who are unemployed amid the COVID-19 pandemic will seek out the jobs normally filled by foreign laborers remains to be seen…

…The president’s bans are not only impacting landscaping businesses like Carlson’s that are in peak season but stand to reverberate through some of Colorado’s key industries, including winter tourism.

 

Senate Republicans are getting very concerned about being significantly outraised by Democrats across the country. As POLITICO reports:

“It’s a slow-moving trainwreck,” said Eric Wilson, a Republican consultant who led Marco Rubio’s digital strategy in the 2016 presidential campaign. “The warning signs are flashing right now, and they’re ignoring it.”

Democratic Senate campaigns have outraised Republicans in small-dollar donations (under $200) in 10 of the 12 most competitive races, according to a review of the most recent Federal Election Commission reports, which this week are due for an update covering the second quarter. Already, many Democratic campaigns have announced that they raised massive sums in the last three months, while few Republicans have tipped their hands. Unitemized donations also represented a higher percentage of individual receipts for Democrats in every competitive race featuring a GOP senator.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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The End Is Near for the Neville Clan

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s collar grows ever tighter.

Last week’s Primary Election was an anti-climactic affair at the top of the ticket, but the rest of the ballot told a very interesting story. As we wrote last week, significant Republican Primary losses portend another GOP wipeout in Colorado come November, and the fallout could lead to the last gasps of the Neville Clan.

Rumors are growing that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville could be in danger of losing control of the GOP caucus after another poor showing at the polls last week. State Rep. Hugh McKean is now in a strong position to challenge Neville for Minority Leader after victories on Tuesday by Colin Larsen (HD-22), Tonya Van Beber (HD-48), Mike Lynch (Hd-49), and Dan Woog (HD-63) — all of whom defeated candidates backed by the Neville Clan and their close friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO). The Nevilles and RMGO also lost badly in SD-23, where their support of Rupert Parchment wasn’t enough to stop Barbara Kirkmeyer from cruising to a double-digit victory.

Our back-of-the-napkin math shows Neville with only seven remaining supporters among House Republicans, equal to the seven GOP House members who would likely side with McKean. Depending on how the General Election shakes out, that leaves about 8 Republican Representatives to determine the 2021-22 leadership battle. This could be a significant moment for Colorado Republicans, because a good number of their recent failures can be attributed directly to decisions made by the Neville Clan.

The Neville family have been fixtures in Colorado Republican politics for much of the last decade, beginning with State Sen. Tim “Pa” Neville’s narrow victory in Jefferson County in 2014. Tim Neville is the father of Pat Neville and GOP political consultant Joe Neville, whose consulting firm Rearden Strategic has overseen many Republican races in recent years (Tim Neville is also the brother-in-law of former Jefferson County School Board Member Julie Williams, whose brief run in Jeffco was a disaster all its own).

Sen. Cory Gardner and former state Sen. Tim Neville, circa 2015.

Tim Neville quickly rose to the top of the Republican food chain in Colorado as a conservative social issue warrior, becoming the de-facto leader of the Senate Republican caucus in the state legislature (Neville was basically the Senate President at one point) and a bonafide contender for statewide office. He looked to be on his way to becoming the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2015, and by Spring 2016 he seemed to be accumulating enough support to take the top line at the State GOP Convention.

But Tim Neville’s political demise was as swift as his ascent. Colorado Republicans held their state assembly in April 2016, and Neville completely bombed, losing to little-known Darryl Glenn by a 4-to-1 margin. Neville then turned his attention toward running for re-election to the State Senate in 2018, where he was out-worked by Democrat Tammy Story en route to a 14-point loss that contributed to Republicans losing majority control of the state senate. Neville later blamed his defeat on poor campaign strategies enacted by outside groups, which was ironic considering how his son’s strategic blunders torpedoed GOP chances around the state in that same cycle.

Tim Neville was actually preceded in the state legislature by Patrick, who was elected to the State House in 2014 and became House Minority Leader following the 2016 election. Together the Nevilles championed the causes of anti-abortion activists, gun lovers, anti-vaxxers and opponents of a functioning government. With Joe Neville overseeing the outside political operations for many Republican candidates — and with financial support from RMGO head honcho Dudley Brown — the Neville Clan kept the State Capitol stocked with loyal but questionable characters such as former State Reps. Justin Everett and Tim Leonard. You might remember Leonard as the only person in recent history to serve time in jail while a sitting member of the legislature; the Leonard debacle paved the way for Democrats to take control of what had long been a safe Republican seat in 2018.

The 2018 election cycle was a pivotal year for Colorado Republicans who were TROUNCED in races across the board — many of which were overseen by the Nevilles and/or Rearden Strategic. One particularly pathetic effort in Jefferson County exemplified the poor return on investment that 2018 candidates received from Rearden Strategic.

Pat Neville has been driving the COVID-19 Stupidity Train in recent months.

Despite those heavy losses, Neville retained enough caucus support to keep his post as Minority Leader, but the cracks were starting to show. A few months later, Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reported on grumblings about the Neville’s dubious political strategy and a generous payout structure for Rearden Strategic.

Last year, the Neville Clan followed up their poor 2018 by directing misguided efforts to raise money from gullible donors in a feeble attempt to recall multiple Democratic elected officials. Warning signs should have been apparent to the GOP after a questionable decision to go after Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan left the Nevilles and RMGO with mostly egg on their sad faces.

This time last year, we wondered again how Neville still managed to remain House Minority Leader despite a consistent record of incompetence. The 2020 legislative session didn’t help Neville’s cause, and the June Primary exposed yet another rift between Neville and Colorado Republicans — many of whom were tired of a heavy-handed approach that included Neville’s Chief of Staff, Jim Pfaff, regularly threatening other Republicans.

Colorado Republicans aren’t going to take control of the State House in 2020, and it is also unlikely that they will wrestle away the State Senate from Democrats. But if this is the year that the GOP finally rejects the influence of the Neville Clan, then perhaps Republicans can start to creep back toward relevance in 2022.

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Primary Results Portend GOP Wipeout in November

The 2020 Primary Election is now behind us (except for those few races that may need a recount). If you are a Democrat, you should be ecstatic. If you are a Republican, you might want to go into hibernation until 2022.

Let’s take a step back and examine the view of the 2020 Primary from 30,000 feet (or what you remember the view to look like from 30,000 feet, since nobody is going to be on an airplane anytime soon).

Lesson #1: Republicans Who are Known Entities Were Roundly Rejected 

Rep. Scott Tipton

Even Republican voters are sick of the current batch of Republicans. Take a look at this brief list of well-known Republicans who were shown the door on Tuesday:

♦ Six-term Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) — who was endorsed by President Trump — lost to QAnon true believer Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert.

♦ State Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Firestone) lost her campaign to return to the State House…by 30 points.

♦ Former State Rep. Justin Everett was handily defeated by Rep. Colin Larsen in South Jeffco.

This list does not (yet) include State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), who will likely need to wait for a recount to see if she won her race for an open seat on the Weld County Board of Commissioners.

 

Lesson #2: Pat Neville and RMGO Failed Everywhere

GOP House Minority Leader Patrick Neville

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville “led” Republicans to a beatdown in 2018. His preferred Primary candidates in 2020, most of whom were supported with tens of thousands of dollars from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), were all soundly defeated:

HD-22: Justin Everett, a longtime Neville/RMGO loyalist, tried to retake his old House seat with a disgusting far-right message. He lost to Rep. Colin Larsen by 12 points.

HD-48: Two-time loser Grady Nouis lost by 12 points to Tonya Van Beber. Voters were apparently not impressed with the fact that Nouis is basically a Nazi.

HD-63: Neville and RMGO liked them some Pat Miller, who was Tom Tancredo’s running mate for Governor back in 2010. Dan Woog beat Miller by 25 points. (Fun Fact: This is Cory Gardner’s original State House seat)

SD-23: In one of the nastier Primary battles of 2020, RMGO spent big bucks trying to prop up Rupert Parchment against former County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer. This race was also not close, with Kirkmeyer winning by about 12 points.

 

Lesson #3: Cory Gardner is in DEEP Trouble

Sen. Cory Gardner

Lessons #1 and #2 would be scary enough for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is seeking re-election in November, but that’s not even the worst of it.

Prepping for former Gov. John Hickenlooper to defeat former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic Senate Primary, Gardner’s campaign sent out a rambling, ridiculous memo on Tuesday afternoon (“Cory Gardner Isn’t Dead Yet Probably”) arguing that Hickenlooper was the “worst senate candidate in America” and that a Democratic voter registration advantage in Colorado is “nonsense.”

A few hours later, Hickenlooper beat Romanoff by 20 points.

Last August, Hickenlooper was polling at about 61% support in a potential Democratic Primary. He’s going to end up winning the Primary with about 60% of the vote…after Republicans spent $2 million in negative ads attacking Hickenlooper for ethics charges and a hard-to-understand public-private partnership “scandal.”

Re-read that last paragraph. Republicans (and Romanoff) spent many millions of dollars over several weeks trying to tear down Hickenlooper. They might have moved the race about one point in the end.

Colorado voters saw and heard about the ethics complaints against Hickenlooper; either they didn’t buy it, or they didn’t care. Gardner used a silly commercial to try to convince voters that Hickenlooper didn’t really want to be a Senator; that didn’t work, either.

Gardner has been a hot mess in the last 24 hours (more on that in a later post). If we were Gardner, we’d absolutely be freaking out today, too.

 

The 2020 Primary Election went worse for Republicans than observers — including us — could have even imagined. Today is the first day of the 2020 General Election in Colorado. It’s going to be a LONG couple of months for the GOP.

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Pre-Primary Predictions

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, it’s Primary-Prognostication-Palooza! The President takes a pounding in the polls, a potential politician pretends to be a professional, and more pretentious pablum from some political putzes. Tune in to hear our predictions for the June 30 Primary Election in Colorado.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedyclick here.

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

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

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 26)

Don’t look now, but we’re rounding the bend of June and rolling into July already. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*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

 

***If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, don’t put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location near you.*** 

 

It might still be the first wave. Maybe it’s a second wave. The number doesn’t really matter, because the important part is that the COVID-19 is still growing in the United States with 40,000 new cases being reported. Texas is seeing a huge spike in coronavirus cases, as is Arizona — two Republican-led states in the southwest that were too anxious to reopen without making sure it was safe to do so.

The Washington Post explains how Arizona lost control of the pandemic:

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is recording as many as 2,000 cases a day, “eclipsing the New York City boroughs even on their worst days,” warned a Wednesday brief by disease trackers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which observed, “Arizona has lost control of the epidemic.”

But physicians, public health experts, advocates and local officials say the crisis was predictable in Arizona, where local ordinances requiring masks were forbidden until Gov. Doug Ducey (R) reversed course last week. State leaders did not take the necessary precautions or model safe behavior, these observers maintain, even in the face of compelling evidence and repeated pleas from authoritative voices.

“We have failed on so many levels,” said Dana Marie Kennedy, the Arizona director of AARP, who said her organization has yet to receive a response to four letters outlining concerns to the governor. She is working on a fifth.

Neither the governor’s office nor the state health department responded to requests for comment.

Florida — another Republican-led state — is slowing down its reopening process because of a surge in cases; on Friday, Florida reported nearly 9,000 new cases (the state’s previous daily high was 5,500).

Colorado has also seen an uptick in coronavirus cases, but not nearly to the extend of neighboring states. Within Colorado, El Paso County is one of the worst-hit areas; it’s not a coincidence that El Paso is a solid-red Republican county.

At the White House today, Vice President Mike Pence will provide a media briefing on the nation’s coronavirus response…the first such briefing IN TWO MONTHS.

President Trump, meanwhile, is apparently watching an entirely different movie than everyone else:

 

President Trump is hemhoraging support. As a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds, Trump’s disapproval ratings have reached an all-time high:

Trump’s approval rating sits at just 40% overall, while a record 58% disapprove.

What’s more, a whopping 49% of voters “strongly disapprove” of the job Trump is doing. That kind of intensity of disapproval is a record never before seen for this president or any past one. [Pols emphasis]

So much winning! The #1 most disliked President ever!

 

Sticking with the subject of political polling, 9News released new data on Thursday showing that the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination is pretty much over. According to data from SurveyUSA, former Gov. John Hickenlooper is a 2-to-1 favorite over former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff ahead of Tuesday’s Primary Election.

 

Hickenlooper is probably not going to beat Romanoff by 30 points, but as the saying goes, you can tell the “fat lady” to start warming up.

 

Political suicide. On Thursday the Trump administration announced another boneheaded decision that one Republican consultant called “pretty dumb” earlier this week. As The Washington Post reports:

The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that “the entire ACA must fall.” The administration’s argument comes as hundreds of thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the brief by saying there is “no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.” Dismantling the ACA would leave more than 23 million people without healthcare plans, according to a recent analysis by the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi, who on Wednesday filed a bill to expand the ACA, said in a statement.

Again, the Trump administration is making a big show of trying to take away health insurance for millions of people in the midst of an historic global pandemic that is pummeling the United States. Is Trump trying to lose in 2020?

This is also bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who has repeatedly voiced support for destroying the ACA through the courts.

 

If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Shady Staiert Reacts Poorly to Ethics Questions

Suzanne Staiert (left) and “Facepalm”

Earlier this week we wrote about Republican State Senate candidate Suzanne Staiert, who is facing ethics questions of her own after making headlines as the lead attorney for a GOP-aligned “watchdog” group attacking former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Our post on Monday referenced a story written by Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman — a story that so incensed Staiert that she was moved to demand space in the same publication to a) repeat the allegations against her, b) attack Goodland, and c) make some idiotic attempts at defending her actions.

Staiert’s response rant is really quite something, but before we dig into that, we’ll remind you of the background story here.

Staiert is the Republican candidate in a key swing district, SD-27 in Arapahoe County. She is also the attorney for  Frank McNulty’s “Public Trust Institute,” which spent the better part of the last two years tossing around 97 different complaints about Hickenlooper. She is also the attorney for an abortion ban initiative that will be on the Colorado ballot in November. Needless to say, Staiert is juggling a lot of different jobs at the moment, and they have recently intersected in a complicated manner.

As Goodland wrote on Monday for “Colorado Politics,” Staiert has some questionable connections to Independent Ethics Commission member Debra Johnson and is also facing a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s (SOS) office over an inaccurately-filed personal financial disclosure document required of legislative candidates. As a former Deputy Secretary of State under Republicans Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams, Staiert should be intimately familiar with Colorado election and campaign finance laws, which makes her ethics allegations all the more confounding.

Now that you’re caught up, let’s get back to Staiert’s “In Response” rant. If you are going to clap back at a media outlet for reporting on a story, you damn well had better have your ducks in a row. Staiert…does not.

Without any evidence, Staiert blames Hickenlooper’s campaign for initiating a complaint with the SOS office related to her State Senate candidate filings:

It started with a campaign finance complaint about my personal financial disclosures. That’s a filing anyone running for office must make with the secretary of state. I’m running for a state Senate seat, and I filed mine in August of last year. The law allows two kinds of filings. One is a form that discloses only sources of income and obligations. The other is a tax return that discloses that and a lot more. After having lived through years of the tax return wars where candidates were hounded for this information, I decided to offer mine up. You’d think I’d be credited for being transparent. Nope.

Here’s the problem with this argument: The spirit of the Public Financial Disclosure (PFD) law is to disclose — upfront — the sources of your personal income so that voters can be aware of any potential conflicts of interest. As far as we can tell from the SOS database, Staiert is literally the only 2020 candidate to file a tax return instead of a PFD. Submitting a tax return shows your income from the previous year — NOT any current sources of income — which is quite obviously not the point of a PFD requirement.

Suzanne Staiert

Not a good idea

Staiert apparently did file an official PFD on May 24…but it does not disclose any information about the Public Trust Institute. Multiple news reports have reported that Staiert is the lead attorney for PTI, so perhaps Staiert would have us believe that this is just a very time-consuming volunteer project on her part. But as Staiert writes later in her “In Response” Op-Ed:

I filed a response to the complaint and I also filed the disclosure form; so now I’ve filed twice. I have nothing to hide.

This might be perfectly true…if you consider repeatedly failing to disclose your primary source of income as the definition of “nothing to hide.” This is an important point to remember: In two separate filings, Staiert has yet to even acknowledge the “Public Trust Institute.”

From here, Staiert decides to blame the reporter — Goodland — for not seeking out information that did not exist, or something:

The problem with reporters who develop a narrative before they start writing is that the facts get in the way. That’s what happened in a recent Colorado Politics story about this non-event, so the facts had to be sacrificed (“Ethics problems once again plague Independent Ethics Commission,” June 22). Reading the story you’d think I’d never filed a single disclosure, let alone two, and you would be led to believe that filing this form was of the utmost importance because it would show my income. None of this is true. I disclosed everything in August and the second form I filed doesn’t even show my income. I am left to conclude the reporter did not review a single public document firsthand. [Pols emphasis]

This argument is patently ridiculous. If Staiert did “disclose everything” in August 2019, then why in the hell would she file an additional PFD in May 2020? (HINT: She wouldn’t)

Regarding allegations that Staiert failed to disclose a personal relationship with an IEC member (Johnson), here’s what Goodland wrote on Monday:

The relationship, which was not disclosed during the Hickenlooper hearings, involves how Johnson was named to the board and that she contributed to Staiert’s campaign for state Senate.

Staiert’s response is to acknowledge recommending Johnson for the IEC and admitting “I’ve worked for her and we crossed paths in Aurora years ago.” Staiert worked with Johnson for at least three years at the City of Aurora, when she was a city attorney and Johnson was the city clerk. More recently, Staiert worked under Johnson when the latter was the Denver Clerk and Recorder. Johnson also donated to Staiert’s State Senate campaign soon after Staiert filed as a candidate, which Staiert does acknowledge in an off-hand manner. It is disingenuous at best for Staiert to claim that she “crossed paths” with Johnson; this is sort of like saying that you’ve had “interactions” with your spouse from time to time.

As a general rule, it’s a terrible idea to respond to negative allegations about you or your campaign with a 944-word public screed repeating said allegations, but this would at least make some sense if Staiert was actually able to refute the charges. If you don’t have a good explanation for your actions, nobody is going to care when you say that a reporter and a U.S. Senate candidate are being mean to you.

We’ll be sure to publish Staiert’s inane response to this post as soon as we receive it.

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The GOP’s Latest Shady Senate Candidate

Suzanne Staiert, left, and IEC member Debra Johnson

The 2020 election keeps looking worse for Colorado Republicans.

Republicans need a net gain of at least two seats in 2020 to take control of the State Senate, but before they can even think about a Senate majority, they absolutely must defend GOP-held seats in SD-8 (Carbondale-ish), SD-25 (Adams County), and SD-27 (Arapahoe County). Republicans have Sen. Bob Rankin in SD-8 (assuming he survives a Primary challenge) and Sen. Kevin Priola in SD-25, but they don’t have a well-known incumbent in SD-27, where incumbent Sen. Jack Tate declined to seek a second term following sexual harassment allegations.

The Republican candidate in SD-27 is Suzanne Staiert, whose name you may recognize as the attacking attorney for the “Public Trust Institute” regarding ethics complaints levied against former Gov. John Hickenlooper. As Marianne Goodland writes today for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Staiert is, shall we say, ethically challenged:

Colorado Politics has learned of a long-standing relationship between Suzanne Staiert, the attorney who represented the Public Trust Institute, and Independent Ethics Commissioner Deborah Johnson, who ruled in favor of complaints lodged by Staiert’s employer against former Gov. John Hickenlooper earlier this month.

The relationship, which was not disclosed during the Hickenlooper hearings, involves how Johnson was named to the board and that she contributed to Staiert’s campaign for state Senate…

…Neither Staiert nor Johnson have disclosed their relationship or the campaign contribution in any ethics commission meeting dealing with the Hickenlooper complaint, nor in the hearings on June 4 and 5.

As Goodland reports, Staiert was actually one of the people who recommended that Johnson be appointed to Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) last spring. It is pretty damning that neither Staiert nor Johnson divulged this conflict of interest at any point in the last 18 months of discussions about Hickenlooper’s ethics charges.

But this isn’t Staiert’s only moral lapse, as Goodland continues:

Staiert also is currently under a campaign finance complaint for failing to fully disclose her personal financial information in the run for Senate District 27.

Candidates are required to file that information with their candidacy. Staiert claims she filed the updated information but TRACER, the secretary of state’s campaign finance database, has not updated that information. The deadline for “curing” her information was June 4.

Staiert said she filed the correct information, but not as a cure. She is challenging the complaint because the Secretary of State’s office is applying the same rules to a candidate that it applies to an incumbent. “My finances aren’t complicated,” she told Colorado Politics. 

What those disclosures would be expected to show is how much she was paid in 2019 as executive director of the Public Trust Institute as well as how much she made working for Johnson. [Pols emphasis]

Suzanne Staiert is also the attorney for the “Due Date Too Late” abortion ban initiative.

If it is true that Staiert’s finances “aren’t complicated,” then it shouldn’t have been that hard to properly disclose that information as a State Senate candidate, right? This isn’t a particularly complex argument. Staiert also can’t really claim ignorance here; she served as Deputy Secretary of State under Republicans Scott Gessler and Wayne Williams.

When she’s not being asked to comment about Hickenlooper, Staiert has always been vague about her job with Frank McNulty’s “Public Trust Institute.” The Colorado Times-Recorder tried asking Staiert about her work with PTI in a story published in April:

Reached by phone via a contact number from a PTI press release, Staiert declined to comment, saying only that she isn’t the spokesperson for PTI before hanging up.

Staiert doesn’t speak for PTI, but she answers the phone number listed on the PTI press release? Makes sense.

Staiert’s ethics problems complicate an already difficult challenge for Republicans in SD-27. As Republican polling outfit Magellan Strategies explained in April, voter registration data doesn’t favor the GOP:

…if the 2018 Democratic victories are indeed the new normal, with less split-ticket voting and Republican voters only making up one-third of all votes cast (and in reality higher turnout due to the presidential election probably means it will be even lower), it will be challenging for Republicans to hold this seat.

Staiert will face Democrat Chris Kolker in the General Election.

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The GMS Podcast: Rep. Chris Kennedy Gets More Smarter

Assistant House Majority Leader Chris Kennedy (D-Lakewood)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii marvel anew at the ever-sinking poll numbers for President Trump; discuss the state of the debates in the U.S. Senate Primary between Democrats Andrew Romanoff and John Hickenlooper; and have a good laugh at an absurdly-bad new television ad from our second favorite U.S. Senator from Colorado, Cory Gardner.

But first, we wrap up the very weird Colorado legislative session that finally adjourned this week with State Rep. Chris Kennedy, the Assistant Majority Leader in the State House of Representatives. Warm up those brains and find out what happens next with several big policy ideas that were shelved because of the coronavirus outbreak and related budget troubles.

If you missed last week’s episode featuring polling guru Andrew Baumann, click here.

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

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