Spin Control Fail: Penry’s Endorsement That Wasn’t

The first word Monday of gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry’s withdrawal from the GOP primary came, as you all know, from the Washington Post–not a local source. And the word from the Washington Post was unambiguous on a key point:

Colorado state Sen. Josh Penry (R) plans to end his gubernatorial campaign and endorse former Rep. Scott McInnis (R), [Pols emphasis] according to two sources familiar with his thinking.

It’s a funny thing about how the news of Penry’s withdrawal leaked. Penry claims it was a number of days premature, asserted that the news was leaked Monday before his meeting with opponent Scott McInnis had even concluded, but oddly blamed the leak on some anonymous “yahoo.” But you would think that “some yahoo” would have picked up the phone and called, say, Gary Harmon at the Grand Junction Sentinel or Jessica Fender at the Denver Post, wouldn’t you? Why would your first call with breaking gubernatorial race news be the Washington Post, of all places?

And as it turns out, this “yahoo” got a critical detail wrong in his leak–the part about Penry endorsing McInnis. As the Durango Herald reports today:

Josh Penry’s exit from the governor’s race did not happen the way his rival Scott McInnis had hoped.

Penry made it official Tuesday and dropped out of the Republican primary, but he refused to endorse McInnis.

Penry blamed “some yahoo” for leaking news of his withdrawal to the on Monday, before he was ready to go public. The Post story also said Penry would endorse McInnis, but Penry pointedly refused to take that step Tuesday afternoon when he released his public statement…

So what happened here, folks? Well, it’s pretty clear that the McInnis campaign was either the direct source of this leak to the Washington Post, or one degree of separation removed. Obviously, it was the McInnis campaign’s intention to get ahead of the story and spin it desirably–after all, wouldn’t you do the same thing?

Except for one small problem: they told a lie. And in the context of what looks like a coordinated effort by wealthy Republican insiders to force Penry, the base’s clear favorite, out of the race, this misinformation planted in the Washington Post makes McInnis look really, really bad. No responsible reporter should print anything he “leaks” in the future without verifying the hell out of it.

The biggest question remaining is whether or not the Republican rank-and-file is paying close enough attention to what’s happening to push back. In its way, this brutish clearing of the field for McInnis stinks much worse than anything done by insiders on behalf of Senate candidate “Puppet Jane” Norton–which, if you recall, was still enough to agitate the base into full-scale rebellion.

44 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. crazypoliticians says:

    A little ahead of ourselves? We don’t know who told the Washington Post and unless you absolutely know that then how can you accuse a campaign of something that they possibly didn’t do, you’re practically doing what the Post did. Maybe Penry was going to endorse him and he backed out at the last second. Maybe one of Penry’s people assumed he would endorse McInnis, maybe the writer assumed he would endorse McInnis, the list goes on and on but it’s unfair to say the campaign did it, unless you know for a fact that they did. Do you? Yes, it’s absolutely possible, it is politics after all but I think you’re being hypocritical by making it sound like you know for a fact that they did leak the story and accusing them of lying.  

    • Libertad says:

      answer: you and the 5-6 others yahoo’s that posted here.

      The focus should be on the circus scheduled proposed up at the capital/capitol yesterday.  The message I got was fuck k-12 and fuck private payrolls and job creation.  Its not shared pain, its a recipe for more job losses and lower tax receipts.

      These budget is another example of failed leadership, mistakes and bubbling administrative misques.

      I’m just waiting for more stories such as


      Denver to lose 200 Frontier jobs to Milwaukee

      Kudos to Union Boss Matthew Fazakas for calling out the political and business elite.

      Successes in the region

      Clark said Republic officials were focusing on costs and the cost of occupying buildings.

      “We put several options in front of them, but they all had a cost associated with them,” Clark said.

      “No matter how good a bargain is, free is free.”

      Clark said the region has had recent recruitment successes, adding, “You just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and say, ‘That sucks,’ and keep going.”

      Gov. Bill Ritter said in a release that the state and city offered a competitive package to keep as many jobs as possible.

      “While we respect Republic’s business decision, it’s still disappointing,” Ritter said. “But we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Frontier Airlines remains Colorado’s homegrown, low-fare airline and is helping to keep our economy strong.”

      Matthew Fazakas, president of Teamsters Local 961, which represents about 275 mechanics, was angered by what he called a failure of Colorado and Denver leaders to step up.

      “The jobs are gone,” Fazakas said. “The political leaders of this city and this state don’t care.”


      • Middle of the Road says:

        I think you missed the part of the article that didn’t support your lunatic ravings.

        “Can’t pay” their rent

        “I think we came up with $16 (million), $17 million (in incentives),” Hickenlooper said. “But we can’t pay the rent for them.” He said it would take $2.5 million to pay the annual bill for the hangar now used by Frontier for heavy maintenance.

        Included in the joint Colorado-Denver package were cash incentives, job-training incentives, forgiveness of some of Frontier’s property taxes owed to the city from the airline’s bankruptcy, and offsets for Denver’s 3.62 percent sales tax on parts brought in to repair aircraft.

        Republic chief executive Bryan Bedford said in an interview a month ago that Denver’s sales tax and software tax were “prohibitively high.”

        Hickenlooper also noted the city has to cut $160 million from its budget, including laying off 176 employees.

        Although the city wanted to keep the Frontier jobs, he said “there would be bloodshed in the streets” if the city suffered more cuts while simultaneously offering tax incentives to a business.

        “That’s a fair assessment on the part of the mayor,” said Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. “Every mayor and governor in the country is facing that as we try to lure new jobs to our cities.”

      • crazypoliticians says:

        I don’t like Ritter as much as the next person but since this thread is about Penry and McInnis, that would be what we’re talking about. Post a diary and have it promoted or post it on the open thread, then maybe you can have a showdown with someone else, on a thread that actually has to do with that.  

  2. Ralphie says:

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. Leonard Smalls says:

    It shows up in the DC media before anywhere else and then on top of that the McInnis releases an official statement on Penry getting out and talks to the press about it BEFORE Penry has a chance to. It seems pretty obvious who put it out there.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Penry had been planning to endorse McInnis and reversed course after that.

    • Fidel's dirt nap says:

      Anshutz et al to Josh: It’s not your turn, you need to bow out. We’re going to bury your ass if you don’t.

      Josh:  Scooter I’m thinking about bowing out

      Scooter and/or Anshutz, et al: Hey WAPO, guess what Josh is officially out, stop the presses.

      Josh: FU Scooter, that wasn’t for you to release to the media yet, and you sandbagged me.  I am not endorsing your sorry ass.

      crazypoliticians has a good point though, it is all conjecture.

  4. smellykat says:

    Penry will endorse McInnis.  It just has to happen.  

  5. Ralphie says:

    If there was a deal made (and the McInnis people swear up and down there was no deal, at least on their part) Penry might just be dragging his feet holding out for the quid pro quo.  

  6. Ellie says:

    Don’t be so damn desperate for Ritter to win you have to start resorting to calling Scott and his team liars,spin masters or whatever on the Washington Post story about Penry.  Penry has some close buddies in D.C.  That’s a fact.

    Any number of people from Utah to D.C. could have given that to the Post.  If and when Penry endorses Scott I’m sure it will be welcomed.  Meanwhile you do your interesting blog a disservice in writing this type of garbage.  

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      Are you so desperate for McInnis to win that you’re willing to ignore the facts right in front of your face?

      There, right back at ya.

    • Ralphie says:

      you know that he does nothing that isn’t orchestrated to achieve something specific.

      If you can speculate for me on what Josh stood to gain by leaking the story himself, or by having a supporter do it for him, I’d consider your theory.

      But after a lot of headscratching, I just don’t see what would be in it for Josh for it to have happened the way you describe.

      • Ellie says:

        Bartel’s has been leaking stuff on his movements since Penry was in the House and the W-Post didn’t just pull the ‘Rising Star’ out of it’s ear.  If this was one of those times when a eager-to-be insider wanted to leak it to the Post all I’m saying there is ample evidence that it could have come from someone in that particular campaign.  I believe the McInnis campaign was as caught by surprise as anyone no matter what Penry calls recent “back channel” conversations.  Hell the obvious gap in fund raising wasn’t back channel at all and you couple that with a legislative session where it would be damn difficult to raise money under CO law, I had bet on the outcome weeks ago.  Sure I’m for McInnis and totally unapologetic and God knows I have friends who don’t agree with me on the subject.  My beef is that a broad brush smear that it had to be the McInnis camp is totally out of place in this instance.

        • WesternSlopeThought says:

          if Mesa County Republicans are organizing a clandestine “Republicans for Ritter” movement.  They do not like shady deals made behind closed doors. And I bet they are especially pissed at the “Trailhead” remnants ousting their golden boy.  If McInnis was elected, Josh would be SOL for 8 years.  And too much can happen in that time span.  Whereas, if Governor Ritter was reelected, Penry would have a shot in 4 years.  

          And before anyone pooh-poohs the possibility, remember, it was the Mesa County Republicans who led the charge in defeating Republican extremist Shari Bjorklund.  Which resulted in the election of Bernie Buescher.  

        • Ralphie says:

          Your response pointed to nothing tangible that would have been in it for Josh or staff or friends to leak this story.

          On the other hand, I can think of a whole spectrum of reasons why McInnis staff might have an incentive to leak this, all the way from simple elation to getting the story in print before Josh changed his mind.

          In any political action, I tend to look for the rewards.  I see none for Josh in this story getting out early.

  7. One Queer Dude says:

       It makes sense that he would be promoting GOP party unity, even when it is premature, at best.

  8. BoulderRepublican says:

    We have two morons running for governor next year.  Two morons who lack integrity.  That’s the worst kind of candidate, and they’re our only choices.

    Next, please?

  9. crazypoliticians says:

    That Mike Ciletti is the one who tipped off the Washington Post. I hear for selfish reasons, i.e. wanted an “in” at the Post.  

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