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July 03, 2018 08:58 AM UTC

Walker Stapleton Just Makes Stuff Up, Again

  • by: Colorado Pols

WEDNESDAY UPDATE #2: Charles Ashby, along with Ernest Luning among the dwindling number of Colorado politics reporters with enough time served on this beat to recognize the problem, reports for the Grand Junction Sentinel:

Historically, governor candidates have made such announcements within a week of the primary, sometimes even before.

Lynn Bartels, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Wayne Williams, admitted that the law is vague, saying there is no way to prove such an appointment has actually been made if it’s not publicly announced…

The Colorado Democratic Party isn’t convinced Stapleton has actually named anyone, saying he’s in violation of the law.

“Either he forgot he needed to choose a running mate by (Tuesday’s) deadline and is lying to cover up yet another violation of law, or he thinks he plays by a different set of rules from everyone else, and feels entitled to hide his running mate from the public,” party spokesman Eric Walker said. [Pols emphasis]

And so another unforced error for Walker Stapleton goes into the record books. Or, nobody wants to be his running mate.

You can pick either, they’re just as good for the Democrats.


WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette sorts this strange story out:

The statute only requires making the pick, not announcing it to the world, Fortney said. Officials at the Secretary of State’s Office agreed, though they acknowledge that isn’t the way anyone has interpreted the law previously… [Pols emphasis]

Veteran GOP strategist Dick Wadhams, who managed the 1998 campaign for Owens — the last Republican elected governor by state voters — hasn’t sounded very impressed by Stapleton’s campaign so far, and Tuesday’s developments didn’t change his assessment.

“I think the law is confusing,” Wadhams told Colorado Politics. “But the bottom line is, he probably should have been in a position to make the selection and announce it today. Maybe he needed more time. But it does provide another few days of chaos for his campaign.”

“Chaos” is a word that increasingly sums up Walker Stapleton’s campaign, from the petition fraud that almost made him the next Jon Keyser to getting shredded by the fact-checkers and laughably pretending to be a “fourth-generation Coloradan.” For a campaign trying desperately to project an aura of inevitability, it’s been one stumble after another.

At some point, even the most loyal Republican talking heads will have to acknowledge this.


UPDATE: Something weird may be going on, gentle readers:

We did a little research on this question. Since 2000, when the law was changed to allow gubernatorial nominees to pick their own running mates, every single candidate has announced their pick within seven days. Bob Beauprez picked Jill Repella a week after the primary in 2014, and Janet Rowland a week after the primary in 2006. Even Dan Maes picked his unlucky dance partner Tambor Williams within a week. In fact, in 2014, the same Lynn Bartels who tells us now that candidates have 30 days appears to have reported in error:

Bob Beauprez, the Republican nominee for governor, must announce his running mate by midnight. [Pols emphasis]

The former congressman won the Republican primary one week ago, beating three rivals for the chance to square off against Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.

The law states: “No later than seven days after a primary election, the {major} party’s candidate for governor shall select a candidate for lieutenant governor.”

But now, apparently, with no statutory change whatsoever, that isn’t true anymore! That’s what this bolt from the blue clarification from the Secretary of State last night means, right? That this story from four years ago is in error, right?

If Walker Stapleton doesn’t announce his pick for lieutenant governor today, by the interpretation of the law as it’s been reported for many years he’s broken the law. Either way it’s unprecedented under current law. Rumors that Stapleton’s first choice for the position, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, turned Stapleton down make this apparently further delay look very much like the campaign is having trouble finding a running mate.

That’s, needless to say, very bad news for Walker Stapleton. And this “rushed announcement” business (see below) is preposterous enough to merit another round of incredulous bad press.


Walker Stapleton.

The response from Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton to yesterday’s announcement of Dianne Primavera as Jared Polis’ running mate is…well, it’s puzzling observers today on account of it not exactly making what you’d call logical sense:

“This rushed announcement [Pols emphasis] from Jared Polis can’t distract from the fact that Democrats are not united heading into the general election and remain divided over Polis’s plans to destroy Colorado’s energy industry and its 230,000 jobs, force Bernie Sanders-style single-payer healthcare on the state, and raise taxes on hardworking Coloradans,” said Stapleton for Colorado Campaign Manager Michael Fortney.

Here’s the thing: the announcement of Polis’ running mate was not “rushed” in, like, any conceivable way. Under Colorado law, the statutory deadline for this selection is seven days after the primary, which is today. In past years this was apparently much better understood, with the press reporting it uncontroversially:

The law states: “No later than seven days after a primary election, the {major} party’s candidate for governor shall select a candidate for lieutenant governor.”

Four years later, the collective memory of Republicans has apparently eroded to the point where they don’t even know the law regarding the selection of running mates! “Rushed” would have been last week, this week it’s complying with the law. It was our understanding that Michael Fortney was at least minimally competent, enough that he didn’t allow his candidates to make unforced asses of themselves on the campaign trail. But between Stapleton’s silly falsehoods in campaign ads that he refused to correct, his joke of a claim to be a “fourth-generation Coloradan,” and now this nonsensical response to Polis’ running mate pick, it’s a honest question whether Fortney can manage a political campaign out of a proverbial wet sack.

Also we can’t wait to meet theirs, and they’ll need to “rush” to meet that deadline.


52 thoughts on “Walker Stapleton Just Makes Stuff Up, Again

  1. Stumbleton must still be scrambling to find someone masochistic enough to be his running mate.

    Either that, or he plans to keep it a secret like his tax returns, his trust fund and his wife's income.

    1. Per Bartels, I guess you can ask within 7 days, but the (un)lucky object of desire doesn’t have to tell until 30 days.  Shhh!  Let’s keep it a secret!

      Just how many strikes is Whiffer Stumbleton allowed?

      1. Why doesn't he just pick up the damn phone, call Cynthia and pop the question…..

        OTOH, Vic Mitchell might be a good choice if for no reason other than the fact that he can self-finance their joint campaign.

        1. He's probably been dialing all morning, but when they see it's the Whiffer calling, they don't pick up.  I hear Scott Pruitt's wife is looking for a job.  Maybe she'll take it.

          Pruitt’s wife did eventually land a job ― with Dravis’ support ― at the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, which told the Post her salary was under six figures and that she worked only as an independent contractor until earlier this year. 

  2. "destroy the energy industry and its 230,000 jobs…"

    Get a grip, Wayne. The last time I checked, there were somewhere around 15,000 oil and gas industry jobs in Colorado. It actually fluctuates a bit, but as I recall there are already more jobs in clean, renewable energy than in producing the filthy crap the Oily Boys are selling. Surely he is not suggesting Congessman Polis is trying to hurt the renewables industry.

    You must be getting your story from Ray Scott, who continuously sells that same line of bullshit. 

  3. So, that's who Nutlid learned the art of grasping at straws from.

    BTW, are there any good pictures of Stumblegun anywhere? Asking for a friend.


  4. MamaJ has some great stats on those ‘hundreds of thousands’ of jobs in the energy sector.  I think that number even includes the part-time yoga instructor for the gas-station-attendant’s mother-in-law who is visiting from out-of-state. Does Stapler realize all the solar jobs in CO, and the Vestas jobs in Windsor, Brighton and Pueblo are ‘energy jobs’?  Or like Nutter, he doesn’t believe it’s ‘energy’ unless you find it under a rock?  

  5. The law requires ("shall be") a name be called within seven days (today).  There's no consequence listed if not.  There is, though, under the acceptance clause (nominee must accept within 30 days after the primary).  If the acceptance isn't filed timely, the position is treated as a vacancy under "part 10 of this article four."

    There, in the vacancy section (1-4-1011(2)), it says this, "Any vacancy in a nomination for the office of lieutenant governor must be filled by appointment by the vacating candidate's joint candidate for governor."  So, he can nominate one, or just appoint one, which is effectively the same.  Of course, he may look like an idiot, but that's objectively true, so– no harm, no foul.

    I think it’s reasonable that, without a nominee in seven days, there’s nobody to accept the nomination, so it falls to the vacancy process. The only question in my mind arises under the next subsection (3), which says "For the purposes of this section, a vacancy is caused by the declination, death, disqualification, or withdrawal of the candidate designated or nominated for governor or lieutenant governor." Since no candidate has been nominated, can subsection (2) be followed? I think, probably, yes, because the law doesn’t anticipate an idiot candidate bringing on an incompetent team. But, it’s worth a lawsuit to see 🙂

  6. You would think he might have had a couple of backup choices.  When I was in high school, I recall George McGovern desperately trying to rope someone into running for veep with him.

  7. Here's what the law says (1-4-502(3)(a)):

    (3)  For general elections:

    (a)  The nomination of a major political party for lieutenant governor shall be made by the party's candidate for governor. No later than seven days following the primary election, the party's candidate for governor shall select a candidate for lieutenant governor. Other nominations for the office of lieutenant governor may be made by petition for nomination of an unaffiliated candidate as provided in section 1-4-802 or by a minor political party as provided in section 1-4-1304 (2).

    The law doesn't say what "select" means.  We've always understood it to mean "publicly announce."  But, we've generally had competent candidates and/or competent campaign operations.  Is there a formal "selection" process laid out by the SoS?  If so, it would be nice to know what it is.  If not, "I selected him/her in my imagination" may, theoretically, meet the statutory requirements.  If I were the Democratic party, I'd sue Wednesday morning if a candidate isn't announced, so that we can all find out.

    Part of the problem here is that, while the law contemplates someone “having a think on it,” there’s no way to pick someone else if they say, “no,” once you’re past seven days. It would seem that there has to be some way to stop that from happening and someone later saying, “Oh, it was within seven days, sure.”

  8. I saw that Polis and Primavera would be campaigning together on the Western Slope. Meanwhile, KUSA/9NEWS reports "Walker Stapleton's campaign tells Next with Kyle Clark they offered someone the position Monday. That person has until 30 days after the primary, which is July 26, to accept the nomination."

    Perhaps there could be a clear "comparison" ad — Polis and Primavera campaign in a picture on the left, Dubya Stapleton and a blank avatar placed in the same positions for a picture on the right.

    Yep, that's what 8 years of experience as a public servant have taught Stapleton … little about the appearance of competence, little to nothing about following election law, little or nothing about the importance of showing up.

      1. Good talking to you Stapleton but I need to let loose a long fart and apply some skin cream on my red eye and rummage around in the fridge for a beer before thinking about this.  I'll get back to you around the 25th.

  9. Is Mrs Stapleton willing and available?

    TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Barnett didn't have to look to far from home to find his running mate.

    On Thursday, the former state senator from Emporia turned to his wife, Rosie Hansen, as his choice for Lt. Governor. Barnett explained he wanted to tap someone who met three qualifications:

    • To help him implement his #OneKansas agenda;
    • Help his administration improve the functioning of the state government, and;
    • Someone able to bridge the rural/urban divide.


    As Barnett tells it, he found people who met some of the criteria, but only a few met all three of them.

    "It became clear that the one person who was best qualified in all areas was also the person who had spent the past 22 months traveling 70,000 miles with me, Rosemary Hansen, my wife,” he said. —

    1. re: TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)

      OMG … hard to imagine a choice better able to antagonize Republicans and inspire Democrats and independents (to laughter, if not totally to push them to vote D)

  10. Col Pols got this wrong. In 2010, then-candidate Hickenlooper announced Joe Garcia as his running mate on 5 Aug 2010. Check it out. Just Google "Hickenlooper selects Joe Garcia running mate." No earlier public indication had been made.

    1. I think he thinks he is creating a "both sides do it" scenario without a thought to the fact that with the 'tubes', folks can check his 'facts'.

    1. Stapleton could go after the enthusiastic campaigner Darryl Glenn — energy, plus demonstrated willingness to go long distances on relatively low amounts of campaign money.

      1. Glenn would check a lot of boxes for Stapleton.

        x Enthusiastic campaigner

        x Good public speaker

        x That one black friend, who "doesn't see race"

        x Shorter than Stapleton, so makes him look tall

        x Christian evangelical

        x Native Coloradan, since Stapler's from back East by way of Cali

        x Knee jerk conservative on the issues, makes Staplegun look moderate

        X willing to ignore corruption when convenient (as County Commissioner, Glenn ignored numerous reports of Sheriff Maketa's corruption and sexual misconduct for years until the Gazette reported about it in 2014.

        And since Glenn just lost the CD5 primary to Kent Doug Lamborn, he needs a new job.

          1. I keep wondering about the "fourth generation Coloradan." I get that his great-grandfather was here — but generations 2 and 3 seem to have decamped. At least, I can't find mention in their bios of any Colorado activity.

            1. So, Benjamin Franklin Stapleton (the Klan mayor) appears to have been born in Kentucky, not Colorado, in 1869.

              Grandpa Ben Jr. (1919) was, I expect, born here, since it was so close to Ben Sr.'s run as mayor

              His father is Missouri-born.

              And Walker, of course, ain't from around these parts.  So, 1 generation out of 4? Do you get to count a generation for your carpetbagging great-grandpappy?

              1. If "Coloradan" is being born and educated here, Gen2 counts.

                If "Coloradan" is living and working here as an adult, Gen1 and Gen4 count — but 2 & 3 don't (to the best of my reading).

                1. I had this discussion with V about a month ago regarding my great-great grandfather who homesteader SW of Holyoke, coming here as a young man from Iowa (all subsequent generations have been born/lived/worked in CO). He says my G3 counts as G1 so Stapleton’s Kentucky-born G2 counts as first-generation, pointy hat and all.  

        1. 2 time loser should be a perfect fit for this team.  Glenn is used to it and will go out of his way to antagonize and radicalize the non-Republicans in the state.  Please, please, please make it Glenn Walker.

          1. yesyes Pols, make a poll for who we think Stumbleon/Staplegun/Stapleton will choose as his govlite-to-be. I think it has to be a woman and/or person of color to check those boxes for Stapler.

            I've already written why I think Darryl Glenn would be perfect.  Other possibilities:

            Some female prominent in the gas and oil industry

            A woman whose name is well known in Colorado GOP circles:

            Jill Repella (she's as conservative as Glenn, but smarter than Walker, so probably too smart to serve)

            BJ Nikkel…too nice?

            Laura Carno –  too pro-choice?

            Cynthia Coffman – too unpredictable? No, that wouldn't be a disqualifier for Wah-Wah. Too corrupt? Not really a problem.

            Michelle Malkin – too batshit crazy? Again, not a disqualifier.

            Kelly Maher (Compass Colorado) – same problem as Repella.


            1. BJ is a really wonderful person. We may rarely be on the same side of an argument, but they don’t come any better than her. 

              1. B.J. Nikkel would actually be a smart choice. Which is why he won't select her.

                CoughMan said mean things about Simpleton at the Assembly, so he won't pick her. Although it would get a rise out of Moderatus.  

                Is Malkin really a Colorado resident? Wow, we have bat shit crazy, wing nut royalty living among us.

                1. Malkin is pro-weed freedom so that’d present quite a conundrum for Nutter. The fact she’s an anchor baby would further add to his angst.  

                2. Nutter told me that Cynthia Coffman will be Wayne's pick.  Then they will get elected and Staplegun will go down via a scandal in the first 6 months making Cynthia Coffman Governor.

      1. Didn't he just propose on Monday, but is waiting (nervously) for the intended to accept?  Cold feet would be perfectly understandable, given his prospects.

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