Hickenlooper Wins Southeast Colorado

Miles of hinterland come off the table, and many sympathizers–reports the Pueblo Chieftain:

Hickenlooper, who owns a lot of property in Denver, said he was behind the ranchers in defending their property rights.

“In the end, it’s your property. So as far as I am concerned, I will come down every time on the side of the ranchers,” Hickenlooper said.

“The reality is that what happens here sets a pattern for the whole state right?”

Hickenlooper is running against Republican Scott McInnis, who supports the military’s position on site expansion…

Hickenlooper said he’s not anti-military and knows that the landowners are not either.

The Army has told ranchers and lawmakers that it would only obtain land from those who want to sell it.

But landowners on Sunday continued to stress the distrust they have with Army officials behind the proposed expansion.

All landowners in attendance said the Army promised in the early 1980s that no eminent domain would be used to expand the site but later changed their minds.

It’s our view that GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis made a calculated gamble, coming out early and stridently on the side of the military in the long-running battle over the expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. At the time, McInnis was facing a serious primary challenge in the form of Josh Penry, and the military-friendly vote in El Paso County represented a potentially decisive constituency to win over.

It was a mistake–now that McInnis isn’t dueling with Penry for the state’s largest stronghold of conservative voters, his support for the Army over private landholders in southeast Colorado runs counter to fundamental property rights values that, for many conservatives, matter much more than genuflecting to the brass in Colorado Springs. Pinon Canyon is an issue that does not divide cleanly along partisan lines, and leaves McInnis in the stark minority.

Do we even need to mention that’s a bad place to be when running for office?


53 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Barron X says:


    even I would side with the Devil.

    Alas, you’ve been misled.  

    The Army doesn’t need eminent domain.  They can get what they want from willing sellers, as long as they are willing to pay a fair price.

    The problem the Army is having is that the state government is throwing up unnecessary obstacles to placate folks who would also be willing to sell out, if only they could force the Army to pay well above what their land is worth.  


    • Ellie says:

      there was a rancher last winter that was negotiating for a sale (sorry I don’t have a link on this one) and he said basically the same thing.  If I get a minute later tonight I’ll go into the Chieftain and search archive.

      McInnis by the way has been against using eminent domain from the get go.  

  2. Barron X says:


    with about 250,000 people, Pueblo was the biggest city between the Mississippi and the West Coast.  Steel City.  Lots of immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe.  Astride the principal rail route connecting the two coasts.

    Folks would ride the train North to Fountain for the day to gaze at Pikes Peak.  The world’s worst train disaster (at the time) took place at Eden, 4 miles North of town; something like 129 people killed in 1904.  

    75 years ago, before Vegas, it was a Mafia playground.

    But today, you’d think that the main thing happening in Pueblo is jealousy of Colorado Springs, based on the Chieftain’s editorial page.  


  3. WashParkPoet says:

    this is just another article aimed to inaccurately portray McInnis.  More so, this is an article driven with an “certain” agenda.

    • Ellie says:

      they have a number of writers under this umbrella.  However, I’ve learned over a period of months they are a one trick pony when it comes to the governors race. It’s thumbs down on McInnis.  For the few of us that support Scott and participate it is what it is and we can only point out the inaccuracies when we catch them.  

      • Colorado PolsColorado Pols says:

        We’ve said the same thing about any candidate running for statewide office recently. Defending against Army expansion is really a no-brainer if you want to get votes in that part of the state.

        • redstateblues says:

          Praising Penry (strategically at least) for taking the opposite position when he was still running for Governor.

        • Ellie says:

          But what I would have suggested I wouldn’t post on Polls.  It’s an old school thing.  I worked on the staffs of two Govs. and you made your point (or argued) but in the end it was the Govs. decision. You walked out the door as one voice.

          I feel the same way about Scott.  If we disagree I will tell him or one of his people and that’s where it stays. (And yes we have disagreed in the past.)

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        Sometimes the Pols post is a thumbs up on Hick.

        • redstateblues says:

          But let’s be realistic here. It’s not like McInnis hasn’t given them enough ammo. When it comes to Pols, people seem to love shooting the messenger. More than with most blogs. McInnis has waged a terrible campaign, and Pols gets crap for reminding people about that fact.

          • Ellie says:

            You haven’t been following his schedule as closely as I do on a daily basis in the local papers.  He and Lori are tireless campaigning all over Colorado.  The other day he campaigned in a cold wet rain in a Parker parade.  You can go to his website http://www.scottmcinnisforgove… and take a look at the gallery of pictures.

            • redstateblues says:

              I’m just saying that, by the standards set up by political junkies and people who make a living in politics, McInnis’ campaign hasn’t been what it should. I’m not alone in thinking this.

              At any rate, it’s all opinion, what I’m trying to get at was that David is suggesting that they don’t call em like they see em, but rather they call em for the Democrats and the Democrats only.

            • OneEyedOwl says:

              Although he didn’t really accomplish a lot in Congress (IMHO), McInnis came back to the district almost every weekend and could be found in a different part of the district each time. Constituents usually love it when the congressman visits, and the local press almost always covered his visits in a positive light.

              Love him or hate him, you have to agree that McInnis made one heck of an impression on residents in his district merely through his tireless travel schedule. His work paid off in votes when he was up for re-election, and his appearance schedule in the governor’s race will put pressure on Hickenlooper to keep pace. TV commercials from Denver won’t win it.

            • Ralphie says:

              McInnis is a tireless campaigner.

              And you like him.

              That doesn’t change the fact that he would be just as shitty a Governor as he was a Congressman.  Which was really shitty.

              • redstateblues says:

                But there’s a lot more to campaigning than pressing the flesh. If the workings of his campaign are any indication, then he would make, as you say, a shitty Governor. I find it hard to believe that someone could run a bad campaign, but then turn around and do well in something that is infinitely more difficult than running a campaign.

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        at the Republican State Assembly.  Too much one trick coverage for those die hard conservatives.

        Here this should cheer you up Ellie.  Someone who thinks like you.  Just substitute Pols for Britney.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      what part is incorrect?

      Is it his open support since May 2009 of selling ranchers land to the Army? Did the Pueblo Chieftain get it wrong?

      Former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis jumped into the fight over expanding the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site this week, sending a letter to Gov. Bill Ritter urging him to veto legislation that would stop the Army from buying any Colorado State Board land around the 238,000-acre training range.

      Specifically, how is he or his position being inaccurately portrayed?  

      • Barron X says:


        what yer quoting concerns Section 16 land.  No connection to privately held land.


        • Gilpin Guy says:

          the continual drain on our economy from funding a Cold War military going to reduce our deficit which is all the rage among mercenary hating ex-government lifers?

          Congress has just recommended a trillion dollar reduction in the military over the next decade.  Why should we pay for more pork for military purchases that have little to do with finding suitcase nukes?

          McInnis has his panties in a wad over selling more land to the military but considers himself a deficit hawk.  What bizarre and irreconcilable beliefs.

          I guess it is security to the brave conservatives in Welfare City to purchase more land nearby to keep their precious welfare situation going.

          • Barron X says:


            Right now, we are expending about 30 lives of American soldiers per month so that Stan McChrystal can learn the fundamentals of IDAD.  This is stuff I learned at Camp Mackall 30 years ago in the Green Berets, because I was able to learn from Vietnam vets who had learned on the battlefield.

            But Bush threw out all the top Generals who understood warfare, or human nature, in favor of Generals who would tell him how brilliant he was.  And Obama is afraid to even talk back to Bush’s Generals, for fear of being branded “anti-military.”

            So we send soldiers to Afghanistan to walk around and get shot at, because there is no understanding of the nature of the conflict we’re in.

            There currently is NO Army training area where units can be dispersed and deployed like they are in A’stan.  So soldiers get their first exposure to the circumstances in country after they get there.  


            I know from your history that you are not interested in honest debate, GG.  You only come here to hate.  

            But in case other participants in this community have forgotten your track record, and think you are a serious person to be taken seriously, I refute your points.  

            The Army needs to train soldiers.  More importantly, they need to train leaders and senior commanders.  Right now, in the field, we are saddled with incompetent political generals.  For the last 6 years Bush’s Generals have been telling us that “VICTORY” is at hand, if we will just extend our commitment one more Friedman Unit.  

            How many times has the WaPo or NYT reported how brilliant David Petraeus is ?  And yet he is still not giving competent advice to the President.  

            Is he intentionally withholding good advice, or is he unable to give good advice ?  I know the answer to that already.  

            We are waging a brutal occupation against a fiercely independent population, in the Information Age.  This is pretty basic stuff.  

            If the next field commander gets the chance to train at an expanded training area in Southeast Colorado, and figure out that “you can’t get there from here,” then confiscating that entire territory would be worth preserving the Republic, IMHO.  

            We are imitating the former Soviet Union with our efforts in Afghanistan to destroy the USA as a functioning nation.

            One senior competent General might put a stop to that.  Part of the price of getting that one competent General is acquiring the land so that he can be properly trained.


            • Gilpin Guy says:

              but it is difficult to interpret your garble when you are communicating from inside your rectum.

              It is amazing me how a no new taxes kind of guy like you wants spend more taxpayer dollars to pay for more equipment for wars that your politicians created to get revenge for daddy.  The US spends more on defense than the next 20 countries combined and yet that isn’t enough for you.  My God man how much taxpayer money do we need to spend to make you feel safe?

  4. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    To begin with, if there is any legitimate use of eminent domain, it is first and foremost for national defense.  Period, no contest.

      But saying they won’t use it here is misleading because many of the landholdings in this area are checkerboarded among public lands.

      You might own a section and lease three more sections of public land.  The government might revoke your leases and then offer to buy your private section.  Since on land of such poor quality, you couldn’t run a viable operation on one section, you’d have little choice but to sell.

      On the one hand, there is no constitutional right to lease public land indefinitely.  But the reality of this area is much more complex than the public domain debate makes it seen.  I have kinfolk down there and we bought a detailed map of the region, including the Comanche national grasslands, and it clearly details this checkerboard.

      For real insight into this debate, read “The Worst Hard Time” by Timothy Egan.  Only when you understand trhat this area was the epicenter of the dust bowl of the 30s will you understand the emotion here.  The sections on Baca County will break your heart.


    • Barron X says:


      While the adjacent landowners have no prior “right” to continue to lease that public land in perpetuity, their stewardship over several generations gives them a connection to the land that deserves our respect.


  5. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Here’s a link to Bob Ewegen’s Article in the Blackacre Journal, now published by the Mile High Law Office.


  6. calicoloradan says:

    This issue seems to be quintessentially Coloradan…

    Expanding Fort Carson would be a great boost to the southern Colorado economy. On the other hand, by eliminating ranches, it would betray Colorado’s identity as a “Western” state.

    If I were a politician, I would side with the ranchers. It looks better.

    • Ralphie says:

      You managed to oversimplify this issue beyond recognition.

      The ranchers are not uniformly in support or opposition to this, although I would say most are opposed.  Those who are opposed see the expansion as a threat to their way of life, and are afraid that the government will step in and use eminent domain and throw them off their property.

      Those who are in support see expansion as a way to sell their land, possibly at a premium price.  As I was told once when I served on a land use committee, “Most farmers and ranchers don’t have a retirement plan.  All we have is our land.”

      It’s a complex issue.

      • SouthDem says:

        The voters in Southeast Colorado are firmly and strongly opposed to any expansion.  Whether you’re a Dem or a Repub, you oppose expansion, and you see that as a MAJOR issue when voting — trumping traditional issues like abortion, party ID, and education / jobs.

        The point of this post was not to debate the various points of expansion; the point of this post was that this single policy difference between the two candidates for Governor means that a majority of voters in these SE counties, small as they may be, are now MUCH more likely to vote for John Hickenlooper than for Scott McInnis.  Period.

        Whether McInnis or Hickenlooper are “right” is no longer relevant.  Hick’s position on this, combined with McInnis’ position on this, means that Hick now will likely win Otero, Bent, Las Animas, Huerfano, Baca, and maybe even Prowers counties.  Las Animas and Huerfano were already in the bag for any Dem, but the others were at least competitive if not solidly Republican before this.

        • Ralphie says:

          admonition to “side with the ranchers.”

          Unless “the ranchers” are in unanimous agreement, that’s kind of hard to do.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          that southern Colorado would tilt towards Hickenlooper over this one issue.  The social issues of abortion and guns still holds a tremendous influence so it would be premature to think that this single issue will sway voters.

          What it does do is frustrate Republican attempts to frame Hickenlooper as a snobby Denverite who has never ventured into rural Colorado.  It will be harder for Republicans to paint him as out of touch when it is Scotty who is pimping the military/industrial complex and making taxpayers pay exorbitant bribes for rancher land.  Hickenlooper doesn’t necessarily gain votes but Republicans don’t gain any ground in their attempts to frame him as anti-rural.

          • SouthDem says:

            … then you’ve never really spent a lot of time in La Junta, or Rocky Ford, or Las Animas, or Trinidad over the past five years.  It is the first question nearly every voter asks a politician:  where do you stand on Pinon Canyon?

  7. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    WATER! It is an absolute human and economic necessity. WATER! You and I cannot live without it. Colorado’s economy and people absolutely depend on water.

    Man, that is literary gold.

    • The realistThe realist says:

      Actually, I wish I had been paid at the “McInnis” rate to write that line.  I’m gonna work on my water articles – let’s see. . .

      Water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 (Fahrenheit – but it’s different above sea level, i.e. anywhere in Colorado).  Be sure you drink your water from a BPA-free water bottle.  Water flows uphill toward money . . . or is it money flows uphill toward water . . . or maybe they both flow uphill, and it’s all downhill from here.

      Okay, I’m gonna work on it . . .

      • RedGreenRedGreen says:

        DIRT! It’s what we walk on every day. DIRT! If we didn’t have it to walk on, we’d fall into empty space and die. Our economy and our very way of life depends on dirt. Plus we grow things in it.

  8. COSkier07 says:

    help drive our state’s economy?  I guess it sucks for those people that may have to move, but they are getting paid, and so is our state.

  9. WashParkPoet says:

    I hope people are still reading this, but I found an interesting blog expressing confusion towards Hickenlooper’s point of view on this issue:


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