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► If you still have a Primary Election ballot at home, DO NOT put it in the mail! Go to GoVoteColorado.com to find a ballot drop off location and make sure to return your ballot BEFORE 7:00pm. If your ballot isn’t in a drop box by 7:00, it’s not going to be counted.
As Blair Miller reports for Denver7, ballot returns are expected to greatly exceed the total voter turnout from the 2018 Primary Election.
► Democrat Amy McGrath appears to have defeated Charles Booker in last week’s hotly-contested U.S. Senate Primary in Kentucky. The Associated Press called the race for McGrath after nearly a week of ballot counting; McGrath will challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.
POLITICO takes a separate look at Colorado’s U.S. Senate Primary Election and concludes that former Gov. John Hickenlooper appears to be a good bet to hold off a challenge from former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Booker’s loss in Kentucky is another ominous sign for Romanoff, since both candidates tried to position themselves as the most progressive candidate on the ballot:
A handful of national progressive organizations, including the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, backed Romanoff down the stretch, and Our Revolution, which launched out of Sanders’ first presidential run, also endorsed him. But many of the groups who jumped into Kentucky stayed on the sidelines in Colorado.
If you’re looking for hints as to the outcome in today’s big Senate battle, take a look at what Colorado Pols readers think will happen.
► Colorado isn’t the only Western state holding a Primary Election today. Voters are also casting ballots — though mostly by mail — in Utah, where the top-ticket race is a battle for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. As POLITICO reports, former Gov. Jon Huntsman is in real danger of losing a GOP Primary to Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox:
Huntsman’s willingness to serve in both Democratic and Republican administrations — as well as his reputation for moderation that includes his role as a co-chair of the bipartisan group No Labels — is testing Utah Republicans’ tolerance for the kind of technocratic governance he represents.
“This race is kind of Huntsman versus Huntsman,” said Doug Foxley, a political strategist and senior adviser to the Huntsman campaign. “Some of these people have feelings about Jon — and they’re either voting for him, or they’re voting against him.”
Recent polls show the primary as a near-tie between Huntsman and Cox. Also on the ballot are two well-known state Republicans — former state House Speaker Greg Hughes and former state GOP chairman Thomas Wright — who have ranked behind the two frontrunners.
Voters are also going to the polls in Oklahoma today, as POLITICO notes, but the overarching story of the day might be the spotlight on mail balloting in Colorado and Utah.
► President Trump has repeatedly claimed that he was not briefed about intelligence concerns that Russia had issued “bounties” for the deaths of American soldiers in Afghanistan. But as The New York Times reports, that position may not hold for much longer:
American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said.
The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.
The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious.
But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically.
It is well known that Trump does not normally bother reading his daily intelligence briefin
► Does Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) have a breaking point when it comes to President Trump? We asked that question last year, and we asked it again on Monday. The answer is the same.
If you’re looking for political news that isn’t about Coronavirus, it’s available right after the jump…
Now Only Partially Coronavirus-Related…
► As Dana Milbank writes for The Washington Post, the latest excuses from the White House about President Trump’s actions (or lack thereof) are beyond absurd:
If things weren’t already bad enough for President Trump — economic collapse, botched pandemic response, mass unrest — U.S. intelligence believes Trump’s “friend” Vladimir Putin paid Taliban fighters bounties to kill U.S. troops.
But the White House is ready with a defense: The president has no earthly idea what’s going on…
…Previous presidents have claimed not to have been briefed about things they shouldn’t have known about, as when then-Vice President George H.W. Bush claimed he was “out of the loop” on the Iran-contra affair during the 1980s. But this is quite unusual: The White House insisting the president was out of the loop on something he should have known about. It’s as though Trump’s ignorance is a point of pride. [Pols emphasis]
► While protests about the death of Elijah McClain were making national headlines in Aurora over the weekend, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman was…riding around in a fire truck on unrelated calls. What?
As 9News reports, Coffman has called a special Aurora City Council meeting to address concerns about the behavior of Aurora police officers during last weekend’s protests.
Meanwhile, The Denver Post reports on the latest in the McClain investigation, which now appears to include potential photographic re-enactments of the night McClain was stopped:
Multiple Aurora police officers have been place on administrative leave pending an internal investigation into photographs of officers in connection to the death of Elijah McClain.
Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson released a statement at 10 p.m. Monday saying she was apprised Thursday afternoon of “allegations reported to Internal Affairs by an Aurora Police Officer alleging multiple Aurora Police officers were depicted in photographs near the site where Elijah McClain died.”
The questionable photographs were taken near the 1900 block of Billings Street in Aurora, where McClain was stopped on Aug. 24 and wrestled to the ground by three officers.
► Two of the supervisors involved in the chain of command when McClain died last August are competing to become Aurora’s next police chief.
► The Colorado Supreme Court ruled on Monday to uphold a 15-round magazine limit for firearms in Colorado. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) filed a lawsuit challenging the magazine-limit legislation, which passed in 2013 in the wake of the Aurora Theater Shooting.
► The United States Supreme Court issued a ruling today that will make supporters of school vouchers very happy. As The Washington Post reports:
A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday endorsed a Montana tax incentive program that indirectly helps private religious schools, a major victory for those who want to see more public funding of religious institutions.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for a conservative majority in the 5-to-4 ruling, said the Montana Supreme Court was wrong to strike down the program because of a provision in the state constitution that forbids public funds from going to religious institutions. The U.S. Constitution’s protection of religious freedom prevails, he said.
“A state need not subsidize private education,” Roberts wrote. “But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”
► The Denver City Council cancelled its regular Monday evening meeting because of concerns about COVID-19 transmission in a potentially-packed council chambers.
► CBS4 Denver previews two big Primary battles in Congressional District 3.
► There won’t be many Election-night watch parties tonight thanks to COVID-19. As State Sen. Jeff Bridges tells The Colorado Sun:
“Putting all of your strongest supporters who helped you win your election in the same room and hoping that they don’t get COVID is not a very good way to thank them for their work.”
► Governor Jared Polis signed into law legislation that will allow for bulk pardons of people convicted of low-level marijuana offenses in Colorado.
► Fishers Peak in Southern Colorado is our newest state park.
► Two county Republican parties in Colorado are promoting anti-mask wearing campaigns because they think it’s a worthy “discussion.”
► Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, warned Congress that the United States is well on its way to 100,000 daily COVID-19 infections. New cases of coronavirus have jumped 80% in the last two weeks alone. Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases are also rising, though not nearly at the same rate as in neighboring states such as Arizona.
Because the United States has so far failed to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union decided that U.S. citizens cannot visit Europe any time soon.
► The Cherry Creek School District announced its proposed plans for returning to school in the fall.
► Vox.com explains how President Trump is encouraging health insurance companies to sell you junk coverage plans.
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is increasingly blaming “the media” for paying attention to his ineptitude.
► Get ready for
Christmas in July a war on Christmas in July.
► Our condolences to Andrew Romanoff and his family on the loss of his father.
► Check out our Pre-Primary Prediction Palooza in the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast:
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V – a gentle reminder for all of us to send some $$ to Doug Jones:
(Beauregarde-trying-his-southern-best-(bless his heart)-to out-white-Tommy Tuberville edition)
Here's a clip from Elaina Plott's New York Times Magazine profile of Jeff Sessions. This snippet, making the rounds on twitter, is unforgivable. The former attorney general and U.S. Senator calls one of our foremost Black intellectuals a criminal, and she appears to LET IT GO. Only later, likely at the behest of an editor, does she call a spokesperson and get…nothing (the same reporter who takes Tucker Carlson at his word).
If only they hadn't called it a mandate. We know the liburty-lovin' crowd doesn't think the gummit should be picking winners and losers...
Goldman Sachs says a national mask mandate could slash infections and save economy from a 5% hit