The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby updates the Rep. Laura Bradford saga:
“I’m frustrated and disappointed in the speaker of the House when last Friday on the phone, when we were discussing this, he said, ‘You’re toast,'” Bradford said. “This isn’t about the last seven days. This has been going on for the past 15 months…”
Regardless of the department’s exoneration of Bradford, McNulty said there are other issues to discuss, such as Bradford’s driving after drinking, and her claim that she came from a legislative function at a downtown Denver bar…
Bradford said she is 95 percent certain she will leave the party. The last 5 percent she has to think about is whether she will become an independent or Democrat, [Pols emphasis] and whether she will resign before the end of her term. She is up for re-election for her third term this fall.
AP’s Ivan Moreno via the Durango Herald:
McNulty responded that, “It is quite possible that I said that if she’s not honest about what happened, and she doesn’t show remorse for what happened, that she would be toast.”
He said Bradford’s comments about possibly leaving the party are “unfortunate and unproductive.” He said the forming of an ethics committee shows “the seriousness of the allegations that have been put in play here.”
Bradford said she disagrees with having an ethics committee look at her actions – and potentially dole out punishment ranging from censure to expulsion – because the question of whether she abused her power has been settled. She said she’s deciding Friday whether to leave the GOP and switch to unaffiliated or Democrat, even though she’s been a lifelong Republican.
As of this morning, the consensus view from our sources is that Rep. Laura Bradford’s disaffiliation from the Republican Party is all but inevitable now. Most expect her to serve out her current term, but not to run for re-election due to the logistical hurdles imposed by changing affiliation so late–and of course the drama and still-unresolved questions about the past week complicating everything. It’s considered more likely that Rep. Bradford will go unaffiliated, though the possibility of her switching to the Democratic Party remains out there.
The thing to understand is that in either case, Bradford going unaffiliated or Democratic, it’s a very good bet that House Speaker Frank McNulty will not be Speaker when the dust settles. As we said yesterday, if Bradford switches to a Democrat, the majority simply flips. If she goes independent, you’ve got a 32-32-1 tie, and near-certainty of Bradford–or somebody else–calling an election for a new Speaker. And as you probably know, or if you didn’t know you could well be about to learn, McNulty is not universally loved within his caucus.
One possible scenario here is a House that remains in Republican hands, with Democratic help.
That’s all we should prudently say right now, we’ll update as events warrant (which they will).