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August 17, 2022 3:35 pm MST

GOP Makes Asses Of Selves Over Totally Innocuous PSA

  • by: Colorado Pols
Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D), former Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R) in a PSA against election misinformation.

Ernest Luning of the political blog formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on a new controversy involving Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold–or at least Republicans looking for anything in the way of traction in this sleeper downballot race would have you believe it’s a controversy, because by any objective non-election year hyperbolic standard, it’s not:

The Republican nominee for Colorado secretary of state on Tuesday called on the Democratic incumbent to stop airing TV ads aimed at combatting election misinformation, charging that the ad campaign is promoting Secretary of State Jena Griswold’s reelection bid.

The ads, which first ran online in June ahead of Colorado’s primary election, feature Griswold and the Republican she unseated four years ago, former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, urging viewers to “get the facts about election security” at a state-run website set up to debunk false claims about voting.

“One thing we both know is that Colorado’s elections are safe and secure,” says Williams after the two introduce themselves.

So, the first thing to understand about the ad above, which as you can see for yourself contains nothing you could plausibly call electioneering on behalf of Secretary of State Griswold, is that former Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams did not take part to boost Griswold’s campaign. Williams is on record having endorsed Griswold’s opponent Pam Anderson–but that’s irrelevant because this ad is not electioneering communications by any standard we can recognize. Williams co-starring in this public service announcement against election misinformation makes it even harder to claim what Republicans are claiming.

The solution? Apparently, it’s voting Wayne Williams off the GOP island:

Williams explains that his decision to appear in a $1 million taxpayer-funded television ad to promote Jena Griswold’s candidacy less than three months before the election is the equivalent to when Democrat Bernie Buescher co-wrote an op-ed with Williams in 2016.

Not only that, but Republicans should actually be thanking him for inspiring confidence in Colorado’s elections and increasing Republican turnout.

He’s being serious in this interview, folks. It isn’t a joke.

There is a joke here though, of course, and the joke is Wayne Williams. [Pols emphasis]

Wayne Williams and ex-deputy Suzanne Taheri in happier times.

Now folks, we don’t want anyone to be confused into thinking Wayne Williams is some kind of high-minded statesman when it comes to elections. Before winning office in 2014, Williams helped spread all kinds of nutty falsehoods about Colorado’s then-new vote by mail system, only becoming a defender of Colorado’s election system after taking charge of it and realizing that none of the Republican talking points were based in reality. Williams’ former deputy Secretary of State, Suzanne Taheri, is the GOP attorney whose dubious “ethics watchdog” group filed the weak-sauce complaint over this ad, which actually gave us some pause engaging this story–wondering if Williams was preparing to burn Griswold some way or get burned himself.

As of now, we’re pretty certain that Williams has been thrown under the bus.

Either way, the reason why Williams is defending appearing in this PSA with his former opponent against election misinformation is simple: there is absolutely nothing objectionable about its content. This is an ad that Pam Anderson should herself have been happy to help film instead of criticizing, assuming that as Anderson claims she is as dedicated to stamping out election misinformation as Secretary of State Griswold is.

But at the end of the day, it appears that Pam Anderson is more interested in winning an election than combating election misinformation.

If this was some kind of test, Pam Anderson is the one who failed.


18 thoughts on “GOP Makes Asses Of Selves Over Totally Innocuous PSA

  1. Wayne should have realized that the GQP/trump cult doesn't allow for any independent thought and that he must toe the fascist party line 24x7x365.

    I hope that after her second successful term as SoS Jena Griswold runs for governor.

  2. lol

    Hopefully there's a mechanism in place for monetarily sanctioning complainants and/or their lawyers for filing frivolous, groundless and/or vexatious campaign finance complaints.

  3. Sorry to hear this about Pam Anderson. I had hoped she would keep her head above such base partisanship.

    Just another reason why I wish the Secretary of State's office was a non partisan position. (I feel the same way about County Clerk)

    1. If Anderson had any common sense (she’s demonstrated that she doesn’t) she’d have insisted on being in on the ad. Complaining about it now just looks like sour grapes. I think it’s likely to come back and bite her in the butt.

    1. huh? "The ads, which first ran online in June ahead of Colorado’s primary election, feature Griswold and the Republican she unseated four years ago,"

      If Secretary of State Griswold had invited Pam Anderson to be in the PSA, there would have been complaints about "Democrats are interfering in the primary." If she invited all 3 Republican candidates to be in the PSA, maybe … but then it would have needed an entirely different script, with a "neutral" voice reading and the 4 candidates nodding along.

      Sorry … this is another instance showing that elections have consequences.  All of the elected officials can send non-electioneering announcements in advance, and I can't think of the last time I saw criticism of any of the Colorado Congressional delegation getting panned announcing something that is a part of their job. 

      It might be interesting to propose a new ad with ALL of the candidates for Secretary of State. The requests would need to go to the candidates of [in ballot order] the Republican Party, Democratic Party, Unity Party, Approval Voting Party, American Constitution Party, and Libertarian Party.

      [anybody know what happened to the Green Party?  I don't see a candidate of theirs for any of the offices on the Sec. of State's 2022 General Election Candidate Ballot Order.]


      1. [anybody know what happened to the Green Party? I don’t see a candidate of theirs for any of the offices on the Sec. of State’s 2022 General Election Candidate Ballot Order.]

        According to their website, apparently there was a thus-far successful attempt to take over (in their words: hijack) the Green Party by Andrea Merida (controversial former Denver School Board member). A complaint has been filed with the National Party and they seem to be sitting out this election while they sort it all out.

        Here is a link to the list of complaints filed with the federal Green Party: Go around the rest of the website and you get a more complete picture of the situation.

  4. Here's the thing: we do NOT need reassurances-we need a direct address to the vulnerabilities of Colorado's computerized tabulation. “Today, the main thing is still the same — tell what are the real vulnerabilities — but fight against conspiracy theories, misinformation, claims of hacks that didn’t happen, claims of weirdness that didn’t happen,” said Harri Hursti, the co-founder of the Voting Village and a pioneer election security researcher. The annual hacker's conference just ended-and election security is NOT progressing in working with hackers like other areas of security are.

    1. Colorado’s election system is the most secure and accessible in the country- which is why the right wing hates it so.

      There are multiple levels if nonpartisan audits as norms, and if a hacker somehow gained access to the tabulation machines in county clerk offices,there are always the hardcopy paper ballots to be recounted. So, no, we’re vulnerable only to bad actors like Tina Peters and other rogue election clerks that create fraud in order to prove fraud exists.

  5. I was going to say "why doesn't Pam just run a TV ad herself," then went to TRACER and found her funds on hand as of the Aug. 1 report were $14,899, and her contributions would be less than expenditures save for a $40K loan.

    Does anyone know if she's got something else going on financially, or is she going to try to win statewide office with city council race fundraising?

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