Ever since winning the Republican primary for Colorado’s brand-new ultra-competitive CD-8 seat in Congress, state Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer has been forced to pivot much harder from her record as a far-right red meat spewing secession-backing anti-abortion activist in order to appeal to this swingiest of districts. Kirkmeyer has flat denied her previous self on abortion in particular, scrubbing her website of her former positions and “evolving” from the proud no-exceptions abortion opponent of Kirkmeyer’s 2014 run for the deep red CD-4 to a kinder, gentler “I just want to save as many lives as I can” message–denying she would support a nationwide ban only weeks after committing to one.
On the issue of secession, Kirkmeyer lied in her most recent debate about what the measure was about, namely secession, but then claimed the failed effort she led in 2013 was a “success” imagining that it persuaded Denver Democrats to take rural folks seriously–which any of us who were there at the time can tell you it did not.
In short, Kirkmeyer’s campaign is engaging in a greater than average amount of wholesale deception in order to get her over the finish line in this extremely close race, not unlike Cory Gardner in 2014 whose shoes Kirkmeyer that year tried to fill. But yesterday, Kirkmeyer’s campaign released a new ad so outrageously false that it puts all these other reinventions to shame:
Democrats voted to legalize fentanyl possession. You heard me. They legalized fentanyl. [Pols emphasis]
As our readers know and Sen. Kirkmeyer cannot be excused for not knowing, fentanyl is not now and has never been “legalized” in the state of Colorado. There was a debate this year in the Colorado General Assembly over legislation that would have made possession of even the smallest quantity a felony crime instead of a misdemeanor, and that bill ultimately passed with the very smallest amounts remaining a misdemeanor.
A misdemeanor is still a crime, therefore fentanyl has not been by any correct definition “legalized,” and no Democrat voted this year on legislation that would legalize fentanyl. There is no interpretive excuse, it’s a flat-out lie that Kirkmeyer not only says herself but repeats twice, the second time saying for emphasis: “they legalized (past tense) fentanyl.”
Kirkmeyer’s shameless post-primary dishonesty to cover up the less palatable aspects of her far-right record was one thing. The lie in this ad is so indefensibly brazen that if there was ever a case that qualified on the merits for Colorado’s little-used laws against knowing and reckless false statements in election campaigns, this would have to be it. Commercial media outlets should refuse to run it.
How can Kirkmeyer look a reporter in the eye, not to mention her colleagues in the Colorado General Assembly who all know the truth, and justify her words in this ad? Is the plan to just run for the elevators Gardner style until Election Day? Eerily reminiscent of Gardner’s narrow triumph of aggressive mendacity in 2014, in the homestretch of this marquee congressional race, the efficacy of a campaign fundamentally built on lies is being tested once again.
In a just world, it would never work.