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January 07, 2013 11:42 AM UTC

Gordon Files 2014 Secretary of State Bid; Nicolais For AG?

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: GOP attorney Mario Nicolais responds that it was “a fun thought to mull over,” but he will not be running for Attorney General in 2014.


Late last month, for Colorado Sen. Ken Gordon filed to run in 2014 for Colorado Secretary of State–against incumbent Scott Gessler, or another Republican in the entirely plausible event Gessler decides not to run again. Gordon ran for Secretary of State in 2006, losing to Mike Coffman by a fairly narrow margin. Gordon is not the only Democrat feeling out a possible run for SoS in 2014, however, another name making the rounds being CU Regent Joe Neguse.

In other campaign scuttlebutt, we’ve heard that Republican attorney Mario Nicolais, of reapportionment and Coloradans for Freedom fame, is looking at a run for Attorney General in 2014 to replace the term-limited incumbent John Suthers. After Suthers’ strident activism from his office against things like marriage equality, the avowedly pro-civil unions Nicolais would be an interesting curveball–and potentially quite controversial in a GOP primary.


44 thoughts on “Gordon Files 2014 Secretary of State Bid; Nicolais For AG?

    1. Sen. Gordon is an (effective) election procedure wonk. He was instrumental in the campaign for Ref. C.

      Yes, he seems a bit gruff at times. I’ll take gruff but intelligent and effective any day of the week.

      As for the failed election, IIRC, Coffman had just come back from volunteering in Iraq to help run their first election. He was considered a principled conservative. And he won with only 51%. Gordon by that measure is hardly a failed candidate.

      1. his gruffness or perceived coldness is really shyness. Much better at communicating at the remove of writing.  Had some very nice e-mail exchanges with him years back but he seems pretty uncomfortable shmoozing in person. Of course that can be a big disadvantage for campaigning.  

        1. once failed in an election?

          Romney, if he hasn’t poisoned the Republican atmosphere too heavily, could be a successful candidate against someone else.

          Republicans over-played their hand in 2012. They were too heavy-handed at obstruction, put too many radical candidates on the ballot, went too far to the right in campaigning, and spent their money poorly. (You do know that in many cases Obama’s ad spending cost about 1/3 the Romney campaign ad expenditures, due to poor planning on the part of the Romney campaign, right?)

          If Romney is a failed candidate, it’s from ad fatigue and his remaining image, not based on election margin.

    2. I think he has kind of pain in the ass personality but he was absolutely fair in his handling of problems on both sides of the aisle as state Senate Majority leader and would make an excellent SOS. His rock solid integrity would be so refreshing after the most notorious, sleazy partisan hack in living memory in that office. He also didn’t lose by all that much. Would like to see who else is out there, besides him and Neguse, though.

        1. So, you have respect for Ken Gordon, who is against “special interest” money because he self-financed a 527 to fight special interest money?

          He’s against small donor committee’s. Do you KNOW why small donor committees were setup in 2002? So everyday people could give up to $50 per person, max to a small donor committee to fight corporate interests.

          Now Gordon wants people to sign his silly little pledge and do away with the one thing Democrats have — small donors. Do you know how Democrats win elections?!

          This guy is bad news, unstrategic, and a hypocrite.  

          1. Gee, I’m pretty naive about these things obviously. I gave several $50 donations to campaigns last year (not limited to just one donation per year as in an SDC).  

            But I gave them directly to the candidates.

            While I’m not a big fan of unilateral disarmament when it comes to limiting our options to campaign funding, Ken (and Lois Court, and Andrew Romanoff, etc) is attempting to clean up the campaign funding process, not be hypocrites about it.

            1. The candidate has no idea what you’re interested in or why you gave the $.

              If a bunch of environmentally conscious voters each gave $50 to an SDC which then distributed the money, they would know that environmental group was the source of the money, which would presumably buy that group some influence.

              If it all sounds tawdry, then public campaign financing is the only solution.  A constitutional amendment would be necessary.  Clean Slate is just a bunch of people who will never rise above the state house, as they’ve crippled their ability to raise the money necessary to win higher office.  

              1. C’mon — one $50 annual donation per person?  You’d have to form a lot of SDC’s for one issue to get the ear of a politician that is taking money from PACs, SuperPACs, etc.

                But yes, public campaign financing of some form would be a better alternative.

                1. Distributing literature outlining a candidate’s positions is appreciated, but a direct cash infusion, regardless of how seemingly small, seems to go a long way.  Remember these are state-house races, so fairly strict limits apply already.

          2. Have to agree with baaramewe here. Former Sen. Gordon is a hypocrite and a bully.

            As a life long Democrat, it pains me to say this, but I would vote for Pam Anderson (Jeffco’s R Clerk and Recorder) before I would vote for Ken Gordon.

        2. And I think this solution is stupid.

          Like others have written it’s unilateral disarmament.  It also doesn’t solve the underlying problem of “money=speech.”  

          1. I view the problem of campaign funding as I do gun control.  There are things that can be done immediately, or in the near-term to incrementally mitigate the worst effects.

            But it’s nice to have a long-range vision to guide us too.

            Panaceas are not available for either problem, but we have to start somewhere.

            But Ken was my Rep/Senator for many years, and I think his efforts reflect extremely well on his character, and how he would execute the office of SoS if elected.

            1. The problem I have with clean slate is that all of these people are safe seats. They criticize those who are in competitive races for taking outside money when they themselves won’t fall below 60%. Also, while some criticisms of Dems are not being friendly to Labor, excluding them from the equation by not taking their money is not likely to help in that regard.

          2. But SOS isn’t a position from which the pursuit of such things is much of a factor. As an election official I believe Gordon would be completely trustworthy. That in itself doesn’t make him the ideal potential candidate. People on your own side of the aisle have to like you, for starters.  

            1. But it will affect how effectively you can wage a campaign.  That is a major issue.  Also, how you interact with the public and your colleagues. What I know about Gordon does not inspire my confidence on any of those fronts.  

              1. boosting a Gordon campaign. The comments with strong feelings against that I’m reading here certainly don’t bode well for one. But I do think he’d be very good in the job if he got it. I’d prefer a candidate who people actually like and who would run a good enough, and sufficiently funded, campaign to win.  

    3. And I had to work with him personally once.  He is an arrogant bastard who refuses to listen to anyone except his own echo chamber and thinks he knows better than the world.  When I was working with him, he was trying to make left-leaning groups unilaterally disarm from campaign spending because “it was the right thing to do.”  Asshole.  I’d love to re-register as a Dem just to vote against this guy.  Rest assured, I will pull the R lever against him.  Gessler hasn’t really done anything except make a buffoon of himself and with a Dem trifecta, I expect even less in the way of Tom-foolery will be allowed.

    1. victim to the Republican momentum of that year. Especially to the misplaced “independence” of so many low info indies who voted D for bright shiny ticket topping offices and thought they should balance it out and show their non-partisanship by voting for Rs in other statewide offices.

      Can you imagine how much time and money wouldn’t have been wasted on attempted voter suppression if Buescher had remained in office?  

  1. It is kind of ColoradoPols to put my name out there, but no, I am not considering running for AG.

    When Lynn Bartels wrote an article about the AG race, I spoke with a lot of folks about the field and some people said they thought I would make a good candidate. It’s a fun thought to mull over and flattering, but I decided not to take it too seriously.

    Besides, I respect all the individuals already mentioned on that list and have personally urged one to run.

    Mario Nicolais

    1. Phoenix – when someone told me there was a posting here, I thought it would be best to address it personally right away. As I said, I was flattered by the people who mentioned it and it is an interesting idea, but not something I would pursue right now.

      JeffCoBlue – the story is here:

      As for my choice for AG, I am not a one issue voter. I care passionately about some issues, but believe in Pres. Reagan’s position “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”

      Many good Republicans did me the courtesy to accept my position, and even remain open and receptive to the arguments I made about civil unions. I think it would be discourteous and disingenuous not to do the same. Consequently, my choice is not based solely on a position in regard to civil unions – though I do hope that that any Republican AG candidate eventually supports that legislation.  

  2. I suspect that with his personal convictions on campaign finance, Ken Gordon wouldn’t be able to put together a large enough pile of cash to win a statewide campaign.

    Still… imagine a maximalist overseeing our campaign finance reporting regime. There’d be no more violations left to slide, no more fines quietly negotiated away.

    Ken might have some unworkable ideas about how campaigns can be funded. When it comes to enforcing our current laws and competently administering fair elections I think the dude would be pretty dreamy. Also, skydiving

  3. Anyone? Beuller?

    This is a state-wide office we’re talking about. If Gordon isn’t willing to raise money through PACs or SDCs or have an independent group run ads for him….we’re cooked. Can you imagine a campaign in which he derides the PACs that are supporting him? I can. And it would be a major distraction.

    I would much prefer the Ds have a nominee who isn’t lagging in fundraising and with a message that resonates further than the Democratic base.

    1. Agreed, C Rork.

      Anyone who is against me and my friends getting together to give $50 per person, per year through a small donor committee, is nuts. There goes labor dollars, pro-choice dollars, lgbt dollars, environmental dollars.

      Say a state house candidate needed to raise $100K — if one small donor committee maxes out at $4,500 = 4.5% of their total budget.

      Oh, those small donor funds are “evil special interests,” but it’s okay for Ken Gordon to self finance with his personal wealth to feed his narcissism.

      Ken Gordon is a bigger danger to the progressive movement than any Republican (perhaps excluding Gessler) for SOS.  

      1. …it irks me that they preach about not taking this money when they either have their own money to bankroll, or they are running for a safe district.  Like I said upthread, it’s easy to be a saint in paradise.

        BTW, I want to dissuade a potential candidate from taking that stupid pledge.  I would like more information about how that money is used to justify my position with said candidate on why they are potentially hurting themselves by taking this pledge.  Any information people have would be greatly appreciated.

      2. Though it is a lot of it. The campaign should be about Gessler, his failings, and a positive economic message, not about Gordon and the campaign finance system. Option A – Gordon keeps pushing campaign finance reform as the centerpiece of his candidacy, is forced to decry independent expenditures and PACs operating in his favor, becomes major distraction in campaign. Option B – Gordon tones it down, is subject to attacks on reversal of his stance. Even if he acts like they don’t exist, he still gets hit on it.

        Other than that, a major question is if he has the state-wide profile and broad appeal that is needed to bring together the same coalition that won Dems the state in the recent past.

        1. But as POLs pointed out in the original post, Ken Gordon just narrowly lost against Coffman.

          Granted, Gordon hasn’t had a high profile for a few years, so he would need to reintroduce himself to Colorado voters.

          While many on this site have an issue with his stance on campaign reform (and I’ll concede they are good points), that’s more inside baseball to the general voter.  On the contrary, campaign funding reform should poll pretty well overall.

          It’s possible for SoS, shoeleather and a campaign bus roaring around the state might be sufficient.  Dunno.  Worth a try.

          1. …money still matters.  So, he either foregoes any outside money not from individual donors and his hands are tied on that and he can’t collect.  Or, he winds up taking money from outside groups and without getting into specifics, he gets called a hypocrite and that might be all people need to hear in order to make up their mind against him.   This is how I   (in theory) see his stance and the way he has handled himself regarding this issue to be a potential liability.

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