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March 28, 2024 11:04 AM UTC

Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 28)

  • by: Colorado Pols

The first games in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament kick off tonight; here’s hoping your bracket isn’t already busted. Let’s Get More Smarter! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



Tonight is the night when we find out which Republican will be the nominee for the June Special Election to fill the remainder of Ken Buck’s term in Congress in CO-04. Whoever wins will have to run a complicated campaign to make sure that Republicans vote for them TWICE in June.

Colorado Public Radio has more on tonight’s vacancy committee, during which some candidates will also be asking Republicans to support them in April, too:

Closing out his pitch to the Republican activists, former State Sen. Ted Harvey also asked for their support at the vacancy committee.

“I’d love to have your support not only this Thursday … in the vacancy committee, but also on April 5 (at the GOP state Assembly).”

The Republican vacancy committee for the state’s 4th Congressional District is meeting tonight, March 28, to select a candidate to appear on the June ballot to complete Buck’s term in office. The Democrats will hold their vacancy committee meeting on April 1.

Most of the Republican candidates seeking the full-time job in CO-04 (via the Primary Election) are also running to be the nominee for the Special Election, with two exceptions: Lauren Boebert and Deborah Flora, who have both earned ballot access in the Primary via the petition process, chose not to be candidates for the Special Election.


If you’re trying to keep track of everything happening in CO-04, stick to local news sources. Many national outlets are getting details wrong; this story from Olivia Beavers of POLITICO, for example, mixes up the consequences of Buck’s early retirement and the Special Election:

The timing of his retirement undeniably complicates her bid — Boebert would have to give up her seat to run in a special election, which she opted not to do, meaning she’ll have to face a newly-elected incumbent in November. [Pols emphasis]

Nope. That’s not how this works. The winner of the Special Election will serve out the remainder of Buck’s term, which essentially lasts through the end of 2024. The only way the Special Election winner will be on the ballot in November is if that same person wins the Primary Election in June. There won’t be more than one Republican candidate on the ballot in November, and it won’t be Boebert unless she wins the June Primary Election.

This story from Forbes also mixes up the potential candidates for tonight’s GOP vacancy committee.


John Eastman, the lawyer former visiting scholar at the University of Colorado — and key architect of Donald Trump’s 2020 coup attempt — has been disbarred in California. Maybe the Colorado Republican Party will want to hire someone else to make its arguments against Colorado’s open primary system.


President Biden will attend a big fundraiser in New York tonight co-hosted by former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The New York Times has more on how Biden is working through a strange problem: Communicating to voters about what has objectively been an incredibly-successful Presidency:

Of the triumvirate of recent Democrats in the White House, Mr. Biden is the one who historians, political strategists and policy experts argue has racked up the most expansive list of legislative accomplishments — and has received the least amount of credit for them.

In a first term with a closely divided Congress, Mr. Biden signed legislation to provide $1.9 trillion in pandemic stimulus, $1 trillion in infrastructure spending and $370 billion to fight climate change, as well as the first gun control measures in 28 years. It is a roster of achievement that surpasses Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the two Democratic former presidents who will join him on Thursday in New York. And yet Mr. Biden’s approval ratings are the lowest of all three men. While voters broadly support some of Mr. Biden’s key policies, they are far more pessimistic about the future. And they’re not confident in his ability to serve a second term.

“His biggest problem is not so much his ability to get things done, as we’ve seen, but his ability to put together a message that reaches the average American, no matter where they’re located, whether it’s a red state or a blue state, and to be able to get them to understand just exactly what he’s trying to do for the country,” Leon Panetta, who served as Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff and also in Mr. Obama’s cabinet, said of Mr. Biden.

Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper touched on this very issue in a recent episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast:

“He could be one of the greatest Presidents in American history,” said Hickenlooper on the prospects of a second term for Biden. “What a thing that would be to say, ‘We worked with Joe Biden,’ and he goes down in the literature [as one of the greats]. It’s not unfeasible.”


Click below to keep learning things…



Check Out All This Other Stuff To Know…


EVERYTHING is a conspiracy for Republicans these days. As The Washington Post explains:

Following Tuesday’s deadly collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, some Republican officials, candidates and right-wing pundits attempted to connect the tragedy to some of their most frequent political targets: diversity initiatives, illegal immigration, coronavirus lockdowns and the Biden administration. And early reaction to the incident also provided fresh ground for unfounded theories that the collapse was not an accident at all.

One of the more ridiculous “theories” from Republicans is that the accident leading to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge is…diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) policies?

Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman (R) blamed DEI policies for the bridge collapse. The Utah gubernatorial candidate running against Gov. Spencer Cox (R) shared a post online attacking Port of Baltimore Commissioner Karenthia Barber, a Black woman whose biography says she owns a consulting practice that takes on work related to DEI. Responding to the post about Barber’s background, Lyman wrote on X on Tuesday morning that “this is what happens when you have Governors who prioritize diversity over the wellbeing and security of citizens.” In a subsequent post referencing the collision, he said: “DEI = DIE.”

Yeah, that’s what happened.


Colorado House Republicans are accusing Democrats of freely spending taxpayer money this week. This is stupid. The state legislature is CONSTITUTIONALLY REQUIRED to pass a state budget every year, and this week has been “budget week” in the state legislature. 

Colorado Newsline, meanwhile, has more on the real story:

Members of Colorado’s powerful Joint Budget Committee on Tuesday introduced a $40.6 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are set to begin debate on the budget — one of the few bills the Legislature must pass each year — on Thursday, with a final vote likely next week before it heads to the Senate.

The budget legislation is also known as the “long bill.”

“Clearly, the headline in this year’s long bill is the investment in education,” House Speaker Julie McCluskie, a Dillon Democrat, told reporters on Wednesday.

That includes funding public K-12 education at the level called for in the state Constitution for the first time since the Great Recession, a plan that Gov. Jared Polis and lawmakers have celebrated since November.The budget would also fully fund special education and increase funding for English language proficiency programs by 10%. A separate companion bill addresses funding needs for schools that are facing an influx of newly arrived migrant students by giving the schools a flat amount based on new students.

Additionally, the budget proposes a $1.6 billion increase, about 10%, to the Department of Higher Education. That will enable the state’s colleges and universities to hold in-state tuition at or below a 3% increase.

Colorado’s fiscal year resets on July 1.


The Denver Post has more on a modified bill to create “gun free zones” in Colorado:

A proposal to limit where people can carry firearms in Colorado, openly or with concealed carry permits, was narrowed substantially Wednesday as sponsors fought to win a key committee vote in the state Senate.

The bill as introduced would have banned firearms from being carried at a slew of places, including stadiums, protests at public locations, bars, places of worship, public parks, libraries and more. It was amended to only ban firearms at schools, from preschool to college, as well as polling places, the state legislature and local government buildings, though local governments could opt out. It would allow exceptions for security and law enforcement.

The legislation would also ban firearms in the State Capitol, which is a good idea given all of the gun gaffes made by Republican lawmakers in recent years.


► Seth Klamann of The Denver Post has an update on legislative efforts to overhaul the RTD Board of Directors.


Some of the Colorado Republican Party’s chief rocket surgeons are proposing using the 1970s-era “Scantron” technology to count ballots at this year’s State GOP convention. For years, Republican leaders have followed Donald Trump by instilling distrust in modern voting machines, but hand-counting so many votes is also impractical. And that’s how State Party Chair Dave Williams and Ron Hanks (Chairman of the State GOP’s Ballot & Election Security Committee) ended up suggesting using a 50-year-old technology instead.


The Washington Post looks into the curious globetrotting of Richard Grenell, a former acting National Security Adviser in Donald Trump’s administration:

From Central America to Eastern Europe and beyond, Grenell has been acting as a kind of shadow secretary of state, meeting with far-right leaders and movements, pledging Trump’s support and, at times, working against the current administration’s policies.

It’s unusual for a former diplomatic official to continue meeting with foreign leaders and promoting the agenda of a presidential candidate on the world stage. Grenell’s globe-trotting has sparked deep concern among career national security officials and diplomats, who warn that he emboldens bad actors and jeopardizes U.S. interests in service of Trump’s personal agenda. In the process, Grenell is openly charting a foreign policy road map for a Republican presidential nominee who has found common cause with authoritarian leaders and threatened to blow up partnerships with democratic allies.“I think Trump and Grenell would upend American leadership of the free world, from Truman on the left to Reagan on the right, and replace it with something much darker,” said Daniel Fried, who spent four decades in top State Department posts, including as an assistant secretary of state and a director of the National Security Council. “It’s transactional. Democratic values are irrelevant, and it’s isolationist.”

Grenell declined to talk on the record about his overseas work. [Pols emphasis]

And how, exactly, does Grenell fund all of this travel?

Grenell’s allegiance to Trump has proved fruitful during the Biden years.

In late 2021, he became a high-ranking executive at Newsmax, which has grown more popular with a right-wing audience that views Fox News as insufficiently pro-Trump. The Republican National Committee paid Grenell $135,000 for consulting that year, records show. Grenell received nearly $400,000 from two pro-Trump, tax-exempt organizations in 2022, the latest year tax filings were available.

Last year, Grenell was elected to the board overseeing the Conservative Political Action Conference, a standard-bearer for the conservative movement that has become an unofficial arm of the Trump campaign.

Grenell is considered a top candidate to be Trump’s Secretary of State should The Big Orange Guy win another term as President.


Former cryptocurrency guru Sam Bankman-Fried will be doing most of his future trading via a prison commissary. As The New York Times reports:

Sam Bankman-Fried, the former cryptocurrency mogul who was convicted of fraud, was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Thursday, capping an extraordinary saga that upended the multi-trillion-dollar crypto industry and became a cautionary tale of greed and hubris.

Mr. Bankman-Fried’s sentence was shorter than the 40 to 50 years that federal prosecutors had recommended, but above the six-and-a-half-year sentence requested by the defense lawyers. A federal probation officer had recommended 100 years, just under the maximum possible penalty of 110 years behind bars.

Unless he gets time reduced from his sentence, Bankman-Fried will be in prison until somewhere around his 57th birthday.


Colorado schools are getting more than $11 million from a settlement with Juul to be used in efforts to combat teen vaping use. 


According to a new report from the Center For American Women and Politics at Rutgers, Colorado has more women serving in elected municipal offices than any other state in the country.


The leopard is trying to eat the face of House Freedom Caucus Chairman Bob Good, who is facing a tough Primary challenge from Virginia State Sen. John McGuire. As The Washington Post reports:

Good was one of eight Republicans who voted last year to eject Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) from the speakership, touching off a caustic battle to replace him. He is part of a small group of House Republicans who have defied GOP leadership over the past year by voting against “rules” on the floor — votes on which lawmakers traditionally vote with their party — to protest spending bills they hate.

Seven Republicans — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Ryan Zinke (Mont.), Morgan Luttrell (Tex.), Derrick Van Orden (Wis.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Jen Kiggans (Va.) and Mike Rogers (Ala.) — have endorsed Good’s challenger, state Sen. John McGuire, according to McGuire’s campaign. Most of them turned out for a fundraiser for him last week in McLean, Va., drawing a rebuke from Good on Wednesday.

One of Good’s biggest political mistakes, it seems, was endorsing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for President instead of Donald Trump.


As Navigator Research explains, support is growing among the American public for eliminating the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans believe it is time to bounce the filibuster.


Former House Speaker Paul Ryan is worried that Donald Trump’s presence at the top of the ticket in 2024 will be a YUGE detriment to Republicans down-ballot.



Say What, Now?

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Most people in Colorado STILL can’t watch the Denver Nuggets or Colorado Avalanche on local television because of a long-running dispute between the team owners and Comcast. But as The Denver Post reports, the pitiful Colorado Rockies will be easier to check in on:

The club announced early Thursday morning that a handful of cable providers and streaming platforms will televise all the games this season.

Colorado fans who subscribe to Comcast/Xfinity can watch games on cable channel No. 1262. Games can also be seen on Fubo, a streaming television service, and on DirecTV (channel 683), but will not be available on Dish Network.

The Rockies open their season tonight in Arizona in what figures to be another miserable campaign. The Rockies are arguably the worst-run franchise in all of professional sports and all but ignored potential free agents this offseason for the second straight year.


Say it with us, friends: It’s. Always. A. Republican.





Republican Gabe-ish Evans, who is seeking the GOP nomination for Congress in CO-08, finally made it clear that he fully supports Donald Trump. This is probably helpful in a Republican Primary, but it will come back to bite him in a General Election. 


► Wolf Spring Break!

The Denver Post has more on a new map released from Colorado Parks and Wildlife showing where 12 wolves reintroduced to Colorado have been roaming over the last month.


► Don’t miss the latest episode of the Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora). Later in this episode, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii make a similar argument that Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post produced on Tuesday about Republican efforts to take control of the U.S. Senate in November:

Certainly, Democrats have a tough job to hold on to the Senate majority. Moreover, without a Biden-Harris victory, Democrats will not have the vice president’s tiebreaking vote. That said, Democrats remain competitive in large part because Republicans have gone off the deep end, tying themselves to Trump, espousing radical views that don’t even sell in red states and scaring off a segment of donors.

There is a price to be paid for jettisoning democracy and aligning with a cult of personality. That price just might include blowing yet another chance to take over the Senate majority.

In short, Republicans may be blowing a golden opportunity to control the Senate because they are running terrible candidates in key states.





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