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November 03, 2005 09:00 AM UTC

Lynn Bartels Q&A

  • 30 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

What happened on election day? Who are the winners and losers?

We asked Lynn Bartels of the Rocky Mountain News some of these very questions, and so can you when she stops by for a LIVE Q&A today from 11:00 a.m. – Noon. Ms. Bartels has been one of our most popular Q&A participants in the past, so we’re happy to have her insight and candid answers once more.

As always in our Q&As, we only have one rule: you may disagree, but you may not be disrespectful. Rude and inappropriate comments will be promptly removed.

We asked Ms. Bartels to answer just a couple of quick questions on Tuesday’s results to get us started, and we’ll leave the rest to you.

Click below for the Q&A…

Post-Election Q&A with Rocky Mountain News political reporter Lynn Bartels

1. Okay, what happened?

I think there are number of reasons why Referendum C passed, but start with bipartisan support, including GOP Gov. Bill Owens and the Democratic controlled legislature.

Mix in real Coloradans who have felt first hand the real impact of budget cuts.

Consider the magic of Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper jumping out of airplane in support of Ref C, and the impact of a fiscal tightwad like former Republican Senator Hank Brown appealing for voters to approve the measures.

Dont forget Andrew Romanoff, the Speaker of the Colorado House. The times Ive heard him speak on Ref C – in a message filled with serious facts and funny one-liners – Ive often thought, If I were sitting here and knew nothing about TABOR and heard him speak, Id probably walk the plank if he told me.

And although the governor took lots of heat over this from national anti-tax leaders, he really did risk everything to support the referendums. Our poll last month showed the governors favorable and unfavorable ratings have been almost the same the last three years. (Theyre certainly higher than George W.s.)

I think confusion is part of it, too. The opponents were accused of distorting the facts, but the reality is the supporters of the ballot measure had their own tactics, too. There was much discussion, as you know, about the without raising taxes.

Lets not forget the unusual coalitions. Here you had the Colorado Springs and Boulder city councils agreeing on a tax measure. You had big business working side by side with labor unions.

Everybodys amazed that Arapahoe County approved Ref C. I am — but I shouldnt have been. Consider this unusual team working on its behalf: Sens. Suzanne Williams, an Aurora Democrat and retired teacher who supporters most liberal causes, and Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, a pro-school choice, pro-voucher conservative. Theyve rarely agreed at the legislature but they really championed this.

Opponents painted the Republicans who supported Ref C and D as squishes. Nancy Spence is as about unsquishy as they come.

2. Who is the biggest winner and biggest loser after Tuesday?

The Rocky Mountain News had a list in this Wednesdays paper. Ill refer you to that with this caveat: leading opponent Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute made both categories!

3. Referendum C passed but D failed – what’s the difference?

Theres a huge difference between them. If D had passed and C had failed, it would be a whole different world.

I think your question is more of a why and my answer is: Beats me! 

Ive heard all the theories: accidental, on purpose, D was hard to read, etc.

Many stories I wrote mentioned Ref C in the lead and D way down in the story or not at all. There was a reason for that: The opponents arguments were focused on C: it grows government, it destroys TABOR, it prevents the state from learning how to do with less.

At some debates, where Republicans opposed both measures, there was a backhanded compliment for D that at least voters knew where the money was going.

4. What’s next? Will we see a lawsuit?

Lawsuits have been threatened, but as the governor pointed out Wednesday, Doug Bruce got TABOR on the ballot in 1992, but hasnt had much success over the years in suing over TABOR issues.

5. How will this change the 2006 legislative session?

Without C, I think the session would have focused on difficult budget cuts. Let me see, kids in wheelchairs versus seniors in nursing homes — who gets the ax?

With C in place, I see a return of more partisanship. I totally see the GOP strategy next year as being: Hey, we may not have wanted this extra money but now that its here, you want us in charge. Seriously.

6. What do you think this means for the next round of candidates for statewide office? Who might enter the governor or treasurer’s race, for example, now that this is over?

And once again, my e-mail box is filled up with speculation about Hick!

Do you have a question for Lynn Bartels? Ask away in the comments section below. Ms. Bartels will be answering questions LIVE from 11:00 a.m. – Noon.

Comments

30 thoughts on “Lynn Bartels Q&A

  1. Dear Billy Bob:

    During the shindig at the Pinnacle Club, where contrary to Jon Caldara?s contention no one was jumping, every time Sheila MacDonald?s name was mentioned the crowd said, ?Sheila! Sheila! Sheila!? So, she probably gets another campaign. Same with Rick Reiter.

    Owens may have upset his own party but when he leaves office in January 2007, he does so with the label as the guy who cut more taxes than any other governor in history.

    As for Andrew, I don?t know.  Maybe it helps with his bar exam!

  2. “I totally see the GOP strategy next year as being: Hey, we may not have wanted this extra money but now that it?s here, you want us in charge. Seriously.”

    Following up on that – are you suggesting that Colorado Republicans drop the cultural conservative program and return to emphasizing fiscal conservative values? How do you expect them to be taken seriously when nationally the GOP is exactly the opposite – all about cultural values with zero fiscal responsibility?

  3. Conservatives and libertarians believing in limited government have lost twice in the past year, first with the loss of control of the state legislature to the Democrats and now with the passage of Referendum C eliminating the TABOR spending limit for the next five years (and raising the spending baseline beyond that).

    How can this trend be reversed and do you see that likely or even possible, particularly for next year’s state legislative and gubernatorial elections?

  4. lynn:

    thanks for taking our questions here today.  how do you see the passage of ref c and/or the defeat of ref d affecting the house and senate races in 2006?  do democrats retain both houses?  could this win have been bittersweet for democrats because they can no longer sound the tabor alarms as part of their platforms?

  5. Lynn-

    Gov. Owens claims that by campaigning for C, he helped the Republicans in their bid to win back the legislature.  (This from a guy who’s lost the State Senate twice and the House once on his watch) What do you think? How does C&D affect the 06 Legislative races?

  6. Lynn,

    Thanks so much for taking the time. I guess the next big budget issue is Amendment 23. The Republican’s have been pretty outspoken about reforming Amendment 23 and during the TABOR debate Amendment 23 was cited often as the real culprit for our fiscal woes.

    Do you think the GOP will go after Amendment 23 vigorously this coming session and if they do, do you believe that is a politically wise move with the coming 2006 elections?

  7. Of all the rumored names, The Denver Mayor, Thiebault, Romanoff, Gordon, Skaggs or SomeOther  who do you think most likely to run for Governor?
    Or, is it your opinion that Ritter gets a free ride to the nomination?
    Thank you

  8. I totally see the GOP strategy next year as being: Hey, we may not have wanted this extra money but now that it?s here, you want us in charge. Seriously.”

    Following up on that – are you suggesting that Colorado Republicans drop the cultural conservative program and return to emphasizing fiscal conservative values? How do you expect them to be taken seriously when nationally the GOP is exactly the opposite – all about cultural values with zero fiscal responsibility?
    Posted by: Blue the Wild Dog at November 3, 2005 07:21 AM

    Dear Wild Dog:

    But Colorado can?t be compared to the national scene because we?re such a different state. We have independent voters who lean to the right who call the shots. Give them a solid Democrat, a Bernie Buescher, for example,  against a real right winger, and that Democrat has a chance.
    I agree that federally with the Republicans in charge there has been ?zero fiscal responsibility.? But guess what? They still won the White House.

    Conservatives and libertarians believing in limited government have lost twice in the past year, first with the loss of control of the state legislature to the Democrats and now with the passage of Referendum C eliminating the TABOR spending limit for the next five years (and raising the spending baseline beyond that).
    How can this trend be reversed and do you see that likely or even possible, particularly for next year’s state legislative and gubernatorial elections?
    Posted by: Daniel Ong at November 3, 2005 07:40 AM

    Hey Daniel:

    I keep hearing that conservatives and libertarians believe in limited government but I?m not sure I?ve always seen that. My first legislative session was in 2000. Republicans were in control. Money was rolling in. They gave away a lot of it to special interests. And some folks in the anti-government crowd are always trying to get yet another government job.
    That said, some Democrats do get a glazed look when you say, ?Great idea but how are you going to pay for it??

    lynn:
    thanks for taking our questions here today. how do you see the passage of ref c and/or the defeat of ref d affecting the house and senate races in 2006? do democrats retain both houses? could this win have been bittersweet for democrats because they can no longer sound the tabor alarms as part of their platforms?
    Posted by: poli.hack  at November 3, 2005 09:04 AM

    Hey Hack:

    Even if C and D had never been on the ballot, Republicans were determined to take back the legislature and Democrats were determined to keep it. I don?t know which side wins but registration favors Republicans.
    I think it is a bittersweet victory for Dems because if C had failed can?t you just see all the TV ads: Parks closed, community colleges, closed. Thanks Republicans.

    Lynn-
    Gov. Owens claims that by campaigning for C, he helped the Republicans in their bid to win back the legislature. (This from a guy who’s lost the State Senate twice and the House once on his watch) What do you think? How does C&D affect the 06 Legislative races?
    Posted by: champa at November 3, 2005 09:48 AM

    Dear Champa:
    I think I might have answered this above.

    Lynn-
    I saw you on channel 12 one night last week and it confirmed the obvious, that you and Mark Couch were big supporters of the Referenda. Despite that context, how do you rate the media’s coverage of C/D?
    Posted by: champa at November 3, 2005 09:48 AM

    Champa:
    You apparently believe you know the answer so I?ll pass.

    Lynn,
    Thanks so much for taking the time. I guess the next big budget issue is Amendment 23. The Republican’s have been pretty outspoken about reforming Amendment 23 and during the TABOR debate Amendment 23 was cited often as the real culprit for our fiscal woes.
    Do you think the GOP will go after Amendment 23 vigorously this coming session and if they do, do you believe that is a politically wise move with the coming 2006 elections?
    Posted by: threeblindmice at November 3, 2005 09:48 AM

    Dear 3BlindMice:

    I think there are ways to alter Amendment 23 without ?going after it.?  Whether it?s worth it to go after it in 2006 remains to be seen. Didn?t Douglas County vote for Amendment 23?
    I think the bigger question is whether some of the all-education, all-the-time folks will try to put something else on the ballot.

  9. Were you surprised with the veracity with which the Post and News went after their support of c and d? I was in favor of them, but I was suprised at how much effort went into their support.

  10. Margaret:

    I’m not sure what you mean by the newspapers’ “support.”
    Yes, the Rocky endorsed C and D but I can’t imagine our news stories being any different if we had opposed them.

  11. Dear Lynn is so not a Hotie:

    I do think money will be spent on higher education.
    One thing you have to remember is it’s not like the state won the lottery. Some of the $465 million the state will get next fiscal year goes to pay obligations that weren’t being met.

  12. The Denver Post did a front page editorial, and it seemed like both papers were constantly running editorials and columns as endorsements. I was happy to see it myself, but I also thought it was strange how much time was spent.

  13. who do you think was hurt most by the passage of C. Holtzman or Beauprez? Thanks for taking our questions. You are the best political reporter of all the dailies.

  14. Dear JoePa:

    There’s a whole group of Republicans out there that froths every time Marc Holtzman’s name is mentioned.

    And I think you have to look at the outcome of the Schaffer/Coors matchup to realize Beauprez definitely has a huge edge in a primary if you get lazy voters to the polls.

    In addition, I can’t see many Dems going for Holtzman but I know plenty who really like Beauprez.

    That said, I give edge the Holtzman. He didn’t break campaign finance laws. He figured out the loophole that lets him get lots of air time without spending his own campaign kitty.

    And they came up with a nickname, Both Ways Bob, that I expect to see in some ads next year.

    Beauprez’s campaign produced a stack of clips from around the state to show Bob really was against Ref C. The fact that he didn’t work to defeat it is less problematic, I think, than his so-called solutions for the state had it failed.

    Using a tobacco settlement to pay operating expenses? This from a banker?

    I think Bob got some bad advice out of the chute.

    Forget mystery donors! Who’s the mystery author of that press release yesterday from the Beauprez campaign?

    The other factor in the Holtzman/Beauprez battle is they’ve gotten so much ink that they’ve shut Democrat Bill Ritter out of coverage much of the fall.

    Think back to 2002. Mike Feeley and Dave Thomas for the most part played nice in the 7th CD primary, while the three GOP candidates went after Beauprez. That resulted in two things: Lots of press for Bob, and it taught him to be a tougher candidate.

  15. Lynn, thanks for participating live.

    Since your last Colorado Pols Q&A half a year ago, have you seen the role of blogs in politics change?  Have your views on blogs changed?  Do you still think they have a problem with getting the facts correct and mischaracterizing events?

    What do you think of talk of an effort toward “citizen journalism” as contrasted with typical blogging?

    How long do you think it will be before the state legislature is asking the voters for another tax increase?

  16. I’m not sure how a liberal Democrat from Denver plays in Paonia but I think Ken was one of the unsugn stars of the Referendum C campaign.

    First of all, I loved his weird, wacky, wonderful newsletter about his road trip, like the time he tried to find a notary on the side of the road.

    I think his e-mail piece on what happens if Ref C fails — “I understand that by voting against Referendum C and Referendum D to get a new driver’s license I will forgo two weeks of paid vacation to camp out in line at the Motor Vehicles Department” — was effing brilliant.

    He really does have that common man touch.

    But you have to ask, if he wins the primary does he choose a Republican as his running mate? 🙂

  17. I’m not sure how a liberal Democrat from Denver plays in Paonia but I think Ken was one of the unsugn stars of the Referendum C campaign.

    First of all, I loved his weird, wacky, wonderful newsletter about his road trip, like the time he tried to find a notary on the side of the road.

    I think his e-mail piece on what happens if Ref C fails — “I understand that by voting against Referendum C and Referendum D to get a new driver’s license I will forgo two weeks of paid vacation to camp out in line at the Motor Vehicles Department” — was effing brilliant.

    He really does have that common man touch.

    But you have to ask, if he wins the primary does he choose a Republican as his running mate? 🙂

  18. “I agree that federally with the Republicans in charge there has been ?zero fiscal responsibility.? But guess what? They still won the White House.”

    Yeah, but state legislature elections aren’t about “wartime presidents”, so that doesn’t seem very relevant. I mean, if local Republicans advertise themselves as the party who knows what to do with the money from C, the ads write themselves. (Don’t know the exact numbers here – you fill them in.)

    “$500 billion for Iraq. $800 billion given away to pharmaceutical companies. $300 billion given away to oil companies. $270 million for a bridge to nowhere. And now Republicans tell you that they can manage your state money, too? Forget it. Make sure your money is spent on you. Vote Democratic.”

    I think Republicans would be wise to actually act fiscally responsible before they start talking about it.

  19. I think the role of blogs is huge. Everybody keeps talking about how early the governor’s race is playing out.

    Consider previous elections.

    It was news when we said it was news.

    If you sent out a press release and we didn’t cover it, that was it.

    Now a press release is on a blog instantly.

    But in some way blogs, whether liberal or Democrat, are the cyber version of talk radio. I think it, it must be correct!

    A while back someone posted a note that the dailies should follow up some item. I remember thinking, we wrote about this four years ago. You just discovered it.

    We blogs do well is that stream of consciousness, hey people are talking about Ken Gordon running for governor.

    Is he too chunky?

    By the way, what’s wrong with chunky people!

  20. Do you think any of these nonprofits, either for or against C&D, will be held accountable by the IRS or another overseeing body for campaign violations?

  21. Lynn — I heard a rumor you weren’t so psyched about writing about Ref C & D this summer. Will you please admit now that it was really fun, and that you’re SO grateful a timely Rocky staff departure gave you the beat? Are you looking forward to more state budget coverage next year?

  22. Tony:
    You’re right. I wasn’t thrilled to write about C and D, or as I called them V and D, for certain bodily functions.

    But I did have fun because I was allowed, for the most part, to write the political side of the campaign. I love politics (my editor says that’s because I like petty schoolyard behavior).

    Even if Jim Tankersley were still here, I bet I would have written 80 percent of the stories I did. That’s because he knew TABOR inside and out, I knew the characters.

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