UPDATE #6: The Colorado Democratic Party is collecting reaction from around the country:
Elena Schneider – Politico – “Oh, wow.”
Alex Roarty – Roll Call – “one of the more painful interviews you’ll see this year”
John Frank – Denver Post – “must-see raw footage”
Seung Min Kim – Politico – Leading candidate for the most cringe-y interview by a Senate hopeful so far this year
UPDATE #5: We have the full transcript from Keyser’s horrendous interview with Marshall Zelinger of Denver7. Click after the jump to read in full.
UPDATE #4: From the Washington Post:
Then things got weird. In a flash of recognition, he asks the reporter whether he was the one who “was creeping around my house yesterday?” The reporter confirms he knocked on Keyser’s door. Keyser says the reporter woke his kids up and then asks, “Did you get to meet my dog?” He then mentions how big and protective his dog is, to which Zelinger replies: “I don’t know what that meant, but okay.”…
…Here’s why we’re bringing this to your attention. Not even two weeks ago, we asked whether Republicans were blowing their chance to unseat Bennet, who is Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbent and one of Republicans’ best pick-up opportunities in a year they’re largely playing defense. But things hadn’t gone so smoothly for Republicans in Colorado. Recruiting problems. Ballot problems. A chaotic primary with no clear front-runner.
UPDATE #3: We’ve updated The Big Line, and for the first time in Colorado Pols history, we’ve assigned a negative percentage to a candidate.
UPDATE #2: Jon Keyser’s astonishing self-destruction today is going viral, with news outlets across the country picking up the story. It would take a miracle from several gods for Keyser to even be competitive in the June Primary (if he’s even still a candidate then).
UPDATE: Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger just posted astonishing raw video of his questions for Jon Keyser at today’s debate. It is possible we have never seen a candidate implode this spectacularly in all our years of Colorado politics–no exaggeration.
How do you recover from that? He actually threatened Zelinger with his dog.
This man’s political career can be measured in hours, not days.
Embattled U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser, facing a new request for a criminal investigation after Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger’s multi-day revelations of extensive fraud in Keyser’s primary ballot petitions, appeared at a Republican candidate debate this morning after hiding for days without comment on the rapidly developing scandal.
Today, Keyser was confronted on camera for the first time about the allegations.
And it was a disaster.
Keyser refused to answer any questions about these forged petitions, reciting the words “I’m on the ballot” and canned language about defeating Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. As FOX 31 reporter Joe St. George pressed the question, Keyser fell into a positively Mike Coffman-like robot repetition of rote talking points that had nothing to do with the allegations in any substantive way.
The event is still going on as of this writing, so we’ll update if any of the reporters in the room–we’re told that everybody is there, and for Keyser–manage to get more than this out of him. Or if there’s footage of him running through the parking lot. Or whatever happens next in this increasingly crazy story.
One thing we’re pretty sure is not happening is Keyser becoming a U.S. Senator. Ever.
Jon Keyser interview with Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger (5/12/16)
ZELINGER [2:49]: I’m going to ask you the same question you heard from the moderator. I’ve uncovered these forged signatures. What is your response to the voters who saw their names, and they tell me they didn’t write their names?
KEYSER [2:38]: Well, Mitchell, here’s the, here’s the thing–
ZELINGER [2:37]: It’s Marshall, but that’s OK.
KEYSER [2:36]: First name, Marshall? OK. Uh, Marshall, here’s the important thing: the important thing is that I’m on the ballot, OK?
ZELINGER [2:29]: What can you tell to the voter who said, “I didn’t sign this.” What can you tell that person?
KEYSER [2:26]: You know there’s — the Democrats are doing everything they can do to try to pile on, to try to make sure that I am on the ballot. They want to make sure that I am not the guy that’s facing Michael Bennet, because they’re scared. Look, I have been taking the bark of off Michael Bennet, and I haven’t even started yet. I haven’t even started.
KEYSER [2:10] I’m going to talk about the fact that Michael Bennet has failed Colorado on voting for Iran; on wanting to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to the United States, probably right here to Colorado; that he’s voted against screening measures for refugees; that he’s doubled our national debt; that he’s supported Obamacare; that he’s voted with the president 98% of the time.
ZELINGER [1:52] Be that as it may, these voters tell me they didn’t sign the petition. What can you say to them?
KEYSER [1:46] Well Mitchel, they told you–
ZELINGER [1:45] Marshall.
KEYSER [1:44] Marshall, they, they told you that, but wait, were you the guy–
KEYSER [1:41] Hold on, were you the guy who was creeping around my house yesterday?
ZELINGER [1:38]: I knocked on your door.
KEYSER [1:37] Eh, ah — you woke up my kids. Yeah, you woke up my, my baby cried for an hour after that.
ZELINGER [1:32]: I apologize for that.
KEYSER [1:32]: (Talking over Zelinger) Did you get to meet my dog?
ZELINGER [1:31]: I met your dog and your nanny.
KEYSER [1:29]: My dog–
ZELINGER [1:29]: She was very kind. Your dog was kind.
KEYSER [1:28] My dog, my dog is — he’s great, he’s a great dog. He’s bigger than you are — he’s huge. He’s a big, big guy. Very protective.
KEYSER [1:22]: Look: The p — here’s the, here’s the thing–
ZELINGER [1:20]: I don’t know what that meant, but OK.
KEYSER [1:19]: Oh. He’s a great, he’s a great, he’s a great dog.
ZELINGER [1:17]: His size. What did you mean by his size?
KEYSER [1:15]: Oh, he’s — have you seen him? He’s a Great Dane — he’s 165 pounds. He’s a good dog.
ZELINGER [1:12]: OK. So, back to the voters who told me their signatures were forged.
KEYSER [1:09] Yeah.
ZELINGER [1:07] I’ve counted ten so far. If there’s more, it’s possible you didn’t collect enough to really make the ballot.
KEYSER [1:01]: No, thats–
ZELINGER [1:00]: What is your response to that?
KEYSER [0:59]: I’m on the ballot. I’m on the ballot. There, there are people like you that have done the Democrats’ work — that have spent hundreds of hours on this. That’s not going to take away from the fact that I am on the ballot, and that I’m going to beat Michael Bennet.
ZELINGER [0:50]: And you have no qualms staying on the ballot?
KEYSER [0:48]: I’m gonna be on–I’m already on the ballot; it’s done. It’s done. You’ve spent hundreds of hours on this, and all kinds of different things, you know. Fortunately, we’ve got people that are willing to focus on the issues at hand — I am. I’m focusing on beating Michael Bennet, and I’m going to continue to focus on beating Michael Bennet, from now until November.
ZELINGER [0:32]: Well, let’s talk about the collector. The signature collector
KEYSER [0:30]: Yeah.
ZELINGER [0:30]: What do you know about what she might have done? Or who hired her — what can you tell me about them?
KEYSER [0:24]: Yeah, I–Again, as I’ve already told you. I’ve answered your question again, and again, and again. I’m on the ballot. It’s already been set, and I’m not going to let anything distract me from the fact that we’ve got to beat Michael Bennet, because 2016’s too important. It’s just too important.
ZELINGER [0:11]: Did you have any knowledge that any of the signatures were forged?
KEYSER [0:09]: I’ve answered your question again and again. Here’s the bottom line: I’m going to be on the ballot and I’m going to beat Michael Bennet in November. You can count on it. Thanks.
ZELINGER [0:01] Did you know that any of the signatures were forged?
*KEYSER WALKS AWAY*