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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► The Primary Election in Colorado is June 28th, so it’s time to start returning those mail ballots. According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, only about 7% of mail ballots have been returned thus far (as of 9am this morning).
If you haven’t yet received a mail ballot, you should check your registration or address status ASAP. Go to JustVoteColorado.org for more information.
► Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) joined other Senate Democrats in a filibuster on Wednesday designed to force votes on a couple of new gun safety proposals. As the Associated Press reports:
More than 30 U.S. Senators — including Michael Bennet of Colorado — tied up the floor of the Senate most of the day Wednesday as they demanded changes to U.S. gun laws in the aftermath of Sunday’s deadly Orlando shooting.
The filibuster was led by Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who said he would remain on the Senate floor “until we get some signal, some sign that we can come together,” as he also evoked the Newtown school shooting in his state in 2012. His plea came as presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would meet with the National Rifle Association about the terror watch list and gun purchases…
…It’s been nearly a decade since Congress made any significant changes to federal gun laws. In April 2007, Congress passed a law to strengthen the instant background check system after a gunman at Virginia Tech was able to purchase his weapons because his mental health history was not in the instant background check database. Thirty-two people died in the shooting.
The filibuster came to an end this morning, as Politico reports:
Despite the flurry of activity, though, the two sides appeared no closer to an agreement on gun legislation that can pass the Senate.
Still, the chamber is likely to vote on two Democratic-backed gun measures: a proposal from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) meant to bar those on federal terror watch lists from obtaining firearms, and a plan from Murphy and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) mandating background checks for sales at gun shows and over the internet. Republicans are expected to put forward two of their own proposals for votes.
“We’ve gotten to a place where we’re going to get votes on these important amendments,” Murphy, who had led the rhetorical charge on the Senate floor, said shortly before 1:30 a.m. Thursday. “What would’ve been unacceptable is to spend this entire week on legislative business that was irrelevant to the epidemic of gun violence that has been made more real than ever.”
Let’s simplify this a bit, shall we: Democrats had to stage a filibuster just to convince Senate Republicans to consider voting on new gun safety proposals.
► A new poll shows that 7 in 10 Americans have an unfavorable view of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. The ABC News/Washington Post Presidential poll dates back to 1984, and Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton remain the two most unpopular likely nominees in the poll’s history.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► The bizarre story of the Aurora House candidate/con artist continues as Eric Nelson doubles-down on his troublesome past. As the Aurora Sentinel reports, Nelson is resisting calls for him to drop out of the race:
Facing a barrage of allegations and multiple calls to drop out of the Democratic primary for Colorado House District 42 as well as resign from his seat on the Aurora Public Schools Board of Education, aspiring Aurora politico Eric Nelson made no indication of plans to capitulate in a newsletter sent via email Wednesday afternoon, June 15.
In his letter, Nelson addressed several — but not all — of the allegations cast toward him in recent days, including misrepresentation of his short-lived military service, felony warrants, misconstruing his academic record and missing child support payments. That all of the alleged incidents occurred in the past served as the basis for his decision not to drop out of the race for the State House, or resign his seat on the APS school board.
Nelson has been busy blaming the media for having the audacity to look into his absurdly-checkered past.
► Former State Senator Gail Schwartz announced her first fundraising numbers as a candidate for Congress in CD-3, where she is seeking to unseat Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez). From a press release:
Gail Schwartz for Congress announced raising over $350,000 for the pre-primary reporting period that ended June 8th. Gail announced her candidacy on April 8th and in that very short period of time outraised Congressman Tipton by nearly 2:1…
…Gail Schwartz for Congress will report over $310,000 cash on hand for the June 8th reporting period. Over 900 individuals have donated to the campaign, 90% of them from Colorado and over 63% of them from within the district. This fundraising report follows major endorsements for Gail from the The League of Conservation Voters, EMILY’s List, and Colorado AFL-CIO.
As we’ve said before in this space, Schwartz would not have challenged Tipton without feeling confident that there was an opportunity for a Democrat to win here in 2016.
► Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) continues to put up impressive fundraising numbers as he seeks re-election in November. From the Denver Post:
The incumbent raised more than $1.65 million from April 1 through June 8, according to his campaign, and sits with $5.7 million in cash on hand. His cash-on-hand total slipped from $7.6 million at the start of April, but it reflects the significant television advertising the campaign is airing in recent months.
Bennet and his five Republican challengers must file the pre-primary fundraising disclosures Thursday, though the full financial details will not become clear until days later.
In other words, it will still be several days before we find out just how bad Republican Senate fundraising has been since Q1.
► The Denver Petroleum Club hosted an election forum featuring the five Republican candidates for U.S. Senate. As the Denver Business Journal reports:
…While the quintet marked slightly separate territory on how they would help the state’s energy industry from Washington D.C. if elected, they differentiated themselves more when answering a question on how they would handle illegal immigration — especially when it comes to the business implications of their policies.
Former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier and former state Rep. Jon Keyserboth said that after securing the borders more effectively — a tact espoused by all of the candidates — they would cut down on the incentives given to illegal border crossers by making employers verify their work status before they hire them.
Neither specifically mentioned E-Verify — the voluntary federal system that has been plagued at times by errors — but implied it would be a universal program for all companies.
Former Colorado State University athletic director Jack Graham, meanwhile, was the only one of the candidates to address the existing work-visa system employed especially by the agriculture and hospitality industries that allows employers to bring foreign workers into the country during times of high demand if they provide transportation and housing for them.
Speaking of Jack “Nighthorse” Graham, the Durango Herald profiles the former athletic director at CSU.
► Coloradans of all shapes and sizes (and colors) are putting their own personal touches on remembrances for the victims of the Orlando shootings last weekend.
► Is Ben Higgins of Bachelor fame really pondering a run for State House in HD-4 (Denver)? As the Colorado Independent explains, Higgins might end up as a Republican candidate if the man currently on the GOP ballot, Willie Pinkston, resigns as a candidate after making it through the June 28th Primary. In that scenario, Higgins could be selected as a replacement candidate via a vacancy committee, which is pretty much how Republican politics operate in Colorado.
► Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt is about as committed to his causes as Donald Trump himself. From Politico:
A week after Hugh Hewitt called on the Republican National Committee to change its convention rules if Donald Trump could not change himself, the conservative radio host has signaled that he is back on-board supporting the party’s presumptive nominee.
“Although there’s been talk in recent weeks of implementing new rules at the Republican convention in Cleveland that would allow party leaders to replace Trump — talk that I’ve entertained — the appetite for that sort of drastic measure is gone,” Hewitt wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
It’s not a mystery as to why conservative Republicans never stepped up to put a stop to Donald Trump’s crusade for the GOP Presidential nomination.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Drinking water in three Colorado cities may be contaminated with harmful chemicals related to toxic chemicals used to fight petroleum fires.
► A rising star in Britain’s Parliament was killed after being attacked by a man wielding a knife and a gun near the city of Leeds. Jo Cox, a 41-year-old member of the center-left Labour Party, had been an outspoken advocate for refugees and civilian victims in Syria.
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