Confirmed: McInnis Fragged By Penry Supporters

Didn’t take long for the Grand Junction Sentinel to put it all together:

A voice-mail message left by Scott McInnis to someone he hoped would support his bid for governor was posted on a Web site operated by two Front Range residents who are supporting McInnis’ likely intraparty rival, Josh Penry.

McInnis and Penry, both Grand Junction Republicans, have voiced interest in running against Democrat incumbent Gov. Bill Ritter.

A Front Range political watchdog group, Colorado Ethics Watch, said it was investigating the voice mail as a possible violation of campaign laws.

The Web site on which the voice mail was posted,, is owned by Todd Shepherd and Justin Longo, both of whom are listed on a Facebook page, “Draft Josh Penry for Colorado Governor.” [Pols emphasis]

Penry, a state senator from Grand Junction, is the minority leader in the party and previously worked for McInnis in the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

Shepherd said he “absolutely cannot” discuss how he obtained the voice-mail message. has nothing to do with the Golden-based Independence Institute, where he is employed to research government misdeeds, [Pols emphasis] Shepherd said…

We’re not trying to excuse Scott McInnis’ stupidity (or culpability) in leaving the phone message in question. And it’s not much of a surprise to learn that the “leaking” was perpetrated by supporters of aspiring gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry. The source of the recording, as well as its nature, clearly signaled that this was a red-on-red hit–and Penry is the sole beneficiary. Still, we’re surprised at how quickly this got traced unmistakably back not just to Penry, but to the same brand of right-wing ideologues who helped shove McInnis out of Bob Schaffer’s way two years ago.

Think about that for a moment. We have been telling you for years how a ruthless and ideologically-driven faction of the Republican Party took power in Colorado, as it did nationally at around the same time, and ran that power straight into the ground over years of dominance. We’ve had a state government increasingly dominated by Democrats since 2004 as a direct result. When we say the reason Democrats have power today is their move to the pragmatic center while Republicans have run to the fringe right, abandoning the majority of voters to please an increasingly narrow base, we have years of history to point to.

And we have a solution for Republicans, for all the accusations made against us of being a partisan mouthpiece: stop electing boorish extremists. Start electing more Al Whites and Don Marosticas. For all of his ethics baggage, not to mention the amateurish mistakes that opened the door to the Penry camp’s attack this week, McInnis is another such moderate Republican–strictly on the issues, a much more electable candidate than Penry, like he was to Schaffer.

And look, folks. Look what they’re doing to him.

55 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. I feel there is an insinuation in the above article that Representative McInnis is facing an a right-wing-political-firing-squad, primarily because he is a moderate Republican that is more flexible on the issues; for example, like abortion, where McInnis traditionally has been more Pro-Choice

    In addition, it also seems insinuated that the same right-wing-political-firing-squad prefers Senator Penry because he is Pro-Life

    What this article has failed to mention is that, unlike Al White and Don Marostica (who seem marked as the exemplary ‘Moderate Republicans’), Representative McInnis has a history of openly criticizing statewide Republican candidates (Beauprez and Schaffer) to the point that, in the opinions of some, it has not only hurt those respective statewide campaigns (Beauprez, Schaffer), but it has also hurt ALL Colorado Republicans, who were running for office in 2006 and 2008, due to exaggerating a low morale amongst active Republican voters who are debating whether to travel to the polls or not

    If there is a squad of Right Wingers who are out to sabotage Representative McInnis, then it is of my thought that their movement is not based on a dislike of Representative McInnis’s Moderate stances – rather, it is a dislike of the leadership exhibited in 2006 and 2008

    Lastly – Republican activists in Colorado know that I, personally, am very liberal on social issues, especially after the speeches I delivered during the Central Committee organizational meetings a few weeks ago — I have heard not a single criticism for any of my socially-liberal stances from any of the statewide central committee members and groups that I’ve interfaced with and it should also be noted that my background, as a minority, is seen as a positive, not a negative, amongst all Republicans I’ve talked to – I think Ryan Frazier’s increasing popularity, amongst Republicans, is also a testament to my argument

    Our Party is, indeed, changing for the better and accomodating differences, but one thing that 2006 and 2008 have taught us is that, more than popular political stances, we, as Republicans, want EXCELLENT leadership when we put up a 2010 ticket

    I hope that sentiment is noted when further criticism is placed upon my good Party

    • Cartesian Doubt says:

      This is pretty juvenile of the Penry supporters to “leak” this voice mail to damage McInnis. If he’s such a bad candidate, let the voters decide.

      “My good Party?” Are you serious?

      • Libertad says:

        The hope here is the GOP doesn’t have to find out about his candidacy, because he is fucking CORRUPT.

        Ritter has my indi vote if the GOP puts up this corrupt turd.

        • Cartesian Doubt says:

          But leaking voice mails is underhanded and unfit for an electoral system that most would agree is already weighed down by dirty deeds and low blows. The winner, ideally, would be the better candidate rather than the one with fewer revelations.

          If a candidate is corrupt, their corruption will show, hopefully through legal means. I would rather see crooked candidates publicly exposed by journalists, but they don’t make ’em like Woodward and Bernstein anymore.

          I have no vested interest in a Penry vs. McInnis smackdown. But I think over the next few weeks or months it’ll make for good entertainment.

    • RedGreen says:

      McInnis broke the 11th Commandment, plain and simple. All your bloviating doesn’t mask that. And that’s a fatal misstep “amongst” your good Party. Doesn’t sound like much change or accommodation of differences.

      As for McInnis’ single sentence — “I could’ve beat Udall” — if that was enough to

      hurt ALL Colorado Republicans, who were running for office in 2006 and 2008, due to exaggerating a low morale amongst active Republican voters

      then I’d have to say you were teetering on the edge already. There was no exaggeration of the low morale, Ali, if anything McInnis understated what a mess you and your TABOR-loving, government-is-the-problem nuts had created for your party.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        In the GOP public infighting is a ginat no-no. In our party it’s SOP.

        • RedGreen says:

          that’s the point of invoking the 11th Commandment and why it’s a fatal misstep for McInnis, at least as far as MAH is concerned.  

          • …yes, I don’t take very kind to those who break the 11th Commandment, but I’m also not a hypocrite – the mere fact that I’m publicly expressing my thoughts of Party Elders is probably violating the 11th Commandment, as we speak

            Thus, this isn’t about the 11th Commandment and revenge for unpunished sins – this is about leadership

            What kind of leadership do we want at the top of our ticket in the final days of the 2010 election? Will it be that of steadfast support… or that of criticism? This is the issue at hand…

    • One Queer Dude says:

         Oh so that’s why you were unsuccessful last November?  Because Scott McInnis criticized Bob Schaffer the week before the election?

      • RedGreen says:

        Those poor Colorado Republicans, frail wisps, so easily blown over by a single offhand remark by McInnis.

        Ali is right to rush to their defense — who, after all, can be expected to travel to the polls in the face of such a blistering remark? It’s a wonder they’ve recovered even six months later.

      • Libertad says:

        thats what happened in 06-08

      • …the last person I blame for my loss in HD56 is Representative McInnis

        Whether it’s Republicans or Democrats though, no one forgets who was working in the political-battlefields during the last month of the 2008 campaign and who was not

        Such histories will greatly dictate how Republican voters, here in Colorado, decide their primary victors, in my opinion

    • redstateblues says:

      That argument would make sense had Dick Wadhams not done what he did to force McInnis out in 2007. Wadhams wanted his boy (and yours) Schaffer in the race instead.

      McInnis had every right to vent on the Wadhams machine–he just chose a really bad time to do it. In hindsight I imagine he wished that he’d done it a week after the election rather than a week before, even though the race was pretty much over in August.

      Republican activists in Colorado know that I, personally, am very liberal on social issues, especially after the speeches I delivered during the Central Committee organizational meetings a few weeks ago — I have heard not a single criticism for any of my socially-liberal stances from any of the statewide central committee members and groups that I’ve interfaced with

      Since you’re running for Treasurer (are you running for Treasurer? I’m looking forward to seeing your super secret campaigning ideas you’ve been talking about) you won’t be put to the coals over your social issues positions because it’s an office where those issues will never come up. You’re very conservative on economic issues, so they’re all on board for you to be a primary candidate. That’s why you have been excused from the hit-jobs that have been executed on other moderate Republicans. That, and the fact that they might not be taking you seriously as a candidate (which would be a big mistake if you ask me.)

      Thanks for weighing in on this though. It’s interesting to hear your opinion on these kinds of things.

      • Redstateblues – I always appreciate your thoughtful replies and responses

        As far as Chairman Wadhams is concerned, Representative McInnis made a decision to exit the 2008 Senate Race – if he felt that he could’ve won, then he should’ve ran – simple as that – Chairman Wadhams is our leader, but he isn’t the sole voter in our primaries and Representative McInnis knows that

        Regarding race and open-mindedness in the Party, yes, the race for Treasurer is not as involved with social issues….. however, I will point back to the example of Ryan Frazier

        I think Frazier is gaining excellent traction with activist Republicans, especially the conservative ones – I think this is a great sign for our Party

        Overall, I think our Party members are doing a lot to embrace Moderates and make our good Party more accomodating for open thought – the critical nature that Representative McInnis is facing from some Republicans, in my view, is more about the question of leadership, rather than that  of political position

        Otherwise, I’m still evaluating the race, myself, and I’m having a good time interfacing with Republicans all over the state

        peace and love!

  2. RockySnark says:

    Nerd Alert!

    Interesting word choices in the headlines today, Pols.

  3. twas brillig says:

    When was the last time he ran a competitive race? He has tons of baggage. He doesn’t understand that he needs to take Penry down a peg or four before he can demonstrate viability to his party.

    I’ve always found the claim that that McInnis an extremely viable statewide candidate an overblown assumption, and really just a reflection on the GOP’s thin bench.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      …the campaign world has changed – a lot. I’m sure he knows what twitter, facebook, blogs, etc are. But does he truly understand how to use them?

      On the flip side, I’m not sure Ritter or Bennet have a good understanding of how to use the web. (Markey’s team does I think have a good feel for how to use the web.)

      The web is still a distant second to paid TV, but effective use of the web can add 5 points and for close races that’s the world.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      We just said he’s a more electable candidate than Penry. How much that says is another topic.

  4. One Queer Dude says:

       He’s tanned, rested and ready.  The unpleasantness surrounding the separation from Frances is now history.  (As is their marriage.)

      Although it’s never been litigated in court, doesn’t the two-term limit for governor apparently leave the door open to a third non-consecutive term?

      And who is the only Republcians who can reunite the wing nuts with the RINOs?

  5. Karate Kid says:

    You all should check out the response.  Apparently, just as Todd Shepherd (who runs Complete Colorado) is a Facebook member of the Draft Penry website, so is he a member of the Ritter site!  It is common practice for journalists to join many different politicians’ Facebook sites.  And Jason Bane, who is behind Colorado Pols, is a member of Ryan Frazier’s Facebook group!  Damn, Bane, you have egg on your face big time.  Nothing like hypocrisy to prove a point.  Go Todd!  You are a rock star at putting these guys in their place!

    • redstateblues says:

      You’re saying they’re not Penry supporters?

      In any case, Pols didn’t write that about them, the GJ Sentinel did.

      Complete Colorado is a joke. Not only do they have a horrible Drudge-clone web design, but this is the first time they’ve had any relevancy at all since I’ve been following the blogs. They make Face the State look like the Associated Press.

      Don’t pretend this wasn’t a a purposeful attempt by Penry supporters to sabotage McInnis’ campaign before it even got started.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      “Independence Institute employee thinks you’re stupid.”

      We’ll be sure to ask Jason about the Frazier Facebook group next time we see him–you’ll know when it happens from all the spontaneous laughter.

      We’d say the real lesson here is in the value of anonymous domain name registration. It’s listed under the “things even rank amateurs should already know” section of the handbook, though, and obviously Mr. Shepherd has no need for something so remedial.

      Oh wait, perhaps he does.

  6. MesaModerate says:

    It’s clear that Pols loves this controversy and they’re going to try to pin this on Penry instead of reminding everyone that it’s Congressman McInnis that shot his mouth off (no surprise to those of us who were represented by him for a decade).  I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but it sounds like Penry’s been in the trenches at the Capitol for the past week while McInnis is running around leaving messages with his “top 50.”  

    Perhaps the real point here is that at least 1 of Congressman McInnis’ “top 50” people that he thought were close supporters went shopping for a way to get this message out to the public!  Everyone knows that the Congressman won’t have widespread support among the GOP base but this flap shows that he doesn’t even have support among his “top 50.”

  7. WesternSlopeThought says:

    are already costing the Colorado Republican Party dearly.  Sayeth Penry:  “I haven’t spent any time thinking about this idea that we can both be governor for 16 years.”  I bet he hasn’t.  Not only would having to wait 8 years for his chance to lose be a psychological blow to his ambitions, he would also be term limited in the Senate and be forced out of that limelight, which feeds ego, for years before the next governor election.  And as Tim Foster pointed out in providing Penry’s selfish reasoning for seeking the Senate seat so soon, years out of the limelight would be political death for Penry. But Foster’s flawed logic has proven to be just the opposite.  The more people come to see who Penry really is and witness his continuing failures, the more his chances at winning a statewide race diminish.  

    It might be a good idea for Penry to read his own words:  “There’s no sign that they’ve learned from Republican mistakes”. DS  Why do the words “caterwauling shit blizzard” come to mind?  The far right’s backstabbing and circular firing squads prove they’ve not learned a damn thing from their recent disasters.  And Penry will be the catalyst for assuring those continued failures.

    Oh H Penry lubes the skids of the McInnis parade.

  8. CompleteColorado says:

    Hi all.  BIG fan of this site!

    So joining a simple Facebook group means I’m part of some giant conspiracy to push the R’s further to the right?  I’ve been caught, ahem, red handed?

    Facebook is worthless evidence.  WORTHLESS. No journalist worth his salt would use Facebook associations as the ONLY evidence for a story.  Again, in my response, even the GJ Sentinel is a “supporter” of Josh Penry, if your only source of evidence is Facebook!  Mr. Harmon should have asked me about that, but instead held that back as his “gotcha” moment so he’d make sure he would have a story for Saturday…how gutsy of him.  He certainly didn’t want me debunking his theory meaning he’d have to stay late finishing another story on Friday nite!  Other people “supporting” Penry if your only basis of evidence is Facebook: Monica Owens, Sean Tonner, Jason Bane.  What does all that tell you?  NOTHING.

    And the lede of this thread cracks me up….they put it all together, did they?  Did they determine to whom the voicemail was originally sent?  Did they determine who leaked it to me?  These are answers I’d like to see in a thread in which the lede crows that the GJS has “put it all together.”

    As for registration privacy…why?  I stand behind my work, including story breaks on Brandon Marshall that were duplicated nationwide.  Or am I just supposed to keep my identity as owner/editor of private just so I can avoid the scorn of THIS website?

    As for my biz partner Justin Longo, he’s so libertarian he thinks Milton Friedman is a statist.  That guy can’t stand just about any D or R.

    Anywheys, like I said, I’m a big fan of Pols.  Keep up the great work…and to all of you new fans of, welcome!

    Full response to the GJS article at:


    • colorado76 says:

      “The release of this voice mail was not orchestrated by supporters of Senator Penry”


      You can’t prove that the release of this voice mail was orchestrated by supporters of Senator Penry.”

      • RedGreen says:

        Penry supporters and McInnis opponents aren’t necessarily one in the same. There are other Republicans running for governor, and there are others without a dog in that fight who are bothered by McInnis’ ethical challenges.

        • colorado76 says:

          I’m just saying the commentary strikes at the proffered evidence, but notably does not deny the underlying charge.  There could be other reasons for that as well, but it is what it is.

          The irony of releasing a voice mail that was intended to be private on the internet out of concern for someone else’s ethics would certainly be more interesting, but perhaps we’ll never know.    

          • RedGreen says:

            “the underlying charge” in the longer response he links to.

            And there’s not an ounce of irony about crying ethical foul while releasing a voice mail left by a gubernatorial hopeful talking politics with a potential supporter.

            • CompleteColorado says:

              Here’s exactly what I denied:

              The Sentinel charged me with being a Penry “supporter” based on the flimsiest of evidence.  As I’ve tried to point out to those who will listen to just an ounce of reason and logic, by using the same standard, I could call many people Penry supporters who clearly aren’t.  

              On my response to the GJS article, I made clear, “Let me state for the record that neither I, nor my business partner Justin Longo, neither of us have a preference in the 2010 Governor’s race. If we were presented with the exact same voicemail, from the exact same source, but with the voice of Josh Penry on the tape, we would have published that too.”

              And so now a picture of Josh Penry behind an II lecturn means I’m condemned for certain because I work for II?  C’mon guys, you’re making 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon look like kindergarten play.  The way you all are behaving, you’d pin me to being a member of the 700 Club just for being in the same state as Pat Robertson at the same time.

              I’d love to stick around and answer every question that the 100 of you could dream up, but I’m gonna go enjoy the rest of my weekend.  You all enjoy playing Woodward & Bernstein…



              • WesternSlopeThought says:

                is making the same excuse McInnis tried to use to cover his blunder also.

                McInnis:  I haven’t declared that I’m a candidate yet.

                Shepherd:  I haven’t declared which candidate I support yet.

              • JeffcoBlue says:

                Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha he he he he ho ho ho ho that’s rich, buddy.

                “I’m condemned for certain because I work for II?”

                Well, kind of. You are what you eat, and that includes paychecks cut by Jon Caldara. Without whose permission, explicit or implicit, you would not have done anything harmful to a Republican.

                The Pols summarized your responses as “Independence Institute employee thinks you’re stupid.”

                Let me know when you have something to add to their assessment.

        • JeffcoBlue says:

          Altruistic Republicans just looking to keep their side playing by the rules.

          Riiiight, RG. You’re not nearly that naive so don’t pretend to be.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      You get points for showing up here, but this could not possibly be more transparent. You knew exactly what you were doing, and a few others did too.

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      You work for the Independence Institute, don’t you?

      That’s Josh Penry at the “Porkulus” rally, isn’t it?

      What’s that logo on his podium, the top of which is just barely peeking out at the bottom of the photo?

      Why, that’s the Independence Institute’s logo, isn’t it!

      So, Todd, when was the last time Scooter McLobbyist spoke at one of your rallies? Probably been awhile if ever, hasn’t it?

      Todd, let me ask you something, buddy: do you think anyone who knows anything about the people you work for, has ever heard, for example, the name “Ramey Johnson”–is going to buy this giggly non-denial “can’t pin nothin’ on me” horseshit for one solitary second?

    • DavidThi808 says:

      …wouldn’t it be more accurate to say he’s an idiot as that is an incredibly dumb thing to say.

  9. WesternSlopeThought says:

    Shall we expect Josh Penry to give Gary Harmon the same “Tony Soprano treatment” he gave reporter Mike Saccone?

  10. rocco says:

    So “complete colorado” gets it’s buzz words from mark levin?

    Where’s your history come from? Jonah Goldberg?

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