“Oath Keeper” Militia Guy Guilty Of Seditious Conspiracy

Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes, who seems nice.

As the Washington Post reports, a verdict today in one of the highest profile criminal trials (so far) of a major player in the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to obstruct the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Stewart Rhodes, founder of the “Oath Keepers” militia group that claims a large number of members in Colorado–not Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown’s old militia group, the other one–is guilty of the fairly extraordinary crime of seditious conspiracy.

A federal jury on Tuesday convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of seditious conspiracy for leading a months-long plot to unleash political violence to prevent the inauguration of President Biden, culminating in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The panel of 12 District residents deliberated for three days before finding Rhodes guilty of conspiring to oppose by force the lawful transition of presidential power…

The verdict in Rhodes’s case likely will be taken as a bellwether for two remaining Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy trials set for December against five other Oath Keepers and leaders of the Proud Boys, including the longtime chairman Henry ‘Enrique’ Tarrio. Both Rhodes and Tarrio are highly visible leaders of the alt-right or far-right anti-government movements, and were highlighted at hearings probing the attack earlier this year by the House Jan. 6 committee.

Former Oath Keeper Jason Van Tatenhove testifies before Congress in his best jean jacket.

Back in September, the Denver Post’s Seth Klamann reported on leaked membership rolls for the Oath Keepers that showed almost 1,000 members of the militia organization in Colorado alone–although a number of individuals on that membership list claimed they were not active members or had withdrawn from the group after negative press earned at the Bundy Ranch standoff. In July, hirsute Colorado resident Jason Van Tatenhove testified before the January 6th Select Committee as Colorado Public Radio reported:

Van Tatenhove, who lives in Estes Park, did not mince words when talking about the right-wing extremist group he worked as a spokesperson for until 2016. “In my opinion, the Oath Keepers are a very dangerous organization.”

“I can tell you that they may not like to call themselves a militia, but they are. They’re a violent militia,” he said, noting the group started becoming radicalized during his time there. “I think the best illustration for what the Oath Keepers are happened January 6th, when we saw that stacked military formation going up the stairs of our Capitol.”

Rhodes may be the highest up the Trumpian food chain to be found guilty of a major crime in the plot to overturn the 2020 presidential election, but Rhodes’ guilt in turn points to the guilt of plotters well above his level–including close associates of Trump who Rhodes was in regular contact with. The criminal charges must not stop with Stewart Rhodes. The conspiracy Rhodes was found guilty of participating in goes right to the top.

That’s the justice the country needs before we can move on from January 6th.

No Peace On Kristi Burton Brown’s Right

Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown in 2021.

A holiday week press release from an organization calling itself the Save Colorado Project, which reportedly has some connection to Western Slope far-right election denial whacktivist Sherronna Bishop, announces a press conference for “High Noon” tomorrow at Colorado Republican Party headquarters in Greenwood Village calling for “new leadership” for the party in the wake of another round of devastating electoral defeats:

After publicly rejecting America First, Top Line candidates, Republican Chair Kristi Burton Brown promised her center left candidates were the solution to winning in Colorado. She was wrong and so were those that supported this approach. For 15 years now the Colorado Republican party leadership has repeatedly dismissed inspiring grassroots candidates.

Our Republican Party leadership has failed us. They strayed from the foundation of what we stand for. We are no longer interested in, nor will we consent to the ongoing betrayal of our core American values by those who were trusted to lead.

The establishment continues to play by the rules of the past. Those manipulations are no longer working, nor do we want them to. We are seeking transparency and honesty to be pillars of the new Republican party that will be established. New leadership is critical to guide us back to the core tenets of our platform.

We have seen the resolve of grassroots from every corner of Colorado. We are simply regular people who are sick of losing everything, feeling unsafe and watching the destruction of Colorado under the Democrat Governor, Jared Polis. Polis’s complete control of our state and the partnership of Republicans in Name Only must end. This union has accelerated the radical agenda that has led Colorado into historic inflation, violence and crime as we just witnessed in Colorado Springs this weekend. Crime is flourishing under weak leadership and bad policies. We have had enough…

Rep. Lauren Boebert with 2020 primary campaign manager Sherronna Bishop.

It’s not like Bishop and the motley crew of fringe Republican primary losers, like Ron Hanks and Tina Peters, represent the answer to the Republican Party’s fundamental viability problems in Colorado, but few can argue that GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown’s term has been an even greater failure than her last couple of predecessors–doing more to aggravate the party’s long-term challenges in this blue-shifting state than alleviate them. Brown’s tone-deafness on abortion severely undermined her party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate, and Brown’s managerial ineptitude allowed Democrats to run circles around their opponents’ field campaign efforts.

But that’s not what Sherronna Bishop is mad about! Bishop’s problem is how Kristi Burton Brown “publicly rejected” Bishop’s favored “America First Top Line” candidates like Ron Hanks and Tina Peters in the Republican primary last June. There is a bubble of perception within the Republican Party that absolutely believes Tina Peters is a hero and “RINO” Republicans like KBB are the problem. We may presume to know better locally, but remember that FOX News propaganda minister Tucker Carlson fed his millions of viewers a much more favorable version of Peters’ story last July.

The one thing no one can argue with is that what Colorado Republicans tried this year didn’t work.

Their sweeping failure provides little guidance on how to do better, inviting the wrong answers.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Nov. 29)

The United States Men’s soccer team takes on Iran today at Noon for a chance to advance to the knockout stage of the World Cup. Now, 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.




One of the big questions from the Club Q mass shooting in Colorado Springs revolves around the refusal of local elected officials to use so-called “Red Flag” laws that were intended to help prevent such a tragedy. Governor Jared Polis says he wants to expand the law, as 9News reports:

Polis on Monday called for the expansion of the “red flag” law in Colorado that gives loved ones and law enforcement the ability to take guns away from people who appear to be dangerous.

A roommate, relative or law enforcement officer can ask a judge to remove firearms from someone the court deems to be a “significant risk” to themselves or others. In a statement to 9Wants to Know, Polis’ spokesman said the governor supports expanding the list of those who can request a red flag order – officially known as an “extreme risk protection order” – to include district attorneys and possibly others…

…Despite having the second-most red flag cases in the state, El Paso County has the lowest approval rate in the state among the large Front Range counties. There was an approval in 23% of the county’s 53 cases.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder has repeatedly made it clear that he opposes the law. In 2019, the county passed a resolution declaring itself a sanctuary from the enforcement of the red flag law. The sheriff has not filed an application for a red flag order, according to court records.

The Colorado Springs Independent has more on questions about why “Red Flag” laws weren’t used by local officials.

Meanwhile, as The Colorado Sun reports in it’s “Unaffiliated” newsletter:

Pressure is building on Democrats in the Colorado legislature to act — once again — after the state’s latest mass shooting. And preliminary conversations are already underway in the House and Senate Democratic caucuses about what gun control steps to take next year…

…Senate President Steve Fenberg said there are already discussions happening around tweaking Colorado’s red flag law, raising the minimum age to purchase certain firearms, enacting waiting periods between when someone purchases a weapon and can access it and improving the background check process.


The U.S. Senate will vote today on a same-sex marriage measure. From NBC News:

The Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday afternoon on legislation to codify federal protections for marriages between same-sex and interracial couples.

Unless some Republican supporters of the bill flip, the Respect For Marriage Act is expected to pass, one day after it cleared another procedural hurdle by a vote of 61 to 35, receiving unanimous support from Senate Democrats and 12 GOP votes, enough to break a filibuster.

“We’re making a really positive difference in people’s lives by creating the certainty that their ability to protect their families will be lasting,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the author of the bill and first openly gay American elected to the Senate, told NBC News.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday he’s wearing the same tie he wore to the wedding of his daughter and her wife. “It’s personal to me,” he told reporters.


The Washington Post ponders when the “recession” that so many economists predicted might actually arrive:

The overwhelming view among economists and Fed watchers is that the country is barreling toward a recession. And experts have good reason for the doom and gloom: The Fed is in the middle of an all-out effort to bring down dangerously high inflation, hiking interest rates at the most aggressive pace in decades. On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell will speak at the Brookings Institution, where he’s expected to set the stage for smaller rate hikes in the coming weeks and months while reinforcing the Fed’s commitment to taming inflation.

Yet the feared recession still hasn’t arrived. Ever since the Fed started aggressively hiking interest rates in March, crucial pillars of the economy have stayed remarkably strong. The economy grew in the third quarter after shrinking in the first half of the year. Gas prices are ticking down. Companies are still eager to hire workers. And for many businesses and households planning for the future, a slowdown just doesn’t seem imminent.

Powell and his colleagues say they will be guided by the economic data, and this week will offer plenty to analyze. New government figures on October job openings come out on Wednesday, and the November jobs report comes out on Friday. But for months, the Fed’s resounding message has made clear that officials will not stop until prices come back down to normal levels, and as a result, the chances of avoiding a recession are slimming.


If you thought Republican leaders in one of Colorado’s largest counties might have learned a lesson from the 2022 election…think again.


Click below to keep learning things…



All Back To Normal At The Jefferson County GOP

We’re relieved to see the Republican Party in Colorado’s bellwether suburb of Jefferson County is learning lessons from this year’s annihilation at the polls, like voters who just thrashed them for a third consecutive election are obviously looking for:


Maybe a rogue staffer got posting access to the Jeffco GOP’s Facebook page? Doesn’t seem like it since this post is still there hours later, and was joined by this mysterious meme a short while later:

Here’s what this latest QAnon-style conspiracy theory regarding luxury brand Balenciaga seems to be about. We Googled so you wouldn’t have to. The short answer is it’s an ad campaign that the company swiftly pulled down after it was widely criticized, and the connection to child trafficking is as bogus as the basement of Comet Ping Pong–plus we still have no idea how it’s actually related to deceased pedo Jeffrey Epstein.

But with that, you can forget that part about local Republicans learning lessons from defeat! If you were wondering how unqualified crackpots like Hiedi Heidi Ganahl and her election-denier running mate Danny Moore made it through the GOP’s filter to lead their party to destruction in 2022, it’s because people like the Jeffco GOP Facebook page administrator are the filter.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Nov. 28)

Happy Cyber Monday! A quick note before we get started: Some of the items in today’s Get More Smarter are a few days old because of the Thanksgiving holiday break. 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 


Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is hoping to use a lame duck session in Congress to revive an expanded child tax credit program. As Nick Coltrain reports for The Denver Post:

Bennet has long championed the expanded child tax credit and helped secure its inclusion in 2021’s American Rescue Plan Act. Under that temporary program, parents received $300 per month and per child younger than 6, and $250 per month for children 6 and older. It scaled lower if households made higher incomes.

It only lasted about half a year, however, and expired in January. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, tilted the odds against its continuation in an evenly split Senate. He cited concerns about inflation and that it discouraged people from working.

Despite its short lifespan, the Census Bureau credited it with nearly halving childhood poverty in the country. Its analysis found that the expanded tax credit lifted some 5.3 million Americans, most of whom are children, out of poverty. That doesn’t include the millions more who weren’t in poverty but otherwise benefited from the expanded credits.

Colorado Public Radio has more on what Democrats hope to accomplish in the final weeks of the current Congress.


► President Biden is pushing hard for a new Assault Weapons Ban in Congress after another week of mass shootings around the country. From The Associated Press:

“The idea we still allow semi-automatic weapons to be purchased is sick. Just sick,” Biden said on Thanksgiving Day. “I’m going to try to get rid of assault weapons.”…

…A weapons ban is far off in a closely divided Congress. But Biden and the Democrats have become increasingly emboldened in pushing for stronger gun controls — and doing so with no clear electoral consequences.

The Democratic-led House passed legislation in July to revive a 1990s-era ban on “assault weapons,” with Biden’s vocal support. And the president pushed a ban nearly everywhere that he campaigned this year.

Still, in the midterm elections, Democrats kept control of the Senate and Republicans were only able to claim the slimmest House majority in two decades.

The tough talk follows passage in June of a landmark bipartisan bill on gun laws, and it reflects steady progress that gun control advocates have been making in recent years.

Meanwhile, expect to see more pushback against local elected Republicans who refuse to use tools such as “Red Flag” laws that might have prevented the mass shooting in Colorado Springs.


Lindsay Datko, the nutball leader of the “Jeffco Kids First” organization that played a significant role in promoting the widely-discredited nonsense about “furries” in schools (which GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl talked about incessantly) is now pushing a new lie via Facebook. The message below is complete nonsense; Colorado Community Media is NOT considering a retraction of this October story from reporter Rylee Dunn.



Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congresswoman-elect Brittany Pettersen providing a look behind the curtain about how newly-elected Members of Congress get acclimated to Washington D.C..


Click below to keep learning things…



ICYMI, And Lauren Boebert Hopes Donald Trump Did

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).

Lost in the holiday week’s news but worth a mention lest it disappear down the memory hole–a week ago Friday, just after accepting Adam Frisch’s concession in this year’s heartbreakingly close CD-3 race, soon-to-be sophomore Ultra-MAGA trainwreck Rep. Lauren Boebert was asked about her support for ex-President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign announced just a few days before. Newsweek’s Andrew Stanton took notice of Boebert’s cagey answer:

Boebert was asked about whether she would endorse Trump during an interview with Denver news station KCNC-TV on Friday. While she maintained she is a “huge supporter” of the former president, she avoided saying she would back his presidential bid.

“He is an amazing friend, and certainly an inspiration. I love his policies. America was stronger than ever under his policies. We had peace through strength, and he was certainly motivation for me to stand up for what I know is right,” Boebert said. “I certainly would not turn my back on President Trump. I am a huge supporter of his.”

But then, after a deep breath and a big smile that suggests Boebert knows she’s taking a big risk:

“I love Governor Ron DeSantis. He is America’s governor, and he has the same policies,” she said, adding that 2024 remains “in the far future.” [Pols emphasis]

Record scratch moment. Trump announced his re-election campaign on November 15th, and it’s safe to say that Trump does not consider the 2024 election season to be “in the far future.” Lines are being drawn right now, and Trump is counting on his cadre of Ultra-MAGA Republicans to remain loyal. A number, including Boebert’s competitor for the far-right spotlight Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, have formally endorsed Trump’s 2024 bid.

A Boebert spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement that “the Congresswoman supports President Trump 100%.”

Unfortunately for Boebert, there’s no way that Trump will interpret Boebert’s “love” for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who has “the same policies” as Trump to be “100% support” for Trump. Readers will recall that defeated GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea’s dissing of Trump took many months to arrive on Trump’s radar, coinciding with O’Dea dissing Trump on CNN in mid-October— either while Trump himself was watching, or someone close enough to alert Trump was.

For a candidate who had no idea how vulnerable she was until almost losing a safe Republican seat, Boebert is taking an awful risk by hedging her bet on the 2024 nominee against the man Boebert owes her own position to more than perhaps anyone except Scott Tipton. Although Trump’s campaign launch was greeted with the same disdain as establishment Republicans had in 2015 when Trump descended the golden escalator, Trump remains the leading contender for the 2024 nomination.

And like Joe O’Dea found out the hard way, Trump’s wrath remains a dangerous thing.

Joe Oltmann: The Porta-Potty Rebellion Begins

UPDATE: Were they not so undeserving of pity, we’d almost have some:

Go about your business, folks. The revolution will not begin today.


The word went out before the Thanksgiving holiday that Black Friday 2022 would be the day (you’ve heard this before but for real this time) that the election stealers across this great country finally get some ‘countability. Although Colorado’s Heidi Ganahl lost her race by numbers that not even the most devoted election conspiracy theorist could dispute–and she did consult with them–Colorado’s leading conspiracy theorist podcaster who wants to hang a whole slew of people including Gov. Jared Polis, Joe Oltmann, called for patriots to converge on the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix this morning to demand a new election for defeated GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake:

We don’t know how long these patriots intend to “Occupy” the Arizona Capitol grounds, but the weather in Phoenix is pretty nice this year so there are no worries about them freezing to death in their little encampment. Also, sources on the ground are reporting that patriot potty breaks will not be a problem:

Because while Oltmann can’t seem to draw a crowd, there appear to be a plethora of Porta-Potties.

At this point we think it’s best to let them get it out of their system, with relief that it wasn’t much worse. Kari Lake won’t get a do-over of the election she lost, and the general shrug her allegations of fraud are receiving is a welcome sign that Donald Trump’s election denialism might end with Trump. A whimper of a protest to cap off Kari Lake’s Trump-like strategy of election pre-denial could be interpreted as a sign of American politics working back to the status quo ante.

Rep-Elect Brittany Pettersen Gets More Smarter

State Sen. Brittany Pettersen and son Davis.

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Brittany Pettersen, Congresswoman-elect from the seventh congressional district (and Ian’s wife). Pettersen takes us behind the scenes for a look at what it’s like for a newly-elected Member of Congress to spend the week after the election learning the ins and outs of life at the U.S. Capitol. 

Later, we discuss Rep. Lauren Boebert’s narrow victory in CO-03; Donald Trump’s very sad 2024 campaign announcement; and leadership elections at the State Capitol. Happy Thanksgiving, and thank you for listening!

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Inside The Colorado Politics That Enabled Mass Murder

TUESDAY UPDATE: Here’s a good story from 9News about Republican politicians, including El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, who flat out refuse to use tools that might have prevented this tragedy:



El Paso County DA Michael Allen.

As we continue to gather information about this weekend’s horrific mass shooting at a Colorado Springs LGBTQ+ nightclub, there are two separate principal tracks of forensic inquiry: how the shooter was able to legally obtain his AR-style assault rifle complete with what we assume to be illegal high-capacity magazines after a prior incident involving law enforcement that it could be argued should have triggered Colorado’s “red flag” laws, and the larger question of what motivated the shooter to commit this heinous crime.

AP reports on the first question, a 2021 incident in which the suspect made threats that, at least in this reporting, seem sufficient to have warranted an extreme risk protection order–which under Colorado law can be sought by either family members or law enforcement:

A year and a half before he was arrested in the Colorado Springs gay nightclub shooting that left five people dead, Anderson Lee Aldrich allegedly threatened his mother with a homemade bomb, forcing neighbors in surrounding homes to evacuate while the bomb squad and crisis negotiators talked him into surrendering.

Yet despite that scare, there’s no public record that prosecutors moved forward with felony kidnapping and menacing charges against Aldrich, or that police or relatives tried to trigger Colorado’s “red flag” law that would have allowed authorities to seize the weapons and ammo the man’s mother says he had with him.

Gun control advocates say Aldrich’s June 2021 threat is an example of a red flag law ignored, with potentially deadly consequences. While it’s not clear the law could have prevented Saturday night’s attack — such gun seizures can be in effect for as little as 14 days and be extended by a judge in six-month increments — they say it could have at least slowed Aldrich and raised his profile with law enforcement.

In part due to strident political opposition to the ERPO law by a number of the state’s elected county sheriffs and some district attorneys, utilization of the law in Colorado lags distantly behind many other states where the rate of firearm seizures is far higher. During his campaign for office, now-DA for El Paso County Michael Allen promised that if elected, his office would “not participate in ‘red flag’ confiscation.”

In the above AP story, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder explained that his office only initiates ERPO petitions at the request of family members unless there are “exigent circumstances.” Newly-elected sheriff Joe Roybal likewise says he won’t enforce the ERPO law. It’s straightforward to conclude that the ERPO law was not utilized against the shooter due to the political reluctance of local elected officials to do so. Ever since the passage of the “red flag” law in 2019, we’ve apprehensively predicted a case in which the political refusal to implement Colorado’s gun laws would result in a preventable tragedy. The mass shooting at Club Q this weekend appears to meet that criteria.

Given the number of shots fired by the shooter before unarmed patrons stopped him, it’s also likely that the assault weapon used was equipped with high-capacity magazines–which are illegal under state law, but as 9NEWS uncovered in a statewide investigative report are widely sold with impunity in jurisdictions where law enforcement has declared they won’t enforce the law.

Like El Paso County.

The second major question about this shooting is of course the motivations of the shooter, who has already been charged with bias-motivated crimes in addition to murder. While we have not seen any statements directly attributed to the shooter to discern his motive, this year’s election season in Colorado witnessed an ugly reversion to anti-LGBTQ+ political themes that marked a change of course over previous years, in which Republicans had downplayed their opposition to marriage equality after years of being punished by voters for an increasingly unpopular repressive agenda. The Denver Post’s Elizabeth Hernandez:

“You can draw a straight line from the false and vile rhetoric about LGBTQ people spread by extremists and amplified across social media, to the nearly 300 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year, to the dozens of attacks on our community like this one,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

The emphasis on anti-trans themes in particular in Colorado politics this year, from lurid mailers sent to Spanish language households by GOP supervillain Stephen Miller to Heidi Ganahl’s crusade against “children identifying as animals,” reflected a nationwide strategy to terrorize a gullible segment of voters into turning out for Republican candidates. It doesn’t appear to have worked anywhere except maybe in Florida, while in Colorado it backfired–and arguably contributed to sweeping losses for Republicans in the election.

In 2015, a deranged man who called himself “a warrior for the babies” killed three people at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic after months of false stories circulated in conservative media about the supposed sale of “baby body parts” from abortion clinics. These two incidents appear to share commonality in political messages that directly served in the minds of these unstable people as incitement to violence.

No one wants that on their conscience. But at some point, the traffickers in hateful rhetoric and the political movement they overwhelmingly adhere to must own this cause and effect.

At Least Five Killed In Colorado Springs Mass Shooting

UPDATE: Via the Colorado LGBTQ Legislative Caucus:

Statement from Majority Leader Daneya Esgar, co-founder of the Colorado LGBTQ Legislative Caucus, and Majority Caucus Co-chair, Brianna Titone, Chair of the Colorado LGBTQ Legislative Caucus:

“We are devastated. Club Q is a safe haven for LGBTQ Coloradans, and many of us have gone there over the years seeking solidarity and community. For that sense of safety to be shattered by this unspeakable act of violence impacts the entire LGBTQ community. On Trans Day of Remembrance, we have already been grieving the hate crimes that too often claim the lives of LGBTQ people simply because of who we are. From the acts of violence that target our community every day to the horrific shooting at the Pulse Nightclub, horrible tragedies like this have happened far too often, and they need to stop now. We must take urgent and meaningful action to reduce gun violence and prevent crimes that target and kill LGBTQ people.”

Gov. Jared Polis:

This is horrific, sickening, and devastating. My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured, and traumatized in this horrific shooting. I have spoken with Mayor Suthers and made it clear that every state resource is available to local law enforcement in Colorado Springs. We are eternally grateful for the brave individuals who blocked the gunman likely saving lives in the process and for the first responders who responded swiftly to this horrific shooting. Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn together.


Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs.

Waking up to terrible news out of Colorado Springs, a fatal mass shooting just before midnight last night at a popular LGBTQ+ club. KRDO:

Five people are dead and multiple others are injured after a shooting at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub…

Police hailed patrons in the club as heroes. Colorado Springs Police Chief Vasquez said at least two people inside confronted the shooter as he was making his way through the club and fought with him. They were able to stop the suspect from continuing to kill and harm others.

Chief Vasquez said we owe them a great debt of thanks.

At this time, police said it’s too early to determine a motive and cannot say whether or not this was a targeted attack against the LGBTQ community.

We’ll update with news and reactions as they come in. Terrible and all too familiar.

Winners and Losers of the 2022 Election (Part 2)

As we wrote on Thursday, we had been waiting to post our annual post-election “Winners and Losers” list until we actually knew all of the election winners and losers (we’re looking at you, Lauren Boebert).

Click here for Part 1 (The “Winners”) of our end-of-cycle analysis, or read on for Part 2 “The Losers.”


The 2022 “Extinction Level Event” for Republicans


The Losingest Losers of 2022



Adam Frisch, Morally Victorious, Concedes For Today

CD-3 Democratic candidate Adam Frisch.

Yesterday’s final counting of cured and overseas ballots slashed freshman GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’s already narrow lead over Democratic challenger Adam Frisch into the range necessary to trigger an automatic recount of the results–551 votes at the last count. Although this further delayed the final results in this race, it’s very unlikely that the recount will shift enough votes to change that result.

Recognizing this, Frisch, who nobody outside his team thought had a chance but ran a pitch-perfect centrist campaign well attuned to the district against Boebert’s high-visibility low-productivity record in office, conceded the race this morning to Boebert rather than further expend resources in a futile recount effort. Colorado Public Radio:

The closeness of the race took many in the political world by surprise, given Boebert’s national profile and the fact that Republicans hold a 9 point advantage in the district. It’s Colorado’s most expansive congressional seat, spanning western and southern Colorado and including cities such as Pueblo and Grand Junction.

Boebert’s narrow margin means the state is required to order an automatic recount.

However, no Colorado recount in recent memory has resulted in more than a few dozen votes being reassigned, and those are usual cases of poorly marked ballots where human judges have to try to interpret the voter’s intent (or, recently, because a county found ballots it failed to count the first time)…

“Colorado elections are safe, accurate, and secure,” said Frisch, adding it would be unethical for his campaign to continue accepting money from supporters. “Please save your money for your groceries, your rent, your children, and for other important causes in organizations.”

Although Boebert will get her cacophonous second term in the GOP’s teensy new U.S. House majority, the damage inflicted to her public image from this near defeat has transformed CD-3 from the sleepy GOP-leaning backwater into one of the top pickup targets for Democrats looking to reclaim the majority in two years. Frisch himself has already filed for a rematch, and after coming so close he’ll be a strong if not prohibitive contender for the nomination in 2024. Either way, Frisch has demonstrated Boebert can be defeated in this R+9 district, which was in fundamental doubt after Boebert’s easy defeat of her GOP primary challenger Don Coram.

No one believed it until Adam Frisch proved it. And for that, he’s a hero for Democrats even in defeat.

Watch: Senator Hickenlooper Breaks Down The Crypto Crisis

We don’t post every clip of social media content from Colorado politicos, but this brief and informative explanation of the ongoing crisis following the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange from Sen. John Hickenlooper is well worth fifty seconds of your time. Hickenlooper is calling for crypto exchanges to be regulated with the same scrutiny as banks, and if you’re one of the thousands of crypto investors who just lost their shirt in this largely unregulated uninsured market it’s tough to disagree.

So Much For Recalling Kevin Priola

State Sen. Kevin Priola (D-Henderson).

Readers will remember that Republicans led by Michael Fields of the conservative advocacy group Advance Colorado immediately announced a recall campaign against state Sen. Kevin Priola following Priola’s defection in August to the Democratic Party, obtaining a deadline to return signatures coinciding with Election Day before Denver District Court Judge Marie Avery Moses ruled that recallistas had to wait until Priola began representing the new boundaries of his Senate district in January. This ruling was highly adverse to the recall campaign, effectively negating the effort and money expended up to that time on the petition drive.

But as the Denver Post’s Seth Klamann reports, another even more adverse event was on the horizon:

A renewed attempt to recall party-switching state Sen. Kevin Priola is less likely to unfold early next year in the wake of Colorado Republicans’ electoral losses last week, an organizer said Thursday.

Officials behind the first failed attempt to recall Priola have yet to make a final decision on whether to resurrect the effort next year, said Michael Fields, of the conservative group Advance Colorado. But the expense of another campaign and the scale of the Democrats’ control of the Senate — with or without Priola — makes a second try “more unlikely” going forward, he said. [Pols emphasis]

Priola, a Henderson lawmaker, was the target of a recall campaign shortly after he announced in August that he was switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat. At the time, officials from both parties believed control of the state Senate could swing Republican, and Priola’s switch complicated that path and provided a lifeline to Democrats wary of what appeared to be a looming red-wave election…

As it turns out, the best thing Democrats could do to defend Sen. Priola was to make his party switch irrelevant to determining the Senate majority by burying the Republican Party in this year’s elections. Having expanded their Senate majority by several seats, Democrats left Republicans with no material benefit to recalling Sen. Priola–and after their humiliating losses, the partisan momentum Republicans felt they had initially to pursue this recall has completely dissipated.

The experience of the multiple and increasingly pathetic recall attempts against Gov. Jared Polis throughout his first four years in office has taught us that where there’s an opportunity for grift, somebody is likely to make the attempt. Fortunately, it looks like the smart Republican money is backing away from plunging right into yet another recall season on the heels of another failed election season.

That would be the first good decision Colorado Republicans have made in some time.

Winners and Losers from the 2022 Election (Part 1)

We’ve been waiting to publish our annual “Winners and Losers” lists from the election until all of the big races had been finalized. But with the outcome in CO-03 likely headed to a recount, it’s time to just move ahead.

Up first is our list of “Winners” from 2022. This is not merely a list of winning candidates, of course, but a deeper dive into the winningest winners of the election cycle. We’ll post our “Losers” list separately.


The Winningest Winners of 2022



Republican candidates lied with impunity in 2022, but Colorado voters chose instead to believe their own eyes about the state of the state in which they live. Colorado schools are not overrun by kids in “furry” costumes. Colorado is not #2 in fentanyl deaths. Denver is not a smoking crater in the ground. Jared Polis did not steal your car. Google is not out to get Joe O’Dea


Felix Lopez

Er, maybe not.

In politics, as in life, sometimes your best moves are the ones you DON’T make. Republican Las Animas County Commissioner Felix Lopez was GOP gubernatorial nominee Heidi Ganahl’s first choice to be her running mate and Lieutenant Governor – to the point that Ganahl was teasing an announcement in early July. But Lopez started having second thoughts as an announcement neared and ultimately decided to back out. Ganahl’s candidacy ended up being so historically bad that everyone who was at all associated with her campaign will be forever tainted. Perhaps Lopez is not interested in seeking higher office, but at least now he still has that option.


Lisa Cutter and Tammy Story

These Jefferson County Democrats were significantly impacted by redistricting and other political decisions taking place in their respective orbits. 

When Brittany Pettersen decided to seek a seat in Congress, Cutter was the obvious choice to run for Pettersen’s Lakewood-area State Senate seat. The problem for Cutter was that Republican Tim Walsh was willing and able to spend more than a million dollars of his own money to become a state senator himself. Despite a barrage of advertising in SD-20, Cutter ended up winning by nearly 10 points.

Story was a State Senator herself when redistricting changed the political landscape and chopped up her Southwest Jefferson County Senate district. Instead of taking the loss and moving on, Story decided to run for a State House seat in South Jeffco (HD-25) and ended up pulling off an upset (an incumbent State Senator running for State House is incredibly rare). Story’s narrow victory in HD-25 proved very consequential for Republicans, because it ousted incumbent Rep. Colin Larson – who was likely to become the next House Minority Leader if he had been re-elected.


Steve Fenberg

Senate President Steve Fenberg has now led his caucus to three consecutive majorities, including an unprecedented 23-vote majority in 2022. Fenberg should remain in charge of the State Senate through 2024 and will be well-positioned for higher office when he’s finished.


Jared Polis 

Winning re-election had been a foregone conclusion for months, given the sheer ineptitude of Republican Heidi Ganahl. But winning re-election by 20 points was something that virtually nobody saw coming. Polis is only the fourth major statewide candidate in Colorado to win by 20+ points since 1990. Polis was first elected Governor in 2018 by an 11-point margin; clearly, Colorado voters approve of both Polis and his policies. 


Michael Bennet

The incumbent Democratic Senator had been elected twice before, but had never quite reached 50% of the total vote in Colorado (he came really close in 2016). As of this writing, Bennet is on the cusp of surpassing 56% of the total vote, extending his margin of victory over Republican Joe O’Dea to 15 points.


Most Colorado Media Outlets

National media outlets played a silly game that we documented repeatedly in which they pretended that Republican Joe O’Dea might knock off incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who ended up winning by 15 points. Most Colorado media outlets did not buy into this nonsense narrative and instead focused on actual on-the-ground reporting to guide their coverage – in this race and every other in Colorado. 

Kyle Clark of 9News

Colorado journalists did a good job asking the relevant questions of candidates, from Heidi Ganahl’s September 2021 campaign kickoff to the fall 2022 debates. For example:

Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun asking O’Dea if he voted YES on Proposition 115, a 2020 ballot measure that sought to make abortion illegal after 22 weeks of pregnancy (a measure opposed by 69% of Colorado voters). This was a great question that clarified O’Dea’s impossible efforts to dance around the subject and take every side of the abortion issue, and it was a question that only a good local reporter would know to ask;

Spencer Soicher of KRDO in Colorado Springs asking Ganahl if she really believed that Colorado schools were being overrun by “furries.” Ganahl doubled-down on her nonsense claims, validating Soicher’s question;

♦ Longtime Denver Post editor Dean Singleton hosting a candidate forum in which he repeatedly pressed Ganahl to provide actual details on some of her loudest claims (including her nonsense proposal to eliminate Colorado’s income tax without a plan for how to make up the resulting $11 billion budget shortfall);

 Multiple news outlets reporting the facts about various residency questions for several candidates.

Kyle Clark of 9News pressing O’Dea to provide proof for his claim that Google was “censoring” his campaign, which led to one of our favorite quotes of the election cycle

♦ 9News, Fox 31, Denver7 and other outlets calling out CD-8 candidate Barb Kirkmeyer’s indefensible lie that Democrats “legalized fentanyl.” In taking apart this falsehood, 9News educated viewers on how reporters evaluate misleading statements from candidates, and what escalates a merely false statement from a “lie” (when a candidate, in this case Kirkmeyer, KNOWS that what they are saying is untrue).

In future elections, we’d like more of this, please. 

There were exceptions to this trend, unfortunately. Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver regularly showed that she has no interest whatsoever in trying to get a story correct; she was just about the only local journalist who bought into the nonsense “O’Dea surprise” narrative pushed by Republican operatives. Many of her “truth tests” were flat out wrong on the details and the facts presented. Her ridiculous story suggesting that every school district in Colorado was covering up a non-existent “furry” epidemic should never have made it onto the air. Whether Boyd is just lazy or an outright hack, we would be embarrassed to work with her. 


Residents of CO-03

Enough of this, thanks.

Regardless of the final outcome between incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, voters in CO-03 stood up and declared that they were fed up with Boebert’s silly theatrics and her lack of accomplishments in the district. Multiple stories emerged before and after the election in which voters – many of them Republicans – told reporters that they were embarrassed by Boebert’s antics and just wanted a Representative who would do the actual job required of them.

If Boebert does manage to eke out another term, Republicans would be wise to organize strong opposition in a GOP Primary so that they aren’t facing another election in which they could lose a seat that otherwise favors Republicans by 9 points.  


Non-Republican Polling Outfits 

Lots of Republican pollsters made fools of themselves in 2022. Meanwhile, polling from Global Strategy Group (including the “Mountaineer”) and the University of Colorado did a good job of accurately measuring what was really happening in our state. The Colorado Sun covered this well in a recent edition of its “Unaffiliated” newsletter. 


Colorado’s Election System

Colorado’s all-mail ballot system worked perfectly once again. It is both easy to cast a ballot in Colorado and difficult to vote fraudulently. You can track your ballot in Colorado through its entire life cycle, from when it gets sent out in the mail to when it is received by your county clerk. The only people who want more restrictions on voting are those who want fewer people to cast ballots. 

This Tweet from former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was “liked” and “shared” by several Colorado Republican “leaders.” What critics of Colorado’s voting system are really saying is that they believe we should change the voting age to “middle-age white people” so that Republicans might be able to win elections in Colorado.



Mike Lynch 

It’s tough to find a Republican “Winner” from 2022, but we’ll go with Lynch after the Northern Colorado Republican was elected House Minority Leader following another awful Election Day for the GOP. We debated about whether to put this in the “Losers” category, however, because being the House Minority Leader in a Republican caucus in 2023 is like “winning” a basket full of rattlesnakes infected with COVID. 


Women in the General Assembly

For the first time in state history, more than 50% of the members of the Colorado legislature are women. That’s pretty cool. 


Yadira Caraveo

Caraveo’s victory in the newly-formed CO-08 was considered by some national prognosticators – including Nathaniel Rakich of 538.com – to be a YUGE surprise. Given how blue Colorado has become, we’re not sure Caraveo qualifies as a “biggest upset,” but defeating Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer in a close race is still an impressive victory.


Brittany Pettersen

It’s no easy task to follow a beloved politician such as retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter, especially when the district is redrawn in a significant fashion. No matter. Pettersen ran a virtually flawless campaign and cruised to a 15-point victory over Republican Erik Aadland. She’ll be safe here for the next decade. 


First New CD-3 Numbers In Days Inch Toward Recount Range

UPDATE 3:45PM: In one high-drama day of counting across CD-3 of remaining ballots, incumbent GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert has seen her lead cut by more than half to only 557 votes–well inside the margin for an automatic recount.


UPDATE 2:30PM: Closer and closer, but the remaining ballots are also shrinking:


Following last night’s deadline to cure ballots with signature or other issues that prevented a small percentage of votes from being tabulated in Colorado’s extremely close CD-3 race, we’re getting our first updates as county clerks begin processing those ballots as well as remaining overseas and military ballots. And the first updates are moving the needle ever so slightly in Democratic challenger Adam Frisch’s direction:

A clearly nervous Lauren Boebert late Tuesday night.

And with that, Colorado’s political watercooler class can resume mashing our refresh buttons on the Secretary of State’s election results page. We’re watching first to see if the count brings Frisch to within approximately 800 votes, the floating margin based on the final tally that would trigger an automatic recount of the race. That’s enough to keep the uncertainty going into next week, although the outcome will no longer decide control of the U.S. House.

The next benchmark from there would be an outright Frisch victory, which would exceed realistic expectations but is not impossible. Either way, by transforming what should have been an easy ride for freshman GOP scandal-o-matic Rep. Lauren Boebert into a contest that has occupied post-election headlines due to the race coming in so unexpectedly close, Adam Frisch has changed the game in CD-3 for as long Boebert remains in office. After Boebert easily defeated her 2022 primary challenger Don Coram, conventional wisdom took CD-3 off the table leaving Frisch to take Boebert on more or less on his own.

Now that Frisch has shattered Boebert’s invulnerability, she’ll be a top target in 2024 even if she hangs on in 2022’s final count. Boebert has underperformed in two general elections relative to the district’s partisan lean. After these results, Boebert is officially a liability to Republicans and a pickup opportunity for Democrats.

We’ll update as the results trickle in.