Trump Indictment Roundup: Probably Not This Week

There was a lot of buzz earlier this week that former President Donald Trump would be indicted within days on charges related to using campaign funds to make a hush money payment to a porn star with whom he allegedly had an affair years earlier.

As The New York Times reports, that indictment probably won’t happen until next week at the earliest:

It now appears that any indictment of former President Donald J. Trump would not come until next week at the earliest.

The grand jury hearing evidence about Mr. Trump’s role in a hush-money payment to a porn star typically does not consider the case on Thursdays and does not meet on Fridays, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The Manhattan district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg has been questioning witnesses about the role Mr. Trump played in the payment to the porn star, Stormy Daniels, and there have been several signals that the prosecutors are nearing an indictment. Still, the exact timing of any charges remains unknown.

Although the special grand jury hearing evidence about Mr. Trump meets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, it typically does not hear evidence about the Trump case on Thursdays, according to the person with knowledge of the matter. Special grand juries, which unlike regular grand juries sit for months at a time and hear complex cases, routinely consider several cases simultaneously.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg

Bragg isn’t staying completely quiet, however. From The Washington Post:

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on Thursday emphatically rebuffed a House Republican demand for documents and testimony related to his office’s investigation of former president Donald Trump, saying the request was “an unprecedented inquiry into a pending local prosecution.” 

On Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to Bragg demanding materials related to his investigation into alleged hush-money payments from Trump to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign. Jordan also accused Bragg of an “unprecedented abuse of prosecutorial authority,” an escalation of the standoff between the district attorney’s office and Trump’s House Republican allies… [Pols emphasis]

…On his Truth Social platform, Trump has kept up a steady stream of attacks on Bragg in all-caps-heavy posts, calling him an “animal” and demanding his removal from office.

As The Washington Post details in a separate story, Trump is plainly terrified about a pending indictment:

With his potential indictment looming in Manhattan, the former president on Thursday criticized those who have called for his supporters to remain peaceful.


While not explicitly urging his supporters to get violent, the seeming message here is that a peaceful response might be insufficient. To label it a dog whistle would be an understatement. Trump is standing next to a tinderbox and casually lighting a match.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has called for “peaceful” demonstrations while also encouraging his caucus to do everything it can to muck up the gears of justice where Trump is concerned. But as Jonathan V. Last writes for Bulwark, this is all very odd considering that the former President faces numerous legal problems:

Having made their deal with the devil to elect and protect the most corrupt man to ever serve as president, Republicans are now outraged that his corruptions have resulted in multiple criminal investigations. [Pols emphasis]




Trump’s pending indictment(s) will have a direct impact on Colorado Republicans as well. Congressperson Lauren Boebert has thrown down hard on Trump’s behalf, as has new State Party Chairperson Dave Williams. As Williams said on March 11 after being elected GOP Chair:

“We are the party that elected Donald J. Trump, and we are not going to apologize for that anymore.”

Williams may find out next week just what those words taste like when he is forced to eat them.

Lauren Boebert Is Congress’ New Dead Fetusmobile

Rep. Lauren Boebert holds up dead fetus pictures while introducing legislation to delist grey wolves.

This morning, the Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee convened to hear legislation introduced by Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado that would remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List–a rare occasion in which Boebert would directly address a major flashpoint issue in her district, and would enjoy plenty of support from CD-3 ranchers hotly opposed to the reintroduction of the species in Colorado. In other words, if even you don’t agree with Boebert on the issue, we were ready to witness a rare instance of Boebert actually doing something close to her job.

But as Raw Story’s David Edwards reports, it was not to be:

During Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee hearing, Boebert was recognized to present her bill to remove the Gray Wolf from the list of endangered species.

“I appreciate this time today and thank you so much for everyone who’s attending here and traveling so far to be here,” Boebert began. “I do want to say before my opening remarks, you know, since we’re talking about the Endangered Species Act, I’m just wondering if my colleagues on the other side would put babies on the endangered species list.”

The lawmaker held up photos of fetuses as she spoke…

That’s right, folks. We’re not talking about an attempt to disrupt debate over legislation Boebert opposed. Boebert actually hijacked her own presentation to engage in a totally gratuitous round of lurid, performative wedge-issue nonsense, instead of focusing on the bill she was there to present–a bill that might have otherwise helped convince voters in CD-3 that Boebert cares about something besides outraging her way onto the evening news.

We’re not showing these disgusting images just to cost you your appetite. People need to see this pointless grandstand, and understand it in the full context of Boebert trying to speak for her constituents on a legitimate yet totally unrelated question, in order to understand what an utter failure of representative leadership Boebert has become. Just a few months ago, after almost losing her seat in an election that wasn’t supposed to be close, the same Lauren Boebert promised to help “take down the temperature in D.C.”

After this spectacle, it’s clearer than ever that Boebert doesn’t know what that means.


East High School Shooting Shifts Mayoral Race

UPDATE: According to CBS4 Denver, the Denver School Board is discussing trying to place more armed police officers in schools:

Denver school board member Tay Anderson, who led the movement to remove Denver police officers from Denver Public Schools in 2020 is now calling for reinstating DPD officers in schools according to Mayor Michael Hancock’s Chief of Staff Alan Salazar.

Salazar confirmed to CBS New Colorado that Anderson called DPD Chief Ron Thomas Thursday morning, saying he was going to be putting forth a proposal to the Denver school board to place 160 Denver officers in 80 DPS schools.

Salazar pushed back on the numbers, however, saying the Denver Police Department doesn’t have the resources to divert 160 officers off the streets and into schools.


East High School

The race to become the next Mayor of Denver has been relatively quiet compared to past mayoral elections. That probably changes in the aftermath of Wednesday’s shooting at East High School in Denver that wounded two staff members and left the 17-year-old alleged shooter dead of an apparent suicide.

The race for Denver Mayor has been difficult to follow because of an obscenely-large 16 candidate field that makes it hard for voters to converge behind one or two frontrunners. Further complicating the campaign is the fact that the issue of homelessness has been widely embraced as the top subject for every candidate; when everyone is focusing on the same topic, it is hard for voters to tell the difference between contenders at a quick glance.

The shooting at East High School changes this calculation for voters in that it creates a clear delineation on the issue of armed school resource officers in Denver public schools.

Denver Schools Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero announced late Wednesday that armed school resource officers (SROs) would be returned to public high schools for the remainder of the school year, regardless of the position of the Denver School Board, which had removed them in the aftermath of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock supported the decision.

As Kyle Clark of 9News explained in a tweet on Wednesday:



Among the top tier candidates, four support the return of armed officers to Denver Public Schools: Kelly Brough, Chris Hansen, Mike Johnston, and Debbie Ortega. Those opposed to putting SROs in public schools include Lisa Calderón and Leslie Herod.

You can see how this is a problem for candidates such as Herod, who released the following word salad statement on Wednesday evening:

“We are failing our kids. We are failing our educators. And we are failing Denver families. What happened today at East High School is absolutely unacceptable and serves as a reminder that intentional action must accompany our thoughts and prayers.

“The East High community is making every effort to keep its students safe and supported. Like most of our schools, they are under-resourced to meet the diverse and growing needs and they lack the necessary coordinated supports from a city that is battling against the proliferation of guns. We must do better and we can. When we are asking educators to search students for weapons, we have clearly gotten school safety policies and practices wrong.

“Curbing youth violence is fundamental to the safety and wellness of our city. Our city’s leaders should be bringing our state’s top experts together to address the root causes of this crisis and to make sure that we never again put our educators on the front line to keep our schools safe.

“My heart is with the families of those affected by this tragedy and to the entire East High School community. I will not sit on my hands and wait for another tragedy to occur. Together, we will take action. I am with you.”

Mail ballots were first sent out to Denver voters last week, but early ballot return numbers have been remarkably low, indicating that voters have yet to make up their mind on the race for Mayor. With less than two weeks to go until Election Day on April 4, the East High School shooting puts candidates such as Calderón and Herod in an untenable position with no real time to explain the nuances of their opposition to SROs.

Political environments can change quickly — fairly or not — to the detriment of some and the benefit of others. In the race for Denver Mayor, it’s a good bet that we’re now looking at four candidates (Brough, Hansen, Johnston, and Ortega) battling for two spots in the June 6 runoff election.

Surreal Senate GOP: Democrats “Limiting Women’s Choices?”

You know it’s BS and I know it’s BS and here it comes anyway.

Today, the Colorado Senate Democratic majority passed three important pro-choice bills over the fervent objections of the shrunken GOP minority. These three bills, to protect abortion rights in Colorado from out-of-state legal pursuits, limit “surprise billing” for abortion care, and regulate so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” set up to steer patients away from abortion for religious reasons, build on the landmark Reproductive Health Equity Act passed last year to formally protect abortion rights in the state following the repeal of Roe v. Wade.

But if all you knew about these three bills consisted of the press release sent out by Colorado Senate Republicans this afternoon, you would have no idea what these bills actually do:

Senate Bill 188 identifies a problem that it doesn’t solve and instead unnecessarily reiterates that gender-affirming health care and reproductive health care services are legal in Colorado.

“Unnecessarily reiterates?” If these same Republicans had their way, abortion would be illegal in Colorado. And the “problem” identified by the bill is other states taking legal action against Colorado abortion providers. Any comment on that?

Senate Bill 189 prioritizes abortions over other medical issues by requiring individual and small group health insurance plans to cover the complete cost of an abortion. Democrats rejected proposed amendments from Senator Jim Smallwood that would have included cost coverage for treatment of other life threatening diseases such as cancer.

Again, there’s nothing in this legislation that “limits women’s choices,” in fact it requires insurance companies to cover abortions without surprise bills for out-of-network providers. If Republicans want similar protections for other health conditions, propose a bill to do that (we’re not holding our breath).

That’s two out of three bills, and we still haven’t seen any evidence of Democrats “limiting women’s choices.” Apparently the justification for this mind scramble script-flipping comes in Senate Bill 23-190, which cracks down on so-called “crisis pregnancy centers.”

Senate Bill 190 suppresses abortion alternatives and marginalizes pregnancy resource centers by declaring the advertising and administration of abortion reversal medication a “deceptive trade practice.”

There is absolutely nothing in Senate Bill 190 that “suppresses abortion alternatives.” Everyone knows that if you don’t want to have an abortion you most certainly don’t have to, and as the fervently anti-abortion Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer herself pointed out yesterday, Planned Parenthood offers detailed educational resources on healthy childbearing in addition to abortion care. But when a patient arrives at a crisis pregnancy center instead of Planned Parenthood, their choices are inherently limited by not offering the option of an abortion.

This is such a plainly self-owning argument that we were momentarily taken aback, trying to figure out what we missed. After careful review, we’re forced to conclude it really is as outrageously dishonest as it looks.

Republicans are the only ones “limiting women’s choices” on abortion. To claim otherwise is not just false but madness.

Barbara Kirkmeyer: Finding New Ways to Look Stupid

That key around Kirkmeyer’s neck does not open a box of logical arguments.

Republican lawmakers in Colorado have spent the majority of their minority’s time in 2023 objecting to pretty much any legislation proposed by Democrats. It matters not whether the legislation is significantly objectionable or only moderately disagreeable — the response is the same on every issue of consequence.

In the State Senate on Tuesday, Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer of Weld County took her remonstrations to another level. Kirkmeyer was speaking on the Senate Floor in opposition to SB23-190 (“Deceptive Trade Practice Pregnancy-Related Service”), a bill that seeks to crack down on so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” — which are often funded by religious organizations — that advertise an array of services but actually only exist to sermonize against abortion and/or offer quack science alternatives such as non-existent drugs that claim to “reverse” abortions. 

Over the course of about 25 minutes, Kirkmeyer barfed out a mouthful of completely ridiculous false-equivalency arguments that were a) Completely nonsensical; b) Either plainly false or an embarrassing example of Internet illiteracy; and c) Laughably hypocritical.

Let’s get right to the meat of her argument, in which Kirkmeyer narrates her attempted navigation of the Planned Parenthood website:


KIRKMEYER: It took me…three clicks. Three clicks on Planned Parenthood before I even got to the word ‘abortion.’ And when you go on to Planned Parenthood, what it says on their opening page is, ‘Maybe you want the facts on how pregnancy happens, or you’re pregnant, and want to know about your options, or want to know how to have a healthy pregnancy.’ This is Planned Parenthood…

…Yet when you go on their page, you have to go to three clicks. You go to a page that says, ‘Explore related topics.’ There’s this list. That list doesn’t say abortion. Number 11 on that list says ‘pregnancy options.’ And when you tap on ‘pregnancy options,’ then you finally for the first time read the word ‘abortion’ on the Planned Parenthood website. But again, nowhere on that list, when it says, ‘explore related topics,’ after it says it is about how to have a healthy pregnancy, does it say ‘abortion.’ It doesn’t show up. 

So if we’re talking about deceptive practices, this is a [sic] agency, Planned Parenthood, who in their 2020-21 report provided evidence that it continues to prioritize abortion.

In fact…so…again, this bill wants to imply that crisis pregnancy centers are deceptive. And what I’m saying is, Planned Parenthood is deceptive. [Pols emphasis]

Kirkmeyer’s argument hits a problem right from the start. Kirkmeyer points out that Planned Parenthood encourages healthy pregnancies and tells patients the whole truth about different reproductive health options. That’s horrible! Er, wait…

Then Kirkmeyer claims that the Planned Parenthood website is deceptive because it takes her “three clicks” to find a mention of the word ‘abortion.’ We conducted that same experiment ourselves; it took us precisely NO CLICKS to discover the word ‘abortion’ right there on the home page of


The home page of, which doesn’t mention the word ‘abortion’ at all (except for the four different times that it does).


It should serve as no surprise that Kirkmeyer is providing false information about Planned Parenthood. After all, she was perhaps the most egregious liar of all the 2022 Colorado candidates during her campaign for Congress in CO-08 (where she eventually lost to Democrat Yadira Caraveo).

But here’s the kicker…

As multiple news outlets reported in August 2022, the hardline anti-abortion rights Kirkmeyer scrubbed all mention of the word ‘abortion’ from her campaign website after winning the Republican nomination for Congress in CO-08 (where being a hardliner against abortion rights was a political necessity).

Literally two weeks after Kirkmeyer told Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun that she had been “very transparent” about her positions on the issue of abortion rights, her campaign website in CO-08 had become noticeably opaque on the subject. As Axios Denver reported in August 2022:

In a newly created Colorado battleground district, Republican Barb Kirkmeyer listed defending “the Sanctity of Life” on an issue page of her website, according to a July 5 archived version of the page. An old version also included a video of her speech at the 2022 March for Life event. Both references now appear to be gone.

To use Kirkmeyer’s own words from Tuesday’s Senate debate: “So if we’re talking about deceptive practices…”

If Republicans are ever going to crawl back into the good graces of Colorado voters, the first step might be to stop being so cravenly untrustworthy and patently ridiculous. For example, don’t say stupid crap that people can fact check for themselves with a quick Google search.

Dudley Brown’s Triumph Over Colorado Republicans Is Complete

UPDATE: Republican operative Kelly Maher signals her genteel displeasure:

Ten years ago, Maher was the MC of Magpul’s so-called “Boulder Airlift” protest of the 15-round magazine limit along with a host of RMGO-backed politicos.

But as you can see, times have changed. Probably had a lot to do with losing most elections since then.


A seemingly innocuous email blast from newly-minted Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams yesterday afternoon sparked controversy that continues to rage this morning–not due to any particularly offensive verbiage in the message itself, but who the Colorado Republican Party is choosing to promote:

What’s the “email below,” you ask?

In order to fully appreciate the significance of the Colorado GOP promoting events for far-right “no compromise” gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, it’s necessary to understand RMGO’s long and often hostile relationship with the party over the past decade and longer. As an organization, RMGO has historically had no sense of loyalty whatsoever to Colorado Republicans, to the extent that they have routinely attacked Republican candidates considered insufficiently devoted to the cause of eliminating all restrictions on gun ownership.

RMGO’s “friendly fire” played a role in the defeat of swing-district Republican candidates like ex-Rep. Cole Wist., and their subsequent attempt to recall the Democrat who beat Wist was an unmitigated disaster. Dave Kopel, an attorney specializing in gun rights, called RMGO’s former executive director Dudley Brown a “direct mail fundraising scam artist” and a “parasite” in a 2019 interview condemning the recall attempt against now-Sen. Tom Sullivan, correctly predicting it would only boost Sullivan’s career.

In the 2020 Republican primaries, RMGO-supported candidates were roundly defeated by candidates backed by the Republican Party’s “corporate wing,” a shift that was widely heralded as the end of the “Neville era”–with the subsequent downfall of House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and another round of historic punishment in the 2020 general election. The next Minority Leader, the late Hugh McKean, was much less friendly to RMGO, and was primaried unsuccessfully in 2022 by Pat Neville’s vengeful former aide.

That’s the low point of influence RMGO found itself at until Dave Williams, who in the embrace of the fringe position on every conceivable issue also embraces RMGO’s fringe position on guns, got himself elected to be the next Colorado Republican Party chairman. Williams’ victory from the rubble of the GOP’s epic shellacking in 2022 effectively reverses years of attempts by corporate Republicans like Bob Beauprez to purge RMGO’s frequently embarrassing candidates before they got elected to safe GOP seats.

And for what? RMGO promised to turn the Capitol into a “circus” over this year’s package of gun safety bills, only to be outnumbered by supporters of the legislation in half-empty hearing rooms. RMGO Executive Director Taylor Rhodes promised a circus, but only managed to assemble one clown and a bag of popcorn. RMGO wields more power within the GOP than ever, and at the same time less influence with the voting public than ever.

That appears to be just fine with the party’s new leadership. And for Republicans who hoped 2022 was the bottom of their flagging political fortunes, it is a freshly compounding disaster.

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Welcome Wyoming Abortion Pill Tourists

The traditional contraband relationship between Wyoming and Colorado is adding a new product.

As the New York Times reports, the cross-border exchange of marijuana and fireworks between Colorado and our northern neighbor Wyoming is adding another hot product to the interstate commerce mix: abortion pills.

Wyoming on Friday became the first state to explicitly ban the use of pills for abortion, adding momentum to a growing push by conservative states and anti-abortion groups to target medication abortion, the method now used in a majority of pregnancy terminations in the United States.

Wyoming’s new law comes as a preliminary ruling is expected soon by a Texas judge that could order the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of mifepristone, the first pill in the two-drug medication abortion regimen. Such a ruling, if it stands, could upend how abortion is provided nationally, affecting states where abortion is legal as well as states with bans and restrictions…

Just so we’re clear, it’s not just medication abortions being banned in Wyoming, although the state is notable for singling out medication abortions distinct from the surgical or other methods. This was about making some kind of point that medication abortion, by far the least costly and invasive method of ending an unwanted pregnancy, is particularly bad for some we can only assume non-medical reason.

Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming, a Republican, signed that state’s medication abortion ban on the same day that he said he would allow another more sweeping measure banning abortion to become law without his signature. That law, which takes effect on Sunday, would ban abortion under almost all circumstances, making it a felony to provide an abortion.

Colorado abortion care providers are already reporting large increases in out-of-state patients visiting the state for care and procedures that are either now illegal or could soon be the subject of private legal action now legal in a number of anti-abortion states. It’s a big reason for this year’s Senate Bill 23-188, meant to protect Colorado providers from legal attacks from other states.

Wyoming’s small population is heavily located near the Colorado border, which means that we’ll be the primary haven for abortion care for patients in need there as well. And kidding aside about our two states’ long history of cross-border illicit trade, for those who need abortion care for the whole range of necessary reasons that present themselves in real life including life-and-death complications, it’s no laughing matter.

It is another good reason to be glad you live in Colorado, at least the part that doesn’t want to join Wyoming.

New Ad Attempts to Define Top Tier of Mayoral Hopefuls

The race to become Denver’s next Mayor is getting down to its final days. Ballots were mailed out to voters last week; Election Day is April 4, but with 16 candidates on the ballot, there’s no real chance that one candidate will get more than 50% of the vote to avoid a June 6 runoff.

[CLICK HERE for more information on how to vote in Denver]

Candidates for Mayor are making their final paid media pitches to voters, including a new spot from Chris Hansen that caught our attention.

Hansen was the first candidate to go up on television with a significant ad buy, though his narrative was one that we wouldn’t have suggested. Hansen went hard from the beginning on the idea that Denver is a crime-ridden, drug-infested hellhole, which is a strategy that rarely works for candidates (Republicans proved this as recently as 2022). Voters generally don’t respond well to attacks on the place that they call home.

But for what appears to be his closing television spot, Hansen went a different direction:


Talking directly about why you are a better choice than a few specific candidates — Hansen calls out Kelly Brough, Mike Johnston, and Debbie Ortega by name — is an interesting idea in a race where there are 16 candidates (Hansen’s ad was likely produced before Kwame Spearman dropped out of the race last week). Hansen criticizes Brough for “flip-flopping” on a homeless camping ban; attacks Johnston for accepting big money from “dark money” groups; and pokes Ortega for spending more than 25 years as an elected official in Denver.

The Teamsters are a law enforcement endorsement?

Hansen also includes a pretty thin argument near the end of the ad, when he says, “we need a candidate who is actually endorsed by law enforcement.” As proof of his “law enforcement” bonafides, Hansen touts the support of the Teamsters Union Local 17. While the Teamsters represent a significant chunk of City of Denver employees, you’d have to squint really hard to see them as a “law enforcement” organization. By comparison, Ortega has the support of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #27 (Denver Sheriffs). The Denver Police Protective Association (DPPA) — which represents Denver Cops — is not officially backing any candidate as of yet.

Perhaps more fascinating is who Hansen did not mention in his ad. Leslie Herod and Lisa Calderón have often been included in a discussion of the “top tier” of Mayoral hopefuls, but neither name appears in Hansen’s TV spot. Perhaps Hansen has polling data suggesting that Herod and Calderón are not really among the handful of top contenders — or maybe Hansen’s campaign believes that his best shot at making the runoff election is to focus on rising above Brough, Johnston, and Ortega.

Either way, Hansen’s ad is at least partially an effort to define the top tier of candidates — himself included — for voters who have yet to make up their mind. It’s not a terrible idea, though it is pretty late in the campaign for this sort of approach.

Caption These Photos: Republican Springtime Fashion

In Rep. Doug Lamborn’s case, it’s neither a spring thing nor gilets jaunes protestwear, just safety first touring the aerospace department at Purdue University last Friday:

At least Lamborn didn’t make like Mike Pence and lay hands on the panel labeled “DO NOT TOUCH.” In fact, it looks like Lamborn kept his hands in his pockets the whole time.

Around anything expensive, breakable, or explodable, that’s the best policy for Lamborn.

Yellow is a fine color for safety vests, but the ensemble Rep. Ryan Armagost is rocking on the first full day of spring in the Colorado House (below) is nothing short of exceptional. To be clear we don’t mean “exceptional” in a good way, but rather in the deeply frightening to children sense:

We’re sorry to say that the garish yellow three-piece suit worn by an unsmiling man who looks like he’s announcing the start of a blood feud against someone in the room he is staring at, complete with not just one but two AR-15 lapel pins, did not elicit the happy springtime feels Rep. Armagost was hoping for from colleagues and onlookers. He looks more like the Easter Bunny’s hitman.

Take over, gentle readers. They’re here for your viewing pleasure.

Somebody Shredded The Wrong Yard Sign

When he’s not threatening a civil war or to hang an undetermined but presumably large number of American politicians he doesn’t like, Colorado Springs-based election conspiracy theorist and gun store owner Joe Oltmann is supporting his close friend and commander of the United American Defense Force militia group John Tiegen in Tiegen’s longshot bid to be the next mayor of Colorado’s most conservative large city.

And if Oltmann is to believed, a tall order even on a good day, somebody out there is shredding Tiegen’s yard signs, which implies collecting them from places they were meant to be displayed, and dumping them in the parking lot of Oltmann’s gun store:

Oltmann for his part is convinced this is the work of former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, considered a frontrunner in the race and a ready-made villain for Oltmann long before John Tiegen ran for mayor:

For those who say it’s not Wayne… he literally stands with Radcial leftists, does commercials with these communists and brought Dominion to Colorado and WORKS for the very company that is printing the “only mail in ballots” in CS mayoral race. Wayne is the definition of demon in sheeps clothing.

Those of us who know Williams from his days as Secretary of State know that although he may have played a little loose with his office’s expense account and sometimes says silly regrettable things about Colorado’s gold-standard election system, he’s not really what you’d call the sign-shredding type. As a Republican saddled with the often unwelcome task of debunking election fraud mythology created in no small part by Oltmann personally, we understand why Oltmann really doesn’t like Williams. But this allegation just doesn’t fit.

And the biggest reason this whole idea of shredding Tiegen’s yard signs seems a little odd to us is this:

In theory, these are the most well-defended yard signs in America. Would you shred a yard sign belonging to a honest-to-God no bullshit militia commander?

We’re not saying it qualifies him to be mayor. Tiegen’s just not a guy you mess with on this puerile level.

Sign-napping and defacement is a perennial small-scale dirty trick in politics, usually carried out by supporters in a moment of rashness–and sure, sometimes probably a “false flag.” We just hope this instance doesn’t become the plot for the next John Wick movie.

Trump Indictment Watch Schadenfreude Thread

Politico is reporting that the long, long wait for ex-President Donald Trump to finally face criminal charges in one of the many investigations proceeding against him may end today–or at least this week:

Law enforcement officials are meeting at NYPD headquarters in lower Manhattan on Monday afternoon to plan for a possible indictment of former President Donald Trump on charges stemming from payments to a porn star, a person involved in the planning told POLITICO.

An indictment by a grand jury is expected late Monday or Wednesday, according to three people involved in the deliberations.

“We’ll be discussing how we bring Trump in,” the person involved in the planning said, adding, “No decisions have been made yet.”

On Saturday, Trump announced that his “arrest” on charges stemming from the hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels was imminent, and called for his supporters to “PROTEST PROTEST PROTEST” the “killing of our nation” such an indictment would represent. Republicans from Speaker Kevin McCarthy on down have rallied to Trump’s defense–even including Trump’s likely 2024 primary opponent Ron DeSantis, who blasted the New York DA while still managing to sideswipe Trump over “paying hush money to a porn star.”

Rep. Lauren Boebert, unsurprisingly, is ready to man the barricades:

It’s true that Ms. Daniels’ account of her encounter with President Trump could be called obscene, at least in parts–though that’s probably not what Boebert was trying to say. But either way, we’ve finally arrived at the moment when Trump faces the criminal justice system for something, anything–and just like Al Capone seeing justice on tax charges or O.J. Simpson going down for stealing his own memorabilia back, the means matter less than the ends.

Watch this space for local reactions and updates with whatever happens next.

More Podcast: All Truth, No Lies (feat. Rep. Joe Neguse)

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

In our second episode of the week, the Get More Smarter Podcast sits down with Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) for another visit to discuss being named the most effective lawmaker of the last Congress; his role leading the messaging arm of the House Democratic Caucus; and how his job is different now that Democrats are in the minority in the House of Representatives.

Later, we check back on two of our recurring segments, “That’s Bull***” and “The Boebert Report,” including the news from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-ifle) that she’s about to be a 36-year-old grandmother. Colorado Republicans are fleeing the party after the selection of Dave Williams as State Party Chair; we’ll discuss this as well as why the GOP’s insistence on talking about Denver as a crime-infested hellhole is doing them no favors. Also, former gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl has a new podcast/lecture series about why you’re wrong; how one candidate for Denver Mayor might now be in the driver’s seat for the runoff election; and remembering former Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who died at the age of 82.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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The Colorado GOP’s Future Is “Nancy Pallozzi”

Don’t take our word for it, find out yourself next Tuesday:

Among the many victories of the “whacktivist” right in the recent Colorado Republican Party internal leadership elections, very much in line with Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams’ election to be the next state GOP chairman and Vickie Tonkins’ enduring reign of error in El Paso County, the Jefferson County Republican Party, operating in what was once considered to be the competitive bellwether locale in Colorado elections, has selected longtime local recall organizer and multi-election loser Nancy Pallozzi to lead them into the 2024 election cycle.

Pallozzi is probably best known for her two failed attempts to recall now-Congresswoman Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood from her Lakewood state senate seat, one of which was pulled for lack of support only three days after it was filed. Those failed recall attempts came after Pallozzi lost to Pettersen by 20 points in the 2016 elections. Pallozzi was also a bit player in one of the competing grifty failed attempts to recall Gov. Jared Polis. Without any other distinguishment or qualification, Pallozzi’s whole theory of political engagement appears to rest on her name’s phonetic similarity to former Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi.

And now, “Nancy Pallozzi” is bringing the skills she showed failing to recall everybody in sight to the task of reviving the Republican Party’s flagging fortunes in a county that has in recent years exemplified the state’s overall shift toward Democratic dominance. It’s not a prank or a late-night TV sketch. Like “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams himself, Nancy Pallozzi imagines she will be taken seriously.

All we can say is, the couple of times this joke was funny will not substitute for competent leadership.

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There’s No “Business As Usual” For Lauren Boebert

Lauren Boebert posing with two well-armed militia types in 2020.

Controversy arose this week in the normally sleepy Western Slope town of Dolores, when a surprise appearance at Dolores High School by Rep. Lauren Boebert divided parents and raised both political and safety concerns. Reporter Bailey Duran at the Cortez Journal:

Many parents opted to keep their children home amid concerns for their children’s safety after the announcement that U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert would hold a Q&A with Dolores High School students Wednesday during her trip to Southwest Colorado for water-related meetings…

“Security concerns are being ignored by the principal,” [a parent who requested anomymity] said. “No parents were notified till the last minute by email and only because of rumors circulating. There is no concern over the children’s safety bringing this controversial person to our children’s schools.”

“This was hidden from parents and is very concerning that the school is not taking school shootings serious. This embattled politician could have a crazy person come after her putting our children in the line of fire. Completely irresponsible,” she said.

Boebert pretending to carry a weapon in Washington, D.C.

With respect to the issue of Boebert being proudly armed wherever she is permitted to be, and maybe willing to push that line a little if you bought her fake green-screen video carrying a Glock on the streets of Washington, D.C., Dolores school district officials tried to be reassuring:

Other parents said they were concerned that Boebert would bring a firearm on campus. She is known for conceal carrying.

“We have confirmed and re-confirmed with the Congresswoman’s staff that she will not have a firearm with her while she is on campus,” the district said. [Pols emphasis]

Boebert, for her part, professed to be very upset that her visit with Dolores High students was being “politicized.”

“That’s really unfortunate that they would politicize something like this, and it was certainly an honor for me to be there. I wasn’t making anything political of it. You know, just explaining the basics of civics and government [Pols emphasis] and the way things operate and giving them kind of an insider’s look without a partisan lens. I’m not sure exactly what the safety concern would be. But I think that it was well received and the students were amazing, friendly and welcoming … they were a joy,” the congresswoman told The Journal.

But here’s the problem, reported by Duran in an updated story today–it was Boebert who turned what was supposed to have been a boring civics lecture into a campaign stop:

School officials and Boebert’s office billed the session in the Dolores Schools gymnasium as a kind of civics discussion, but the congresswoman also spoke of her efforts with the Freedom Caucus – a conservative bloc of Republican representatives – the U.S. response to COVID-19, and in response to students’ questions, about her personal and political development…

She also spoke about the start to the 118th Congress and about tactics used in the House during the election of Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.

“For those who pay attention to politics, it was exciting. Some called it chaos, but as a mom of four boys, I know chaos,” Boebert joked. [Pols emphasis]

We suppose the one saving grace here is that Boebert was talking “civics” and not sex ed.

This morning, the Durango Herald editorial board slammed Boebert for turning her time with Dolores High students into a political pep rally:

We strongly support students engaging in civic matters. But we’re uncomfortable with U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert’s visit on Wednesday to Dolores High School because her talk ventured beyond governance into political territory…

Like her or otherwise, Boebert is a polarizing politician. According to our latest news story, she spoke about “moral decay”; becoming aware of issues that could infringe on students’ rights; the Freedom Caucus, a conservative group of GOP representatives; and liberties infringed on during the pandemic. Apparently, she also told students they should know about those issues and let it motivate them to stand up for their freedom.

Come on! This is Boebert’s brand on stage in front of students without parents present.

What we saw play out this week in Dolores are the natural consequences of Boebert’s controversial national political profile, and how ill-suited that public image is to the district Boebert represents in Congress. Boebert doesn’t represent Marjorie Taylor Greene’s overwhelmingly Republican district, she represents a district that came with 546 votes of ending her career in disgust last November. Try as she might, Boebert can’t carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of her office without her bombastic rhetoric, which she has refused to cast off despite all the good advice in the world, tripping those efforts up.

Boebert is never going to be normal, and that’s a hopeful sign despite the occasional awkwardness.

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Podcast: Speaker Julie McCluskie Gets More Smarter

Colorado House Speaker Julie McCluskie (D).

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, the Colorado Republican Party has a new chair — can he possibly be worse than the last one? Colorado has an ongoing gun violence problem, and Democrats in the state legislature are doing something about it. We’ll tell you which Republicans have been named the rightiest of them all; and ballots are in the mail for the Denver Mayor’s race, so who better than two dudes who live in Lakewood to break down the final few weeks!

But first, Colorado House Speaker Julie McCluskie joins the podcast to discuss her first few months on the job and to preview some upcoming legislation. Speaker McCluskie also gives us an honest response to the news that former State Rep. Dave Williams is now the leader of the Colorado Republican Party.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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Why Keep Tina Peters? Big Pillow Cash Money, That’s Why

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell.

The pivotal moment in last weekend’s election of far-right Rep. Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams to be the next chairman of the Colorado Republican Party came when one of Williams’ rivals for the job, indicted former Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, spoke out of order following the second round of balloting to announce her supporters would switch to Williams. Peters may be facing trial on felony charges related to the theft of election system data in her failed quest to prove Donald Trump should still be President, but she has enough support from the substantial percentage of Colorado Republicans who believe without factual basis that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump to have played this key role in putting Williams over the top.

The smart thing for Dave Williams to have done at that point would have been to thank Peters for her help getting him elected, and then quietly excommunicate Peters and her election conspiracy theorist cabal of crazies before her criminal trial does even more collateral damage to the party. But as readers already know, that didn’t happen–in fact, Williams has reportedly offered Peters a job of some as-yet-undetermined title and responsibilities. Being a fervent election denier himself, Williams is actively opposed to recognizing the liability Peters represents. What’s the end game here from Williams’ point of view? What’s going to happen in the likely event Peters is sent to prison for her crimes while employed by the Colorado Republican Party?

Williams either doesn’t know or doesn’t care.

Rep. Lauren Boebert with reality-based friends MyPillow Guy, Rudy Giuliani, and censured couptastic attorney Jenna Ellis (right).

On Monday in a friendly interview with failed candidate turned talk-radio host George Brauchler, Williams made crystal-clear the reason why he’s elevating Peters instead of running away from her baggage:

GEORGE BRAUCHLER: Let me ask this, too. Is there a formal role for Tina Peters in the party under your leadership, or is she just going to work from the outside?

DAVE WILLIAMS: I’ve extended a formal role for everyone to include Tina. So that’s Erik. That’s Aaron. That’s Casper. Forgive me.

BRAUCHLER: Lundberg? Kevin Lundberg?

WILLIAMS: Yep. And to Tina. I mean, this is something that we all promised on the campaign trail and, um, you know, especially for, for anyone that wants to help me succeed, I’m going to certainly do it. With respect to Tina, you know, she’s she has a network of nationally, uh, well-funded friends that can bring money in for a party. I’m not going to turn that away. [Pols emphasis]

Williams isn’t completely wrong about this. Since becoming a minor celebrity in the MAGA election conspiracy theory world, Peters has proven capable of raising enormous amounts of money to pay for her legal defense, as well as frivolous expenses like a recount of the Republican Secretary of State primary Peters lost by a wide margin. One of Peters’ most faithful financial supporters is the thoroughly discredited but equally unrestainable crackpot Mike “MyPillow Guy” Lindell, who helped hide Peters out of state for weeks during the early period of the investigation into her alleged theft of election data.

And that’s when it all clicks: the Colorado GOP is about to become a MyPillow subsidiary! Perhaps they’ll get their own discount code. It’s possible that Lindell and the Steve Bannon netherworld funding sources that have kept Tina Peters afloat through her long legal odyssey will be able to partly offset the financial support widely assumed to be fleeing the state party as local conservative luminaries announce they don’t want to be Republicans anymore. And of course, they’ll save a little on air travel.

It comes the price of the party’s soul, and the prospect of never winning an election in Colorado again.

Here’s What Happened in the 2023 Denver Mayoral Race

The Denver Mayoral race is kinda like this.

Who do you think will make it through to the runoff election in the race for Denver Mayor?

That’s the hot question right now in Colorado politics, for a couple of reasons: 

For one thing, the Denver Mayor’s office is only open (without an incumbent seeking re-election) about once a decade; the ultimate winner of this race will likely be calling the shots in Denver for the next eight years — and perhaps even 12 years, should they seek a third term. 

The second reason that this race is such a hot topic is that nobody really knows anything. The limited polling that has been available in this race is virtually worthless because none of the candidates boast much in the way of name recognition. The ridiculous number of candidates also makes it hard to discern useful information from candidate forums or other similar events; at most events, you’ve got at least a dozen candidates all talking about the same basic issues (homelessness, crime, and affordability), which makes it difficult to remember the policy nuances of the candidates. 

And, finally, this is the first time that Denver has run a municipal election with a public financing system in place. It’s difficult to compare this race with past battles for Denver Mayor because this one is just so different. 

Nevertheless, we’re going to do our best to help you make sense of this bloated field of candidates. To do that, we looked into the future to see just what in the hell happened on April 4 (ballots were mailed out to Denver voters this week, but Election Day isn’t until April 4).

These two questions will be heavily-discussed in early April as two candidates prepare for the June 6 runoff election:

  1. Why Candidate X made it to the runoff election;
  2. Why Candidate X came up short.

To make this easier to digest, we’re also going to break it into tiers. There are 17 candidates — and another 5 “write-in” hopefuls — running for the first open Mayoral seat in Denver since 2011. While there are certainly more questions than answers at this point, some candidates face longer odds than others because of experience, name ID, fundraising, etc. We’re not going to analyze every candidate, because there’s no sensible way to predict what might happen with the bottom half of this field; if Renate A. Behrens gets into the runoff, for example, then things really went off the rails. 



Mike Johnston

♦ Kelly Brough

♦ Leslie Herod

♦ Debbie Ortega

♦ Chris Hansen

These are the candidates who possess similar advantages over the rest of the field: They have more experience in the public eye and an easier road to raising their name ID; prominent endorsements; strong fundraising; and a more robust and strategic paid advertising plan than the other hopefuls. These candidates also have relatively-mainstream policy ideas that would be more attractive to a broader group of voters.

Let’s go through our two-part exercise with each candidate:


Mike Johnston

WHY HE MADE THE RUNOFF: Johnston picked up the endorsement of The Denver Post editorial board, which proved to be more important than in prior elections because of the wide-open nature of this race. Voters were looking for ANY sort of third-party validation to help them make decisions, and the Post endorsement served that purpose well.

Johnston also had the resources to dominate the airwaves and digital advertising, both through his own fundraising and from an Independent Expenditure Committee (IEC) supporting his candidacy.

And his first television ad was really, really good:

Being memorable is critical in a crowded field of candidates. This was the sort of ad that made voters say, “I kinda like this guy.” When other candidates started attacking Johnston in a mid-March debate, it was a clear sign that he was being considered a frontrunner.


WHY HE CAME UP SHORT: Informed voters, particularly Democrats, remembered that Johnston ran unsuccessfully for Governor (2018) and U.S. Senate (2020). To those voters, Johnston came across as a guy who just wanted to be elected to SOMETHING. 

Johnston also had the same potential (unavoidable) problem as Chris Hansen: They are financially-comfortable middle age white dudes. With the exception of John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayors in the last three decades have been Black or Latino. Denver has also never elected a female Mayor. More progressive voters ultimately had a tough time convincing themselves to vote for a white dude in 2023.


Leslie Herod

WHY SHE MADE THE RUNOFF: Herod is a tireless self-promoter who has been planning for this race for a long time. She entered the race with the gravitas of a potential front runner and largely maintained that status to the end. Herod’s solid record of accomplishments and progressive bonafides at the state legislature appealed to voters, and being a Black LGBT candidate certainly helped her stand out from the crowd. 


WHY SHE CAME UP SHORT: Herod is a tireless self-promoter who has been planning for this race for a long time. Yes, you read that same sentence earlier, but it cuts both ways. In this case, voters grew tired of Herod’s “look at me” persona; her thirst for attention intensified in March with a strange appearance at SXSW in Austin, Texas that resulted in this awkward photo with Nick Jonas.


No other candidate in this field was damaged more than Herod in the last month or two. Accusations of a hostile work environment portrayed Herod as a ruthless and unkind leader, which gave voters more than enough reason to look elsewhere when they had plenty of other options; Herod also misplayed the response to these accusations, which had the effect of giving more credence to the “bad boss” claims.

Herod also made voters nervous by changing her position on important issues out of an obvious concern that those positions wouldn’t be popular in a municipal election. Her sudden reversal on a much-discussed fentanyl bill — which was only in the early stages of being implemented after passing the legislature in 2022 — provided a jarring contrast with other candidates (see below).

And finally, Herod’s decision to NOT release her tax returns — even though she is theoretically only working as a state lawmaker — raised a lot of eyebrows. Herod was the only top tier candidate who didn’t open up her tax returns for The Denver Post.

In short, voters saw Herod as a candidate who is thirsty for the minor fame of being Denver Mayor and willing to do or say just about anything in order to get there. 



Kelly Brough

WHY SHE MADE THE RUNOFF: Brough had the resources to compete with anyone and benefitted from an early consensus of Denver influentials that she was next in line; her paid advertising campaign appeared to be the most robust of any of the other candidates. She also presented a relevant background in those ads that included serving as Chief of Staff under Mayor Hickenlooper and later working for more than a decade as the CEO of the Denver Chamber of Commerce. Brough came across as a serious, no-nonsense candidate with the experience to hit the ground running.


WHY SHE CAME UP SHORT: Brough, in a word, was boring. Her resume would have been a hit if this were a regular job interview – she was better suited for a different election in a different time – but a successful politician needs to also possess a charisma that can attract uninformed voters. Brough instead came off as dour and perhaps a little too serious through a cookie-cutter paid media strategy. Brough’s narrative at times seemed tin-eared and borrowed from 2022 Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl, who packaged personal tragedy and business success and tried to shoehorn it into a rationale for electing her as governor. 

Brough’s biggest anchor, however, proved to be the 12 years she spent directing the Denver Chamber of Commerce. Fair or not, the Chamber of Commerce has a reputation as an organization that works for big corporations at the expense of the little guy. On a national level, the Chamber of Commerce no longer even pretends that it isn’t just a subsidiary of the Republican Party. 

Brough couldn’t find a way through a tough catch-22 in the race for Mayor. She was relatively unknown by voters, which is why her television ads repeated her name every 3 seconds. But the more that progressive-minded Denver voters learned about Brough, the less interested they were in electing her as Mayor. 


Chris Hansen

WHY HE MADE THE RUNOFF: From the very beginning, Hansen leaned in HARD on the idea that Denver was a crime-ridden, drug-infested hellhole that needed his strong leadership to fix. This hardline position got him attention in a crowded field, and there were apparently enough Denver voters who quietly agreed and were willing to give him a shot in a runoff election.


WHY HE CAME UP SHORT: Colorado Republicans tried Hansen’s “Denver in decay” narrative in 2022, and they were absolutely crushed at the ballot box. It’s generally not a good idea in politics to tell voters so bluntly that their home city is a terrible place; you’re basically telling people that their decision to live in Denver is wrong.

Some of Hansen’s other messaging was a bit odd. He kept saying in his commercials that he would “audit Denver’s homelessness programs.” Is this something that probably needs to be done? Yes. Is this a message that appeals to people who don’t spend their days looking at spreadsheets? Nope. 

Hansen also gave off a very strong vibe of a wealthy and well-educated white guy who is smarter than you and not unwilling to remind you of that fact. If more voters believed that Denver is burning to the ground, perhaps this persona would have worked. Instead, Hansen created a fairly unlikable image that didn’t work outside of his “scary Denver” wheelhouse.



Debbie Ortega

WHY SHE MADE THE RUNOFF: Voters have been electing Ortega to municipal office in Denver for more than 30 years. On a ballot full of unfamiliar names, Ortega had a HUGE potential advantage as a result. Ortega was also helped by a strong endorsement list of grassroots organizations and labor unions, as well as familiar names such as Paula Sandoval and Lucia Guzman.

For voters who were still undecided when filling out their ballot, Ortega was a “safe” name to mark.


WHY SHE CAME UP SHORT: Ortega is not particularly memorable in person, in interviews, or on a debate stage. Some politicians have that undefinable “it” factor that can overcome other potential weaknesses; Ortega is not one of those politicians. In the end, voters didn’t know enough about Ortega beyond just recognizing her name.