The Real Heidi Ganahl Stands Up, and She is Completely Bananas

There was a time during the 2022 race for Governor where we wondered if GOP candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was actually a true believer in the mold of the Qanon-loving, MAGA Republican election deniers that dominate the base of the Republican Party…or if she was merely pandering to the base in order to make sure she won the Republican Primary for Governor.

We once assumed — in retrospect very generously — that Ganahl was trying to walk a tightrope connecting her to the GOP base when she consistently refused to say that the 2020 Presidential election was conducted fairly. But as time went on and Ganahl held fast to her refusal to answer what she called “divisive questions,” this position became harder to defend. Ganahl continued to stand by the likes of former visiting CU Professor and coup architect John Eastman, and then in July she picked an election denier (Danny Moore) as her running mate and nominee for Lieutenant Governor.

As more evidence mounted, we started to wonder if perhaps Ganahl actually believed all of this election truther nonsense.

Now?

We’re absolutely sure of it. Heidi Ganahl, the Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado, is at least as crazy as every other wackadoodle conspiracy theorist in our state…and maybe more.

As Heidi Beedle reports for the Colorado Times Recorder:

Heidi Ganahl is the latest Republican to repeat outrageous and thoroughly debunked claims about furries in public schools.

“Not many people know that we have furries in Colorado schools,” said Ganahl during a Saturday appearance on Jimmy Sengenberger’s KNUS radio show.

“Have you heard about this story?” Ganahl asked Sengenberger. “Yeah, kids identifying as cats. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, but it’s happening all over Colorado and schools are tolerating it. It’s insane. What on earth are we doing? Knock it off, schools. Put your foot down. Like, stop it. Let’s get back to teaching basics and not allow this woke ideology, ideological stuff, infiltrate our schools. And it is happening here in Colorado. It’s why I moved from Boulder Valley to Douglas County, because it was happening in my kids schools four years ago.” [Pols emphasis]

Ganahl joins Republican Colorado Springs House Scott Bottoms and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) in repeating patently ridiculous — and false — claims about furries in public schools. The outrage over students who are a part of the niche subculture that embraces anthropomorphic art and cosplay — and is predominantly LGBTQ — stems from remarks made by Nebraska Sen. Bruce Bostelman, a conservative Republican, who repeated false claims about furries using litter boxes in schools during a televised debate on a bill intended to help students who have behavioral problems.

Bostelman has since apologized and retracted his statements.

 

Yes, Ganahl actually said all of this. Listen for yourself:

 

 

Clearly, this story is gaining legs (er, peels):

 

Last week Ganahl unveiled a transportation “plan” that was just a bunch of bullet points about roads she wanted to fix, wrapped in a package of ideas that incumbent Gov. Jared Polis was already doing. We wrote that her “plan” was further proof that Ganahl was not a serious person, nor a serious candidate.

We’ve now crossed over into a different territory altogether. Ganahl legitimately believes that Colorado schools are allowing children — most of whom she claims can’t read or do math — to run around in cat costumes instead of “teaching the basics” in class. She literally said ON THE RADIO — two days ago — that she moved from Boulder to Douglas County so that her children could escape this feline furry fanaticism. If this were happening like Ganahl claims, wouldn’t everyone know about this

Heidi Ganahl is out of her goddamned mind. We’d offer anyone the opportunity to “change our mind,” but it would be a pointless endeavor. You can’t. Nobody can.

This is the actual Republican nominee for Governor in Colorado in 2022.

Kellner Throws RAGA, and His Election Hopes, Under the Bus

Republican John Kellner

As we approach the final days of the 2022 election cycle, a similar theme is playing out across many of Colorado’s top contests. Democratic candidates who have significantly outraised their Republican opponents are now up on television with a bevy of advertisements; underfunded GOP challengers, meanwhile, continue to twiddle their thumbs hoping that some sort of national money will be spent in Colorado on their behalf. 

In the race for Attorney General, incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser started running this ad last week and will likely maintain a presence on television through Election Day. 

As of the last fundraising period ending Sept. 14, Weiser had raised $4,160,692 and reported $1,130,285 in the bank. Republican John Kellner, meanwhile, has raised a total of $242,116 and reported a cash-on-hand amount of just $97,867. This is enough money to produce a TV spot but not enough to make an ad buy that will come anywhere close to reaching enough voters to give him a chance against Weiser.

As we’ve written before in this space, Kellner’s only real chance at making a dent in Weiser’s support would likely have to come via funds from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), the group that spent more than $5 million in 2018 trying to boost the chances of GOP candidate George Brauchler (whom Weiser defeated 52-45). While RAGA does have a committee open in Colorado that could receive and spend money in the race for AG, as of this writing there is no indication that any significant expenditure is forthcoming.

Yet even if RAGA were to make a last-ditch effort in Colorado, it would put Kellner in a very difficult position given an answer he gave at a candidate forum last week. 

RAGA has been floundering trying to fix its reputation after it was widely reported in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection that the group had spent big money trying to help the very folks who were intent on overturning the results of the 2020 Presidential election. As a result of its zeal in pushing election fraud conspiracy theories and funding robocalls to urge “patriots” to attend the Jan. 6 insurrection, donations to RAGA fell off appreciably in the months that followed. 

During a candidate forum sponsored by the Lowry United Neighborhoods on Sept. 20, both candidates for Attorney General were asked a very specific question about taking help from election deniers. Here’s that video and the transcription:

 

QUESTION: Would both of you pledge to commit to accepting no campaign funds and holding no fundraisers with anybody that gave to the Jan. 6 insurrection and worked with election deniers?

 

KELLNER: That’s a great question, and it’s absolutely appropriate to ask. I think anybody who violated the law that day on Jan. 6 should be held accountable, [and] should probably go look at jail or prison [time]. I don’t support the folks that denied the outcome of the election in any way, shape, or form. [Pols emphasis] 

What I’m gravely concerned about, honestly, is the amount of money – upwards of $10 million dollars – spent by the Democrat Party to try and uplift people that they also simultaneously said are a true threat to our democracy. I think that amount of hypocrisy is probably something that we’ve never, ever seen before. I think it is fundamentally wrong.

So, to answer your question, no, I don’t support that. I support the peaceful transition of power as a Marine, as an officer. I was commissioned under George W. Bush. I went to war under President Obama. I served under President Trump in the reserves. I continue to serve under President Biden in the reserves and I’m proud to do it.

Kellner’s statement — “I don’t support the folks that denied the outcome of the election in any way, shape, or form” – would absolutely apply to RAGA, and it would put him in a very weird position if RAGA decided to start spending money in order to assist his campaign for Attorney General. Perhaps Kellner went ahead and gave the answer he did because he already knows that RAGA isn’t coming to his rescue, but this is still a problem for him. 

Kellner’s statement last week also means he has some explaining to do regarding his attendance at the RAGA “Summer National Meeting” in Colorado Springs in August; on the final day of that retreat, Kellner held a RAGA-sponsored fundraiser for his campaign. This is a question he’s going to have to answer at some point in the next few weeks. 

Kellner needed RAGA’s money to give him a chance in November, but after last week, any help from the national group would come with new problems for the District Attorney from the 18th Judicial District. And if RAGA needed an excuse to stay out if this race, they got it from the candidate himself.

Lauren Boebert Overjoyed By Wannabe Fascist Victory In Italy

UPDATE: Not just Rep. Lauren Boebert–here’s the chair of the Colorado Republican Party welcoming a kinder, gentler fascism’s return to power in Italy:

All we can say is “Dio, patria, e famiglia!” We can’t wait to find out if Joe O’Dea agrees.

—–

Giorgia Meloni of the Brothers of Italy.

CBS News reports on the results of elections in Italy this weekend, bringing to power the closest that nation has had to a fascist government since Benito Mussolini made fascism a thing exactly one century ago:

Italians have voted in the country’s most right-wing government since World War II. Giorgia Meloni is the leader of the Brothers of Italy party, and after the weekend vote she’s set form a coalition government and become Italy’s first female prime minister…

Meloni, a 45-year-old firebrand politician, insists she’s no fascist, just a proud conservative and nationalist. She is comfortable, nevertheless, with some of the hallmarks of Italian fascism, including a motto she often utters from podiums: “Dio, patria, e famiglia!” Or in English, “God, fatherland, and family.”

Exactly 100 years ago this fall, dictator Benito Mussolini, as the leader of Italy’s National Fascist Party, staged his historic March on Rome. He eventually marched the country straight into two decades of dictatorship and, alongside Adolf Hitler, into World War II.

Although the Brothers of Italy’s rapid rise from the fringe of Italian politics to leadership has alarmed the international community, as ABC News reports, the people of Italy appear to be, at least for the moment, substantially less troubled–and for students of history, that could be the most chilling aspect of Giorgia Meloni’s rise to power:

In general, the party’s neo-fascist roots appear to be of more concern abroad than at home. Some historians explain that by noting a certain historical amnesia here and Italians’ general comfort living with the relics of fascism as evidence that Italy never really repudiated the Fascist Party and Mussolini in the same way Germany repudiated National Socialism and Hitler. [Pols emphasis]

While Germany went through a long and painful process reckoning with its past, Italians have in many ways simply turned a willful blindness to their own…

The restoration of a government that lives up to the tenets of fascism even if they don’t like the word, in the cradle of historical fascism, may be ominous to many outside observers. But for Colorado’s freshman GOP controversy magnet Rep. Lauren Boebert, it’s nothing less than a triumph of the will:

We grew up with the expression “let freedom ring,” but under the circumstances “reign” might be more appropriate? Especially in the event that Italy’s second flirtation with fascism fails to resemble anything you’d call free. It’s not a surprise, but it is another warning–for the voters of CD-3 to ignore at their peril.

More likely, they’ll welcome Meloni at next year’s Western Conservative Summit.

New Episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii update the progress of every key race in Colorado now that we’ve passed the 50 day mark until Election Day.

We also talk about the latest embarrassing antics of Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Ken Buck — including wontons! — and give an attaboy to local media for taking time to do some important election narrative fact-checking.

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 |

Joe O’Dea Hammered on Abortion, Gun Control

Back in August, Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea made a catastrophic strategic error on the issue of abortion rights that was sure to be used by opponents in a slew of advertisements.

And here they come.

As we wrote in August, O’Dea’s admission that he voted for Proposition 115 in 2020 — an abortion ban that was rejected by 59% of Colorado voters — was likely the nail in his electoral coffin on an issue that has surged to the top of mind for many voters in 2022. A new television ad from a PAC called “53 Peaks” is using O’Dea’s vote on Prop. 115 to hammer him on abortion rights:

But it’s not just abortion rights where O’Dea is getting crushed. As The Colorado Sun reports:

Giffords PAC, the national organization pushing for tougher gun regulations, is running ads attacking O’Dea on gun policy…

…The 30-second Giffords PAC ad, which hits the airwaves Friday, features scenes from the mass shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, an Aurora movie theater and a Boulder King Soopers and blasts O’Dea for opposing “common-sense” firearm reforms like “closing loopholes and keeping guns away from criminals.”

O’Dea opposed the bipartisan gun regulation bill passed by Congress earlier this year and signed into law by President Joe Biden. “We’ve got plenty of laws on the books already,” he said during a Colorado Sun primary debate in June.

Here’s the Giffords ad:

 

O’Dea lags well behind incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in candidate fundraising, and with no real national support expected in Colorado for the Republican candidate, there’s not going to be much O’Dea can do other than sit there and get punched in the face over and over and over again.

Polling data shows that O’Dea is trailing Bennet by double digits. That might have been O’Dea’s high-water mark when all is said and done.

Boebert Pens Angry Letter to Biden on CORE Act

Lauren Boebert drafting her letter to President Biden.

As Kimberly Nicoletti reports for The Aspen Times, supporters of the long effort to pass the CORE Act, which would designate new national monuments and federal lands, are hoping a final decision is just around the corner:

Colorado ski towns could have a national monument right in their backyards, relatively speaking, and supporters hope it happens this fall.

On Saturday, Vet Voice Foundation, community leaders, elected officials, and 10th Mountain veterans — including a 100-year-old 10th Mountain veteran — will gather with the public at the Colorado Snowsports Museum for a rally to support the proposed Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument…

CORE is a 10-year citizens’ campaign that has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives five times but stalled in the Senate. It would safeguard areas including the Thompson Divide, the San Juan Mountains, the Continental Divide and Camp Hale, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area. [Pols emphasis]

CORE Act champions, including Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper, Rep. Neguse and Gov. Polis, are urging the Biden administration to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide region a national monument through executive action.

As readers of Colorado Pols probably know, the CORE Act is something that has wide support across Colorado but has been regularly opposed by some Republicans doing the bidding of the extraction and logging industries. Republicans often pretend that their opposition is because of other interests — including a tortured attempt to claim that the CORE Act would increase wildfires — but those arguments are specious at best.

Speaking of “specious,” Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert recently drafted a letter to President Biden signed by fellow Colorado Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn (as well as non-Colorado lunatics such as Reps. Louis Gohmert, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar) asking Biden to oppose the CORE Act. The idiocy of this letter is instructive for understanding the lack of legitimate arguments against protecting more than 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado for recreational use. You can read the full letter here (Boebert-AntiquitiesAct-PDF); we’ve broken down the main arguments below.

Mr. Biden,

We write with grave concern regarding new efforts to unilaterally impose severe land-use restrictions on the people of Colorado and across the American West. For years, partisan big-city Democrats – with the full backing and support of the far-Left green energy cartel – have attempted to implement massive new land grabs through the so-called Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. The CORE Act land grab seeks to impose increased land restrictions on nearly 400,000 acres, 73,000 acres of which would be designated as new wilderness and close numerous forms of outdoor recreation and multiple-use, exacerbating wildfires in the process.

Boebert can’t even bother to address Biden as “President,” but that’s pretty standard childishness from the representative of the third congressional district. The first paragraph is filled with MAGA jargon such as “big-city Democrats” and “far-Left green energy cartel,” and it concludes by claiming that the CORE Act would “exacerbate wildfires.” We’re not sure how the logic works here, but presumably Boebert is concerned that private industry won’t be allowed to rake the forests if the CORE Act is implemented.

This is a good point to stop and remind readers that both Boebert and Buck were among a minority in Congress who just this month voted AGAINST the Wildfire Recovery Act for reasons neither person has bothered to explain.

Boebert’s letter warns that “without local buy-in, any designation of land under the Antiquities Act will be subject to considerable controversy, as well as never-ending litigation.” What the letter does not mention is that there is, in fact, substantial “local buy-in” for the CORE Act.

A small sample of local support for the CORE Act that this letter conveniently ignores.

This is where things get particularly ridiculous. The letter lists 59 “stakeholders” that have formally objected to the CORE Act. Before we get into that list, remember that the CORE Act only deals with public lands in Colorado.

There are a handful of national organizations included in her letter among 59 opposition “stakeholders,” such as the American Energy Alliance; the Independent Petroleum Association of America; Industrial Miners Association; and groups called “Protect Americans Now” and “Less Government.” There are also a number of corporations, such as Encore Energy; Prime Fuels Corp.; and Sabre Gold.

Colorado Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn oppose the CORE Act.

The “stakeholders” list also includes four organizations from Arizona; four organizations based in New Mexico; and even one that is from California (California Farm Bureau). How this is relevant is not a question we can answer, though it would be fun to ask Boebert why she thinks California should be involved in decisions that affect Colorado.

There are a handful of groups on Boebert’s list that are actually located in Colorado, among them the Colorado Livestock Association and the Colorado Wool Growers Association. Opposition is also listed as coming from Colorado counties such as Archuleta; Cheyenne; “Freemont” [sic]; Dolores; Mesa; Mineral; and Montezuma. Not mentioned, of course, is the pesky fact that the CORE Act would not designate any new protected land in any of these counties.

Boebert’s letter concludes with these dire warnings:

While Camp Hale and our servicemembers that were stationed there made important contributions to World War II, we don’t support the efforts of extremist environmentalists who are seeking to hijack this historic place to create a new land designation – a designation that literally does not exist – to prohibit timber harvesting and mining on nearly 30,000 acres of land.

A second request made by our colleagues would permanently withdraw 200,000 acres of land in the Thompson Divide – an area blessed with an abundance of natural gas deposits – from energy exploration. Notwithstanding the fact that natural gas prices have surged to a 14-year high, this request is a solution in search of a problem since the area of controversy has already been administratively withdrawn. [Pols emphasis]

Um, okay.

The CORE Act unites and improves four previously introduced bills: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act; the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act; the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act; and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.

The Antiquities Act grants the President power to determine how much land to protect under historic or scientific interest. Despite protests from Boebert, Buck, Lamborn and friends, President Biden could take executive action to finally make the CORE Act a reality at any time.

Poll: Who Will Win Colorado’s Brand-New CO-08? (9/23)

Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D), Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer (R).

Another in our series of completely unscientific for-kicks-only reader polls of the major Colorado races in the 2022 midterms. After Colorado was awarded an eighth congressional district in accordance with 2020 census results, the state’s congressional redistricting commission proceeded to draw CD-8 to be as perfectly competitive as possible. As a result, the district is easily getting the most attention of any Colorado congressional contest this year as state Democratic state Rep. Yadira Caraveo takes on Republican state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer in a race that will set the precedent for pitched battles to come.

*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?

Who will win the 2022 CD-8 race?

View Results

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Poll: Who Will Win The Governor’s Race? (9/23)

Jared Polis, Heidi Ganahl.

Keeping up with our completely unscientific polling of readers about the major 2022 Colorado races, it’s time to ask your opinion of the gubernatorial race in the third week of September. Incumbent Gov. Jared Polis is being challenged this year by the only remaining Republican statewide elected official in Colorado, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl.

*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?

Who will win Colorado's race for governor in 2022?

View Results

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At Least He’s Not Your Wing-Wiping Valor Stealer Insurrectionist

J.R. Majewski and HWSNBN.

As the New York Times’ Neil Vigdor reports, a Trump-endorsed QAnon-curious January 6th participant Republican congressional candidate’s campaign for Congress is careening out of control, after his self-professed record of military service turned out to be wildly overstated:

J.R. Majewski, a Republican House candidate in northern Ohio, has frequently promoted himself as a combat veteran who served in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but the U.S. Air Force has no record that he served there, unraveling a central narrative of his political ascension that has been heralded by former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Majewski, 42, was deployed for six months in 2002 to Qatar, the Persian Gulf nation that is now home to the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East, according to Air Force records obtained by The New York Times.

The Associated Press reported earlier about Mr. Majewski’s misrepresentations of his military service, noting that he worked as a “passenger operations specialist” while he was in Qatar, helping to load and unload planes. In addition to Air Force records, it used information that it had obtained through a public records request from the National Archives but that was not immediately available on Thursday.

From a House Majority PAC ad targeting J.R. Majewski (R).

In short, this hard-charging MAGA Republican basically has nothing else to run for Congress on other than his claims to have been a combat veteran in Afghanistan, when the record indicates the closest he got to the combat zone was hundreds of miles away in Qatar loading and unloading airplanes–“in the rear with the gear” is the term we heard in a movie once. But as the AP reports, J.R. Majewski, whose past verifiable vocations include “pro-Trump hip hop performer,” embellished that mundane record very bigly campaigning for office:

Throughout his campaign Majewski has offered his Air Force service as a valuable credential. The tagline “veteran for Congress” appears on campaign merchandise. He ran a Facebook ad promoting himself as “combat veteran.” And in a campaign video released this year, Majewski marauds through a vacant factory with a rifle while pledging to restore an America that is “independent and strong like the country I fought for.”

More recently, the House Republican campaign committee released a biography that describes Majewski as a veteran whose “squadron was one of the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11.” A campaign ad posted online Tuesday by Majewski supporters flashed the words “Afghanistan War Veteran” across the screen alongside a picture of a younger Majewski in his dress uniform.

A biography posted on his campaign website does not mention Afghanistan, but in an August 2021 tweet criticizing the U.S. withdrawal from the country, Majewski said he would “gladly suit up and go back to Afghanistan.”

Majewski is running in a newly redrawn congressional district against Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who (very) longtime readers will remember was a member of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus along with Colorado GOP Rep. Bob Schaffer some 15 years ago. The district as redrawn now tilts slightly Republican, which has given the party hopes of unseating one the of the state’s longest-serving Democratic officials.

The fallout from the revelations appeared to be swift and significant, with the National Republican Congressional Committee on Thursday canceling television ads it had booked for the final six weeks of the campaign in support of Mr. Majewski, according to AdImpact, a firm that tracks campaign advertising. The decision was also reported by Medium Buying, a political advertising news site.

It looks like Kevin McCarthy’s shrinking path to a majority will not pass through Toledo.

Fox 31/Emerson: Polis and Bennet with Double-Digit Leads

UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman reports on the response from the various campaigns to today’s polling numbers.

Up first, the frat house that is the Joe O’Dea campaign strikes back with its familiar brand of inexplicable chest-pounding:

A spokesman for O’Dea’s campaign disputed the poll’s findings in a text message to Colorado Politics.

“If this is a 10 point race, Joe Biden’s inflation crisis was transitory and Michael Bennet is a professional fly fisherman,” said Kyle Kohli, O’Dea’s communications director.

Saying his candidate has “massive appeal to voters who are sick of both political parties,” Kohli added that the campaign feels as good about O’Dea’s chances as they did when he won the primary in late June despite massive spending by Democrats to boost his more conservative opponent.

Righto! O’Dea spokesperson Kyle Kohli should have erred more toward this response from the campaign for gubernatorial no-hopeful Heidi Ganahl:

Ganahl spokeswoman Lexi Swearingen said her candidate is “looking forward to surprising people again this November,” noting that the Republican won the CU regent’s race six years ago amid predictions she wouldn’t.

This statement is significantly less ridiculous than the one from Kohli, though it wrongly presupposes that more than a handful of Coloradans had any sort of opinion whatsoever on the 2016 CU Regent race. But at least Ganahl’s campaign is taking their lumps with a modicum of grace.

Finally, here’s what the O’Dea and Ganahl campaigns SHOULD have done:

Bennet’s and Polis’ campaigns didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The numbers speak for themselves.

—–

The big Colorado political news this morning comes via a new  FOX31/Channel 2/Emerson College/The Hill poll showing that Democrats hold commanding leads in the two top-ticket races in Colorado.

As The Hill newspaper reports:

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) are on track to win their reelection bids in November, with each man holding a double-digit lead over his Republican challenger, according to a new Emerson College Polling/The Hill survey released Thursday.

Incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis leads Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl by an astronomical 17 points with less than four weeks to go until Colorado voters start receiving their mail ballots.

Fox 31 is trying their best to make these numbers seem less terrible for Ganahl, but no amount of sugarcoating can change the taste for Republicans:

Of the respondents, 53% said they would vote for Polis if the election were held today, while 36% would vote for Ganahl. But a significant minority of voters said they are still undecided — 9% for this race.

Even if Ganahl picked up every last undecided voter in this poll, she’d still be trailing Polis by 8 points.

Meanwhile, in the race for U.S. Senate, incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet is polling 10 points ahead of Republican Joe O’Dea. The poll shows that 14% of Colorado voters remain undecided, while 4% plan to vote for “Someone Else.”

As The Hill notes, these numbers do not comport with recent claims from national Republicans:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told reporters on Tuesday that O’Dea is “barely behind” Bennet in the polls and has a real chance of ousting Colorado’s senior senator this year.

If Scott and the NRSC really believed this, of course, then they would be spending at least some money in Colorado to support O’Dea. But they aren’t.

The Republican path to victory in Colorado is in here somewhere. Maybe.

These new numbers certainly track with other recent public polling in Colorado’s Senate race. Even conservative pollster McLaughlin and Associates had Bennet with an 8-point lead over O’Dea in its mid-August survey. There has been less available public polling in the race for Governor, largely because no serious political professional has been able to find any daylight for Ganahl’s bumbling campaign.

Interestingly, both Ganahl and O’Dea are stuck at about 36% support. This doesn’t suggest a ceiling for the Republican candidates, but there’s not a ton of room for potential growth based on top-ticket races in Colorado over the last decade. Bennet may not be polling at 50%, for example, but recent history suggests that he can win re-election handily regardless; in the last three election cycles, no top-ticket Republican candidate has finished with more than 44% of the total vote in Colorado.

Of course Democrats (and Republicans) still need to keep pushing hard through Election Day to turn out every possible voter, but we’re starting to get a pretty good picture of how things might look in November.

State Senate Candidate Attempts to Paint Opponent…With Paint

Travis Nelson and Rod Pelton

Here’s a good story out of Southern Colorado in the race for State Senate in SD-35.

Democrat Travis Nelson is challenging Republican State Rep. Rod Pelton for a State Senate seat in the Alamosa area. Pelton is running for Senate in part because he was drawn out of his former House District during the redistricting process last fall.

We don’t know much about Nelson, but we’re familiar with Pelton from his regular silly rants about a “war on rural Colorado” and his anti-vaxxer position that led him to self-medicate with horse dewormer (ivermectin) during the COVID pandemic.

State Senate District 35 leans Republican, so Nelson probably doesn’t have much of a chance at winning in November. For this reason, Pelton is understandably not that interested in meeting his opponent for a candidate forum anytime soon. In order to press the issue and try to convince Pelton to join a debate, Nelson came up with a creative idea: He’s challenging Pelton to a “paintball duel” followed by a forum on private water issues.

We’d encourage Pelton to agree to this “duel.” It would be fun, and we could definitely use more fun in this election cycle.

Paintball guns could have saved Alexander Hamilton.

O’Dea Campaign Enters Blame Game/Backstab Phase Of Defeat

Joe O'Dea

GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea (R).

In the far-right Epoch Times today, we’re seeing the first of what we expect to become a flood of second-guessing and recrimination among Republicans over the failure of Colorado GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea to gain traction–despite pressure to show strength as Republican prospects in other states dwindle under the weight of even less qualified candidates. O’Dea’s impending defeat, forecast clearly by all but a couple of outlier polls, is part of a broader shift in political winds that may upend the conventional wisdom of the party in power losing support in midterm elections.

Despite running a triangulation campaign to distance himself from the locally unpopular Republican brand, O’Dea’s campaign has done pretty well at enforcing message discipline among fellow Republicans, Colorado GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown’s ill-timed outbursts against abortion rights being a notable exception. But with only seven weeks left until Election Day and O’Dea showing no signs of competitiveness, the hard questions couldn’t be held off forever:

As Republican Joe O’Dea hopes to unseat Democrat incumbent Sen. Michael Bennett [sic-Pols] in Colorado’s race in November, some GOP observers are pointing the finger at Washington and others at the O’Dea campaign for the GOP’s election struggles in the Rocky Mountain state…

[I]n interviews with The Epoch Times, GOP insiders have complained about either the lack of financial support coming from Washington for the O’Dea campaign, or have claimed that the campaign lacks the requisite grassroots support to win.

“I don’t think he’s getting enough support from national interests, whether we’re talking about the NRSC, the RNC or whatever national group that normally supports Republicans,” [Ryan Lynch of Polstar Strategies] said.

It’s no secret that despite lip service paid by Mitch McConnell to being “all in” for Joe O’Dea, that hasn’t resulted in actual spending to help O’Dea while Republicans continue to make large investments in higher priority states like Arizona and Georgia. O’Dea has been on an East Coast ring-kissing tour in the last week in a desperate attempt to convince national donors that his campaign is worth spending money on–but polls like today’s Fox 31/Emerson survey showing O’Dea losing by ten points undercut any pitch O’Dea can make.

And then the Epoch Times handed the microphone to O’Dea’s vanquished primary opponent:

O’Dea, says his former GOP Senate opponent, is trying to rely on a third party to rescue him when the candidate’s own party doesn’t like his political positions or the people who represent his campaign.

“Conservatives are feeling as though they’ve been sold out by Washington,” said Colorado State Rep. Ron Hanks, who lost to O’Dea by ten points in an open primary this year where voters of any party could participate.

“Grassroots and conservative Republicans that care about real issues, were sold out by Joe O’Dea and his campaign team that he brought in who were fronts for Liz Cheney [Republicans],” said Hanks.

Here in Colorado, soon-to-be ex-Rep. Ron Hanks has generally been discredited after Hanks baselessly claimed fraud in his defeat by O’Dea in the June 28th primary. But just as we saw with FOX News’ Tucker Carlson’s feature story making a hero out of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, all it takes is a fresh audience who doesn’t know any better to rehabilitate a would-be pariah. And as much as O’Dea doesn’t want to admit it, Hanks is right: the tradeoff for Republicans with O’Dea was always supposed to be ideology for victory, and O’Dea is now setting himself up to deliver neither.

When the post-mortem begins in September, your campaign is pretty much over.

Poll: Who Will Win Colorado’s U.S. Senate Race? (9/21)

Michael Bennet, Joe O’Dea.

Getting back to our general election series of totally unscientific for-discussion-purposes-only reader polls–which you can take as gospel if you want, though that didn’t work out well for Ron Hanks–is the question waiting for Colorado voters at the top of the ballots next month: who will win the U.S. Senate general election race pitting incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet against upstart Republican businessman Joe O’Dea? We’ve heard what Mitch McConnell wants and Five Thirty-Eight thinks, now let’s get a temperature check from our readers.

*Remember, as always with our totally non-scientific polls, we want to know what you legitimately THINK will happen — not what you hope will happen or which candidate you support personally. If you had to bet the deed to your house that your prediction would be correct, how would you vote?

Who will win Colorado's U.S. Senate race in 2022?

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Trump and Businesses Accused of “Staggering Fraud”

Via The New York Times (9/21/22)

There were some pretty strong words today from New York Attorney General Letitia James in announcement about a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.

As The New York Times reports:

Donald J. Trump, his family business and three of his children lied to lenders and insurers for more than a decade, according to the New York attorney general, Letitia James, who accused him of fraudulently overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars in a sprawling scheme. She is seeking to bar the Trumps from ever running a business in the state again.

Ms. James concluded in a sweeping lawsuit filed on Wednesday that Mr. Trump and his family business violated several state criminal laws and “plausibly” broke federal criminal laws as well. Her office, which in this case lacks authority to file criminal charges, referred the findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan; it was not immediately clear whether the U.S. attorney would investigate.

The 220-page lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, lays out in new and startling detail how, according to Ms. James, Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements were a compendium of lies. The statements, yearly records that include the company’s estimated value of his holdings and debts, wildly inflated the worth of nearly every one of his marquee properties — from Mar-a-Lago in Florida to Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, according to the lawsuit.

The company also routinely spurned the assessments of outside experts: After a bank ordered an appraisal that found 40 Wall Street was worth $200 million, the Trumps promptly valued it at well over twice that number. Overall, the lawsuit said that 11 of Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements included more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and the former occupant of the White House.

Meanwhile, Trump’s poll numbers in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential matchup are slipping among Republicans…but the Big Orange Guy is still the clear leader in the hypothetical clubhouse. From The Hill newspaper:

The Morning Consult-Politico survey released Wednesday found that 52 percent of Republican primary voters would support Trump, who is followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 19 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence came in third with 8 percent, while all other candidates received support from 3 percent of primary voters or less.

Trump’s support among GOP voters is 5 points lower than the 57 percent support he received last month. That polling came shortly after the FBI conducted a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents.

This is quite the conundrum for Republicans across the country and here in Colorado. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose political stunt sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard continues to unravel, is trying to out-Trump Trump…to Trump’s dismay:

 

Maybe this will all turn out great for Republicans, but it’s really, really hard to see a happy ending at the end of this crap rainbow.

Boebert Finally Becoming Too Toxic?

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

We wrote yesterday morning about the cancellation without explanation of what would otherwise have been an epic convergence of two of the far right’s most iconic luminaries, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Colorado freshman GOP fountain of nuttery Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who were set to hold a joint fundraiser in Anchorage. The reason for the fundraiser being canceled wasn’t disclosed, but the Boebert Palin Victory PAC is still a thing that exists now. And we think everyone can agree it always should have existed.

Today in the Utica, New York Observer Dispatch, we read about the postponement of another event set to star Lauren Boebert–and this time it looks like a popular uprising may have been responsible:

The announcement of an appearance by U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, whose national profile has been marked by controversy, at a Utica fundraiser in October sparked opposition on social media. The event has since been postponed, but organizers say they still plan to extend an invitation to Boebert after the 2022 election cycle.

Vincent Scalise, executive director of the Utica Center for Development, said he met Boebert while he was deployed with the Army National Guard to the U.S. Capitol following the Jan. 6 riot. While there, he took photos with all 100 senators and some members of the House, including Boebert, a Colorado Republican.

The congresswoman bought Chick-fil-A for troops on duty one night and the two became friends, he said.

“I ran into her while I was doing security,” Scalise said. “She was extremely nice to us and our troops.”

Considering Boebert’s role in helping incite the violence on January 6th, 2021, her rush afterwards to shower affection on National Guard troops who were deployed in the aftermath has always struck us as an example of Boebert audaciously returning to the scene of her own scandals in order to confound her critics. It’s difficult to imagine a soldier deployed to protect the Capitol after January 6th not knowing who Boebert is and what she did in the runup to the violence that day, but we’ll have to give this individual the benefit of the doubt.

Because either way, the people of Utica, New York surer than hell remembered:

The announcement that Boebert would speak at the fundraising gala at the Fort Schuyler club drew attention online. A Facebook post by the Utica Center for Development garnered a majority of angry reactions and some of the public shares of the post expressed outrage over her involvement. Comments on the post were limited by the page managers…

And subsequent to that, the gala for the Utica Center for Development starring Boebert was postponed. Boebert may draw adoring crowds at far-right conferences like CPAC, but if this experience is any guide, outside a thoroughly partisan political environment Boebert is basically useless for drawing anything but controversy. Boebert’s inherent divisiveness, which she has proudly made central to her public image, makes it inevitable that her mere appearance will overshadow the purpose of any event she’s invited to.

Enough that even Sarah Palin pulled the plug? We may never know, but now we know Boebert doesn’t play well in Utica. This could also explain Boebert’s notable absence from the Colorado GOP’s joint campaign touring around the state, and why her endorsement isn’t being sought or promoted by local Republican candidates.

If Adam Frisch does manage to pull off a Betsy Markey-style underdog win, few Republicans will truly mourn.

Doug Lamborn, Meet the Internet

Brick Tamland and Doug Lamborn (or vice-versa)

Longtime readers of Colorado Pols will remember one of our all-time favorite political quotes, courtesy of the late former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

Stevens was well known for his pet projects, including the infamous “bridge to nowhere,” but we’ll always hold a special place in our heart for this amazing explanation of the Internet he provided in 2006:

Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet [email] was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. […] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. [Pols emphasis] And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Stevens delivered this gem of an explanation in a Senate committee hearing on June 28, 2006. At this same time in Colorado, Republican Doug Lamborn was engaged in a heated 6-way battle for a vacant congressional seat in CO-05 in Colorado Springs (this was back when Colorado still held its Primary Elections in August). Lamborn would go on to win that race, and effectively a seat in Congress, by capturing all of 15,000 votes in the August Primary. He has held this seat ever since.

Lamborn is a political zombie, that strange type of politician who cannot be killed no matter the circumstances. He has survived multiple Primary and General Election challenges over the years; in June, he annihilated State Rep. Dave Williams in a Republican Primary (by 18 points!) despite the fact that Lamborn faces a lawsuit and ethics violations related to a bunch of problems in his office (including allowing his adult son to live in a storage closet in the basement of the U.S. Capitol).

Lamborn’s political survival is all the more remarkable considering a recent nugget unearthed by Colorado Public Radio reporter Caitlyn Kim:

 

It does appear to be possible to donate online to Lamborn’s campaign (theoretically, anyway — we didn’t actually try it), but you’d need to use a different payment processing service THAN ANY OTHER REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT IN THE COUNTRY.

Perhaps other Republicans are doing it wrong and should be following Lamborn’s lead, but we would imagine that you are more likely to raise money online if you use the same platform as all the other GOP candidates, since efforts are often made to direct donors in that direction. Of course, this assumes that Lamborn even WANTS money; he never seems to have any of it in his campaign coffers anyway.

Lamborn may not really understand the Internet, which is just one more thing to add to a long list of things that is beyond Lamborn’s ability to comprehend. In fairness, we also don’t understand how Lamborn has remained in Congress since 2007, so who are we to judge?

In the end, this is just one more nugget to add to the legend of Brick Tamland Doug Lamborn that historians will one day struggle to piece together.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Governor Jared Polis

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Governor Jared Polis about the 2022 campaign, truth in advertising, executing an agenda during COVID, saving people money, and the best cut of meat of a cow: The brisket. We also ask Gov. Polis for his thoughts on the recent immigrant relocation stunt pushed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Here’s Gov. Polis’s recipe for the perfect brisket rub:

♦ 1 cup brown sugar
♦ 1 tablespoon paprika
♦ 1 teaspoon black pepper
♦ 2 teaspoons salt
♦ 2 teaspoons ground mustard
♦ 2 teaspoons garlic powder
♦ ½ teaspoon cumin
♦ ½ teaspoon coriander
♦ 1 teaspoon rosemary (crumbled)

Rub the brisket and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before cooking. How long to cook it depends on how large a brisket you’ve got, but it’s usually around six hours at 250 in the oven.

About halfway through cooking, open the oven, flip over the brisket, and pour some Worcestershire sauce and/or ketchup on the brisket after flipping it over. Then cook it for the remaining time.

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 |

Send In Cory: Erik Aadland’s Worst Endorsement Yet

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner (right).

Republican CD-7 congressional candidate Erik Aadland’s campaign, despite running in a race made somewhat more competitive by redistricting, entered what could be a terminal nosedive beginning in late August, when archived video of Aadland calling the 2020 elections “absolutely rigged” was conspicuously deleted from the Jefferson County GOP Men’s Club website. A couple of weeks later, 538.com reported on Aadland telling Republicans in the district more recently that “we have an illegitimate government in power,” but he can’t “talk about election integrity on and on and on because it’s not an issue that wins us this race.” Aadland has been endorsed by a variety of toxic far-right personalities like QAnon theorist Paul Vallely and local anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo–which is on the message Aadland has clearly chosen, but doesn’t help Aadland appear reasonable in a district that still favors Democrats (and therefore reality) based on previous results by several points.

So as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reports, Aadland is bringing in…a different kind of backup:

Republican congressional candidate Erik Aadland won a formal endorsement on Monday from former U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who called the Army veteran “exactly who we need to bridge the divides and fight for our values.”

A former project manager for an oil and gas company and first-time candidate from Pine, Aadland is running against state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, a Lakewood Democrat, in the open, Democratic-leaning 7th Congressional District, which covers Broomfield, most of Jefferson County and mountain counties stretching south past Cañon City…

Aadland said in a release that he will “strive to emulate” Gardner’s example, adding that he was “honored” and “humbled” to have his support. [Pols emphasis]

As readers know, the most recent “example” set by Cory Gardner was losing in 2020 to Sen. John Hickenlooper by just over 9 percent, 53.5-44.2%–by about 10 percent within the boundaries of the new CD-7. That’s a bit wider margin than the newly redrawn CD-7’s D+4 estimate from Cook Political. Aadland will therefore need to work a little harder to “emulate Gardner’s example”–but if there’s any Colorado Republican up to the challenge in 2022 of losing by a few more points than expected, it’s Erik Aadland.

Although we can perhaps see the value of Gardner’s endorsement during the primary phase of Aadland’s campaign, in the general election the blessing of a Senator who just went down in flames two years ago isn’t a blessing at all. It’s a curse, and even though Gardner may be slightly to the left of Tom Tancredo policywise, Gardner brings no voters to Aadland who wouldn’t vote the straight Republican ticket anyway. For swing voters able to remember the last election, which we hope is a fair number, Gardner is perhaps the worst possible surrogate for 2022 candidates who want to win.

But just like with Joe O’Dea, Gardner’s playbook seems to be all Colorado Republicans have left.

Bummer: The Most Obvious Fundraiser in America Cancelled

Sarah Palin and Lauren Boebert (probably)

Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was scheduled to be in Anchorage, Alaska on Saturday to be the special guest at a fundraiser for GOP Congressional candidate Sarah Palin.

Boebert is often considered to be something like the off-brand version of Palin, the former Alaska Governor who somehow ended up being Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s running mate in 2008. “Caribou Barbie” was the original Boebert without the benefit of social media; indeed, it’s fair to say that Boebert built much of her current shtick off of the image that Palin created for herself in the years following her disastrous run as the Republican nominee for Vice President.

Alas, Saturday’s event was apparently cancelled for reasons that were not provided. Perhaps Boebert and her team of political “strategists” realized that it was a bad look to travel all the way to Alaska in late September when she has her own re-election campaign to worry about. Or maybe the event organizers were concerned that putting both women in the same place would create a tear in the space-time continuum and open a portal to a new dimension. Whatever the reason for the cancellation, here’s the original invitation as proof that this event was at least theoretically going to happen at one point: