Oltmann Hosts John Tiegen’s Election Pre-Denial Crew

Colorado Springs Mayor candidate John Tiegen.

This evening, Colorado’s premiere election conspiracy theorist and would-be mass political hangman Joe Oltmann is hosting a panel of nether-right election denialists, pastor Matthew Trewhella famous for calling violence against abortion providers “justifiable homicide,” and Colorado Springs mayoral candidate John “Tig” Tiegen to talk about being big bad tough guys who “stand in the gap” against…

In the case of discredited New Mexico professor David Clements, as the Washington Post reported last fall, the “gap” is local elections officials.

Clements’s strategy is to target his message locally: to county commissioners and clerks, jobs that are lower profile but that wield an outsize role in administering America’s decentralized election system. If local jurisdictions fail to certify their votes, it could throw the outcome of an election into chaos, raising doubt about the results and giving ammunition to losing candidates who refuse to accept their defeats.

Clements is one among a tightknit circle of Trump supporters who travel the country as self-appointed election fraud evangelists. [Pols emphasis] They embrace the instructions of leaders like former Trump adviser turned podcaster Stephen K. Bannon, who has urged election deniers to run for local races and sign up to be poll workers in what he calls his “precinct-by-precinct” takeover strategy.

It’s easy to laugh at what appears to be a traveling sideshow cashing in on lingering doubts among Republicans despite any evidence that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald Trump. But keep in mind how both the Colorado Republican Party and the local El Paso County GOP have been taken over by far-right activists who wholeheartedly agree. Clements’ “precinct-by-precinct” takeover looks very much the strategy adopted in Colorado by grassroots activists led by new chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams.”

Similarly, last summer NPR profiled Clements’ friend and frequent speaking tour circuit companion Seth Keshel:

On a quiet Tuesday night in Howard County, Md., dozens of people gather in a community center and listen to Seth Keshel’s 10-point plan.

“Captain K,” as he’s known in election fraud circles, is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, and he is walking through his go-to presentation: comparisons of vote totals from the past few election cycles, which he falsely claims prove President Biden’s win in 2020 was illegitimate. His 10-point plan to “true election integrity” includes banning all early voting and requiring all American voters to re-register.

In short, on a stage in Colorado Springs you’ve got two devoted nationally-prominent election deniers, a pastor who says killing abortion providers is justifiable, and the local gun store owner who personally invented the Dominion Voting Systems conspiracy theory and fantasizes about building “gallows all the way from Washington, D.C., to California” to hang politicians in both parties he doesn’t like.

And a candidate for Mayor of Colorado Springs.

If this doesn’t make you at least a little worried about how militia commander John “Tig” Tiegen might respond to his likely defeat in next month’s city election, consider paying closer attention.

Of Course Lauren Boebert Now Supports Earmarks

It has been said that hypocrisy is not a bug, but a feature of the modern Republican Party. We saw it in 2022, when Republicans promoted candidates across the country (Herschel Walker in Georgia, Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania, and even Joe O’Dea in Colorado, to name a few) who expressed ideas that were contradictory to their own self-professed beliefs or to other Republican ideals in general.

Nevertheless, there are some examples of hypocrisy that are more egregious than others. Few politicians embody the many problems of the Republican Party more than Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle), and hypocrisy is one of her greatest, uh, strengths.

After spending years bemoaning the very idea of congressional earmarks as corrupt and wasteful, Boebert is now suddenly embracing the idea of bringing pork back to her district. As Charles Ashby reported last week for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

Despite long being vehemently opposed to congressional earmarks, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is accepting requests for them.

Over the past two years, Boebert has called such earmarks “corrupt” and “a waste of taxpayer money,” and something only “swamp creature” career politicians would request.

Regardless, staffers for the Silt Republican have sent emails to local officials saying the congresswoman would accept their requests if they made them by today, but isn’t promising if she will submit anything specifically.

“Because of new changes to the House rules, Congresswoman Boebert will now be accepting Community Project Funding submissions,” Raven Finegan, the West Slope field representative to Boebert, wrote in a March 6 email to the Mesa County commissioners.

This is quite the flip-flop from Boebert, though a staffer was quick to point out that the Congresswoman might still flip back in the other direction:

“Please note, the congresswoman is not committed to submitting any Community Project Funding requests, and if she does they will be limited to known priorities with a significant impact on Colorado’s Third Congressional District,” Finegan added.

Um, okay.

In other words, Boebert was always opposed to earmarks but will now support them until she doesn’t.

Boebert claims that her earmark flip-flop is because of a change in House rules that would require floor votes on specific budget requests, or something, but that doesn’t change the fact that she spent the previous couple of years unambiguously trashing the very idea of an earmark (see HERE, HERE, and HERE for just a few examples).

Boebert’s explanation for her 180-degree shift was not well received by the editorial board of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, which opined a few days later on her hypocrisy in an editorial titled, “Wait, earmarks are OK now?”

We were left scratching our heads this week after learning that U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has flipped her stance on congressional earmarks. She had been vocally opposed to the practice as recently as a few months ago. So what changed? [Pols emphasis]

According to reporting by The Daily Sentinel’s Charles Ashby, Boebert has come around to the practice of members of Congress submitting funding requests for their districts. This comes after years of our congresswoman calling earmarks “corrupt” and “a waste of taxpayer money,” and something only “swamp creature” career politicians would request.

The stated reason for her change of heart is that the new Republican House majority changed the rules around how it would handle earmarks.

The Sentinel editorial board found Boebert’s explanation for her sudden embrace of earmarks to be rather weak:

We’re confused by this argument. Boebert’s previous position was that these earmarks were part of the problem in Washington that needed to be torn down. Congress didn’t need to just tweak some rules here and there. This was a corrupt practice and it needed to go. [Pols emphasis]

“The American people are tired of the D.C. way. At a time when our projected deficit for 2021 is $2.3 trillion, it is wrong that career politicians want to line their own pockets by using earmarks to pay off campaign donors and special-interest groups. Tax dollars are not politicians’ personal wallets, and they should stop treating them as such,” Boebert stated in 2021 when earmarks were reintroduced by House Democrats…

Boebert on the other hand has never been wishy-washy on this subject, which is why this turn is so odd. In the previous Congress she went so far as to vote against bills she agreed with because they contained earmarks. These were bills that she later touted as achievements, but her stance on earmarks meant she could not vote for them. [Pols emphasis]

Boebert’s change of heart on earmarks is pretty easy to explain once you get past the sheer hypocrisy of the decision. After winning re-election by a mere 546 votes in a district that she should have won easily, Boebert is clearly feeling the heat to produce SOMETHING for the people of CO-03 beyond an ever-growing pile of idiotic tweets; constant (and often confused) criticism of the Biden administration; and bringing pictures of human fetuses to a hearing on endangered species. She’ll never get any legislation passed in the comically-inept House Republican caucus, so her best shot at producing real, tangible results for the good people of Congressional District Three is to try to bring home some bacon.

Boebert seems to understand that her angertainment brand of politics does not impress the non-MAGA voters in her district, but she doesn’t really WANT to change her habits even if she knew how. In the aftermath of her narrow re-election victory, Boebert pledged to “take the temperature down” on inflammatory partisan politics in Washington DC. She broke that promise within a matter of weeks.

Frankly, Boebert does more to help Democrats (albeit inadvertently) than she does for Republicans. Her constituents can only hope for leftover scraps from their elected representative, and that’s why Boebert is suddenly in favor of an earmark process that she long derided as “pork” and “corruption.” Boebert is hoping that CO-03 voters will forget that she ignored them for the last three years so long as she can get the federal government to write a couple of checks to support local interests ahead of the 2024 election; then she can get back to focusing on what meaningless words she’ll mutter at the next Turning Point USA conference.

n B ruQ

“Caucus of One”: Mike Lynch and The Art of Losing The Deal


Colorado House Minority Leader Mike Lynch (R).

The biggest political news of the last week in Colorado has been the end after weeks of increasing obstruction by the Republican micro-minority in the Colorado House of the Democratic supermajority’s patience–leading to the invoking this past weekend of the body’s longstanding Rule 14 to limit debate on an individual piece of legislation, thus putting a hard cap on the minority’s ability to filibuster.

Last night, 9NEWS’s Marshall Zelinger delved a little deeper into the circumstances leading up to Democrats using the so-called “nuclear option” to put an end to endless stall tactics from a GOP minority with no power to stop these bills from passing. As it turns out, House Minority Leader Mike Lynch had been in the process of leveraging his minority’s obstruction into concessions on some of the proposed legislation in negotiations with Democratic leadership. Had that effort been successful, Republicans could have called their whole obstructive effort a win for gun rights. But it was not to be:

“We had a few deals on the table to stop the filibuster on that bill,” [Rep. Javier] Mabrey said.

“One was to change some of the language that made the standard of proof a little higher for someone that was taking on these lawsuits. The other was to cut out the conceal portion of it, so if somebody has a product that helps conceal a gun, then they would be cut out of it,” said House Minority Leader, State Rep. Mike Lynch, R-Wellington…

“Of the 50-plus amendments that we had, we had distilled it down to three that they could agree with, and we could agree with,” Lynch said. “This was substantive changes that really did help industry here in the state.” [Pols emphasis]

When Republican lawmakers refused to stop unlimited debate, the Democrats used Rule 14, which limits debate.

How does Lynch explain the failure of his own caucus to fall in line?

“How that went down on our side is somewhat irrelevant, but we had folks that wanted more out of the deal,” Lynch said. “I’ve learned from my leadership training throughout the years, it’s never good to throw your own team under the bus. That is a leadership challenge for me to take care of and I plan on doing that. [Pols emphasis] We’re not going to lose any good deals like that, I will say.”

Obviously, the failure of the Republican caucus to abide by the agreement made by their Minority Leader is extremely relevant, and the real “leadership issue” that Lynch faces rather than not throwing his “own team under the bus.” If Minority Leader Lynch has no authority to enforce agreements with his caucus, there is simply no point for majority Democrats in negotiating with Lynch. Zelinger and 9NEWS host Kyle Clark summed up the problem at the end of the video clip you can watch above:

Kyle Clark: Nobody envies Mike Lynch’s job. The dude has got the smallest caucus in Republican history at the Capitol, and he can’t keep them in line. He’s got people going rogue on him.

Marshall Zelinger: He doesn’t say rogue, he says everyone is their own person, they all have their own ideas, they’re all elected individually. But it is his job, if you’re going to negotiate something like this, it’s his job to be like “Look, we got these things that they didn’t have to give us. But we’ve got to do this,” and that means stop talking. And if someone doesn’t want to stop talking, why would the Democrats be then like “let’s hear you out for this next bill?”

Clark: Yeah. Instead of a caucus of like a dozen, it’s like a caucus of one. Caucus of one. Caucus of one. [Pols emphasis]

By holding together after extracting everything they possibly could from their filibuster in terms of both base-pleasing grandstands and measurable policy changes, Republicans could have emerged from this fracas claiming a measure of victory.

Instead, it’s a lesson in how to reduce what little influence you have left to no influence at all.

The Quarter Zip Fleece: Who Wears It Better?

After embattled fabulous fabulist freshman Rep. George Santos made the look infamous, we didn’t expect to see it start a trend. But here today was Sen. Jim Smallwood staying warm and fleece-y in the well of the Colorado Senate:

We’re not knocking the sweater itself, but maybe not as a suit vest? If Gov. Jared Polis can retire the polo shirt/bow tie combination he fearlessly rocked in Congress until GQ intervened, perhaps we can put an end to what’s become known as the “George Santos look.”

Honestly, that ought to do it. No Republican should want to remind you about George Santos.

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Republicans Play Out String on Filibuster Stunt

Students and parents at the State Capitol last week

Colorado Republicans are apoplectic after Democrats finally got tired of the GOP’s pointless stall tactics over common sense gun safety legislation – just a week after another school shooting in Colorado – and enacted a rule to limit discussion so that the process of legislating could resume. This was the second House Republican “filibluster” of the month, which took place just weeks after House Republicans held a press conference lambasting Democrats for moving too slowly in discussing a variety of legislative matters.

None of these narrative pieces fit together with any logical consistency, but that’s never the point for this generation of Colorado Republicans. 

As Seth Klamann reports for The Denver Post:

Colorado lawmakers passed two gun reform bills Sunday after three days of Republican filibustering that only ended after House Democrats dusted off a rarely used rule to accelerate votes and end what they described as stall tactics…

…The weekend widened the chasm between the Democratic supermajority and the historically small Republican minority in the chamber. The House worked late into Friday evening having made little progress on SB23-168 — the lawsuit bill — despite attempts to reach a deal on amendments to end a Republican filibuster. Lawmakers returned Saturday morning and pivoted to the red-flag law, hoping to simultaneously negotiate a deal to pass the lawsuit measure.

Republican protests over their inability to stall gun violence prevention legislation looks particularly bad after another horrible school shooting today in Nashville, Tennessee, that killed at least three children and three adults. But even before today’s tragic events, the Colorado GOP struggled to make a coherent argument in their own defense. 

The latest Republicans “filibluster” came after two days of pleas from students and parents who came to the State Capitol from across the Metro Denver area to beg lawmakers to act quickly on enacting more gun safety measures. Republicans tried to avoid those discussions; those who could not – including State Sen. Larry Listoncomplained bitterly about the experience.

Last weekend’s “filibluster” also took place just days after State Rep. Scott “There is No” Bottoms told a church congregation in Colorado Springs that Republicans were unmoved by personal stories of being impacted by gun violence:

“[Democrats] will say, ‘You’ve got your side of the argument and it’s the Constitution, but we’ve got real, live people on our side.’” said Bottoms. “And we’re like, ‘We don’t care.’”

In other words, Republicans spent the last week making it VERY clear that they had no interest in even discussing gun violence prevention proposals. Democrats nevertheless gave Republicans plenty of time to talk about their opposition. Republicans were not interested in negotiating a compromise, so eventually the adults needed to move along with the business that Colorado voters elected them to pursue. 

As Klamann explained further in the Post:

By Saturday night, Republicans showed no sign of slowing their filibuster. Several Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Javier Mabrey, a co-sponsor of the lawsuit bill, said their side had reached repeated deals with Republican leaders to end debate and pass the bills. But those deals were broken, Mabrey and others said, prompting the majority to enact rule 14 and hasten the bills’ passages… [Pols emphasis]

…“I think that voters expect the people they elect to accomplish what they tell them they’re going to accomplish,” Mabrey said. “I don’t think that obstruction is popular. And this is democracy. Elections have consequences.”

Indeed they do. Colorado voters have rejected Republican candidates by wide margins in each of the past three election cycles. In 2022, Democrats won every statewide race by double-digit margins and expanded their majorities in the state legislature. In the State House, a 46-19 Democratic majority has relegated Republicans to the smallest minority in a century.



Republicans tried to flip the script over the weekend in an attempt to turn their own filibuster stunt into a greater grievance related to their own ineptitude. Again, from the Post:

The move drew howls from Republicans. Several already had stickers ready to protest the limitation. Rep. Scott Bottoms, a Colorado Springs Republican, would later call it “fascism” and likened it to a biblical stoning. Dave Williams, the GOP’s newly elected state chair, called Democratic leaders “vile tyrants” in a late Saturday statement. Minority Leader Mike Lynch said Democratic leaders had given in to the “radical fringes” of their caucus.

The language from Republicans was as Trumpian as it gets. New State GOP Chair Dave Williams took time out from forwarding information about the extremist gun group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) to send two separate FUNDRAISING EMAILS blasting Democrats with absurd rhetoric. Here’s a sample from Williams’ second email:

As you may have heard, the reprehensible Democrats manipulated House Rules, twice, to silence your elected Republican lawmakers from debating against them on their anti-gun bills because Democrats got triggered and wanted to go home early to try and salvage the rest of their weekend…

…Christian Pastor, Rep. Scott Bottoms, fought back and called out the Democrats for being fascists while reading scripture to them. 

It was a powerful rebuke and the marxist Democrats know it… 

…Rep. Scott Bottoms is a true America-First Patriot who faithfully serves others, even if it costs him personally. All Republicans should rally around him as he fights to protect Colorado from extreme Democrats who are attacking his Christian faith.

We probably don’t need to tell you that nobody was “attacking” Bottoms for his “Christian faith.” 

As to the first sentence above – where Williams asserts that Democrats just wanted to go home for the weekend – Republican Rep. Ryan Armagost messed that one up. The freshman Republican from northern Colorado took to Twitter to complain about Democrats enacting a rule to limit discussion despite the fact that ARMAGOST WASN’T EVEN THERE. 




Earlier this month, House Minority “Leader” Mike Lynch presided over a press conference that generated the following headline from the political website of the Colorado Springs Gazette:


Via the political website of the Colorado Springs Gazette (3/9/23)


Literally one day later, House Republicans started their first attempted filibuster of gun violence prevention legislation. 

Step One: Accuse Democrats of moving too slow in a legislative session limited by law to 120 days.

Step Two: Slow down that same legislative session with pointless filibusters.

Step Three: Yell and scream after Democrats get tired of listening to your time-wasting antics.

Step Four: Send fundraising emails about your new victimhood.


That March 9 story from reporter Marianne Goodland includes a rather embarrassing quote from Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Fort Lupton) that did not age well:

“What conversations are we not having while we’re arguing about firearms?”


Republicans have long suspected that Democrats might eventually limit their filibuster attempts when it became obvious that the GOP had no intention of actually negotiating on proposed legislation. As Jesse Paul wrote for The Colorado Sun on March 16:

House Minority Leader Mike Lynch said his caucus would “fight that with all we’ve got” if Democrats were to limit debate.“I think that’s an issue that deserves national coverage,” he said. “For a state legislature to be a bully and shut down what tools we’ve got, I think that’s a big deal.”

In the House and Senate, the chamber could limit second-reading debate to as little as an hour through a simple majority vote. 

Wasting time and forcing Democrats to put a stop to it was ALWAYS a pre-planned stunt by Republicans, though they have had a hell of a time trying to keep their rhetoric straight. In response to a question from The Denver Post, Lynch even acknowledged that he is at the mercy of the nutballs:

Asked about his own caucus’s right wing, whom Democrats said had scuttled negotiations, Lynch acknowledged that “we suffer from the fringes.” 

Nevertheless, Lynch told the Post that the Republican response to being called out for their own stupid delay tactics will be…to initiate more stupid delay tactics:

He indicated Republicans will now ask for more bills to be read at length over the remaining six weeks of the session — meaning their entire text read aloud, eating up more valuable time — as a response. 

Remember: This is the same guy who stood in front of a podium a few weeks ago blaming Democrats for moving too slowly in conducting legislative business:

House Minority “Leader” Mike Lynch (R-udderless) blames Democrats for slow pace of legislative session one day before first GOP filibuster.


This is all nonsense. All of it.

These are the actions of a small minority of Republicans who cater exclusively to the right-wing MAGA fringe of the GOP and have no ideas about anything. What happened over the weekend has nothing to do with fascism, marxism, antidisestablishmentarianism or any other rhetorical “-ism.” It is political theater and nothing more.

The story here isn’t that House Democrats enacted a rule that limits Republicans from wasting everyone’s time for no policy-related purpose. The real story is that House Republicans rendered such a rule to be necessary.


Lauren Boebert Pays Respect To January 6th Insurrectionists

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

As NBC News reported, not that you can call it a surprise:

Members of the House Oversight Committee on Friday toured a Washington, D.C., jail where some Jan. 6 defendants are being held and offered contrasting descriptions of conditions inside the facility.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spearheaded the visit, painted a picture of constitutional violations and overall mistreatment, while her Democratic counterparts said the defendants were being treated fairly with nothing out of the ordinary…

GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, who was also on hand for the tour, was seen exchanging a hug with Micki Witthoeft, the mother of Ashli Babbitt, a Jan. 6 rioter who was shot by police as she jumped through a broken window while members of Congress fled.

Earlier this month when Fox News host Tucker Carlson unleashed widely-discredited selective footage attempting to recast of the violence of the January 6th, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol as “mostly peaceful chaos,” Boebert seized on Carlson’s false depiction of events and claimed the hundreds in custody and facing charges stemming from the events that day were wrongly imprisoned. Ironically, the fate of Ashli Babbit, who was killed by Capitol police at the front of a crowd smashing its way into the House chambers, runs directly counter to Carlson’s peaceful narrative–not that logical inconsistencies have ever much troubled Boebert.

Though clearly intended as theater, fortunately a couple of Democrats tagged along on the House Oversight Committee’s field trip to D.C. jail to set the record straight:

Rep. Jasmine Crockett of Texas, a former public defender, described the visit as “political theater,” adding that she “didn’t see anything that was alarming.”

California Rep. Robert Garcia told reporters that the defendants were “being treated very fairly appropriately,” adding that Republicans were “treating these insurrectionists like they’re pseudo celebrities.”

It’s in Boebert’s interest as much as the January 6th rioters facing justice to downplay every part of the events of that day, from the violence to the incitement of that violence from Republican politicians like Donald Trump and Boebert herself. Part of that effort involves manufacturing sympathy for those facing criminal charges, and bemoaning prison conditions they celebrate as “deterrent” when applied to “ordinary” criminals.

The moral of the story is that yes, jail sucks–but so does rioting at the Capitol because you don’t like how the last election went. And as part of a larger strategy to derail the certification of Joe Biden’s victory and keep Trump in office, which Boebert supported and even wielded as a threat in reference to her “constituents outside the building right now,” the rioters were doing something worse than merely rioting.

They were carrying out an insurrection. Right up to the moment of failure, Boebert was part of it.

Every time Boebert wants to remind voters of this, get out of her way and let her.

Podcast: Republicans “Don’t Care” About Gun Violence Concerns

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, there have been two shootings in or near East High School in Denver in less than 40 days, and Colorado Republicans are just flat-out saying that they really don’t care about your feelings on the subject. This is what happens when the people who think more guns are the answer and the current situation is just fine take full control of the Colorado Republican Party.

In addition to being the party of endless gun deaths, the GOP is also now the party of…weakening child labor laws? The Affordable Care Act is old enough to be bar-mitzvah’d; we ask if it’s memorized its Torah portion yet. Twice impeached former President and current GOP nomination frontrunner Donald Trump is about to be arrested and/or indicted for paying hush money to a porn star; after all these years, will the leader of the party of Law and Order finally see some?

And the unofficial third host of the Get More Smarter Podcast is back with a new stack of horribles from listening to the state legislature so we don’t have to! Christy Powell joins us once again to play our confusing Republican legislative, “Legislating With Crayons.”

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.

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House Republicans: We Don’t Care About Gun Violence Stories

“[Democrats] will say, ‘You’ve got your side of the argument and it’s the Constitution, but we’ve got real, live people on our side.’

“And we’re like, ‘We don’t care.’”

     — State Rep. Scott Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs)

House Republicans are spending their first Saturday of Spring on another inevitably-pointless “filibluster” related to gun violence prevention legislation that Democrats are moving through the State Capitol.

Today’s attempted filibuster comes at the end of a week that began with the shooting of two staff members at East High School in Denver and ended with students descending on the Capitol building to plead for help in enacting new gun violence prevention measures. As we noted on Friday, Republicans in the state legislature responded to these desperate calls for help by treating students as a nuisance; State Sen. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs) wrote on Twitter: “How would you feel if rude and impertinent 15/16 year olds barged into your office unannounced and berated you for an unfortunate situation that you had nothing to do with?”

As Kyle Clark of 9News reported on Friday evening, Liston’s horrible comments were only the tip of the iceberg from Republicans. Last Wednesday — AFTER the East High School shootings — State Rep. Scott “There is No” Bottoms (R-Colorado Springs) flatly told an audience at a local church that the Republican response to personal stories of being impacted by gun violence was to flatly state, “We don’t care.”



The “filibluster” that Rep. Bottoms promised to undertake on Friday evening instead began today. Members of the Republican micro-minority in the State House have been droning on for hours in opposition to SB23-170, an addition to Colorado’s successful “red flag” law that seeks to expand the list of people who can petition for an “extreme risk protection order” to temporarily remove a firearm from the possession of a person believed to be an immediate risk to themselves or others. This bill is a common sense addition to a program that has already been proven to save lives in Colorado, but that matters little to a Colorado Republican Party that now operates as little more than a subsidiary of the “no compromise” gun group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).

Republican lawmakers literally don’t care about how gun violence might impact Coloradans or their communities. They’re not even pretending otherwise.

Colorado Republicans Treat High Schoolers Like January Sixers

Senate President Steve Fenberg addresses East High students on gun safety legislation.

As the Denver Post’s Capitol reports Nick Coltrain and Seth Klamann reported yesterday evening, for the second time this legislative session, the students of nearby East High School marched to the Colorado state capitol building to demand in the wake of gun violence on and near their campus that lawmakers pass stronger gun safety measures:

Hundreds of students from at least five Denver high schools, reeling from another school shooting, filled lawmakers’ offices and surrounded them in the hallways of the Capitol on Thursday to demand safer schools.

The rally was in response to the second shooting at East High School in as many weeks, but violence at any school affects every school, students said. They chanted slogans like “protect schools, not guns” from the Capitol steps…

On Wednesday, two administrators at the school were shot by a student, according to law enforcement. The student suspected of shooting the administrators was found dead by suicide hours later in Park County.

Students arriving at the state capitol to lobby lawmakers in favor of stronger gun safety laws yesterday, continuing today with Denver Public Schools closed for a “mental health day,” met two very different partisan reactions. Sympathetic Democrats welcomed students’ support for four gun safety bills moving through the legislature, and Sens. Chris Hansen and Rhonda Fields promised in response to news that the East High shooter may have utilized an untraceable “ghost gun” to introduce a new bill to ban them completely in the state.

According to a number of witnesses present, however, the interactions between East High students and Republican lawmakers were somewhat less cordial:

Got that, kids? Sen. Larry Liston was “happy” to be “berated” with your “rude and impertinent” “unannounced” grievances about your friends and administrators getting shot. What makes you think Liston can help? It’s not like lawmakers pass laws, right?

As for Republicans who hid in darkened offices as though high school students were January 6th insurrectionists, that’s just rank cowardice. For one thing, these students all went through the capitol’s metal detectors, which is more than we can say for clueless Republican lawmakers with a habit of fumbling their guns in a building where no one else can possess them. Why would armed Republican legislators be afraid of high school students who didn’t even smash any windows to get in the building like January 6th “sightseers?”

As one of Colorado’s longest-serving backbencher safe-seat Republicans, this is far from Larry Liston’s first offense when it comes to general disdain for children. Back in 2008, then-Rep. Liston drew scorn and was forced to apologize after he flat-out called unwed teen parents “sluts” in a debate over teen pregnancy rates. It’s not something Liston would be likely to repeat today, especially in earshot of Lauren Boebert, but we can see that time hasn’t made the kids any more welcome on Larry Liston’s lawn.

This time, Liston and friends helped turn a crowd of East High kids into lifetime Democratic voters.

Get More Smarter on Friday (March 24)

Welcome to Spring; enjoy the allergies! Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.




If you are a registered voter in Denver but have not yet cast your ballot ahead of the April 4th election — headlined by the first open race for Denver Mayor in 12 years — then welcome to the club! Less than 5% of Denver voters have cast a ballot as of today.

Recent shootings at East High School in Denver may help voters make a decision among the 16 candidates running for Mayor.


Former President Donald Trump won’t likely be indicted for hush money payments to a porn star until at least next week. In the meantime, Trump is handling the wait with his typical subtlety and grace:


As The Denver Post reports, students from several local high schools visited the State Capitol on Thursday to plead with lawmakers to take more action on gun safety:

Hundreds of students from at least five Denver high schools, reeling from another school shooting, filled lawmakers’ offices and surrounded them in the hallways of the Capitol on Thursday to demand safer schools.

The rally was in response to the second shooting at East High School in as many weeks, but violence at any school affects every school, students said. They chanted slogans like “protect schools, not guns” from the Capitol steps.

“This should have stopped with Luis,” Jasmine Brown, a junior at West High School, said. “This should have stopped with Columbine.”

Luis Garcia, a junior and varsity soccer player at East High School, was shot last month while sitting in his car outside of school. He died of his injuries.

The response from Republican lawmakers was…not good:

In a series of Tweets today, Colorado House Republicans cast the blame for shootings at East High School squarely on the Denver School Board.

As Westword reports, the Denver School Board completed quite the flip on its policy of armed police officers in public schools. Following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, the school board pulled armed police out of schools over concerns about officers potentially targeting minority students for extra scrutiny.


 Governor Jared Polis unveiled a sweeping new affordable housing proposal that supporters say will also have huge benefits for the environment.


Click below to keep learning things…



And Now Comes The Great Firewall of Utah

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R).

AP reports via NPR from the Beehive State, where the permanent Republican supermajority had itself another crazy idea that Gov. Spencer Cox was happy to sign into law:

Utah became the first state to enact laws limiting how children can use social media after Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed a pair of measures Thursday that require parental consent before kids can sign up for sites like TikTok and Instagram.

The two bills Cox signed into law also prohibit kids under 18 from using social media between the hours of 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m., require age verification for anyone who wants to use social media in the state and seek to prevent tech companies from luring kids to their apps using addictive features.

As readers with young children already know, most social media platforms don’t allow kids under 13 to sign up due to federal law regulating marketing to young children. But if you know that, you ought to also know how easy it is for kids to lie about their age to gain access to whatever platform they want. And as for blocking kids from accessing social media during certain times of day, they can get around such restrictions faster than adults can say “VPN”–which is another term net-savvy parents should know about, because your kids already do.

The laws are the latest effort from Utah lawmakers focused on children and the information they can access online. Two years ago, Cox signed legislation that called on tech companies to automatically block porn on cell phones and tablets sold, citing the dangers it posed to children. Amid concerns about enforcement, lawmakers in the deeply religious state revised the bill to prevent it from taking effect unless five other states passed similar laws.

Notwithstanding the fact that tech giants are expected to file suit as soon as the law takes effect in 2024, the simple fact is that the state of Utah has no practical ability to enforce this law, since unlike China and other tightly-surveilled countries the state has no centralized control to block or impede network traffic within their borders. If parents choose to engage in a technological arms race against their own children to control what they can access online, they’ll enjoy somewhat better odds than the state of Utah.

Our experience is that the kids always find a way.

Denver Ballot Returns are Pretty Miserable

The race for Denver Mayor is coming down to its final week, but voters are still holding onto their ballots like a lottery ticket that they aren’t totally sure isn’t a winner.

Election Day is April 4, which means the last day to safely drop a completed ballot in the mail is Wednesday of next week. As of today, only about 5% of ballots in Denver have been returned by voters.

Yes, five percent. As in, more than four but less than six.


Denver ballot returns as of March 24, 2023


The last time Denver had an open race for Mayor was in May 2011, when Chris Romer (28% of the vote) and Michael Hancock (27%) earned enough votes to make the runoff election. James Mejia finished in third place with 25.7% of the vote.

In May 2011, voter turnout reached a little more than 38% of all eligible voters. This was before Colorado instituted all-mail balloting, of course; in theory, making it easier to vote in 2023 should increase voter turnout [*Denver did start all-mail balloting for the first time in 2011]. On the other hand, a ballot that includes 16 candidates for Mayor does make things a bit more complicated when you’re trying to make a decision as a voter.

If you are a Denver voter and you still haven’t cast a ballot — and according to the data, that’s pretty much everyone — you can CLICK HERE for more information on how to vote.

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 gray 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 PlannedParenthood.org:


The home page of PlannedParenthood.org, 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.