Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 22)

You only have a few more days to vote and stick your ballot in the mail, so get to it. Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

The refusal of Senate Republicans to even debate a new election integrity bill SHOULD be the last straw for Democrats such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. As Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent write for The Washington Post:

On Wednesday, all 50 Republicans in the Senate — including supposed moderates such as Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine — voted to filibuster the Freedom to Vote Act. That’s a stripped-down version of sweeping voting rights legislation Democrats have advocated.

If Manchin (or anyone else) needed more proof that Republicans will never partner with Democrats to secure voting rights and democracy, this was it.The Freedom to Vote Act was, for all intents and purposes, Manchin’s own bill. He demanded the changes that made it less ambitious than the For the People Act championed by progressives.

It was redesigned to his specifications. So instead of requiring nonpartisan redistricting commissions, it allows states to determine the mode of redistricting while establishing standards of fairness that would be enforced by courts. It also creates national standards for early voting and mail voting, but also allows voter ID requirements, albeit with some protections.

No Republican voted for this.

Waldman and Sargent note that two prominent voices are growing louder about the need to reform the filibuster: Angus King of Maine and Jon Tester of Montana. Says King:
“I’ve concluded that democracy itself is more important than any Senate rule.”

President Biden is also signaling that he would be open to changing Senate filibuster rules in order to pass voting rights legislation.

 

Colorado Republican candidates continue to struggle to come up with a decent answer about the “Big Lie.” Many of the top statewide candidates seem to have coalesced around the shaky narrative that Joe Biden is the President and that the election was not fraudulent in Colorado…but maybe it was everywhere else.

The latest attempt by a statewide Republican candidate to answer this question came from Senate hopeful Gino Campana; check out the transcript of this BRUTAL back-and-forth with right-wing radio host Peter Boyles. The interview contains a line that could go down in infamy: “Don’t 9News me!”

 

Hospitalizations from COVID-19 in Colorado are trending in the wrong direction compared to the rest of the country, as Colorado Newsline explains:

There are 1,130 people in the hospital with COVID-19 as of Oct. 21, Gov. Jared Polis said during a news briefing Thursday, and 893 of those cases, or about 80%, are unvaccinated individuals.

“This is a very stark reminder to anyone who thought this pandemic was over and that they could slip by without getting vaccinated,” Polis said. “This is a wake up call. If you haven’t been vaccinated, you’re facing a grave threat.”Polis said that crisis standards of care are “ready to be implemented if needed, potentially tweaked or improved.” Idaho and New Mexico both recently implemented crisis standards of care.

Hospitalizations are increasing among all age groups, but more rapidly in older populations. State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy said during the briefing that could be due to waning immunity in older people who got a vaccine earlier this year.

As Denver7 reports, 93% of Colorado ICU beds are currently in use. Governor Jared Polis says Colorado may need to ask for help from the National Guard if these trends continue.

 

And now, some good COVID-19 news: Boosters for everyone! As The Washington Post reports:

Tens of millions of Americans can sign up to get Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters beginning Friday after the nation’s top public health official endorsed recommendations from expert advisers that the shots are safe and effective at bolstering protection against the coronavirus.

The green light from Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, means that eligible Americans at risk of severe disease can choose any of the three boosters now authorized in the United States regardless of their original shot.

“The evidence shows that all three COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States are safe — as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” Walensky said in a statement Thursday night, several hours after receiving unanimous recommendations from the expert panel, called the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. “And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant.”

Get moving, folks. Boost that thang up!

 

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Boebert + Gaetz: The Band Is Back Together

Apologies, not the band. The squad:

Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert last January.

Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, representing the region of Sunshine State affectionately known as “Floribama,” remains under a cloud as an investigation into alleged trafficking of underage women for sex continues. Gaetz’s alleged partner in crime, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, is reportedly singing like a canary to federal prosecutors, who just this week added more lawyers to the probe into Gaetz’s role in the larger sex trafficking investigation. Gaetz’s regularly erratic behavior took another bizarre turn this week on the floor of the U.S. House when he announced “I think someone may be trying to kill me” based on an anonymous Twitter threat he allegedly received.

Everybody remembers what Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, seated next to Rep. Gaetz in the photo above taken this week, had to say when she was last questioned about Gaetz’s scandals back in April right?

“Isn’t he from Florida? I’m from Colorado,” GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert said in response to questions about Gaetz. [Pols emphasis]

Sometime between then and the present day, if there ever was any real attempt to put distance between the two after close collaboration at the very beginning for Boebert’s term, it looks like Boebert and Gaetz got things patched up! It’s always struck us as odd how, after Boebert’s professed support for the “QAnon” conspiracy theory that involves as a central plot point the trafficking of children, she’s become so persistently cozy with a guy accused of trafficking actual children.

Also, Rep. Boebert was born in Florida. So that answer was always kind of silly.

Colorado Republicans Continue to Struggle with the “Big Lie”

The “Big Lie” may be the only truth for Republicans, but they still don’t have any idea how to talk about it without getting at least one foot stuck in their mouth. 

Was the 2020 Presidential election fair and accurate, or was it “stolen” from former President Donald Trump? This is the single most important (and obvious) question for any 2022 candidate, yet most Colorado Republicans STILL can’t figure out how to respond in a coherent manner.

Heidi Ganahl during her disastrous interview with 9News on the day of her campaign launch.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl may have irrevocably damaged her chances with her inability to provide a straightforward answer to this question; this is one of several reasons why even fellow Colorado Republicans believe Ganahl’s long-inevitable candidacy is already doomed. When Ganahl kicked off her campaign on Sept. 14, she was asked by multiple news outlets to provide an answer to a question about the “Big Lie” that any idiot should have known to expect. She botched all of those questions, capping off the day with this infamous disaster of an interview with Marshall Zelinger of 9News in which Ganahl keeps complaining about getting asked “divisive questions” (CLICK HERE to watch that entire cringeworthy interview).  

Colorado Republicans have since tried to figure out a different path forward when this question invariably resurfaces. Earlier this month, State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown (KBB) went on KNUS radio to tout this advice: Republican candidates should acknowledge that Democrat Joe Biden is the rightful President of the United States and try to move on to something else. 

Republicans have sorta followed this advice in subsequent interviews. Here’s what Ganahl told KNUS radio last week, per The Colorado Times Recorder:

“Joe Biden’s our president, and we have to do everything we can to change that in 2024,” Ganahl responded. “And as a candidate for governor, I can’t speak for the election integrity of other states, but I can speak for Colorado and I would not be running if I did not think I could win here.”

Ganahl then clarified her position on the issue further by saying that she doesn’t believe the outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election in Colorado was changed by fraud, pointing to Biden’s large margin of victory here. She does not go so far as to say that fraud didn’t occur.

“I have not seen any evidence that the presidential election outcome in our state was changed by fraud. I mean, the margin was huge. It was 13 percent or 400000 votes that Colorado went for Joe Biden.”

Ganahl appears to have settled (for now) on the answer that Biden won in Colorado but maybe not in other states. This is not a response that is going to help Ganahl win over moderate voters in Colorado, but will it placate the GOP base?

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer fights off the “Big Lie” question.

On the Senate side of the campaign trail, Republican Ron Hanks flat out states that Biden was not fairly elected in 2020. Some of his fellow Senate candidates, meanwhile, are following the hybrid approach suggested by KBB. The Colorado Times Recorder caught this long and winding answer from Eli Bremer in late September:

“So I’m not an expert on elections,” Bremer said in the Sept. 28 interview. “One of the things I’ve learned, though, is when you have questions, go to people that really know about it. And I’m not going to lie, on election night, back in the aftermath of the election, I had a lot of big concerns about this election. I saw numbers that didn’t make sense to me. I saw outcomes that didn’t make sense to me. And so one of the things that I would say is I have fidelity to the truth. I want to get down and find the truth. And so I started making calls and I started asking people, particularly in Colorado, because that’s, you know, that’s our state. I talked to some clerks and recorders. Our clerk in El Paso, I’ve known for quite a while, talked to him. They’ve done a massive amount of investigation into this. And he said, ‘Eli, when we looked at the results, we’re talking random error of .01% level.’ And so I don’t have to like the outcome of the election. But in looking at what I’m seeing now and in talking to people who have phenomenal amounts of experience on this, who are on our side, I believe that in Colorado the results that were reported are correct.”

Using a LOT of words, Bremer appears to be going with the same theme that Colorado’s elections were fine but other states might have been corrupt. 

Ganahl, Hanks, and Bremer don’t have great answers to this question, but their responses are at least more clear than the one recently attempted by Senate hopeful Gino Campana. On Oct. 13, Campana was a guest on longtime radio host Peter Boyles’s show “Peter Boyles On Demand.” Boyles asked Campana about what he calls “the one question every Republican candidate needs to be able to answer,” which resulted in Campana making a complete fool of himself [note: all emphasis is ours]:

 

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Eli Bremer Picks Up “GOP’s Biggest Loser” Endorsement

Eli Bremer appearing in a video for Shaklee Vitamins.

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports news that apparently someone in Eli Bremer’s campaign thought was good, though upon examination it’s not really news at all unless it’s, you know, bad news:

Jeff Hays, a former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, on Wednesday endorsed fellow Air Force Academy graduate Eli Bremer for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet.

“I have known Eli for over 10 years and worked with him extensively. Eli has been a devoted friend and trusted advisor when I succeeded him as the El Paso County GOP chair as well as when I served as the Colorado state GOP chair,” said Hays in a statement.

While there would normally not be anything newsworthy either way about the endorsement of a former Colorado Republican Party chairman with close ties to Eli Bremer’s El Paso County stomping grounds, in the case of former Colorado GOP chairman Jeff Hays we’re talking about one of the more significant failures to hold that position in the past decade. In 2019, Hays resigned from his post following the Colorado GOP’s disastrous losses in 2018, in which Republicans lost all three statewide constitutional offices and saw their minority in the Colorado House shrunk to its smallest since at least the 1950s–all told, the worst results for Republicans in Colorado since FDR was President. The Denver Post reported at the time:

The party suffered defeats in practically all of Colorado’s contested races amid a national “blue wave” in November, with Democrats taking full control of the state legislature and keeping the governor’s office, among other victories. In the days after the election, Hays described the results as “disappointing.”

“This will be hard, and it will take more creativity and tenacity than our party has mustered in the past 20 years to achieve our goals. There may be some tough times ahead,” he wrote in an open letter in November…

Hays was definitely right about “tough times ahead” for Republicans, in which Hays’ successor Rep. Ken Buck tried and failed to moonlight the job of running the state party while serving in Congress and leading Colorado Republicans to another flat-out disaster in the 2020 general elections.

Ex-Republican State Sen. Randy Baumgardner.

During his tenure as state party chairman, Jeff Hays also found himself defending Republican state lawmakers like Sens. Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner from allegations of sexual harassment during the historic “MeToo” movement-driven backlash against such behavior at the Colorado Capitol. Let’s just say that Hays’ comments on the matter…did not age well:

HAYS: Absolutely, they tried the same stunts at a different level in the state senate during the last session, where they had a bunch of accusers that were claiming some of our state senators had unwarranted touching or made offhanded comments that were offensive. And it was the same kind of thing.

It’s this French Revolution — you know, ‘You stand accused. And the accusations — those are so serious. We must–.’ Well, you know, people lie all the time. I get lied to every day in this business. I get lied to by women. I get lied to by men. There’s no sanctimony in having that extra X chromosome… [Pols emphasis]

As you can see, Jeff Hays is a real charmer! But we’re obliged to point out that Eli Bremer himself does find some “sanctimony” in “that extra X chromosome,” at least with respect to transgender people in sports.

A fun stroll down memory lane. The real endorsements truly are the friends we meet along the way.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Oct. 21)

Vote early, not often. Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

As expected, Senate Republicans again voted down new voting rights legislation on Wednesday. From Colorado Newsline:

Senate Republicans blocked the advance of voting rights legislation Wednesday, the second time this year — thwarting again Democrats’ attempts to pass federal protections for voters amid a slew of new state elections laws.

“When we are faced with a coordinated effort across our country to limit the freedom to vote, we must stand up and do what is right,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who sponsored the bill, said on the Senate floor just before the party-line vote.

The Freedom to Vote Act would make Election Day a national holiday and set minimum standards each state must have for elections, including two weeks of early voting and an option for same-day voter registration…

…Even after moderate Democrats made concessions, no Republicans were willing to let the bill advance and for now it is stalled.

So, um, about that filibuster rule…

 

As The New York Times reports, efforts by Congressional Democrats to curtail rising prescription drug costs are are getting mucked up by Republicans with help from some familiar Democratic names:

Senior Democrats insist that they have not given up the push to grant Medicare broad powers to negotiate lower drug prices as part of a once-ambitious climate change and social safety net bill that is slowly shrinking in scope. They know that the loss of the provision, promoted by President Biden on the campaign trail and in the White House, could be a particularly embarrassing defeat for the package, since it has been central to Democratic congressional campaigns for nearly three decades…

…But with at least three House Democrats opposing the toughest version of the measure, and at least one Senate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, against it, government negotiating power appears almost certain to be curtailed, if not jettisoned. The loss would be akin to Republicans’ failure under Mr. Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act, after solemn pledges for eight years to dismantle the health law “root and branch.”

 

 As Jesse Paul reports for The Colorado Sun, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters — and her attorney Scott Gessler — got a stiff-arm to the facemask from the State Supreme Court:

The Colorado Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to hear Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ appeal of a ruling last week barring her from having a role in the upcoming 2021 election.

Peters’ appeal argued that Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie J. Robison didn’t have the authority to remove her as the county’s designated election official and, thus, prevent her from having a role in the Nov. 2 contest…

…The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the appeal means former Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, will serve as Mesa County’s designated election official for the Nov. 2 contest. County Treasurer Sheila Reiner, who is also a Republican, will serve as the elections director.

 

Douglas County Commissioners decided to opt the county out of a contract with the Tri-County Health Department in large part because they were angry about mask mandates. As The Denver Post reports, the Board of Commissioners is now SUING ITS OWN HEALTH DEPARTMENT for pushing guidelines that make mask-wearing OPTIONAL. Maybe next they can file a lawsuit against “science” in general.

For more on this bizarre story, check out Colorado Public Radio; The Colorado Sun; and Denver7. Westword takes a step back to examine how COVID-19 politics are turning the Tri-County Health Department into just plain “Health Department.”

In related news, an indoor face mask requirement is now underway in Larimer County.

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 20)

Fill out that ballot and get it returned, people! Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

The Washington Post has the latest on efforts by Congressional Democrats to get some sort of big infrastructure deal passed:

President Biden is set to head to Scranton, Pa., on Wednesday to pitch his retooled vision for overhauling federal health care, education, climate and tax laws, even as the future of his signature economic package remains unsettled among Democrats on Capitol Hill.

For Biden and his allies in Congress, the next few days could be critical: Democratic leaders hope they can finally broker a truce to end the public feuding between the party’s ambitious liberals and spending-weary moderates. Some now hope they can reach a deal this week, putting them on track to adopt the full tranche of spending perhaps before the end of the month.

“I think it’s very possible,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said after meeting with House Democratic lawmakers.

A day before the speech, Biden huddled again with the two warring factions and presented the rough outlines for a compromise package that could total between $1.75 and $1.9 trillion over 10 years. The still-fluid price tag is far less than the $3.5 trillion that some Democrats initially envisioned, as the White House seeks to strike a balance between preserving its priorities and cutting costs to satisfy two centrist holdouts, Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).

In other words, the path forward is still as clear as mud…as is a proposal to advance some sort of carbon tax.

 

As CNN reports, Senate Republicans are expected to once again vote against new voting rights legislation:

Senate Republicans are expected to block another voting rights bill Wednesday, as some on the left call to change the chamber’s rules to allow the Democratic Party to unilaterally change federal election law.

The Democratic bill, known as the Freedom to Vote Act, would make it easier to register to vote, make Election Day a public holiday, ensure states have early voting for federal elections and allow all voters to request mail-in ballots. The measure would also bolster security on voting systems, overhaul how congressional districts are redrawn and impose new disclosures on donations to outside groups active in political campaigns.

But Republicans have blocked a number of voting rights legislation since Democrats took the House and Senate the past two election cycles.

 

What in the holy hell is going on in Western Colorado?

 

Axios Denver looks at the field of candidates seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2022. The story includes a quote from a well-known Republican that is, shall we say, less than inspiring:

“There is no Cory Gardner sitting out there waiting to get in,” said Greg Brophy, a former Republican state senator and lobbyist. “So you have a whole bunch of people, and we are going to see what kind of campaign they can put together.”

Good luck figuring out how to use THAT statement on a campaign mailer.

 

 

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Manchin Takes Aim At Bennet’s Prized Child Tax Credit

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-ish).

As Pat Poblete of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports–while Colorado’s junior Sen. John Hickenlooper reckons with moderate obstinate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s deal-killing opposition to the carbon tax Hickenlooper has championed since his 2019 presidential run, Colorado’s other U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is confronted with a threat to the size and scope of his overwhelmingly popular Child Tax Credit from the same Sen. Manchin:

The number of Colorado parents eligible to receive the federal Child Tax Credit could be cut by nearly 70% if congressional Democrats and the Biden administration cave to the demands of one of their Democratic colleagues, according to a new report.

The vast federal program – which sends monthly payments to parents of children 17 years old and younger – has been a top policy priority of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet since the middle of the last decade and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as part of a pandemic response package…

Researchers at the self-proclaimed “moderate” Niskanen Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Tuesday released estimates based off of Axios’ report showing if Manchin got his way, some 37.4 million children across the country would lose out on federal aid.

And that’s not all:

Colorado would be particularly hard hit based on the projections put together by the Niskanen Center’s Robert Orr and Samuel Hammond. Based on the duo’s projections, roughly 320,000 Colorado kids would be eligible for the credit under Manchin’s proposal, down 67.9% from the roughly 1.1 million currently eligible children.

Sen. Bennet’s goal is to see the Child Tax Credit in its current form extended for a further five years–enough time for the credit to make measurable progress toward the goal of cutting child poverty in half throughout the United States. But because of the perfectly divided 50/50 U.S. Senate, Sen. Manchin now wields a degree of influence over the process that has galled and outraged Democrats across the nation. Manchin, the only Democratic representative left representing a state whose failed economy has embittered a white working-class population, seems to be taking pleasure in his dream-crushing role as he demands a smaller final package for the politically self-serving sake of being smaller.

With the signature priorities of both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators now at Joe Manchin’s mercy, the one thing we say for certain is that both Hickenlooper and Bennet are as frustrated as everyone else over the present state of affairs. What’s happening right now is not why either of them were elected to the U.S. Senate, and it’s not their fault. We can only hope that when the dust settles on a final product, some of the good stuff Colorado’s U.S. Senators have fought for is still in there.

In the long run, the only cure is a majority with a margin that prevents any one Senator from playing God.

The GMS Podcast: Rep. Yadira Caraveo Gets More Smarter

State Representative, Pediatrician, and Congressional candidate Yadira Caraveo

This week on Episode #89 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with State Rep. Yadira Caraveo about her work as a state legislator, a pediatrician, and now, a candidate for Congress in CO-08.

Later, Jason and Ian try to figure out who is the driver of the Republican Senate candidate clown car; we wonder if Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert even knows what she is saying anymore; and we decide that Republican Heidi Ganahl is running the worst campaign for governor in the entire country.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

WTF? “MyPillow Guy” Crashes GarCo School Board Meeting

Western Slope blogger Anne Landman reports: among all of the bizarre spectacles playing out in school board meetings across the nation this fall as parents respond to continuing measures to fight the COVID-19 pandemic based on their political persuasion, last week’s meeting of the Garfield County RE-2 school board earned a spot on the highlight reel simply because of a very special guest star:

In a bizarre scene, “My Pillow guy” Mike Lindell made a cameo appearance alongside Rifle election conspiracist and Tina Peters defender Sherronna Bishop at a Zoomed Garfield County School District RE-2 Board Meeting on October 13.

Bishop appears about three minutes into the meeting, speaking during the public comment period and accusing School Board members of abusing children by “forcing medical devices on them.” She condemns the Board for how her “kid had to wear a mask to his homecoming dance” and how the students were “interrupted” by an adult at the dance who reminded students how to correctly wear their masks. Bishop accused the school board of “assaulting and abusing” children by having them wear masks for protection at school amid the pandemic.

After a member of the school board warns Bishop she has 30 seconds left to speak, a man wearing a shirt and tie moves into the frame with Bishop. He then bends down to where viewers can see his face, and it was the clear the man is Mike Lindell. One of the school board members can be heard in the background saying “Jesse, turn it off!” [Pols emphasis]

It’s worth watching the whole performance starting at about three minutes in with a few technical difficulties. Sherronna Bishop, for any who still don’t know, is the former campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert, and close confidante of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters under criminal investigation for an elections system data breach in Peters’ office. Bishop accompanied Clerk Peters on “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s private jet to South Dakota for Lindell’s “Cyber Symposium” that examined the stolen data in an ultimately fruitless attempt to show the 2020 elections were stolen.

Bishop has also been very active in the Western Slope’s “resistance movement” against every kind of COVID-19 prevention measure, traveling from her home in Garfield County to help rabble-rouse against the all-GOP Mesa County Board of Commissioners and promoting the usual range of far-right quackery instead of scientifically proven best practices. But much like Bishop’s fact-addled failed attempt to convince Mesa County commishes the election was stolen, after a few minutes of incoherent ranting you always come to a moment like this one:

Where nothing makes sense but there’s a lot of yelling, and you agree Jesse should just turn it off.

“MyPillow Guy” and “America’s Mom.” The new Colorado Republican Dynamic Duo? Denver Republicans may want to move on, but the Slope isn’t having it.

Democratic Candidates in CO-03 are Burning Money

Drunken Sailor

There is a clear winner in the fundraising battle in Congressional District 3, where multiple candidates are hoping to win the Democratic nomination for the right to face incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert in November 2022. You probably won’t recognize any of their names, unfortunately. 

The consultants are cleaning up in CO-03.

According to the latest campaign finance reports via the FEC, a handful of consulting firms and individuals are taking home the bulk of the money that is being raised by Democratic candidates in CO-03. Eight candidates (Kerry Donovan, Sol Sandoval, Don Valdez, Debora Burnett, Colin Wilhelm, Gregg Smith, Colin Buerger, and Kellie Rhodes) have combined to raise $2.8 million in the 2022 cycle, which is more than the total amount raised by Boebert thus far ($2.73 million).  

The problem here is that these eight Democrats have already combined to SPEND more than $2 million. That’s a cumulative burn rate of 72%. You don’t need to be a math whiz to understand that these numbers are not sustainable. 

Two of these Democratic candidates are no longer running; Donovan suspended her campaign after redistricting produced an unfavorable map, and Smith disappeared almost as quickly as he materialized in the first place (check out this Washington Post story from Dave Weigel for more on Smith). But the top two remaining Democrats in the field (Sandoval and Valdez) are burning through nearly 9 out of every 10 dollars they raise. 

That’s a lot of cash that is vanishing into the pockets of consultants. 

Sandoval has about $49k in the bank after paying more than $41,000 to “Middle Seat Consulting” for “fundraising consulting” and $13,000 to “The Strategy Division” for “fundraising consulting” and “management services.”

Valdez has just $29,182 in the bank as of September 30, 2021, because he’s written checks for more than $63,000 to a digital consulting firm called “Break Something” and and more than $12,000 to “Sterling Strategies” for “communications consulting services.” 

Sandoval and Valdez are both spending thousands of dollars on merchant fees for “Act Blue,” which is a necessary expense. Neither are spending unusual amounts on staffing, though at their current fundraising rates, salaries are quickly becoming a luxury item. 

The biggest overall winner is a Colorado firm called “Ascent Digital Strategies,” which collected more than $550,000 for digital fundraising services. Only Boebert spent this kind of money with a single consulting firm, shelling out more than $350,000 to “Rock Chalk Media” for direct mail and advertising expenses. 

How does this happen? If you are running against someone as well-known and as disliked (around the country) as Boebert, you’ll get a fair amount of money just from emails and social media posts that target donors who are simply irritated with the incumbent Republican. When the early money comes easily, it’s tempting to think it will always flow that fast.

It’s also true that you have to spend money to make money with online fundraising, but some of these exorbitant expenditures are difficult to rationalize. If the majority of your contributions are being used to raise more money, you’re basically just running in circles. Most of the money raised by a given campaign SHOULD be stuffed inside a mattress in order to pay for television and digital advertising closer to the election date (Primary or General Election).  

Obviously, this can’t continue if Democrats are to have any hope of defeating Boebert in 2022. In fact, it might be time to resurrect our “Drunken Sailor Awards,” a feature we ran on Colorado Pols in 2017-18 to look at how much money the top candidates for public office were spending in a given fundraising period.

Manchin, Tester Knock Down Hick’s Carbon Tax Aspirations

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D).

Politico reporting in their Congress Minutes brief today on news that will disappoint progressive Democrats who are hoping to see aggressive action to combat human-caused climate change in the budget reconciliation bill:

Key moderate senators are resisting efforts to impose a carbon tax as part of their climate action plan, sending progressives back to the drawing board.

Sen. Joe Manchin plainly told reporters Tuesday morning that “the carbon tax is not on the board at all right now.” And Sen. Jon Tester said separately “you might have problems with me on a carbon tax.”

“I just don’t think you can implement it. I use a lot more fuel than [a trucker does], and we’re both going to get the same check and it’s going to make us whole? It’s just not going to work. So I’ve got some issues with the carbon tax myself.” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told POLITICO.

Although a tax on carbon pollution gained new impetus in recent days after moderate obstinate Democratic Senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin shot down a previous incentive-based plan to encourage carbon reduction, it’s worth remembering as Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reported at the end of August that we’re talking about a longstanding proposal from Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who ran for President in 2019 on a platform of (among other things) taxing carbon:

As negotiations over a high-stakes budget bill begin in Washington, D.C., Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper told constituents in a virtual town hall on Monday that a carbon-pricing mechanism to combat climate change tops his wish list for the legislation.

“The thing I’d like more than anything is to get a price on carbon,” Hickenlooper said. “It would be so much more efficient if there was some sort of a fee, and a dividend of some sort, that would allow us to incentivize and motivate all of these entrepreneurs all over the country … to find cleaner ways of delivering energy.”

…Hickenlooper made a carbon tax central to the climate plan put forward by his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2019. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he could play a key role in drafting and negotiating the $198 billion clean-energy component of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill.

Although Sen. Hickenlooper took plenty of heat from his left during a gubernatorial administration in which oil and gas development increased significantly, here we have Hickenlooper clearly positioned to the left of the obstructionist Democrats representing energy-producing states on a major climate change policy proposal. It’s a reminder that Colorado’s Democrats are not the problem in these fraught blue-on-blue negotiations, and might join those disappointed on the wrong side of whatever compromise emerges.

In that event we will all need to focus on the good stuff that doesn’t get cut, and remember to not blame the wrong people.

We say these things because when we get to what they call “nut-cutting time,” no one else remembers to.

Lauren Boebert’s Silence Roars, Too

As readers know, Colorado’s leading far-right freshman outrageophile Rep. Lauren Boebert is a devoted believer of what’s become known as the “Big Lie” that the 2020 elections were stolen from Donald Trump. During the leadup to the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, Boebert did her part rallying the faithful to come to Washington, infamously Tweeting on the morning of the insurrection that “Today is 1776.” Boebert has of course never once conceded that the 2020 elections were legitimate.

Last week, the “Big Lie” went indirectly on trial in a Denver courtroom as a defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of Dominion Voting Systems against the Trump campaign, multiple attorneys including Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, and local conspiracy theorist Joe Oltmann–whose evidence-free claim to have overheard a phone call in which the Dominion employee in question promised to steal the election inspired the entire narrative that Dominion machines had been somehow compromised. Oltmann’s attorneys made no attempt last week in court to prove this call had actually taken place, only arguing that if Oltmann believed it had taken place, that was a defense against defamation. And then everyone above Oltmann’s level in the case simply pointed to Oltmann as the source they were repeating uncritically.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

The disconnect between the acknowledgment in court that a factual basis underpinning the “Big Lie” does not exist and the rhetoric of Oltmann and others who continue to insist the 2020 election was stolen, especially in the wake of last week’s hearings, is getting untenably wide. Here’s Joe Oltmann ranting over the weekend, since the admission in court that there’s no evidence to support his allegations:

“They attack relentlessly those who stay focused yet that focus exposed the massive evidence of fraud and the result is a majority of Americans know the election was stolen,” Oltmann said. “Stay focused. MTG, Boebert, Gaetz, and all those who know what happened and how fraudulent the election was need to focus on the one thing that makes us a great nation… our voice. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. We fix that, we fix EVERYTHING else.”

Take note: this is Joe Oltmann name-checking Rep. Lauren Boebert as one of the Republican politicians in office who know “how fraudulent the election was” and calling for Republicans to “Fix 2020 first”:

The message is simple: Future elections, including 2022, are compromised or worse until doubts held about 2020 are decisively put to rest.

It’s a message we know that GOP U.S. Senate candidate Ron Hanks will agree wholeheartedly with, along with Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters under criminal investigation for allowing unauthorized access to Dominion Voting Systems hardware–an alleged crime that, once again, did not end up validating any of the underlying allegations. Clerk Peters’ chief confidante over the last few months of developing controversy has been Sherronna Bishop, Rep. Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager.

But there’s a problem: for reasons no one has yet conclusively determined, Lauren Boebert has refused so far to join in the defense of Tina Peters or Joe Oltmann. After an exchange of barbs on Twitter with Secretary of State Jena Griswold last summer that did not go well for Boebert, Boebert has remained dead silent as the news broke that Clerk Peters is under local, state, and now federal law enforcement scrutiny. Not a word from Boebert while Peters went into hiding for weeks after attending “MyPillow Guy” Mike Lindell’s joke of a “symposium” alongside Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna Bishop. Nothing while Mesa County’s Republican commissioners pleaded for Peters to return to Colorado and assist in the investigation.

Obviously, if Joe Oltmann is going to invoke Lauren Boebert in his defense, Boebert should be asked whether she supports Oltmann. And that in turn is a fine segue into asking Boebert about the national news playing out in her own district involving Boebert’s former campaign manager, “MyPillow Guy,” and the FBI.

There’s a reason Boebert went quiet about this, and we want to hear it.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 19)

Return those ballots, people! Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country. She’s making national headlines today for another bad reason: Hosting an in-person event with a conservative speaker who was literally TRYING to get infected with COVID-19. We wrote about this story on Monday, but here’s more from The Washington Post:

Days before he announced he had tested positive, Prager was in Colorado, where he spoke at a campaign event for Heidi Ganahl, a Republican running for governor. Officials with her campaign told KUSA they were not aware of Prager’s plan to get infected with the coronavirus.

“We are reaching out to all those who attended to make sure they are informed,” Ganahl’s campaign told the station in a statement. “We encourage those who attended … to get tested and follow CDC guidelines if they experience any Covid-like symptoms.”

The problem with this response from the Ganahl campaign is this: There is video evidence of Prager flat-out telling Ganahl that he was hoping to get infected with COVID-19.

Here’s more from 9News:

 

The Denver Post updates the latest COVID-19 numbers in Colorado:

Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations continued to rise over the weekend, but it’s difficult to predict whether that trend will continue.

On Friday, more people were hospitalized with COVID-19 in Colorado than at any point since late December. The number of hospitalizations continued to increase, reaching 1,101 people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 on Monday afternoon.

New cases appeared to fall last week, however. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 12,885 cases in the week ending Sunday — a decrease of roughly 2,500, if it stands. The state’s data has lagged in recent months, though, with late reports sometimes erasing any signs of progress.

“We’ve been in a period of uncertainty with the trends in the data,” said Talia Quandelacy, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. “It’s hard to tell what some of these trends are showing.”

The bottom line seems to be the same as it has been: We’re still not yet getting a handle on turning back the coronavirus pandemic as too many Coloradans continue to refuse to get vaccinated. Westword has more on Colorado’s COVID numbers.

In related news, Larimer County is reinstating a mask requirement for residents in indoor public areas. As Colorado Public Radio reports, one of the safest places to be in Colorado, in terms of a high-percentage of people who are vaccinated, is on college campuses.

 

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection plans to move forward today with holding former Trump adviser Steve Bannon in contempt for refusing to respond to a Congressional subpoena.

 

As The Associated Press reports, Texas has approved a new gerrymandered congressional map that dilutes minority representation.

 

 

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If You Went to See Prager, You Had Better Get Tested

TUESDAY UPDATE: It’s getting worse for Hiedi Heidi Ganahl as her campaign bizarrely denies what Dennis Prager said directly to Ganahl’s face a week ago Saturday, in an attempt to shirk responsibility for potentially exposing everyone in the audience to COVID-19–Washington Post:

Days before he announced he had tested positive, Prager was in Colorado, where he spoke at a campaign event for Heidi Ganahl, a Republican running for governor. Officials with her campaign told KUSA they were not aware of Prager’s plan to get infected with the coronavirus. [Pols emphasis]

9NEWS’ Erin Powell:

In a statement to 9NEWS, Ganahl’s campaign said they did not know of Prager’s plan to intentionally get COVID [Pols emphasis] and did not know he tested positive before Prager announced it on his show. They plan to contact people who attended the event…

All you have to do is watch the clip of video below in which Dennis Prager matter-of-factly informs Ganahl that he’s “been trying to get COVID for a year and half” to know that this is a flat-out lie. It’s a lie that comes after days of Prager knowing he was infected, even receiving monoclonal antibody treatment, while the Ganahl campaign was supposedly never informed of Prager’s diagnosis to begin contact tracing.

Prager naturally claims that in addition to treatments he received that do have clinical backing for their use against COVID, he also took the “quack combo” of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. Apparently the goal here was to make every bad decision possible with respect to catching and treating COVID-19 so Prager could announce on his radio show that bad decisions in his case did not kill him.

For Heidi Ganahl, trying to convince blue Colorado that she can be trusted to lead, this is a disaster limited only by the lack of attention being paid in this early stage of the 2022 elections. It’s baffling to us that Ganahl brought this polarizing Republican blowhard in to brand her stumbling campaign early with exactly the partisan division Ganahl claims she doesn’t want. Now she’s a poster child for COVIDiocy along with Dennis Prager.

God help Heidi Ganahl if somebody from last week’s event gets sick.

—–

UPDATE: From ill-advised campaign event to full-blown public health crisis, reports Ernest Luning of the political blog once known as the Colorado Statesman:

A spokeswoman for Republican Heidi Ganahl’s gubernatorial campaign says the Coloradan’s campaign is getting in touch with supporters who attended a recent event in Colorado Springs that featured Ganahl talking on stage with conservative radio host Dennis Prager, who announced Monday that he tested positive last week for the virus that causes COVID-19 and had been attempting to get infected.

Prager said Monday on his radio show that he was broadcasting from his home because he has COVID-19 and has been “steadily improving” since testing positive “last week” for the coronavirus, adding that he has undergone monoclonal antibody treatment…

“The campaign was not aware Dennis had contracted Covid until the announcement on his show,” Swearingen said in a text message.

Wait a minute–Dennis Prager tested positive “last week” and has already had a course of monoclonal antibodies, but the Heidi Ganahl campaign didn’t know anything about it until his announcement on the radio today?

If we’d been in that room a week ago Saturday, we’d be very upset. That’s days of potential spread.

—–

We took note last week of an event with Republican gubernatorial Hiedi Heidi Ganahl featuring the right-wing lunatic rantings of Dennis Prager. Remember Prager arrogantly telling Ganahl how he’s “been trying to get COVID-19 for a year and a half?”

 

Well folks, if you were in attendance at Ganahl’s event on Oct. 10 in Colorado, you should get tested for COVID-19. Prager may have been spreading more than just right-wing disinformation:

Prager said again today’s he been trying his damndest to catch and spread the Rona, which should come as wonderful news to everyone he hung out with in Colorado Springs last weekend:

“It is infinitely preferable to have natural immunity than vaccine immunity and that is what I hoped for the entire time. Hence, I so engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them, knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID,” Prager said, according to MediaMatters.org.

Schadenfreude later. Public health first. Get tested.

Heidi Ganahl Fundraising is Even Worse than We Thought

Will sing for campaign contributions

Last week we noted that Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl was poised to submit a very rough fundraising report for her first quarter as an official candidate. According to Ganahl’s own campaign, the perceived Republican frontrunner had raised just $137,000 — or $13,000 less than little-known U.S. Senate candidate Erik Aadland collected in Q3.

Ganahl’s campaign filed its official report with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office on Friday, however, and the news is actually worse than it first appeared last Wednesday.

Team Ganahl has just $125,000 cash-on-hand, which is not good…but the campaign would only have $75,000 in the bank if not for a $50,000 loan from the candidate.

You read that correctly: If not for a personal loan from Ganahl herself, her campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination would have less than $100k in the bank. It might be for the best, then, that Ganahl’s campaign manager is already looking for another job; regular salaries are a luxury that Team Ganahl can’t really afford at the moment.

Deep Benches Matter: Dylan Roberts Cuts In On SD-8

Last week, Colorado’s Independent Legislative Redistricting Commission adopted new maps for the General Assembly’s 65 House and 35 Senate seats. Despite some last-minute attempts to subvert the process on the part of a few Republican commissioners and a group of usual-suspect Republican lobbyists currently the subject of an investigation by the Secretary of State for illegally attempting to influence the process, by most initial analysis the new maps (pending their necessary approval before the Supreme Court) will position the Democrats to maintain their majorities in the House and Senate.

As the Vail Daily’s Scott Miller reported last week, one Democrat set to take advantage of the new map is Rep. Dylan Roberts of Eagle County, drawn into a revamped SD-8 that draws Roberts’ home in Eagle County and east along the I-70 corridor east as far as Gilpin County with the whole northwest corner of the state:

Dylan Roberts, an Avon Democrat, is the current representative for House District 26. He plans to run in 2022 for the Senate District 8 seat…

The new Senate district will be even more diverse, with economies in the district depending on mountain resorts, gambling, agriculture and mining.

Whoever the new Senator is for that district will have to both work with other Western Slope legislators in an Eastern Slope-dominated legislature, and recognize and work for issues that all 10 district counties have in common, Roberts said. That includes workforce housing, transportation and water.

Rep. Dylan Roberts (D).

With Rep. Roberts moving into position to claim the competitive but Democratic-leaning new SD-8, Republican incumbent Sen. Bob Rankin is set to inherit outgoing Sen. Kerry Donovan’s SD-5 seat through the end of his term in 2024–when this closely competitive seat becomes a major pickup opportunity for Democrats. It’ll take time for the effects of these map changes to sink in, and of course we won’t really have a hard data point until after they’re used in an actual election. But this undeniably provides more long-term opportunity for Democrats than Rep. Roberts simply succeeding outgoing Sen. Kerry Donovan in today’s SD-5.

A few such opportunities, and good candidates ready to take advantage of them, is how bigger majorities are grown. Any other outcome would not be consistent with the solidifying Democratic majority of the electorate in Colorado clearly demonstrated in this state in recent election cycles. There simply aren’t enough Republicans to go around without some serious gerrymandering–and although Democrats might have preferred more control over the process in line with the majority control they presently hold in Colorado, in the end, these are maps upon which Democrats can continue to fight and win.

Smashing Gov. Polis In Effigy With Sheriff Reams

Last weekend, as nobody reported because why would they, Republican Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams held a re-election fundraiser “car show” in Fort Lupton–where he was joined by sputtering GOP candidate for governor Heidi Ganahl and a few dozen variably “classic” cars in widely assorted stages of restoration.

But of all the cars at Sheriff Reams’ car show, one unlucky not-so-classic Chevy subcompact appears to have received substantially more than its share of attention:

We haven’t seen the video yet of the process by which this car went from the condition in the upper photo versus the lower, but it looks to us like it was pretty savage stuff! Did Heidi Ganahl take a sledgehammer swing at Gov. Jared Polis in effigy too? What do you suppose goes through one’s mind while smashing a car named after the sitting governor of Colorado with a sledgehammer?

Here’s another photo of Sheriff Reams role modeling this smashingly good behavior for the children:

We’re touched, folks, in that way one can only be when you throw up a little in your mouth.

Between this and Rep. Ron Hanks blowing up helpless copy machines, we’re getting a little worried about the safety of…well, just about any inanimate object in sledgehammer or rifle range of our local Republican tough guys. It seems like they’re on a mission to out-smash each other in search of the next big social media breakthrough.

It’s tough to see how that ends, you know, safely.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 15)

Have you voted yet? Visit GoVoteColorado.com to check on the status of your mail ballot for 2021. 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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

We’re just going to say it: Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl is running the worst gubernatorial campaign in the entire country. Ganahl has officially been in the 2022 race for about a month…and it’s already time to start the campaign death watch.

Ganahl started the week by hosting an ill-advised forum with right-wing lunatic Dennis Prager, in which her campaign embarrassingly misspelled her first name for people interested in calling in with questions. On Wednesday, her campaign announced anemic fundraising numbers for someone who is supposed to be the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. And on Thursday, news broke that Ganahl’s campaign manager is leaving the campaign after only a month on the job, which is not something that you can even attempt to legitimately spin as being okay.

This is basically what Ganahl’s campaign looks like at the moment:

 

 

A defamation lawsuit filed by a former employee of Dominion Voting Services in Denver is basically de-pantsing “The Big Lie.” For more on this story, check out Axios Denver, The Colorado Sun, Colorado Public Radio, and 9News, among others.

 

If you’re interested in running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Colorado, you had better hurry up. Pretty much every Republican with a heartbeat is jumping into the field. Charles Ashby of The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has more on the seventh Republican now running for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

 

The Department of Justice is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the case of a controversial new abortion law in Texas. From The Associated Press:

The Biden administration said Friday it will turn next to the U.S. Supreme Court in another attempt to halt a Texas law that has banned most abortions since September.

It comes as the Texas clinics are running out of avenues to stop the GOP-engineered law that bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks. It amounts to the nation’s biggest curb to abortion in nearly 50 years.

The latest defeat for clinics came Thursday night when a federal appeals panel in New Orleans, in a 2-1 decision, allowed the restrictions to remain in place for a third time in the last several weeks alone.

Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the federal government will now ask the Supreme Court to reverse that decision but did not say how quickly.

 

 Check out these 2021 voter guides from Colorado Newsline and The Denver Post.

 

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