Pat Schroeder Strikes Back Decades After “Tailhook”

Rep. Lang Sias (R-Arvada)

An op-ed in the Denver Post today from former longtime CD-1 Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder is slow-motion rocking the Colorado governor’s race as it spreads, after Schroeder presents her firsthand experience with the infamous 1991 “Tailhook” sexual misconduct scandal involving 100 Navy pilots–including now-Lt. Gov. nominee Lang Sias:

Tailhook was an annual naval convention in Las Vegas, where more than 80 women alleged they were assaulted or harassed by officers in 1991. The behavior that took place there included, yes, acts of sexual violence much like those of Harvey Weinstein and other men whose careers were ended by the #MeToo movement. But nearly as significant — both in Tailhook and in the horrific stories that have come to light over the last year — is the culture, the group of enablers who know about the abuse but do nothing.

At the time of Tailhook, I was serving on the House Committee on Armed Services — and our efforts to investigate the matter were continually hampered by the refusal of naval aviators to testify against their fellow officers. Somehow, out of hundreds of officers who were present while women were forcefully groped on the way to their hotel rooms and while strippers were pressured into sex with party attendees, few could remember witnessing anything at all inappropriate. We called it the “Stone Wall of Silence.”

We now know that Sias attended Tailhook in 1991 when he was a lieutenant in the Navy. Even before the 1991 event became a national scandal, many naval officers were already avoiding Tailhook, because they knew the convention to be a grotesque cesspool whose central appeal was the opportunity to spend a weekend drunkenly pursuing women.

Coloradans will have to ask themselves if they share the values of a man who used taxpayer dollars to attend a drunken melee that was historically marred by repeated acts of sexual violence. [Pols emphasis]

Former Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D).

Serving on the House Armed Services Committee in the aftermath of the Tailhook scandal gave former Rep. Schroeder a unique view inside the closely-knit society of naval aviators accused of misconduct. The omerta-like code of silence she describes severely hampered the investigation, though as we discussed previously not enough to save the career of Sias’ commanding officer. But many more Tailhook aviators who committed serious misconduct escaped to go on to well-decorated careers.

In addition to this damning recollection of events Lang Sias would rather be forgotten from Rep. Schroeder, national women’s rights group Ultraviolet is calling for Sias to withdraw from the race following the original report in the Colorado Sun last week:

Shaunna Thomas, Executive Director and Co-founder of UltraViolet, a leading national women’s group, issued the following statement, calling on Sias to immediately withdraw from the Colorado Lieutenant Governor Race:

“Not only did Lang Sias participate in the largest sexual harassment and assault scandal in U.S. military history, he lied about his involvement for decades. The military sexual assault epidemic persists precisely because of toxic boys’ club codes of silence and obstruction by men like Sias—who lied about what he saw to shield his boss, a commander. The fact that Sias then cites that very same commander as proof that he did nothing wrong at Tailhook tells Coloradans the type of crony mentality Sias will bring to the Lieutenant Governorship.

“Make no mistake: Lang Sias is complicit in what happened at Tailhook, and he had ample opportunity over the last 27 years to come clean about the heinous sexual abuse he witnessed. Instead, he chose to remain silent. People who participate in mass assaults of women deserve to be behind bars—not rewarded with political office. Lang Sias must withdraw from the race immediately.”

What happens next here is not certain, but the reality is that witnesses who know the full story of what took place inside the Las Vegas Hilton in September of 1991 are still out there. There is more to be disclosed than has been to this point, and Sias’ evasive answers to questions in the present day are not satisfactory. There’s every reason to believe the details of this will continue to be explored in the coming weeks, with a Tailhook participant seeking high elected office. What jogged memory would mark the disqualifying line?

If Rep. Sias suddenly decides to “spend more time with his family,” we’ll know it’s been crossed.

The Crowmentum is Real in CO-6

Rep. Mike Coffman (left) and challenger Jason Crow

Okay, we did it.

We adjusted “The Big Line” to move Democrat Jason Crow ahead of Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in CO-6.

We’ve resisted making this move for a long time because we’ve been burned before by Coffman. At various points over the last decade we’ve thought that Coffman was in real trouble of losing re-election, only to see him miraculously emerge victorious in November. We weren’t looking to make that mistake again, and we’ve said as much in this space on multiple occasions since the 2016 election.

So what changed? Quite simply, it is impossible to ignore the many signs that Crow has gained the upper hand in this race. Crow isn’t just inching ahead of Coffman — he’s blasting forward in a district that Hillary Clinton carried by 9 points in 2016. Crow is the Road Runner to Coffman’s Wile E. Coyote, and the finish line is in sight.

We noted earlier this week that Crow was polling with an 11-point lead over Coffman in a survey conducted for the New York Times, the second public poll of 2018 to show Crow with a significant lead. Coffman has never trailed his Democratic opponent in any public poll since first winning election in CO-6 in 2008, and now it’s happened twice in the last six months. The prognosticators at 538.com now consider CO-6 to be a “Likely Dem” seat. Not just “Leaning Democrat,” but “Likely Dem!” To anyone who has paid any attention to Colorado politics in the last decade, this prediction is astounding.

From 538.com

 

Crow isn’t just winning in public polling (and in completely unscientific Colorado Pols surveys) — he’s been beating Coffman in fundraising, too. Things look so good for Crow, in fact, that Republican leaders are reportedly looking at CO-6 as a lost cause. From Talking Points Memo:

There are almost a dozen open GOP-held House seats that Republicans are essentially admitting with their spending decisions they can’t win, getting Democrats roughly half way to the 23 seats they need to retake House control.

And some recent House polling backs up the theory that suburban Republicans are in for an absolute bloodbath on election day.

Reps. Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Erik Paulsen (R-MN) have trailed badly in recent public polls, numbers that track internal surveys. GOP strategists privately concede that they’re unlikely to be able to bounce back in their Democratic-leaning districts, [Pls emphasis] joining Reps. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) and Rod Blum (R-IA) as incumbent Republicans that face daunting odds at returning to Congress. And they say the fact that the two battle-tested veterans appear cooked is a very bad sign for the map as a whole.

“When you have the guys who are doing everything right in trouble, that’s a really bad sign,” said one House Republican strategist.

We wouldn’t say that Coffman is “doing everything right,” but it’s true that the incumbent Republican hasn’t made many high-profile mistakes. The difference in 2018 is twofold:

  1. Voters are really unhappy with President Trump and aren’t looking favorably on Republicans like Coffman who have supported the Big Orange Guy;
  2. Crow’s background is different than other candidates that have challenged Coffman in the past.

Democrat Jason Crow and family

Coffman supporters don’t know how to respond to this changing political landscape and have struggled to inflict damage on Crow. It’s easy to point to Crow’s military background as being the key counterbalance to Coffman’s “I’m a Marine!” persona, but there’s a more important image at play here: Crow’s family. The newly-divorced Coffman has never run against a Democrat with a young, photogenic family; this unspoken distinction is an advantage that Coffman simply cannot match.

The fight for CO-6 has been one of the top Congressional battles in the country for several election cycles; this year more than $1 million is being spent on television ads every week. There is still time for Coffman to catch up to Crow before mail ballots start to arrive in a few weeks, but the clock is ticking ever louder.

The Crowmentum is growing.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (September 19)

Have an easy fast, friends. It’s time to 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senate Republicans are playing hardball in their efforts to quickly confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. As the Washington Post reports:

Senate Republicans say they plan to forge ahead with a hearing next Monday whether Christine Blasey Ford is there or not, a take-it-or-leave-it gambit to put Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court before the end of the month that risks backfiring politically.

Lawyers for Ford, the California professor who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Tuesday night that their client wants an FBI investigation before she testifies in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The committee’s GOP chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), scheduled Ford’s testimony before confirming that this day worked for her. He did, however, make sure it worked for President Trump’s nominee, who categorically denies any wrongdoing and has been holed up at the White House preparing for his second round in front of the Senate.

“The invitation for Monday still stands,” Grassley said in a statement. “Dr. Ford’s testimony would reflect her personal knowledge and memory of events. Nothing the FBI or any other investigator does would have any bearing on what Dr. Ford tells the committee, so there is no reason for any further delay.”

This is a politically-dangerous approach for Senate Republicans to take with just weeks to go until the midterm elections. Republicans had been pushing for a Kavanaugh vote on Thursday before deciding to push the decision until next week. Grassley’s “Monday or never” approach with Kavanaugh’s accuser is a curious roll of the dice, as Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

Lost amid the “will she or won’t she” questions is the fact that what Grassley — almost certainly in coordination with the White House — is doing represents an absolutely massive political gamble: Amid the cultural upheaval of the #MeToo moment and with an election looming in less than seven weeks’ time, Republicans are daring a woman alleging sexual assault against a nominee for the country’s highest court to either put up or shut up.

President Trump, meanwhile, says that “it is hard for me to imagine” that sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh are true. We would assume that Trump does not mean that literally. It’s also worth noting that even Trump isn’t responding to these allegations as poorly as Colorado Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) was never behind in any public poll while defending his seat…until 2018. Now it’s starting to look more and more like Coffman may not make it to another term. Prognosticators at 538.com have moved CO-6 to a “Likely Democratic” classification.

From 538.com

 

► Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler wants voters to believe that he should be elected in November because he is the more experienced prosecutor compared to Democrat Phil Weiser. Brauchler doesn’t normally mention the fact that he has an absolutely BRUTAL record as the District Attorney in the 18th Judicial District. Brauchler suffered two more high-profile losses this week alone.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Sen. Holbert Yucks It Up Over Kavanaugh Rape Allegation

UPDATE: The Colorado Senate GOP is responding to Bente Birkeland’s story, and it’s a disaster:

Colorado Senate Republicans today raised objections to a Colorado Public Radio report, appearing Tuesday, that falsely suggested Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert and other lawmakers made jokes on social media about allegations of sexual misconduct that have emerged in the Brett Kavanaugh case.

The Facebook posts in question did not come in response to a news story or any substantive comments on the case. They came in response to a Babylon Bee parody, widely shared on social media, that took a playful swipe at California Senator Feinstein but DID NOT mention anything about sex or sexual misconduct.

“I read the Babylon Bee parody Saturday morning,” said Holbert. “It was satire, similar to The Onion, about seven-year-old Kavanaugh’s foot touching the floor while playing a kid’s game called ‘The Floor is Lava.’ I knew nothing about Dr. Ford or what she was alleging until Sunday. To claim that I was making light of those allegations before I knew about them is false.”

This explanation, of course, is nonsense. The existence of serious sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh was originally made public one week ago, on Wednesday September 12th. Those reports were the basis for the Babylon Bee satire post that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville posted on Saturday and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert responded to. The name of Kavanaugh’s accuser may not have been made public, but enough was known about the allegations for any reasonable person to realize that joking about this is in extremely poor taste.

Understanding this in the context of the Colorado Senate’s failure to police its own sexual misconduct problem, and this silly denial is something akin to the worst possible response. It would have been far better to say nothing at all, but either arrogance or a guilty conscience forced Holbert to keep talking.

Enjoy the follow-up stories.

—–

Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert (R).

As our readers know, the past year has witnessed a major controversy in the Colorado General Assembly as staffers, lobbyists, and even lawmakers have come forward with allegations of widespread and pervasive sexual harassment by lawmakers in both parties. In the Colorado House, Rep. Steve Lebsock became the first sitting legislator in over a century to be expelled by a majority vote of the chamber.

In the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate, there was a very different result. Credible and thoroughly investigated allegations of harassment against Republican Senators were systematically downplayed the GOP leadership of the chamber. The lawmaker subject to the worst of the allegations, Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, received preferential treatment from leadership up to and allegedly including the suppression of investigative information that could have changed votes at the failed hearing to expel him.

The member of GOP leadership principally responsible for the “cover-up” of the results of further investigation of Baumgardner was Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who has aspirations to be the next Senate President if the GOP holds their one-seat majority. At the very end of the session Baumgardner was further stripped of his remaining committee assignments, but the question of his continued service was left to 2019’s Senate.

Fast-forward this to yesterday’s related story from Bente Birkeland, the journalist who first exposed the widespread allegations of sexual harassment at the Capitol–in which the same Sen. Chris Holbert lets slip his inner ugly on the matter of sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

Two top Republican leaders in the statehouse made jokes on social media about the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault allegation facing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

In a Facebook post dated Saturday, Sept. 15, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville shared a link to a story from the Babylon Bee, a Christian news satire website, with the headline “Exclusive Report: Kavanaugh May Have Cheated While Playing ‘The Floor Is Lava’ As A Child.“

…Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle liked Neville’s post, so did Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who responded:

“An anonymous source who may or may not have ever been associated with the Little League has allegedly stated that, at the age of nine, Kavanaugh’s right foot did not touch the base when rounding second.”

This post was made last weekend, before Republicans in Washington had fully recognized the serious of the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh. Now that these allegations have delayed the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, throwing his nomination into chaos, Republicans cracking bad jokes about the situation could not look much worse.

But for Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly, yes–it’s worse. Minority Leader Patrick Neville voted against the expulsion of Steve Lebsock. Sen. Holbert’s conduct in defense of Baumgardner was deeply questionable, but the situation hasn’t been resolved as all parties await the results of the upcoming election to determine who will be in control of the Senate in 2019.

What this incident, which we understand has been deleted, confirms to us is the lack of good faith we’ve already seen from Holbert on the issue of sexual misconduct against women in the Colorado Sebate. And it’s a very good indicator of what to expect if he becomes Senate President.

That is something every woman who intends to vote this year in Colorado should know.

(more…)

Kavanaugh Vote, Scheduled for Thursday, Is Officially Cancelled

Via CNN

As CNN reports, Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has officially cancelled a planned hearing on Thursday that was expected to result in a vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

So what happens now? Amber Phillips of the Washington Post outlined three possible outcomes this morning, but the first one — the Senate proceeds as normal — appears to be off the table at this point.

Senate Republicans are in a tough spot trying to figure out how to proceed with Kavanaugh’s nomination process given the horrible optics that await if California Professor Christine Blasey Ford testifies about sexual assault allegations in front of a Senate Judiciary Committee that looks like this:

Image via CNN

One woman being judged on sexual assault allegations by 11 Republican men is not what you would call a good visual just weeks before the midterm election.

George Brauchler Whiffs Two More Cases

George Brauchler.

Republican Attorney General George Brauchler has always talked a big game when it comes to his skills as a prosecutor, but as we’ve recounted in this space a number of times in recent years, the talk hasn’t always been matched by a record of courtroom victories–particularly in recent high profile cases involving fellow Republicans and law enforcement.

Westword’s Michael Roberts documents two more losses for Brauchler this week alone:

District attorneys from different jurisdictions don’t usually take each other on in court. But that’s what happened in regard to Denver DA Beth McCann and 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler, whose face-off involved a disagreement over life-without-the-possibility-of-parole sentencing of juvenile offenders.

The Colorado Supreme Court has now sided with McCann. The Supremes found that McCann’s expansive strategy toward LWOP resentencing, which Mitch Morrissey, her predecessor as Denver DA, called “illegal” in this space, doesn’t actually run afoul of the law.

The matter gets into the legal weeds pretty quickly, but the short version is that Denver DA Beth McCann’s interpretation of the law prevailed–and more juvenile offenders may potentially be considered for a shorter sentence after the legislature eliminated life without parole for juvenile offenders. The second case this week, also via Westword’s Michael Roberts, concerns a mistrial in the death of State Trooper Cody Donahue:

Last week, a mistrial was declared in the case of Noe Gamez-Ruiz, a commercial truck driver charged with criminally negligent homicide for a November 2016 accident that killed Colorado State Patrol Trooper Cody Donahue.

Now, political insiders are speculating that the way the proceedings were short-circuited — the judge took action after defense complaints that prosecutors withheld relevant evidence [Pols emphasis] — could impact one of the biggest races on the November 2018 ballot. Why? Because the high-profile embarrassment took place on the watch of 18th Judicial District DA George Brauchler, the Republican nominee for Colorado Attorney General, and a new hearing in the matter is scheduled to take place shortly before election day.

Especially since Brauchler has turned his focus to running for higher office in recent years, his career has been marked by complex failures like the ones above. In all of these cases, Brauchler is ready to long-windedly defend himself and pay lip service to whatever victim is getting short shrift. But the failures aggregate: add these to Brauchler’s controversial plea deal sparing prison time for a cop who created and solicited child porn, the failure to win a meaningful conviction (twice) against former El Paso County Sheriff “Shirtless” Terry Maketa, and the loss of the death penalty phase of the Aurora theater shooting trial–resulting in months of needless suffering by survivors and families.

The point is that George Brauchler is wrong a lot, and loses. A lot. And that’s a poor case for promotion.

Walker Stapleton on PERA Reform: Eight Years of Zilch

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

Long periods of inactivity occasionally interrupted by pointless platitudes.

If you were going to summarize Republican Walker Stapleton’s history with his self-professed signature issue of PERA reform, this is about where you’d end up.

As Brian Eason writes for the Colorado Sun, Stapleton has spent the last eight years as State Treasurer talking about the importance of reforming PERA (the Public Employees’ Retirement Association) but rarely bothering to actually do much to support his rhetoric. This won’t likely come as much of a surprise to anyone who is even remotely familiar with Stapleton, but the details are still pretty damning:

“Everything I said about the need to fix this problem seven or eight years ago I think has been borne to be true,” he told The Colorado Sun in an interview. “I’m proud of the fact that I was right on a lot of the things that I said were wrong.”

But when it came time to actually fix it? Stapleton — by his own admission — was largely absent from the public debate. [Pols emphasis]

By his own admission…

By Stapleton’s own admission, he wasn’t even conscious when lawmakers were voting on the most significant piece of PERA legislation (SB12-200) in the last decade. This is a direct quote from Stapleton via Colorado Public Radio:

“I was not physically even at the legislature. I think I was asleep by the time they finally passed the deal.”

It’s been pretty clear for awhile now that the Republican nominee for Governor is not a good candidate, but Eason’s story reinforces a more fundamental problem voiced by Democrats and Republicans alike: Walker Stapleton just doesn’t show up, and he’s not really interested in arguing otherwise. His legacy at the State Capitol is an empty parking spot.

Stapleton’s poor attendance as State Treasurer has been well-documented. Eason’s story in the Colorado Sun is different in that it takes a more focused look at Stapleton’s “involvement” with the one cause he has championed above all others:

In the fall of 2017, he trashed the board’s plan in interviews and editorials. In December, he offered suggestions of his own. But in the spring of 2018, when lawmakers set about to craft the final product, he went uncharacteristically silent.

He wasn’t at the negotiating table when the bill was drafted. Nor did he testify publicly on the measure, as he’d done on pension-related bills in years past.

“At the time it was really hard to tell whether he was a critic of what was being proposed or whether he was supporting it,” said Terry Campbell, PERA’s lead lobbyist.

Largely absent” will be the inscription on Stapleton’s political gravestone. 

Weird And Creepy In SD-15

SD-15 GOP candidate Rob Woodward.

Saja Hindi and Nick Coltrain of the Fort Collins Coloradoan report on what we sincerely hope was a random incident in which a Democratic Colorado Senate candidate’s car was apparently shot at last week–with the candidate inside:

It’s not clear if Rebecca Cranston, a Democrat running for a district that largely covers Larimer County outside Fort Collins, was targeted or if the shooting was related to other reported shootings in northwest Fort Collins.

Cranston had just pulled into her driveway Wednesday night and was on her phone when she heard something hit her truck. She first thought it might have been a rock.

“It didn’t occur to me that it would be a gunshot at first, until we saw the bullet hole,” Cranston said Monday morning.

Now, Rebecca Cranston is running to succeed Sen. Kevin Lundberg, one of the most conservative members of the Colorado Senate. In 2014, Lundberg cruised to re-election by almost 20 points, so this is not a race that Democrats are depending on to retake the chamber from Republicans in November. With that said, Cranston is doing everything she can to make the race competitive, one of two dozen Emerge Colorado-trained candidates on the ballot this year.

With regard to this shooting incident last week, as of this writing there are no suspects, and Cranston herself makes it clear that it could be a completely random act. There are been a number of unexplained random shootings in Northern Colorado in recent years, and it’s entirely possible that’s the explanation–enough that we weren’t initially sure this story rose to the level of coverage.

But then something rubbed us the wrong way:

Cranston wondered if she was targeted in Wednesday’s shooting because of her campaign, though she did not accuse her opponent of having anything to do with it.

However, she accused supporters of Republican Rob Woodward’s campaign of harassment tactics such as staking out her house and at one point almost driving her off the road while fleeing earlier in the summer. She said her mail — including campaign donation checks — was also stolen around that time…

And Republican Rob Woodward, who was accused of voter intimidation in 2012 after he basically said if Barack Obama was re-elected he would fire a majority of his employees, doesn’t completely deny her allegations:

[Woodward Campaign manager JD] Key said the Woodward campaign took a photo of Cranston’s home early on in the election only to settle a question about district residency. [Pols emphasis]

Full stop, folks. You do not need to physically travel to anyone’s home and photograph it in order to “settle a question about district residency.” You can find out if someone owns a home, and what district(s) that home resides in, from the comfort of any desk with a computer and an internet connection. However, if you’re looking to harass someone about their residency by tracking their comings and goings from home, that would be more of a stake out-type operation.

We don’t know if this “one-time photo session” of Cranston’s home occurred at the same time as she says somebody staking out her house almost forced her off the road while fleeing, but if this all happened, either at once or as multiple incidents–and we have no reason to doubt Cranston’s word–it would create a backdrop of creepy that a bullet hole in Cranston’s car cannot help but make worse. 

Obviously, we hope it’s a coincidence. But we’ll be watching closely for any more “coincidences.”

Tuesday Open Thread

“We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”

–John F. Kennedy

Kavanaugh Confirmation Process Upended

UPDATE #2: President Trump voices his support for another hearing. From the Washington Post:

“We want to go through a full process,” Trump told reporters at an event on workforce development. He added that the Senate will “go through a process and hear everybody out.”

—–

UPDATE: Chris Cillizza of CNN explains how everything changed this morning:

What happened here is simple: Ford called Republicans’ bluff. As an anonymous accuser, her allegations weren’t going to change Kavanaugh’s glide path to the Supreme Court. As a named accuser, she complicated that path. As a named accuser who has now expressed a willingness to tell her story — and in public — there is no longer a clear path to Kavanaugh’s confirmation. (That’s not to say he can’t make it. It is to say that there is no clear path by which he makes it.)

The reason Kavanaugh’s path is now so fraught is a unique combination of the moment in which we are currently living, the man in the White House and the onrushing midterm elections.

—–

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh (left) met with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in late July.

The confirmation process for President Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court was upended over the weekend when a woman came forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were in high school.

Christine Blasey Ford confirmed via the Washington Post on Sunday that she is the person behind an accusation of sexual assault that was first revealed last week as a confidential letter to Democratic lawmakers. From the Post:

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

The Senate had been scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s appointment as soon as Thursday, but Ford’s allegations have cast new doubt on that process. As Denver7’s Blair Miller reports in a series of Tweets, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is among the chorus of voices calling for the process to slow until “full investigation” can be conducted:

Colorado’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) won’t go that far…

What Gardner does not say here is more important; he still hasn’t said whether or not he supports delaying Kavanaugh’s confirmation vote. As Politico reports, there are enough Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing public support for waiting on Ford’s testimony that a vote this week may not happen:

Less than 24 hours after Ford publicly came forward against Kavanaugh, her attorney said that she “will do whatever is necessary to make sure that the Senate Judiciary Committee has the full story,” including providing testimony. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) already had begun seeking follow-up calls for senators on Ford’s charges, and said on Monday that he is “working on a way to hear her out in an appropriate, precedented and respectful manner” — which could further imperil a committee vote on Kavanaugh that’s still set for Thursday.

Hatch, a senior Judiciary member, declined to commit senators to a Thursday vote on Kavanaugh and said the timing would be “up to the chairman.” But for the six Republicans who’ve urged the committee to hear from Ford, winding up the process as scheduled this week wasn’t a primary concern.

“This woman is willing to come forward and tell her story and we should listen to her,” said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) on Milwaukee radio station WTMJ. “I’m not really sure where this goes from here.”…

Johnson joins calls from GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alasaka and Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Tennessee’s Bob Corker, who told POLITICO Sunday that the committee shouldn’t vote on Kavanaugh until Ford can be heard. And Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of Republican leadership, said that “These are serious allegations that need to be looked at closely by the committee before any other action is taken.” [Pols emphasis]

Gardner had expressed his support for Kavanaugh’s nomination before these new allegations were made public. But with so many high-profile Republican Senators already willing to pump the brakes on Kavanaugh, Gardner’s position here is tenuous at best. Gardner doesn’t want to be one of the last Senators to agree to delay a vote on Kavanaugh until after Ford has a chance to testify.

Jason Crow’s Big Lead Kicks Off The Week’s News

We wrote last week about a poll underway in Colorado’s red-hot CD-6 race by the New York Times and Siena College, which showed Democratic candidate Jason Crow opening a double-digit lead over incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. This poll was especially interesting because the results were released in real time–and after the early results excited Democrats, we’ve all been waiting to see if the results would change before the end.

As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports, those results held steady:

Colorado Democrats are starting to believe this could be the year they finally flip Colorado’s most competitive congressional seat.

A New York Times poll of the 6th Congressional District completed Friday put Democratic challenger Jason Crow 11 points ahead of U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.

Crow’s 51-40 lead was outside the poll’s margin of error, but it also showed 9 percent of the people who responded haven’t made up their minds or wouldn’t say how they plan to vote.

Years of disappointment in this district have left Democrats extremely wary of signs that Coffman might actually be about to lose his seat. Coffman defeated highly qualified and base-beloved challengers in 2014 and 2016, and the 2018 nominee Jason Crow has worked very hard to convince the party faithful that he has a viable shot.

Given that Coffman was never once caught behind his Democratic opponent in a publicly-released poll before this year, these results are nothing short of electrifying for longsuffering Democrats. The mounting backlash against President Donald Trump is set to be felt first by Trump’s enablers in the Republican Party, and Coffman has been less successful triangulating off the party brand since Trump’s election than ever before. The delicate political balance that Coffman has managed since redistricting has been unbalanced by Trump, and the split tickets that kept Coffman in office while Democrats won the district in every race above CD-6 may finally be set to, as they say, “come home.”

For Democrats in 2018, hope springs eternal.

Monday Open Thread

“There are all kinds of stupid people that annoy me but what annoys me most is a lazy argument.”

–Christopher Hitchens

Seriously, Did Republicans Fire All Their Editors?

We took note Friday of a TV spot targeting rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood from the Republican Senate Majority Fund–an expensive production and ad buy that couldn’t even spell the targeted candidate’s name right. If it’s worth producing and distributing before the eyeballs of thousands of voters, it should go without saying that it’s worth the essential step of copyediting.

This weekend, we’re treated to another spectacular GOP proofreading failure, once again being distributed to live voters in Greeley’s House District 50 by Republican candidate Brian Thuener:

Seriously folks, how the hell does that make it into the hands of actual voters? We understand that typographical errors happen–after all, this is a blog. We commit them all the time. What we wouldn’t do is allow such elementary errors to be printed and then distributed in campaign literature–or in the case of a TV spot, aired to thousands of voters.

Too many more such incidents, and the “amateur hour” impression this kind of thing leaves won’t be a coincidence anymore. It’ll be part of the narrative of 2018.