Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State? (10/1)

Jena Griswold, Pam Anderson

Who ya got in this one?

Click here to see the results from the last time we asked this question. Click below to vote anew.

Will incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold win re-election, or will Republican challenger Pam Anderson get the ‘W’?

 

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

 

Who Will Win the Race for Secretary of State? (10/1)

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Heidi Ganahl Just Implodes in Candidate Forum on Friday

There’s no coming back from this.

The candidates for Governor in Colorado got together today for a candidate forum at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science hosted by Colorado Concern. Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl and incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis took turns answering questions from moderator Dean Singleton, the longtime publisher of The Denver Post and a well known conservative voice in Colorado.

Singleton pretty much snuffed out any hope Ganahl might have had at making a late come-from-behind run at Polis in the final weeks before Election Day. Singleton’s persistent questioning absolutely exposed Ganahl as a complete and total fraud whose “ideas” for Colorado are as laughable as they are implausible.

The main topic of conversation centered around Ganahl’s claims that she will eliminate Colorado’s income tax AND cut the gas tax in half, an asinine proposal that Ganahl can’t even begin to explain (though she repeatedly says that she HAS explained it).

The entire video is below. We’ve also broken out the relevant parts about Ganahl’s economic proposals with timestamps.

If you are a Ganahl fan, be forewarned: This is what it looks like when a statewide candidate’s entire campaign is summarily destroyed because of a single event…and we aren’t even yet touching on some of the other cringeworthy moments of today’s debacle. 

 

 

Singleton gets quickly to the point of what will end up being a question Ganahl never actually answers (despite her protests to the contrary) at about the 2-minute mark.

*NOTE: All emphasis is ours

 

SINGLETON: You have said that if you are elected governor, you would advocate eliminating the state income tax and cutting that gasoline tax in half. That’s a big, big hunk of what runs this state. What would you replace it with?

 

GANAHL: Well, first and foremost, we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem, I believe, in Colorado. Our state budget has doubled in the last decade, and a couple billion dollars in the last few years. And I do believe that we should not be one of the largest employers in this state as the state government. I don’t think that is a good path forward for Colorado. We also have states across our nation that are some of the hottest in the economy that are zero income tax. And no, I’m not going to increase other taxes to do this…

…I do big things. I’m all about going big. I don’t nibble around the edges. And we’ve got a big problem here in Colorado. The size of government is too big. Taxes are too high. Regulations are too burdensome. We’ve got to unleash our economy. And in order to do that, I have a big, bold idea to take us to zero income tax for a couple of terms. And I can go into details about how I’d like to do that if you’d like me to.

 

SINGLETON: You know, it kind of makes the “BS” meter go up, because you can’t cut that much revenue and not replace it. Are you going to eliminate the state police? Are you going to eliminate the highway department? The transportation department? You’d have to cut out massive parts of the government. Do you think Coloradans want to live in a state like that?

 

GANAHL: Well, actually, we don’t, Dean. I have some great economists helping me figure this out. If we move fees to taxes, which they actually are, there’s a billion dollars there. If we find some fraud and waste in the budget – who thinks we can find 5% fraud in the budget? – I believe we can. [That’s] another billion or so there. How about we bring new business and industries to Colorado like we do in other zero income states. We’ve looked at the numbers – we think that’s $2 to $3 billion dollars to refill the coffers. How about we get rid of special tax exemptions? How about we reduce the size of government by 10% a year? Governor Polis has grown the size of government by over 20% since he got into office. He’s added 4,000 full-time new employees, 85 new taxes and fees. That is not the way we do things in Colorado.  We are the wild west. We are the new frontier. We’re all about entrepreneurship…

The end is near here.

Ganahl obviously does not provide any real details about her economic proposal, so she pivots to talking about cutting waste and spending in vague terms. At about the 5:15 mark, Singleton calls out Ganahl on her claims that she can cut government waste:

SINGLETON: As long as I’ve been an adult and been in the newspaper business, I’ve heard politicians say they’re going to solve all of our problems by cutting out waste. But none of them ever have…

 

GANAHL: Well, they don’t do it [nervous laughter]

 

SINGLETON: Well, nobody ever has. How do you think YOU’RE going to do that? 

 

GANAHL: Well, in my first weeks as governor, I’m going to hire a special audit committee to come in and look at all of the budget, provide transparency, because as a Regent at the University of Colorado, I oversee a $5 billion dollar budget, as a Regent there. I have had a terrible time getting real numbers about how the money is spent, what the return on investment is, the dollars that we are spending. It’s been like pulling teeth to get actual numbers…

Immediately after saying that she has had a hard time finding accurate numbers about the state budget, Ganahl rattles off a bunch of numbers about the state budget:

GANAHL: Right now we are about to spend, oh, I don’t know, several billion dollars – if you look at the numbers, it varies, but about $8 billion dollars on K-12 [education]. And 60% of our students can’t read, write, or do math at grade level. That is terrible.

Singleton is clearly getting sick of Ganahl’s fakery. At about the 7:15 mark, he takes another swing:

SINGLETON: Do you actually believe the voters will believe that you can cut the state income tax – end the state income tax – and cut the gasoline tax in half? You think voters will actually believe that?

 

GANAHL: Well, they believe it because we can. I have economists helping me figure this out. We’ve got to reduce our spending, you guys. Are you getting twice the amount of services from the government in the last 10 years? Is $40 billion dollars the right number to spend on running our state? That’s ridiculous. We can cut spending, we can still provide services that we should provide to the people of Colorado. And part of that problem is [Senate Bill] 260 that passed a couple of years ago. It’s a boondoggle…

Ganahl rambles for awhile and switches to talking about increasing oil and gas production in Colorado. This opens the door to Singleton’s next question, at about the 9:16 mark:

SINGLETON: But if you cut the gasoline tax in half, how are you going to fund improving the highways?

 

GANAHL: I’ve laid out a transportation plan to do just that. [Editor’s note: Yeah, not so much] What I believe we need is transparency with the voters. They’re dying to have somebody to just be honest with them and tell them the truth. What I did is I put together a plan that takes the taxes that have already been put through and puts it back to the voters – a lot of those are fees – let’s go back to the voters and say, ‘Here are specific projects.’ And I worked with transportation experts all over Colorado to put this together. It’s equitable. It’s rural Colorado. It’s the Front Range. It’s all of it. And let’s do those specific projects – I’m not going to change anything on you – and then, let’s sunset it. So, in 10 years, you’ll know that we’ve done our job. And if we haven’t, you can hold the legislature responsible and me responsible for not [sic]. And every year the legislature is going to have to kick in some, and so is private industry. But there is a desire to fix the darn roads in our state. 

Roughly halfway through Ganahl’s time on stage (at about 12:30), Singleton comes back to his original question:

SINGLETON: Okay, I don’t want to belabor it, but you still haven’t told us how you are going to run the government with no state income tax and with half of the gasoline tax. It makes a good soundbyte, but for most of us who understand state government, it’s just total bullshit. So, tell me why I’m wrong.

 

GANAHL: Well, a lot of people across Colorado think the government is just total bullshit right now, Dean. I’m just saying…

 

SINGLETON: Yeah, but you’ve still gotta…you just can’t say it in the campaign…

 

GANAHL: I just explained to you how we’re going to do it. [Editor’s note: Nope] We’re going to refill the coffers with new business and industry like they’ve done in the eight other – soon to be nine other – zero income tax states. We are going to cut fraud and waste. We are going to stop special tax exemptions. We are going to call fees what they are – taxes – and move them to the General Fund. There’s a lot of ways we can chip away at this over eight years. We’ve got a good plan, and we’re posting it on the website today with more detail. I feel very confident that we can do this. You know, I’ve been told my whole life, ‘You can’t do this, you can’t do that,’

Here Ganahl goes to the always-weak I’ve always had doubters argument:

GANAHL: If you guys don’t believe me…watch us.

 

SINGLETON: Don’t you think they are going to be sick and tired when there are no services here?

 

GANAHL: That’s not the case.

 

SINGLETON: I mean, people didn’t move to Mississippi. They moved to Colorado.

 

GANAHL: Dean, I’m doing what the voters of Colorado are asking me to do. I have been on the ground for six years…

The voters of Colorado have asked you to decimate the entire state? Seems unlikely.

We are all Dean Singleton

By about the 16:27 mark, Ganahl has clearly lost not only Singleton, but the entire room:

SINGLETON: What would you do to fix crime?

 

GANAHL: Oh, I have a list. Okay, my dad’s a police officer. He’s here…

 

SINGLETON: …Yeah, knowing that you’re not going to have any money to do it. But what would you do to fix it?

 

[LAUGHTER IN THE ROOM]

 

GANAHL: I keep explaining how this is going to work. Can you just assume that my plan is going to work?

 

SINGLETON: That’s a pretty big assumption to make.

 

[LAUGHTER]

 

GANAHL: Okay, well go with it [nervous chuckle]

 

SINGLETON: I don’t think anybody in this room believes that, but if you do…keep saying it.

 

And this is the exact moment in which Heidi Ganahl finally realized that you can’t bullshit your way through a campaign for Governor. Welcome to the end of the worst campaign in Colorado history.

Joe O’Dea Can’t Walk Away From Proposition 115

Joe O’Dea.

After successfully navigating the Republican U.S. Senate primary with an ambiguous and sometimes often contradictory message on abortion rights, Joe O’Dea stumbled definitively on the issue in August when he announced to a friendly conservative audience unbidden that he had voted for 2020’s Proposition 115: a 22-week abortion ban that made no exceptions for victims of rape or incest and severely restricted maternal health as a justification after that deadline. Proposition 115 failed at the polls in 2020 by nearly a 20-point margin, reaffirming Colorado’s support for medical abortion rights without political second-guessing.

Because Proposition 115’s restrictions on abortion were in obvious conflict with the now-reversed Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision establishing federal abortion rights, would-be “Roe supporter” O’Dea was quickly forced to backpedal his support for the measure, saying “I didn’t look at all the nuances,” and more recently “I didn’t write that bill” to sidestep questions about support for a measure that by any honest analysis makes a liar of him.

And as the Colorado’s Sun’s Jesse Paul and Sandra Fish report today in the Unaffiliated newsletter:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea didn’t just vote for a 2020 ballot measure that would have banned abortions in Colorado after 22 weeks of pregnancy. He signed a petition to get Proposition 115 on the ballot that year.

O’Dea signed the petition on Feb. 26, 2020, according to documents from the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office that The Colorado Sun reviewed on Thursday.

His signature was the first below an explanation of what Proposition 115 would do: [Pols emphasis] “prohibiting an abortion when the probably gestational age of the fetus is at least 22 weeks and, in connection therewith, making it a misdemeanor punishable by a fine to perform or attempt to perform a prohibited abortion, except when the abortion is immediately required to save the life of the pregnant woman or when her life is physically threatened.”

Obviously,

The revelation further complicates O’Dea’s portrayal of himself as an abortion-rights Republican.

O’Dea admitted under pressure that he “didn’t look at all the nuances” of Proposition 115. But that was never followed up by a clear statement that his vote for Proposition 115 was therefore a mistake. As a signer of the petition to put Proposition 115 on the ballot, O’Dea literally had the “nuances” of Proposition 115 on paper to read in front of him–and he signed it anyway. At that moment, pleading ignorance was no longer an option.

This is not a mistake that Joe O’Dea can just ride out until Election Day. Proposition 115 is fresh enough in the minds of Colorado voters that they still remember clearly voting it down. With abortion rights at the top of voters’ minds going into this year’s elections thanks to Roe’s repeal, the long-sought goal of O’Dea’s party, O’Dea’s promise to “bring balance to women’s rights” comes across like a threat instead.

On November 8th, it’s shaping up to become O’Dea’s political epitaph.

Nothing Says “Different Kind of Republican” Like…Karl Rove?

Republican Prince of Darkness Karl Rove.

Since winning the Republican primary on June 28th, U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has publicly aligned himself with a number of notably unpopular national Republican figures, inexplicably undermining O’Dea’s attempts to distance himself from the Republican brand in a state that has been increasingly hostile to Republicans for several election cycles. As low-quality Republican Senate candidates in other states have endangered more winnable races than Colorado’s, O’Dea’s importance to Republicans hoping to retake the U.S. Senate has magnified–though the candidate hasn’t moved the needle to match that heightened importance.

Mitch McConnell declared national Republicans “all in” for O’Dea, but in terms of actual spending on the race that has almost entirely failed to manifest. Subsequently, O’Dea has brought a number of high-profile Republican usual suspects to Colorado to campaign with him, including Texas Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton–the latter being a particularly unappealing far-right demagogue, highly contrary to the “post-partisan” image O’Dea is trying to project.

But if McConnell and Cotton are your groove, you’ll love O’Dea’s next special guest:

The only possible saving grace for having early-aughts Republican political mastermind Karl Rove campaign for O’Dea is that some younger voters might not remember him. For all of us who were around to remember, Rove is second only to the infamous Lee Atwater himself in the annals of Republican political villainy. It is only perhaps after the perspective of living through Donald Trump that Rove masterminding the rise of former President George W. Bush might not be considered the political crime of the century.

Just like Mitch McConnell, Karl Rove is “all in” for Joe O’Dea!

All we can say is, Michael Bennet approves this message.

Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer? (9/30)

Dave Young and Lang Sias

Vote! Vote! Vote! Here are the results from the last time we asked this question.

Who will win the race for State Treasurer in November? Will it be incumbent Democrat Dave Young, or perennial Republican candidate Lang Sias?

 

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

 

Who Will Win the Race for State Treasurer? (9/30)

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Who Will Win the Race in CO-07? (9/30)

More polls!

Who will be elected in the new version of CO-07 to succeed the retiring Rep. Ed Perlmutter? Will it be Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen, or Republican guy Erik Aadland?

 

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

 

Who Will Win the Race in CO-07 (9/30)

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Who Will Be Elected Attorney General? (9/30)

Phil Weiser (left) and John Kellner

It’s been awhile since we asked readers this question, so let’s get right to it.

What will happen in the race for Attorney General between incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser and Republican Arapahoe County-ish District Attorney John Kellner?

 

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

 

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What You Need to Know from the First Gubernatorial Debate

Governor Jared Polis and Republican challenger Hiedi Heidi Ganahl squared off on Wednesday night in Pueblo for the first gubernatorial debate of the 2022 General Election. To the extent that there were any fireworks, they were more like mini sparklers than anything that went ‘boom.’

Wednesday’s forum was missing much of the suspense and build up from debates in prior years, in large part because the race for Governor is a foregone conclusion at this point. Recent polling from Fox 31/Emerson College/The Hill shows that Polis is well ahead of Ganahl (+17 points, in fact), which isn’t likely to change all that much considering that Ganahl doesn’t have the resources to run television ads (her campaign is completely dark) and isn’t going to get any national financial support from Republicans.

You can read more about the debate from The Denver Post, Colorado Public Radio, and The Colorado Sun. To watch the debate yourself, CLICK HERE and skip ahead to about the 1:13:00 mark and avoid the excruciatingly-long introductory period. The very short version of Wednesday’s debate went something like this:

 

Ganahl’s campaign stacked the room in Pueblo with supporters in an effort to create the appearance of interest in her campaign, which came off sort of like when a large family cheers obnoxiously at a high school graduation. Ganahl aggressively attacked Polis from the start; in her opening statement, for example, Ganahl rattled off a few biographical sentences before launching into a rapid-fire barrage of one grievance after another about Polis. It was not an unexpected strategy, but Ganahl rarely got around to saying anything about her own campaign as the forum moved along. When she did talk about her vision for the office, Ganahl was characterteristically vague.

As The Colorado Sun noted:

“I am going to take Colorado to zero income tax,” Ganahl said, touting a pledge she unveiled months ago but still has not explained how she would do so without decimating the state budget.

Colorado Public Radio noted the same problem:

Ganahl reiterated her campaign promise to eliminate the income tax, which brings in more than $13 billion a year to the state and supplies more than half of the general fund. She also wants to cut the gas tax in half…

…Cutting more than $13 billion from the budget would require finding savings equal to the state’s current general fund spending on education, health care, human services and corrections, combined.

Ganahl said that she wants to cut the size of the state government by 10 percent each year, and claimed that she could find extra money amounting to at least 5% of the state budget which she calculated “might be a billion or two right there.” Throughout the evening, Ganahl threw out random numbers like she was emceeing a game of keno.

There are several more gubernatorial debates planned between now and Election Day — many more than we really need to see. If the rest of the forums follow the same script, Ganahl is going to need to come up with some new tricks to keep them from just turning into re-runs.

Amy Schumer’s Pitch-Perfect Colorado Tourism Ad

Though we all wish it wasn’t necessary:

Amy Schumer welcomes you to Colorado no matter why you’re coming.

The New York Daily News reports on comedian Amy Schumer’s new spoof sketch ad encouraging tourism to Colorado, travel that may or may not have anything to do with our state’s increasingly important status as a haven for abortion rights in a post-Roe America:

The self-deprecating stand-up comedy sensation, who is a vocal advocate about abortion rights in the wake of Roe v. Wade’s reversal, is holding nothing back…

“No one should have to justify a trip to Colorado, maybe you just want to do with your own body what you want to do with you own body,” Schumer teases in the sketch.

An actress in the sketch is seen in what appears to be an OB/GYN waiting room.

“My employer actually paid for my trip to Colorado, they covered travel and time off,” she speaks into the camera. “I mean, I did have to get HR involved in my personal life, which is obviously not ideal, and they didn’t cover childcare while I was out of down. But still I’m grateful for access to Colorado.”

But you’d better hurry, because Schumer warns that “access to Colorado” could be for a “limited time only”–which we’re pretty sure is a not-so-coded message to all you voters out there. After all, Colorado is only one election away from being one of those states people in need of abortion care travel from instead of travel to. Leading to Schumer’s broader assessment of the situation with which it’s hard to disagree:

It’s not an ad the Colorado Tourism Office can make, but it’s the best ad for the purpose…maybe ever.

Which Way is Down? Republicans Follow Each Other

Take a look at the following quotes and see if any of them sound familiar. We’ll number each quote to make it easier to check your answers later.

 

1) “I’ve not seen anything that is even a semblance of a campaign.”

 

2) “She’s running an aggressive and low-budget campaign for school board, but she happens to be running for governor.”

 

3) “Isn’t that sad that Democrats have to spend so much money?…We don’t need as much money as [our opponent] needs because our message is better.”

 

4) “Winning elections is not about having a lot of money. It’s about having enough money.”

 

Any one of these quotes could be referencing Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. Some of them could even apply to the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea. In truth, none of them are even about Colorado. 

Quote #1 is about Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Governor in Pennsylvania.

Quote #2 is about Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon in Michigan.

Quote #3 is Tudor Dixon herself. 

Quote #4 is from Dan Cox, the Republican candidate for Governor in Maryland. 

There is a clear theme emerging across the country for Republican candidates running for top-tier statewide offices. These candidates all rely on extreme, divisive rhetoric but have proven to be incapable or uninterested in raising the kind of money that is necessary to get their message out to a majority of voters. 

As The New York Times reported earlier this week, Republicans are struggling to compete with their Democratic opponents when it comes to both money and exposure to voters:

Along with Mr. Mastriano in Pennsylvania, Trump-backed candidates for governor in five other states — Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan — have combined to air zero television advertisements since winning their primaries.

Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, the R.G.A.’s co-chairman, was asked about whether he views Mr. Mastriano as a viable candidate during a question-and-answer session this month at Georgetown University.

“We don’t fund lost causes and we don’t fund landslides,” Mr. Ducey said. “You have to show us something, you have to demonstrate that you can move numbers and you can raise resources.”

Trump has not endorsed Ganahl or O’Dea, but the story is similar in Colorado. O’Dea has been running television ads for several weeks, but his campaign has recently been buying ad time on a day-to-day basis and has no television presence on network TV (O’Dea’s ads are only available on cable television). Ganahl hasn’t run a single television ad, which puts her in the same position as Republican candidates for Governor in Illinois (Darren Bailey), Massachusetts (Geoff Diehl), Maryland (Cox), and Pennsylvania (Mastriano).

As The Denver Post reported a few weeks ago, it’s not just Ganahl who is struggling to find enough money to reach out to voters in Colorado: None of the statewide Republican candidates (for Attorney General, State Treasurer, or Secretary of State) have the resources to do much more than complain on social media. This has been an issue for Colorado Republicans throughout the 2022 election cycle.

But Governor is a much more important office, and here Ganahl’s financial problems mirror Republicans in other states. At the end of August in Maryland, Dan Cox had been outraised by Democrat Wes Moore by a 10-to-1 margin, ending the fundraising period with all of $130,000 in the bank. Ganahl concluded the fundraising period that ended on Sept. 6 with $188,000 cash-on-hand.  

The similarities with many of these MAGA Republicans make their campaign strategies look oddly intentional. Take a look at what Chris Cillizza of CNN recently wrote about Mastriano in Pennsylvania:

Mastriano is running one of the most unorthodox campaigns ever in such a high-profile race. He has not run a single television ad in the general election. He doesn’t do interviews with mainstream media, choosing instead to deal with conservative media outlets.

Got your thumb! Wait, that’s MY thumb

It’s eerie how similar that is to the Ganahl campaign in Colorado. Up until the week before the June 28th Primary Election, Ganahl hadn’t conducted a single interview with a mainstream media outlet anywhere in the state since her Sept. 2021 campaign kickoff. 

It’s not just a lack of fundraising or television advertising where you can find similarities between Ganahl and other MAGA Republican candidates. The Washington Post recently ran a story wondering if Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey could get elected in Illinois after spending so much of his time and rhetoric bashing Chicago as a “crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole.” 

Sound familiar? It should. Ganahl has spent an inordinate amount of time talking about Denver as some sort of crime-infested hellhole.

Like many MAGA Republican candidates, Ganahl is running essentially the same General Election campaign that she ran ahead of the Primary Election.

“When you have candidates who essentially aren’t helping themselves by staking out either extreme positions or extreme positions on weird issues that only speak to a real core Trump part of the base, it’s not a surprise that there are going to be struggles,” said Republican strategist Doug Heye in a recent interview with The Hill newspaper. 

You don’t need to be a rocket surgeon to understand this, so why do Ganahl and other MAGA Republican candidates continue rushing toward the same brick wall? The fact that this strategy seems to be so prevalent among multiple candidates suggests that it is an intentional incompetence at work – like they are doing this on purpose

If nothing else, what we’re seeing from Republicans in 2022 may be idiocy by osmosis. For example, it makes sense that Joe O’Dea would pick up some strange habits when he spends so much time with MAGA Republicans such as JD Vance (Ohio) and Blake Masters (Arizona). It doesn’t defy logic that this collective weirdness isn’t helping MAGA Republicans get elected.

As GOP pollster Whit Ayres told The Hill newspaper: “People are looking for good judgment and good sense and good decisionmaking out of governors. Anything that casts doubt on the judgment or the common sense of a gubernatorial candidate undermines that candidate’s potential to get elected governor.”

You could say the same thing about candidates for every major political office. Doing the opposite hasn’t been working for Republicans thus far, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to have worked on Nov. 8. 

Perhaps these candidates have adopted an alteration to the infamous Qanon slogan: “Where We Go One, We Go All…to Defeat.” 

O’Dea Promises 1,400% Good Money After Bad “Match”

A fool and his money.

If you’re wondering why the fundraising pitches from political candidates have ramped up dramatically in recent days, it’s because of tomorrow’s critical fundraising deadline. Q3 numbers before an election are an important barometer of real-world competitiveness, and have a way of cutting through campaign bluster and revealing where the races that matter are (and aren’t).

As Roll Call’s Kate Ackley reports, it’s also a time when the fundraising gimmicks can get particularly gimmicky:

It must be near the end of a pivotal fundraising quarter, because Ohio Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Tim Ryan is “freaking out.” Colorado’s GOP Senate nominee, Joe O’Dea, is offering to “personally 1,400% MATCH” select campaign donations. [Pols emphasis]

Lawmakers and challengers are planning a fundraising blitz ahead of Friday’s quarterly deadline, the last big one before the November midterms, which are on track to be the priciest nonpresidential cycle yet. The onslaught of appeals includes desperate-sounding emails like the ones from Ryan and O’Dea, as well as more than 100 in-person events planned this week in Washington for members of both parties to raise campaign cash from K Street lobbyists and political action committee donors while Congress is in session.

Colorado GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, as readers know, self-funded his primary campaign. O’Dea’s ability to self-fund in a state that may not in the end be competitive for Republicans was originally seen as an asset, but that presumption has proven crippling to O’Dea by de-prioritizing the race for national GOP funding–and there’s little sign that O’Dea is actually spending to counterbalance the deficiency. With all of that in mind, O’Dea offering a ridiculous “personal match” turning every contributed dollar into 14 could be interpreted as a test by O’Dea to determine how much he should himself keep spending on a race every poll shows him losing.

That would at least be a practical reason to broadcast desperation so loudly.

Thursday Open Thread

“We do not talk – we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests.”

–Henry Miller

The Heidi Ganahl Campaign Is Completely Off the Rails

THURSDAY UPDATE: right-wing “parent’s group” Jeffco Kids First promises to prove Heidi Ganahl right on the supposed “furry” invasion:

We can’t wait.

—–

We wrote on Monday about Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s completely ridiculous claim on right-wing radio that there are “furries in Colorado schools.” Somehow, the Ganahl campaign figured out a way to make this story even worse for themselves.

Kyle Clark of 9News touched on the subject in a brief segment on Tuesday that absolutely CRUSHED Ganahl for her comments, noting that this is a subject that has already been thoroughly debunked and promoting it could be harmful to transgender students who already face high suicide rates.

 

 

 

The Ganahl campaign actually responded to 9News when asked to provide proof of her allegations, which Clark covers at about the :30 second mark in the video above. This is what the Ganahl camp sent to 9News as evidence of her claims that furries are invading Colorado schools:

 

That is exactly what you think it is: A random picture of a person in a costume pulled off the Internet. This makes less sense than presenting a photo of Chuck E. Cheese as proof that restaurants in Colorado are infested with rodents.

We can laugh at all of this, though only to a point. This entire episode is one of the more bizarre events we can recall in our many years of covering Colorado politics, but it speaks to a bigger issue: What in the hell is going on over at the Ganahl campaign? This is not a normal political operation. This is complete insanity.

It’s been clear for a long time that Ganahl is an unserious person running an unserious campaign for the top job in Colorado. Ganahl is not going to come close to defeating incumbent Democrat Jared Polis, and thank goodness for that. We’ve zoomed past the partisan political argument at this point; it is not hyperbole to say that putting Ganahl in charge of an entire state would be flat-out dangerous. 

The more important story for Republicans for the next few months will be about assessing the collateral damage from what will unquestionably go down as the worst major campaign in state history. Every single person who had any association with the Ganahl campaign will be forever tainted (for example, Danny Moore’s political career is over).

Colorado Republicans should now hope that Ganahl just goes away quietly. The more desperate Ganahl becomes in the final weeks of this race, the more likely she is to make increasingly offensive statements that reflect negatively on the entire Republican Party.

Ganahl is going down. That’s inescapable. The only mystery remaining is about who she takes down with her.

Residency Questions Clear One Candidate, Imperil Another

Dennis Hisey won’t be sending a Christmas card to George Brauchler

Where did you live and when did you live there?

This has been a recurring theme in recent months in relation to a handful of residency challenges involving candidates for state legislative seats. Republicans have been particularly aggressive in trying to make a case stick against a few Democrats, but it appears that they royally screwed up in one misguided attempt to trip up State Senate candidate Kyle Mullica.

We’ll get to that in a moment, but first some background: In August, outgoing State Sen. Pete Lee (D-Colorado Springs) was indicted by a grand jury for allegations that he registered to vote at an address in which he did not actually live. A few weeks later, it was revealed that Republican State Sen. Dennis Hisey (who is running against Democrat Tony Exum) was moving around like a political transient. Republican attorneys Suzanne Staiert Taheri and the “Magnificent PutzGeorge Brauchler then went after Mullica.

As Sara Wilson writes today for Colorado Newsline, another Democrat is in Republican crosshairs:

Boulder County Republicans Chair Theresa Watson submitted a complaint to the Boulder County district attorney’s office last week, according to the party’s Facebook page and as first reported by The Daily Camera, against state Rep. Tracey Bernett.

The complaint alleges that Bernett, a Democrat, changed her address in order to remain eligible to run for reelection in House District 12, even though she still lives at a house that now sits in the newly drawn House District 19.

House District 12 is a pretty safe seat for Democrats given its voter registration makeup, so whatever happens with Bernett won’t likely affect the partisan makeup of the state legislature. That’s a different story for Republicans and Hisey, whose case got more problematic because of how far Taheri and Brauchler pushed their losing case against Mullica.

Democrat Kyle Mullica

As The Colorado Sun reported last week:

After a daylong hearing that featured testimony from a private investigator and questions from two high-powered partisan attorneys, Denver District Court Judge Alex C. Myers ruled late Wednesday that state Rep. Kyle Mullica, a Democrat, did not violate a requirement that candidates for Colorado statehouse seats live in the district they are running to represent for a year before Election Day.

Mullica is running to represent Senate District 24 in a closely watched race against Republican Courtney Potter, an Adams 12 Five Star Schools board member. Until November of last year he was registered to vote at his family’s home in Northglenn, where his wife was a city council member. But on Nov. 4, 2021, he changed his voter registration to his mother’s house in Federal Heights.

Mullica says he moved in with his mother to help her manage some health and financial issues. His wife and children stayed in Northglenn.

Taheri and Brauchler apparently didn’t really think through their challenge and what it could mean for the case against Hisey. Their failed Mullica challenge inadvertently proved that Hisey is almost certainly ineligible to seek election in SD-11 (something that was already making Republicans very nervous).

Back to the Sun:

Mullica testified, under questioning from former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, a Republican, that he would frequently visit his family at the Northglenn home — and sometimes spend the night there — but that he always intended his residence to be his mother’s Federal Heights home after moving there in November 2021. Mullica said moving into his mom’s house was a difficult decision because it meant he couldn’t run for reelection to his House seat, but that she was facing physical and mental health challenges and was struggling with her finances…

Myers, the judge overseeing the case, said his ruling was a “close call,” but that he found Mullica’s explanation of why he moved credible.

“It is apparent that Rep. Mullica genuinely wanted to care for his mother and moved for that purpose,” Myers wrote. [Pols emphasis]

The case against Mullica ended with a judge agreeing that the Adams County Democrat went about his own residency change in the right way; Mullica clearly had roots in the district in which he lived before he launched his campaign for State Senate.

[Pro Tip: If you ever need an attorney, you’re better off picking someone off of Google than hiring Brauchler, who continually proves that he is the legal equivalent of Nick Riviera from The Simpsons.]

 

Here’s a visual representation of Sen. Dennis Hisey’s current problem.

 

In short, the Mullica ruling sets a precedent that Hisey cannot possibly follow. In an effort to establish residency in SD-11, Hisey “moved” into a house owned by his stepson (Residence #2 above), but Hisey admitted to KRDO in August that he did not have a lease agreement that would be required to establish legal residency. Hisey has since “moved” into an apartment on Westmeadow Drive (Residence #3), though his wife still lives in their longtime home in Fountain (Residence #1).

In their zeal to get Mullica in trouble, Taheri and Brauchler failed to consider the liability on their own side of the political aisle, and Hisey is likely going to pay for their mistake.

Next time, look before you litigate.

Boebert Explores Novel Methods Of Book Grifting

Lauren Boebert’s book.

As everybody knows, politicians like to write books–or at least have books published under their name to which they contributed enough to claim the credit. Most of those books do not go on to become best-sellers, and usually wind up in the bargain bin at Walmart within a year or two.

But as Forbes’ Zach Everson reports today, freshman GOP scandal-o-rama Rep. Lauren Boebert appears to have found a new and creative way to merge her personal and campaign interests. Otherwise known by the less flattering term grifting:

On or before May 5, Boebert’s campaign began running an ad for her new book, “My American Life,” on WinRed, the Republican’s online fundraising platform that is typically used to solicit campaign donations. While a disclaimer at the bottom says that WinRed paid for the ad, the URL includes lauren-boebert-for-congress, and the ad has an option to sign up for updates from Lauren Boebert for Congress.

WinRed regularly runs ads in which candidates offer their book in exchange for a campaign donation. In those circumstances, the Federal Election Commission requires the campaign to buy the book in a manner that won’t lead to a royalty for the author (which is typically done by purchasing directly from the publisher at a discount).

Boebert’s ad is different. It directs supporters to buy her books from retailers, like Amazon and Books-A-Million, which could theoretically lead to royalties. [Pols emphasis]

Over the summer, Boebert’s campaign reported an expenditure of over $30,000 to purchase copies of Boebert’s book My American Life for the campaign’s use–which didn’t raise alarm bells by itself, since campaigns are allowed to buy copies of a candidate’s book to use for fundraising and promotional purposes, and there are rules to make sure those transactions don’t benefit the candidate personally.

But those aren’t the books Boebert is hawking when she puts up ads directing to Amazon. Amazon is selling Boebert’s book at full retail price, and those are sales that Boebert stands to profit from. It’s a problem for Boebert, but also for the WinRed Republican online fundraising platform–who it can be argued is helping put money directly into Boebert’s pocket, not Boebert’s campaign.

If there’s anything Boebert has proven adept at in her first term in office, it’s beating the high cost of living with questionable financial opportunities afforded her as a political luminary. Whether it’s reimbursing herself for more vehicle mileage than the Earth’s circumference or using her campaign account as a short-term loan shop, Boebert has pushed the limits on financial ethics more than any Colorado politico in recent memory.

Here’s another way she’s doing so–and we’ll have to see if CD-3 voters have any limit to their tolerance.

Kirkmeyer Steps on Trump Landmine in New Interview

Will explode. Cannot be disarmed.

Republican “Secession” Barb Kirkmeyer may have (metaphorically) blown off a limb today that could make it more difficult for her to edge past Democrat Yadira Caraveo in the race for the new congressional seat in CO-08.

In an interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio, Kirkmeyer addressed the topic of one Donald J. Trump in a manner that won’t likely be beneficial to the rest of her campaign:

Warner: Much of the narrative around the 2020 election has come specifically from former President Trump. Would you vote for him if he ran again?

Kirkmeyer: I don’t know who else is running, for starters. So I don’t know. Did I vote for him in 2016? Yes, I did. Did I vote for him in 2020? Yes, I did. If he is our Republican nominee, yes I would probably vote for him. [Pols emphasis]

Gah!

Barb Kirkmeyer

Kirkmeyer might have just instinctively answered this question, since her former elected offices (Weld County Commissioner and State Senate) were representative of areas that were as far-right as she is. If you live in deep-red Weld County, of course you voted for Trump.

But the “Cook Partisan Voter Index” for CO-08 is considered “EVEN,” and the areas that are now part of this district collectively voted for Democrat Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 (51-46). The flurry of terrible news that continues to greet Trump on basically a weekly basis has not been kind to his approval ratings, either.

It is absolutely problematic for Kirkmeyer to have admitted that she would vote for Trump again if he ran for President in 2024. In a district this competitive, voicing your support for Trump could be all that many undecided voters need to hear to go in a different direction. Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has been furiously backpedaling on his previous support of Trump for precisely this reason.

Kirkmeyer’s fealty to Trump is also odd given that she has had no problem pretending to ignore issues like her opposition to abortion rights — something that is near and dear to her heart.

But Barb’s gonna Barb, we suppose. It’s gotten her this far.

This Candidate is All Over the Distric

This is Lynn Emrick. She is the Republican candidate in House District 27 — facing off against incumbent Democratic Rep. Brianna Titone — who has only been a candidate since August after winning a vacancy committee appointment to replace the GOP nominee who had dropped out of the race.

Emrick is very excited about running for the State House of Representatives. So excited, in fact, that she didn’t bother to spellcheck her own sign:

Spell it right for the ‘gram

 

Did Emrick not know how to spell “District,” or did her graphic designer just run out of space and hoped nobody would notice the missing ‘T’?

This also touches on a long-running irritation of ours here at Colorado Pols: Candidates who put their House or Senate district number on yard signs or literature. All candidates, no matter the political party, must stop this nonsense. Most voters don’t know the number of their House or Senate district and don’t care. It’s not like voters can pick which district they want to vote in. Your name will be on their ballot, or it won’t.

Anyway, who is Lynn Emrick? As Ernest Luning reported last month for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Last year, Emrick and five other moms founded Acts Academy, a private Christian school attached to a church in Wheat Ridge that enrolls children from pre-school through fifth grade, according to Facebook posts.

“We are bringing God back to the forefront of education and desire a return to foundational values that are centered on Christ and His Word, the core family service to our community and charter modeled after Jesus’ example and the fruits of the Spirit,” a promotional brochure for the school says.

Apparently Emrick is very much influenced by the teachings of Jesus Chris.

Emrick is listed on LinkedIn as the founder of some sort of baby supply rental company (or maybe it rents babies; we didn’t really look into it). Her Christian elementary school is apparently no longer open, which probably doesn’t reflect all that well on the candidate.

According to the Arvada Press, Emrick seems to believe the “MAGA Republican” nonsense rhetoric about public school teachers turning children into drag queens, or whatever:

Emrick also pledged to “keep politics out” of the classroom and mentioned “sexualized content” and “gender identity vocabulary” as programs being taught without parental permission.

“Hidden club activities attendance without parent knowledge, teaching any sexualized content outside approved curriculum, teaching young children gender identity vocabulary, assignments or technology that contains controversial content that has not been approved without the parent’s knowledgment (sic) is out of line within our classrooms,” Emrick said.

Emrick says she wants schools to focus on teaching the basics.

Like spelling, for example.

Colorado Democrats Vindicated On Equal Pay Law

In 2019, the Colorado General Assembly’s Democratic majority passed the Equal Pay For Equal Work Act, Senate Bill 19-085, which required among other provisions for Colorado employers to post the salary range for available positions in job postings. Transparency in salary range is considered a vital component to reducing gender-based wage inequity.

The bill passed over the strained objections of the Republican minority, as the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reported at the time:

“It’s not so much of a woman thing,” said Rep. Perry Buck, a Windsor Republican and opponent of the bill, during House debate Friday. “I don’t believe in the women as being victims. [Pols emphasis] You look at how many are graduating with degrees. Women are on a movement and look at the legislature. There is absolutely, definitely equal pay here.”

Buck and business groups say they fear frivolous lawsuits will increase, costing companies even when they’ve done nothing wrong. The National Federation of Independent Business opposed the bill, saying most Colorado small businesses don’t have a legal department and could be bankrupted by a lawsuit. Plus, it says, salary history is a necessary tool for determining qualified applicants.

Republican amendments would have allowed companies to be reimbursed legal fees by an employee whose discrimination claim was found to be baseless and allowed for voluntary disclosure of salary history, but those amendments failed in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

After the Equal Pay For Equal Work Act took effect in January of 2021, the same Republicans who opposed the bill in 2019 were (no nice way to say this) inappropriately overjoyed when some employers began excluding Colorado applicants for remote work in job listings in retaliation for Colorado’s requirement that salary ranges be posted in job listings. Conservative outlets like Reason rejoiced that the “Equal Pay Law in Colorado is backfiring.”

A new employee compensation bill in Colorado was supposed to help close gender gaps in worker pay. But the so-called Equal Pay for Equal Work Act could be making it harder for Colorado residents—regardless of gender—to find jobs…

Understandably, some employers who can help it are opting out.

“This is a remote job except that it is not eligible to be performed in Colorado,” says an Airbnb listing for an accounting manager.

“This work is to be performed entirely outside of Colorado,” says an Ally Financial posting about a developer position.

But then a funny thing happened–although the number of position postings for Colorado jobs dropped, as CNBC reports, our state’s labor participation rate actually went up:

Two notable things happened in the first year after the law went into effect, research author Sam Kuhn tells CNBC Make It: First, daily job postings on Indeed fell by 8.2% in Colorado compared with neighboring Utah (which was chosen as a control for having similar demographics and economic characteristics).

The drop in Colorado jobs corresponds with reports that companies were actively barring workers in the state from applying to some remote jobs, or were taking the work elsewhere, in order to avoid the posting requirement.

Second, data shows there was a 1.5% increase in Colorado’s labor force participation rate relative to Utah’s.

By June of this year, as the Colorado Sun’s Tamara Chaung reported, the entire debate over salary transparency had shifted thanks in no small part to Colorado’s visionary and much-maligned new law breaking open the discussion:

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Joe O’Dea Tries Out Bizarre New Argument

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has offered up so many different positions on important issues that it’s hard to believe that he even knows where he stands at any particular moment. But his latest argument for why Colorado voters should elect him to the U.S. Senate instead of incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is one of the more absurd efforts we’ve seen in Colorado for a long time.

O’Dea posted a strange Tweet today that includes an embedded video clip from a recent interview with Kyle Clark of 9News — an interview that was plainly a disaster for O’Dea. As far as we can tell, the point of including this clip is so that the O’Dea campaign can make the argument that there’s no harm in electing him to the Senate because he won’t get anything accomplished anyway.

Here’s what Clark says in the clip:

Colorado’s Senate race, where Republican Joe O’Dea supports abortion rights until 20 weeks, highlights what’s at stake with control of the Senate. O’Dea’s campaign says he would not support [Sen. Lindsey] Graham’s 15-week abortion ban. O’Dea recently told NEXT he’ll vote in the Senate to codify [Roe v. Wade].

But he seemed confused when we pointed out that, if he wins and Republicans control the Senate, there will never be such a vote. [Pols emphasis]

[Again: This clip was Tweeted out FROM THE ACCOUNT @ODEAFORCOLORADO. O’Dea’s campaign WANTS you to see this.]

The embedded video then cuts to Clark asking O’Dea about the fact that a Republican-controlled Senate would never hold a vote to codify Roe v. Wade. O’Dea disputes this assertion from Clark without any evidence whatsoever.

 

What could go wrong?

The only thing we can compare this to is Republican Cory Gardner’s 2014 Senate campaign, in which Gardner convinced local media outlets that nothing bad could happen if he was elected because issues like abortion rights and same-sex marriage were “settled law” that would never be changed anyway. But even then, Gardner wasn’t quite as direct as O’Dea in making the argument that electing him would be largely pointless.

From a practical perspective, the problem with this narrative is that you don’t NEED 60 votes in the Senate when the Supreme Court is running roughshod over all of these things that were supposedly “settled law.” And since O’Dea has made it clear that he would have voted for all of the same Republican-backed SCOTUS nominees that brought us the end of Roe v. Wade, supporting O’Dea’s Senate bid is far from harmless.

From a strategic perspective, this is all very strange. Is O’Dea’s closing argument really going to be that Colorado voters should send him to the Senate just for the hell of it? This isn’t far off from producing a television ad that encourages Coloradans to flip a coin.

Vote for me, Joe O’Dea!

Or don’t. What do I care?

Here Come the Political Ads!

We are six weeks away from Election Day and three weeks from ballots going out in the mail. This means that top-tier campaigns that plan to use television as a significant part of their advertising strategy are hitting the airwaves with gusto.

Click after the jump to see all the latest television ads running in Colorado, nearly all of which are from Democrats (we’re listing ads from campaigns, not dark money or third-party spots). We’re also not ignoring ads for Republican candidates — there just aren’t many of them to even discuss.

If we missed any new ads, please drop them in the comments section…

 

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