Colorado’s morning news watchers got a dose of politics with their coffee earlier today. A new ad campaign launched today is calling Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) to account for his role in the now month-long government shutdown.
Noting the unprecedented length of the shutdown, the ad lists several serious consequences, including 800,000 workers going with paychecks, food safety inspection stoppages, and increasing risks to air travel.
The ad also accuses Gardner of “siding with party leaders who refuse to even allow a vote to reopen the government.” It asks Coloradans to call Gardner and tell the senator to “demand and end to the shutdown.”
Over two weeks ago Gardner said he would vote to end the shutdown without funding for the border wall. That statement that runs contrary to the ad’s message, but since then he hasn’t repeated that position nor taken any public steps to end the shutdown. He was, however, appointed deputy whip by Senate leadership.
Majority Forward, a national nonprofit linked to the Democrats’ Senate Majority political action committee, is running the reportedly six-figure ad buy on cable and broadcast channels in the Denver media market.
“Sen. Gardner is not interested in demonstrating independence. This shutdown has impacted Colorado and Gardner refuses to demand a vote to reopen the government. He refuses real action while the repercussions of a closed government set in and have economic consequences for frustrated Coloradans across the state.”
— J.B. Poersch, President, Majority Forward
The campaign is also targeting five other states with Republican senators up for re-election in 2020 – Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina.
(Anthropomorphism gone rather awry – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
It’s been nearly a century since The Little Engine That Could first charmed children with its cheerful smile and can-do attitude. These days, kids love characters such as Thomas the Tank Engine and the cast of “Toy Story,” all of whom continue the tradition of entertaining young minds while teaching fundamental lessons about overcoming life’s challenges.
Author and Air Force wife Liesl Ross just published her children’s book to help kids –like her own who are growing up on military bases– cope with a challenge that’s especially familiar to families in the armed services: moving to a new home.
The Colorado native and daughter of Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO), wanted to tell a story that would resonate for the kids on the base. The hero of Ross’ story is also a kid who’s faced with moving away from the only friends and neighborhood she has ever known. And like Thomas the Tank Engine, she’s also a vehicle with a cute smile.
Meet Bonnie the B-1 Bomber:
Bonnie B-One’s Supersonic Move is on a mission to show children the importance of being kind and brave no matter where life takes them! Bonnie B-One is a young United States Air Force B-1B bomber jet who must navigate the emotions that come with moving to a new home and making new friends. Readers of all ages will enjoy Bonnie’s adventure and lesson in resiliency. —Barnes & Noble overview
The B-1B Lancer is a supersonic heavy bomber that carries the largest payload of both guided and unguided munitions in the Air Force. It has served in combat over Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently in Syria. Initially designed to carry nuclear weapons, it was converted to strictly conventional use in the 1990s.
The Air Force currently retains an active inventory of 62 aircraft assigned to squadrons at Dyess AFB, Texas and Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota, where Ross’ family resides.
Ross and her illustrator, airman Alexander Buchanan who is also stationed at the base, were featured in a story about their book last Friday by the Rapid City, South Dakota NBC affiliate.
Every year, Colorado state employees have the opportunity to make charitable donations through the Colorado Combined Campaign (CCC). Last year this workplace giving program raised $945,000 for nearly 700 different non-profit groups.
One of those nonprofits was anti-LGBT hate group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has equated being gay with pedophilia, incest and bestiality.
Text from ADF’s Supreme Court amicus brief arguing to uphold Texas’ law criminalizing gay people.
How did this group get approved? According to the CCC, most charities participate as part of a federation of similar groups. The CCC Advisory Committee then vets the federations.
State employees may designate their donations to one or more charities or groups of charities known as federations. An Advisory Committee, made up of representatives of most state agencies, sets and enforces campaign guidelines, called bylaws. The advisory committee reviews the 25 federations who sponsor the more than 600 charities in the campaign to determine if they are fiscally responsible and provide the services they say they do.
As part of the vetting process that the CCC conducts, applicant groups are required to have a “non-discrimination policy protecting, at minimum, the classes listed in the CCC bylaws: “race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, gender and sexual orientation applicable to persons served by the organization.”
ADF signed a document affirming it has such a policy. An email sent to ADF Vice President Jeremy Tedesco requesting a copy of the policy and some clarification as to its scope was not returned.
UPDATE: Senator Hill replied with a statement at the end of this post.
Governor Jared Polis took the oath of office today on the west steps of the state capitol. The ceremony featured a diverse group of speakers, religious leaders, poets and performers, all celebrating the inauguration of Colorado’s 43rd governor.
State Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) attended the event. The Senator is known to like yoga but apparently not poetry, or at least not the poetry he heard today. Hill used Facebook to dismiss at least one of the two poets who read their work at today’s inauguration ceremony for Governor Jared Polis, saying, “Just because you dress funny and no one understands what you are talking about, it doesn’t make you a poet.”
The two poets on the inaugural agenda were Anne Waldman and Toluwanimi Obiwole. Both have received considerable acclaim for their work.
Colorado’s conservative activists are furious at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s call to end the government shutdown without funding for President Trump’s wall. County GOP officials and Tea Party leaders are talking openly about the need for a primary challenger in 2020.
One official went so far as to joke about boiling a bunny on Sen. Gardner’s stove.
Jefferson County Republican Vice Chair Steve Dorman vehemently disagreed with a post written by a member of the Arapahoe Tea Party group that stated. “Sorry, we need to accept Cory Gardner.”
Dorman replied “this betrayal is too huge. I don’t care about 99.9% of the time. And yes….the wall and border security are very important.”
In another comment, the JeffCo GOP Vice Chair added “I don’t want him to come home and find a rabbit’s head boiling on his stove….but…….”
The author of the original post replied, “That’s a good idea.”
Though presumably tongue-in-cheek, this quip is particularly dubious in light of a threatening video of a beheading Gardner’s wife received via text message back in October.
Pueblo County Republican Party Treasurer George Mayfield posted his call for a primary on the group’s Facebook page,
Our RINO U.S. Senator Cory Gardner just announced that he would vote to re-open the complete federal government, with no money for a wall. I think it’s time that he gets ready for a primary in 2020. He won’t win in blue Colorado by trolling for Democrat votes.
On Friday, Anil Mathai, chair of the Adams County Republicans, agreed with radio host Peter BoyleS that Sen. Gardner is a “useful idiot,” or easily manipulated pawn, presumably of establishment conservatives.
Adams County Republican Party Chair Anil Mathai dismissed a unanimous vote by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission to increase oil & gas well setbacks from schools to 1,000 feet as “[capitulation] to the environazis.”
Representatives from the oil & gas industry and environmental groups both praised the deal. Colorado Public Radio characterized it as “a rare moment of agreement between oil and gas companies and conservation groups.”
Neither side appeared to share Mathai’s view of the agreement, who also attacked “establishment Republicans.”
(From Russia with love, Colorado! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
The head of a major Colorado media company hired now admitted Russian spy Maria Butina to help him create a television show starring Vladimir Putin as a conservation-minded outdoorsman.
With Butina changing her plea to guilty last week, it’s now official: a Kroenke executive hired a Russian spy to help him pitch a pro-Putin television show starring the Russian President himself.
Jim Liberatore, CEO of Outdoor Sportsman Group (OSG), a division of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE), met Butina through their shared ties to the National Rifle Association. KSE purchased the Outdoor Channel, with Liberatore at its head, in 2013. He was promoted to CEO of OSG in 2017.
Butina invited Liberatore and his wife to Moscow in 2015 as part of a National Rifle Association delegation she organized along with her Russian handler Alexander Torshin.
Butina’s goal, which has since been detailed by federal prosecutors and in numerous media reports, was establishing a back-channel means of communication to the Trump campaign (and subsequently the administration) via the NRA.
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s annual Christmas party will take place at the historic Brown Palace Hotel in Denver this evening. The annual event is officially hosted by Project West PAC, a leadership political action committee chaired by Gardner.
The gathering routinely attracts many of the most prominent Republicans in the state. Last year’s attendees included Secretary of State Wayne Williams, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, GOP party chair Jeff Hays, gubernatorial hopeful Doug Robinson and many others.
This year, the PAC emailed invitations to numerous local party activists, some of whom weren’t sure if the email was legitimate.
Gardner himself was unable to attend last year’s party; he was stuck in D.C. helping to ensure that President Trumps massive tax cut bill passed the Senate. Secretary of State Wayne Williams filled in as host, while Gardner delivered a remote video message to his guests.
Looking to re-energize their caucus following sweeping losses at the ballot box last month, Colorado Republicans held a retreat in Sedalia immediately after the election. The event featured controversial writer and pundit David Horowitz as a keynote speaker.
The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Horowitz as an “Anti-Muslim fanatic” and lists David Horowitz as an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim extremist. It describes his David Horowitz Freedom Center as “a platform to project hate and misinformation.”
Horowitz published the text of his speech on his website. It’s clear from his first sentence that he wasn’t pulling any punches:
Horowitz: Here’s my lesson from the recent election in my newly adopted state: You’re too damn nice. Democrats call Republicans “racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, xenophobes” and “Nazis.” And Republicans call Democrats … “liberals.” Stop it! What are Democrats liberal about except sex, drugs, spending other people’s money, coddling criminals, giving America’s mortal enemies like Iran the benefit of the doubt, nuclear weapons and billions in cash to finance their terrorist activities, and opening borders to terrorists, sexual predators and whoever comes along? Democrats don’t even believe in due process any more. Innocent until proven guilty? That’s for aging white men – Republicans. The Democrats are satisfied with guilt by accusation. The Democratic Party is a party of racists, character assassins and, oh, liars. Say it.
For a party looking to broaden its appeal to an increasingly diverse Colorado electorate, the choice of Horowitz is puzzling. His recent appearance at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in August led several large corporations to drop their ALEC memberships in protest. Verizon left in September, stating,
“Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals.”
As outrage over Horowitz’s speech grew, ALEC distanced itself from him in a statement and removed video of his speech from their site. That wasn’t enough to stem the tide of companies abandoning the organization, however.
Last Friday, industry titans AT&T, Dow Chemical and Honeywell, also quit ALEC over Horowitz’s speech.
Horowitz, who said via email that he did not charge for his appearance, was invited by State Sens. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) .
Lundberg dismissed concerns about Horowitz’s beliefs and positions, telling the Colorado Times Recorder he was aware of the concerns raised by companies that dropped their ALEC memberships, so he listened to the speech before inviting Horowitz to speak to the Republican caucus. He did not find the speech to be racist.
Lundberg: “I believe he had some very salient points to make. He doesn’t mince words. He dives right in and tells you what he thinks in a very forthright manner. He does have some observations that are worth paying attention to… I came to the conclusion that Mr. Horowitz was not being fairly represented, and I felt he has valuable things to say to the Colorado Republican caucus and so I asked him to speak to us and he did.”
Lundberg expressed disappointment that ALEC “capitulated” to “bullying” in issuing its statement disavowing Horowitz’s speech. He noted that “ALEC does an incredibly good job in informing and empowering state legislators with the basic principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.”
Colorado State Senator John Cooke & U. S. Senator Cory Gardner share a laugh in Feb. 2013, photo by Alison Noon/Greeley Tribune
In response to Democratic gains in this month’s election, State Sen. John Cooke (R-Greeley) now thinks Weld County has “a lot more in common with Wyoming than Boulder” and therefore should cut ties with Colorado and “join Wyoming.”
Sen. John Cooke talked secession at the Greeley Rotary last Thursday. It is unclear if the blue wave on the podium was intended to be ironic.
Republicans in northern Colorado first floated the idea of “seceding” from Colorado back in 2013, and Cook didn’t support it. But now he thinks Weld County should “join Wyoming,” as the Greeley Tribune reported Sunday:
In an appearance Thursday with Greeley Centennial Rotary, Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, said he didn’t support the secession movement when it happened, and now that the state is moving toward Democratic leadership at the top levels of the state government, he said Weld County would be better off joining its neighbor to the north.
“I’m thinking we oughta join Wyoming instead of seceding,” he said. “We have a lot more in common with Wyoming than Boulder. Gun control will be a big issue. They (Democrats) just can’t help themselves. They’ll ramrod a lot of bad policy through.”
Cooke is the most prominent Weld County Republican currently musing about abandoning Colorado, but he isn’t the only one. According to the Tribune, County Commissioner Sean Conway, who was a leader of 2013’s “51st State Movement,” received multiple calls asking about secession.
A call to secede also appeared on the comments section of the Weld County Republicans’ Facebook page. In part it read, “TIME TO END THE DENVER BOULDER FORT COLLINS TRIAD. TIME TO SECEDE! I have contacted the people behind the 2013 secession movement and we are ready to start again!”
While Weld County was the epicenter of the secession movement that culminated with an eleven-county referendum five years ago, voters rejected the notion despite Commissioner Conway’s enthusiasm. Of the eleven counties voting on the issue, only five approved the measure. The largest of those was Yuma County, home to U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).
At the time, then-Congressman Gardner was in the early stages of his statewide campaign against incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall. Despite being a resident (and registered voter) of the county, he refused to say how he voted on secession ballot initiative.
Five years later, Gardner is again looking at a long and difficult statewide Senate campaign. Once again the candidate who likes to talk about his “Four Corners plan” definitely does not want to be talking about whether his hometown corner should tear itself away from the rest of our square state. If Sen. John Cooke continues to talk about secession publicly, he may find that Senator Gardner isn’t smiling quite as widely next time they meet.
With less than 24 hours’ notice, hundreds of Coloradans gathered at the West Steps of the state capitol on Thursday evening to protest President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker to be acting Attorney General of the United States. Whitaker had been AG Jeff Sessions’ Chief of Staff. He has publicly argued that Special Counsel Mueller’s Russia investigation has gone too far and that President Trump has the authority to end it whenever he wants.
Speakers included Senator Michael Bennet, Congressmen-elect Joe Neguse and Jason Crow, Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, State Rep. Joe Salazar (D – Thornton), and AME Shorter Church Pastor Dr. Timothy Tyler.
U.S. Senator Cory Gardner’s political operation is full steam ahead on the Trump train.
Celebrating the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s success in the mid-term elections, NRSC Executive Director Chris Hansen, who’s served as Gardner’s right-hand man since 2010, told Politico,
“We have always felt like we’re running with President Trump no matter what. We think he’s a huge asset, to be clear. These rallies are not by mistake.”
Coloradans rarely hear such unapologetic devotion to Trump “no matter what” from the Gardner camp. When speaking to local media outlets, the Senator usually tempers his support of the President. Even when he’s praising Trump he makes sure to add a caveat, as he did during an election day radio interview:
“I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on. But the economy is creating jobs… Wages are going up. This is incredible.”
Yet for a national political audience, Gardner’s team is embracing Trump without reservation. The NRSC’s enthusiasm is understandable. As Politico reported, they owe him:
“Trump’s personal investment in the Senate sealed the deal. He crisscrossed the country, hitting some states multiple times — all the while delivering sound bites that Republican hopefuls used to promote themselves and bash their opponents.”
State senate candidate Tony Sanchez’s decision to send a negative mailer, widely seen as off-the-charts nasty, appears to have backfired. Donations to his opponent, Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood), have skyrocketed since the postcard appeared in voters’ mailboxes.
Pettersen’s latest campaign finance report shows 73 donations on October 24, the day after the mailer hit Lakewood mailboxes.
Three are from prominent figures in Colorado politics, including $200 from the top-ranking Republican in statewide office, Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. According to campaign finance records, it’s the only donation Coffman has ever made to a Democrat.
Candidates Christine Jensen of Arvada and Rep. Beth Martinez-Humenik (R-Thornton) have a lot in common. Both are Republican women running for Colorado state senate seats in highly competitive suburban swing districts. Both answered the same five questions from their local community newspapers and both gave nearly identical answers to those questions. The answers aren’t just substantially similar; they are structurally the same and often word-for-word identical.
Colorado Community Media (CCM) published the Q&A style interviews two weeks ago. CCM owns eighteen weekly local papers around the Denver metro area, Five questions were posed to every statehouse candidate running in a district covered by a CCM paper. The first and last question were open-ended, make-your-case questions, while the other three addressed specific policies and priorities.
Compare Humenik’s answer and Jensen’s answer to the question, “What can the Legislature do to ease the strain of rising housing prices on Colorado residents?” The bolded language is identical in each answer.
State Senate candidate Christine Jensen of Wheat Ridge opposes all public funding for Planned Parenthood, including all funds via Medicaid, which is the state-federal health insurance program for low-income people.
Planned Parenthood uses Medicaid funds to pay for contraceptives, counseling services and patient education, infertility services and sterilization reversals, cancer screenings, and testing for sexually transmitted infections related to family planning services, according to a statement on Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ website.
The statement also notes that “in accordance with the Hyde Amendment and Colorado law, these federal funds do not pay for abortion services.”
Jensen’s unequivocal stance on the issue came in here response to a candidate questionnaire from the Colorado Family Action Foundation (CFA), which is allied with three far-right evangelical organizations, two of which are hate groups.(more…)
Rocktober is here! The Colorado Rockies began their battle with the Milwaukee Brewers last night, having earned themselves a playoff series appearance for the first time since 2009. And thanks to this season’s success occurring in an election year, there are naturally plenty of politicians looking to highlight their support to share in the team’s glory.
Gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, clearly one of biggest baseball fans among Colorado’s elected officials, is likely both disappointed and relieved that the Rockies are facing off against the Brewers rather than the perennial NL Central powerhouse St. Louis Cardinals.
Following the Rocks’ Tuesday night clinching of a playoff spot, Stapleton tweeted simply, “ROCKTOBER!” At the time, the Cardinals were still in contention for a playoff spot.
An anonymous Twitter account replied with a pair of photos showing Stapleton wearing a hat and displaying a jersey of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Grady Nouis, the Republican candidate for an Arvada area statehouse seat in the Colorado legislature, talks a lot about crime. He’s primarily concerned that so-called “sanctuary cities” endanger residents, because undocumented immigrants who may live in these cities commit crimes, particularly drug crimes.
In the summer of 2005, Nouis was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He ultimately pled guilty to “maintaining a drug house” and possession of marijuana.
The arrest report, obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder via a source, explains how the police discovered Nouis’ suspected mushroom grow operation. He was living in a house owned by his parents in Grand Blanc, Michigan. They had moved to another city and were planning to sell the house in Grand Blanc. A realtor, believing their son to have returned to college, entered to prepare the house for a showing. She discovered numerous syringes and mason jars filled with a clear liquid and topped with plastic tubing. Believing she had discovered a methamphetamine lab, she called the police. After entering the property themselves, the police determined that it was a “psilocybin mushroom grow operation.”
“As we cleared the rest of the residence, we continued to find evidence of a psilocybin mushroom grow operation. We observed several dehydrating/drying units, packaged mushrooms ready for sale, the spores need to grow mushrooms a makeshift greenhouse made out of large plastic tubs with mushrooms growing along with various other items.”
According to court records, Nouis was initially charged with one felony count of “manufacture of psilocybin,” and one misdemeanor count of “possession of marijuana.” A plea bargain reduced the felony manufacturing charge to another misdemeanor, “maintaining a drug house.” Nouis was sentenced to three years of probation and paid fees and fines totaling $1,660.
Since declaring his candidacy for the Colorado statehouse in December of 2016, Westminster Republican Grady Nouis has promoted and participated in several far-right rallies organized by hate and extremist groups. Furthermore, he’s documented his participation in numerous videos, including one where he shouts the n-word during an argument with African-American couple in Denver’s Civic Center Park.
Last summer, the first since Trump’s election, saw marked increase in alt-right rallies across the country, including several here in Colorado.
After attending a Colorado Proud Boys rally in Boulder on June 3, 2017, Nouis posted news coverage of the event and noted that he would “proudly stand” with the Proud Boys.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) labeled that organization a hate group in 2016. The SPLC notes that the self-described group of “Western chauvinists… regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists.”
Just a week later he joined an “Anti-Sharia” rally at the state Capitol, at which he was one of the announced speakers. Nouis had been heavily promoting the event online, and once it took place he live-streamed much of the event.
The June 10 rally was one of 23 simultaneous rallies organized by an anti-Muslim hate group, Act for America. SPLC’s reasoning for the hate group designation? “Act for America pushes wild anti-Muslim conspiracy theories, denigrates American Muslims and deliberately conflates mainstream and radical Islam.”
During the event, Nouis shared a video of state troopers escorting him and his fellow far-right extremists away from counter-protesters. At approximately the 8:45 mark of the video, he repeatedly shouts the n-word during an argument with African American bystanders in Civic Center Park.
Rep. Alexander Skinny Winkler (R) (top right, speaking).
Dozens of far-right conservatives and hate group members held a rally on the west steps of the Capitol Saturday afternoon to protest what they perceive to be censorship by Facebook. One Colorado Republican state rep helped produce the event and Walker Stapleton’s Super PAC was there to recruit staff.
The event was hosted by Major League Liberty, a far-right pro-Trump social media podcast, along with the Proud Boys, a far-right men’s organization that describes itself as representing “Western chauvinists.” The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Proud Boys as a hate group“whose leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric.”
Officially titled the Rally To Protest Internet Censorship, the event drew approximately 60 people as well as 40 or so counter-protesters. Nearly as many Colorado State troopers maintained a wide perimeter between those attending the event and those protesting it.
Speakers included State Rep. Alexander “Skinny” Winkler (R-Northglenn) and Republican Congressional candidate Mark Barrington, who is challenging Democratic Congressman Ed Perlmutter. In his speech Rep. Winkler said he supported free speech and liberty unequivocally. He mentioned that his sound company provided the audio equipment and that he was “happy to help out.”
Also in attendance was a representative of Better Colorado Now, the Super PAC supporting Republican Walker Stapleton’s campaign for governor. Wearing a Better Colorado Now polo shirt that read, “Elect Walker Stapleton,” Ben, who did not give his last name, said he was hoping to hire people to knock doors for his group. He said they “help elect Republicans.” According to the group’s registration with the Secretary of State, its purpose is to “Oppose Democrat candidates for governor and support Walker Stapleton for governor.”
Two of the attendees sported a popular Proud Boys T-shirt that reads “Pinochet did nothing wrong!” with the letters “RWDS” on the left sleeve. The acronym stands for “Right Wing Death Squad.”
The back of the shirt, kept covered by both men during the rally, depicts people being murdered by being dropped from a helicopter.
Stapleton Super PAC representative looks to hire canvassers at hate group rally. Man on right’s sleeve displays RWDS: “Right Wing Death Squad”
Many of attendees wore protective clothing, from tactical gloves with hard plastic knuckles to helmets and various types of arm padding. One man sported a set of hockey pads. Two others wearing street clothes said they fought with some “black bloc” types in Civic Center Park on the way to the event, with one saying he was struck in the head by a baton. He noted that the attackers were not part of the protestor group on the sidewalk.
Colorado state representative Steve Humphrey (R-Severance) shared a photo of a flyer that accuses his party’s Assistant Minority Leader, Rep Cole Wist (R-Centennial) of wanting to prevent women from being able to defend themselves.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners distributed the flyer at this weekend’s Centennial Gun Club Firearms Festival. Humphrey posted a picture of the RMGO table, including the flyer, with the caption “Meeting and greeting and supporting conservative Second Amendment candidates at the RMGO booth.”
The flyer, one of two on the table attacking Wist, labels the House’s number two Republicans as “anti-gun” and says he “wants to leave you defenseless,” below an image of a woman being assaulted on the street.
RMGO, along with Minority Leader Patrick Neville, attacked Wist repeatedly during this year’s legislative fight over his proposed “red flag” bill. The bipartisan bill would have created a civil legal process called an Extreme Risk Protection Order to enable family members and law enforcement to temporarily remove guns from an individual who poses danger to themselves or others.
Sponsored by Assistant Minority Leader Wist, the bill was also supported by District Attorney George Brauchler and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, both Republicans. It passed the House 37-23, with Wist and Rep. Dan Thurlow (R-Grand Junction) joining all Democrats in support, but failed to get out of committee in the Senate.
Rep. Humphrey’s post was “liked” by two of his colleagues, Rep. Perry Buck (R-Windsor) and Rep. Shane Sandridge (R-Colorado Springs). Joe Neville, who runs the House GOP independent expenditure committee and is a former RMGO lobbyist, also liked the post.
Voicemail messages requesting comment were not immediately answered by either Rep. Humphrey or Rep. Wist. This post will be updated with any replies received.
This post was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.
Every year, Republican lawmakers gather at Tom Ready’s Steak Fry fundraiser. Ready is an unapologetic racist and anti-government conspiracy theorist whose annual backyard BBQ nevertheless continues to draw GOP candidates and elected officials of all levels, including Congressman Scott Tipton.
Ready’s history of overt racism, homophobia and Islamophobia has been well-documented by the Colorado Times Recorder in the past. The post on the left is from a couple years ago.
He continues to do so today, with posts like this one about NFL players.
Confirmed attendees at this year’s event include Congressman Scott Tipton, State Sens. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) and Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), HD46 Jonathan Ambler, HD47 candidate Don Bendell, HD62 candidate Scott Honeycutt, Pueblo County Commissioner District 3 candidate Zach Swearingen, University of Colorado Regent Glen Gallegos, and Marla Spinuzzi Reichert, chair of the Pueblo County Republicans.
After months of silence, Colorado Treasurer and Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton is finally trying to address the news coverage of his family’s racist Klan legacy. This week Stapleton appeared on KNUS radio’s afternoon talk show, hosted by his friend Stephan Tubbs. The casual interview was a perfect venue to deliver his talking points cleanly. Instead, he made it worse – a lot worse.
In less than a minute, Walker Stapleton managed to both slander a civil rights icon and explain how Senator John McCain’s death made him “feel good.”
Tubbs was about to ask Stapleton for his response to all the national coverage of his great-grandfather’s leadership role in the KKK, but before he could finish, Stapleton interrupted. Instead of delivering his talking points, however, Stapleton attributed a false statement about deceased US Senator John McCain to civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis of Georgia. Then he said that [incorrect] statement was the one thing that made him “feel good” about theArizona senator’s death.
Stapleton inaccurately recounted a Rush Limbaugh segment about Rep. Lewis’ recent tweet praising Senator McCain. According to Stapleton, Limbaugh claimed Lewis’s praise made him a hypocrite because ten years’ earlier Lewis had called McCain a white nationalist. [Neither Lewis nor Limbaugh ever used that term.] Knowing that, Stapleton said, makes him “feel good about” McCain’s death because he’s getting attacked for his Klan legacy just like Rush Limbaugh says McCain was attacked by Congressman Lewis.
Tom Tancredo is always comfortable in front of a microphone, even when his words are making his audience uncomfortable. That’s exactly what the most prominent Republican to endorse Walker Stapleton did July 30 at the Jefferson County Republican Men’s club, when he delivered racist comments about black student athletes at his alma mater, Northeastern Junior College.
Musing about the racial and religious quotas imposed on his college’s dormitories by the Klan-influenced local government, Tancredo, a former Congressman, wondered why the restrictions didn’t apply to the whole school rather than just the students at the residences:
Tancredo: “I always wondered, why just the dorms? If you’re gonna have a quota, why not on everything. I dunno, they needed black players, I guess, on the team.”
The anti-immigrant firebrand’s influence with the GOP base is exactly why Stapleton asked the conservative icon to introduce and nominate him at the Republican state assembly. That said, Tancredo’s remark about the Klan’s relaxed racial quota when it came to black athletes fell flat on the conservative audience, which appeared to be shocked by the comment.
Undeterred, he stuck with his racist theme by promoting “a great book,” Losing Ground by Charles Murray, which argues for abolishing welfare. The sociologist has also argued that African-Americans tend to be less intelligent than white Americans and that genetic differences between the races are partially responsible. Current Affairs magazine wrote an extensive profile of Murray’s racist writings in a feature piece, “Why Is Charles Murray Odious?” Tancredo acknowledged the author’s controversial status, noting, “Of course, everyone gets scared the minute you say his name.”
Yet he proceeded to rattle off statistics from the book, showing a decline in numbers of traditional nuclear African-American families and an increase in “black-on-black murders” since the 1950s and ascribing that decline to “the war on poverty.” “[The government] started paying people not to have a male in the household.”
He went on to claim that African-Americans “used to have a higher commitment to Christianity than whites,” but “that’s all changed and it was because of the destruction of the family structure.”
In Tancredo’s other roles, including frontman for an anti-immigrant 501c4 nonprofit, occasional radio host, and social media personality, his continual race-baiting and sometimes flat-out racist statements fall on generally friendly ears.
Ever since Walker Stapleton used Tancredo’s name and brand to secure the Republican nomination however, pundits have noted that ultra-conservative firepower that proved so useful before the primary will likely become a liability in November.
Mike Littwin made this exact point in his July 25 column in the Colorado Independent, writing “Enter Tancredo, who was brought in to help Stapleton appeal to the assembly’s right-wing fringe. It worked then. But how about in November?”
“I think Walker Stapleton is making a number of strategic errors here… To have Tom Tancredo give his nominating speech at the convention in Boulder…you don’t think that one will come back to bite him come September, October, etc.? In tennis, it’s called ‘unforced errors.’”
In his speech nominating Walker Stapleton to Colorado Republicans at the state assembly in April, Tancredo gave two reasons for his presence.
First he said it was because “the day after the election, I want to see all those liberal looneys running with their heads in their hands, looking for a safe space because they can’t handle what just happened to them.”
He concluded by saying, “the only reason I am here and I am proud as I can be to do it, is to place into the nomination for the Republican governor of Colorado, Walker Stapleton.”
If Tancredo continues to make blatantly racist statements in public and the pundits are correct, then some people will indeed have their heads in their hands November 7, just not the ones Tancredo is thinking of.
UPDATE: Over the weekend, the Jefferson County Republican Party deleted the post, though officials still have yet to comment.
The Jefferson County Republican Party referred to Congressman Jared Polis as a “Brown Shirt” in an August 1 Facebook post. “Brown Shirt” is a nickname for a member of the Sturmabteilung, Hitler’s Nazi militia which beat and murdered those who opposed his rise to power. Polis, who is Jewish, is Colorado’s Democratic nominee for Governor.
The post shared an article about Rep. Polis’ (D – Boulder) personal wealth and featured a picture of him wearing a suit with a brown dress shirt. Above the image the party wrote:
Jared Polis has a new club “How to Be A Brown Shirt for Fun & Profit”
Nazi references have become a recent habit of Jefferson County Republicans. County Party Chair Joe Webb linked “Brown Shirts” to another Democratic member of Congress two weeks ago, posting:
“Things work out for the best when we disagree with each other respectfully. The Nazis example should teach Dems like Maxine Waters one thing. Today’s button pushers can become tomorrow’s targets. The Brown Shirts (SA) harassed others until Hitler did away with them in the Night of the Long Knives. When one group is unsafe then no one is safe. We should not tolerate this sort of behavior in America.”
Webb was criticizing Rep. Waters’ urging of supporters to confront Trump administration officials they encounter in public places. It’s unclear why he refers to the murderous Brown shirts as “button-pushers,” but he clearly understands that they were Nazi soldiers. Such a comparison would seem to undermine his plea for respectful discourse, which he has made repeatedly, even specifically mentioning the Governor’s race. On June 29 Webb posted:
Votes matter. The cause to prevent Jared Polis from becoming Governor is not served by crawling into the gutter with the worst most juvenile put downs. More people will be attracted to the cause by well thought out and reasoned arguments made with only good humor. Classy is clean, common sense but most importantly effective. It is the only way this race will be won. Think about it.
Former JeffCo Rep. Tim Leonard also used the term. Before he resigned last week — for reasons related to his court-ordered child support obligations — he equated the women who marched in protest of Pres. Trump’s policies to”Hitler’s brownshirts.”
Chairman Webb did not respond to an email request for comment.
As the clock struck midnight last Sunday, Grand Junction night owls saw red–literally. The digital billboard looming over Rimrock Marketplace now displays a massive crimson and yellow “GOP,” but with the “O” replaced by the Russian hammer & sickle icon used by the former Soviet Union.
Mesa County progressives purchased the billboard to call out the Republican Party’s refusal to challenge Trump’s apparent preference for Russian denials of election interference over the unanimous assessment of United States intelligence agencies.
Grand Junction resident Anne Landman, who paid for the billboard, says its purpose is to draw attention “Republicans’ alarming acceptance of President Trump cozying up to authoritarian dictators who disregard human rights.”
While musing about a billboard on her Facebook page, a friend shared a photo of the GOP Russia design. Landman reached out to the creator, MadDogPac of Odenton, Maryland and received permission to use the image free of charge. Mad Dog PAC was founded in December 2017 by Claude Taylor, a former White House staffer under President Clinton. The organization says it “solicits contributions from concerned citizens to fund billboards censuring Trump, the GOP and the NRA.”
The fine print on the board reads “Paid for by informed citizens of Mesa County and Mad Dog Pac.” Landman says the “informed citizens” aren’t an official group of any sort, but rather friends and like-minded Mesa County residents.
The Russian GOP billboard isn’t the only piece of Mad Dog’s artwork to appear in Colorado. Drivers in the Denver metro area may have seen a billboard reminding them that “Mike Coffman Took $30,843 in NRA Blood Money.”
The Grand Junction billboard isn’t targeted at a specific elected official, but rather focuses on the Russia-friendly attitude of the Republican Party. Furthermore, it reflects the sentiments of Mesa County progressives who are decidedly outnumbered, according to Landman.
“Out here on the Western slope, liberals are in the minority. These days we are derided, criticized, called names like ‘libtard’ or ‘snowflake.’ But putting this billboard up, it’s lifted everybody’s spirits. It’s become a rallying point, energizing the left and giving people something to cheer for. For that alone it was worth the money.”
Landman paid for the first week herself and has since solicited donations via her Facebook page to extend the billboard rental beyond July 28. As of Tuesday evening, Landman says she has already collected more than the required $265 for a second week’s rental fee.
This article was first published by the Colorado Times Recorder.