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.
(Election laws are apparently completely pointless — Promoted by Colorado Pols)
After a brief hearing Tuesday, a Denver district court judge placed a Republican state house candidate on Colorado’s November ballot. The judge ordered Secretary of State Wayne Williams to add the Alamosa Republican to the ballot after the candidate and party officials missed a series of deadlines for filing information required of all state office seekers. The ruling is being appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.
Denver District Court Judge Ross Buchanan ruled that despite the weeks-late filing of multiple forms, Alamosa rancher Scott Honeycutt and the Colorado Republican Party “substantially complied” with state election law.
In its June 25 lawsuit seeking ballot access for Honeycutt, the Colorado GOP didn’t argue that Williams’ office did anything wrong by keeping the rancher off the primary ballot.
Conrad Swanson of the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Jillian Likness, the GOP nominee for HD 18, has withdrawn her candidacy just ten days after making the ballot, citing a health condition.
“Due to the demands and my current health condition, I do not feel that I can give my district 100% to win this seat,” Likness said in a statement. “I am extremely saddened by this decision and it was not made easily; but I will support the Republican nominee that will be selected at the upcoming vacancy committee meeting.”
Some context for this breaking news- this very same situation occurred in 2016. For the second election in a row, the Republican nominated by the party to represent HD18 has dropped out prior to the general election.
Two years ago, Republican Sonya Rose won the nomination at assembly, but by mid-August she decided she couldn’t devote the time required to the campaign and she withdrew. The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins covered the subsequent vacancy meeting to select a new candidate.
Speaking from a lectern, Rose nominates local land surveyor Cameron Forth for the post. His previous political experience includes running for Congress in Idaho as an independent a decade ago*.
“I don’t even know anyone in this room,” Forth says to the assembled local Republicans when he accepts the nomination.
Hutchins went on to report that two other attendees were also nominated, Al Loma and Pat McIntire. Forth won the vacancy vote and became the new nominee, losing handily to the popular incumbent, Rep. Pete Lee (D – Colorado Springs).
In a June 27 Facebook post published the morning after Colorado’s primary election, Huerfano County Republicans urge anyone considering not voting for GOP gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton to “rethink” their decision. They explained their reason for supporting Stapleton instead of his Democratic opponent in the next sentence.
“Jared Polis is an openly gay congressman who is very much against our American values.”
Included with the text of the post is a link to Congressman Polis’ voting record. It is unclear whether the Huerfano GOP believes him to be “very much against our American values” because he is “openly gay” or because of his voting record.
A call to Huerfano County Republican Chair Debi Sporleder was not returned. Sporleder has previously signed her name to Huerfano County Republicans Facebook posts. This story will be updated with any statements received.
The party account also liked a commenter’s claim that Polis “would head us willy nilly down the socialist anti-Christian path” and who criticized Polis for not mentioning “his gayness” in any campaign ads, despite “purporting to be proud of it.”
Huerfano County is southwest of Pueblo. It is part of House District 62, represented by Rep. Donald Valdez (D – La Jara) and Sen. Larry Crowder’s (R – Alamosa) Senate District 35.
The full text of the Facebook statement reads as follows.
If you are unsure about voting in the November elections or think you don’t want to vote for Walker Stapleton, rethink…..Jared Polis is an openly gay congressman who is very much against our American values. A no vote for Stapleton is a yes vote for Polis. Check out his voting record. I’ll make posts about Stapleton, too.
In a short video endorsement posted on Thursday, conservative activist Laura Carno lists her five reasons for endorsing Doug Robinson for Republican nominee for governor. Her fifth reason:
“Doug is a good, decent man and I love his wife Diane. He is also the least likely to have a closet full of skeletons.“
As she is speaking in the video, the hashtag “#ChoirBoy” appears on the screen.
Carno, however, does not explain on camera why she thinks the other Republican candidates for governor, Walker Stapleton, Greg Lopez and Victor Mitchell, are more likely to have as-yet-unknown politically damaging stories in their past.
An Otero County Republican candidate forum got personal last week when primary challenger Don Bendell touted his health and pain tolerance at an event incumbent State Rep. Judy Reyher (R-Swink) was forced to miss while recovering from spinal surgery.
Reyher is recovering from a May 22 spinal surgery for severe disc disintegration and was unable to attend. She sent a long letter explaining her absence, listing her legislative accomplishments and offering her priorities for her the upcoming year. It started with an extensive explanation of her recent surgery and the challenges that prevented her from attending the debate.
“When [the surgeons] got in there it was worse than they thought with the actual membrane surrounding the nerve being impaired. I believed I could just drive La Junta for the forum today and and drive back tomorrow for my first post-op visit. My body put a full halt to that notion this morning as I was getting ready to make the trip. My body just has a lot of healing to do.”
Her opponent, Don Bendell, began his remarks by asking for prayers for Reyher’s recovery.
“I came here to debate. I really feel bad for my opponent, I’m sorry she couldn’t be here and I ask for you to join me in prayer for her quick recovery. I certainly can sympathize, since I started running I’ve had two 9mm kidney stones… It’s not fun dealing with pain but I’ve dealt with it my entire life. I had a broken back too, in 2011 and my prayers certainly go out to my opponent. I’m not here to say anything bad about my opponent but I am here to talk about her record.”
He then launched into a stump speech before taking questions from the audience. The first question was, “What do you have to offer Otero County?”