House GOP Chief Of Staff Pfaff Answers Accusation Of Threatening Fellow Republican

(Republican Party events are probably great fun these days — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republicans continue to air internal disputes over the airwaves and social media, accusing and denying various claims of blackmail, threats and extortion.

House GOP Chief of Staff Jim Pfaff joined KNUS’ Chuck & Julie show for an hour-long interview on Monday. Responding to ongoing claims in a Denver Post column by former El Paso County Chair Josh Hosler that he threatened Hosler’s family, Pfaff technically denied the accusation, but with some significant qualifications:

KNUS host Julie Hayden: I mean one of the things he did in [the op-ed] is he attacked you for saying you were going to attack his family, right?
Pfaff: “It’s just amazing that he has been implying that the whole time. Now, if he feels threatened or whatever, I don’t– all I did was just tell him, “What if I were threatening you.” I didn’t threaten to threaten him. I didn’t say I was going to do it. And obviously, after the phone call, I didn’t.”

Listen to the exchange here, which begins with Hayden’s radio partner Chuck Bonniwell reading from Hosler’s guest column:

Pfaff also explained the origins of the dispute, recounting Hosler’s issues with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) president Dudley Brown:

House Minority Chief of Staff Jim Pfaff: About mid-May, someone told me that Josh was putting together a book to try to expose Dudley Brown and RMGO for personal issues. And I’m like, “WHAT?!” But I kind of pawned it off for a little bit, until I got a call from someone who …would have been dragged through the mud by what Josh was trying to claim with Dudley, had they talked to him. Well, fast forward [to] just a few days after that, and he and I are having a Twitter battle over this whole thing. We’re ramping up — [Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair] Kristi Brown is ramping up the whole recall. And I’m like, going back and forth on Twitter with him, like, “Can we just back off of this? Why are we fighting together? We got to get this thing going! Maybe it won’t work, but it’s definitely not going to work if we’re all in a circular firing squad.

The recall Pfaff is referring to was the failed attempt to remove Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial), a joint effort of RMGO and the Colorado Republican Party. Although embraced by Minority Leader Neville and Vice Chair Brown, (both considered RMGO allies) the wisdom of the longshot endeavor had been questioned by other GOP officials and leaders.

Hosler stands by his column, saying via email that he has a recording of Pfaff’s threat that he has shared with others and that the Denver Post would not have printed his column without that recording. In an email, Editorial Page Editor Megan Schrader said that while she had not heard a recording of the call, in the fact-check she conducted with Pfaff he did not refute the conversation he had and that he would let Hosler’s statement stand on its own.

Rep. Dave Williams

Hosler also confirmed the claims made on Facebook by El Paso County GOP Women President Missy Ward, that Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) shared false rumors about Hosler w/ Pfaff in an attempt to blackmail him. Hosler further accused Williams of using those same rumors to “extort” him last year:

“While I was Chairman of El Paso County Rep Party, Rep. Williams tried to use the same rumors that Pfaff tried to use to extort me. Rep Williams said if I didn’t make sure he did not get a primary in 2018 he would smear me with the same false rumors he shared with Pfaff.”

Pfaff posted a link to his radio interview on Facebook, calling the dispute a “petty situation” and saying he “answered the accusations made against [him] by Josh Hosler.”

Rep. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park) supported Pfaff on Facebook, commenting:

“I listened live to your interview, Jim. I believe that you clarified matters. It was not a case of getting too cozy with [Rocky Mountain Gun Owners]. Rather, some leftover tenderness from a lost election that did not seem fair to Josh.”

Longtime Colorado conservative Matt Arnold, who is the filing agent for Neville’s House GOP caucus fund, Values First Colorado, took issue with Bailey’s assertion that Republicans can’t afford this much infighting because a “far more determined and cruel enemy is lurking.” Arnold tracked Pfaff’s complaints about “establishment GOP operatives mucking up the system,” saying that the GOP’s real enemy is the “establishment crony class.”

Pfaff’s comments about the establishment echo those he made on the radio, when he told the hosts:

There is a cadre of consultants who make a lot of money by keeping the status quo that we’ve lived with for the last 15 years. I complained about it when I was chairman of the Douglas County Republican Party and on the state committee. This has been a problem for a long, long time. I’ve been a consultant myself in previous years, prior to going to Washington D.C., and I don’t have a problem with people making money doing consulting. My problem is that they’re not about winning.
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John Andrews’ Islamophobic Rant Bookended by Gardner Praise


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The theme of this year’s Western Conservative Summit was “Defending Religious Freedom,” yet the event’s most notable speech was a shockingly Islamophobic rant by WCS founder John Andrews. He said Muslims don’t deserve religious freedom and that he just doesn’t see how “good and faithful Muslims can be good and faithful Americans.”

Prior to his speech Andrews was honored by the event organizers with a lengthy tribute video featuring various politicians and leaders praising his life’s work. Among those showering Andrews with glowing words was Senator Cory Gardner. Gardner then appeared in person as the speaker immediately following Andrews’ anti-Muslim diatribe.

Watch Gardner’s segment of the tribute video, clips of Andrews’ speech, and then Gardner’s cheerful appearance on stage, in which he says it’s an honor to be there.

The Denver Post reported the irony of the event’s creator delivering this speech  “while standing beneath a banner on the importance of religious liberty.” Two days later, the Post’s editorial board didn’t pull any punches:

“Andrews used language of hate to demonize a group of people based on their religion. It is intolerance and a form of small-scale terrorism.”

While local coverage of the conference and Andrews’ speech was thorough, Cory Gardner’s decision to ignore Andrews’ unrepentantly Islamophobic speech received its first national attention today. Think Progress’ Josh Israel noted Gardner’s failure to condemn the hate:

In [a tribute video honoring Andrews], Gardner praised Andrews for his “leadership” and for teaching everyone in Colorado “about limited government” and that “government doesn’t need to be the end-all, be-all for the state or the country.”

Andrews then delivered an 18-minute diatribe, warning that freedom of religion should not apply to devout Muslims and warning that Marxism and Islam are America’s enemies…

Gardner himself then took the stage. Rather than condemn the remarks or even disagree with them, he launched into a speech defending rural America against “inaccurate and hateful descriptions” on television and social media, and accused the “radical left” of focusing only on “coastal and ivory tower elites” and embracing dangerous socialism.

The full video of the evening’s program is available here, beginning with the Andrews tribute video, then his speech, and then Sen. Gardner’s speech.

 

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Republican Legislators Skeptical of Latest Recall Attempts

As news of recalls targeting a pair of Democratic state senators circulated through the Western Conservative Summit, two of their Republican colleagues offered their thoughts in response. Both expressed some skepticism at these latest attempts to replace legislators who were elected less than a year ago.

State Sen. Bob Rankin

State Sen. Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale)

State Sen. Bob Rankin (R – Carbondale) was appointed to his Senate seat earlier this year, but was first elected to the Colorado legislature in 2012. He compared these new recall petitions of Sens. Brittany Petersen (D-Lakewood) and Pete Lee (D- Colorado Springs) to the 2013 recalls of Sen. Angela Giron and Senate President John Morse:

“You know, it didn’t work out too well that last time we did it [in 2013]. We recalled two of them and then our guys both lost in the next election. It’s a kind of way to publicly protest, but I don’t think it an effective way to choose legislators. We’ve got some tough elections coming up. 

State Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta)

Another Western Slope legislator, Rep. Matt Soper (R -Delta) also commented on the recalls. Soper is a freshman legislator first elected to office last fall, but noted he’s been working in politics for nearly two decades.

Since I don’t live in either of their districts it really doesn’t matter, but if I did as a colleague -someone who has to work with them- I wouldn’t sign a recall- just as a blanket policy. I think the recall is a tool. I might not push it myself, but I think if you live in the district and you really want to recall you should go ahead and sign it. I’d say 95 of the legislators (there are maybe five who are really partisan), think about representing their district first with every vote. But I think for all these people [recall targets Galindo, Sullivan, and now Lee & Pettersen], the voters pretty much knew what they were getting.

The group Resist Polis PAC, which is also trying to recall Governor Jared Polis, is backing both recalls. They now have 60 days to collect 18,376 valid signatures in Pettersen’s district and 11,304 signatures in Lee’s district. If successful, special elections would then be scheduled. Pettersen and Lee each won their 2018 elections by approximately 20% margins.

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Threats, Lies & Blackmail: Accusations Fly Among Colorado GOP Leaders

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RMGO's Dudley Brown with House GOP

In a flurry of social media posts following a controversial opinion piece exposing rifts in the Colorado Republican party, leaders and officials are leveling serious accusations at one another.

Among these is the claim that state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) attempted to blackmail the author of the opinion column, and the author saying the state will investigate the statehouse minority leader’s chief of staff for threatening him.

Former El Paso County GOP Chair Joshua Hosler called Dudley Brown’s Rocky Mountain Gun Owners group the “Colorado’s Taliban” in a guest column for The Denver Post. In it he accused House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s chief of staff Jim Pfaff of threatening to smear and extort him.

Hosler wrote in The Post:

Jim Pfaff works directly for House Minority Leader Patrick Neville. He asked when I was going to stop attacking RMGO and Dudley Brown. I responded, “I am not going to stop.” Pfaff then threatened to smear me with rumors…I told Pfaff that I had already heard those fake rumors and it was old news. Pfaff stated, “I am sure I will find more on you.” … I will not sell my soul to a devil like Jim Pfaff and not stand up to the cancer that is RMGO. Josh Hosler, guest commentary for the Denver Post, July 7, 2019.

In a subsequent July 10 Facebook comment, Hosler claims that “the state is going to investigate Pfaff” for his alleged threatening conduct.

Following publication of Hosler’s column, Missy Ward, president of the El Paso County Republican Women, commented on Facebook that she heard State Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs) on a phone call in which he shared “rumors” about Hosler in an attempt at blackmail “to get Josh off RMGO.”

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Gardner Claims Democrats Want To End Airport Customs Checks

(Words, words, words — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner Says Democrats Want to End Airport Customs Checkpoints

At a Republican communications training last Saturday, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) warned activists that Democrats want to eliminate the border and end customs controls at American airports.

[The Democratic presidential candidates] said they want to “decriminalize” [the border],” said Gardner. “That means you in essence have eliminated the border–not just the border–but when you fly into an airport, why would they even have customs at an airport, right? You don’t even need that. That is in essence what they’re arguing for.”

Gardner’s comments came at a three-hour event in Broomfield, billed as a “comprehensive communications training,” featuring Colorado Republican party leadership along with Trump campaign’s Colorado director Jefferson Thomas:

Join Colorado GOP’s Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown, COO Steve House, and Executive Director Lx Fangonilo for a comprehensive messaging training. Along with Trump State Director Jefferson Thomas and Gardner Campaign Manager Casey Contres, we will discuss specific issues, local concerns, and how to connect voters’ concerns to President Trump’s and Senator Gardner’s campaign issues.

As with many of his recent Colorado events, Senator Gardner surprised the crowd with his appearance. Focusing on what he sees as Democrats’ dangerous policy proposals, Gardner addressed issues discussed during last week’s Democratic presidential debates: healthcare, immigration, and more specifically, healthcare for immigrants.

His warnings on immigration in particular drew audible gasps from the audience. Gardner claimed that the Democratic contenders all said they wanted to eliminate the border, including ending customs controls at American airports.

 

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Grady Nouis Announces Another Statehouse Run

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HD29 candidate Grady Nouis with Pepe Flag, 7.4.17

Former statehouse candidate Grady Nouis, announced last week that he’s running for office again in 2020. Nouis, whom the Denver Post described as having been “in the orbit of groups and events associated with far-right views,” lost his 2018 race to Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D-Arvada).

Nouis has recently moved north to Milliken in Weld County and now hopes to claim House District 48, currently represented by the term-limited Rep. Stephen Humphrey (R-Ault).

Grady Nouis’ campaign launch announcement on Facebook, June 19, 2019

Nouis’ 2018 campaign was notable for his attendance and support of several far-right rallies organized by hate and extremist groups, as well as news coverage of his own criminal history.

At a rally in June of 2017, Nouis repeatedly shouted the N-word at an African-American couple. Reporting on the same video in which he shouted the N-word, the Post noted that “later in the video, Nouis can be heard saying of a confrontation between an African-American counter-protester and an African-American police officer that there’s “nothing better than a little black-on-black crime.”

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Gardner Evades Ethics Question About Elaine Chao

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Asked if he is concerned by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao appointing a special liaison to handle grant requests from her husband Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Cory Gardner refused to answer.

Confronted leaving a Washington, D.C. building last Friday by a tracker for American Bridge, the Democratic super PAC that birddogs Republicans, Gardner simply smiled and remained silent.

Tracker: Senator, are you OK with Secretary Chao appointing a special liaison to Mitch McConnell’s office? Gardner: [Smiles]

According to a June 10 Politico report, Chao used her cabinet position to help direct taxpayer money to McConnell’s favored projects

Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications. Tucker Doherty and Tanya Snyder, Politico, June 10, 2019

Gardner has supported all but one of Trump’s cabinet nominees, including several who have since resigned amidst ethics scandals, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

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GOP Activist Arrested For Brandishing Gun Has 2020 Statehouse Campaign Committee

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Kanda Calef and Michelle Malkin

UPDATE: Calef eventually returned the Colorado Times Recorder’s phone call. She informed the CTR that she does not intend to run again in 2020 and that she simply hadn’t figured out how to close out her campaign committee via the Secretary of State’s website. She had no further comment on the arrest and directed inquiries to her attorneys. 

Colorado state troopers arrested Colorado Springs GOP activist and current 4th Judicial Review Commissioner Kanda Calef, for allegedly flashing a handgun at a federal agent last week.

Calef, who lost the 2018 Republican primary to Rep. Shane Sandridge, (R-Colorado Springs), apparently intends to challenge him for that same seat next year. Calef has an active 2020 candidate committee for the same seat.

Calef did not answer a call to confirm her 2020 candidacy. Her voicemail box was full. Her committee, however, has already filed quarterly campaign finance reports for the first and second quarters of 2019.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Conrad Swanson, Calef was arrested on April 10, after brandishing a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver at an off-duty U.S. marshal while driving on I-25.

The marshal said Calef “did not point the gun directly at him, but flashed it in a way to ensure he could see it,” the affidavit says. It did not elaborate why Calef allegedly brandished the gun. The affidavit gives this account: The responding trooper caught up with Calef about 12 miles north on the interstate. She accelerated to about 90 mph and changed lanes multiple times. –“Republican activist and former Colorado candidate accused of flashing revolver at U.S. marshal,” Conrad Swanson, Colorado Springs Gazette, June 17, 2019  

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Colorado GOP Vice Chair: Cory Gardner Votes With Trump Almost All Of The Time

(The message to the faithful – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown told pro-Trump conservatives last month that President Trump really likes Senator Cory Gardner and “if he likes him, we should like him.”

Speaking to a small group of activists at a house party in Boulder, an audience member asked Brown if she could reach out to Gardner and suggest that he ask the president to hold a rally while in Colorado for the Air Force graduation. Brown reassured them that the two are already in close contact and that Trump really likes Gardner:

They talk on a regular basis. Senator Gardner and President Trump are in regular contact. [Gardner] has told [Trump] how important it would be for him to come to Colorado. I think he will probably continue to do that. Ken is also in regular contact with the Trump campaign. That’s our goal at the state party- is to win for President Trump and every Republican down the ballot. President Trump needs Senator Gardner and interestingly enough when you look around the state, not all Republicans are sold on both of them. You have Republicans who really like Trump, and Republicans who really like Gardner and there’s some space between them. But what we need to communicate -this is the truth- Senator Gardner is one of the key votes that gets the judges on the court we care about. He votes with President Trump almost all the time. We need them both to get this done. If we want the real Republican agenda to get accomplished at the federal level, we don’t have a lot of room to spare in the Senate. We need Cory there who talks to the President regularly. The President really likes him and if he likes him, we should like him. That’s a good point in [Cory’s] favor- that the President talks to him quite a bit and really likes him.

Gardner has tried to distance himself from President Trump on a number of issues including tariffs and most recently, the legality of foreign interference in American elections.

Vice Chair Brown emphasized the most important reason pro-Trump Republicans who are skeptical of Gardner should give him a pass: Gardner’s votes for Trump’s agenda, especially his nominees to the Supreme Court. According to political data website FiveThirtyEight, Gardner votes with President Trump approximately 90% of the time.

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Following Corporate Donors’ Surprise At Funding Recalls, Patrick Neville Forms Separate Committee

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Following the Colorado Times Recorder’s reporting that corporate donors Xcel and Noble Energy were surprised to learn that money they donated to Colorado House Republicans was possibly being spent on recalls, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s Recall Colorado entity has formed a new independent group, presumably to collect and spend money on recall campaigns.

On May 30 the Colorado Secretary of State approved paperwork filed by Patrick’s brother, Joe Neville, to create “Recall Colorado,” a 527 political committee. Despite its name, the stated purpose makes no mention of recalls, nor of elected officials currently in office. Rather, it says it will “educate and inform Colorado voters regarding candidates for the Colorado legislature, primarily supporting Republicans and opposing Democrats.”

The Recall Colorado website and brand was created and funded by another 527 committee, Values First Colorado (VFC), which serves as the House GOP caucus fund.

As previous reporting by the Colorado Times Recorder has indicated, at least two prominent corporate donors have publicly stated that they did not expect money from their 2018 election cycle donations to be spent on recalls. As of election day last year, Values First Colorado and other Neville-controlled independent expenditure committees still had approximately $300,000 — or about one-fourth of its total amount raised during the election cycle — still in the bank.

VFC has since published the “Recall Colorado” website, paid for legal support for the recalls, and solicited donations under the Recall Colorado brand, listing Patrick Neville as “Director.”

Until its collapse earlier this week, VFC was supporting the campaign to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Centennial). Republican Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown, who initially filed the recall petition, announced Tuesday that she shutting down the recall and “refocusing” her efforts on Senate Democrats who aren’t up for reelection next year. Brown has worked closely with VFC: she served as the group’s registered agent for the 2018 cycle.

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Arapahoe GOP Official: Rep. Tom Sullivan “Shamefully Politicized His Son’s Death”

(That’s just twisted – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Explaining her reasons for supporting a recall of Colorado State Rep. Tom Sullivan (D – Aurora), Arapahoe Republican Party Vice Chair Brenda Stokes told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger that Sullivan politicized his son’s murder.

“You have a politician, who ran on a campaign that sadly politicized the loss of his son… and forgot about the important issues that us parents are faced with, especially with those horrible bills that just passed the state legislature.”

Reached for comment, Stokes reaffirmed her belief:

“Tom Sullivan took out-of-state money –from Bloomberg in particular– and ran on a platform which sadly in my opinion, and it will always be my opinion, he shamefully politicized the death of his son at the Aurora shooting, which tells me he cannot be independent when it comes to some of the legislation that affects other people.”

Sullivan’s son Alex was one of twelve people murdered in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. Strengthening Colorado’s gun safety laws by establishing Extreme Risk Protection Orders was a primary message of his campaign.

Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown filed the Sullivan recall petition. She says she did so as a private citizen, rather than as a party official. Party chair Ken Buck affirmed her claim, despite having campaigned for his party position by saying “we need to teach [Democrats] how to spell RECALL!”

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Weld Sheriff Sympathizes With Cliven Bundy’s Armed Standoff; Sees Similarities With Red Flag Law

(Wait, what? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: Reached for comment, Sheriff Reams corrected this story’s earlier inaccurate statement that he is a member of the Constitutional Sheriff and Peace Officer Association- he is not. He also clarified his interview remarks to say explicitly that he did not think the Bundy family and its supporters should have resorted to armed resistance and said he would never encourage an armed standoff with any law enforcement, nor does he think such action is appropriate.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams sympathizes with Cliven Bundy in his armed standoff against the federal government and compared that situation to Colorado gun rights activists opposed to the recently passed “red flag” bill.

 
“I don’t ever look for an armed confrontation with the federal government, but you can understand when people have been pushed too far. Take this red flag bill for instance,” Reams told conservative podcast Major League Liberty last week. “The Bundys have been life-long ranchers on that land and they were basically going to be told, ‘you’re going out of business.’ The way they went about it, was that the best way of doing it? I guess that’s up for debate.”

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s dispute with the BLM over his decades-long refusal to pay grazing fees came to a head in 2014, when law enforcement arrived to remove his cattle from public land. Bundy and numerous anti-government supporters took up arms against BLM staff and rangers. With rifles aimed at them, law enforcement decided to stand down and release the cattle.

Armed private militia members near the Bundy ranch in Nevada, April 23, 2014

This isn’t the first time Reams has expressed support for refusing to follow the law, just the first time he’s allowed for the possibility of using force to do so.

During the legislative debate over the “red flag” bill, which allows judges to authorize the confiscation of guns from dangerous people, Reams told CNN he would rather go to jail than enforce the new law.

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Cory Gardner: Rainbow Warrior?

POLS UPDATE: LGBTQ rights organization One Colorado minces no words:

—–

(More like rainbow washing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sens. Cory Gardner & Susan Collins at LGBT GOP fundraiser

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner was one of three swing-state Republican senators to receive money from a fundraiser hosted by American Unity Fund (AUF), a conservative LGBT rights group.

First reported by North Carolina conservative blog the Daily Haymaker, AUF hosted the $250 per person event on Tuesday at the Washington D.C. office of Hogan Lovells, a white shoe law firm with a large Denver presence.

Longtime AUF supporter Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, posted a picture of Gardner and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) posing with Timmons and his husband at the event.

Last month Timmons and his husband were honored by Equality Virginia for their advocacy for the right of same-sex couples like themselves to become parents. In 2007, then-State Rep. Cory Gardner voted against a bill to allow Colorado gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

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Former Colorado Republican Attorney Mike Davis Tweets Photo of Judge Merrick Garland’s Severed Head

(All class – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado Special Assistant Attorney General Mike Davis was busted by national media last week for tweeting an inflammatory fake photo.

Davis shared the fake photo, originally created by the Onion, showing a bloody U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky holding up the severed head of Judge Merrick Garland, whose nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court by Obama was torpedoed by McConnell.

Davis deleted the tweet soon after, but not before Reuters reporter Lawrence Hurley grabbed a screenshot.

Davis is best known as the GOP point man for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. He had briefly clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch before going to work for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee as Chief Nominations Counsel, where he was responsible for shepherding President Trump’s judicial nominees through the vetting and approval process.

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RMGO’s Dudley Brown: “Cut Douglas County Sheriff’s Budget by 20%. Why not?”

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At a legislative briefing in March, Gun activist Dudley Brown was so angry at Douglas County Sheriff’s support of a gun safety law, he said county commissioners’ should cut the sheriff’s budget by twenty percent. “Why not?” Brown asked.

“That’s what Douglas County Commissioners should be doing right now… I don’t give a rat’s butt about their sanctuary city resolution. I care about- why don’t you cut his funding? The guy’s down at the state capitol, working for Moms Demand Action. He can draw a paycheck from them. Cut 20% of the Douglas County Sheriff’s office funding right now. Why not?” Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Director Dudley Brown, March 8, 2019

Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock was the most prominent Republican to support a 2019 bill creating the Extreme Risk Protect Order, a means by which law enforcement can ask a judge for permission to remove firearms from someone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organized the briefing along with House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R – Castle Rock). In addition to the ERPO or “red flag bill,” they also discussed plans to recall several legislators.

Brown also promised to end Sheriff Spurlock’s political career, saying he would either be primaried or recalled.

“I’m here to tell you,” Brown said “Tony Spurlock’s career as an elected Republican is over… he’s not going to get elected anywhere because I’ll follow him like a bad habit.”

Several Republican groups, including Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert, the Douglas County Republicans and the Colorado Senate Republicans praised Sheriff Spurlock and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for its response to Tuesday’s fatal school shooting at the Highlands Ranch STEM School.

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Second Largest Oil & Gas Producer in Colorado Not Participating in Recalls

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State Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley) should be removed from office for supporting new oil and gas regulations that will “devastate the oil and gas industry” and “kill oil and gas jobs,” say leaders of an effort to recall the newly elected representative.

Yet top producers in Weld County say the new law won’t have any substantial impact on their industry.

And when it comes to the Galindo recall specifically, the state’s second-largest producer says it’s not interested.

“Noble Energy does not participate in recall elections,” said Brian Miller, spokesperson for Noble Energy in an email. “Our contribution to Values First Colorado was related to the 2018 election cycle.”

Noble Energy is the second donor to Values First Colorado (VCF) to state publicly that its 2018 contribution was intended for the general election and not for any recall effort. Xcel Energy made the same statement to the Colorado Times Recorder back in March.

The Colorado Oil & Gas Association, an industry group, also stated that it doesn’t support the current recall campaigns.

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Polis Recall Leader: Brauchler has said “yes to running” for Governor

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Recall Polis PAC GOT image

With a possible recall of Governor Jared Polis still months away, two prominent Colorado Republicans have purportedly already stated their intention to run for his office should the effort succeed. Resist Polis PAC board member Kristina Finley identified District Attorney General George Brauchler and former El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn as each having “already said yes to running” in a Facebook comment. Finley named the two Republicans while responding to a question on the “Resist Polis” Facebook group,

Reached for comment, Finley said she “heard through the grapevine that Brauchler and Glenn said yes.”

George Brauchler currently serves as District Attorney for Colorado’s 18th Judicial District. He briefly ran for Governor last year, before switching to the Attorney General race, which he eventually lost to Democrat Phil Weiser.

Darryl Glenn

Darryl Glenn served two terms as a County Commissioner for El Paso County’s First District, from 2010-2018. He ran for U.S. Senate in 2016, losing to incumbent Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). Last year Glenn was one of several candidates to unsuccesfully challenge Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO5) in the Republican primary.

Colorado law states that a recall petition may not be circulated until the Governor has been in office for six months, hence the “Recall Is Coming 07.08.2019,” tagline on the “Game of Thrones” image posted by the recall group. On that day or any following when a petition is officially approved by the Secretary of State, a 60-day window opens, during which recall supporters must collect and submit over 631,000 valid signatures.

The Resist Polis PAC Recall group is one of two recall groups gunning for the Governor. It was launched by Tom Good, who was at one time an administrator of the other recall group, the “Official Recall Governor Jared Polis,” but is now in a dispute with its leader, Shane Donnelly.

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Scott Gessler Wants You For His Army

(Honey Badger wants YOU – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler never shied from the spotlight while in office, but he’s kept a lower profile since returning to private practice. He recently made the news for his work on behalf of the long shot campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO).

It turns out he’s also been working on another project- an under-the-radar effort to mobilize grassroots conservatives called The Colorado Alliance. Its stated goal: “build an army to defend our state.” So what does he have to show for it?

Gessler’s been using this group to sporadically communicate with (and raise money from) conservative Coloradans for the two plus years since it was founded a week after Trump’s election.

He’s using it to support another statewide effort to overturn a vote- repealing the bill passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor that will would add Colorado to those states awarding their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote.

Gessler, a Republican, didn’t found the Colorado Alliance by himself. He listed a partner on his federal filing documents: Ben Engen.

Engen, who also runs Constellation Political Consulting, made news this week for comments he made during a recall training in Buena Vista. Video of his instructions to strategically schedule a recall election to “blindside” voters, hopefully lowering turnout as much as possible, was posted on Facebook by those he was training.

According to the Colorado Alliance website, its mission is:

“holding liberal officeholders accountable, mobilizing voters and activists, and helping restore common sense policies to our state. We are building an army to defend our state and invite you to join the movement.”

So far, however, the “army” appears to be little more than a website, email list and a bank account.

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Ken Buck on Nevilles Profiting From Recalls: “That’s for Patrick & House GOP to Decide”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Local broadcast news faces a challenge when covering politics–how to distill complex topics into brief segments that rarely run longer than four minutes?

Last week 9News’ Marshall Zelinger sat down with Congressman Ken Buck, the newly elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. The wide-ranging interview only lasted 3 minutes 30 seconds on air, which is why 9News’ decision to post the entire raw footage of the interview is so important.

Inquiring minds need only visit the Next on 9News Youtube channel to find the full 17-minute interview, “Head of Colorado GOP Ken Buck on recalls, oil and gas, Nazi question.”

At 9:45 Zelinger asks Buck if it’s appropriate for elected officials and their families to profit from recalls they’re promoting publicly.

Zelinger: House Minority Leader Patrick Neville has come out supporting recalls. His family could benefit from recalls because that’s their business. Should it be appropriate for elected officials and their families to profit off of recalls and elections? By being hired for election purposes–this is an added election outside of a cycle–perhaps this is being done in a way that benefits the family business?

Buck initially says he doesn’t understand, but then gives a response that indicates he does understand, but that he doesn’t want to get involved.

Buck: So, Patrick’s brother is a consultant in the business and certainly there were some resources from the House fund that were used in the last cycle and his brother ran some of that political operation. I think that is something that Patrick and the elected Republicans in the state House will have to decide. It’s not something the state party will intervene in in any way. Ken Buck, Next on 9News, 4/5/19

Zelinger’s question about the Neville’s family financial stake in the House GOP political machinery was just the latest reporting on the issue, the most prominent of which was Marianne Goodland’s pair of feature-length articles for Colorado Politics, particularly the second one titled “A hard look at 2018’s GOP ‘soft money’.” Goodland reported that other Republicans expressed concerns with the Nevilles’ performance and tactics:

One Republican insider told Colorado Politics he didn’t mind if Joe Neville and his companies make money off their political activities. But, he said, the lack of results in terms of election wins for the GOP is another matter… Another concern among Republicans who talked with Colorado Politics: what appears to be a large amount of unspent money left over after the election.

By early March, it was clear where at least some of that unspent money was headed- paying for recalls. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville launched a website to support recalling his own colleagues in the legislature. At least one corporate donor, Xcel Energy, expressed surprise that some of its 2018 contribution to the GOP House caucus fund was now being used for recalls.

More recently, 9News’ Kyle Clark noted that both former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and also the conservative Independence Institute are both generating revenue from another proposed Colorado recall, the moonshot that is the attempt to remove Governor Jared Polis. State law dictates that petition gathering for a gubernatorial recall can’t begin until at least six months into the governor’s term, but there are no restrictions on when political operatives can start gathering checks from naive donors.

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CU Regent Heidi Ganahl Endorses Trump

(Colorado’s only OTHER statewide elected Republican official – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The red meat was indeed raw and juicy at the Colorado Republican Central Committee meeting last month.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner shouted about needing “a fighter” at the top of his lungs. Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) threatened recalls and dared Democrats to take his guns from his “cold dead hands.” District Attorney George Brauchler said “the front was bloody” and warned that soon Coloradans will have to call California “our overlords.”

Compared to violent language and imagery favored by Buck, Gardner, and Brauchler, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl’s speech was relatively tame.

“We’re on the right side of history. We have the right solutions for the problems our state faces, and Ken Buck has a track record of winning and winning big, as our president likes to say. “It’s time to get to work to re-elect President Trump, to re-elect Senator Gardner, and to win back the state legislature.” CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, Republican Central Committee meeting, 3/30/19

This straightforward endorsement wouldn’t be significant were it not for the fact that during her 2016 campaign for CU Regent, Ganahl refused to even utter the name of her party’s presidential candidate.

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USA Today’s ALEC Expose Highlights State Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg’s Asbestos Bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

USA TODAY, The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity released a report today revealing the breadth of so-called “model bills” written by corporations and conservative advocacy groups and distributed through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg features prominently in the report, which focuses on his “Asbestos Transparency Bill.”

Better transparency was one reason Colorado state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg said he introduced the bill in 2017, and again last year, at the urging of a tort reform group called the Colorado Civil Justice League and backed by insurance companies, including Nationwide Insurance. “Whenever you add transparency to the mix, it helps all consumers,” said Sonnenberg, a Republican. [The bill], in effect, cast corporations as victims of litigation filed by people harmed by asbestos. The model bill requires people battling the asbestos-triggered disease mesothelioma to seek money from an asbestos trust, set up to compensate victims, before they can sue a company whose product might have caused their cancer. That process can take months or even a year. Many mesothelioma victims die within a year of their diagnosis. Their families can still sue on their behalf, but for far less money.

The report follows its rundown of Sonnenberg’s industry-friendly bill with an interview of Chris Winokur, widow of former Fort Collins Mayor Bob Winokur, who died of mesothelioma in 2015, just nine months after his diagnosis.

It wraps up the Colorado segment by Sonnenberg saying he didn’t realize who the corporate lobbyist and ALEC committee chair who testified for the bill worked for:

Sonnenberg told USA TODAY he didn’t know Behrens worked for the Chamber of Commerce when he called him to testify. “I just knew they were experts and they indeed understood the legal issues and process much better than I,”

Sen. Sonnenberg is as familiar with ALEC as any legislator in the state. Records show him attending their conferences in 2006 and 2007, the years he received $1000+ “ALEC scholarships. He likely attended in 2017 as well, when he gave a radio interview to a Nashville station where he said was at a “gathering of legislators where he served on an energy task force.” Nashville was hosting an ALEC conference at the time.

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Cory Gardner on Ken Buck: “We need him. I need him. This country needs him.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

At last weekend’s Colorado Republican Central Committee meeting, Senator Cory Gardner gave Congressman Ken Buck such a full-throated endorsement that his voice almost cracked.

Nominating Buck for Colorado Republican party Chair, Gardner praised his experience and his fundraising and organizing ability before concluding simply, “We need him. I need him. This country needs him.”

“It’s about our federal government. It’s about all of us. It’s about making sure we are prepared for redistricting and reapportionment. It’s about making sure we raise the money and the resources so we have the dollars to fight the fight. Ken Buck has been in the U.S. Attorney’s Office He’s been Attorney General [he hasn’t] He’s been a district attorney. He’s been in the US Congress. He knows what it takes to bring people together across the four corners of the state. From rural Colorado to urban Colorado and everywhere in between. Ken Buck knows how to organize a party. He knows how to bring the grassroots together. He knows how to bring the people who are going to fight for President Trump together. He knows how to win Colorado in 2020, he knows how to win Colorado in the Senate. He knows how to make sure Hillary Clinton- Guess What? Last Democrat to win Colorado- that’s what’s going to happen. Because Ken Buck’s a fighter. We need him. I need him. This country needs him. And I’m proud to second the nomination of Ken Buck to be our party chair.”

Coming from the highest profile Republican in the room, Gardner’s endorsement helped Buck secure his victory over Rep. Susan Beckman. Three days later, Buck made national news for comparing a lesbian mom to a Nazi to her face during a House Judiciary hearing on the Equality Act.

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Cory Gardner Applauds Ken Buck’s Call for Recalls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Ken Buck gave a fiery campaign speech at the Colorado Republicans Central Committee meeting Saturday. Cheered on by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, Buck hit all the usual red meat issues: guns, abortion, oil and gas, before delivering the coup de grace: a call for recalls.

Buck dared Democrats to “come and take” his guns, invoking Charlton Heston by saying they’d only get them from his “cold dead hands.” He claimed Democrats also want to “kill babies now after birth, while we want to stand up for life at every stage of life.”

Then he mentioned the failed anti-fracking ballot initiative Proposition 112, which Republicans have been claiming shows opposition to an oil and gas safety regulation bill moving through the state legislature.

“They want to shut down the oil & gas industry. We need to remind them [Democrats] that we won Proposition 112 and we need to teach them how to spell “RECALL.”

As he belted out his punchline, “we need to teach them how to spell “R-E-C-A-L-L,” the applause came not only from the audience, but from the three other Republicans who had just endorsed him for party chair: Regent Heidi Ganahl, District Attorney George Brauchler, and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner.

Buck’s speech did its job; the Colorado GOP Central Committee members elected him Chairman. Buck narrowly defeated State Representative Susan Beckman, who had broad support from her colleagues in the legislature, including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville who introduced her.

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Cory Gardner Hosting $500 Breakfast at Glenmoor Country Club this Friday

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Glenmoor Country Club

UPDATE: Douglas County Commissioner Abe Laydon, who is a member of the fundraiser’s host committee, responded to a request for comment. Commissioner Laydon also said he’s excited about the commitment Gardner has made to pursue infrastructure projects that are important to the residents of Douglas County. He continued,

“I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of him in terms of engaging all of his constituents in Colorado. My understanding of Cory is that he would like to engage with the public in Colorado and make sure that those voices are heard.”

Asked if the senator’s lack of public appearances is a concern to him as a public official, Laydon replied,

I think that has been a concern shared by many and that I think Senator Gardner also shares. What’s really exciting for me is to see him really hear those voices and those concerns and to make a concerted effort to show up and to listen and I think we’re going to be seeing a lot more of him.”

Sen. Cory Gardner returns to Colorado on Friday, but he’s bringing Washington with him. He’s hosting a fundraiser breakfast with Sen. John Thune (R-SD) at a country club in Cherry Hills Village.

Gardner, who is under fire from his constituents for not holding a public event since September of 2017, is spending his time on high-dollar donor events: he’s held at least four since the beginning of the year, all in Washington, DC.

A pair of powerhouse law firms hosted luncheons for him in January. In February all the members of the Senate GOP leadership, including Majority Whip Thune, joined Gardner for his “Campaign Kick-off.”

Just yesterday, the Gardner campaign invited DC’s high rollers to an undisclosed location to have margaritas…for $500.

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Do GOP Donors Want Their 2018 Election Contributions Used on Recalls?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Recall Colorado 2019 ad

At least one major donor to the Colorado House Republicans’ 2018 election campaign doesn’t want its leftover money going to fund recalls.

Xcel Energy is among dozens of companies that donated at least $5,000 to Values First Colorado, the House Republicans’ “caucus fund” committee, which aims supports GOP candidates running for the Colorado state house.

Responding to a request for comment, Xcel Energy made clear the expectation was for its donation to go towards 2018 general election expenses.

“We gave to all caucuses for the 2018 cycle. We expected our contribution to be used for the 2018 elections and not for recall efforts.” Mark Stutz, Xcel Energy Senior Media Representative

Calls to other donors including Anadarko Petroleum, The Colorado Gaming Association, Friends of Colorado Hospitals, and the Colorado Home Builders Association, were not returned. Ready Colorado and Colorado Ski County USA declined to comment.

As reported by Marianne Goodland of Colorado Politics, Values First Colorado (VFC), and other committees connected to it, closed out the 2018 election cycle with hundreds of thousands of donors’ dollars sitting unspent in bank accounts.

After raising $1.214 million, the Values First Colorado caucus-fund committee and its related IECs left ending balances of $305,961, just over a quarter of what the GOP House caucus raised for the 2018 election.

Last month VFC launched a website promoting possible recalls of at least two state lawmakers, Rep. Meg Froelich (D-Englewood) and Sen. Jeff Bridges (D-Greenwood Village). The site has since added a third target, State Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley).

VFC is also running paid Facebook ads promoting the website using a variety of issues, from specific bills such as Oil & Gas Public Safety bill and the Extreme Risk Protection Order or “red flag” bill, to the broad subjective claim that Democrats are turning Colorado “into California.” According to Facebook’s political ad information, the VFC is paying for 75 active ads.

Asked if donors to VFC are aware that some of the money was being used on recalls, VFC registered agent Joe Neville said,

“Yes, some of the donors are. We have plenty of donors who do know what we’re doing with this. We don’t plan on spending every penny into this, but we are going to spend what it takes to get things done. Our goals are to make sure we have the tools available and the resources available for people in the grassroots who choose to put up a recall, if it makes sense for the organization and for being good stewards for our donors. If it helps the cause of getting back the majority and there’s reason for it, then we’ll be there to help people.

Asked specifically if donors have expressed concern at money being used to fund recalls, Neville replied,

“We’ve had plenty of conversations with our donors, and we had an after action report and frankly that’s between me and my donors.”

Jason Salzman contributed to this post.

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