Tuesday Is Deadline Day For Pete Lee Recall Effort

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Recall proponent Scott David Fisher in 2015. Photo Credit: Michael Ciaglo/The Gazette via AP

Just days after the Recall Polis campaign came up short, a related effort to remove state Sen. Pete Lee (D – Colorado Springs) faces its deadline tomorrow, Sept. 10.

Resist Polis PAC leader Kristina Finley says the Recall Et Al issue group will issue a statement about the Lee recall tomorrow. Proponents hoped to gather 15,000 signatures from registered voters in Senate District 11. Lee won his seat with 62% of the vote, a figure cited by the Colorado Springs Business Journal in its Sept. 6 editorial opposing the recall, “Let Pete Lee Govern Already.”

Colorado Springs resident Scott David Fisher, a constituent of Sen. Lee, filed the recall petition on July 12.

Resist Polis PAC worked with Fisher in El Paso County. Fisher spoke about the Lee recall at Resist Polis’ weekly meeting in late July. However, while the effort has been led by the same Recall Et Al issue group that coordinated the Recall Polis campaign, the Lee recall has been a considerably lower-key effort, with no standalone website or Facebook page.

Korry Lewis & Tom Good (far left) pictured with other members of Resist Polis

Less than a week after the recall was filed, Colorado Politics’ Marianne Goodland reported that Fisher has “has a history with paramilitary groups such as the III% United Patriots of Colorado.” That history included patrolling the streets of Colorado Springs in 2015 with a semi-automatic rifle wearing a bandana to hide his face.

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El Paso GOP Reportedly Paying Charlie Kirk $18,000 To Speak At Fundraiser

(We’d have done it for half that amount! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The El Paso County Republican Party is reportedly paying a five-figure speaking fee to Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, the keynote speaker at its annual fundraising dinner this Saturday.

As of chair Tamra Farah’s resignation last week, the party had sold just 150 tickets to the Sept. 7 event. In her resignation letter, Farah specifically listed “tactics” opposing her chairmanship by members of the GOP Central Committee, including: “withholding a potentially free speaker” and “suppressing Lincoln Dinner participation.”

Former EPC GOP chair Joshua Hosler laid out the dire state of the county party finances in a Facebook post last week:

Tickets to the event range from $45 for “Young Professionals,” to upwards of $250 with various preferred seating and VIP packages.

Keynote speaker Kirk’s national profile is presumably a draw for attendees, but his speaking fee is also a substantial portion of the event’s expenses.

Asked via email what portion of the “$50,000 in obligations” was dedicated to Charlie Kirk’s speaking fee, Hosler replied,

“I heard $18,000. The venue only holds 400. The math didn’t add up.”

That figure is at the high end of the $10,000 – $20,000 range listed on speakers bureau websites advertising Kirk’s services.

Turning Point USA is a conservative student organization dedicated to “combating liberalism on college and university campuses.” It’s perhaps best-known for its controversial “Professor Watch List,” designed to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students.”

Back in February, former Turning Point Communications Director Candace Owens keynoted the Boulder County GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner. Her appearance was not without controversy, as news of her statement that the problem with Hitler was his ambition beyond Germany broke the day before the dinner. Owens resigned from the group in May.

County parties typically try to keep costs low, with speakers often discounting their fees or charging just for travel expenses. Donations to county parties count towards the state party’s total dollars raised for each election cycle.

In a Facebook comment, Colorado Republican Party Vice Chair Kristi Burton Brown wrote that the state GOP is assisting the El Paso County Republican Party’s sole remaining officer, Secretary Vickie Tonkins, with the event. Brown noted that El Paso is a “key county and we [the Colorado GOP] want you to succeed.”

El Paso County Republican Party secretary Vickie Tonkins did not answer a call requesting comment and her voice mailbox is full. A Facebook message also went unreturned.

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Gardner Allegedly Changes Tune On Pueblo Recall Within 60 Seconds

(That’s pretty fast even for “Con Man Cory!” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Ready & Cory Gardner

According to the two people he spoke with, in the space of 60 seconds last Friday, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) flipped from expressing sympathy for state Senate President Leroy Garcia and misgivings about the recall process to telling a recall booster, “I’ve never said I was against recalls.”

Former Pueblo GOP chair Tom Ready shared a paraphrased version of the exchange on Facebook last weekend:

The State Fair’s Legislative BBQ is neutral territory for politicians. Elected officials from both sides of the aisle, often wearing Western apparel with still-visible store creases, mingle over pulled pork and potato salad. Conversations are typically friendly and casual, but talking politics is never off-limits for this crowd, especially with an active recall taking place in the host city.

Garcia confirmed the exchange last Friday between Gardner and himself, saying that Gardner approached him and his wife. As Garcia tells it:

Gardner: “Hey how are things down here?” Garcia: “Well, obviously you know it’s a bit of a busy season right now.” Gardner: “Yeah I’m kind of sorry that this is happening and I don’t know that this should be the process in which this is the way things work.”

Garcia noted that Tom Ready was standing next to them and “was caught up in the exchange” while it occurred. Ready then engaged Gardner directly about the recalls after he and Garcia had finished speaking.

Ready, who says he and Gardner have been friends for a long time, confirmed he was nearby during Gardner and Garcia’s conversation and that he spoke with Gardner immediately afterward.

“I spoke with Sen. Gardner about a minute later,” he said.

(more…)

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Pueblo’s EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel Not Involved In Garcia Recall Attempt

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Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia of Pueblo

UPDATE: EVRAZ emphasizes its work with President Garcia in a tweet sharing this story:

 

Despite being cited by name in an official document filed by those trying to remove State Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel is not involved and is taking no position on the recall effort. The company is the largest private employer in Pueblo.

Reached for comment via email, EVRAZ spokesperson Patrick Waldron wrote:

EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel was not aware of [the recall] before published reports, nor are we involved in the petition.

Waldron declined to give a position on the recall itself as the company does not make endorsements in political campaigns.

The latest recall campaign is the fifth so far this year, all targeting Democratic state legislators. It’s the first, however, to cite a private business by name.

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Cory Gardner Met Corey Seulean, the “No-Pants Pastor” At Invite-Only Haley Event

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Cory Gardner & Corey Seulean speak at private GOP event

Former Trump U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley joined Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) at a private campaign event on Monday. The invite-only Republican audience was reported to be “mostly women.”

The men in attendance included Pastor Corey Seulean of Longmont, candidate for Colorado House District 63. Seulean recently made national headlines following the Times Recorder’s reporting on his belief that women shouldn’t wear pants, but rather skirts or “modest culottes.”

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House Republican Leader Says He’s Been “Cut Off” By Powerful Business Group

(Republicans don’t win elections or pass legislation under Neville, but other than that he’s great! — Colorado Pols)

Colorado Concern, one of the most influential business groups in the state, is no longer talking to the leader of the House Republicans. Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock) says he’s been “cut off” by the powerful lobbying group.

Speaking with KNUS radio hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden on August 2, Neville confessed he hasn’t talked to them since last November’s election.

Bonniwell: Who do you talk to over there? [At Colorado Concern] Greg Stevinson? He’s the Treasurer, he’s a Republican, kinda-sorta. Neville: They [Colorado Concern] have actually cut me off to be honest with you. I really don’t talk to them at all any more. I did when I first took over leadership for about the first year, and then after [Propositions] Y & Z, I haven’t really talked to them since.

Colorado Concern, led by former Republican lawmaker Mike Kopp, is an “exclusive alliance” of over 120 CEOs from around the state. The group ranked third among all entities that lobby at the state capital in campaign contributions last election cycle. The group is bipartisan but its 2018 political giving leaned heavily Republican.

Propositions Y & Z were the 2018 anti-gerrymandering ballot measures reforming Colorado’s federal and state redistricting processes. Both campaigns succeeded by wide margins, thanks in part to support from leadership from both parties, including Neville, as well substantial financial support from a group affiliated with Colorado Concern.

Neville’s admission followed a long discussion about Colorado Concern’s influence and policy goals, specifically the failed negotiations over a possible special session to try to generate more support for Proposition CC. Colorado citizens will decide this November whether or not to approve Prop CC, which would allow the state government to retain and spend all of the revenue it collects. The state is currently barred from keeping more than a certain amount (determined by a formula based on inflation plus population growth) of collected tax revenue. The vast majority of all Colorado counties cities and school districts have already passed a local equivalent of Prop CC.

Neville implied that his reluctance to come to the table led Colorado Concern to threaten primaries against his candidates:

Neville: “I hear they’re threatening ‘we’re gonna start getting involved in races,’ Well [they] always do! $400,000 in 2014- they dumped in a ton of money then against all of our candidates. It’s sad- I was hoping there would be a change when they changed the executive director. It used to be Kelly Brough and she went after all the conservatives and we just cleaned the slate back then and we’ll do it again. Because they might have a lot of money, but we actually have the ideas and the people out there. So if they want to play this game, I’m game.”

Neville later dismissed Colorado Concern’s influence in recent elections, noting that it only gave him $5,000 to $10,000 for house races. He instead praised groups like Right To Work and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners

Colorado Concern president Mike Kopp did not return a call requesting comment.

This article first appeared on the Colorado Times Recorder. 

 

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Colorado House Republicans Fundraising to Recall Polis

(Everybody on the gravy boat — Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Patrick Neville "Take Back Colorado"
House Republican Leader Patrick Neville is using the statehouse GOP caucus fund to promote another recall effort, this time of Colorado Gov. Jared Polis. Neville didn’t pull any punches in his email soliciting donations:
Take Back Colorado logo
Governor Polis has unleashed the most radical and overreaching agenda in Colorado’s history. Chip in now to support a recall of Jared Polis and help us take back Colorado!
Neville sent the email via Values First Colorado (VFC), which also operates “Recall Colorado,” an entity dedicated to recalling Neville’s Democratic colleagues in the state legislature. Take Back Colorado appears to be an “entity” in name only; there is neither a political committee nor a business of that name registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. VFC’s enthusiastic support of statehouse recalls caused some concern among corporate donors earlier this year. Both Xcel Energy and Noble Energy issued statements saying they intended their 2018 donations to VCF to be used to elect Republicans in November’s general election, not recalling Democrats from office. Following those statements, Neville created a new political committee, “Recall Colorado,” presumably to separate recall funds from VFC’s regular election work. The committee’s lone campaign finance report filed on July 15 shows no money raised or spent over its first 30 days. VFC also filed a campaign finance report on July 15. Top donors include the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association ($10,000 on June 12) Farmers Insurance Group ($5,000 on June 13), Ralph Nagel of Top Rock Investments ($5,000 on May 9), and United Health Group, which also gave $5,000 on May 9. The report also revealed VFC’s largest expenditure: $18,000 to Rearden Strategic for “Digital Marketing.” Rearden is owned by Patrick Neville’s brother Joe. That family connection has already raised eyebrows among Colorado press, leading 9News’ Marshall Zelinger to ask party chair Ken Buck if he thought it appropriate for the Neville family to profit from recalls. It’s unclear how much money VFC has spent on Take Back Colorado so far, but at the very least it has created a logo, built a donation page on its fundraising site, and generated an email.
The email promoting Take Back Colorado is very similar in format and wording “Recall Colorado” emails sent by VCF. The logo is identical except for the addition of the words “Take Back.” The same disclosure, that “Take Back Colorado is an entity operated by Values First Colorado and is “Paid for and authorized by Values First Colorado,” appears at the bottom of the message. A phone call to VFC’s registered agent Joe Neville requesting comment was not immediately returned.
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Donors to “Official” Recall Polis Group Want Their Money Back

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

From Colorado Times Recorder intern Noah Zucker:

Across Colorado, the conservative movement to recall Democratic Gov. Jared Polis has been divided for weeks. Now, supporters of one of the groups promising to remove the governor believe they’ve been cheated out of their donations.

Recall discussions started on social media soon after Polis took office. In the ensuing months, the initial “Recall Polis” effort split into two groups: “Resist Polis PAC Recall” and the “Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis.” The word “official” in the second group’s name doesn’t denote any formal standing. It’s simply what they decided to call themselves.

On July 8, the Resist Polis group filed a recall petition with the Secretary of State and, upon approval, launched a signature gathering effort. Over 631,000 valid signatures from registered Colorado voters must be collected in 60 days to successfully put the gubernatorial recall on the ballot.

“Does anyone know how to get our money back from the fraud group if we donated?” Taylor Winters asked in the Resist Polis PAC Recall Facebook group last week.

Winters, a member of the Resist Polis PAC group, said that Shane Donnelly, who runs the “official” Recall Polis Facebook group, “took people’s money [and] did nothing with it,” before refusing “to cooperate for a common goal” with the rest of the recall movement.

(more…)

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District Attorney Brauchler: Trump’s Tweet Wasn’t Racist

(“Prosecutorial discretion” –  Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado District Attorney George Brauchler says he found President Trump’s “Go Back” tweet “problematic,” but “didn’t see it as racist.” Rather he considered it an attack on the “national origin or perceived national origin” of the four freshman congresswomen of color known as “The Squad.”

The tweet to which Brauchler is referring was one of several President Trump posted on July 14 during a racist rant attacking Congresswomen Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All four are U.S. citizens, and three were born in the United States.

Brauchler, who ran for Attorney General last year, serves as District Attorney of Colorado’s 18th Judicial District (Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, and Lincoln Counties). He made his statements on talk radio station KHOW on this past Tuesday, July 16, while filling in for regular host Dan Caplis.

Brauchler made clear that he disagreed with the tweet, saying “it’s wrong to call out people for their national origin and try to tell them to leave the country, especially when they’re Americans.” However he stopped short of calling it racist.

ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes echoed the sentiment of the national ACLU, which last week criticized the President for “spreading vile, racist tropes.”

(more…)

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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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.”

(more…)

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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.

 

(more…)

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Grady Nouis Announces Another Statehouse Run

(Just what Colorado Republicans need! — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.”

(more…)

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Gardner Evades Ethics Question About Elaine Chao

(Run Cory Run! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

(more…)

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GOP Activist Arrested For Brandishing Gun Has 2020 Statehouse Campaign Committee

(Yikes! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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  

(more…)

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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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

(more…)

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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!”

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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Cory Gardner: Rainbow Warrior?

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

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(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.

(more…)

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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.

(more…)

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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

(more…)

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

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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.

(more…)

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