In a volcanic eruption and tsunami on KNUS radio Monday, Colorado’s former Republican leader defended U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner from accusations that the first-term senator is a “total [whore] for the Chamber of Commerce,” a “Mitch McConnell stooge,” and, “just like” U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a “traitor to every [position] he held in 2010.”
“[Gardner] has been a chamber guy from day one, and he runs with Mitch McConnell,” shouted Chuck Bonniwell, a Republican talk radio host who’s also the publisher of the Cherry Creek/Glendale Chronicle.
“[Gardner] voted for, and was a day-in-day-out defender of the tax cuts,” responded Wadhams. “He has been a defender of deregulation. He’s been the defender of Trump’s foreign policy. So, tell me, where has Cory fallen down, as U. S. Senator for Trump?”
Wadhams continued to criticize Trump and try to convince Bonniwell that Gardner, while imperfect, is a good Republican who deserves GOP support.
WADHAMS: I’ve got to tell you, I am frankly tired of people crapping on Cory Gardner, because–
BONNIWELL: Of course you are! Because he deserves it!
WADHAMS: No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t.
BONNIWELL: And the truth hurts! The truth hurts.
WADHAMS: Is he a perfect perfect Senator? No. But you know what? He has been there time after time.
Wadhams tried to make the case that Republicans won’t find a better candidate than Gardner.
WADHAMS: Is there any other Republican who can win a general election in 2020 — other than Cory Gardner — for the United States Senate? [It’s a] very specific question. Answer it!
BONNIWELL: Is anybody going to have the money he’s going to have from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?
WADHAMS: I ask again, do you think–?
BONNIWELL: If you give him the money — if you give somebody good the money of Cory Gardner–.
WADHAMS: And who is ‘somebody good?’ I mean, let me hear this wonderful candidate.
Conservative Republicans are already talking about trying to knock U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner out of Colorado’s 2020 senate race, with one local talk-radio host floating the name of State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville as a “great choice” to take on Gardner.
Neville didn’t return a call seeking to know if he’d challenge Gardner or if he knew about KNUS host Chuck Bonniwell’s suggestion that he run.
Whether it’s Neville or another Republican, David Flaherty of Magellan Strategies told a libertarian radio host last month that he thinks there “very well may be a primary” challenge to Gardner.
Asked for details, Flaherty said today, “With the sting of the defeat, there is a wide array of opinions and viewpoints on where to go from here. Obviously, some of those are going to be arch conservatives, if you will. And they have their voice and their opinion, just like you and I.”
“We’ll see what spirited conservative Republicans may emerge. I don’t know of anything in particular,” Flaherty told the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that he personally backs Gardner and the chances are “minuscule” that a primary challenge to Gardner would succeed.
“Cory is going to have $50 million at his fingertips after coming off his job at the NRSC,” said Flaherty. “And he’s going to have plenty of money to do whatever he needs to, if there is challenge in the primary.”
Asked by Wadhams to name a person who would be a better candidate than Gardner, Bonniwell screamed, “Pick out a Neville! Patrick Neville!”
“Patrick Neville?” responded Wadhams. “Are you starting the Patrick Neville draft program?”
“Yeah,” said Bonniwell. “He’d be great…. Tim [Neville] has lots of time on his hands. He’s also a great conservative.”
Wadhams adamantly said no Republican will have a better chance in 2020 than Gardner.
“Start the primary process for Cory Gardner NOW.”
Writing on the Arapahoe Tea Party Facebook page, Republican gadfly Marc Zarlengo also tried to fire up anti-Gardner minions with a call to replace Gardner.
“Does GOP want to keep the US Senate seat?” wrote Zarlengo. “Start the primary process for Cory Gardner NOW. Get the most Conservative candidate who will appeal to the base and defeat Gardner. Otherwise we will have Senator Hickenlooper.”
Former Chair of the El Paso County GOP, Eli Bremer, wrote that Zarlengo’s comment was “ridiculous.”
Eli Bremer: The only word I can come up with for this is ridiculous. Gardner is the only Republican who has demonstrated he can win. He has Trumps support and will campaign with him in two years. We can not afford to lose our majority in the Senate which would completely derail the outstanding work of placing originalist judges in courts.
Republicans lost because unaffiliated suburban women hated us in the election. That’s shown clearly in the data. It was literally in every district in the state. We need to find a way to talk to these voters and figure out what our shared values with them are rather than infighting and primarying the only Republican left statewide.
Marc Zarlengo: “Uhh…Walker Stapleton and Wayne Williams won state wide election too, and they just got their asses handed to them. So I guess that theory is already out the door.”
Bremer, then wrote:
Eli Bremer: They were down ticket to Cory’s up ticket race. The data were clear: unaffiliated suburban women moved strongly against Republicans in Colorado. That is fact and not opinion. If we want to win, we have to deal with reality and not fantasy.
Will Republicans Switch Registration and Vote in Democratic Primary?
Flaherty is so convinced that Gardner will be the choice of Republicans in 2020 that he said on the radio he’d register as an Unaffiliated voter to manipulate the Democrats’ efforts in 2020.
“I wouldn’t affiliate with the Unaffiliated Party because I no longer want to be associated with the Republican Party or anything like that,” said Flaherty today.
“I would switch to Unaffiliated because I’d rather play around with the Democrats, because there are going to be so many of them. I very well might become unaffiliated just to vote in the Democrat presidential primary. And perhaps the [Democratic] primary for the senate too, because I expect that to be pretty spirited.”
How many Republicans might do this?
Flaherty took the January 2017 voter file and compared it to the the Oct. 2018 voter file and found that 100,000 voters switched and became Unaffiliated from a prior party. Turns out, it was about 50,000 Democrats and 50,000 Republicans, he said.
“I wouldn’t expect it to be overwhelming but who knows? I’m sure there are going to be other Republican voters like myself who say, ‘You know what, there isn’t going to be any action on our side. I may want to weigh in on the Dem primary because it’s going to have all the attention. You know what I mean, why not.”
“If I really felt my vote was needed for Cory, that would factor into my decision, although I think the odds of that are just minuscule.
“Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing that Dem primary,” said Flaherty, insisting that Gardner can defeat some Democratic candidates. “The bottom line is, the candidate makes a difference.”
Listen to Flaherty on KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky Show March 31 here:
When asked what should happen to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, Gardner said it should “absolutely continue,” adding that “the president has said he wants it to continue.”
But Gardner was less certain about whether he’d support a bill to protect the investigation, which his outgoing colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, says he will try to pass before leaving office.
Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, was clear about his position [in favor of protecting Mueller] on Twitter.
Gardner has repeatedly said he’s undecided before voting on controversial legislation. Most notably, he said he was undecided until the last minute on three variations of bills to kill Obamacare, before voting for each one of them.
A move by Gardner to protect Mueller would be seen as hostile to Trump, who will likely be on the 2020 election ballot with Gardner. With Colorado split among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters, Gardner can’t afford to turn off many GOP voters, who largely approve of Trump, and hope to win here.
A coalition of groups, organized under the name TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw, will rally at 5 p.m. today on the west steps of the state Capitol to protest Trump’s decision to place an ally of the president in charge of the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Speakers will include U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), U.S. Rep.-elect Jason Crow (D-CO), State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton), and Colorado Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, also a Democrat
After Tuesday’s election, Trump fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions, inserting Trump ally Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general and putting him in charge of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia investigation.
The message of the rally: a demand that Whitaker recuse himself in light of alleged conflicts of interest and previous statements attacking the investigation.
Similar rallies will take place across the country.
Other speakers include: Dr Reverend Timothy Tyler of Shorter Community AME Church, Nathan Woodliff-Stanley of ACLU Colorado, Nancy Leong of Lawyers for Good Government, and , and Caroline Fry of Common Cause.
(This is what a blue wave looks like – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).
Yesterday, as Coloradans finished casting a blue wave of ballots that upended state politics, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who along with CU Regent Heidi Ganahl are now the lone Republicans occupying state-wide offices in Colorado, was on the radio talking like a candidate.
That’s what he’ll likely be in 2020, if he defends his seat for the first, and Democrats hope, the last time.
On the radio, Gardner said “there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country.”
Gardner was trying to find a middle ground on Trump, acknowledging the widespread anger with the president in Colorado, which favored Hillary Clinton by five points, while focusing on economic themes.
GARDNER: And I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on.
But the economy is creating jobs. Money is coming back in, a thousand manufacturing jobs a day added to this country. You’ve got billions of dollars relocating into the United States. Wages are going up. This is incredible.
And you’re exactly right. There are elements of the radical left that are going to vote against that economic growth, vote against that economic opportunity, just because of the sheer blindness of their opposition.
Whether Gardner’s love-some-of-Trump-Hate-some-of-Trump message would work in Colorado in 2020, is obviously unknown today, two years out.
But after this election, you have think this would fail miserably, and Gardner couldn’t win here with Trump on the ticket, especially given that Gardner has been a loyal ninety-one-percent Trump supporter.
And yesterday’s election shows that Republicans nationwide aren’t in the mood to dump the president from the 2020 ballot, meaning he likely isn’t going anywhere and spelling doom for Gardner.
Even if Trump is gone by 2020, the voting pattern in Colorado today looks bad for the first-term senator, as pollsters on both sides of the aisle have been pointing out all week.
After U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman won re-election in 2016, prevailing in a district carried by Hillary Clinton, even a liberal blog ColoradoPols wrote that the Republican’s “ability to survive so many very different electoral climates and the complete refashioning of his congressional district make another serious run at Coffman increasingly difficult to justify.”
Two years later, Coffman has been voted out, replaced by Democrat Jason Crow.
The difference this year is Trump.
Coffman’s increasingly desperate attempts to define himself as an anti-Trump Republican weren’t believed by voters who apparently saw him as a pawn in Trump’s GOP army. A pawn with a 96 percent pro-Trump voting record, as Democrats repeated throughout the campaign.
Actually, Coffman was more Trump-like during the first 18 years of his political career than he was when he was voted out today. He began migrating away from his hardest-hard-right social conservative stances after his congressional district was redrawn after the 2010 census.
Unlike some flip-flopping politicians, Coffman’s migration was achieved by adopting multiple nuanced positions on controversial issues–with variations emerging over years.
On immigration, his spectacular metamorphosis took him from calling the Dream Act a nightmare to embracing it, even though he blocked the country’s best shot at immigration reform when he opposed a comprehensive immigration bill, passed in 2014 with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. The bill died in the House, and Coffman went on to learn Spanish.
Unaffiliated voters are casting ballots “at a level never seen before in a midterm election in Colorado,” says Republican Pollster Ryan Winger at Magellan Strategies in a blog post today.
At the same time, about 43,000 fewer Republicans have voted this year, and over 70,000 more Democrats have voted, compared to the last midterm election in 2014.
With polls showing that most Colorado unaffiliated voters don’t like Trump are expected to vote for Democrats, it’s time for Republicans to bring in the President to rev up the GOP here, said Magellan Strategies Pollster David Flaherty on KNUS radio Friday.
KNUS 710-AM host Julie Hayden, a former local TV reporter, asked Flaherty if a Trump rally help drive Colorado Republicans to the Polls.
“It would absolutely help, Julie,” Flaherty said on air.
“He could not be more popular or more beloved by Republicans. He has higher approval rating numbers than George W. Bush did practically right after 9-11, to give you an idea [of how high]. However, his approval rating among unaffiliated voters in in the low 30s, and that sort of a double-edged sword.”
“But I think without question it would be a good idea for him to swing through for us to pull even and get that final umph,” said Flaherty on KNUS. “I mean, despite his unpopularity among unaffiliated voters. It’s a tough call, no doubt about it, but if Republicans are going to continue lagging in their ballots turned in, I’d call in the big man.”
Republican Christine Jensen is running for a Jefferson County state senate seat that will likely determine which party controls Colorado government. And she has no public position on President Donald Trump.
The Colorado Times Recordertried multiple times to find out Jensen’s views on the President, but she repeatedly did not respond.
So, on a sidewalk Saturday after a “Red Wave” get-out-the-vote event in a Jefferson County office building, a journalist tried to put the question tried to put the question to Jensen in person.
Jason Salzman: Hi Christine. I’ve been trying to reach you.
Christine Jensen: Oh. Yeah.
Salzman: I’m Jason Salzman with the Colorado Times Recorder.
Former Denver Post Reporter — and current PIO for Secretary of State Wayne Williams — Lynn Bartels (standing nearby interjecting): Ambush! Ambush reporter.
Jensen: Yes. Got it. Hang on.
Jensen quickly turns and walks back into the building.
Salzman (following Jensen for a few steps): “Where do you stand on Trump? Could you tell me please. Just tell me where you stand on Trump, Christine?”
Bartels, talking to Salzman not Jensen: You’re better than that.
Salzman: What do you mean? I’m identifying myself. I’ve called her five times.
Bartels: She doesn’t have to call you back.
Salzman: I know. But if she’s not, I have the right to stand here.
Bartels: I know, but–
Salzman: You know that’s the way it works.
Bartels: I know. I’m sorry. I apologize.
Salzman: Thank you. I really think that’s fair. It’s a fair question. The issue is, you know, important.
Bartels: It is a fair question.
Jensen comes out of the building escorted by someone separating her from me.
Salzman (running after Jensen): You want to answer a fair question? Where do you stand on Trump, Christine?
Jensen speed walks away without saying anything.
Salzman (to Jensen): Thank you so much. I appreciate your time. I’m sorry to bother you.
It’s not just the Colorado Times Recorder that thinks the public is interested in all candidates’ views on Trump, even candidates in state legislative races.
Just this week, during a conservative radio interview, Republican state house candidate Toren Mushovic said voters ask about Trump “a lot” when he’s going door-to-door in his Arapahoe County-area district.
What’s more, Trump has repeatedly said that Tuesday’s election is about him.
And, The Denver Post and other local media outlets have reported that Trump is motivating suburban Democrats at all levels.
There are volumes of reporting about how suburban women, angry at Trump, could swing the election.
Jensen is one of those candidates. It appears the closest she’s come to taking a stand on Trump in the public domain came this week when the Washington Post quoted her as saying, “I think he has absolutely positively been a man of action. I still wish we could teach him a few PR tricks.”
Other than that, Jenson’s record on Trump is pretty much a blank slate, symbolized by this question left unanswered on her Christine Jensen for Colorado Facebook page:
“Simple question,” a commenter wrote, “Do you support Donald Trump?”
(Which stage of grief is this? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
Rep. Mike Coffman (R).
With multiple polls showing U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora headed toward defeat in Tuesday’s election, the longtime Republican Congressman saw no reason to worry yesterday, blaming the New York Times for deliberately skewing polling results toward his opponent, Democrat Jason Crow, and manufacturing concern about a possible loss by Coffman.
Asked about polls showing him down by double digits in his race with Crow, Coffman told KOA radio host April Zezbaugh:
Coffman: “That was by the New York Times and I think they put their thumb on the scale.”
Put their thumb on the scale?
This accusation reflects statements by Trump, who repeatedly calls the most respected news outlets in America “fake news.” He’s refers to the New York Times repeatedly as, “The failing New York Times.” Even though the stock price of the Times had more than doubled since Trump entered office.
The Colorado Times Recorder called Coffman’s spokesman Tyler Sandberg to ask if Coffman had any evidence that the New York Times rigged its poll against him.
“I don’t talk to fake news.” Sandberg said. “Thanks.”
Yet, in Colorado, the chosen response of most Republican candidates is silence.
In perhaps the state’s two most important races, taking place in suburban battlegrounds where anger at Trump is high, Republican candidates have yet to say a word about the president.
Christine Jensen, who’s running for a Wheat Ridge senate seat, describes herself as sitting on the right wing of the Republican Party and specifically aligns with Trump on wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Don Bendell, a Republican who’s running for the state house seat occupied by Judy Reyher, admitted that he started paying court-ordered child support after his three children had grown up.
The meme, which depicts a man holding a young girl in his arms, is noteworthy because, by using the phrase “the real deadbeat,” it appears to downplay the problem of fathers, like Bendell himself, who don’t support their children.
Asked about the post by the Colorado Times Recorder, Bendell responded via email:
Bendell: I DID NOT fail to pay child support. I did get behind, owned, and apologized for it. I paid every penny that I owed plus interest. My ex-wife and I lived in Ohio and she took my three children from my first marriage and moved them to NC where she was from in 1979 while I was out of town on a business trip. We got divorced in Ohio and I did not “flee NC authorities,” as I was not even there. Deadbeats run and hide and try not to pay. I DID PAY, every cent. It is old news but salacious and inaccurate slurs have been used against me in this campaign. I have spoken about issues and my solutions for them, and that is what people care about.
I do not downplay men who do not pay, but you are downplaying women who use their children as chess pawns in custody battles to attack loving fathers.
Children should never be put between parents in a divorce as kids always find a way to blame themselves in such adult matters.
Bendell’s children alerted the Pueblo Chieftain to their father’s history after Bendell was selected by Pueblo-area Republicans to run for the state house seat against Democrat Brianna Buentello.
Free “Red Wave” tickets to attend the events can be reserved on Eventbrite.
“Please join Republican Nominee for Governor, Walker Stapleton, and Special Guest Honorable Cory Gardner on Thursday, November 1st at 9:30 am for our Get Out the Vote Tour! Stapleton will be speaking to attendees about the importance of the upcoming election and volunteering to help with his fight against Congressman Jared Polis!” states the Eventbrite page for the Grand Junction stop.
Joining Democratic candidate for governor Jared Polis on the bus yesterday in the Denver area were Democrats Gov. John hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and others. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has also joined the bus along the way.
Polis appeared with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders last week.
After a much-publicized launch and big plans to become a serious player in Colorado politics, Unite Colorado’s slate of self-described independent candidates has mostly failed to gain traction, been hit with multiple campaign finance complaints, and continued to rely on out-of-state money and wealthy California donors.
The latest setback for the group, formerly known as the Centrist Project, came yesterday when a Durango resident filed a campaign finance complaint against Paul Jones, who’s running against Democratic State Rep. Barbara McLachlan in a swing Southwestern Colorado state house seat.
It’s one of multiple campaign grievances that Unite and its candidates face, and it alleges illegal campaign coordination, which means Jones could face civil charges and serious fines. The Unite Colorado Election Fund is an Independent Expenditure committee, which means it can spend money in support of candidates but not coordinate or strategize with them.
On October 18, however, the committee spent nearly $4,900 on advertising for an event with the candidate himself.
Unite Colorado Director Nick Trioano disputed the amount of money involved in the promotion, stating in a Tweet after the publication of this article, “The event promo cost is 100% false.”
Trioano did not respond to a request for more details, but it appears that he is not denying that United Colorado promoted the event for Paul Jones but instead correctly disputing the amount of money involved. [See correction below.]
Since September, Unite Colorado and its candidates have been the subject of six campaign finance complaints, all currently listed as open by the Secretary of State. The first complaint, filed last month, is under review by the Attorney General’s office. Four other complaints against Unite Colorado and its candidate campaign committees have been filed this month by longtime conservative gadfy Matt Arnold’s entity, Campaign Integrity Watchdog.
On October 26 the Secretary of State office found that Arnold’s initial complaint against Unite Colorado has “alleged sufficient facts” to merit review.
Federal authorities covered and seized a white van in Florida after the Department of Justice confirmed an arrest had been made in the bomb investigation. The suspect was arrested at an auto repair shop in Plantation, Florida.
Aerial footage captured images of the van before it was taken away. Some of the van’s windows were covered with stickers.
A phone message seeking a comment from Corporon wasn’t returned, and a search for any evidence backing up the KNUS talk radio host’s conspiratorial tweets turned up nothing.
Trump congratulated law enforcement officials for their work on the case today, after encouraging news outlets earlier to drop the matter and instead cover political issues leading up to the upcoming election.
“Republicans are doing so well in early voting, and at the polls, and now this “Bomb” stuff happens and the momentum greatly slows – news not talking politics. Very unfortunate, what is going on. Republicans, go out and vote!” tweeted Trump.
Two Democratic state senate candidates are under attack for voting for bipartisan gun-safety legislation that would allow police to take guns from mentally-ill people.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) Super PAC, which opposes restrictions on guns, is running attack ads claiming that State Representatives Faith Winter of Thornton and Jesse Danielson of Wheat Ridge “VOTED to leave you DEFENSELESS.”
Why? Because they backed a so-called “Red Flag” bill that would have allowed law enforcement officials to ask the courts for permission to temporarily seize guns from people who are deemed to pose a “significant risk” to themselves or others.
The Red Flag legislation emerged in response to multiple mass shootings by mentally ill people, including the Aurora theater shooter, who was found by a jury to be insane. The bill aimed to take guns from such people, with a judge’s permission.
Tom Mauser, who lost his son Daniel Mauser in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, told the Colorado Times Recorder that the “red flag law could have prevented the Aurora theater tragedy” as well as the Parkland High School shooting in Florida.
“I would say to RMGO, how would you would propose to prevent these tragedies?” said Mauser. “There is strong public support for laws like this. This type of law is in place in at least 10 states, including pro-gun states like Indiana and Florida.”
But in RMGO’s opinion, removing guns from the hands of people identified as dangerous not only leaves you “defenseless,” but it also strips “Second Amendment rights from young mothers and college aged women, barring them from owning or carrying a gun.”
Ads mailed to voters went even further, stating that the lawmakers “Voted to GUT Your Right to Self Defense, Leaving You Vulnerable To Thugs and Criminals.”
“RMGO doesn’t present solutions,” said Mauser. “They just make these ridiculous attacks. It is sheer nonsense.”
In response, RMGO Super PAC director Dudley Brown texted the Colorado Times Recorder:
“Tom Mauser never met a gun control [law] he didn’t like,” texted Brown. “Is it any wonder he loves the Red Flag Gun Confiscation laws?”
Brown is widely known for opposing all gun safety legislation, including laws requiring criminal background checks prior to gun purchases. On its website, RMGO bills itself as “Colorado’s Only No-Compromise Gun Rights Organization.”
Republicans are trying to hold their one-seat majority in the Colorado state senate in part by defeating Democrats Danielson and Winter in their Jefferson County and Adams County races (Senate Districts 20 and 24).
Danielson faces Republican Christine Jensen, a businesswoman, who’s been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which favors candidates who oppose most gun control bills. Winter is running against Republican State Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, who also got the NRA endorsement in the race.