In Advance of Trump Rally, Alleged Orchestrator of Trump’s Racist Rally Tactics Teaches CO Workshop

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump comes to Colorado Thursday for a rally along with Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner. Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is in Aurora for a “Keep America Great” rally tomorrow.

And, in late-breaking news, John Pence, Vice President Mike Pence’s nephew, will be in Pueblo tonight from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to conduct a “Trump Leadership Initiative Training” at Pueblo Community College’s Fortino Ballroom A, according to the Pueblo County Republican Party.

John Pence is best known as the political operative who orchestrates Trump’s political rallies, seen as both as hate-filled and wildly successful.

Pence is “particularly responsible” for having “orchestrated and manufactured” campaign tactics to “stoke fear in this country,” said former White House aide and Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault in a July interview on MSNBC.

Omarosa said Pence got Donald Trump to say, go back to countries “from which they came.”

Marla Reichert, Chair of the Pueblo County Republican Party, didn’t immediately return a call seeking to know if Pence is involved in Trump’s rally Thursday, and if so, whether Pence will be deploying those kinds of tactics there–or if he’ll be teaching them tonight in Pueblo.

The Trump campaign information shared on Facebook does specify that although homemade signs are not permitted, the Trump campaign will distribute its own signs to audience members once they are inside the arena.

Pence, who’s the son of Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), gave a Trump Leadership Initiative workshop in December at the Independence Institute, a free market activist group in Denver led by Jon Caldara, who was fired from his position as Denver Post columnist last month.

To sign up for Pence’s training, visit the Pueblo County Trump Victory Facebook group.

Prior to Thursday’s rally in Colorado Springs, Trump is holding a fundraiser where it will cost a couple $25,000 for a photo with the president. The ticket price is $2,800.


Pollster: ‘Striking’ Trends Favor Democrats in Arvada Senate District

Magellan Strategies launched a series of deepish dives into competitive legislative districts yesterday, with a close look a Westminster/Arvada district that had the distinction of being the closest Senate race in 2016.

Magellan’s conclusion: “Long story short, whether you’re looking at the percentage of registration or simply just raw number of voters, there is a concerning trend for Republicans here in SD 19,” wrote Ryan Winger, Magellan’s Director of Data and Research Strategies.

Winger: “…No, the real problem can be seen looking back at voter registration: The numbers simply aren’t there anymore. It’s basic math. A comparative advantage for Republicans in SD 19 has been completely wiped away by increased Unaffiliated registration and increased voter turnout among both Democratic voters and Unaffiliated voters. “The result? What was a fairly conventional swing district in 2014 (Cory Gardner and Bob Beauprez narrowly lost the district, while Cynthia Coffman and Walker Stapleton won) becomes by 2018, a district that voted for Democratic candidates by significant margins up and down the ballot. Where Governor Hickenlooper won by nearly 3,000 votes in 2014, now Governor Polis won by 10,000 voters in 2018. Where Cynthia Coffman won the Attorney General race by 5,300 votes in 2014, now Attorney General Phil Weiser won by 5,500 votes in 2018. Those kinds of trends are difficult to reverse, and while in a lot of ways they mirror how Colorado has changed at the statewide level, it is striking to see them at the local level.”

Magellan, a Republican-leaning polling and research firm, is analyzing the swing districts as another way to illuminate how “the political dynamics are shifting” in Colorado.

The apparent intention is, to give Republicans a math-based nudge toward strategies and tactics that can actually help them win elections again.

Winger advises the Republican Party to begin its work by, “not only registering voters but also persuading Unaffiliated voters that the Democrats in state government have overreached and offering them an alternative vision and plans for Colorado. That’s what it will take to run a competitive race in 2020, as there is no reason to believe that the turnout trends since 2014 are an aberration. As I’ve said before, this is the new normal.”

The aspect that seems to be particularly lost on Colorado Republicans, according to its Democratic and Republican critics, is the “alternative vision and plans for Colorado” part.

Since their crushing losses in 2018, many Republicans in Colorado appear to have fixated on a blame-game over which tactics and consultants failed them the worst, rather than on what issues and ideas can win over Unaffiliated voters.

Winger was unavailable for comment Friday afternoon, but in the past, when asked about what issues would work for the GOP in Colorado, David Flaherty, Magellan’s Founder, has been adamant that Colorado Republicans need to explain to voters how they will get more money into classrooms and, most importantly, lower the cost of healthcare. He wants the GOP to move off guns and immigration.

“We see the Democrat majority coming out with multiple plans to address rising healthcare costs,” Flaherty told the Colorado Times Recorder last year. “Voters love plans. Voters love ideas. Republicans have not put forth a plan or an idea at all. Walker Stapleton had no plan, whatsoever. The one he tried to put forth was not clear.” “The bottom line is, Republicans have failed at demonstrating, ‘I want to lower your costs,’ rather than being against everything the Democrats are  proposing.”

RELATED: Why Can’t Republicans Win in Colorado? Bad on Election Campaign Tactics? Or Bad on the Issues that Matter Most?


Scalia Died Four Years Ago Today. If a SCOTUS Seat Opened, Would Gardner Again Argue for Delay?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Exactly four years ago today, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep at a Texas ranch.

About an hour after Scalia’s death was confirmed, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) told startled reporters that the “American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice” and “therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.”

Five days later, on Feb. 18, 2016, Colorado’s Republican Senator, Cory Gardner, agreed with McConnell that the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice should be delayed until after the 2016 presidential election, which was later won by Trump.

Gardner told fellow conservative Dan Caplis, who was on KNUS radio at the time:

GARDNER: “Again, I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.”

“We are deep in the heart of a political campaign, a divisive election, a divisive president, who has done nothing but overreached Congress time and time again,” he added. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s well-known health problems appear to be at bay for now, but the question arises of what Gardner would do this time around if Ginsburg’s or another seat became vacant.

Gardner’s office did not return a call seeking comment, but in interviews at the time, he pointed to Democrats who’d made similar arguments about delaying confirmation of a Justice.

If Gardner follows the same logic of his arguments in 2016, he’d again call for delay.

Back in 2016, Gardner went on to join McConnell and other Republicans in denying Merrick Garland, Barack Obama’s choice to replace Scalia, even the opportunity for a hearing before the Senate.

In fact, Gardner refused to meet Garland at all.

On March 16, 2016, even before Obama finished introducing Garland to the country, Gardner issued a statement that “our next election is too soon and the stakes are too high; the American people deserve a role in the process as the next Supreme Court justice will influence the direction of this country for years to come.” In 2016, Gardner’s refusal to meet with Garland earned Gardner a personal rebuke from Obama.

“Sen. Gardner has not been doing his job as a senator,” Obama told The Gazette in a short interview after the Air Force Academy graduation. “He is perfectly free after having met with Judge Garland to conclude that ‘this is not somebody that I am going to vote for.'”

“If we start getting to the point where the Senate operates in such a partisan manner that even someone like Merrick Garland can’t get the courtesy of a hearing and a vote, then that’s going to start breaking down the system to the point where we can’t get any judges confirmed,” he said. “Our system of justice is going to break down, and that’s going to have consequences for all of us.”

After Obama left office, Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh were confirmed for Supreme Court positions.


How Gardner’s War Against Obamacare Propelled Him to Power–and Is Now a Driver of His Likely Demise

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

At his first campaign rally for U.S. Senate, on a snowy day in 2014 at a Denver lumber yard, Cory Gardner warned that Obamacare was “destroying this country.”

The words may sound harsh today, but they came easily to then-Congressman Gardner. His attacks on the country’s new health care law were a centerpiece of his first successful run for Congress four years earlier, when he raised the specter of 17,000 new IRS agents “storming” America in search of Obamacare cheaters and of the health care law failing because people just wouldn’t sign up.

Torching Obamacare in interviews and ads, Gardner cruised into the House in 2010 and edged his way into the Senate four years later.

But in an irony that’s lost on no one who’s followed Colorado’s Republican senator over his ten years in Washington, Gardner’s long war against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now a driver of his likely downfall.



Gun-Safety Law Could “Address” Six Lives in Colo, But Measure Won’t Save Them, Says Brauchler

(“Six lives matter, but…” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler (R).

UPDATE: “I am in no way saying that I don’t think those lives are worth saving, whether it’s one or six, I just don’t think those lives get saved any more with that proposed law than our existing child abuse law,” Brauchler told the Colorado Times Recorder. “I haven’t seen the draft, so we are speculating, but there is a provision in the law that says if you have a broader law out there and then the Legislature passes a much more specific law that addresses that behavior, the defendant can only be prosecuted for the more specific behavior covered by it. So if they make a misdemeanor defense for not securing your firearms, it’s possible, depending on how they draft it, that you may actually take away from me the ability to prosecute the much more serious felony, if it applied. You and I wouldn’t want that. We came up with statement law that actually makes it less costly to someone to leave their gun on the table.”


In the “best-case scenario,” a gun-safety bill under consideration at the state Legislature could “address” six homicides per year in Colorado, and “every one of those lives matters,” says Arapahoe County area District Attorney George Brauchler.

“And that’s not a small number,” he adds.

But Brauchler opposes a law, which would mandate safe-storage of guns to keep them out of the hands of children, because enforcement is “extremely, extremely tricky” and there’s already a “child abuse statute” that allows for prosecution of parents whose kids get a hold of guns, Brauchler said during an interview with KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky last Friday morning.

BRAUCHLER: “It looks like, if you look at what coroners have reported and some other stuff, that the safe storage bill, if it was 100% effective, it could address up to six homicides or injuries — I think it was homicides –a year, across the state of Colorado. And that’s not a small number. I mean, every one of those lives matters.


“But that’s the best-case scenario for that particular law. But I agree with you, enforcement is extremely, extremely tricky. I think they both sound very common sense-y, and that’s why I think they are going to end up passing. People are going to go, ‘Well, of course, you shouldn’t leave guns lying around. The issue is, we already have laws that allow us to prosecute adults under a child abuse statute that says if you put a kid in a position to hurt themselves or others, we can already prosecute you for that. We don’t need a safe-storage bill for that.”

Brauchler described the bill as “targeting kids getting guns and hurting themselves or others,” which he said on air was a “noble cause.”

“But it’s a bill that criminalizes people who don’t take steps to prevent kids from getting their hands on guns in those circumstances,” said Brauchler.

Tom Mauser, whose son died in the Columbine school shooting, says passing a safe-gun-storage bill “sends a message that gun owners need to take this seriously.” The existence and passage of the law is part of a public education process that continues when the law is used to prosecute violators, he says.

“Enforcement can be difficult for any number of laws, but we pass them anyway,” said Mauser. “We can agree that gun owners should store their guns responsibly, but we haven’t put this into law. We need to make it clear that you will be prosecuted if you are irresponsible with your guns.”



GOP-Leaning Pollster Sees Democratic Tsunami in Colo

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“If 2018 was a Democratic wave, then 2020 is very likely to be a tsunami.”

That’s the conclusion of an analysis of Colorado voting trends, released in a blog post last week by Ryan Winger, Director of Data Analysis and Research Projects at Magellan Strategies, a Republican-leaning pollster.

Here are three paragraphs of details from the post:

Winger: “It seems obvious to say that voter turnout matters. Of course, the outcome of any election is going to be determined by who actually votes. But it’s often under appreciated just how much voter turnout can change on an annual basis, and how those changes alter the fate of candidates and ballot measures. The last two elections in Colorado are instructive. The evidence from the 2018 election in Colorado suggested a huge turn toward Democrats as they swept the statewide offices, while conservatives rightfully claimed a victory in 2019 with the defeat of Proposition CC. The difference between 2018 and 2019? Voter turnout. Over 2.5 million votes were cast in 2018 compared to over 1.5 million in 2019.

“And those extra roughly 1 million voters in the 2018 election matter. They are the difference between Republicans finishing as a plurality of 34.4% of the electorate among all votes cast in 2019 and finishing in third behind Unaffiliated voters and Democrats in 2018. Those roughly 1 million voters are also the difference between voters aged 18-34 comprising only 14% of the electorate in 2019 compared to 22.5% in 2018. Clearly, those extra one million voters are younger and more Democratic-leaning. That fact alone, more than any other observation, explains why election results in Colorado can be so different from year-to-year. So what will voter turnout look like in 2020? If past presidential elections are any indication, it is very likely to be younger and more in favor of Democratic candidates than the 2018 electorate. If 2018 was a Democratic wave, then 2020 is very likely to be a tsunami.

“That’s because as historic as the 2018 voter turnout was, it still did not match turnout from 2016 when 2.85 million votes were cast. This isn’t surprising and it’s certainly not unique to Colorado. Presidential elections always have higher voter turnout than midterm elections. In fact, in the last two presidential elections here in Colorado, there were over 900,000 voters who participated in a presidential election who did not vote in the previous midterm election.”

Winger goes on to predict that it’s “likely” voter turnout will pass 3 million in 2020, as the percentage of young voters, many Unaffiliated, increases further. Between Jan. 1, 2017, and Election Day, 2019, about 580,000 new voters registered.

Winger looks at these numbers and sees darkness on the horizon for Republicans in 2020.

His advice for Republicans: “maximize turnout” among GOP voters.

The problem: “Appealing to the Republican base is often in direct contrast to the kinds of issues and messages that attract support from Unaffiliated voters.”

“High turnout will be across the board,” Winger told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Republicans will be high turnout. Democrats will be high turnout. Unaffiliated voters will be high turnout. But those Unaffiliated voters are finally starting to punch at their weight in terms of voting. For the longest time, there was a high percentage of Unaffiliated voters registered, but they didn’t show up to vote. That’s what was so historic about 2018, is that more Unaffiliateds voted than Democrats or Republicans. And there’s no reason to think that is going to change this year. “


Rally Goers Decry #CoverUpCory Gardner

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“If we all vote, if we all engage in democracy, that guy is gone,” Denver City Councilman Chris Hinds told about 150 demonstrators at the Capitol this afternoon, gesturing toward a life-sized cut out of U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) which stood just to the right of the microphone.

“Do you feel like you got transparent and accountable government last night?” Hinds asked the crowd.

“No,” they yelled back.

The event was billed by organizers as an emergency rally to call out Gardner for being part of the Trump cover-up effort by voting against hearing from witnesses, after saying for weeks he’d consider all the evidence.

Hinds spoke after a rousing speech from former Colorado State Rep. Joe Salazar, who told the crowd he felt “sad” and “downtrodden” last night, after watching Republican Senators, including Gardner, vote nearly unanimously against hearing from any witnesses in the impeachment trial of Trump.

Salazar recalled telling a friend that the law is “being stripped away from us.”

But Salazar’s friend told him to buckle up and reminded him that she’d seen the same thing in her native Pakistan, and that Salazar had seen the same thing here in America before.



Cory Gardner vs. Susan Collins

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who’s one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the U.S. Senate, announced yesterday that he would not vote for more impeachment witnesses, including John Bolton.

As Gardner was officially siding with Trump, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, who’s also atop the list of vulnerable Republicans, continued to act as though she was on the verge of approving Bolton and possibly other witnesses.

Despite their different stances on the impeachment trial, Collins and Gardner both come from states that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump (Colorado went for Clinton by 4.9%, and Maine by 3%.).

This sets them apart from other vulnerable Republican senators (Iowa’s Joni Ernst, Arizona’s Martha McSally, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis), who all represent states that backed Trump in 2016 (Iowa by 9.4%, North Carolina by 3.7%, Arizona by 3.5%).

So you might think that Gardner and Collins would mostly vote together, especially on key legislation.

But that’s not necessarily the case. Even though Colorado is even bluer than Maine, at least based on the 2016 election, Gardner generally votes to the right of Collins in the Senate.

Overall, Gardner votes with Trump 89% of the time, Collins 67%.



Buck: ‘A Few’ Democrats ‘Seriously Considering Voting to Aquit’

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the leader of Colorado’s Republican Party, says he knows  there are “a few Democrat senators who are seriously considering voting to acquit in this situation.”

A call to Buck’s office seeking the names of these Democrats was not returned.

Buck made the comment this week on KFTM 1400-AM (at 9 min 30 sec).

As for his own view, Buck slammed the door on any possibility that more witnesses would offer sufficient evidence to justify impeaching Trump.

“I think no matter what the witnesses say, the president’s conduct does not rise to the level of impeachable conduct,” said Buck on air. “So the Senate can very easily make the determination that they are not going to call witnesses, and have their vote, and be done with this. And we can get back to doing business here, and hopefully, even in an election year, be able to get some positive things done.”

Buck has been a fierce critic of the impeachment process from the get-go, saying in December that he would exact revenge by taking a “very hard” look at pay raises and other benefits for federal employees and “job security” of “senior bureaucrats” in the executive branch.

He said the “really scary part” about the impeachment process is that “there really is a deep state.”

He’s also insisted that the debunked theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election was, in fact, real.

Also in the KFTM interview, Buck offered his opinion that Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren “would relish the opportunity to see Vice President Biden embarrassed by his son testifying.”


Fired Radio Host Says Former KNUS Colleague “Crawled over our Bodies and Urinated on Us”

(Oozing the classy – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In case you’re wondering if there are any hard feelings lingering after Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden’s “Chuck and Julie Show” was canceled by conservative KNUS 710-AM in December, listen to Bonniwell talk about his former KNUS colleagues on Bonniwell and Hayden’s new podcast last week.

Bonniwell: Peter [Boyles] has been great. Randy [Corporon] has been great. Backbone Radio on Sunday has been great. The one person who I considered was disgraceful was Steffan [Tubbs]. He just crawled over our bodies and urinated on us. And for a guy who was arrested for abusing a women.”
Hayden: The charges were dropped.
Bonniwell: They were dropped because he had a great lawyer. But he got fired. For that guy to try to brutalize Julie and our kid and everything else is disgraceful. It’s just disgraceful. He is just disgraceful, but that’s just me.”
Bonniwell and Hayden

Tubbs, who was fired from KOA after being arrested on domestic violence charges, was the most outspoken among KNUS staff and management in stating that Bonniwell had erred when Bonniwell stated that a “nice school shooting” was needed to break up the monotony of the never-ending impeachment hearing.

“There is no excuse for what was said on this radio station yesterday afternoon,” Tubbs said on air after Bonniwell’s firing. “And it’s hard because I like the guy who said the atrocious thing that he said.”

Tubbs, who interviewed the father of a school-shooting victim immediately after Bonniwell was fired, did not return a call for comment about Bonniwell’s urinating remark.



Allard: Gardner Doing ‘Right Thing’ on Impeachment

(Better with a laugh track – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Sen. Wayne Allard (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner

Colorado Republican Wayne Allard, who served in the U.S. Senate during the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, says Sen. Cory Gardner, a fellow Republican, is doing the “right thing” by holding off on his impeachment decision.

Gardner can “explain why he voted one way or the other” after he casts his vote, said Allard.

Gardner, who once worked for Allard, faces “a lot of misinformation out there,” as he decides how to vote on the impeachment of Trump, and he’ll have to “sift through that,” Allard told the Colorado Times Recorder Friday.

“I think Senator Gardner is doing the right thing to hold off until he’s got the facts in hand, and then he can cast his vote and explain why he voted one way or the other,” said Allard.

Unlike Gardner, who’s been silent on impeachment to the point of avoiding reporters who are chasing him through the halls and elevators of Congress, Allard published an impeachment diary in the Rocky Mountain News at the time. In multiple entries, Allard commented on all facets of the trial.

Denver Post columnist and ProgressNow Colorado director Ian Silverri lauded Allard’s impeachment diary as a “terrific time-capsule of insights into the mind of a Republican Senator deliberating whether to vote to convict a president in real-time.”

Gardner’s critics insist that the Gardner, who’s up for re-election in November, should at least take questions about the impeachment process, including queries about key procedural questions, like whether he wants to hear from former Trump adviser John Bolton.

In Friday’s inerview, Allard recalled listening to the proceedings and deciding that there was “no doubt that Clinton perjured himself.” And this was what “drove” his decision to convict, Allard said, not concerns about obstruction of justice.



Gardner’s Votes to Privatize Medicare under Scrutiny in Wake of Trump’s Comments

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner standing behind President Donald Trump.

In the wake of Trump’s comments last week that he’s willing to “look” at federal spending on entitlements, a progressive group is putting renewed scrutiny on U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) stance on Medicare and Social Security, including Gardner’s statement during his last Senate race that he would vote in the Senate to privatize Medicare, as he’d voted to do during his House tenure.

“At some point they will be,” Trump said, when asked if entitlements were on his agenda. “At the right time, we will take a look at that.”

Specifically, Trump stated his willingness to look at curbing Medicare spending.

“When you take a closer look at the records of the Senate’s most vulnerable Republicans, the takeaway is clear: Donald Trump just made their reelections infinitely harder,” said Zach Hudson, a spokesman for American Bridge in a news release, spotlighting Gardner, among other senators. “Their long track records of voting to cut Medicare and Social Security are now fair game and will receive renewed scrutiny, and that’s a recipe for disaster for these incumbent Senators.”

In the news release, Hudson pointed to a series of votes, like this one, by Gardner during his four years in the U.S. House, from 2010 to 2014, for the so-called Ryan budget, which would have, among other things, privatized Medicare. Hudson also listed multiple votes, like this one, by Gardner to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare and Social Security, even though he’d once promised not to do so.

In his comments last week, Trump did not specify how he’d address Medicare spending.

Asked during his 2014 senate race against Democrat Mark Udall if he would vote again in the U.S. Senate for the “Ryan Budget,” Gardner signaled his willingness to do so. And he offered a strong defense of his Ryan-budget vote.

“Well, I would vote for a bill [Ryan budget] that allows us to balance the budget, that protects Medicare, and that’s what I did, Senator Udall, was voted for a bill that protects Medicare, that protects retirees and their social safety nets,” Gardner said on C-Span.

This isn’t surprising coming from Gardner, who made no secret of his admiration for Ryan himself.

“This is a guy [Ryan] who understands the budget and the economy perhaps better than anybody other than Mitt Romney,” Gardner once said.

A call to Gardner’s office, seeking a reaction to Trump’s comments, was not returned.


Colo Hispanic Republicans Posts Fake News that United Nations Is Coming after your Guns

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Especially as the election nears, political entities that post fake news on their Facebook pages will face massive public backlash, right? Let’s hope so.

Today’s fake news problem can be found on the website of the Colorado Hispanic Republicans, which describes itself as a “center-right organization dedicated to creating a welcoming space where conservative Hispanics can share their thoughts and ideas….”

The group posted an article with the headline, “UN Hiring American Gun Control and Disarmament Officers.”

“The UN is hiring multiple ‘Disarmament Officers’ to lead the United Nations’ gun control push…. The United Nations is using your hard earned tax dollars to impose gun control onto the American people,” the article from the Conservative Daily, “Your Source for Sanity,” states.

“This is serious stuff,” stated the Colorado Hispanic Republicans in a comment introducing the article on Facebook. “Please read the entire article before commenting. Don’t just react to the headline. This is yet another reason we must re-elect President Trump.”



Gardner Likely to Vote with Republicans on Impeachment, Say Political Observers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This article, which originally appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder, was written by Jake Maher.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As the impeachment trial begins in the Senate today, the scrutiny on Colorado’s Cory Gardner grows.

Speculation has filled a vacuum left by the Republican senator himself, who has made few statements to the press about how he views the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, in which he is now a juror.  And Gardner himself couldn’t be reached to explain his stance.

Among experts on Colorado politics, though, the consensus is clear: Gardner can be expected to fall in line with the Republican caucus, except for the possibility of voting for some witnesses or a similar concession, if it’s done with a group of GOP senators.

In the words of Norm Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute: “He’s a partisan.”

“I would be very surprised, at least knowing what we know now, if Gardner defects from his party’s line on the final impeachment vote,” Kyle Saunders, a professor of political science at Colorado State University, wrote in an email.

Miles Coleman, associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, wrote that he “wouldn’t expect Gardner to deviate from the Republican leadership.”

Gardner himself became a member of the Senate’s Republican leadership in 2016, and he currently serves as deputy whip.

A Possibility of a Smaller Act of Rebellion

As senator of a purple state, simply following the Republican party line may be too divisive of a political tack, and some experts saw the possibility of a smaller act of rebellion via a vote on allowing additional witness testimony—but only if the crowd is already moving that way anyway.

“If there is a vote taken on witnesses, and it appears that a majority supports limited witnesses, I could see Gardner making the calculus to support something like that, but only if it’s some sort of limited scenario,” wrote Saunders. “I don’t see Gardner supporting a free-for-all ‘as many witnesses as can be called’ scenario unless things are going very badly for Trump.”

“And it’s still not likely that it will go badly for Trump with Leader McConnell running point,” wrote Saunders.

According to Ornstein, he’s likely to follow the lead set by Senator Susan Collins of Maine and allow a few more witnesses, including Hunter and Joe Biden, and possibly reprimand the president.

But ultimately, “people don’t vote alone,” according to Seth Masket, a political scientist at the University of Denver. “[Gardner is] not going to stand that far out.”

Democratic political consultant Steve Welchert said Gardner is already “off-script” in his public communications on the Senate trial by not defending Trump more aggressively, besides calling the House impeachment vote a “total circus.”

Some experts said this tactic—maintaining a neutral public image while reliably voting along party lines—has been a characteristic of Gardner’s style of politics since the beginning of his term.

Ornstein noted that No Labels rated Gardner a “moderate” during his 2014 election, as he billed himself a solutions-oriented “problem solver” at the time.

“There is nothing in the record—no votes—to suggest he is a moderate,” he said.

A similar scenario played out during the Senate votes to repeal Obamacare in 2017, when Gardner’s noncommittal public statements cane in advance of repeated votes in favor of repeal.

Gardner “will signal open-mindedness, but is likely to vote with the rest of his caucus,” said Masket.

According to Coleman, Gardner’s voting record as a whole demonstrates his adherence to the Republican agenda at all turns, his public statements notwithstanding.

“He voted for both Trump’s Supreme Court picks, the GOP tax bill, ACA repeal, and was supportive of the President’s emergency border declaration last year,” he wrote.

“Throughout his tenure, on the big votes, he usually seems more like a senator from deep red Wyoming instead of a light blue state like Colorado,” said Coleman.

CORRECTION: Gardner remains on the U.S. Senate leadership team, currently serving as deputy whip. Due to an editing error, this post initially stated that he was no longer a GOP Senate leader.


Gardner Erases His Opposition to Obamacare from his Campaign Website

(Shaking the Etch-a-Sketch – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R), holding a Sham-Wow.

In a little-noticed change to the “Health Care” section of his new re-election campaign website, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has removed any mention of his stance in favor repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare.

That’s a major shift in campaign tactics for Gardner, who made killing Obamacare a major theme of his political campaigns, first for the U.S. House in 2010 and then for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

“Cory has been a leader in modernizing our health care system, lowering costs, and improving the quality of care for Coloradans,” states the new website, which was changed sometime since November. “He understands any health care plan needs to cover pre-existing conditions and must be a part of any plan he will support.”

Contrast this to Gardner’s stance on health care when he was running against Democrat Mark Udall in 2014, when not only did Gardner’s campaign website call for repealing the “misguided” ACA, but it was the centerpiece of his entire campaign, his reason for entering the race.

“Throughout his time in Congress, Cory has voiced his strong opposition to Obamacare and the premium increases, thousands of pages in new regulations, and burdensome mandates it creates,” states Gardner’s 2014 campaign website, courtesy of the Way Back Machine. “…He supports legislation that repeals this misguided law and replaces it with a solution that allows the purchase of insurance across state lines, bolsters state high-risk pools to provide for those with pre-existing conditions, and enacts badly needed tort reform to reduce medical costs, among other ideas.”

Health care analysts believe Gardner’s campaign is trying to hide or downplay the senator’s longstanding opposition to the ACA, in light of the fact that the popularity of Obamacare was at a low point when Gardner was elected to the Senate, and it’s at a near high point now.

“Gardner is trying to erase his history of voting to repeal the ACA in 2017 and well before,” said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “He knows that Coloradans will not look favorably on it, and it damages his chances of re-election. He’s just trying to obscure the way he consistently votes, because it’s politically inconvenient for him.”

Gardner’s office did not return a call asking if he no longer wants to kill Obamacare and/or if he plans to remove references to repealing the ACA from his Senate website.



Colo Lawmaker Introduces Anti-Vaccination Bill in Name of Consumer Protection

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This article, which originally appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder, was written by Noah Zucker.

After Tuesday’s vaccine-oriented rally in front of the Colorado State Capitol, a few parents and some of their school-age children filled a committee room in the ornate building’s basement for a town-hall meeting, organized by state Rep. Dave Williams (R-Colorado Springs), to discuss his proposed legislation, called the Vaccine Consumer Protection bill.

Many at Tuesday’s rally held anti-vaccine signs

“If families believe that [vaccination is] a benefit to them, then so be it – take it on yourself,” Williams said, summarizing his bill, which has yet to be released. “But if there are parents and families that know of vaccine injuries that have occurred and they don’t want to have that risk, then that’s fine, too.”

Williams said the proposed legislation would require health care providers to give information about vaccines to patients when requested and report adverse vaccine-related events.

He added that the bill would outlaw government discrimination against those on delayed vaccine schedules or those who outright refuse vaccination.

While the World Health Organization (WHO) does acknowledge there have been some rare cases of adverse side effects associated with vaccines, its page on common vaccine misconceptions completely dispels the idea that vaccine-related health issues are at all common or widespread.

With respect to risks of not vaccinating, Colorado has one of the lowest immunization rates in the country, with only 87 percent of the state’s kindergarteners having received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine during the last school year. A vaccination rate of 90 to 95 percent is required to achieve herd immunity, meaning that enough of the population is immune in order to prevent the spread of the disease, particularly among those who are unable to receive certain immunizations, like infants.

RELATED: Republican Lawmakers to Host Anti-Vaccination Summit at Colorado Capitol



People Who Are Pro-Choice Have “Dead” Consciences, Says Denver Catholic Leader

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In endorsing a partial abortion ban targeted for Colorado’s November election ballot, Denver Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila denounced abortion in sweeping terms yesterday at the annual Celebrate Life rally in Denver, saying, “Only the persons whose consciences are dead, who have no conscience, can participate in [abortion].”

The proposed measure backed by Denver’s Catholic leader would prohibit abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy, putting a major regulation on abortion in Colorado that’s one of seven states that has not cutoff date for abortion.

Opponents of the partial ban say it targets a group of women who are already dealing with horrific decisions about pregnancies, and so the government should leave the choice to women.


Amber Jones had an abortion after 22 weeks, for example, after receiving a diagnosis of a rare fetal genetic disorder, which causes miscarriage half the time and death after one week for the median of those that make it through delivery. Read Jones’ story, written by my colleague Madeleine Schmidt, in Jezebel.

Dr. Warren Hern, who performs abortions in Colorado, has said the 22-week ban would be a “catastrophe” for women with pregnancy problems, like Jones’, who aren’t diagnosed until late in pregnancy.

“These women are desperate,” Hern told Jezebel “They don’t want to have an abortion. They want to have a baby.”

But Aquila told the crowd that neither medical nor any other complication should stand in the way of stopping all abortion.

“No matter what the circumstances in life, each and every person is called to defend life, especially the lives of the most vulnerable,” said Aquila.

Placing a 22-week regulatory framework on abortion, instead of banning the practice outright has drawn opposition from some of the state’s leading anti-abortion activists.

“Our misguided pro-life allies have presided over decades of regulating child killing,” Bob Enyart, a spokesman for Colorado Right to Life (CRTL), told me earlier this year. “You don’t regulate crime; you deter crime. Once again, they increase confusion where only truth should be proclaimed. Their immoral initiative 108 seeks to protect children ‘who can survive outside the womb.’ But what about the rest of them?”

Aquila responded to Enyart’s concerns by saying the proposed partial abortion ban is an important incremental step toward a total ban.

“And yes, we firmly believe that all abortion laws should be abolished,” said Aquila. “But we also desire to protect, even in increments, the gift of given life. We are not voting for abortion, nor are we saying we agree with abortion up to 22 weeks. What we are saying, is that we respect life, and we respect it for all the pregnancy.”

“We hope in November 2020 you and the citizens of Colorado will have the chance to protect unborn children, mothers, and fathers,” Aquila told the crowd.



Throwback Thurs: Gardner Once Promised to Hold “Town Meetings” so Voters Could Hold Him “Accountable”

(You’ve come a long way, Cory – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

When he was first running for Congress in 2010, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) promised that voters could hold him “accountable once the election is over” by, among other things, attending his “town meetings.”

But Gardner hasn’t held a town meeting in over two years.

In a 2010 interview with the Franklin Institute, a few months prior to entering Congress with his defeat of Democratic U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, Gardner said he looked forward to constituents who would “hold our feet to the fire, who will attend our town meetings, who will contact the office, email us, call us, when they see us on the streets, making sure we’re doing what we said we would do.”

By being accessible in these ways, Gardner said he’d be “accountable for [his] actions once the election is over.”

A call to Gardner’s office asking about his promise to be accountable to constituents was not returned.

This isn’t the first time Gardner has gone over a year without holding a town hall meeting.

Colorado’s Republican senator went from the spring of 2016 until August of 2017 without holding a town hall, drawing sharp questions from reporters for dodging the public for so long.

Over a thousand of Gardner’s constituents were so upset that they held a town hall meeting in February, 2017, without Gardnerdirecting questions to a cardboard cutout of the senator.

Cardboard Cory: Folk Hero

The Gardner cutout, dubbed “Cardboard Cory,” went on to become a folk hero among Gardner’s opponents and others, appearing on Twitter, Facebook, and at events all over Colorado.

As pressure mounted, Gardner finally surprised political observers by announcing he’d hold not one but three in-person town hall meetings on the same day, apparently trying to dilute the expected onslaught from the public. He started in Colorado Springs in the morning, then moved to Greeley and Lakewood (Colorado Christian University).

A Denver Post headline summarized the string of town halls this way: “On a ‘rowdy day’ of three town halls, Cory Gardner is shouted down by crowds.”

Now, Cardboard Cory is again holding meetings while Gardner is not. Activists even featured the cutout on a statewide bus tour last year.


Bonniwell and Hayden Launch Podcast after Being Fired from KNUS

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After being fired from KNUS 710-AM last month for joking that a “nice school shooting” would be a welcome antidote to the “never ending impeachment of Donald Trump,” Denver radio host Chuck Bonniwell, along with his co-host Julie Hayden, are launching a podcast Wednesday.

“We are excited to be joining the podcast world with the launch of the Chuck and Julie Show this Wednesday, January 8th,” tweeted the conservative co-hosts Sunday.

“The show will be a live internet call-in talk show providing thought provoking information, conversation, and entertainment,” according to the show’s page on BBS Radio.

It will air Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Denver time.



‘No Labels’ Group Doesn’t Plan to Support Gardner Again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner, “Problem Solver.”

A national organization called “No Labels,” which calls for a bipartisan approach to solve political problems, has no plans to support U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) again this year, as it did during Gardner’s 2014 campaign for Senate.

“We are not looking to do the seal of approval again this cycle, but there is a lot of time between now and the election,” No Labels Executive Director Margaret White told the Colorado Times Recorder last month.

No Labels turned heads during Colorado’s 2014 U.S. Senate race when it gave a “Problem Solver Seal of Approval” to Gardner.

White insisted that her organization did nothing to support Gardner in 2014 besides issue a news release.

But RealClearPolitics reported at the time that No Labels was participating in get-out-the-vote efforts in support of Gardner, during the final days of the close election.

Informed of the spending for Gardner, White said through a spokeswoman that in 2014 her organization “did not donate to the Gardner campaign or direct any outside efforts on his behalf, other than, as has been publicly reported, a few interns doing some canvassing.”

But federal campaign-finance records show that No Labels did, in fact, spend about $4,000 in 2014 in support of Gardner.



Former Colo GOP Official Posts Meme of Trump Slipping Noose Around Obama’s Neck

(Stay classy – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mark McCallister, a former second vice chair of the Mesa County Republican Party, posted a meme on Facebook recently depicting Trump placing a noose around the neck of Obama.

The image is accompanied by the word, “TREASON.”

He attended the April Republican State Convention with fellow Republicans from Mesa County.

McCallister didn’t return an email asking why he apparently posted the meme, obtained from a source.

Asked for a response, state Rep. Matt Soper (R-Delta) said, “I didn’t see this on Mark’s Facebook page, so I cannot comment.”

“On account of the bitter divide at the Federal level, respect and a willingness act as decent humans is lacking.,” said Soper. “As we celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah, I’d ask of politicos and the media alike to tone down fanning the flames of this divide, so that we can be civil and focus on helping those in need, spending time with family and friends during this Holiday season. This is a message for Republicans and Democrats.”

Writing in the Hill about effigies of presidents being hanged or destroyed, Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco pointed out that “Americans have a long history of citizens committing violence against president effigies to voice political dissent.”

Obama effigies hanging from nooses were not uncommon during his presidency, she writes.

“James MadisonJohn TylerAbraham LincolnWoodrow WilsonRichard NixonGerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter were all burned in effigy during their presidencies,” she wrote.

“And each time this happened, the offending party leaders repudiated the distasteful and disrespectful actions of their constituents.”

McCallister left his Mesa County GOP Leadership role this year.

He attended the April Republican State Convention with fellow Republicans from Mesa County.


Boyles Allegedly Took Himself Off-Air at KNUS Because He Believed Co-Worker Was Neo-Nazi

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Peter Boyles.

“What would you do if you worked somewhere, and there was a neo-Nazi on the staff?” KHOW radio host Tom Martino asked his listeners Thursday.

“I heard–I don’t know if it’s true–that [KNUS radio host] Peter Boyles isn’t on the air today at another station because he walked off yesterday and won’t go back because they are employing a neo-Nazi,” said Martino on air.

“Peter allegedly said–I’m getting all kinds of sources–but he didn’t want to work for company that employed this guy,” said Martino, who’s known Boyles for decades.

Boyles did not take me up on my offer to comment Sunday evening.

On Friday, the day after Martino made his comments, 9News’ Jeremy Jojola reported KNUS announced in an internal memo that the alleged neo-Nazi, Kirk Widlund, was no longer with the station.

“As we head into the New Year, with the realignment of expenses I wanted to share that Daniel Catarisano and Kirk Widlund are no longer employed,” read the memo from KNUS management, reported by 9News. “Combined with the loss of the Chuck & Julie Show, it’s a tough time of year to make these types of changes. Join me in thanking them for all their service.”

So, if the allegation is true that Boyles refused to work at KNUS with an alleged neo-Nazi behind the glass in the producer’s seat, then he could be back at KNUS soon. It’s not known if he threatened to quit if KNUS didn’t fire Widlund.



Regret about a ‘Nice School Shooting’ Aside, KNUS Radio Station Celebrates Guns and NRA

KNUS 710-AM management and staff are expressing regret for the pain caused by fired host Chuck Bonniwell’s comment that the “never-ending impeachment” hearings make you wish for a “nice school shooting.”

The KNUS host who’s been the leading voice for the station’s apologies is Steffan Tubbs, and it’s hard to question his sincerity during his on-air conversation last night with the father of a student killed at a Douglas County school shooting in May.

But what gets lost in the glare of the alleged Nazi working at the KNUS, the firing of host who criticized Trump, and the painful joke about a school shooting is what the KNUS hosts say about issues, like guns, day after day after day.

For example, what is Tubbs’ stance on guns and the NRA.

Twelve days after last year’s massacre at Stoneman Parkland High School in Parkland, Florida, Tubbs and his producer, Kirk Widlund, who’s the alleged Nazi, staged an on-air stunt in response to the decision by a group of major corporations, including United Airlines, to cut discounts to NRA members.

Widland and Tubbs bought five-year memberships to the NRA live on the radio, joining what they called the #metooNRA.

Tubbs was astonished that after all the school shootings, including Columbine, the companies had finally decided to fight the NRA.

“It was this one, where [these companies] decided enough is enough, and ‘it’s you, the devil-worshiping, AK-47-shooting, don’t-care-for-your-fellow-man, waving-your-confederate-flag NRA member’; they are going to punish you,” Tubbs said, calling the companies “purely stupid.”

“It kills me,” said Tubbs. “I’m a dedicated mileage-plus United-Airlines-loving consumer.”


Ken Buck Says Impeachment Proves Existence of Deep State; Plans to Fight Back against Federal Workers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Speaking on Greeley radio KFKA yesterday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of northern Colorado said the “really scary part” about the impeachment process is that “there really is a deep state,” and he pledged to fight back in part by taking a “very hard” look at pay raises and other benefits for federal employees and “job security” of “senior bureaucrats” in the executive branch.

“There is this group of bureaucrats that think they run the government and that Congress and the president, whether they’re elected or not, should answer to this group of bureaucrats,” Buck told KFKA host Gail Fallon. “And they — you know — fought against President Trump’s trying to reform government and trying to change the balance between the appointees in the in the executive branch and the career bureaucrats. And they won! That is the only winner of this. The Democrats didn’t win. They’ll learn that next November. The Republicans didn’t win. The president didn’t win. Congress didn’t win. The only winners in this are the bureaucrats.”

In attacking the so-called deep state, Buck is echoing a long-running theme of Trump, who’s long portrayed himself as a victim of deep state operatives.

Most recently, Trump even pointed to the existence of a deep state within the U.S. military.

Much has been written about the topic, including a New York Times bestseller.

And the deep state comes up repeatedly on conservative media outlets, like Fox News.


Impeachment Is So Boring “You Wish for a Nice School Shooting,” Says KNUS Radio Host

(What the…? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: KNUS management has canceled Bonniwell’s radio program, called the Chuck and Julie show, and removed all archived audio from past shows from the station’s website. “Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community,” a statement released Wednesday evening by 710 KNUS Denver reads, “710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the Chuck and Julie show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell. A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.” In response to the backlash against his comment, Bonniwell stated on Twitter, “I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke. I’m sorry it was not received that way.”


Denver radio host Chuck Bonniwell began a segment of his afternoon radio show Tuesday by lamenting the “never-ending impeachment of Donald Trump,” and then saying, “You know, you wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt the monopoly.”

“No, don’t even say that! Don’t call us! Chuck didn’t say that,” said Julie Hayden, who’s Bonniwell’s co-host on the KNUS 710-AM show.

Boniwell and Hayden

I called anyway, and Hayden told me Chuck regretted the comment.

“It was something he immediately wished he hadn’t said,” Hayden told me.

Bonniwell hasn’t apologized on air yet, but immediately after Hayden’s response to his comment, he told his audience that he meant shootings in “which no one would be hurt.”

Bonniwell’s comment came as KNUS is facing accusations that a staffer is a Nazi. KNUS management is reportedly conducting an internal investigation. and the producer has denied posting pro-Nazi comments on social media. The results have not been announced.

Bonniwell, who publishes the Cherry Creek/Glendale Chronicle, has a long track record of comments that draw media scrutiny.

Last year, during Jared Polis’ successful race to become Colorado’s governor, Boniwell said Polis has the support of the “gay mafia.”

During the same election, he called state Sen. Faith Winter of Westminster, “an overweight, unpleasant, vicious, amoral human being.”

A few years ago, Bonniwell told his listeners that Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, who was body slammed by Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), was a “little jerk” and a “metrosexual.”

And, since the holiday season is upon us, you might want to know that Bonniwell once said Obama “doesn’t like Christmas.”