At Least He’s Not Your Cringe-Inducing, Foiled Legislator

(No doubt this has happened to Scott Renfroe – promoted by Colorado Pols)

To the accompaniment of a funky groove that’s probably the soundtrack to half the films in his porn collection, Virginia Republican Dave Albo recounts to fellow delegates his attempt to seduce his wife, only to be deterred by a news story about Albo’s trans-vaginal probe fixation.

See, Albo had earlier that day sponsored a compromise to the contentious bill requiring Virginia women to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion. Something about his lawmaking spelled an abrupt halt to the lovemaking, at least that night.

Just watch:

Who Will Win the Election for Denver Mayor?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ballots are counted a week from today. Polls show Michael Hancock in the lead, but Chris Romer has a powerful GOTV army in the field. Who is going to win?

As always, vote for the candidate you think will win, not the one you want to win. Choices include a range of results so Polsters can predict the magnitude of the win.

What will be the outcome of Denver's mayoral vote?

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At Least He’s Not Your Unfortunately Named Former Mayor

( – promoted by redstateblues)

Fort Wayne probably won’t be dedicating a new government building named after Harry Baals, the Indiana city’s deputy mayor told The Journal Gazette today. And that’s despite the former mayor — who ran Fort Wayne longer than anyone else — leading an online poll run by the city, with more than three times the votes of his nearest competitor at press time.

“We love Fort Wayne, too,” (Deputy Mayor Beth Malloy) said. “We’re not going to make any decisions that look bad.”

… While Baals was a popular mayor, Malloy noted he had an unfortunate name and some elected officials have said such a name would be an embarrassment to the city.

Regardless, Malloy said the online feedback effort has been a success because it has generated interest in local government and created buzz.

“I’m glad people want to get involved,” she said. “We are having fun with government.”

Not as much fun as Fort Waynsters, who have given an even more commanding lead to Baals (pronounced “balls” by the mayor, who was first elected in the 1930s, though his descendants have apparently changed the pronunciation to “bales,” the reporter notes).

As of this posting, Harry Baals Government Center led runner-up Eugene Johnson Memorial Center by more than 7-to-1 in the online balloting. (The blandly named Johnson was the blandly titled property manager for a library when it occupied the building.) Other suggestions getting votes include Thunder Dome, Citizens Plaza and the plain vanilla City Hall.

Commenters on the feedbackfortwayne site aren’t happy city leaders first asked citizens to name the building and then said they plan to ignore the vote. Some commenters are even urging a recall of the current mayor if Baals doesn’t get his name in lights.

Wrote one:

Its sad that Harry Baals can never receive the recognition he deserves because of his name. Don’t you think he suffered enough name calling when he was alive. Heck, why don’t we just wipe his name from the history books so no one can every bring up the shame of having a mayor with a funny name.

And another:

Fort Wayne desperately needs something to make it memorable; this just could be it. If nothing else, we’d be the city with a sense of humor.

Voting continues through Friday.

What a Difference Two Years Makes

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The political landscape looks a bit different on the eve of Election Day 2010 than it did two years ago here on Colorado Pols.

There’s been some turn-over among regular Polsters, Denver no longer has two dailies (and the one remaining is newspapera non grata), and Democrats were giddy at the prospects of sweeping the election the next day.

Even so, some things look nearly the same:

DavidThi808 was a front-page editor (and getting along with everyone), Libertad was out of the penalty box and sounding pretty much the same as he does these days, and Laughing Boy was on the lookout for Democratic screw-ups (and announcing he planned to run against Diana DeGette next time).

Outside Pols, Republicans were already salivating at the chance to impeach Barack Obama, Tom Tancredo was weighing a “quixotic” run for governor, and nutty ballot initiatives were headed for defeat.

Remember when it wasn’t “Change We Can Believe In, But …” and the Republicans were headed to minor-party status in Colorado (guess that one hasn’t changed much in two years)?

Step back for a look at Bizarro Pols: Here and here.

How Are Polsters Casting Ballots?

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Secretary of State’s office reports about 925,000 mail ballots and early votes received through sometime Friday, out of an estimated 1.7 million votes that might be cast this year in Colorado. There are still plenty of mail ballots out there — either making their way through the mails or sitting on kitchen tables — as SOS spokesman Rich Coolidge reports 1.6 million were sent out by county clerks. On top of the votes already checked in by clerks, there are another 1.5 million “active” voters on Colorado rolls (and another 845,000 “inactive,” some of whom will vote this year).

Where are Polsters in this mix? A poll follows.

How are Colorado Polsters getting in the vote?

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Buescher says SOS won’t rule on hypothetical ballot questions

This just out from the secretary of state’s office:

In light of various questions and speculation related to the gubernatorial candidates running in the Republican primary, Secretary of State Bernie Buescher made the following statement:

“This week, my office has fielded numerous calls asking for answers to hypothetical questions related to whether a candidate may be replaced in a contested primary,” Buescher said. “At this point, no decision will be given to speculation that may impact a current and actual contest. Any conclusions reached by my office to these inquiries may potentially have an unintentional effect on an ongoing race.”

Statement continues after the jump.

“If a scenario does occur with actual implications to the ballot, voters can rest assured my office will provide a timely and clear decision that follows Colorado’s constitutional and statutory provisions. Only after all individuals and organizations impacted by this decision have had an opportunity for reasonable input, will we issue an official position.”

“As of now, ballots are printed and the races are set for the primary election. Voters affiliated with the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties will begin to receive their mail ballots early next week with 46 of 64 counties voting exclusively by mail.”

Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey Retiring

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, a 1987 Romer appointment to the high court and a recent target of the Clear the Bench campaign, said Thursday afternoon she’s resigning effective Nov. 30.

Gov. Bill Ritter can appoint her replacement, after a panel nominates three possibilities, but sitting justices will decide who gets to be chief, the GJ Sentinel’s Chuck Ashby notes.

Leading candidates include Justices Gregory Hobbs, Michael Bender and Alex Martinez. Hobbs was appointed to the bench in 1997, a year before Bender and Martinez.

UPDATE: Statement from the Judicial Branch, and send-offs from John Suthers and Ritter, follow.

Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey announces her retirement

DENVER – Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey, who was appointed to the bench in 1987 by Gov. Roy Romer and selected by her colleagues to serve as Chief Justice in 1998, announced her retirement, effective Nov. 30, 2010, at an afternoon news conference.

After 23 years serving the people of Colorado from the Supreme Court bench, Chief Justice Mullarkey, 66, decided now was the right time to step down and pursue other interests.

The Supreme Court Nominating Commission later this summer will interview applicants for the upcoming vacancy and nominate three candidates to the governor, who then will appoint a new associate justice. Members of the court will select a new chief justice.

Chief Justice Mullarkey thanks every current and past member of the Judicial Department for their commitment to improving the administration of justice for the citizens of Colorado and asks for their continued support and dedication to the mission of the department, and is grateful for the opportunity to serve the public.

“The highest calling for any attorney is public service,” she said. “I feel lucky I have had the opportunity to serve, and have greatly enjoyed not only the work of a Supreme Court justice, but also the relationships I’ve formed with my colleagues and others in the Judicial Branch.”

Before joining the court, Chief Justice Mullarkey practiced law for 19 years, including as head of the Colorado Attorney General Office’s Appellate Section and as Colorado’s Solicitor General. She also served as legal advisor to Gov. Richard D. Lamm and held legal positions with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of the Interior.

Attorney General John Suthers issued the follwing statement praising Mullarkey, a longtime ideological foe:

“Chief Justice Mullarkey has served the state of Colorado with distinction both on the court and during her time with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office,” Suthers said. “While we have not agreed on every issue, I salute the dedication of the Chief Justice to public service and her work to make the judicial system in Colorado more accessible and open to the public, such as through the Court in the Community Program. She also has done outstanding work in making the Ralph L. Carr Justice Center a reality.”

Ritter issued the following statement:

“In her 23 years of public service on the state’s highest court, Chief Justice Mullarkey has faithfully interpreted Colorado’s Constitution, statutes and values. Her strong leadership, wisdom and respect for the rule of law have guided the Court through many difficult and challenging issues. I have long admired her deeply held belief that the courts must be an open and accessible venue where we resolve our most important disputes, uphold our Constitution and protect our children and most vulnerable citizens.

“Chief Justice Mullarkey has helped shape our legal landscape for the better, and we will benefit from her rulings, her public service and her legacy for years to come.”


White House Issues Statement on Romanoff Job Question

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The White House wasted little time responding to a release last night from Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff on communications between the Democrat and the administration last year when Romanoff was looking for work.

From the White House press office:


June 3, 2010


Andrew Romanoff applied for a position at USAID during the Presidential transition. He filed this application through the Transition on-line process.  After the new administration took office, he followed up by phone with White House personnel.

Jim Messina called and emailed Romanoff last September to see if he was still interested in a position at USAID, or if, as had been reported, he was running for the US Senate.  Months earlier, the President had endorsed Senator Michael Bennet for the Colorado seat, and Messina wanted to determine if it was possible to avoid a costly battle between two supporters.

But Romanoff said that he was committed to the Senate race and no longer interested in working for the Administration, and that ended the discussion. As Mr. Romanoff has stated, there was no offer of a job.

Politico’s Mike Allen reported in his overnight Playbook newsletter that the White House plans to release Romanoff’s job application “later today.”

Questions about the dueling statements and a poll follow.

Is the White House statement in agreement with Romanoff’s explanation? And is there a meaningful distinction between “dangling” jobs in front of the job-seeker and “offering” a job? Or, as Romanoff phrased it, “suggest[ing] three positions that might be available to me were I not pursuing the Senate race.”

Romanoff, had already applied for the Secretary of State and Senate vacancies and, word has it, the job of lieutenant governor under the governor who’d already passed him over twice. It’s no surprise he’d also already applied for at least one of the jobs White House fixer Jim Messina discussed with him after news broke he was considering challenging Michael Bennet.

Here’s another thing to consider: Politico blogger Ben Smith, in a post titled “Romanoff’s middle finger,” labels Romanoff’s Wednesday night statement a single-digit salute to President Barack Obama, who, after all, has done plenty to oppose Romanoff’s bid.

Andrew Romanoff’s release of an email from Jim Messina listing three senior government positions does some real damage to the White House, showing governance at its most transactional.

But it’s also a sign of something else: How little Establishment Democrats like Romanoff fear the White House. It’s a remarkable act of defiance. [emphasis added]

After more than a week of “no comment” and “no comment” on why he wasn’t commenting, Romanoff’s “jaw-dropping” statement and the White House response only muddy the waters. Suffice it to say no one’s happy talking about this story except gleeful Republicans screaming for a special prosecutor (hopefully one with a license to probe the Obama administration about anything and everything). Yesterday, Romanoff was “clearly anguished,” The Coloradoan’s Bob Moore reports, and you can bet the Bennet campaign and the administration wish this would all just go away. But, ultimately, is this anything but a distraction? Does the news damage anyone, or is it just politics as usual?

UPDATE: The Fix takes a stab at assessing the political fallout. Upshot: It’s complicated, but Obama suffers the most.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen tells everyone — especially scandal-chasing would-be Woodsteinsto calm down:

I hate to disappoint bored political reporters, but this isn’t controversial. It’s not even interesting. Mark Halperin seems especially excited about the “story,” noting the ways in which it’s “potentially more serious” than the Sestak matter. But that’s silly — Romanoff applied for a job, so it’s hardly scandalous to see if he still wanted it.

Does he have a point?

Who Is Hurt Most By This Week's Revelations?

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Poll: Hickenlooper Slips Into Dead Heat With McInnis

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Public Policy Polling is just out with its Colorado gubernatorial match-up, and the results aren’t good for Democrat John Hickenlooper. The Denver mayor led Republican Scott McInnis 50-39 in March, but the two are now tied at 44-44, according to the survey.

Hickenlooper, who has been subjected to heavy advertising labeling him “No Jobs John” without a response, looks to have lost plenty of support among Independent voters. “Most crucially, Hickenlooper has seen a 48-34 lead with independents evaporate to a 42- 46 deficit,” PPP says in its analysis of the poll. (Full results in PDF here.)

Still, Hickenlooper remains the most popular politician in the state with 47% viewing him favorably and 33% unfavorably, but that’s a significant drop from 51-27 measured by PPP in March. “The entire drop has come among Republicans (30-41 to 21-57) and independents (49-28 to 44-34),” PPP notes.

McInnis favorability is mostly unchanged. Can it be that all the buzz about the elk he shot and tax returns he won’t release haven’t moved public opinion much, but the Republican Governors Association ads have?

From the PPP release on its CO-GOV poll:

“John Hickenlooper has an unusual level of personal popularity with independents and Republicans for a Democrat,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But it’s not translating into a willingness by them to vote for him. Between this race and the Senate contest Colorado will be one of the most hard fought states in the country this year.”

OMG! Penry (on Behalf of Norton) Blasts Buck as Ritter’s BFF!

(Uh, okay… – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Wasting no time taking on his new role as Republican Senate candidate Jane Norton’s attack dog campaign manager, state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry sent an e-mail Monday afternoon blasting Norton rival Ken Buck in no uncertain terms.

Titled “Norton on Offense,” the fundraising e-mail signed by Penry says Norton is “not the kind of person who puts her feet up: she wants her campaign to press the cause with renewed vigor and strength,” and Penry does not disappoint. Norton, he says, “slammed” President Barack Obama before his visit to Denver in February and has “focused her fire” on U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet so she can to “pick a fight” with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

That’s a lot of offense.

But to battle Bennet in the general election, Norton has to get past primary opponent Buck, who beat her in the precinct caucuses and looks to have the state assembly to himself as Norton has decided to skip that and petition her way onto the ballot. So Penry unleashes some blistering broadsides on Buck.

Excerpts from Penry’s Buck attack after the jump.

Jane’s been under attack by her opponents. In fact, a Ken Buck 527 group out of Washington, DC has spent over a million dollars unfairly attacking Jane.

The 527s boosting Buck with TV commercials have been mostly boosting Buck, not attacking Norton (a radio ad funded by the Tom Wiens campaign spent several thousand dollars attacking Norton for her position on Referendum C), but it’s Buck’s position as a conservative favorite that raises Norton’s — and Penry’s — ire. South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint ratified Buck’s status last week by bestowing his endorsement, and promise of fundraising help, on Buck. Still, reason enough to attack:

But Jane’s still in the lead, and now we’re going to spend a little time talking about our opponents’ records.

Take Ken Buck, a career government lawyer and lifelong political rainmaker. He’s running as a self-proclaimed “budget hawk” and “political outsider.”

Budget hawk? Ken Buck’s budget as DA in Weld County increased by 50 percent in 5 short years. Barack Obama and Ken Buck have at least one thing in common: they both talk a lot about fiscal discipline. Now if we could only get Ken and Barack to practice what they preach. A 50 percent hike spending is a lot of things, Mr. Buck, but fiscal discipline it is not.

“Ken and Barack” … ouch, that’s got to hurt.

Political outsider? Ken has rubbed elbows with the Big Guns in American politics for years.

He’s rubbed elbows, but he hasn’t had the Big Guns actually marry into his family. And when the Big Guns tried to elbow Buck out of the race last fall, he didn’t cave. The nerve!

Outsider? Ken Buck worked for famed liberal-lawyer-lobbyist Tom Strickland in the Clinton Administration.

What Penry doesn’t mention is that Buck was hired to work for the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s office by Norton’s husband, conservative-lawyer-lobbyist Mike Norton, and then stayed on in the nonpartisan position to work for subsequent U.S. attorneys, including Tom Strickland. He ultimately headed the Criminal Division.

Whether Penry cleared use of the attack term “lawyer-lobbyist” with the Scott McInnis campaign is another question.

Outsider? Ken Buck was the best man in Bill Ritter’s wedding.

Well, not quite. Ritter was the best man at Buck’s wedding, but those prosecutors definitely shouldn’t celebrate marriage across party lines, should they?

Outsider? Not quite.

These facts haven’t made their way into the campaign narrative. But they will. Because voters have a right to know.

And here are the facts: Jane Norton is a conservative who’s running for the Senate to shake-up Washington. Ken Buck, well he talks a good game, but his spending record looks less like a fiscal conservative and more like the record of his BFF Bill Ritter.

That’s right, the Weld County district attorney actually consorted with the Denver district attorney and they happen to be friendly. It’s about time “these facts” make their way into the “campaign narrative,” and Penry is just the one to make them their way there, even if the facts get a little smudged.

Romanoff Won’t Release FEC Numbers Until Next Week

(Obviously Romanoff didn’t raise enough money. There’s NO other reason for this. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This tidbit in Michael Booth’s Denver Post story this morning about first quarter Senate fundraising totals:

Bennet’s Democratic primary challenger, Andrew Romanoff, is the only candidate who has not disclosed how much money he raised in the latest quarter. Campaign officials said they would make the necessary April 15 filing to the Senate and the Federal Election Commission but would not release totals to the public until next week. [emphasis added]

Here’s what’s been raised and reported by the other four major Senate candidates for the first quarter 2010 (with some rounding):

Michael Bennet $1,405,177

Jane Norton $816,000

Ken Buck $218,791

Tom Wiens $199,250

Totals include loans of $100,000 by Buck to his campaign and $98,319 by Wiens to his.

Expectations for Buck, Romanoff FEC Reports

(We’d say these expectations are a little handicapped for both, in reality they need more than that–but here’s the bar as set by The Hill – promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE NO. 3: Still nothing from Romanoff, but The Spot reports Wiens raised — and gave his campaign — about the same as Buck:

Wiens, who is largely self-funding his campaign reported $100,931 contributions from individuals in the first quarter. He gave $98,319 to himself and had about $540,132 cash on hand.

UPDATE NO. 2: It’s after 5 p.m. and nothing from the Romanoff campaign.

UPDATE: Buck’s numbers are in. Better than 4th Quarter but the post-caucus bump doesn’t meet The Hill’s expectations, considering about half the total is a loan from Buck himself. From the campaign’s release:

The Ken Buck for Colorado Senate Campaign announced a total receipts of $218,791 raised in the first quarter of 2010, more than five times the receipts in the last quarter of 2009. The receipts include a $100,000 loan from Ken Buck. [emphasis added]


Today’s the deadline for filing 1st Quarter FEC reports, and the two Senate candidates who aren’t running petition drives have yet to reveal their fundraising totals.

Already, Jane Norton has reported raising $816,000, and Michael Bennet said he brought in $1.4 million. Still to come: Ken Buck and Andrew Romanoff, who can either mount effective statewide campaigns through the summer or not. (Tom Wiens hasn’t released his totals either, but since he’s self-funding there isn’t as much anticipation for his report.)

The Hill’s Ballot Box takes a look and sets the bar:

The first-quarter fundraising reports of an election year mark a new phase in the campaign – a time when expectations grow and the numbers can make or break a candidate.

Strong numbers can give a long-shot candidate credibility; disappointing numbers can sink a favorite. […]

The former state House Speaker Romanoff, meanwhile, better have gotten at least a little bump from his victory over Bennet at the March precinct caucuses. Reasonable expectations are a couple hundred thousand dollars from Buck and half a million dollars from Romanoff [emphasis added], who raised $337,000 in the fourth quarter.

What say you, Polsters?

At Least He’s Not Your Lobbyist Threatening To Cut Out Your — Oh, Wait

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Walsh) filed an ethics complaint against Nate Gorman, a lobbyist representing veterans, Jessica Fender reports at The Spot. The lawmaker charges the lobbyist with physically threatening him, specifically: “He said he would cut out my lying tongue and stuff it down my lying throat.”

McKInley said he is concerned he might react next time. “We cannot allow a lobbyist to be bullying a legislator,” he told Fender.

Norman denies making the threat and called McKinley’s complaint “laughable” and “sad.”

Details behind the alleged threat and a poll follow.

McKinley said he was talking to Sen. Ken Kester in Kester’s office about a bill concerning funding options for the Trinidad State Nursing Home when he called Norman a liar.

Trouble is, Norman was walking past the door and overheard McKinley, both sides agree. Then the lobbyist confronted the lawmaker at an elevator, where no witnesses heard the alleged threat but McKinley yelled for Norman to “Say that again!”

Norman says McKinley’s outburst was meant to imply he’d said something that made the state rep mad but denies any such thing happened.

What would be an appropriate threat to a lawmaker?

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Bennet Starts TV Advertising Campaign Day After Caucuses

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Michael Bennet campaign announced this afternoon it will start running a television ad on Wednesday to introduce the candidate and his campaign to voters.

The message is a sharp stick in the eye of Washington, which Bennet calls “broken,” building on reform measures he introduced earlier this month. It’s the first TV commercial Bennet has ever run, his campaign emphasizes, making the point he’s not a career politician.

Shot in front of Lookout Mountain, the ad also unveils a new Bennet slogan: “I’m Michael Bennet and I approve this message,” he says, “because I’m listening to Colorado.”

The ad will run for two weeks in Denver and Colorado Springs on broadcast and cable at a reported cost in the neighborhood of $300,000.

Watch the ad and read a transcript after the jump.

Here’s a transcript:

Michael Bennet: I’ve been in Washington for only a year.

But it didn’t take that long to see the whole place is broken.

It’s time to give them a wake up call.

That’s why I’m for freezing Congressional pay until we get our economy back on track.

I think senators and congress should lose their health insurance, until they can stop insurance company abuses.

And I’d ban members of congress from ever becoming lobbyists.

I’m Michael Bennet and I approve this message because I’m listening to Colorado.

Lynn Bartels reports on The Spot blog that GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams had a snappy retort to the ad:

Trust Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, to weigh in and not in a good way for Bennet. Said Wadhams: “Bennet says something about only being in Washington for a year.  Interesting comment from someone who was raised in the salons of Washington, D.C. and went to school at the exclusive St. Alban’s School.”

Benefield: Payday Loan Debate “About the Catholic Church and Other Crap”

(Not the legislature’s finest hour, folks – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mark Ferrandino’s attempts to cap interest rates on payday lending in Colorado stalled Friday in the Legislature, the Denver Post’s Tim Hoover reports, as House leaders postponed a vote because two Democrats were absent. The margin could be as close as a single vote, Ferrandino told Hoover.

Who’s opposed? House Republicans, who say reining in 300 percent interest rates would hurt the working poor, and some Democrats too. Hoover quotes Greeley Rep. Jim Riesberg, who “offered an impassioned defense of payday lenders” and said banks gouge customers worse with overdraft fees, and Arvada Rep. Debbie Benefield, who said the customers were the problem.

Rep. Debbie Benefield, D-Arvada, said people who have problems with payday loans have bad money management skills. She angrily said the debate was a discussion about “saving individuals from themselves and about the Catholic Church and other crap I’m hearing.”

The bill could come up for consideration again next week or might be sent back to committee for a rewrite.

A poll follows.

What's the problem with payday lending in Colorado?

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PPP Pegs Romanoff 5 Points Up on Norton, Bennet Tied

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Today’s PPP poll on the Colorado Senate race shows the same trend found in recent Rasmussen polling: Andrew Romanoff does better than Michael Bennet against the leading Republican, Jane Norton. According to a poll pitting the Democrats against the top three Republicans, Romanoff would beat Norton 44-39, while Bennet and Norton would be tied at 43-43. Both Democrats do well against Ken Buck and Tom Wiens.

After noting that Romanoff does better against Norton, Tom Jenson of PPP adds this analysis:

I would be cautious about declaring Romanoff to be the more electable candidate based on these early numbers though. Bennet has had all the negatives of incumbency- being associated with an unpopular majority party during a recession- without the positives- defining himself positively to the voters on the airwaves in the context of a statewide campaign. If Romanoff is still doing better than Bennet four or five months from now once the voters have started really paying attention the electability argument might carry more heft. [emphasis added]

In other words, there’s a built-in bias against incumbents that could vanish once the real campaigning starts. Just as Democrats have been aiming all their fire at Norton (and probably driving up her negatives), so have the Republicans been attacking Bennet (and ignoring Romanoff).

So this poll does show Romanoff has residual goodwill and has left a favorable impression from his years as top Democrat in the House, but it doesn’t show how he performs statewide when there’s a real campaign against him. And that’s coming, whoever the nominees are.

PPP also adds:

All three times we’ve looked at this race over the last year it’s come out very close, and I think the Colorado Senate race will prove to be one of the most competitive in the country this year.

Like it or not, having the money to wage one of the most competitive races in the country is going to be a deciding factor. Has Romanoff started to make up the enormous gap in fundraising? We’ll know in a couple weeks as the 3rd Quarter wraps.

Full results and cross tabs here.

PPP plans to release results of its Senate primary election polls for both Democrats and Republicans on Monday. Stay tuned!

At Least He’s Not Your Celibate Western Governor

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

He denied playing footsie with Mazzeo under the table because, he said, he was wearing cowboy boots.

That’d be Gov. Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada), who laid bare the embarrassing details of his life in a lengthy deposition taken by a lawyer representing Chrissy Mazzeo. The Las Vegas cocktail waitress has filed a civil suit alleging the drunken governor groped her in a parking garage. Gibbons won reelection after the allegations surfaced — and he denied them — but is facing a tough primary challenge and a divorce battle with his wife.

In the deposition, Gibbons denied taking bribes or kickbacks, denied keeping a “love condo” with Mazzeo, and denied having sex with his wife — at least since 1995.

That’s right, Nevada’s governor swore under oath he’s been celibate for the last 15 years, and he likes it.

“I’m living proof that you can survive without sex for that long,” Gibbons said.

But don’t expect him to joke about it:

When asked whether he had been flirty or had told any raunchy jokes while having cocktails with Mazzeo and others, Gibbons said he wasn’t a good joke teller and said he did not know the meaning of the term “double entendre.”

Hasan Says Campaign Law Buck Stops with God, Not Bernie Buescher

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In response to an odd question about potential campaign finance violations at a recent GOP candidate forum, Republican state treasurer candidate (and regular Pols poster!) Ali Hasan said it was the job of God, not government, to enforce Colorado fundraising laws.

Hasan’s invokation of God’s ultimate authority, reported by The Colorado Statesman, came in response to a suggestion a treasurer candidate might funnel personal contributions through acquaintances, which would violate Colorado law.

Both of Hasan’s rivals, Walker Stapleton and J.J. Ament, denied anything of the sort was going on in their campaigns and said it would spell the end of any candidacy pulling such a stunt. Hasan didn’t address whether his campaign was guilty but said the question was moot because the three candidates weren’t Democrats.

Hasan also affirmed a vow of omertà when it comes to ratting out fellow Republicans — he’s no snitch.

Read The Statesman’s account of the strange exchange below the fold.

Fountain City Councilwoman Lois Landgraf read questions submitted by the audience at a recent forum sponsored by the El Paso County Republican Women’s Club. (The Statesman doesn’t say when the event occurred, but the story is in the issue published Friday.)

Landgraf ventured into rocky territory when she read the question, “What would you do if you found out that your opponent was violating ethics by giving people money and asking them to give it back as a campaign donation?”

The candidates looked baffled; members of the audience giggled and whispered throughout the room.

“That is a campaign finance violation and it should be reported to the Secretary of State (Bernie Buescher),” declared Walker.

“It would be a risk that no candidate with integrity (running) for this office would want to be involved with,” he said, but added that if that had occurred, it would be a cause for “celebration” because the offending candidate would likely drop out of the race.

Ament said, “I’d just like say we’re not doing that – we’re working hard for every donation we receive.”

Hasan said that if a fellow candidate had violated campaign finance laws, it would be a matter between that individual and God.

“There are some punishments that God will take care of – not government. So I don’t feel it would be in my place to rat out a fellow Republican,” he explained. [emphasis added]

“This question doesn’t need to be asked. You’ve got three good men running for this office – we’re not Democrats,” asserted Hasan.

The audience burst into laughter and applause.

Bennet Pressures Reid to Support Reconciliation For Public Option

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid signaled today he will support adding a public option to the health care bill using reconciliation if Democrats agree to use the procedure to pass changes to the bill.

A big element pressuring Reid to take this position? The letter written by Sen. Michael Bennet asking him to.

Of course, there are a number of conditions that have to be met before this plan moves ahead — the White House has to sign on, the Senate parliamentarian has to sign off, and House Dems have to agree — but this is a remarkable step toward passing the kind of health care reform polls say voters support.

Reid’s statement below.

From Greg Sargent’s Plum Line blog at the Washington Post:

With more and more Senators signing on to the letter urging Reid to hold an up or down vote on the public option under reconciliation rules, Reid spokesman Rodell Mollineau sends over a statement signaling Reid’s qualified support for the move:

Senator Reid has always and continues to support the public option as a way to drive down costs and create competition. That is why he included the measure in his original health care proposal.

If a decision is made to use reconciliation to advance health care, Senator Reid will work with the White House, the House, and members of his caucus in an effort to craft a public option that can overcome procedural obstacles and secure enough votes.

If Congress passes a public option using reconciliation, Michael Bennet will be:

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Norton Welcomes Obama With Ad Blitz

(Ah good…now the campaign ads start. – promoted by Middle of the Road)

The day before President Obama visits Denver to attend fundraisers for Sen. Michael Bennet, Republican Senate frontrunner Jane Norton unveiled an ad campaign today aimed at tying Bennet to the Obama administration’s deficit spending. The ad doesn’t mention Bennet. Here’s the TV version:

The ad’s script and Norton’s deficit proposals follow.

Here’s the ad’s transcript, from the Norton campaign, though the TV ad released doesn’t have an announcer but displays those words in titles. There’s a radio version that’s almost identical.

ANNOUNCER: The President’s coming to Denver and Colorado needs to send him a message.

JANE NORTON: Mr. President, as a candidate you came to Denver and promised to “go through the federal budget…eliminating programs that no longer work…”

You’ve done just the opposite – massive spending and debt.

It’s ruining our economy and it’s wrong.

Mr. President, you should pledge to balance the budget or else decline to seek re-election. That’d be change we could believe in.

I’m Jane Norton. I approved this message. Let’s Stand Up, Colorado.

“Let’s Stand Up, Colorado,” appears to be the Norton slogan.

Here’s what the Norton campaign proposes:

– Cut discretionary spending by 20 percent and then freeze it for three years. This shouldn’t be hard to accomplish – all it would require is a return to 2008 levels.

– Use what’s left of the stimulus and TARP money to pay down the debt. It will show the American people you’re serious about fiscal responsibility.

– End your quest for a government healthcare takeover.

– Then cut taxes on small businesses. Ronald Reagan showed that it works. When small businesses can create jobs through a lower tax burden, tax receipts actually go up.

– End earmarks.

– Finally, do what you promised. Go through your budget line by line and eliminate wasteful programs until the federal government is not spending a dime more than it makes.

What say you, Polsters? Does Norton have her economics right? Is it a good idea to slash federal spending and suspend the stimulus while the country is still getting out of a recession?


Sandoval Throws Hat in District 1 Council Race

(Updated info to Dan’s diary. – promoted by Middle of the Road)

As predicted, state Sen. Paula Sandoval announces she’s running for the Denver City Council District 1 seat vacated by Rick Garcia’s appointment to a regional HUD post. She doesn’t plan to step down from her legislative seat to make the run.

As Dan Willis laid out, this creates the potential for other dominos to fall, should Sandoval win.…

Release follows:

Today, State Senator Paula E. Sandoval announced she would run for the City Council vacancy created by Councilman Rick Garcia’s appointment as the new Rocky Mountain Regional Director for Housing and Urban Development.

(continues after the jump)

Senator Sandoval has a long history of public service.  She has been a State Senator representing North West Denver for the past eight years and has served on many boards and commissions including the Colorado State Historical Society, the Colorado Commission on Aging, the Denver Mountain Parks Foundation, the Greenway Foundation and the Denver Welfare Reform Board.

During her time as a State Senator, Paula has concentrated on social legislation and legislation to benefit children.  She was the prime senate sponsor for the low-income energy assistance bill, the Kids First License Plate, the Healthy School Vending Bill, the High-Risk Alternative Education bill and the Colorado Schoolchildren’s Asthma and Anaphylaxis Health Management Act.  In 2007 she sponsored a bill to extend Medicaid benefits for foster children to age 21 and also worked to put more state dollars into school breakfasts and lunches for Colorado’s children.

Paula E. Sandoval and her husband, Former State Senator Paul Sandoval, own Tamales by La Casita, Inc.  They have been in business over twenty-five years.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to run for Denver City Council which would allow me to continue representing North West Denver residents. As a legislator I understand the legislative process; as a business owner I understand the impact that same legislation has on businesses and consumers; and as an active community member I understand the importance of communicating with constituents and being their liaison to the City,” declared Paula Sandoval.

Once the Denver City Council declares Council District 1 a vacant seat, a special election will have to be conducted 30-60 days after the declaration unless a regularly scheduled election is within 90 days.

At Least It’s Not Your Intelligence Agency Contracting Out Assassinations

— er, wait, this time it is.

As the New York Times reports, when he learned the CIA had hired Blackwater (the artist currently known as Xe) to help with the secret assassination program, CIA Director Leon Panetta spilled the beans to Congress.…

WASHINGTON – The Central Intelligence Agency in 2004 hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda, according to current and former government officials.

The fact that the C.I.A. used an outside company for the program was a major reason that Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A.’s director, became alarmed and called an emergency meeting in June to tell Congress that the agency had withheld details of the program for seven years, the officials said.

We are continually reminded what a depraved regime of outlaws and thugs was only recently in power in this country. Is it any wonder some of their supporters are miffed?

Walter Cronkite, ‘The Most Trusted Man in America,’ Dies at 92

(“Objective journalism and an opinion column are about as similar as the Bible and Playboy magazine.” –Walter Cronkite – promoted by ThillyWabbit)

It’s been decades since America gathered every evening to watch the day’s news, and for those younger than about 40, it might be hard to conceive what a constant, authoritative influence Walter Cronkite was for nearly two decades. That era is long gone and now, with Cronkite’s passing Friday evening, so is its last and greatest emblem.

From the CBS News story:

Known for his steady and straightforward delivery, his trim moustache, and his iconic sign-off line -“That’s the way it is” – Cronkite dominated the television news industry during one of the most volatile periods of American history. He broke the news of the Kennedy assassination, reported extensively on Vietnam and Civil Rights and Watergate, and seemed to be the very embodiment of TV journalism.

It was a 1972 poll that named Cronkite “the most trusted man in America,” a sentiment echoed by President Barack Obama in a statement:

“For decades, Walter Cronkite was the most trusted voice in America. His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged.

“He was there through wars and riots, marches and milestones, calmly telling us what we needed to know. And through it all, he never lost the integrity he gained growing up in the heartland.

“But Walter was always more than just an anchor. He was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. This country has lost an icon and a dear friend, and he will be truly missed.”

Here’s Cronkite telling the nation Martin Luther King had been assassinated April 4, 1968:

Here’s Cronkite delivering his verdict on the Vietnam War.

Here’s the CBS page with stories, videos and photos.