South Jeffco Tea Party Removes FB Post Saying Stapleton’s Advisors Should be Drawn & Quartered

Drawn & Quartered

It’s been a busy week both online and in real life for the South Jeffco Tea Party. On Tuesday one of its members called out the Republican establishment in no uncertain terms and tonight the group is hosting a VIP Meet & Greet followed by a public forum for state GOP party official candidates.

Embracing its anti-establishment spirit, the South JeffCo Tea Party account posted a poll on Facebook earlier this week, asking its followers which they “hold in higher regard: ‘Chlamydia’ or the ‘RNC National Committee.’

A commenter asked “Is this same RNC that ran Walker Stapleton? I’ll have to think about that.”

While one might expect a Tea Party group to pile on the criticism of an establishment candidate like Stapleton, the SJCTP instead celebrated the democratic process, saying “We Coloradans picked Walker Stapleton and there was nothing wrong with that, he’s a fair enough candidate…”

But then things got dark:



Walker Wants Our Water

(He’s never running in Colorado again, that’s for sure – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton shared a new money-making strategy with his Twitter followers today: invest in water!

The article shared by Stapleton encourages investing “Like Dr. Michael Burry from the Big Short.”

For those who haven’t seen the movie, Dr. Burry is one of a handful of financial speculators who anticipated the 2008 mortgage crash and bet against the market, making billions off the massive losses in value sustained by millions of American families, homeowners and retirees.

Why water? Because it’s a limited resource that’s dwindling by the day! To make its point, the article addresses the shortage from a global perspective:

By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity, with 2/3rds of the world’s population living in water-stressed regions. …Ask the residents of Flint, Michigan, who are experiencing firsthand the effects of America’s aging water infrastructure. Clearly there’s a growing and critical demand for access to freshwater and for related products and services. So how can an intelligent investor profit from it?

None of this is news to those of us in Colorado, where drought conditions have lowered reservoir levels to near-record lows. Last year’s snow-melt was so small that the Colorado River Basin received just a third of its average annual water volume. This forced the state to close the Yampa river to fishing and boating last summer and eventually to cut water to some users in September.



2018 In Review: Colorado Pols’ Top Ten Most Shared Posts

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Recovering from our New Year celebrations after the most momentous year in Colorado politics since before most of us were born, here’s a list of our top stories of 2018 as determined by our readers’ social media sharing habits–which seems like a nice, small-d democratic way to do things.

Two familiar names dominated readers’ interest:

  1. New Poll: Cory Gardner Would Lose The Election Today
  2. Gardner’s Hollow Words on Kavanaugh Accusers Exposed
  3. BREAKING: Denver7 Pulls False Ad Attacking Jared Polis
  4. Cory Gardner is So Screwed
  5. Suppose The Vice President Showed Up And Nobody Came
  6. Walker Stapleton: The Candidate Nobody is Afraid to Face
  7. Seriously, Is Everything About Walker Stapleton a Lie?
  8. Hate Group Rally At Capitol Features Colorado Republican Speakers and Stapleton Super PAC
  9. Walker Stapleton’s Packed-House Victory Tour Continues
  10. Stapleton Says He’s Bringing Trump To Stump!

Honorable Mentions:

Thanks to everyone who saw fit not only to visit, but help circulate our content throughout the internets in 2018.


Caption This Photo: Walker Stapleton, Happy At Last

Walker Stapleton, the Republican nominee for governor of Colorado who lost this year’s election by over 10 points, was a candidate who never seemed quite comfortable in his own skin on the campaign trail. It was a running gag during the campaign among Democrats to share the worst possible photos of Stapleton, which was easy because there were so few good photos among dozens of new ones every day.

But with the election over and the pressure finally off Colorado’s dynastic son, you can see the difference in this photo from Stapleton’s post-election holiday in Hawaii:

Seriously, that’s the happiest we’ve ever seen Walker Stapleton. Civilian life is going to be just fine for him.

We approve of the beard, too–hopefully it’s not just a no-shave November thing.


“Radicalifornia” Endnotes


As readers know, the state of California factored oddly heavily in the 2018 midterm elections in Colorado. Colorado Republicans attempted to capitalize on the “threat” of Colorado becoming more like the Golden State in all kinds of ways, from the horrors of life in San Francisco to the supposedly wrecked California economy–and, of course, a generous helping of dog-whistle subtext about hippie liberals and their “alternative lifestyles.”

But as it turns out, the states of Colorado and California did have something in common in the 2018 elections. For Republicans in both states, 2018 was an historic wipeout that has left the state’s Republican establishments wondering what the future (if any) looks like. As Politico reports:

In the wake of a near-political annihilation in California that has left even longtime conservative stronghold Orange County bereft of a single Republican in the House of Representatives, a growing chorus of GOP loyalists here say there’s only one hope for reviving the flatlining party: Blow it up and start again from scratch.

That harsh assessment comes as Republicans survey the damage from the devastation of a “blue tsunami” in California which wiped out five GOP-held House seats — with more still threatened — while handing every statewide seat and a supermajority to the Democrats in both houses of the state legislature this week…

For anyone with an understanding of California politics, the idea of the conservative bastion of Orange County failing to send a single Republican back to Congress for 2019 is practically unthinkable. California’s Democratic majorities in the State Assembly and Senate are now supermajorities–a critical hurdle since California requires a two-thirds legislative majority to pass a budget. California’s blue wave, like Colorado’s, delivered a sweep of statewide races to the Democrats.

“I believe that the party has to die before it can be rebuilt. And by die — I mean, completely decimated. And I think Tuesday night was a big step,’’ says veteran California GOP political consultant Mike Madrid. “There is no message. There is no messenger. There is no money. And there is no infrastructure.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s striking to us how you can change the name “Mike Madrid” to any number of veteran Republicans in Colorado, and the quote above would remain generally accurate. When Colorado Republicans warned that Colorado would become “like California” if Colorado Democrats won, it wasn’t just a warning about the culture.

They foresaw their own destruction. And they were right.

As we said during the campaign, demonizing California was a strategy fully dependent on cultural prejudice and a kind of weird talk radio intra-American xenophobia that was never going to appeal to a majority of Colorado voters. In 2016, less than 43% of Coloradans were born in the state at all. Not only did the “Radicalifornia” message miss the mark, it helped cement the Colorado GOP’s image of being ignorant and out of touch.

In both states, the results speak for themselves.


Elway Is A Loser On And Off The Football Field This Election Season

(Sad trombone – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

John Elway and Tim Neville

One reason political analysts think the waters of the blue wave won’t be leaving Colorado anytime soon is the absence of a Republican candidate who appears to be able to win.

Bronco legend John Elway has been thought of as such a candidate in the past, even though he’s apparently never really wanted to run.

And, even if he did, he appears to be on a deep losing streak, presiding over both a losing football team and endorsing failed GOP candidates.

John Elway and Beth Martinez Humenik

His favorite candidates appear to have included State Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton), who lost to Democrat Tammy Story; GOP businesswomen Christine Jensen, who lost to State Rep. Jessie Danielson  (D-Wheat Ridge); and State Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik (R-Thornton), who was defeated by Democratic State Rep. Faith Winter, of Adams County.

Apparently trying to jump to an early lead, the Superbowl quarterback gave $10,000 in August to Better Colorado Now, which spent heavily on behalf Walker Stapleton, who was blown out by Democrat Jared Polis by over 10 percentage points. Whether that entity was playing by the rules when Stapleton helped collect early donations has been questioned.



Post-Mortem Poll: Trump Led Colorado GOP To Slaughter

The Denver Post’s Jon Murray reports on a post-election poll from GOP-aligned pollster Magellan Strategies out today, documenting how backlash over President Donald Trump’s election and controversial term in office since 2016 directly translated to historic defeat for Republicans at every level in Colorado in 2018:

The phone poll, conducted by a Republican firm Nov. 7-9, confirmed that unaffiliated voters — whose participation surged to historic levels for a midterm election — broke with tradition by favoring Democrats by huge margins on Nov. 6. Unaffiliated voters who turn out in midterms in Colorado tend to break for Republicans, while leaning left in presidential elections.

And unlike previous Democratic electoral routs, the poll suggests, it’s less likely Republicans will be in a position to bounce back in two years, when Trump is up for re-election.

“What is still the most important voting bloc is all of the unaffiliated voters,” said David Flaherty, the founder and CEO of Louisville-based Magellan Strategies. “And the bottom line is that boy oh boy, they did not like what Republicans were offering up. And boy oh boy, they do not like this president. … It could not have been a darker day.”

Midterm losses for the party holding the White House are almost always certain, but there’s a reason why the “blue wave” of 2018 crested higher in our state than most. Despite the fact that Trump lost Colorado in the 2016 presidential election, Colorado Republicans deliberately embraced Trump on the campaign trail. This began in earnest during the Republican gubernatorial primary, in which eventual nominee Walker Stapleton made “supporting President Trump” his principal message to the party faithful. Whether motivated by sheer hubris or a misguided calculation that holding the Republican base together was more important than alienating swing voters hostile to Trump, the result was disaster.

Colorado Republicans willfully, consciously, happily followed President Trump into the abyss. Responsibility for this mistake is both broad and deep. From Stapleton to the state party brass to every Republican candidate who made the choice either to stand with the President or remain silent–they earned this outcome. They chose it.

And the unaffiliated voters of Colorado who decide elections will not soon forget.


Jared Polis Will Win Governor’s Race by Double Digits

We don’t yet know the final vote tally from the 2018 election in Colorado, but the numbers continue to grow for Democrats. Check out these totals as of 4:00 pm on Monday (Nov. 12):

The race for Governor was called in favor of Democrat Jared Polis early on Election Night, but Polis’ margin of victory over Republican Walker Stapleton has only risen as more ballots are counted. Also worth noting: Stapleton received the fewest total votes of any of the four major statewide Republican candidates.

And for the record, we called this outcome in our pre-election forecast:

A double-digit Polis win is now a real possibility.

These vote totals should also scare the crap out of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is up for re-election in 2020. Gardner defeated Democrat Mark Udall by less than two points in 2014 with a total vote count of 965,974. In 2018, the Republican candidate for Governor received nearly 100,000 more votes than Gardner’s 2014 total…and will still end up losing to a Democrat by more than 10 points.


We Told You So (Apparently)

dealinwalkerfinA Colorado Pols reader reminded us over the weekend that we had long ago predicted that Republican Walker Stapleton would not be the next Governor of Colorado.

We had honestly forgotten about this, but everything that we wrote in this May 2015 post — “Walker Stapleton Shows (Again) Why He’ll Never Make it to Higher Office” — held up pretty well in 2018. For example:

Walker Stapleton [is] Colorado’s “gold standard” when it comes to the stereotypical, fast-talking, bullshitting politician. Stapleton has made such a caricature of himself over the last couple of years that it he hardly seems real. Surely, you think, nobody can truly be this transparently smarmy and exist as an actual human politician…or can he?

The State Treasurer doesn’t traditionally generally get a lot of press in Colorado, and Stapleton has been no exception to the norm. But when Stapleton’s name does end up in the news, the odds are pretty good that it’s because he did something stupid. Stapleton is good at stupid.

When we wrote about Stapleton in May 2015, it was in relation to his bizarre attempt to claim that he had opposed a controversial PERA-related bill — nevermind that he wrote a letter in support of the legislation and even testified in favor of HB-1388. We marveled at the fact that Republicans were looking at Stapleton as a contender for higher office in the future despite his obvious shortcomings:

Stapleton is pretty good at fundraising, largely because of his family connections (he’s directly related to the Bush family), but he’s otherwise a complete political dunce who frequently stumbles into obvious potholes. Stapleton was re-elected as State Treasurer in 2014, but it was an unexpectedly close race due entirely to his own idiocy; when an open records request revealed that Stapleton rarely bothered to show up at his office, he made ridiculous excuses and then wouldn’t stop talking about it.

We wrote after the November election that Stapleton’s panicky errors and laughable TV ads should remove his name from future discussion about higher office; since then, Stapleton has done nothing to prove us wrong. Democrats can only hope that Stapleton is someday the Republican nominee for Governor or Senate. [Pols emphasis]

Walker Stapleton was always the candidate that Democrats hoped they would face in November 2018. As the Republican candidate for Governor, Stapleton was exactly who we thought he would be.


Get More Smarter: The Big Predictions Thread

With the 2018 elections wrapping up today, here’s our master list of official predictions on the outcome in Colorado. If you’re looking for national predictions, we suggest FiveThirtyEight or your choice of outlets focused on the national map. For the next 24 hours, we’re focused exclusively on the home front.

With that in mind, please refer to this list as you roast your hosts on Wednesday for everything we get wrong:

Governor: Jared Polis will handily win the race for governor. Our previous forecasts had held the prediction of Polis’ win margin below 10% citing a number of factors, but over the past few weeks the climate has only improved for Democrats in Colorado and ballot returns echo this growing confidence. A double-digit Polis win is now a real possibility.

CD-6: After years of trying, Democrats harpoon the proverbial white whale and bring incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman down. Coffman’s ticket-splitting survival strategy of triangulation off his own party was confounded by Donald Trump’s election, and he has been unable to maintain the illusory separation from the GOP brand that kept him in office in a district unsupportive of conservative Republican politics.

CD-3: Despite a spirited campaign by state Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, recent polling and anecdotes from the field suggest that incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton will retain his seat and thus serve as the Republican Party’s firewall in Colorado for 2018. This race is a good barometer of the size of a potential “Blue Wave” nationally; if Tipton loses, that means Democrats are wiping out Republicans everywhere.

Colorado House: Democrats are poised to gain seats in the chamber they already control by a comfortable margin.

Colorado Senate: Republicans have poured at least $10 million into preserving their single-seat majority in the Colorado Senate, the only locus of Republican veto power in Colorado state government. Control over the chamber appears to be focusing on the SD-24 race between Republican Beth Martinez Humenik and Faith Winter. This race, and with it control of the Senate, is an absolute toss-up, and we honestly have no idea which way it will fall.

Colorado Attorney General: Phil Weiser appears poised to win this race after an ugly but bumbling negative campaign waged by Republican George Brauchler. Historic frustration for Democrats in this race obliges contained enthusiasm, but this is the constitutional statewide office Democrats feel strongest about flipping (other than Governor, of course).

Colorado Treasurer: Republican Brian Watson’s prodigious baggage has been thoroughly aired in this campaign, combining with high Democratic turnout to inspire a measure of confidence in Democrat Dave Young. We give Young the slight edge.

Colorado Secretary of State: Colorado voters haven’t awarded the top four statewide offices to the same party in more than 20 years. Despite a checkered record as Secretary of State and late-breaking scandals that likely would have sunk his re-election bid had they come out earlier, Wayne Williams is the most likely Republican to win statewide in Colorado this year.

We expect this year’s “alphabet amendments,” Amendments V, W, X, Y, Z, and A to all pass handily, as will the payday loan rate cap Proposition 111Amendment 73, a measure to hike taxes on high-income earners for public education, may outperform previous similar measures that were handily defeated but is still unlikely to pass. Amendment 74, the highly controversial takings measure opposed by basically everyone except the oil and gas industry, is also likely to die–as is Proposition 112, a measure to substantially increase setbacks between new oil and gas drilling and surface development, leaving a status quo ante on the issue for the next governor.

Of the two transportation funding measures, Proposition 109 and Proposition 110, we’d say 109 is the more likely of the two to pass because it promises something for nothing to voters by borrowing money to fix roads (assuming legislators will find cuts in the state’s budget to pay for it). We’re concerned that the work to educate voters on the irresponsibility of 109 versus the responsible pay-fors of 110 has not been sufficient, though the overall confusion with two competing ballot measures could sink both options.

And there you have it, readers! We, like everybody on the ballot, await the judgement of history.


Winning, Losing: What It Looks Like

One of the prevalent narratives of the 2018 elections in Colorado is a tremendous gap in voter enthusiasm between Republicans on the defensive under Donald Trump’s widening cloud and Democrats surging to avenge themselves upon every candidate with an (R) after their name. This difference in enthusiasm is broadly evident in the final weekend of field campaigning before Tuesday’s election, with photographic evidence all over social media.

On the Saturday before Election Day in a race GOP incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman is expected by every responsible observer to lose, it would seem that friends are hard to come by. We count ten supporters in this picture, some of whom we assume are staff.

Coffman’s Democratic opponent Jason Crow…did a little better.

A similar story appears to be playing out in races all over the state. In the slate of key state senate races set to determine control of the chamber, big crowds of canvassers mobilized this morning for Faith Winter, Jessie Danielson, Tammy Story, Brittany Pettersen, and Kerry Donovan’s re-election on the Western Slope.

In the interest of fairness, here’s GOP gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton rallying a respectable number of party faithful in the conservative exurban bastion of Douglas County this morning:

But any Republican feeling reassured by this decent turnout in solidly Republican Douglas County is going to have to explain Democratic nominee Jared Polis’ substantially bigger crowd last night in the equally arch-conservative bastion of Colorado Springs. Here’s a campaign not conceding a single precinct:

The rule of winning statewide in Colorado is that you have to run up the score in your base regions of the state, but you can’t lose too badly in areas you’re destined to lose. El Paso County’s large number of Democratic and swingable votes can’t be overlooked simply because they don’t add up to a majority in El Paso County–and the Polis campaign clearly understands this.

All told, the photos tell a story consistent with the polling and analysis that all says Tuesday will be a very good night for Colorado Democrats up and down the ballot. There’s certainly no sign of complacency here on the part of Democrats, which would pose the biggest danger at this point of undercutting Tuesday’s results. This is a party mindful of the opportunity this election presents, and determined to close the deal.

If you have photos from campaign events, field operations, or anything else that helps document this unfolding moment in history, please share them in comments below.


This Is Not a Good Look for the Colorado Springs Gazette

Wayne and Dede Laugesen

The Washington Post has been conducting interviews with female voters in the suburbs of Atlanta and Denver, and today published a long story looking at how women are shaping the 2018 election. In what was probably an unintentional side-effect, the Post story also laid bare the right-wing leanings of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Among the women included in the Post’s story is Dede Laugesen, the Republican political consultant and a former campaign operative with the Donald Trump for President campaign who is married to Wayne Laugesen, the Editorial Page Editor for the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper. The Gazette is an unapologetically right-wing newspaper that has worked hard to carry water for Republicans in 2018, spinning for Mike Coffman and putting their thumb on the scale for Walker Stapleton. The Gazette is so far from the mainstream that it has even recently defended hate groups, but that wasn’t even their most ridiculous editorial; that honor goes to this stupendously dumb editorial in August that tried to defend Stapleton’s family history with the Ku Klux Klan by making a ridiculous argument that Jared Polis should also be dinged for white supremacist connections.

Political observers in Colorado know that the Gazette is a right-wing newspaper. That might not have been as obvious elsewhere, but it would be impossible to miss after reading about Dede Laugesen’s story in the Post:

In early 2015, Dede Laugesen attended the annual Conservative Political Action Conference with her husband in the Washington suburbs.

After Trump spoke, she walked to the press area in the back of the room, where her husband, the editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette, was sitting. “I said I think it’s Donald Trump,” Laugesen recalled. “He patted my shoulder and he said, ‘Oh honey, he’s not even going to run. . . . ’ And I said, ‘Well, that’s a shame, because I really think that he is the guy who could win.’ ”…

That right there should tell you plenty about the political leanings of the Editorial Page of the Colorado Springs Gazette, but we haven’t yet scratched the surface of this weirdness. Let’s keep reading:

…In the summer of 2016, she joined the Trump campaign, first as a volunteer and then as a member of the staff. On the day the “Access Hollywood” video was released, she was at the El Paso County Republican Party’s headquarters. “I remember taking a really deep breath, closing my computer, packing it up and walking out of the office without saying anything to anybody,” she said.

She prayed about it and pondered the salacious revelation and what it said about her candidate. She talked with her husband. “I found that my commitment to him was firm,” she said. [Pols emphasis] She reached that conclusion based on her faith, of “being a Catholic who is forgiving of sinners, recognizing that we all sinned and have things in our life that we’re not proud of.”

“And the Lord sayeth, thou shalt grab the woman by the pussy.”

— Nowhere in the Bible

Yes, friends, Dede Laugesen prayed about Donald Trump’s disgusting comments in the now-infamous “Access Hollywood Tape,” and the voice in her head replied, “Eh, whatever.”

You know, because Barack Obama. Back to the Washington Post:

Laugesen blames Obama for many of today’s political divisions. When President Barack Obama talked about change, she saw that as an effort to move the country “away from what we have been in the world, a constitutional republic, and moving us toward socialism.” Trump’s message, to make America great again, was a signal that he “wanted to return us to our roots and reaffirm the goodness that is America.”

She is skeptical about talk of a blue wave in November. She is puzzled by the polls that show so many women do not like the president. [Pols emphasis] “It’s hard for me,” she said. “I’ve always been one who gets along better with the guys than I do the girls. And maybe that’s why God made me mother to six boys. I like a guy who can speak his mind and get things done.”

And there you have it. Just remember this when the Gazette runs an editorial this weekend calling the Washington Post a “fake news source.”


Donald Trump Loves Him Some Walker Stapleton

And hilarity ensues…


This Tweet started out fine, but President Trump went off the rails with the “He is strong, smart, and has been successful at everything he has ever done” part. If you’ve ever wondered if Trump was well-acquainted with Walker Stapleton, you now have your answer (though they do have plenty in common).

Trump’s renewed endorsement might be a helpful message in a place like Mississippi or Nebraska. Or Russia. But here in Colorado, the only person more unpopular than Trump is Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Coincidentally, Gardner is traveling with Stapleton today on the Republican GOTV circuit. Things are really going well for Stapleton.


Poll: Predict Polis’ Win Margin (Knock On Wood)

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton.

There a growing consensus now with just a few days of voting left in the 2018 elections that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis will win his race. Polling in this race has been remarkably consistent showing an upper-single digit lead for Polis enduring throughout the season, and surviving all the frightful negatives thrown at him by Republican opponent Walker Stapleton. The likelihood of a Polis victory is further underscored by ballot returns showing serious underperformance for Republicans compared to the last midterm election in 2014.

With this in mind, we thought it appropriate to poll our users not just on who will win the race as we’ve been tracking weekly, but on what the margin of victory for Polis is likely to be. It’s a question with significant implications down the ballot, and without jinxing anything it does seem to be the more important question to ask as of now.

As with all of our highly unscientific user polls, all we ask is that you vote for what you honestly think will be the outcome–not your personal preference.

By what margin will Jared Polis win the gubernatorial race?


Polis Maintains Lead in Latest Poll Numbers

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton.

Democrat Jared Polis has consistently polled ahead of Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Governor, and two new polls indicate much of the same.

Republican-leaning outfit Magellan Strategies shows Polis with a 5-point lead over Stapleton. This is a slight change from a Magellan poll conducted two weeks ago, but the difference is well within the margin of error. Poll results from a consortium led by Democratic-leaning Keating Research and OnSight Public Affairs indicate that Polis is leading Stapleton by 8 points heading into the final days of the election.

As Jon Murray reports for the Denver Post, a closer look at the numbers show Polis well ahead in several important subgroups:

In both of the new polls, Polis notched double-digit leads over Stapleton among women, unaffiliated voters and voters in their 40s or younger. Notably, the Magellan poll reported more voters undecided overall (11 percent) than the Colorado Poll (4 percent)…

…David Flaherty [of Magellan Strategies] said Stapleton remains the clear underdog, given Polis’ consistent leads as well as mail ballot returns that, so far, show registered Democrats and unaffiliated voters outpacing their 2014 midterm turnout. Republicans, while leading slightly in returns through Tuesday, were underperforming significantly compared to the GOP wave election four years ago.

The latest ballot return numbers available this morning from the Colorado Secretary of State show a surge of returns from Unaffiliated voters and no indication that Republican turnout is on the uptick. More than 1 million Coloradans have now returned ballots.

The Keating/OnSight poll also tracked approval ratings for President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), both of whom will likely be on the ballot in 2020. Trump is viewed unfavorably by 59 percent of respondents, with only 39 percent expressing a positive opinion of the President. Gardner’s favorability rating remains upside-down, with 43 percent of respondents professing a negative view of the freshman Senator (compared to 42 percent showing approval). Perhaps more concerning for Gardner is that he is only viewed favorably by 71 percent of Republicans, compared to Trump’s 82 percent approval with the GOP base.


The Real Walker Stapleton Stands Back Up

Walker Stapleton.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Walker Stapleton penned an opinion piece for Fox News this week about his great big battle against “socialism” in Colorado. The entire column consists of 558 words of Trumpian talking points, but it does illustrate something of moderate interest…

This is the real Walker Stapleton.

It is difficult to find someone in Colorado who truly believes that Stapleton might defeat Democrat Jared Polis next Tuesday, so perhaps Stapleton now feels comfortable enough to return to his truest shade of red.

This is the Walker Stapleton who used to appear on Fox News to complain about legislative efforts to limit obscene bonuses for corporate executives. This is the Walker Stapleton who said these words on national television:

“The most alarming thing to me [is that] President Obama is now trying to take away tax loopholes for corporations.”

Walker Stapleton, fighting to protect corporate tax loopholes!

Like most things Stapleton, our favorite part about his Fox News opinion piece is the end:

While we are working tirelessly to defeat socialism in Colorado, it ultimately will be up to voters. It is my hope and prayer that voters across the country choose to let freedom ring and that Coloradans’ voices are heard from coast to coast.

You can imagine this closing paragraph going through several iterations:

While we are occasionally working to defeat socialism…

If it is after 3:00 in the afternoon, we are working to defeat socialism…

If it is not raining or snowing, we are working to defeat socialism…

Unless we fell asleep, we are working to defeat socialism…


Honestly, we could do this all day. We’ll let our readers take it from here.


Introducing: “Alva The Allknowingest”

Alva The Allknowingest

President Trump has managed to transform Washington D.C. into an even stranger place than it once was. Many of the words that come out of his mouth are outright terrifying and/or completely devoid of any factual basis. Many of his actions are what we’ll charitably call “questionable.”

The pot that Trump stirs can often force Colorado Republicans to issue their own comments or statements, though not always in a timely manner. It took Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) four days to respond to a question from 9News about whether he found Dr. Christine Blasey Ford to be “credible” following her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh.

So, instead of waiting for comments from our top elected officials on important issues of the day, we decided to access our third political eye to offer predictions for what these political luminaries are likely to say if and when they get around to issuing a response. We’re calling this new feature:

“Alva the Allknowingest”

Today we are discussing President Trump’s declaration that he plans to retroactively remove the U.S. citizenship rights of immigrants who are born in the United States. He can’t actually do this, on account of THE CONSTITUTION, but here’s what Trump said in an interview with Axios:

President Trump plans to sign an executive order that would remove the right to citizenship for babies of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants born on U.S. soil, he said yesterday in an exclusive interview for “Axios on HBO” [Pols emphasis]…

…This would be the most dramatic move yet in Trump’s hardline immigration campaign, this time targeting “anchor babies” and “chain migration.” And it will set off another stand-off with the courts, as Trump’s power to do this through executive action is debatable to say the least.

Trump told “Axios on HBO” that he has run the idea of ending birthright citizenship by his counsel and plans to proceed with the highly controversial move, which certainly will face legal challenges.

“It was always told to me that you needed a constitutional amendment. Guess what? You don’t,” Trump said, declaring he can do it by executive order.

When told that’s very much in dispute, Trump replied: “You can definitely do it with an Act of Congress. But now they’re saying I can do it just with an executive order.”

So…wow, right?

Tote Bag of Wisdom

Let’s dig deep into our Tote Bag of Wisdom (patent possibly pending) to predict how some of Colorado’s notable Republican officials will respond to this news:

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma):

“I think what the President is trying to say is that Americans recognize that our immigration system is broken. We need Republican Senators from states like Arizona, North Dakota, Missouri, and Indiana to come together and solve this problem for the American people. 

“At the end of the day, I’m going to agree with the President where we agree and disagree where we don’t agree. Everybody should have the opportunity to agree or disagree with the President. That’s the Colorado way.”

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora):

“I’ve said many times that I would stand up to President Trump if I thought he was wrong. That’s why I’m calling for Deputy Under Secretary for Management Chip Fulghum to be fired from the Department of Homeland Security.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton:

Jared Polis wants to open Colorado’s borders to allow anyone to come to our state. Citizenship belongs to Americans born to other Americans in states across this great nation, from Connecticut to California. Jared Polis!”

Republican Attorney General candidate George Brauchler:

“I’m a rule of law guy. If you rule, you make the laws. And I totally rule.”

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs):

“I’ll have the soup.”

Alva’s bonus prediction:

You will be very, very cold when you are trick-or-treating on Wednesday.


Gardner To Join Stapleton Thursday For A “Red Wave” Get-Out-The-Vote Tour

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tickets are available for Thursday’s “Get Out the Vote Tour” with Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton and his “special guest,” U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO).

The Nov. 1 events, organized by the Colorado Republican Party, will take place across the state, starting in Grand Junction at 9:30 a.m., Durango at 12:15,  Pueblo at 2:30, and Greeley at 5 p.m.

Free “Red Wave” tickets to attend the events can be reserved on Eventbrite.

“Please join Republican Nominee for Governor, Walker Stapleton, and Special Guest Honorable Cory Gardner on Thursday, November 1st at 9:30 am for our Get Out the Vote Tour! Stapleton will be speaking to attendees about the importance of the upcoming election and volunteering to help with his fight against Congressman Jared Polis!” states the Eventbrite page for the Grand Junction stop.

Gardner’s low approval ratings in Colorado–falling even below Trump at 25 percent earlier this year–didn’t dissuade Stapleton from campaigning with Colorado’s junior senator, who’s up for re-election in 2020.

After Thursdays stops, which skirt the front range, Stapleton continues his tour without Gardner at other locations, including along the front range, through Monday.

Stapleton has repeatedly said he’d like to campaign with Trump as well, but the President’s schedule didn’t permit this, Stapleton told KNUS recently.

Democrats launched their own get-out-the-vote tour last week, featuring a blue bus that’s made stops around the state.

Joining Democratic candidate for governor Jared Polis on the bus yesterday in the Denver area were Democrats Gov. John hickenlooper, Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Houston Mayor Annise Parker, and others. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) has also joined the bus along the way.

Polis appeared with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders last week.


Walker Stapleton. Anti-Semitism. Calling You Out.

In the aftermath of Saturday’s deadly attack on a Jewish synagogue in Pittsburgh, capping a week of political violence that included a racially motivated shooting in Kentucky and pipe bombs mailed by a pro-Trump Floridian to numerous Democratic leaders and other critics of President Donald Trump, NBC News reported on an underlying spike in social media attacks on Jewish people in particular–using code language anyone who follows politics locally or nationally ought to recognize.

Separate researchers who were independently looking at [Instagram and Twitter] said attacks on Jewish people had spiked on both services ahead of the midterm elections on Nov. 6, similar to a rise in harassment before the 2016 presidential election.

Many but not all of the posts mention billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, the researchers said. Soros is frequently the subject of unfounded conspiracy theories, and his home was among the targets in a series of attempted bombings this month. [Pols emphasis]

Jonathan Albright, a researcher at Columbia University in New York who directs a center on digital forensics, told NBC News that the amount of anti-Semitic material posted to Instagram and tied to Soros was possibly the worst sample of hate speech he had seen on the site.

Billionaire investor George Soros has served as a boogeyman for the far right for many years, stemming from his support both for Democratic candidates and liberal nonprofit organizations working in support of a wide range of progressive agenda items. Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton regularly invokes Soros as a villain on the campaign trail. In truth, conservative funders from Sheldon Adelson to the Koch Brothers spend vastly more on American politics than Soros–but Soros has been the subject of intense vilification because he was born in Europe, and perceived to be a corrupting foreign influence by the nativist right.

And of course, George Soros is Jewish.

RYAN WARNER: …Recently it was reported that Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers, will be investing in your campaign perhaps to the tune of as much as a million dollars. While it sounds like that money might be welcome when you look at what your opponent is spending, I wonder what kind of influence comes with a sizeable contribution like that.

WALKER STAPLETON: Probably the same kind of influence that comes from Good Jobs Colorado which is being backed by checks from George Soros, a wealthy international financier… [Pols emphasis]

Full stop. The term “wealthy international financier” has stood in for “Jew” among anti-Semitic bigots literally for centuries. Henry Ford’s infamous anti-Semitic book The International Jew was entirely based on the trope of wealthy Jews controlling the world through financial treachery and a lack of national loyalties, like its forged predecessor The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. In terms of identifying thinly-concealed prejudice against Jewish people, the phrase can be fairly considered a dead giveaway.

So the next logical question is, Did Walker Stapleton use these words by accident?

The answer: we don’t think so. And here’s why.

Stapleton was nominated for governor at the Republican State Assembly this year by former Congressman Tom Tancredo. Tancredo is a past board member of the openly racist organization VDARE, which had planned to host its annual conference in Colorado Springs but was turned away after negative press. Tancredo’s anger over the supposed bad treatment of VDARE led him to first consider a run for governor himself, then to endorse Stapleton once he was satisfied Stapleton took the “issue” seriously. If you go to VDARE’s website to read about Jewish people, this is the kind of thing you’ll find:

Jewish activity collectively, throughout history, is best understood as an elaborate and highly successful group competitive strategy directed against neighboring peoples and host societies. The objective has been control of economic resources and political power. One example: overwhelming Jewish support for non-traditional immigration, which has the effect of weakening America’s historic white majority. [Pols emphasis]

The individual in custody for the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh entered the building screaming “All Jews Must Die,” and in his social media rantings before the attack peddled conspiracy theories that Jewish immigration groups were funding the “caravan” of asylum seekers slowly traveling north through Mexico toward the U.S. border. The attack in Pittsburgh on Saturday was a direct expression of the ideology promoted by VDARE as you can read above. The ideology of Tom Tancredo. The man who nominated Walker Stapleton.

The same Walker Stapleton now demonizing “wealthy international financier” George Soros.

Stapleton’s embrace of Tom Tancredo, like Donald Trump himself, was not an accident. Employing Tancredo to tacitly reassure far-right voters about Stapleton’s own views was not an accident.  The hatred being stirred up in order to turn out conservative votes across the nation and right here in Colorado, from fact-free conspiracy theories about “Soros funding the caravan” to Stapleton’s own ad campaigns vilifying so-called “sanctuary cities,” is not an accident. Based on these facts, we have absolutely no reason to believe that Stapleton’s choice of specific racist code words to describe Mr. Soros was an accident either.

At some point, you have to stop being polite and call this out for what it is.

After the deadliest hate crime against Jewish people in American history, the time has come.


Who Will Be Colorado’s Next Governor? (Round 8)

Jared Polis (left) and Walker Stapleton.

We’re one week away from the BIG poll. This is a question we’ve been posing to Colorado Pols readers for months: Who do you THINK is going to win the race for Governor?

Remember, we’re looking for your best educated guess on the outcome of this race, not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to track how perceptions of the race are (or are not) changing as Election Day nears. For previous results, click Round 1Round 2, Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6, or Round 7).

Who gets to move into the Governor’s Mansion in January? Will it be Democrat Jared Polis or Republican Walker Stapleton?

Who Will Be the Next Governor of Colorado?
Jared Polis
Walker Stapleton
View Result


Brian Watson is Even Shadier than You Thought

“Can I interest you in a great opportunity in some Nigerian gold?”

Last week we told you a bit about Brian Watson, the Republican candidate for State Treasurer who has a very checkered history with unpaid taxes and angry business partners. Watson is the owner and operator of Northstar Commercial Partners, and he has said publicly that he will continue that job even if elected Treasurer in November. Watson also says he won’t accept a salary from the State if he is elected, which would be a more noble gesture if not for the fact that maintaining his current job is a MASSIVE conflict of interest for someone in charge of Colorado’s finances.

But as Ben Botkin and Christopher Osher report in an absolute MUST READ story for the Denver Post today, Watson’s business background is shakier than a caffeine addict in an earthquake. Let’s explore this sordid tale:

The Republican candidate for Colorado treasurer has come under fire for past business deals that critics contend make him unfit to take charge of the state’s investments. But he says that experience is precisely why he is needed.

“I know what it’s like dealing with an economic meltdown,” Brian Watson said. “I know what’s it’s like to have fiduciary responsibility to protect investor capital, and because of that my returns overall have been extremely high, but we have had our hits, and those happened during the down economy.”

In short, Watson thinks he would be a great State Treasurer because of his vast experience with terrible business deals. This would be bad enough on its own without the details…but oh, the details are a doozy. Consider:

“If I had cash, I’d bury it in my mattress and run the risk of my mattress catching on fire before I’d give him a dime. He’s a snake-oil salesman. He belongs in a carny show.”

— Susan Barnes-Gelt, as told to the Denver Post (10/26/18)

♦ Watson made a $650,000 down payment on a Cessna 560XL jet in 2016, just a few months before the IRS demanded payment for $2 million in overdue taxes and threatened to seize his property as payment;

♦ A former Denver councilwoman says she lost more than $100,000 after following Watson’s advice on investments;

♦ A former business partner named Adam Wimmer claims that Watson and his company owe him $415,000 for his role in financing a development project in Denver. Wimmer filed a lawsuit to recoup that money in August;

Grant Cohen sold his company, Aspen Moving and Storage, to Watson in 2008. Within 17 months the business he built over 25 years had collapsed. “He ran it into the ground,” said Cohen to the Denver Post;

♦ In 2010, Watson took a company into Chapter 11 bankruptcy after he collected investors for a business park in Boulder. Those involved said they lost as much as half of their investment on the park, which was poorly managed and allowed an unlicensed marijuana grow operation that caused water damage to the property. Watson blamed the project on a “predatory lender”;

Bernard Wildes, a former neighbor of Watson’s in Greenwood Village, said he invested more than $150,000 with Watson and saw limited returns. “You hear a lot of delays and postponements and excuses, basically,” he told the Denver Post.

These are just the people who were willing to go on the record for one story. You could argue that Colorado would be better off with a State Treasurer who doesn’t even show up to work.


Focus On Your Sucky Broncos, John Elway

John Elway (Broncos suck).

FOX 31 reports and it’s worth the briefest of mentions:

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway has donated more than $65,000 to support Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton and other conservative campaigns in the state…

Elway was an early supporter Stapleton and is no stranger to politics.

Last year, Elway wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee in support for Neil Gorsuch, who was a Supreme Court nominee at the time, on official Broncos stationary last year.

And, with some irony:

And after several Broncos players and NFL athletes took a knee for the national anthem last year, Elway said it was “time to take the politics out of football.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s never been a secret that John Elway is a devotee of occasionally unsavory right-wing politics, much like his successor Peyton Manning. In recent elections it’s been a bit of a tradition to throw Elway’s name in the mix early as a possible Republican candidate for office himself, but that quickly fades after any number of more qualified candidates step up to run. If Elway ever is put up in Colorado, it’s a sign that the Republican bench has become thin indeed. As it turns out, the ability to survive repeated head impacts does not predispose statesmanship.

And of course, this political giving comes as Elway’s 3-4 Denver Broncos are off to their worst start in years! All the trouble the Broncos are having on and off the field in 2018 seems like a good argument to take the politics out of John Elway–so he can focus on, you know, football.

You’re damn right he had that coming. Did you watch the Jets game?


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (October 24)

The Denver Nuggets are a perfect 4-0 to start the regular season. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Voter Service and Polling Centers are now open. Head on over to for more information on voting centers, ballot drop-off locations, or for resources to check on the status of your mail ballot.


► White House officials are scrambling to put together some sort of half-assed tax proposal in order to back up President Trump’s nonsensical claims about asking Congress to approve a tax cut before the Nov. 6 election (which would be difficult since Congress isn’t in session anymore).

“In the service of whim” is how the Washington Post explains the day-to-day work of the Trump administration in this bizarre and frightening story about the work involved in inventing reality to soothe a crazy person:

The mystery tax cut is only the latest instance of the federal government scrambling to reverse-engineer policies to meet Trump’s sudden public promises — or to search for evidence buttressing his conspiracy theories and falsehoods.

The Pentagon leaped into action to both hold a military parade and launch a “Space Force” on the president’s whims. The Commerce Department moved to create a plan for auto tariffs after Trump angrily threatened to impose them. And just this week, Vice President Pence, the Department of Homeland Security and the White House all rushed to try to back up Trump’s unsupported claim that “unknown Middle Easterners” were part of a migrant caravan in Central America — only to have the president admit late Tuesday that there was no proof at all. [Pols emphasis]

“Virtually no one on the planet has the kind of power that a president of the United States has to scramble bureaucracies in the service of whim,” said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. “Whatever Donald Trump wakes up and thinks about, or whatever comes to mind in the middle of a speech, actually has the reality in that it is actionable in some odd sense.”


► In a related story, Politico reports that officials from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Homeland Security had no advance warning of Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy demands:

Trump administration officials had no plans in place to deal with more than 2,600 migrant children separated from their parents at the border because the Justice Department gave them no advance notice of its “zero tolerance” policy, according to government investigators.

The report, by the GAO, offers the most complete account yet of the Trump administration’s implementation of a decision to criminally prosecute all adults suspected of crossing the southwest border, which created such an outcry that President Donald Trump effectively reversed it three months later.

► Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, a guy who is notorious for not bothering to show up for his job as State Treasurer, says that Colorado “needs a Governor who shows up.”

The mind reels.


► The debates are finally coming to an end. Candidates for Governor participated in their final debate on Tuesday, as did the candidates for Congress in CO-6. Blair Miller of Denver7 breaks down the final verbal joust between Republican Walker Stapleton and Democrat Jared Polis9News fact-checks the answers from Tuesday’s debate between Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and Democrat Jason Crow.



Get even more smarter after the jump…



“We Need a Governor Who Shows Up,” Says Guy Who Doesn’t Show Up

Walker Stapleton

Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton probably won’t be Colorado’e next Governor, but when it comes to unintentional self parody, he’s locked down the top position in the state.

Stapleton and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis participated in a candidate forum hosted by the Arvada Chamber of Commerce on Monday, in which Stapleton said this:

“We need a Governor who shows up.”

You can say a lot of things about Walker Stapleton, but you can’t ever accuse him of “showing up” on a regular basis. Stapleton is finishing up his second term as Colorado’s State Treasurer — which is a full-time, salaried position — and he hasn’t been spotted at his State Capitol office in months.

Literally months.

This is not new territory for Stapleton, who took criticism during his 2014 re-election campaign when keycard records showed that he only appeared at his office about 10 days per month — and usually only in the late afternoon. After Stapleton was re-elected in November 2014, he stopped using his keycard altogether, presumably so that it would be harder to document the fact that he doesn’t do his job.

Watch Stapleton essentially endorse Polis for Governor at about the 1:41 mark in the video below:


Poll: Voters Like Setbacks, School Funding, and Jared Polis

Colorado voters approve of Jared Polis and increased funding for schools.

The Denver Post reports today on new polling results from the University of Colorado’s American Politics Research Lab:

In the first public poll results released on these issues, 58 percent of respondents said they would vote yes for Amendment 73, which would raise taxes on individuals making more than $150,000 a year and corporations. Because it’s a constitutional amendment, it needs 55 percent to pass.

Meanwhile, 52 percent of voters said they support Proposition 112, which would require new oil and gas wells to be at least 2,500 feet away from buildings…

…In the race for governor, Democrat Jared Polis has a 12-point lead over Republican Walker Stapleton, 54 percent to 42 percent.

The Post quotes one of the poll’s authors expressing surprise that Polis holds a 12-point lead over Stapleton, though we’re not sure why. The CU poll states a margin of error of 3.5%, which is right in line with other public polls on the Governor’s race that have shown Polis with a 7-9 point advantage.

The most interesting numbers here are in regard to the ballot measures, which have received much less public polling attention than the candidate horse races. The oil and gas industry has been spending millions upon millions of dollars on its “No on Amendment 12” campaign but apparently have not yet been able to get through to a majority of voters. The industry is having better luck with Amendment 74, which has the support of 63 percent of voters.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is in the 58 percent support for Amendment 73, the school-funding measure that seems to be pretty popular despite limited advertising on its behalf. The CU poll did not ask questions about Proposition 109 and Proposition 110 — the two transportation infrastructure ballot measures — and it will be interesting to see if support for 73 impacts either of these new spending requests.