Gardner Hides While Abortion Goes Under The Spotlight

As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports, another excellent story covering the local fallout on what’s becoming a flashpoint issue for the upcoming 2020 elections:

Cory Gardner, a freshman U.S. senator, is facing a tough re-election fight in 2020, just as then-Sen. Udall did in 2014. And there’s another parallel: Democrats, at least for now, believe abortion is a winning issue for them in 2020, just as Udall did five years ago…

Among many Democratic strategists, a new conventional wisdom has emerged about the 2014 race. Udall had the right idea, they say. Criticisms of Gardner on abortion will stick in 2020, even if they didn’t in 2014, they say.

“Here’s what’s changed: Trump’s election and the courts,” said Laura Chapin, a Democratic consultant who has advised NARAL and is now aiding Alice Madden’s campaign for Senate. “That has really supercharged this discussion because it’s not hypothetical anymore. They have a clear path, through the courts, to overturn Roe (vs. Wade).”

We wrote a couple of days ago about the recent dramatic escalation of national abortion politics following the passage of a near-total ban on abortion in Alabama, intended to serve as a vehicle to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights in all fifty states. Although Colorado has consistently and overwhelmingly rejected attacks on abortion rights at the polls, the state’s stridently conservative Republican minority in the legislature proposes abortion bans similar to Alabama’s every year–a reminder that a political turn of fortune for Republicans in Colorado would result in a direct threat to abortion rights.

With the Trump administration’s Supreme Court appointees ready to do the once-unthinkable and the challenge that could prove to be Roe’s undoing passed into law in Alabama, the narrative that allowed Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado to “beat” the issue of abortion in 2014 and win his seat despite an avowedly anti-abortion record in a pro-choice state is rapidly disintegrating. The assurance voters were given in 2014 that regardless of Gardner’s “personal view” on abortion he would be unable to act against abortion rights didn’t survive Gardner’s votes in the Senate to confirm Supreme Court Justices who are ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, let alone his numerous votes to chip away at abortion rights in the Senate since winning his seat.

Now that the threat to abortion rights is no longer hypothetical, Gardner seems to be caught completely flat-footed:

Gardner’s office declined an interview request from The Denver Post this week. [Pols emphasis] Asked about Alabama’s restrictions on abortion by Politico, he told the news outlet that he is pro-life but hasn’t read the Alabama law. Abortion should be left up to the states, the senator said.

It’s been nearly a week since Gardner literally ran away from reporters asking about his view of the Alabama abortion ban. In a subsequent interview, Gardner reaffirmed his “personal” anti-abortion views, and said that abortion rights should be “up to the states”–tantamount to saying Roe v. Wade should be overturned, since the only way states could control the legality of abortion is in the absence of Roe’s federal guarantee.

Without the cover of public perception that Roe is invulnerable, which is most definitely a relic of the past today, Gardner’s long record of support for banning abortion sticks out like a sore thumb against the overwhelming consensus of the voters of the state he represents. It is no longer possible for Gardner to bluff his way to a draw on this issue. The more abortion becomes a marquee issue for the 2020 elections, which it was not in 2014 despite Democrats’ singleminded message, the dimmer Gardner’s re-election prospects get.

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Colorado’s Abortion Rights Complacency Finally Getting Real?

The Colorado Sun’s John Frank wrote a story yesterday we’ve been waiting to see from a Colorado politics press corps for some time: an honest look at the stridently anti-abortion agenda of Colorado Republicans, who propose every year legislation as and even more restrictive than the near-total ban on abortions signed into law in Alabama last week:

Earlier this year, with less fanfare, Colorado lawmakers debated a bill to ban elective abortions that appears more severe than the controversial new limits approved in other states…

“We are never as far from those other states as we think we are. It’s only one election,” said Karen Middleton, the executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, an abortion rights organization. [Pols emphasis]

The last 15 years of Democratic dominance in Colorado, a period in which statewide ballot measures to ban abortion were defeated by the voters repeatedly, put anti-abortion Republicans on the defensive in this state–leading to arguably the low point of the movement’s influence in 2014, when Cory Gardner messily backtracked on the issue in an attempt to muddy his own record to compete in a statewide election. Since winning his Senate seat, of course, Gardner has voted to ban abortion every chance he got, making fools of his 2014 apologists on the issue and adding to Gardner’s 2020 vulnerabilities.

The result of all these developments, from Democratic control at the state legislative level to the supposed invulnerability of Roe v. Wade to direct challenge in the Supreme Court, was a climate of complacency in Colorado politics on the issue of abortion. Republicans introduced Alabama-style abortion ban bills year after year, and attempts by local reproductive choice advocates to sound the alarm were sometimes rudely blown off by the political press corps in Colorado. For Republicans this was an ideal situation, since they could please their religious conservative base with abortion ban bills without the awareness of their actions by the general voting public that could hurt them in the next general election.

When the entire pundit and journalist class in Colorado turned on Mark Udall in 2014 for “obsessing” about abortion in response to Gardner’s wholesale deception, this complacency over an issue still central to the GOP’s agenda claimed its greatest victim. It took the election of Donald Trump and the solidification of a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to bring the immediate threat to abortion rights into focus. If the electorate (not to mention the fourth estate) had understood that within 5 years of the 2014 election we would be discussing not just the possibility but the likelihood that Roe v. Wade will be overturned, would Gardner have still eked out his 1.9% victory over Udall?

Perhaps the only good thing that can be said, now that 2014’s deception is plain to everyone and no one can deny the threat to abortion rights that exists today, is that Colorado voters will find it hard to be complacent about abortion in future elections. Gardner and the Supreme Court Justices he helped install paved the way for the overturning of Roe v. Wade just as his opponents in 2014 warned to deaf ears. Without Roe, abortion rights in Colorado like every state are truly just one election from disaster.

Fail to vote accordingly at your peril.

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Gardner: It’s “Up to the States,” like Alabama, to Decide if Abortion Is Legal

(Con Man Cory’s original sin is back – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

After initially dodging a question from a reporter about Alabama’s abortion ban, saying he was late to a meeting and had no time to talk, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner has now stated his general support for the controversial measure.

That’s consistent with his previous stance against Roe v. Wade, which, if overturned, would allow states to ban abortion.

“I’m pro-life, but that’s up to the states,” Gardner told Politico over the weekend, adding that he hadn’t seen details of the new law.

If states are indeed left to decide whether abortion is legal, then Gardner would presumably support Alabama’s law.

Here’s why:

The Alabama measure will likely be challenged in court on the grounds that, under Roe v. Wade, states like Alabama don’t have the authority to ban abortion.

In fact, many anti-abortion activists hope that if Alabama’s new anti-abortion law is reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court, the conservative new justices will overturn Roe v. Wade, which currently guarantees a women’s right to an abortion.

If Roe were overturned, abortion would not be illegal. Instead, states like Alabama would have the authority to ban the procedure, even for rape and incest, as Alabama’s law does.

So Gardner’s position of leaving it “up to the states” to decide about abortion is consistent with anti-abortion Republicans who want Roe v. Wade struck down.

In his comment to Politico Saturday, Gardner didn’t cite his opposition to Roe specifically.

But in a 2010 Colorado Family Institute candidate questionnaire, he’s on record opposing the landmark abortion decision.

In the survey, Gardner indicated that he opposed the “U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision.”

Gardner has been a staunch opponent of all abortion throughout his political career, using anti-abortion activists to help carry him into the U.S. House of Representatives. He’s voted to defund Planned Parenthood 10 times since he’s been in federal office.

In his run for U.S. Senate in 2014, he reversed his opposition to a personhood abortion ban in Colorado, but he continued to support a federal personhood bill, which he cosponsored, that aimed to outlaw abortion nationally.

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Oh No, Pikachu! Rep. Tipton Deletes Tweet Mocking Women

If you weren’t around late last night on the Twitters, you missed it:

That’s Rep. Scott Tipton’s official congressional Twitter account, with a meme we have no doubt they thought was terribly clever for a moment–mocking women who appear to be holding #TimesUp movement protest signs, which is the contemporary movement to stamp out sexual harassment and assault, by re-captioning them as health care protesters. Then the meme slams the door on those women with the near-total ban on abortion signed into law last week in the state of Alabama. Cue surprised Pikachu!

Of course, even if you’re a fervently anti-abortion 60+ Republican white dude like Scott Tipton, this really isn’t a good look–especially in a state that overwhelmingly backs abortion rights like Colorado every time it’s put to a vote. Even fellow anti-abortion Republicans might find this insulting meme to be a cheap shot over an emotional issue, better left to internet trolls than sitting members of Congress. And they would be right.

On the bright side, if you’re in Colorado and upset about Alabama’s new abortion ban, now there’s somebody local you can call to complain! And when Rep. Tipton’s aide asks good-naturedly what Alabama’s abortion ban has to do with Rep. Tipton, which they will for at least the first few calls, you can ask them what they think of their boss’s sense of humor.

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Cory Gardner (Literally) Runs Away from Abortion Question

Republican lawmakers in Alabama this week passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country as part of an effort to ultimately force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade. For obvious reasons, Alabama’s new law has thus been one of the biggest political topics of the week and will likely continue to dominate conversations for months to come. For equally obvious reasons, political reporters have been asking elected officials at all levels of government for comment.

As The Hill newspaper reports, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t want to talk about it:

Other Republicans facing tough reelection races in 2020 dodged questions on the Alabama law.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), when approached, said he was late to a meeting and referred questions to his office. Aides to Gardner did not respond to a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

A United States Senator refusing to answer a question about one of the most significant political questions of the 2020 election cycle is not normal. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is widely considered to be among the most vulnerable Republican incumbents seeking re-election in 2020. Like Gardner, Collins will be running in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton carried in 2016; unlike Gardner, Collins is actually willing to provide her opinion when asked. Again, from The Hill:

“I’m very much opposed to the Alabama law,” Collins told The Hill. “I think it’s completely inconsistent with Roe v. Wade and will lead to a virtual ban on abortions in Alabama, even for victims of incest and rape.”

“I can’t imagine that any justice could find that to be consistent with the previous precedence,” she told CNN in a separate interview.

When the Denver Post made its stunning decision in March to un-endorse Gardner in a harsh editorial, it had a lot to do with exactly this kind of behavior from Colorado’s junior Senator. At the time, Gardner had just completed a full 180-degree flip on the subject of President Trump’s “emergency declaration” for border wall funding. None of this is new territory for Gardner — his duplicitous nature has merely become impossible to ignore over the years. This is the same Cory Gardner who told Fox 31’s Eli Stokols prior to the 2014 election that “there is no federal personhood bill,” when, in fact, there absolutely was a federal personhood bill (and Gardner was even a co-sponsor in Congress).

Perhaps the most instructive way to consider Gardner’s non-comment on the Alabama abortion law is to look back at that same Fox 31 News interview from September 2014. Here is how Gardner responded to a question about then-Sen. Mark Udall focusing on Gardner’s ever shifting position on abortion:

“This is a political campaign and he is trying to do everything he can to change the subject, to run away.”

This is Cory Gardner.

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Cory Gardner Applauds Ken Buck’s Call for Recalls

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Ken Buck gave a fiery campaign speech at the Colorado Republicans Central Committee meeting Saturday. Cheered on by U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, Buck hit all the usual red meat issues: guns, abortion, oil and gas, before delivering the coup de grace: a call for recalls.

Buck dared Democrats to “come and take” his guns, invoking Charlton Heston by saying they’d only get them from his “cold dead hands.” He claimed Democrats also want to “kill babies now after birth, while we want to stand up for life at every stage of life.”

Then he mentioned the failed anti-fracking ballot initiative Proposition 112, which Republicans have been claiming shows opposition to an oil and gas safety regulation bill moving through the state legislature.

“They want to shut down the oil & gas industry. We need to remind them [Democrats] that we won Proposition 112 and we need to teach them how to spell “RECALL.”

As he belted out his punchline, “we need to teach them how to spell “R-E-C-A-L-L,” the applause came not only from the audience, but from the three other Republicans who had just endorsed him for party chair: Regent Heidi Ganahl, District Attorney George Brauchler, and U.S. Senator Cory Gardner.

Buck’s speech did its job; the Colorado GOP Central Committee members elected him Chairman. Buck narrowly defeated State Representative Susan Beckman, who had broad support from her colleagues in the legislature, including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville who introduced her.

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Billboard Near UT Border: “Welcome to Colorado, where you can get a safe, legal abortion”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A new billboard facing west on I-70 near Colorado’s border with Utah reads “Welcome to Colorado, where you can get a safe, legal abortion.”

Paid for by progressive advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado and their Keep Abortion Safe project, the billboard highlights how women often must cross state lines in order to access abortion care.

The goal of this billboard is to remind people coming from the conservative state of Utah that they are now in a place that trusts and allows pregnant people to make their own healthcare decisions for themselves and their families,” said ProgressNow Colorado’s Alex Ferencz in a press release.

While Colorado has few restrictions on abortion, it is surrounded by more conservative states where lawmakers have made it difficult to access the full range of reproductive care.

In Utah, not only are abortion providers sparse, with the only two located in Salt Lake City, but laws targeting the procedure require women to jump through extra hurdles to get the care they seek.

For example, a Utah law mandates that women seeking abortion care receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to sway her decision, and then wait 72 hours before the procedure is provided. This necessitates multiple trips to the clinic, posing logistical and financial challenges to those who might need to take time off work, arrange child care, or pay for lodging if they don’t live near the clinic.

As I wrote in an article for Rewire.News published last week, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains serves a high volume of out-of-state patients along Colorado’s borders, and expects that number to rise as lawmakers in surrounding states continue to attack reproductive rights:

“Over 8 percent of abortions performed at their Colorado health centers in 2018 were for out-of-state patients, but that percentage is much higher for health centers located near the state’s borders, according to Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM). In Fort Collins, more than a quarter of abortion services provided were for out-of-state patients, and at their Durango health center, it was more than 40 percent.

‘We’re anticipating the numbers who are going to have to travel to get to a provider will increase,’ said PPRM President Vicki Cowart. ‘We’re positioning ourselves to be part of the solution to deal with what we’re anticipating is going to be a public health crisis.’”

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On Abortion, Gardner Can Run But He Can’t Hide

Cory Gardner, running from “Personhood” in 2014.

The Washington Post’s Juliet Eilperin and Michael Scherer put out an in-depth story yesterday that focuses on the changing politics of abortion with the U.S. Supreme Court shifting steadily rightward under President Donald Trump–a shift that could leave Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado dangerously exposed on the issue in 2020 after successfully talking his way out of trouble in 2014:

“We believe that the Kavanaugh vote is not going to be soon forgotten. It wasn’t just a moment in time,” said Brian Fallon, director of Demand Justice, which will launch a small digital ad campaign against Collins this week. The group also plans to hire field organizers in Maine and Colorado, swing states where Collins and Sen. Cory Gardner (R) are set to face voters in 2020…

Democrats plan to use the threat of court action to put Republicans in increasingly blue states on the defensive. Gardner, who voted for Kavanaugh and describes himself as “pro-life,” struggled with questions about abortion during his 2014 race, [Pols emphasis] when Democrats attacked him for having supported efforts to declare the fetus a person entitled to legal rights — a position that could outlaw abortion completely.

Gardner countered that his support amounted to a “statement” signaling his opposition to abortion, and said he wanted to increase access to contraception.

As we wrote last week in the wake of a narrow SCOTUS decision temporarily staving off a crisis over a Louisiana abortion restriction law, reproductive choice is an issue with a long and difficult political history in Colorado. Although our state has a demonstrated pro-choice majority of voters who have rejected abortion ban constitutional amendments repeatedly in recent years, Colorado’s anti-abortion political activists are very powerful within the Republican coalition–placing Republican candidates in the undesirable position of having to satisfy strident litmus tests on abortion in the GOP primary process, then trying to moderate that position enough to win a general election.

Cory Gardner, who had risen in Eastern Plains GOP politics by vocally supporting the “Personhood” abortion ban amendments, found a simple solution to this apparently contradiction: lying. After declaring to an obliging reporter that he no longer supported the local “Personhood” measures he had backed for years, Gardner insisted for the rest of the campaign that his continued support for federal legislation with the same language as “Personhood” was not what it plainly looked like–and managed to convince the press that the real problem was his opponent was overplaying the issue, not Gardner being deceptive at all! The success of this audacious strategy was proven when the Denver Post called Democrats’ attacks on Gardner over abortion a “tired refrain,” and asserted that “Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

Safe to say, few events in local politics have aged as poorly as that endorsement. For Gardner and Colorado Republicans in general, the success for Republicans nationally that has shifted the Supreme Court toward their desired goal of overturning Roe v. Wade now risks turning abortion from a safe issue with which to mobilize the Republican base into a disastrous liability–one that forces all the consequences of their unpopular position on abortion into the spotlight. The very real threat of a nationwide rollback of abortion rights destroys the reasoning behind the Post’s downplaying of the threat Gardner personally represents, as well as the complacency of local journalists who have long blithely insisted that abortion isn’t an issue worth their time.

After literally defying reality in 2014, a perfect storm is brewing for Gardner just in time to face the voters again.

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Abortion Apocalypse Staved Off, No Thanks To Cory Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The New York Times reports on the high-drama ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocking a highly restrictive anti-abortion law in Louisiana from going into effect, and revealing in this 5-4 decision the grave danger abortion rights are presently in–despite a persistent unwillingness by reporters locally and nationally to acknowledge this reality:

The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a Louisiana law that its opponents say could have left the state with only one doctor in a single clinic authorized to provide abortions.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority. That coalition underscored the pivotal position the chief justice has assumed after the departure last year of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who used to hold the crucial vote in many closely divided cases, including ones concerning abortion…

Meanwhile,

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh said they would have denied the stay. Only Justice Kavanaugh published a dissent, taking a middle position that acknowledged the key precedent and said he would have preferred more information on the precise effect of the law.

The Louisiana law in question is what’s known in the reproductive rights community as a TRAP law–“targeted restrictions on abortion providers,” meaning regulations intended to reduce the availability of abortions with no clinically proven benefit. This particular law is a requirement that physicians who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital, which is medically unnecessary and would only serve to severely reduce the number of eligible abortion providers.

The narrow and temporary blocking of this bill from taking effect is thanks to a swing vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, who once again took surprising action to avert what could have kicked off the long-awaited final assault on the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights throughout the United States. This apparently represents a swing from Roberts’ vote on a previous similar case, underscoring his self-appointed role as a moderator on a sharply divided court. With that said, the Court is still expected to hear this case in the fall, and numerous other state-level bills intended specifically to challenge Roe are in the judicial pipeline.

Despite this temporary win for pro-choice advocates, it’s clear that abortion rights are today in greater actual peril than at any point since the Roe decision in 1973. Especially if conservatives get another Justice before President Donald Trump leaves office but even with the Court as it sits today, the likelihood of Roe being thrown out is very high. Trump’s two appointed Justices, both of whom were confirmed with Sen. Cory Gardner’s support and one of which was stolen from Democrats in an unprecedented act of Senate treachery, showed in this trial balloon vote that they are ready to do it. Remember that next time anyone tells you that Gardner “would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

The moral of the story? Even here in Colorado where the voters have demonstrated their support for reproductive choice over and over at the polls, we’re only one election away from passing the same legislation that was blocked yesterday–legislation we see introduced in the Colorado legislature year after year. For reasons we’ve never really understood, local political reporters have been openly contemptuous about covering Republican anti-abortion bills in the Colorado General Assembly in recent years.

That complacency really, really needs to stop. “Token” GOP abortion bills in Colorado are not theater.

They are a warning.

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Focus on the Fearmongers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Nearly three hundred people showed up at the Capitol last week to speak against a relatively narrow bill concerning sex education. Many of them were passionate in their opposition; some were outright angry.

One woman gave a graphic description of fringe sex acts that drew audible gasps from the room. Another brandished a condom and talked about pedophiles grooming children.

Why were so many people so upset about a bill clarifying relatively obscure state regulations that have mostly been on the books for five years?

Quite simply, they were lied to.

Religious right advocacy groups blasted out “Action Alert” emails to their followers claiming that this bill would “require children in local public and charter schools to learn the explicit sexual techniques of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.”

The email sent on January 25, five days before the hearing, was signed by “The Family Policy Alliance Team (in association with our state ally, Colorado Family Action)”

The “Team” comprising the Family Policy Alliance includes Colorado’s own Focus on the Family and two out-of-state anti-LGBT hate groups: Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council.

On the day before the hearing, another out-of-state hate group called the American Family Association sent portions of the FPA email to its followers and asked them to contact their legislators.

Hours later, the Lakewood-based Centennial Institute blasted its list with a very similar message under the headline: “No on Banning Traditional Family Values from Colorado’s Schools.”

(more…)

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George Brauchler Presents: How To Make Everyone Hate You


In addition to the memorable debate between candidates for CD-3 at this weekend’s Club 20 event in Grand Junction we discussed earlier today, another noteworthy forum featuring the candidates for Colorado attorney general, Republican George Brauchler and Democratic candidate Phil Weiser, laid out a stark contrast that every voter in Colorado should take the time to watch.

We’ll have a detailed Debate Diary up in this space later today, but we wanted to highlight a particular exchange between Weiser and Brauchler, on the increasingly likely possibility of a direct challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in favor of women’s abortion rights, which you can watch above–transcribed below:

WEISER: You, um before have been quoted as saying you believe Roe v. Wade should be overturned. If this issue is before the Supreme Court, what position do you take for Colorado?

BRAUCHLER: I don’t think the AG has a role in this, and two I have not said that, what I have said is I’m pro-life. And that I do not expect the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, whether Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed or not. But then the attorney general of Colorado maybe files an amicus but doesn’t have a role to play in that particular argument.

WEISER: So, this is the Elbert County Republican questionnaire, where I think you said that “the results of Roe v. Wade are wrong, and do not make us a better people. I believe Roe v. Wade was decided based on a claimed right, that was interpreted from and not expressed in the Constitution.” Did you say that? Is that still your view?

BRAUCHLER: If that’s in there, that is correct, but that’s not the same thing as seeking to have it overturned. [Pols emphasis] I disagree with Roe v. Wade because I think this is a matter that doesn’t, that should be going to the states, but the Supreme Court ruled differently, and now I’ll embrace that law.

WEISER: Well, if it’s before the Supreme Court, an amicus brief, what would you do?

BRAUCHLER: Uh, I’d have to think about that. What I would do.

[Audience boos]

BRAUCHLER: Boo all you want. [Pols emphasis]

MODERATOR: Next question, next question.

In just over a minute’s time, Brauchler’s credibility on the issue of abortion is more or less devastated. First he airily asserts that Roe v. Wade will not be overturned, despite the fact that this is a more likely possibility than ever with legal challenges to test legislation already making their way through the courts. Then Brauchler says that Weiser is misleading about Brauchler’s view of Roe v. Wade.

That denial lasted exactly as long as it took to read Brauchler’s own response to Elbert County Republicans in a candidate questionnaire, in which Brauchler makes it plainly obvious that he thinks Roe should be overturned. This leaves Brauchler with no choice but to parse words ridiculously–and then cops out so badly when Weiser returns to the central question, that the audience not only booed but were morally compelled to boo. This was such an abject collapse on an issue of such importance in the upcoming elections that both abortion supporters nor opponents should be outraged.

Brauchler’s faceplant on abortion at Club 20 this weekend is perhaps only mitigated by the fact that not very many voters will likely see the event or even reporting about it. But for everybody who does see it, we have to call it something close to disqualifying. If Brauchler’s dishonesty doesn’t turn you off, his cowardice will.

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Stapleton Won’t Say If He’d Sign Bills Making Abortion Illegal Or Harder To Get in Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s Republican candidate for governor won’t say if he’d sign legislation making abortions illegal or harder to get in Colorado.

“I’m not going to get into a bunch of hypotheticals on a particular piece of legislation. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. We’ll see what happens in future,” Walker Stapleton told CBS4 political specialist Shaun Boyd last week.

But Boyd’s hypothetical question isn’t so hypothetical now, with the U.S. Senate poised to add Trump’s conservative nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, paving the way for the gutting Roe v. Wade, which protects abortion rights in America.

In the absence of Roe, state governments would be free not only to pass laws outlawing abortion outright but also to put roadblocks in place to restrict access to abortion.

Such legislation didn’t land on Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk, but here are three examples of bills that were promoted by anti-choice Republicans in the Colorado legislature just this year:

This bill would have banned abortion in Colorado by defining life as beginning at conception

This bill would have forced a women not only to have a vaginal or abdominal ultrasound prior to having an abortion but also to wait 24-hours before having an abortion after she informs a doctor that she wants one.

This legislation would have stopped the use of a method of abortion used for 95 percent abortions performed during the second trimester.

Those bills aren’t hypothetical, but would Stapleton sign them if they landed on his desk?

He won’t say, but Stapleton told Boyd he’s a pro-life Republican, who believes that life begins at conception. Such a belief would align him with anti-abortion activists who oppose some forms of birth control, which could potentially destroy fertilized eggs, or zygotes. But Stapleton told Boyd his anti-abortion stance includes exceptions for rape, incest, and to save a mother’s life.

During a speech to state Republicans in April, Stapleton vowed to protect the “born and unborn.” He’s said he’ll be a pro-life governor.

Stapleton’s Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, is pro-choice, saying that he would not ban any abortion, even late abortions, because “this is a very personal decision for a woman.”

“It’s between her conscience, her god and her doctor… in no way, shape or form should it be the government’s decision to tell a woman what to do with her own body,” Polis told Boyd.

“This is a more real threat than ever before,” Polis told a group at Planned Parenthood, according to CBS4.

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“Fetal Homicide”=Personhood: The Ghouls Come Out

Rep. Lori Saine (R).

We wrote on Tuesday about renewed debate in the wake of an horrific triple murder in Frederick, allegedly committed by an Anadarko Petroleum employee who disposed on the bodies on company property including in a crude oil tank, over laws in Colorado pertaining to the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. Colorado has had such a law on the books since 2003, but crimes like the one committed this month in Frederick have been opportunistically seized upon by anti-abortion activists as a way of “back-dooring” so-called “Personhood” legal status for fetuses that leads directly to the criminalization of abortion.

We predicted that usual suspects in the Colorado General Assembly would be swift to appropriate this tragedy to serve their unrelated anti-abortion agenda, and as 9NEWS’ Steve Staeger reports we were not obliged to wait long:

State Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), whose district includes Frederick, where these murders occurred, is planning to propose a new state law that would create a so-called “fetal homicide” charge.

“As a child, Niko was the victim of a crime, a horrific crime and he hasn’t been given full consideration by our justice system,” Saine said…

Saine wouldn’t directly say what she feels doesn’t work about current law. [Pols emphasis]

“People are asking not for an addendum or an afterthought… they’re asking why hasn’t there been four counts of murder charged on Monday,” Saine said.

Rep. Lori Saine has a well-earned reputation as one of the more ignominious Republican members of the House, much more interested in ham-fistedly flogging the culture war hot button of the moment for her personal gratification than the boring work of making laws. She’s also not immune to bouts of eye-popping hypocrisy, sponsoring bills to weaken Colorado gun laws just months after she was arrested at a Denver International Airport security checkpoint with a loaded handgun in her purse.

It’s telling therefore, after Saine called legislation to strengthen protections for neighborhoods threatened by old and new oil and gas drilling last year after two of her constituents blew up in Firestone “spiking the political football,” that she can’t even specify what’s wrong with the law already on the books in this case. But her choice of words to describe a reportedly fifteen-week pregnancy “as a child” and asking rhetorically about a “fourth murder charge” broadcast clearly what this is all about: personhood for a fetus.

Something Colorado voters have rejected by overwhelming margins over, and over, and over again.

When called out on this duplicity, it’s the usual practice to claim offense and hide behind the victims of whatever terrible crime provoked this latest push for a “fetal homicide” bill in order to escape shame. But make no mistake, this has nothing to do with justice for any victim. There is already a law on the books appropriate for this crime. This is about misusing a tragic news story to further a totally unrelated agenda, that of banning abortion. It does not deserve any kind of cover, least not behind this whole murdered family.

Shame on Lori Saine. Or should we say, even more shame on Lori Saine.

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Ghoulish “Fetal Homicide” Politics Revisited

Murder victim Shannan Watts.

FOX 31 reported last week in rather inflammatory fashion about laws in Colorado pertaining to the killing of a pregnant woman, an issue that flares up politically every time such a horrible crime is committed:

After a Frederick man was arrested on murder charges after the disappearance of his pregnant wife and two daughters, a debate has reignited about Colorado’s laws regarding the killing of a fetus…

Watts faces three counts of first-degree murder and three charges of tampering with physical evidence. He is not charged for the death of the unborn child.

However, Colorado has laws that increase penalties for those who commit crimes against pregnant women. [Pols emphasis]

Social media has flared with people discussing Colorado’s lack of a fetal homicide law…

In 2003, Colorado passed a law establishing as a felony crime the unlawful termination of a pregnancy. In 2013, this law was strengthened considerably by the passage of House Bill 13-1154, which included situations in which a person “recklessly or carelessly” terminates a pregnancy in addition to deliberately intending to do so. Most importantly, this legislation specifically exempted any action by a woman with regard to her own pregnancy or actions of a health care provider–and also specifically stated that the legislation was not intended to “confer personhood, or any rights associated with that status, on a human being at any time prior to live birth.”

Why are these distinctions so important? Because so-called “fetal homicide” bills, like so many local media outlets were duped into clamoring for despite the laws on the books in Colorado that already address the issue, are deliberate steppingstones to criminalizing abortion by establishing individual rights for fetuses–something Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected in the form of “Personhood” amendments.

It’s upsetting that every time such a heinous crime in committed in our state, there’s a rush by anti-abortion activists to fictionalize the “need” for a fetal homicide law in order to further their own totally unrelated agenda. In truth, Colorado has a law making the wrongful termination of a pregnancy a crime, and there’s little evidence to suggest that such an additional charge would deter someone already intent on committing murder.

So please, let’s not do this. It’s deceptive and it’s totally unnecessary.

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Why Are Republicans Speaking At The ‘Democrats For Life’ Conference?

(For the lulz, obviously – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) is holding its first conference this weekend in Denver, but speakers include no currently-elected Democratic politicians, and several speakers who have been identified as Republicans, Independents, or have no registered party affiliation.

The “I Want My Party Back” conference comes after a recent debate around whether the Democratic Party should make room for candidates who oppose abortion rights.

Some have argued that it’d behoove Democrats who are eager to regain support from Trump voters to field candidates who may not adhere to every single aspect of the party’s platform. But more progressive Democrats say the party’s so-called big tent isn’t big enough for those who would allow limitations on reproductive rights.

But within this debate, one key fact is often ignored: These days, pro-life Democrats are few and far between.

So it shouldn’t necessarily come as a surprise that DFLA, which has aimed to elect anti-choice Democrats since its inception in 1999, apparently struggled to find true-blue Democratic speakers for their upcoming conference.

The only Democratic politicians speaking are two former Congressmen — Bart Stupak of Michigan and Lincoln Davis of Tennesse, both of whom haven’t held office since 2011.

And many of the speakers aren’t Democrats at all, according to a voter database. Lauren Castillo, for example, is the National Church Relations Director for Students for Life of America, and she’s registered in Colorado as a Republican. Castillo didn’t respond to a request for comment and confirmation.

(more…)

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Anti-Abortion Group: Top GOP Candidates for Governor are Dodging Abortion Questions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Campaign for Life, a statewide anti-abortion group, says two leading Republican candidates for governor won’t answer specific questions about abortion.

The silence from the two candidates, State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, has led Colorado Campaign for Life to accuse them of being “squishy” on their alleged “pro-life” stand.

In a Facebook post this week, Colorado Campaign for Life asserted Stapleton and Mitchell “mouth Pro-life rhetoric in private” but won’t say whether they believe life begins at conception or whether they support a proposed law mandating women receive an ultrasound and the option of seeing it, prior to having an abortion.

A review of statements about abortion by Mitchell and Stapleton shows that they’ve both signaled their vague support for the anti-abortion cause, even though their campaign websites are silent on the subject.

The “Issues” section of Stapleton’s website, for example, lists “Sanctuary Cities, Retirement, Education, Energy and Land, Transportation, Second Amendment, and Jobs.” Nothing about abortion rights. In a Facebook interview last week, Stapleton said he’d defend the Colorado Constitution’s ban on state funding of abortion. And during a speech to state Republicans in April, he vowed to protect the “born and unborn,” according to the liberal blog ColoradoPols.

Stapleton did not return an email from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking details on his abortion positions.

Mitchell wrote on Facebook last year that Colorado Republicans “should nominate pro-life candidates,” but he reportedly also believes that Roe v. Wade is settled law–a view that’s considered more pro-choice. And he said he doesn’t support more restrictive abortion laws in Colorado, according to a questionnaire he filled out for the Colorado Independent. He contradicted this stance earlier this year when he said he wants to ban late-term abortions in Colorado. Mitchell did not return an email asking for an explanation of this stance.

Two other Republicans in the GOP primary race appear to have hard-line anti-abortion views.

“I believe that only God has the right to take a life, whether in the womb, beginning at conception, or before natural death,” states the campaign website of Greg Lopez, a former mayor of a Denver suburb, on his website. “I am pro-life, without exceptions.”

Another Republican in the primary race, businessman Doug Robinson, has said he voted for Colorado’s personhood amendment, which would ban all abortion, even after a rape. But responding to a questionnaire from the Colorado Independent, Robinson skipped a question asking if he would support more restrictive abortion laws in Colorado.

Surveys show Republican primary voters  to be anti-choice, but with a recent poll showing Stapleton ahead by double digits, his campaign tactics may already be focused on  the general election, where voters overwhelmingly favor abortion rights.

February poll conducted by a GOP consulting firm showed that 47 percent of Republican voters would reject a pro-choice primary candidate.

But polling generally shows Colorado’s general election voters to be pro-choice. A 2014 Pew Poll, for example, found 59 percent of the state’s population wants abortion to be legal in most or all cases.

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A Leading GOP Candidate for Governor Says He Once Voted to Ban All Abortion in Colorado

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mitt Romney’s Nephew.

A leading Republican candidate for governor told a talk radio host Saturday that he voted for a constitutional amendment that, if it hadn’t been overwhelmingly defeated by Colorado voters, would have banned all abortion, even for rape, and possibly some forms of birth control.

Asked by KNUS 710-AM host Craig Silverman if he voted for the “personhood amendment,” which would have bestowed legal rights to fertilized human eggs, also called zygotes, Robinson said, “I sure did, yeah.”

Robinson went on to tell Silverman that although he’s “pro-life” and has been his entire life, his anti-abortion stance would not “be the main focus of my administration.”

“I am pro-life,” said Robinson on air. “I don’t expect this is going to be the main focus of my administration. You know, I’m going to be focused on really making lives better every day for Coloradans, in terms of our roads and our schools, reducing the cost of health care. Those are going to be my priorities.”

Robinson’s opponents in the GOP primary apparently haven’t been asked about their support for a personhood amendment, which was a major issue in the 2014 senatorial election here, with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner saying he supported a personhood bill in Congress but opposed an nearly identical amendment here in Colorado–even though he’d previously supported state personhood measures in Colorado as well. 

Treasurer Walker Stapleton, the Republican front runner for governor, hasn’t said much about his abortion stance, though he vowed to protect the “born and unborn” during his April speech at the Republican state convention. Republican Greg Lopez didn’t return an email asking about his stance on personhood and abortion-related issues. Democrats in the gubernatorial race are pro-choice.

(more…)

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One Election Away: Iowa Passes Six-Week Abortion Ban

As the Des Moines Register reports:

With a middle-of-the-night vote that followed hours of heated debate, Iowa Republicans have approved a measure that would ban most abortions in the state and give the state the strictest abortion law in the nation.

The move came in the final days of the legislative session, after mounting pressure from the Legislature’s most ardently anti-abortion corners to pass the so-called heartbeat bill before adjournment. It was accompanied by legislative threats and predictions — even hopes — the resulting law will be challenged in court.

Senate File 359, if signed into law, would ban nearly all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can occur about six weeks into a pregnancy and often before a woman realizes she’s pregnant.

Iowa’s Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds hasn’t said for sure if she intends to sign the bill into law, but she campaigned for office as a pro-life conservative and the pressure on her to sign the bill is very intense. Passage of this legislation will of course provoke an immediate court challenge and in all probability an injunction against enforcement while that lawsuit takes place. That legal battle, all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, is exactly the point of this legislation–setting up a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade before the most conservative Supreme Court in decades.

Here in Colorado, the political press corps can scarcely be bothered to report on abortion bans and onerous restrictions like mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds introduced year after year by conservative Republicans in the state legislature. The presumption is that with Democrats in control of one chamber and the governor’s office, abortion ban bills “aren’t a story” since they stand no realistic chance of becoming law.

What’s happening in Iowa is a sobering reminder of how wrong that complacency is. The worst case scenario is never more than a single election away. If the Republicans in office in Colorado right now had the legislative majority they’re going to pitch Colorado voters to give them this fall, and a Republican governor like the one they want Colorado to elect, they would not hesitate to pass the bill Iowa’s legislature just passed.

And that is something every voter in Colorado needs to know.

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Colorado Dems just introduced one of the most progressive reproductive health bills in the U.S.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Democratic state lawmakers introduced a bill yesterday that aims to increase access to all reproductive care and protect Coloradans from the Trump administration’s rollbacks.

The Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Act would require all public and private health insurance plans regulated by the state of Colorado to cover the entire gamut of reproductive care, from cancer screenings and prenatal care to contraceptives and abortion, at no cost to the patient. And the bill guarantees that coverage for everyone, regardless of gender identity, income, or immigration status.

According to the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) it’s a “proactive bill with some real teeth,” and the bill aims to address a key barrier to reproductive care: affordability.

“When it comes to marginalized communities, affordability is one of the biggest hurdles,” said COLOR’s Karla Gonzales Garcia. “You can have the right to seek reproductive health care and abortion, but if you can’t afford the care, you can’t access that right.”

Maternal mortality is on the rise in the U.S. Graph shows # of deaths per 100,000 live births. Credit: Rob Weychert/ProPublica

In addition to improving access to services like abortion and contraception, the bill also seeks to improve maternal health, a critical undertaking given that the U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world by a wide margin. And that rate continues to rise while other countries have managed to make childbirth safer.

Women of color bear the brunt of the country’s maternal health crisis. Women of color are more likely to die during childbirth, and black women are at particularly high risk, dying during childbirth at three times the rate of white women.

“A lot of it is due to complications in labor and during pregnancy, but a lot of it is also happening postpartum when people don’t have appropriate care for healing or post-delivery complications, when they frankly don’t have health coverage and then they’re having long-term health consequences and even dying,” said Garcia. “And so we see this legislation as really important to addressing maternal mortality and maternal health issues for women of color.”

As it stands, women who receive Medicaid coverage during pregnancy also receive 60 days of postpartum care. This bill would extend that coverage period to 180 days.

(more…)

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Colorado Democratic Assembly Results

Colorado Democrats assembled at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield from Friday, April 13, to Saturday, April 14, 2018. The crowd of almost 4,000 Democrats were enthusiastic, engaged, yet civil (in contrast to the stunning back-stabbing and skullduggery at the Republican assembly) . The CDP Assembly was superbly well-organized, with balloting completed in about a half hour, and counted in less than two hours.  Kudos to Chair Morgan Carroll and all of the CDP staff and volunteers.

All of the  congressional districts held their own assemblies; many candidates had primary challengers or Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents. In this “blue wave” year, no office held by the GOP can be considered to be off-limits. Democrats in Colorado put forward a slate of phenomenal candidates.

The official results from the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) for statewide offices are:

CU Regent-at-Large
Lesley Smith: 3,229 votes (100.00%)

Based on these results, Lesley Smith has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for CU Regent-at-Large.

Treasurer
Bernard Douthit: 1,074 votes (31.50%)
Charles Scheibe: 557 votes (16.34%)
Dave Young: 1,778 votes (52.16%)

Based on these results, Bernard Douthit and Dave Young have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Treasurer.

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold: 3,352 votes (98.44%)
Phillip Villard: 53 votes (1.56%)

Based on these results, Jena Griswold has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Secretary of State.

Attorney General
Amy Padden: 360 votes (10.54%)
Joe Salazar: 1,249 votes (36.58%)
Phil Weiser: 1,805 votes (52.87%)

Based on these results, Joe Salazar and Phil Weiser have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Attorney General. Amy Padden can qualify for the ballot if the Secretary of State determines that she has collected the requisite number of valid signatures.

Governor
Cary Kennedy: 2,101 votes (61.65%)
Jared Polis: 1,120 votes (32.86%)
Erik Underwood: 187 votes (5.49%)

Based on these results, Cary Kennedy and Jared Polis have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Governor.

NOTE: These are not all of the candidates that are running for these particular offices. Some candidates have chosen to qualify for the ballot by submitting petition signatures instead of going through the caucus-assembly process.

Here are the CD results in order: ( rounded to nearest 1%). I’ll update this list with numbers as I find them.

I’ve included my notes on the assemblies I attended and on the speakers I heard.

CD1: (Denver metro)Diana Degette – 61% . Her primary opponent, Saira Rao , got 37%, and  will be on the ballot. Rep. Degette has been a reliable Democratic vote for many years in a safe district – I think Rao’s candidacy will be a needed wake-up call to be more progressive and to offer better constituent services. Rao is sharp, a great speaker, and has energized the progressive base. Degette attended her CD1 assembly on April 13 , did not attend nor speak at the state assembly April 14.

CD2: (Boulder area – Jared Polis vacated the seat to run for Governor) Joe Negeuse – 91% Joe gave a helluva speech, as he always does. His personal story touches many people. Boulder will be well represented by him, as he’ll certainly win the primary, and almost certainly the general election. His primary opponent, Mark Williams, did not make the ballot.  The GOP has put up a couple of “Nicks” against Neguse: Nick Thomas and Nicholas Morse. I don’t know who won the GOP assembly vote, but they won’t beat “the Goose”.

CD3: (most of the western slope and SW CO – currently held by Scott Tipton) Diane Mitsch Bush had the highest delegate vote with 56%; Karl Harlon also cleared the 30% threshold with 41%, and will be on the ballot.

CD4: (Mostly NE CO – current incumbent Ken Buck) The Doctors were in the house! Veterinary doctors Karen McCormick and Chase Kohne each had throngs of energetic supporters on stage for their nominations. Each gave a rousing speech:

Kohne’s best line, in my opinion: “If you want to shoot an AR15, go down to the recruiting office and join the military.”

McCormick’s nominators are emphasizing Dr McCormick’s support for Dreamers and immigrants. Karen McCormick emphasized Cannabis, immigrant rights, healthcare, union support, bipartisan cooperation to get laws passed. Full disclosure: I live in CD4. I’m voting for McCormick, will be fine with Kohne as well.

CD5 (El Paso area, currently held by Doug Lamborn) Stephany Rose Spaulding won the delegate count and will be on the ballot. I don’t know about the other CD5 candidates, whom you can read about at the EPCO Young Dems site.  It’s great to see so many young Democrats running from what has6been the Tea Party GOP’s bastion in Colorado.

CD6 Aurora / Arapahoe County area, currently held by Mike Coffman. Jason Crow won top ballot with 64% , while Levi Tilleman will also be on the ballot with 35%. I saw Crow speak to the assembly, and found his persona to be authentic and appealing. PPP surveyed 761 voters, and found that Crow polled 44-39 against Coffman in Febrary 2018.

CD7 Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent, did not attend the Assembly as far as I know. Ed, a very popular Congressman in his district,  is not  being primaried in this election.

 

Author’s note – this diary started as an open thread based on my  live blogging at the Colorado State Assembly. I’ve updated it with ballot results.

 

 

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Cynthia Coffman Just Keeps Digging and Digging

Cynthia! Are you down there, Cynthia?

We’ve been tough on Attorney General Cynthia Coffman in this space, but it would be impossible to ignore the fantastical absurdity that is her campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Ever since her belated announcement for Governor in November, Coffman has been unable to figure out if she is here or there or anywhere else.

Ernest Luning reports on Coffman’s latest political gymnastics for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

Coffman…told a GOP group last week she would sign a bill removing protection based on sexual orientation from Colorado’s anti-discrimination law.

Her remarks drew criticism from the state’s leading LGBTQ-advocacy organization, but Coffman later said she meant she would repeal the protection only if it turned out it wasn’t needed anymore. [Pols emphasis]

Coffman, who has staked out a position as a defender of LGBTQ rights, made the remarks at a March 21 meeting of the Greeley Republican Politics for Breakfast group at the end of a discussion about her controversial role defending the state’s nondiscrimination law in a U.S. Supreme Court Court case about a Lakewood baker who cited religious reasons when he refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Well, except that she probably did.

Coffman is seeking a place on the June Primary ballot via the caucus/assembly process, which concludes on April 14, and she’s been taking a strange approach in courting diehard Republicans across the state. Coffman’s pitch to GOP voters is that she is the most moderate Republican in the race, and therefore the candidate with the best chance of winning a General Election in November. But it seems like every time she tries to make this case, she ends up walking it back in a very public manner.

Put aside, for a moment, the question of whether or not it makes sense to court right-wing Republicans with a moderate message; Coffman’s bigger problem has been her persistant inability to be consistent in her positions. Coffman’s supposed support of LGBTQ rights is one of her main talking points for her “moderate” image — but when she gets into a room with conservative Republicans, she compulsively un-moderates herself. As Luning explains further:

Last summer, Coffman praised Colorado’s anti-bias laws as among the strongest in the country when she addressed a rally celebrating lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered equality on the steps of the state Capitol. She pointed out that her office had recently helped pass bipartisan legislation adding sexual orientation and transgender status to the state’s existing law covering bias-motivated crimes.

“Whatever happens on the national front, and I know there is great fear about what lies ahead because it is unknown to us, let me tell you what we do know about Colorado,” Coffman, the only Republican on stage, told the rally. “This state, your legislators, your state officials — we will all stand up for gay rights, for human rights in Colorado.” [Pols emphasis]

Cynthia Coffman will stand up for LGBTQ rights! Unless she won’t.

We’d guess that Coffman isn’t likely to win over many conservative Republicans with this dance, so why risk losing potential supporters from the LGBTQ community?

After reviewing a recording of Coffman’s remarks before the Republican group, a spokesman for One Colorado, the state’s leading LGBTQ-advocacy organization, said her statement “feels like a betrayal” from someone the group has long considered an ally.

Of course, this isn’t the only issue that has Coffman flopping about. Coffman thinks Colorado voters are anxious to vote for a female candidate at the top of the ticket (which they did in 2016 with Hillary Clinton), yet she is an unabashed supporter of President Trump.

Coffman doesn’t want to talk about Planned Parenthood, but she can’t very well sidestep the issue because of her involvement in important court cases about funding the organization. In fact, Coffman has waffled so much in the past few months on the issue of abortion that it is nearly impossible to ascertain if she is really “pro-choice” or “pro-life” (as far as we can tell, she’s definitely sorta “pro-life” at the moment).

If Coffman’s political strategy is intentional obfuscation, then she’s doing a hell of a job staying on “message.” But if this is NOT the plan, and we’re guessing it isn’t, then it’s almost sad to see Coffman winding down her political career by pulling up whatever policy stakes she once planted.

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Don’t Forget About Irish Women While Your Appropriating Their Culture This St. Patrick’s Day

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Photo: Amnesty International Ireland

It’s that special time each year where we get to partake in shenanigans that subtly appropriate Irish culture while drinking large quantities of green beer, and dressing like a leprechaun —yes, St. Patricks Day is finally upon us. While you’re enjoying your weekend of “green” celebrations and paying homage to our friends “across the pond,” this is a friendly reminder that women in Ireland have been fighting a grueling battle for reproductive freedom for half a century.

Ireland has some of the strictest abortion laws in the world. It is estimated that roughly 12 women per day will travel out of the country to seek abortion care. Though their reasons for needing to terminate a pregnancy may differ, their reasons for traveling elswhere, do not. The penalty for inducing an abortion in the Republic of Ireland can be up to 14 years in prison. In Northern Ireland, penalties are much more severe, and can result in a life sentence. Abortion is permitted only in the most extreme circumstances to save a woman’s life. This provision was only introduced in 2012 after the death of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied a life-saving abortion while suffering a septic miscarriage.

(more…)

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Con Man Chaps Interviews CD6 candidate Roger Edwards

Roger Edwards, Colorado Polster and candidate for Congressional District 6, was recently interviewed on Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s Pray in Jesus Name online “news” program.

Screenshot, Pray in Jesus Name program 12/21/17

Edwards should be more careful about the people he associates with; Chaps is a known nutcase, homophobe, and a con man who has made millions by exploiting the hopes and fears of his gullible subscribers.

Klingenschmitt’s nonprofit, “Persuade the World Ministries” declared income of $1,362,548 in 2016, while making no charitable grants whatsoever. (2016 990 form, from Propublica Nonprofit Explorer) In 2016, Klingenschmitt was still employed as the Representative for HD15, and attempted to run for Senate District 16.  And he wasn’t too fussy about keeping his political and religious finances separate.

Klingenschmitt: You, Too, Can Discern Demons

How did Klingenschmitt make 1.3 million dollars?  By selling such gems as his $99 “Discern the Spirits” program.

Screenshot – Youtube video of PJIN program

That’s right, for only $99, Chaps will teach you how to see demons and angels. This would be just another laughable claim by a religious fanatic –  if not for the political applications of Chaps “discernment”. He famously tried to exorcise a demon from President Obama, and claimed that gay and transgender people were inhabited by demons.

Also possessed by demons, according to Chaps: Zales ad execs, and anyone who criticizes him.

On the same 40 minute PJIN progam, at 19:11, Chaps promotes his petition to protect the altars of military chapels from the “desecration” of being used for “homosexual wedding ceremonies”. Because, of course, this is a legit national security concern.

Chaps Facebook page is a compendium of conspiracy theories (How Planned Parenthood Killed Toys R Us!!), Trumpism, and fundraising appeals for his various campaigns against gays and abortion, Mexican and Muslim immigrants, etc.  This is how he has become a millionaire. People donate to his “ministry”. A lot.

Edwards: Gays OK to keep their jobs

Chaps’ interview with candidate Roger Edwards starts with the standard biographical questions. Then the two proceed to check the right boxes: Anti-abortion / Pro Personhood? Check. Pro Concealed Carry? Check. Trump voter? Check.

When Chaps probes to find out what policies Edwards is for, the best Edwards can say is that he is “Not Mike Coffman”. There are no specific policies on Edwards’ campaign website, either. Sample: We must recognize that evil exists in the world. 

To Edwards’ credit, at 25:11,  Edwards  declines to denounce the ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act), which protects gay people from employment discrimination. Edwards refuses Chaps’ request to get on the homophobic bandwagon against ENDA, and says that gay people should be able to keep their jobs. Edwards says:

I believe in religious freedom, but I also believe that, if you’re a gay person,. . .that you should have equal opportunity to have a job and work a career that you want to work in.

I’m sorry that we live in a world in which we should be grateful that an aspiring politician declines to discriminate against a tenth of the population. Edwards does say that he thinks that Jack Phillips, the baker who wouldn’t make the gay cake, probably did the right thing for “artistic freedom”. So he checked that box for Chaps.

Roger Edwards is trying to establish himself as a legitimate, electable candidate in CD6, a diverse district. The Adams County Republicans endorsed his candidacy over Coffman’s. It does not serve Edwards well to associate with opportunistic right wing hucksters like Dr. Chaps.

In the unlikely event that Edwards defeats Coffman in the primary, Dr. Chaps’ blessing of Edwards will serve the likely CD6 Democratic candidate, Jason Crow, very well, indeed.

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Aaaaand…Now Cynthia Coffman’s “Pro Life” Again!

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Joey Bunch of the former Colorado Statesman put the capstone on floundering GOP gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Coffman’s long series of flip-flops on the issue of abortion rights yesterday, and we wanted to be sure it got a mention. After repeatedly making it clear that she supports abortion rights, a novel (if risky) addition to the mix in the 2018 GOP gubernatorial primary, it would appear that Cynthia Coffman has belatedly realized that she is in…well, a GOP primary:

As a conservative Republican who represented the state’s case when it sought to withhold money from Planned Parenthood, Coffman create surprise and anxiety among would-be supporters when her campaign in November reportedly told CBS4’s Shaun Boyd that Coffman was pro-choice, That sent radio political talkers such as Corporon, Craig Silverman and Dan Caplis into orbit. Coffman’s spokeswoman at the time told Colorado Politics that Coffman has never said publicly how she feels personally on the wedge issue, but said the candidate would speak about it on the campaign trail.

“I am personally in favor of life,” Coffman said Saturday. “I would choose life.” [Pols emphasis]

It was Cynthia Coffman’s supposedly moderate views on social wedge issues that some Democratic strategists had worried might make her a formidable candidate in the event she survived the Republican primary. The biggest problem for Coffman, of course, is winning the primary with a public position on a critical issue that conservative primary voters find repellent. Thus before Coffman can put this angle to her advantage, she has to survive it being her greatest disadvantage.

But none of that matters now. With Coffman now backpedaling on an issue she has already backpedaled the other way, she has squandered her credibility on both sides. Nobody who opposes abortion is going to take seriously this obviously contrived flip back in the direction of GOP primary voters, and no one who supports abortion rights can trust Coffman either now. It’s like she is trying to take a page from Sen. Cory Gardner’s playbook, deliberately scrambling her image in hopes of confusing a winning coalition into either supporting her or disregarding abortion in this race entirely.

But in timing or the execution, Cynthia Coffman is no Cory Gardner.

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Online Conservative Group Turns on Republicans

(Whatever happened to… – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Divisiveness among Colorado Republicans is a familiar challenge for the state party. Extreme social conservatives and gun rights advocates have challenged the more moderate establishment for years.

Over the past year, however, a previously ordinary Republican entity has launched surprisingly aggressive attacks against its own party. The reason? It’s under new management.

Advancing Colorado is a 501(c)4 entity that in past years has been essentially an online brand used by conservatives to promote “edgy” messages against progressive policies and -obliquely- Democratic candidates. From a 2015 Colorado Independent profile of its former executive director Jonathan Lockwood:

(more…)

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