John Morse’s Revenge Continues

Former Colorado Senators John Morse and Angela Giron (D).

As the Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports:

A national gun control group is hoping to flip control of the Colorado Senate and other key races in the state by injecting $650,000 into campaigns and efforts to mobilize Democratic voters.

“The politics on this issue have shifted dramatically in favor of gun safety — and nowhere is that more true than in Colorado,” Everytown for Gun Safety President John Feinblatt said. “We are proud to support candidates up and down the ballot who will put public safety ahead of gun lobby priorities.”

Democrats hold a safe majority in the Colorado House of Representatives, but Republicans control the Senate by a single seat. Senate Republicans blocked a “red-flag” bill during the 2018 legislative session that would have let law enforcement confiscate weapons from people in the midst of mental health crisis. Sen. Tim Neville, R-Jefferson County, fought to kill the red-flag bill and was the sponsor on another proposal to remove the permit requirement in order to carry a concealed weapon.

In 2013, following mass shooting tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut and (especially) the July 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the unified Democratic majorities in the Colorado House and Senate debated and passed a landmark package of gun safety bills: most controversially, laws requiring background checks on most transfers of guns including private sales and a limit on magazine capacity at 15 rounds.

These laws provoked an intense backlash from national pro-gun organizations like the National Rifle Association and the hard-line National Association for Gun Rights headed by local gun rights extremist Dudley Brown. Brown, who believes there should be no pre-sale checks on gun purchases of any kind, and allied local groups flush with NRA cash initiated a recall election in September of 2013 that successfully recalled two Democratic Senators: Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. A third Democratic Senator, Evie Hudak of Arvada, voluntarily resigned rather than putting her swing district (and herself) through the pain of a recall.

Since that time, though, all of the gains made by Republicans as a result of the events of 2013 have been retaken by Democrats. The successors for Morse and Giron both lost their seats in 2014, and fringe-right Sen. Laura Woods held Evie Hudak’s former seat for only two years before being ousted by Rachel Zenzinger in their second matchup in 2016. And despite annual attempts by Republicans to repeal the laws passed in 2013, they remain on the books. In the meantime, the ongoing and worsening tragedy of mass gun violence in America has shifted the politics of the issue to the point where Democrats in Colorado and elsewhere no longer fear taking the gun lobby head-on.

In 2013, Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute predicted the recalls would create a “wave of fear” among Democrats across the land, and for a few years, yes–it probably did. We submit to you that those days are over, and history will record that it was Morse, Giron, Hudak, and everyone else who tried to reduce the impact of gun violence instead of make excuses for it who were on the right side.

And yes, flipping the Colorado Senate would be a powerful way to say so.

Will The #MeToo Movement Sweep Humenik Out Of the Colorado Legislature?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Beth Humenik (R) and the boys of the Colorado Senate.

One of the most competitive races in Colorado’s state legislature pits a woman who led the charge to expose a culture of sexual harassment at the Capitol against a woman who protected an alleged perpetrator of that harassment from expulsion.

Democratic State Rep. Faith Winter is vying for the Adams County seat that’s currently occupied by State Sen. Republican Beth Martinez Humenik, and how voters are reacting to the #MeToo movement could be a decisive factor in the outcome of the race, which could determine whether Democrats gain control of state government.

Winter led the charge to expose rampant sexual misconduct at Colorado’s Capitol after she publicly accused Steve Lebsock, a fellow Democratic state lawmaker, of sexually harassing her. After Winter came forward, several other women brought similar allegations against Lebsock, leading to his expulsion from the state’s House of Representatives.

Lebsock was expelled with the support of many Republican lawmakers. But when it came time to consider the expulsion of an alleged serial sexual harasser within their own party, Republicans in the state Senate, including Humenik, protected their own.

Republican State Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulfur Springs was accused of harassing several women at the capitol, including groping them and making unwanted sexual comments. Despite the fact that the allegations were found to be credible by a third-party investigation, a resolution to expel Baumgardner failed, with only one Republican state senator voting in favor of the expulsion. Humenik voted to keep Baumgardner in the Senate.

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State Rep. Jovan Melton Should Resign

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reports new damning details that almost certainly should result in Rep. Jovan Melton’s swift resignation:

The Denver Post interviewed the woman from the first incident but is withholding her name at her request due to safety concerns.

She said she hasn’t talked to Melton since that night in December 1999, and she’s afraid of him to this day. That fear, she said, is a big part of why she moved to another state.

“I absolutely would fear for my personal safety if still lived in Denver, anywhere in the state,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

The woman told The Denver Post she felt like their college friends and the legal system favored Melton at the time, making Boulder a lonely place to be after his arrest. She left CU afterward.

There’s no road back from this, folks. Not in elected office anyway.

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UPDATE #2: The Colorado Democratic Party issues a statement this afternoon from Party Chair Morgan Carroll:

“The incidents detailed against Representative Melton are shocking and saddening.  I have privately told Rep. Melton that I think it is in the best interest of his district for him to step down. At the end of the day, public service is about putting the public first.”

“As Democrats, we fully acknowledge the gravity of domestic violence and recognize that both survivors of abuse and people of color have been failed by the criminal justice system.  While a criminal record doesn’t inherently prevent someone from running for elected office, some conduct, even if in the past, truly impacts the public’s trust in an elected office and the ability to effectively advocate for the community.”

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UPDATE: House Democratic leadership have asked for Rep. Jovan Melton’s resignation, via Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran of Denver, Majority Leader KC Becker of Boulder and Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett of Denver said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that the allegations first revealed in a Denver Post story Tuesday are “deeply disturbing and very serious. We have spoken with Rep. Melton privately and encouraged him to resign.”

It is Melton’s decision “whether to step down,” the three lawmakers’ statement continued. In addition, they said, “we recognize that the criminal justice system has not worked for far too many people of color and survivors. People should not necessarily be precluded from running for office because they have issues in their past. But we urge him to consider the seriousness of the story and the impact on the people of his district and on the public confidence in the legislature.”

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State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora)

State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) should resign.

According to new allegations unearthed by the Denver Post, the Aurora Democrat has a frightening history of violence against women. Melton denies these allegations, but unless can prove that police reports documenting several separate incidents are unfounded, he should immediately resign from his position as a State Representative and declare that he will not be seeking re-election this fall.

According to police and court records, Melton has demonstrated a pattern of physical violence against women, including an incident in which a former girlfriend alleged that Melton broke her tailbone. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

“The behaviors detailed in the police report are incredibly troubling,” said Amy Pohl with Violence Free Colorado, the statewide domestic violence coalition. “We do really believe people can change, but first they have to take responsibility for their behavior. That’s the first step. Admitting that you did something wrong.”

She added that Melton may be avoiding accountability when he said no violence occurred. “Can people really change their behavior if they’re not willing to take really responsibility for what actually happened?”

Melton voted to expel former Democratic Rep. Steve Lebsock from office, after an outside investigation found it credible that Lebsock sexually harassed five women and retaliated against them for coming forward. Former lobbyist Holly Tarry, one of Lebsock’s accusers, was glad members in both parties voted to oust Lebsock. She also believes Melton should no longer serve as a state lawmaker.

Melton also signed a letter last month from House Democrats calling for Republican lawmakers to undergo sexual harassment training after several in the GOP made jokes about sexual harassment and misconduct allegations targeting now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh (of course, Senate Republicans have repeatedly refused to do anything about sexual harassment charges against their own members). Democrats were right to push for Lebsock’s expulsion and to admonish Colorado Republicans for joking about the Kavanaugh allegations.

Melton should back up his previous actions by acknowledging that he should no longer serve as a State Representative in light of these allegations against him, but that has not been his initial response. Here’s what Melton wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday:

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The End Is Nigh: Now Tim Neville’s Hiding Behind Hickenlooper

Sen. Tim Neville (R).

This is a campaign mail piece delivered late last week in incumbent GOP Sen. Tim Neville’s red-hot SD-16 race against Democratic challenger Tammy Story. We’re not completely sure which voters was targeted with this piece, sent by the “independent” Business Opportunity Fund tied to a network of well-heeled Republicans at the Colorado Concern–but we would assume it’s aimed at Democrats and left-scoring independent voters.

For readers who haven’t had the pleasure of getting to know Sen. Tim Neville over the years, we’re basically talking about the anchor of the Colorado Senate GOP Majority’s far-right fringe. Neville has been the ideological driving force behind two different Republican Senate Presidents, and along with his son House Minority Leader Patrick “Boy” Neville control a bloc in both chambers without which Republicans can’t achieve a working majority within their caucuses. Neville’s policy interests range from perennial anti-abortion campaigns to dismantling Colorado’s gun safety laws to making public schools safe for “anti-vaxxer” conspiracy theorists at the expense of public health.

In short, to imply that moderate Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper would in any way support Neville’s re-election is an absurdity like few others possible in Colorado politics. Hickenlooper supporting Tim Neville would be like Hillary Clinton endorsing Ted Cruz for re-election over the competitive Democrat in the race. No one who knows anything about Tim Neville would ever possibly believe this. That’s why a mailer with these two men together and a fake “quote” below Hickenlooper’s image praising Neville stands out as not just deceptive, but outlandish dishonesty.

Trying to remake Tim Neville into a palatable candidate outside his fringe base is an extreme example, but this is merely the latest product of a years-long strategy by Colorado Republicans to audaciously triangulate off their own brand in order to stay alive politically in a left-trending state. Much like Rep. Mike Coffman’s roundly lampooned (but probably effective) TV ads sporting Planned Parenthood logo and Coffman’s occasional press-release criticism of Donald Trump, there is an implicit recognition that Republicans are deeply unpopular with a growing and diversifying majority of Colorado voters. But maddeningly to local Democrats, Coffman and others have made this self-deprecating strategy work.

But Tim Neville takes the farce too far. This can’t work. And if it does, then truly–nothing means anything.

Conservative Koch Brothers Attack Kerry Donovan For Proposing Net Neutrality Legislation

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

An organization backed by Republican billionaires Charles and David Koch is attacking Democratic State Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail, who is facing GOP challenger Olen Lund in the upcoming election.

The Koch organization, called Americans for Prosperity (AFP), mailed advertisements to voters in Donovan’s sprawling district in the central mountains.

The ads attack Donovan for her sponsorship of legislation promoting “net neutrality,” which aims to prevent giant corporations from dominating the internet, according to its proponents.

Donovan is running to retain one of five swing senate seats in Colorado that will likely determine which party controls the senate chamber, where Republicans currently hold a one-seat majority.

Donovan’s bill, HB18-1312, would have prevented state-funded companies that offer internet services from charging additional fees based on internet speeds, blocking lawful internet content, or instituting other measures to regulate traffic on the internet.

It’s a local version of national net neutrality policy measures, which are generally supported by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, including Trump.

The Koch Brothers’ AFP organization says net neutrality legislation hurts the ability of businesses to develop and expand their internet operations.  The Colorado chapter of AFP is associated with the national AFP.

At the national level, AFP has waged a multi-faceted campaign to roll back Obama-era regulations favoring net neutrality. Trump appointees to the Federal Communications Commission sided with conservatives, but the overturn of Obama’s net neutrality protections has stalled in the U.S. Senate.

In Colorado, Donovan’s bill would “stifle innovation and limit internet access in Colorado,” states AFP Colorado in one Facebook advertisement attacking the Democrat.

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Republicans Retaliate Against Kagan Over Kavanaugh Crassness

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R).

After several days of ugly press for Republican leadership in the Colorado General Assembly, caught making highly regrettable jokes minimizing the sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that invited basic questions about their respect either for women and laws protecting them, last night we saw a belated retaliatory strategy take shape.

In direct response to the widespread condemnation of the Kavanaugh social media incident, Senate Republicans yesterday released a June 5th investigative report into a complaint filed against Democratic Sen. Daniel Kagan alleging his use on several occasions of an unmarked restroom nonetheless reserved by custom for women. As CBS4 Denver’s Shaun Boyd reports:

A Colorado state senator is demanding a public apology from a male colleague after an investigation found he used the women’s restroom on several occasions…

She filed a workplace harassment complaint. According the investigative report CBS4 obtained, Sen. Kagan, a Democrat, admitted to using the women’s restroom once, saying he had a “gastrointestinal virus” and “the bathrooms at the capitol are a confusing business.”

But he says it didn’t happen again. He accused Republicans of retaliating because Democrats tried to oust one of their members for sexual misconduct.

Sen. Daniel Kagan (D).

The investigation into the complaint filed by Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik uncovered three confirmed instances of Kagan using the keycard-protected bathroom in question. Because Kagan initially claimed he had only done so once, there is a discrepancy in the record that local Republicans are leaping on in a fit of what’s known as “whataboutism”–deflecting from one allegation by bringing up an unrelated allegation and demanding that be debated instead.

With all of this in mind, there are two problems with the release by Republicans of this report yesterday. The first is the obvious timing–the report has been in extisence for going on three months, but was only released yesterday as Republicans were beset with a wave of negative press stories over the Kavanaugh social media remarks by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert. Humenik’s contrived outrage over a report she had months ago is very difficult to take seriously, and the plainly defensive nature of its release yesterday further undermines her credibility.

The second problem is that Sen. Kagan using the wrong bathroom is nowhere close in terms of severity to either sexual harassment allegations against Republican Senators that the complaint against Kagan was filed amidst, or the allegations of of sexual assault Kavanaugh faces and Republican leaders joked about. No one has ever once alleged that Kagan did anything inappropriate in this unmarked bathroom other than use it.

Is that embarrassing for Daniel Kagan? Sure, and he apologized. It’s in the story. Is it as bad as what Sen. Randy Baumgardner did to multiple women who work at the Capitol? No. And is it as bad as broadcasting your contempt for victims–like Neville and Holbert did unapologetically?

No.

Once you understand all of this, the people who look the worst here are not named Daniel Kagan.

Dems Nail Obvious Connection Between Kavanaugh, Baumgardner

Sen. Chris Holbert (R) on a DIY “border patrol” in Arizona.

A moment of social media ugliness committed by Republican leaders in both chambers of the Colorado legislature this weekend, making jokes minimizing sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that we now know to be allegations of violent sexual assault, produced a wealth of bad press in the last 24 hours with stories from Denver7 to Westword. After the past year’s crisis over sexual harassment in the Colorado General Assembly, these wisecracks from House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and (especially) Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert strongly suggested that they don’t take sexual misconduct seriously.

And that has pissed a lot of people off.

In Sen. Holbert’s case, it’s particularly galling after he helped cover up evidence documenting sexual harassment allegations against fellow Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner ahead of a failed vote to expel him from the Senate. Holbert has claimed that he was not aware of the allegations that prompted the satirical story he was commenting on, even though many details has been disclosed by last Saturday–more than enough to make these jokes minimizing the allegations against Kavanaugh imprudent.

As Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports, Democrats today are pointing out the obvious:

All but 10 Democratic lawmakers at Colorado’s state capitol signed a letter Thursday, including the Speaker of the House and Senate Minority Leader, asking two GOP leaders to participate in mandatory sexual harassment and diversity training in the wake of comments made on social media related to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

The letter asks House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and Senate Majority Leader Christ Holbert to complete the training before legislative leaders meet to discuss changes to the General Assembly’s workplace harassment policy…

“The General Assembly has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, held mandatory trainings, and put together an interim committee to recommend new policies and processes for dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault in the Capitol,” states the letter. “All of this will have been done in vain if these elected officials in positions of power, no matter what trainings they do, no matter how much money we invest, or how many committee hearings we hold, are dismissive of victims.” [Pols emphasis]

Dismissal of victims has been a central plank in the Senate GOP’s response to allegations of sexual harassment by Republican Senators ever since they original became public last fall. Senate President Kevin Grantham declared during the session this year that only sexual harassment rising to the level of a criminal act should be investigated and disciplined, though by the end of the session Grantham was forced to relieve Baumgardner of his remaining committee assignments due to the growing weight of evidence against him. But the deliberate coverup by Chris Holbert of information that could have changed votes in the hearing to expel Baumgardner cannot be dismissed as an oversight.

From Brett Kavanaugh to Randy Baumgardner, and in Holbert’s response to both, there is a damning consistency.

Sen. Holbert Yucks It Up Over Kavanaugh Rape Allegation

UPDATE: The Colorado Senate GOP is responding to Bente Birkeland’s story, and it’s a disaster:

Colorado Senate Republicans today raised objections to a Colorado Public Radio report, appearing Tuesday, that falsely suggested Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert and other lawmakers made jokes on social media about allegations of sexual misconduct that have emerged in the Brett Kavanaugh case.

The Facebook posts in question did not come in response to a news story or any substantive comments on the case. They came in response to a Babylon Bee parody, widely shared on social media, that took a playful swipe at California Senator Feinstein but DID NOT mention anything about sex or sexual misconduct.

“I read the Babylon Bee parody Saturday morning,” said Holbert. “It was satire, similar to The Onion, about seven-year-old Kavanaugh’s foot touching the floor while playing a kid’s game called ‘The Floor is Lava.’ I knew nothing about Dr. Ford or what she was alleging until Sunday. To claim that I was making light of those allegations before I knew about them is false.”

This explanation, of course, is nonsense. The existence of serious sexual misconduct allegations against Brett Kavanaugh was originally made public one week ago, on Wednesday September 12th. Those reports were the basis for the Babylon Bee satire post that House Minority Leader Patrick Neville posted on Saturday and Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert responded to. The name of Kavanaugh’s accuser may not have been made public, but enough was known about the allegations for any reasonable person to realize that joking about this is in extremely poor taste.

Understanding this in the context of the Colorado Senate’s failure to police its own sexual misconduct problem, and this silly denial is something akin to the worst possible response. It would have been far better to say nothing at all, but either arrogance or a guilty conscience forced Holbert to keep talking.

Enjoy the follow-up stories.

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Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert (R).

As our readers know, the past year has witnessed a major controversy in the Colorado General Assembly as staffers, lobbyists, and even lawmakers have come forward with allegations of widespread and pervasive sexual harassment by lawmakers in both parties. In the Colorado House, Rep. Steve Lebsock became the first sitting legislator in over a century to be expelled by a majority vote of the chamber.

In the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate, there was a very different result. Credible and thoroughly investigated allegations of harassment against Republican Senators were systematically downplayed the GOP leadership of the chamber. The lawmaker subject to the worst of the allegations, Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, received preferential treatment from leadership up to and allegedly including the suppression of investigative information that could have changed votes at the failed hearing to expel him.

The member of GOP leadership principally responsible for the “cover-up” of the results of further investigation of Baumgardner was Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who has aspirations to be the next Senate President if the GOP holds their one-seat majority. At the very end of the session Baumgardner was further stripped of his remaining committee assignments, but the question of his continued service was left to 2019’s Senate.

Fast-forward this to yesterday’s related story from Bente Birkeland, the journalist who first exposed the widespread allegations of sexual harassment at the Capitol–in which the same Sen. Chris Holbert lets slip his inner ugly on the matter of sexual assault allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh:

Two top Republican leaders in the statehouse made jokes on social media about the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault allegation facing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

In a Facebook post dated Saturday, Sept. 15, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville shared a link to a story from the Babylon Bee, a Christian news satire website, with the headline “Exclusive Report: Kavanaugh May Have Cheated While Playing ‘The Floor Is Lava’ As A Child.“

…Republican Rep. Kevin Van Winkle liked Neville’s post, so did Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert, who responded:

“An anonymous source who may or may not have ever been associated with the Little League has allegedly stated that, at the age of nine, Kavanaugh’s right foot did not touch the base when rounding second.”

This post was made last weekend, before Republicans in Washington had fully recognized the serious of the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh. Now that these allegations have delayed the vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation, throwing his nomination into chaos, Republicans cracking bad jokes about the situation could not look much worse.

But for Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly, yes–it’s worse. Minority Leader Patrick Neville voted against the expulsion of Steve Lebsock. Sen. Holbert’s conduct in defense of Baumgardner was deeply questionable, but the situation hasn’t been resolved as all parties await the results of the upcoming election to determine who will be in control of the Senate in 2019.

What this incident, which we understand has been deleted, confirms to us is the lack of good faith we’ve already seen from Holbert on the issue of sexual misconduct against women in the Colorado Sebate. And it’s a very good indicator of what to expect if he becomes Senate President.

That is something every woman who intends to vote this year in Colorado should know.

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Weird And Creepy In SD-15

SD-15 GOP candidate Rob Woodward.

Saja Hindi and Nick Coltrain of the Fort Collins Coloradoan report on what we sincerely hope was a random incident in which a Democratic Colorado Senate candidate’s car was apparently shot at last week–with the candidate inside:

It’s not clear if Rebecca Cranston, a Democrat running for a district that largely covers Larimer County outside Fort Collins, was targeted or if the shooting was related to other reported shootings in northwest Fort Collins.

Cranston had just pulled into her driveway Wednesday night and was on her phone when she heard something hit her truck. She first thought it might have been a rock.

“It didn’t occur to me that it would be a gunshot at first, until we saw the bullet hole,” Cranston said Monday morning.

Now, Rebecca Cranston is running to succeed Sen. Kevin Lundberg, one of the most conservative members of the Colorado Senate. In 2014, Lundberg cruised to re-election by almost 20 points, so this is not a race that Democrats are depending on to retake the chamber from Republicans in November. With that said, Cranston is doing everything she can to make the race competitive, one of two dozen Emerge Colorado-trained candidates on the ballot this year.

With regard to this shooting incident last week, as of this writing there are no suspects, and Cranston herself makes it clear that it could be a completely random act. There are been a number of unexplained random shootings in Northern Colorado in recent years, and it’s entirely possible that’s the explanation–enough that we weren’t initially sure this story rose to the level of coverage.

But then something rubbed us the wrong way:

Cranston wondered if she was targeted in Wednesday’s shooting because of her campaign, though she did not accuse her opponent of having anything to do with it.

However, she accused supporters of Republican Rob Woodward’s campaign of harassment tactics such as staking out her house and at one point almost driving her off the road while fleeing earlier in the summer. She said her mail — including campaign donation checks — was also stolen around that time…

And Republican Rob Woodward, who was accused of voter intimidation in 2012 after he basically said if Barack Obama was re-elected he would fire a majority of his employees, doesn’t completely deny her allegations:

[Woodward Campaign manager JD] Key said the Woodward campaign took a photo of Cranston’s home early on in the election only to settle a question about district residency. [Pols emphasis]

Full stop, folks. You do not need to physically travel to anyone’s home and photograph it in order to “settle a question about district residency.” You can find out if someone owns a home, and what district(s) that home resides in, from the comfort of any desk with a computer and an internet connection. However, if you’re looking to harass someone about their residency by tracking their comings and goings from home, that would be more of a stake out-type operation.

We don’t know if this “one-time photo session” of Cranston’s home occurred at the same time as she says somebody staking out her house almost forced her off the road while fleeing, but if this all happened, either at once or as multiple incidents–and we have no reason to doubt Cranston’s word–it would create a backdrop of creepy that a bullet hole in Cranston’s car cannot help but make worse. 

Obviously, we hope it’s a coincidence. But we’ll be watching closely for any more “coincidences.”

Seriously, Did Republicans Fire All Their Editors?

We took note Friday of a TV spot targeting rep. Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood from the Republican Senate Majority Fund–an expensive production and ad buy that couldn’t even spell the targeted candidate’s name right. If it’s worth producing and distributing before the eyeballs of thousands of voters, it should go without saying that it’s worth the essential step of copyediting.

This weekend, we’re treated to another spectacular GOP proofreading failure, once again being distributed to live voters in Greeley’s House District 50 by Republican candidate Brian Thuener:

Seriously folks, how the hell does that make it into the hands of actual voters? We understand that typographical errors happen–after all, this is a blog. We commit them all the time. What we wouldn’t do is allow such elementary errors to be printed and then distributed in campaign literature–or in the case of a TV spot, aired to thousands of voters.

Too many more such incidents, and the “amateur hour” impression this kind of thing leaves won’t be a coincidence anymore. It’ll be part of the narrative of 2018.

As Long As They Spell Your Name Right, Rep. Brittany Pettersen Edition

UPDATE: Here’s a bunch of big donors to the Senate Majority Fund who we’re guessing expect the work product to be spell-checked:

Pick up the phone and demand more for your money, y’all.

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When they don’t, the attack ad becomes more of a punchline. A costly punchline at that. Better luck next time, Senate Majority Fund.

Tipton And Other Republicans Return to Pueblo Racist’s Annual Fundraiser

(Gross — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Every year, Republican lawmakers gather at Tom Ready’s Steak Fry fundraiser. Ready is an unapologetic racist and anti-government conspiracy theorist whose annual backyard BBQ nevertheless continues to draw GOP candidates and elected officials of all levels, including Congressman Scott Tipton.

 Ready’s history of overt racism, homophobia and Islamophobia has been well-documented by the Colorado Times Recorder in the past. The post on the left is from a couple years ago.

Tom Ready racist NFL FB postHe continues to do so today, with posts like this one about NFL players. 

 

Confirmed attendees at this year’s event include Congressman Scott Tipton, State Sens. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) and Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), HD46 Jonathan Ambler, HD47 candidate Don Bendell, HD62 candidate Scott Honeycutt, Pueblo County Commissioner District 3 candidate Zach Swearingen, University of Colorado Regent Glen Gallegos, and Marla Spinuzzi Reichert, chair of the Pueblo County Republicans.

 

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Colorado Republicans Conceding Senate Majority?

UPDATE: She’s an incumbent running for re-election, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t include in this post a mention for Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail, who is similarly crushing her Republican opponent Olen Lund in fundraising totals: $147,525 for Donovan to a mere $13,175 for Lund. For a seat considered competitive, this is another ominous and notable case of Republicans falling distantly behind.

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A look at the latest fundraising totals in four Colorado Senate races that are expected to decide control of the chamber in November, freshly updated yesterday, reveals an increasingly unmistakable disparity between Democratic candidates for these seats and their Republican opponents:

That’s a nice way of saying that these four Democratic Senate candidates, Tammy Story in SD-16, Jessie Danielson in SD-20, Brittany Pettersen in SD-22, and Faith Winter in SD-24 are all positively trouncing their Republican opponents’ fundraising totals, with little distinction between incumbents and contenders for open seats. Incumbent Sen. Tim Neville is the only Republican in these four races who appears to be trying to raise money–and even Neville’s considerable experience in this regard is coming up distantly short.

Of course, there is one detail that shouldn’t be overlooked, and it was Republican candidate Christine Jensen herself who let what appears to be the real strategy slip back in July:

Perhaps this was offered as a pre-emptive excuse for not raising any money herself? Candidates aren’t supposed to have anything to do with the “independent” efforts on their behalf, but this year that’s more or less been dispensed with after Walker Stapleton blurred the lines between “independent” group and campaign to the point of making them disappear in all but formality. But it’s a useful contrast between these four Democratic women, who are running their own strong and well-organized races, versus Republicans who have basically ceded the hard work of campaigning to Sen. Chris Holbert.

If in November it is these women who are responsible for flipping control of the Colorado Senate back to Democrats, especially after the scandal over that chamber’s failure to police rampant sexual harassment while under Republican control, it will be a story of national importance. In that event, these four women will have the added satisfaction of having done it the old-fashioned way–with shoe leather, call time, and money they raised themselves.

As of right now, it’s looking pretty good for them.

Caption This Photo: Book ‘Em, Grantham

Sometimes we get sent the strangest photos without context, and it’s necessary for us to figure out what the hell is going on. Yes, that’s GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham, and yes, it looks like a mug shot. In fact, it’s Grantham’s gag photo from a popular barbershop in Cañon City–perhaps the same place where Grantham discovered the revamped ‘stache he sported for the last few months of his political career.

Of course, this is the same Kevin Grantham who announced this year that only criminal cases of sexual harassment matter in the Colorado Senate, as opposed to the usual workplace standards! So maybe he’s just modeling a new look for the “Randy” caucus he leaves behind.

All yours, gentle readers.

What Would It Take for Colorado Republicans To Halt Their Plan To Hang A Trump Portrait At The Colorado Capitol?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Republican leaders said today that a portrait of Trump will adorn a wall at the Colorado Capitol by late 2018 or early 2019.

But in light of recent crimes apparently involving Trump, would they halt the placement of the Trump portrait if the president were impeached, convicted of crimes, or if enough citizens objected to it?

The Colorado Times Recorder left a message with that question for Senate Republican spokesman Sean Paige, who distributed a news release about the Trump portrait.

Paige did not respond.

On Twitter, a famously sardonic account called “Missing Pundit,” tweeted

Congrats to Colorado Senate Republicans (who won’t see this, b/c they blocked me) for your portrait. In light of recent events, might I suggest you get started with the Pence portrait, which might be needed in the near future.

To be extra safe, you might commission a gallery along the line of succession. So get a move on the Orrin Hatch and Paul Ryan portraits. Although the latter one can wait until after the election, cuz you know.

The Mike Pompeo portrait might not be a bad idea either, but by the time we get there, we might have Secretary of State Gary Busey. #copolitics

State Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) said last month he quickly raised $10,000 for the Trump picture in the wake of news coverage of a stunt involving the placement of a Putin portrait on the wall inside the Capitol where Trump’s picture would hang.

Now, Sarah Boardman, a Colorado Springs artist, will begin work on the portrait.

In a video linked on the GoFundMe fundraising page, used to raise money for the art, Grantham said, “I am excited to announce we’re going to take the reins on this and raise the $10,000 necessary to put up President Donald J. Trump’s portrait in the hall of portraits right here in the Capitol rotunda of the Colorado State Capitol.”

When he launched the fundraising effort, Grantham said one donor funded Colorado Capitol’s portrait of President Barack Obama.

But because Trump is a “populist,” the “everyday citizens of Colorado” should ” should “have a part of this.”

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