Get More Smarter on Monday (December 10)

There are 15 shopping days left until Christmas. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

President Trump needs a new Chief of Staff after it was revealed that John Kelly is will depart the White House at the end of the year. The problem, it seems, is that nobody really wants the gig.

Trump and Kelly reportedly aren’t even talking to each other, one of many reasons Kelly has no obvious successor. As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN, this job sucks (at least under this President):

The next chief will walk into a White House engulfed in scandal, in the sights of special counsel Robert Mueller and newly empowered Democrats, at what is shaping up as one of the most grave constitutional moments in US history…

…Nick Ayers, a rising political star in the GOP — who had long been considered Kelly’s likely replacement after serving as Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff — announced Sunday he would not take the position after talks with Trump.

That left the President without an obvious frontrunner for the toughest job in politics as the White House is being battered by multiple crises, including a trade war with China, turmoil in the markets and a revolt by Senate Republicans over Saudi Arabia policy. And as it braces for a punishing new era of Democratic oversight, Trump’s team is also gearing up for the imminent escalation in the President’s re-election campaign.

If that was not enough, the new chief of staff will also be faced with the likely hopeless task of trying to tame a President who appears to be deeply rattled by Mueller’s strides in recent days, despite his insistence that everything is sunny in the White House.

How unappetizing is the job of Chief of Staff under Trump? Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is even being mentioned as a real candidate. Chris Cillizza of CNN breaks down the list of potential hires for a President who is definitely beginning to freak out about his political future.

As for Kelly’s legacy, 

Based on Trump’s hiring track record, we can expect he’ll hire someone terrible. But the Kelly bar is exceptionally low, so America may be in for a stroke of luck. But we owe it to ourselves to remember how bad Kelly was.

 

► Colorado Senate Republicans announced new committee assignments late Friday afternoon as they struggle to deal with their newfound minority status. Of particular note: Sen. Randy “Boob Grabber” Baumgardner isn’t on a committee. At all.

 

► The Denver Post runs a fawning profile of Rep-elect Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish):

He’s now the first African-American to represent Colorado in Congress and an early leader in his freshman class.

And friends say he’s nowhere close to done.

“Joe has this uncanny ability to bring people together and to really help manage personality differences,” said Rep. Leslie Herod, D-Denver. “People are attracted to him for it, and in that way he is unstoppable.”

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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The Loneliest Mustache In Colorado

Republican State Sen. Randy Baumgardner.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, Friday’s announcement of Colorado Senate Republican minority committee members left one telling name off the list–Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs, whose copiously-documented and repeatedly confirmed record of sexual harassment at the Colorado Capitol erupted in scandal in the 2018 legislative session:

Sen. Randy Baumgardner, the northwest Colorado Republican who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal during this year’s session, won’t have a lot of things to do when he returns to the Colorado Legislature next month.

That’s because the Hot Sulphur Springs lawmaker, who faced a failed expulsion attempt because of those complaints and is expected to face it again next session, wasn’t named to any of the Legislature’s 10 main standing committees…

“I’ve talked with (Baumgardner), and he is comfortable with (the decision),” [Senate Minority Leader Chris] Holbert said. “This is a continuance of where we’ve been. There’s been no change.”

While that’s technically true, it’s a considerable oversimplification of events from this year’s legislative session. The allegations against Baumgardner were investigated more than once, with the first investigation being disparaged by GOP Senate leadership who ordered a second probe. But before that second investigation’s findings could be disclosed, GOP leaders rushed a vote on the resolution to expel Baumgardner ahead of that report’s release. It was only after that second investigation was released, and some delay following even that, when Senate President Kevin Grantham finally took the step at the very end of the session of removing Baumgardner from his remaining committees.

Although Republicans were in control of the chamber, it remains possible that the further validation of the accusations against Baumgardner via this second investigation could have resulted in a different outcome for the motion to expel Baumgardner had it been disclosed before the vote. Any way you slice it, Republicans including the new Minority Leader helped protect Baumgardner from being expelled, and that is why he is still in the Senate.

We’ll give Chris Holbert a measure of credit for keeping still-Sen. Baumgardner at arm’s length from the women who work at the Colorado Capitol in the 2019 session, ostracism that could and probably should motivate Baumgardner to take his tired act back home to Hot Sulphur Springs.

But not very much credit, and we hope Holbert understands this is a big reason he’ll never be Senate President.

Sen. Daniel Kagan Rises Above Senate GOP Hypocrisy

Sen. Daniel Kagan (D).

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports on the announcement late yesterday that Sen. Daniel Kagan of Cherry Hills Village will resign just after the start of next year’s legislative session, kicking off an energetic competition among Democrats to replace him and marking another sharp contrast in the now year-long controversy over misconduct by lawmakers in the General Assembly:

After nine years in the legislature, Democratic state Sen. Daniel Kagan announced Wednesday evening that he plans to step down Jan. 11, 2019. Kagan, who would have been up for re-election in 2020, told CPR News he wants to ease up on his work schedule and that his decision had nothing to do with what he dubbed “toiletgate.”

During the 2018 legislative session, a workplace harassment investigation found it likely that Kagan used a women’s restroom inside the state capitol three times in 2017. Kagan maintains he used the unmarked facility, which is reserved for staff and senators, only once and by accident.

“I would never make an important decision like this,” Kagan said of his resignation, “based on a tempest in a teapot like that.”

Marianne Goodland at the Colorado Springs Gazette writes further:

Last March, Kagan was accused of using an unmarked bathroom intended for women senators and staff during the 2017 session by Republican Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik of Thornton, who also filed a formal complaint. The unmarked bathroom reportedly had a unisex code but one that didn’t work all the time.

Martinez Humenik did not allege Kagan did anything improper in the bathroom, which was finally marked as a women’s restroom in March 2018. [Pols emphasis]

The complaint filed against Kagan by Sen. Beth Humenik last spring occurred in the context of increasing pressure on Senate GOP leadership to take action after multiple allegations of sexual harassment on the part of two Republican Senators, Randy Baumgardner and Jack Tate, were found credible. The timing of the complaints against Republican Senators and Sen. Kagan was immediately suspect, being obvious in its effect of deflecting from much more serious accusations against Baumgardner and Tate.

Sen. Humenik’s complaint against Kagan did not allege any form of harassment or other sexual misconduct of any kind, though she misused the procedure for sexual harassment complaints to take this action against Kagan. At the same time, Republican Senate leadership was taking every step possible to forestall release of damning investigations into Sen. Baumgardner in particular to prevent him from being expelled from the Senate. Once you understand all of these facts, the diversionary complaint against Kagan is more than just laughable hypocrisy–it’s an admission of guilt.

We take Sen. Kagan at his word when he says that his decision to resign is not related to this episode. Kagan is independently wealthy, hails from an illustrious English family, and will have no trouble staying busy wherever he chooses to go next. Kagan’s reputation as a thoughtful lawmaker makes his resignation a loss to the institution of the General Assembly more than himself personally–compared to which this ridiculous complaint means less than nothing.

But every day without Sen. Kagan that Randy Baumgardner remains in office is a true disgrace.

Colorado Republicans Invite Hate Leader To Speak At Post-Election Retreat

(Just wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

anti-Muslim extremist David Horowitz

Looking to re-energize their caucus following sweeping losses at the ballot box last month, Colorado Republicans held a retreat in Sedalia immediately after the election. The event featured controversial writer and pundit David Horowitz as a keynote speaker.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Horowitz as an “Anti-Muslim fanatic” and lists David Horowitz as an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim extremist. It describes his David Horowitz Freedom Center as “a platform to project hate and misinformation.” 

Horowitz published the text of his speech on his website. It’s clear from his first sentence that he wasn’t pulling any punches:

Horowitz: Here’s my lesson from the recent election in my newly adopted state: You’re too damn nice. Democrats call Republicans “racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, xenophobes” and “Nazis.” And Republicans call Democrats … “liberals.” Stop it! What are Democrats liberal about except sex, drugs, spending other people’s money, coddling criminals, giving America’s mortal enemies like Iran the benefit of the doubt, nuclear weapons and billions in cash to finance their terrorist activities, and opening borders to terrorists, sexual predators and whoever comes along? Democrats don’t even believe in due process any more. Innocent until proven guilty? That’s for aging white men – Republicans. The Democrats are satisfied with guilt by accusation. The Democratic Party is a party of racists, character assassins and, oh, liars. Say it.

For a party looking to broaden its appeal to an increasingly diverse Colorado electorate, the choice of Horowitz is puzzling. His recent appearance at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in August led several large corporations to drop their ALEC memberships in protest. Verizon left in September, stating,

“Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals.”

As outrage over Horowitz’s speech grew, ALEC distanced itself from him in a statement and removed video of his speech from their site. That wasn’t enough to stem the tide of companies abandoning the organization, however.

Last Friday, industry titans AT&T, Dow Chemical and Honeywell, also quit ALEC over Horowitz’s speech.     

Horowitz, who said via email that he did not charge for his appearance, was invited by State Sens. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) .

Lundberg dismissed concerns about Horowitz’s beliefs and positions, telling the Colorado Times Recorder he was aware of the concerns raised by companies that dropped their ALEC memberships, so he listened to the speech before inviting Horowitz to speak to the Republican caucus. He did not find the speech to be racist.  

Lundberg: “I believe he had some very salient points to make. He doesn’t mince words. He dives right in and tells you what he thinks in a very forthright manner. He does have some observations that are worth paying attention to… I came to the conclusion that Mr. Horowitz was not being fairly represented, and I felt he has valuable things to say to the Colorado Republican caucus and so I asked him to speak to us and he did.” 

Lundberg expressed disappointment that ALEC “capitulated” to “bullying” in issuing its statement disavowing Horowitz’s speech. He noted that “ALEC does an incredibly good job in informing and empowering state legislators with the basic principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.”

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Democrats Can Finally Say It: To Hell With Cheri Jahn

Outgoing Sen. Cheri Jahn (U).

As the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover reports, after losing millions in a failed bid to retain GOP control of the Colorado Senate this year, there’s a new attempt by “business community” moguls to drive a wedge into the newly Democratic chamber just wide enough to stop disfavored bills–and it’s headed by one of the figureheads of 2018’s biggest flop in Colorado politics, the so-called “Centrist Project.”

LIFT Colorado, a new organization that will seek to recruit candidates with business backgrounds to run for public office and will help train local business leaders as well on how to advocate for policies to their local governments or to the Legislature. The group is the brainchild of term-limited state Sen. Cheri Jahn — a Wheat Ridge business owner who left the Democratic Party one year ago to become unaffiliated because she was tired of politics trumping policy among elected leaders — but its rollout at the law offices of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP demonstrated that it will have significant backing among both business leaders and politicos.

Jahn, who received $200,000 in seed money from Anadarko Petroleum to launch the organization, [Pols emphasis] said the non-partisan organization will identify people to run for office beginning with the municipal elections of next fall, will provide training and support for them and will ensure that business leaders can have a connection to local policy-makers. The five-woman executive board for LIFT (Leaders Innovating for Tomorrow) consists of executives from the banking and real estate fields as well as a voting-rights expert and will lead the initial efforts with an eye beyond 2019 to the 2020 legislative races as well.

Outgoing Sen. Cheri Jahn was always a poor fit in the Democratic Senate caucus, and served as the go-to “Democrat” for pro-business lobbyists looking to scuttle all kinds of Democratic legislation they didn’t like from paid family leave to small business discrimination protections. Jahn’s disaffiliation from the Democratic Party to join the so-called “Centrist Project,” which evolved into the Unite Colorado slate of nominally unaffiliated candidates, was a strategic blunder that helped make Jahn the face of one of the least successful political experiments in recent Colorado political history.

Sealover reports on several telling usual suspects who were in attendance for the launch of Jahn’s new organization, including former GOP Senate President Bill Cadman and Lynn Granger of Colorado Concern. Both Anadarko Petroleum and Colorado Concern were directly involved in the failed defense of the GOP Senate Majority through via the Colorado Economic Leadership Fund and the Business Opportunity Fund. Cadman, of course, was the mastermind (and major vendor) for Republican Senate campaigns before he went to work for Whiting Petroleum.

In summary, LIFT Colorado is a collection of Colorado political losers and bad actors, including the same people who just lost the GOP Senate majority in 2018–repackaged behind one of the state’s least influential outgoing lawmakers. Because Sen. Jahn caucused with Democrats in the Colorado Senate after she disaffiliated from the party to join the Centrist Project, there was a residual obligation on the part of Democrats to handle Jahn with deference even while she publicly disparaged them in return.

As of Election Day, Democrats no longer have to be nice to Cheri Jahn.

And that’s a good thing for everybody.

“Overreach”–What Losers Always Say To Winners

With Democrats about to take charge of the governor’s office, the statewide offices of treasurer, attorney general, and secretary of state, and in full control of both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly, the narrative from defeated Republicans has shifted to dire warnings of the “overreach” in store from Democrats without a Republican majority somewhere along the line with veto power to check their aspirations.

The Greeley Tribune recently editorialized:

Five years ago, Democrats in Colorado controlled all the levers of power. They held majorities in the House and Senate. The governor also was a Democrat.

As leaders of political parties in the U.S. often do when they find themselves in this position, the Democrats pressed their advantage — passing gun control legislation and a controversial renewable energy standard. They also pursued tight regulations on the oil and gas industry.

In Weld County, which remained steadfastly red, the consequences of all this were almost unimaginable. A group of activists and elected officials — led by the Board of Weld County Commissioners — began to push a secession movement. The group pointed to a divide between the urban Denver metro area and much of the rest of the state…

As all sides in Colorado politics take stock of this year’s landslide victory for Democrats up and down the ballot, we’re seeing reactions that closely parallel–at least on the surface–the response to the last big Democratic surge in Colorado in the 2012 elections. Hand-wringing about the supposed horrors of life under Democratic control in Colorado leads to talk of certain areas of the state either seceding or (new in 2018) joining Wyoming.

And that’s how it’s spun: Democratic “overreach” prompts a completely unhinged secession movement that is nonetheless taken at least somewhat seriously. And of course, in 2013 Democratic “overreach” led to recalls! Some variation of this faux concern warning  to victorious Democrats has been the conclusion of the majority of post-election opinion from conservatives, as well as the state’s crop of aging white male “centrist” opinionmakers.

But does it have any basis in reality? In a word, no.

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Kevin Grantham Doesn’t Know When To Shut Up

Sen. Chris Holbert (R) on the Mexican border.

Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland reports on a fresh controversy brewing in the Colorado Senate that has its roots in last year’s revelations of widespread sexual harassment by members of that body, most prominently Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs:

The nonpartisan administrative head of the Colorado Senate who played a central role in processing sexual harassment complaints last legislative session was recently fired. Incoming Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia let Secretary Effie Ameen go just before Thanksgiving.

Garcia declined to comment on the reason for his decision, but last legislative session many Democrats were unhappy with how Ameen handled the sexual harassment complaints that dominated proceedings. She was the point person for sexual harassment complaints filed against state senators by aides, interns, senate staff, and other third parties. Some also felt she didn’t enforce senate rules objectively, favoring Republicans… [Pols emphasis]

“I don’t think she was ever nonpartisan, it just didn’t seem that way with how things were handled by her,” said former legislative intern Megan Creeden, who filed a sexual harassment complaint against Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner.

The complaint was investigated and found credible, but Creeden questions why it sat on Ameen’s desk and was not released in time for a Senate vote on whether to expel Baumgardner from office. By the time it was released, it was too late in the session for Democrats to take formal action on the complaint.

The process to address the sexual harassment complaints against Sen. Baumgardner, as our readers know, was seriously compromised by Republican Senate leadership–who successfully covered up corroborating investigations validating the complaints ahead of the hearing held on a motion to expel Baumgardner from the Senate. The motion to expel Baumgardner failed, but the subsequent disclosure of investigative reports that were already complete before that hearing obliged Republican Senate leaders to further sanction Baumgardner just before the session ended.

Back in April, Birkeland reported that Senate Secretary Effie Ameen had received the second detailed report on Baumgardner–ordered by Senate President Kevin Grantham because he didn’t like the first report–on the exact same day that Senate Majority Leader Chris Holbert suddenly scheduled a vote on the motion to expel. The missing link in this chain of events very plausibly could have been Ameen improperly tipping off Senate GOP leadership that it was bad news for Baumgardner, ahead of even the victims knowing that–prompting GOP leaders to rush the vote to expel prior to this being disclosed.

Today’s controversy appears to revolve around the fact that the new Senate Majority is not formally in charge yet, and Republicans say incoming Senate President Leroy Garcia jumped the gun. Even if that’s correct, it’s a nonissue come January–and either way, it pales in comparison to the much more important question of what to do about Randy Baumgardner. That’s the question Kevin Grantham avoided at all costs–and Chris Holbert didn’t want to confront as the minority.

But now, that reckoning appears on the horizon. Today’s action is just a sideshow to the main event.

Ex-Colorado Senator Cries Vote Fraud

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark gave this the proper treatment last night:

—–

UPDATE: Apparently she means it:

Now would seem to be the time.

—–

Former GOP Colorado Sen. Laura “Waters” Woods of Arvada smells a rat!

If we’re understanding the theory here correctly, because Colorado voters swept Democrats into office at every level while simultaneously voting down the Amendment 73 and Proposition 110 tax increases on the ballot, it “seems like” voter fraud took place in Colorado. This dreadfully oversimplified illogic ignores Colorado’s long history of sending complicated or even contradictory messages at the polls.

Not to mention that Colorado has a Republican Secretary of State who would likely have objected.

But more fundamentally, you just don’t jump to the wild conclusion of “voter fraud” based on something this thin unless you’re completely unhinged to begin with–and during Sen. Woods’ time in the legislature, from baseless warnings of “vaccination roundups” to raging on Planned Parenthood in the wake of the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting, she helped anchor the unhinged wing of the GOP Senate caucus. With that in mind, it’s completely in character.

Weeks? Months? Whichever it is, this could be the one way to make everybody happy.

The 2018 Election Ain’t Over Yet

SATURDAY UPDATE: Democrat George Stern has defeated Republican job-hopper Faye Griffin in the race for Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder.

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Jefferson County Democrat George Stern has moved ahead of Faye Griffin in the race for Jeffco Clerk and Recorder.

The 2018 Election was very good for Democrats, and it may yet get gooder.

In Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has moved ahead of Republican Martha McSally in a nail-biter of a U.S. Senate race. In Florida, we could be looking at a recount in the state’s top two races, for U.S. Senate and Governor, while there may be some legal battles over an oddly-designed ballot in one Florida county. And in Georgia, the outcome of the race for Governor is still uncertain (though Republican Brian Kemp has declared victory over Democrat Stacey Abrams).

Here in Colorado there are a number of races that appear to be trending blue but are still uncertain. We wrote Thursday about three Democrats who moved ahead of their Republican opponents as late ballots were counted (HD-27, HD-47, and HD-50). As the Greeley Tribune reports, Democrat Rochelle Galindo now looks to be the winner in HD-50.

Elsewhere:

♦  In HD-47, Democrat Bri Buentello appears to have defeated “Deadbeat” Don Bendell, though a recount seems likely.

♦ In Arvada’s HD-27, Democrat Brianna Titone is closer to being the state’s first transgender lawmaker. The race between Titone and Republican Vicki Pyne may be headed to a recount.

♦ Arapahoe County is still working on a couple of important totals. In House District 38, Democrat Chris Kolker and Republican Susan Beckman are only separated by about 500 votes.

♦ In the race for Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder, Democrat Joan Lopez has moved ahead of Republican incumbent Matt Crane and is the likely winner.

♦ In the Clerk and Recorder race in Jefferson County, Democrat George Stern has taken the lead over serial job-hopper Faye Griffin. Several thousand ballots still need to be counted, though most of them look to be from last-minute voters; as we’ve seen in other races this cycle, these late voters tend to favor Democrats.

 

December 4 is the deadline for candidates to request recounts in qualifying races.

What’s Your Favorite Blue Wave Win?

This week’s historic victory for Colorado Democrats leaves in its wake innumerable stories of hard work and triumph. There are so many big markers for the history books, like the first gay man elected governor of any state, the sweep of downballot statewide offices, recapturing the Colorado Senate after four years at the mercy of a one-seat GOP majority, the come-from-behind wins growing the Democratic House majority to unexpected heights, major Democratic wins in suburban Denver local governments–we could go on and on, and over the next few weeks we’ll be expounding at length on what this all means.

Use this thread to tell us about the 2018 success stories you were close to, or enjoyed reading about, or anything else you found inspiring coming out of the midterm elections in our state. Before the inevitable plunge back into partisan squabbles and pundit second-guessing, take a moment to contemplate significance of what we’ve just been through.

You earned this moment, Colorado.

Leroy Garcia Will Be Senate President

UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Nic Garcia:

“We’re going to face some tough challenges,” Garcia said. “The state faces tough challenges. But I’m absolutely confident with this dynamic caucus, with these leaders, we’ll be able to represent every Coloradan, we’ll be committed to finding common-sense solutions to move our state forward.”

Garcia, who was previously minority leader, will lead the Democratic caucus along with state Sens. Lois Court of Denver and Steve Fenberg of Boulder. Court was elected president pro tempore and Fenberg majority leader. Their roles are subject to a final vote by the entire Senate after the legislature resumes business in January.

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Senate President-designate Leroy Garcia

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports from Colorado Senate leadership elections held today, elevating Leroy Garcia of Pueblo to serve at the new Senate President:

Sen. Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo, was chosen to be the next Senate President. He is currently the Senate Minority Leader and will take over for Sen. Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, who is term-limited and whose party is now the minority party in the Senate…

Garcia took over as minority leader earlier this year after Sen. Lucia Guzman stepped down from the position over her frustration with Republicans’ handling of workplace harassment allegations.

Senate Democrats picked up two seats in the election, putting them at a 19-16 majority. Republicans had held the Senate with an 18-17 majority the past two years. Democrats now control both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the governor’s office after Jared Polis’ victory.

On the Republican side, Sen. Chris Holbert will be the new Senate Minority Leader–fully expected, although the move nonetheless comes as a snub to Senate President pro tem Jerry Sonnenberg who fell from grace for daring to support rural hospitals. The new Democratic leadership has an enormous logjam of agenda items to work through in January, not to mention accountability lingering from last year’s sexual harassment scandal left totally unresolved by Republican leadership.

Here’s looking at you, Randy Baumgardner.

Colorado Senate GOP: If You Want Stuff Done, Vote Democratic

Outgoing Senate President Kevin Grantham (R).

Today in the Denver Post from reporter Anna Staver, we have Colorado Senate Republicans, who make up the only nexus of majority power for the GOP in the state’s government since retaking the chamber by a single seat in 2014, making the case for continued majority control.

At least, that’s what they think they’re doing. To most readers, the Senate GOP majority’s final appeal says something else entirely between the lines:

“All you have to do is look at what the House passed over the last four years, and what we killed in the Senate,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City. “There will not be any backstop anymore.”

Grantham has presided over Republicans’ one-seat majority in the state Senate since 2016 — two years after the GOP flipped control of the 35-member chamber and ended the last Democratic trifecta.

He has kept a list of 33 bills passed by the Democratic House since 2016 that died in the Republican-controlled Senate. It includes paid parental leave, paid sick leave, funding for full-day kindergarten, ending the death penalty, setbacks for oil and gas drilling, permissions for law enforcement to remove weapons from people in the midst of mental health crises — the red-flag bill — and several bills aimed at addressing the lack of affordable housing.

With the possible exception of the repeal of the death penalty, the items listed here as “victories” by Senate President Kevin Grantham after the GOP Senate majority killed them could be reasonably considered defeats for a majority of voters–to the point where Democrats would probably use a very similar list to condemn Republican obstruction. And it’s not just a partisan divide, since public polling on these issues consistently shows strong bipartisan public support. A May 2018 Keating Research poll found support in Colorado for a “red flag” law at an overwhelming 81%. Paid family leave polls over 70% in national polls, and paid sick leave at 85%.

We could go on, but the point is clear. Republicans take pride in obstructing a long list of agenda items that are not just Democratic, but things the public wants accomplished without partisan distinction. This is what happens when a cloistered majority becomes more focused on internal consensus than on what the voters actually want done. The numbers don’t lie, and Republicans have barreled ahead in seeming defiance of public opinion.

In 2012, Republicans holding a one-seat majority in the Colorado House chose to make a defiant stand against civil unions legislation for LGBT couples at session’s end, capping off a two-year Republican majority similarly obsessed with obstruction and distasteful wedge-issue politics. That November, Republicans paid for their misguided agenda by losing their majority in a landslide.

Six years later, a remarkably similar situation is unfolding.

It’s “Sheer Nonsense” To Attack Danielson And Winter For Gun-Safety Votes

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Two Democratic state senate candidates are under attack for voting for bipartisan gun-safety legislation that would allow police to take guns from mentally-ill people.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) Super PAC, which opposes restrictions on guns, is running attack ads claiming that State Representatives Faith Winter of Thornton and Jesse Danielson of Wheat Ridge “VOTED to leave you DEFENSELESS.”

Why? Because they backed a so-called “Red Flag” bill that would have allowed law enforcement officials to ask the courts for permission to temporarily seize guns from people who are deemed to pose a “significant risk” to themselves or others. 

The proposed law was also supported this year by second-highest ranking Republican in the Colorado state house.

The Red Flag legislation emerged in response to multiple mass shootings by mentally ill people, including the Aurora theater shooter, who was found by a jury to be insane. The bill aimed to take guns from such people, with a judge’s permission.

Tom Mauser, who lost his son Daniel Mauser in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, told the Colorado Times Recorder that the “red flag law could have prevented the Aurora theater tragedy” as well as the Parkland High School shooting in Florida.

“I would say to RMGO, how would you would propose to prevent these tragedies?” said Mauser. “There is strong public support for laws like this. This type of law is in place in at least 10 states, including pro-gun states like Indiana and Florida.”

But in RMGO’s opinion, removing guns from the hands of people identified as dangerous not only leaves you “defenseless,” but it also strips “Second Amendment rights from young mothers and college aged women, barring them from owning or carrying a gun.”

Ads mailed to voters went even further, stating that the lawmakers “Voted to GUT Your Right to Self Defense, Leaving You Vulnerable To Thugs and Criminals.”

“RMGO doesn’t present solutions,” said Mauser. “They just make these ridiculous attacks. It is sheer nonsense.”

In response, RMGO Super PAC director Dudley Brown texted the Colorado Times Recorder:

“Tom Mauser never met a gun control [law] he didn’t like,” texted Brown. “Is it any wonder he loves the Red Flag Gun Confiscation laws?”

Brown is widely known for opposing all gun safety legislation, including laws requiring criminal background checks prior to gun purchases. On its website, RMGO bills itself as “Colorado’s Only No-Compromise Gun Rights Organization.”

The red-flag bill was killed in Colorado’s Republican-controlled senate in May, after passing with bipartisan support in the house.

Republicans are trying to hold their one-seat majority in the Colorado state senate in part by defeating Democrats Danielson and Winter in their Jefferson County and Adams County races (Senate Districts 20 and 24).

Danielson faces Republican Christine Jensen, a businesswoman, who’s been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA), which favors candidates who oppose most gun control bills. Winter is running against Republican State Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, who also got the NRA endorsement in the race.

Caption This Photo: Sen. Beth Humenik And The Hater

As photographed above from yesterday’s awards luncheon for the right-wing Colorado Civil Justice League, the lobby group set up to make it as difficult as possible for little people (that’s most of you) to exercise their legal rights. On the right is GOP Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, the #1 target in the Colorado Senate for Democrats hoping to retake control of the chamber in the 2018 elections.

On the left is outgoing Rep. Judy Reyher, Republican of Otero County. Rep. Reyher ran into trouble shortly after her appointment to the Colorado General Assembly last year when Denver media became aware that Reyher “hated the black half of Obama as much as” she “hated the white half”–with a long, long list of other freakishly racist comments before and since her appointment, which left HD-47 Republicans with little choice but to depose her in the 2018 primary before she could stink up a general election ballot.

Unfortunately, the replacement they picked is “Deadbeat” Don Bendell. But we digress.

What do you suppose Sen. Humenik and Rep. Reyher, you know, talk about?

We’re asking on behalf of approximately 143,000 SD-24 residents who don’t now Rep. Reyher, but would want to know what these two lawmakers have in common if they did.

Tony Sanchez is Disgusting

We’ve seen a lot of ridiculous and untruthful political advertisements in this election cycle. Heck, we see a lot of awful political advertisements in every election cycle. But as bad as political ads can get, we (thankfully) rarely find something that makes us physically recoil at first sight.

And then there is this new mail piece from “Tony for Colorado,” which supports the State Senate candidacy of Republican Tony Sanchez in SD-22 (Lakewood). This is flat-out one of the most repugnant political ads we’ve seen in years (click here to see the back page):

 

Tony Sanchez

“Heroin on your street.”

“Vote against Brittany Pettersen…or she will let addicts shoot up on your street!”

What makes this attack piece doubly-disgusting is the fact that Pettersen has been very open about her own mother’s struggle with drug addiction. Sanchez is certainly aware of this fact, but he authorized a mailer on the subject anyway.

Back in 2014, Sanchez materialized from California just before he ran for a State Senate seat in SD-22. Thanks to support from Dudley Brown, Tim Neville, and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), the little-known Sanchez knocked out a more moderate candidate (Mario Nicolais) in a Republican Primary before losing a General Election matchup to Democrat Andy Kerr.

This year, Sanchez is again backed by RMGO, the Neville family (Tim Neville and Pat Neville), as well as the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry (CACI), and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

We never do this at Colorado Pols, but in this case we’re happy to make an exception. Please enjoy the following links…

BrittanyPettersen.com

♦ Online Donation Page for BrittanyPettersen.com

 

[NOTE: You can view the back side of this mail piece after the jump]

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