Poll: Have You Voted Yet? If Not, Why Not?

We’re curious where readers land in the historic crush of ballots received by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office two weeks out from Election Day 2020. Is your ballot among the 924,000+ already returned? If not, what’s the holdup? Log your win for democracy or confess your procrastination in our highly unscientific poll below:

Have you voted? If not, why not?
Opened but not completed/returned
Still on the counter
Still in the mailbox
Waiting until not drunk/stoned/other
I am lonely and want to be chased
I like costing campaigns money
Voting in person for a legit reason
Voting in person for a stupid reason
Not voting/voting third party
View Result

Ballot Return Update (Through 10/19)

Per the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, 924,735 ballots have been returned in Colorado as of Monday, October 19. As you can see from the chart below, registered Democrats continue to outpace both Unaffiliated and Republican voters.

For comparison, a total of 2,855,960 ballots were cast in 2016. In the 2018 mid-term election, 2,566,784 total ballots were cast in Colorado.

Via Colorado Secretary of State

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 20)

Today is 10/20/20! Is that a thing? Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


► Be careful out there, Colorado! New cases of COVID-19 have hit a record high in our state, as The Denver Post reports:

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 6,722 cases of COVID-19 in the week ending Sunday, more than triple the most recent low of 2,016 in the last week of August. Three times last week, the state recorded more than 1,000 new infections in a single day.

Last week’s total was the highest since the state has had reliable data, though it’s likely there were more cases in the virus’s initial surge in March and April that weren’t found due to lack of testing at the time.

“These numbers are definitely a concern for us. We need everyone to follow public health guidance to control disease transmission and ensure that health care and public health capacity isn’t strained,” Dr. Rachel Herlihy, the state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “We also want Coloradans who may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested.”


Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) doesn’t have a Donald Trump problem; he has a Cory Gardner problem.


Today is the self-imposed deadline for Congress to reach a deal on another coronavirus aid package. As CNN reports, it’s probably not happening:

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Tuesday that the “window is closing” on a potential deal for a stimulus package, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s deadline arrives for Democrats and the Trump administration to resolve policy differences if they want to pass a bill before Election Day.

“I think there’s still an outside chance something will get done before the elections. But the window is closing,” the South Carolina Democrat told CNN’s John Berman on “New Day.”
Pelosi said Sunday that she and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin must reached an agreement by end of the day Tuesday, the last feasible date to get a bill passed through both chambers of Congress by November 3. The two sides have been divided for months on the topline figure as well as what should be in the bill…

…Clyburn, who is the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the chamber, accused Republicans of not being willing to compromise with Democrats and argued that Pelosi “is trying to stand up for people who are being left out of this deal.”

As we’ve written repeatedly in this space, the real hangup in all of these stimulus talks has been SENATE REPUBLICANS.


According to Republican polling outfit Magellan Strategies, which regularly tracks ballot returns in Colorado, roughly one-third of Colorado voters have already returned a ballot. Turnout in Colorado is heavily tilted toward Democratic voters at the moment, with some 35% of registered Democrats having returned their ballots as of this morning. Total ballot returns are at 921,342 (for comparison, more than 2.85 million votes were cast in Colorado in 2016).

The Denver Post has more on Colorado’s massive voter turnout numbers.


Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden addressed Colorado’s wildfires on Monday as part of a warning about Climate Change. As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado’w wildfire season in 2020 is unusual…and ominous:

All told, they add up to a fire season that is longer than most on record for the state, the result of extended drought conditions, high temperatures and a monsoon that just never arrived.

“We haven’t gotten any rain. We haven’t got any snow,” said Jennifer Balch, director of the Earth Lab at the University of Colorado Boulder and a fire researcher. “Coupled with hotter temperatures, you’ve essentially got a hairdryer blowing at Colorado right now that’s making our fuels incredibly dry for very long periods of time.”

According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates, precipitation in the state over the past 30 days has been less than 10 percent of normal. Colorado did not receive the usual monsoon rains or snowfall that’s common in the fall.

That kind of weather typically prevents large, destructive wildfires from starting, Balch said and dampens those still burning from the summer like the record-breaking Cameron Peak fire. She said just a dozen wildfires over 1,000 acres have begun in October in the past 35 years.


Can you speak something OUT of existence? President Trump is sure trying. According to CNN, which is keeping track, Trump has claimed at least 38 times that COVID-19 will just “disappear.”



More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…



Again, Please, Enough With The Cory Gardner Martyrdom

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt).

A column from Colorado Sun reporter Jesse Paul appeared in the much larger forum of the Washington Post yesterday, offering another torrid take on the impending fall of GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado along a theme we’ve been hearing quite a bit the last few days: that Gardner, an “excellent candidate” in his own right, is being set up to lose by President Donald Trump and not Gardner’s own choices:

In 2014, Republican Cory Gardner, a congressman from rural Colorado, parlayed his charm and ability to connect with voters into a Senate seat by defeating Mark Udall, an incumbent Democrat from a Western political dynasty. Liberals feared Gardner’s political talent, and conservatives hoped it would take him far.

Then Donald Trump was elected president. Now, given Trump’s extreme unpopularity in a state whose electorate is generally moving to the left, Colorado Democrats are confident that, come Election Day, they will pick up Gardner’s seat and fill it with the state’s popular former governor, John Hickenlooper…

Making things worse for Gardner is the fact Trump trails Biden by an average of 13 percentage points in Colorado. “Jesus Christ himself couldn’t overperform Trump by double digits,” said Tyler Sandberg, a Republican operative. [Pols emphasis]

It’s a narrative that Republicans seem determined to shape now, with hope of actually saving Gardner’s seat realistically gone for his local supporters and the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)–the proof being in the money flowing to battleground states as Democrats work to run up the score in a growing wave. If Gardner can’t be saved, then perhaps he can be martyred in defeat with a cover story that blames Trump, and in so doing preserves Republican hopes in Colorado that a comeback may be possible in future years against the state’s leftward political trajectory.

We give Jesse Paul credit in this column for laying out some of the most damning moments in Gardner’s embrace of Trump, from Gardner’s initial denunciation of Trump in October of 2016 saying “I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women” to Gardner’s metamorphosis after Trump’s victory into one of the President’s most steadfast supporters. The problem with this analysis is blithely dismissing Gardner’s transformation as inevitable. The truth is, Gardner’s decisions to stand closely with Trump through innumerable scandals, impeachment, and the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic were voluntary choices–not coerced by base GOP support for Trump or any other factor.

To suggest that Gardner had “no choice” but to fall in line behind Trump after Trump won the 2016 elections is a major misreading of Colorado’s political trends since Gardner narrowly won his seat in 2014. In reality, Gardner needed to move to the center from the very beginning of his Senate term in order to have any chance of re-election in 2020, but Gardner’s agenda of hard-right low-information crusades against the Affordable Care Act and social wedge issues like abortion made that impossible. Trump didn’t force Gardner to the right, Trump simply made Gardner’s pre-existing agenda toxic by giving it the chance of actually becoming law–a threat voters in Colorado responded to in 2018 by throwing out Republicans at every level of elected office.

The point here is that Gardner is not some kind of political prodigy brought to earth by factors beyond his control. One of the biggest reasons Gardner’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2014 has inspired such lasting division and enmity within the state’s political class is that Gardner’s politics are so at odds with a majority of Colorado voters that his narrow victory is broadly regarded as a swindle–deception committed by Gardner and many local influencers that allowed Gardner to win a race he should not have won. Since that time, Gardner has had many opportunities to chart a different course for himself, in the mold of respected Western GOP Senators like John McCain or even Mitt Romney–and he never even tried.

For Cory Gardner, a collection of contradictions from the beginning, this is comeuppance a decade in the making. The reason is simple: for all the credit Gardner gets for being a “great candidate,” he’s really not. At least not for Colorado. Gardner’s agenda became more out of step with the state he represents with each election since 2014, and Gardner’s energetic wunderkind persona was effectively turned against him in 2020 by a laconic, more authentic John Hickenlooper.

For Colorado Republicans, any road back starts with understanding what Cory Gardner did wrong, not revising history to salvage Cory Gardner’s reputation. Trump tops the ticket, but Gardner made choices entirely on his own that brought him to ruin.

FACT CHECK: Gerber Says She Isn’t “a QAnon” But She’s Promoted the Conspiracy Theory

(Who? Me? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican state Senate candidate Lynn Gerber took to Facebook over the weekend to dispute reports that she supports the QAnon conspiracy theory.

“Accusing me of being a QAnon is ridiculous, frankly I didn’t know much about it until they said I was one,” wrote Gerber, who’s trying to oust incumbent Democrat Rachel Zenzinger of Arvada.

UPDATE: After publication of this story, Gerber edited the portion of her post addressing QAnon. It now reads:

“Her party accusing me of being a QAnon along with other lies is ridiculous and false.”

Gerber also “loved” a comment from yesterday supporting QAnon, that claims “the rabbit hole goes far deeper than anyone can imagine and it’s scary. …the fact’s [sic] being released about the Russia hoax and the Biden’s is just the beginning.”

Gerber “loved” the main comment and “liked” the reply.

The Colorado Times Recorder reported in September on Gerber’s previous Facebook posts and comments from late June and early July.

On June 30, Gerber shared a QAnon video titled “COVID 911: The DEEP STATE Insurgency,” which compiles a myriad of conspiracies. She shared it with the statement: “Something to listen to!”

Just over a week later on July 8, Gerber shared another QAnon video as a comment on the “Reopen Colorado” page, in response to a post about Larimer County mask orders.

“This is so good,” another commenter replied when Gerber shared the QAnon video.

Gerber deleted her June 30 post sometime in mid-September, but her July 8 comment remains online today.

Below, read Gerber’s full response on Facebook to reports that she follows QAnon:

“The lies about me by powerful people within a party are Typical dirty politics. Money and political power is ruining our Colorado. It is simply wrong how certain individuals abuse their power, and the dark money that comes into our state. Things must change. The division of good people no matter the party is heartbreaking. My hope is that people in my District will look past the lies and do some research. Senator Zenzinger is a politician, fact. She does her best to look good on the outside, but make no mistake she is a politician through and through. I worked with her on animal welfare legislation that went nowhere because of politics. Accusing me of being a QAnon is ridiculous, frankly I didn’t know much about it until they said I was one. We need leaders. I was asked and called to service. I have been serving my community for the last 30 plus years. I will work for the people and the agenda our party is founded on. Fact check people. So vote for a politician or someone who is a common sense voice for the people, the choice is yours.”

Gerber did not respond to a Facebook message requesting comment. This article will be updated with any response received.

Tuesday Open Thread

“The usual fortune of complaint is to excite contempt more than pity.”

–Samuel Johnson

Trump Reaches “Old Man Yells at Cloud” Stage of Campaign

Things are not going well for President Trump. Ballots are being cast in record numbers across the country, and polling shows that Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden maintains an historic lead over Trump as we enter the final two weeks of the 2020 election cycle. To nobody’s surprise, Trump is not reacting well to any of this…but he’s still figuring out new ways to make a fool of himself.

Trump is making new headlines today for attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, because Fauci won’t help him pretend that the coronavirus is no longer a problem. As The New York Times explains:

President Trump attacked Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, as “a disaster” on Monday and said, despite experts’ warnings that the nation was headed toward another peak in the coronavirus outbreak, that people were “tired” of hearing about the virus and wanted to be left alone.

He made the remarks during a call with campaign staff that reporters listened in on. Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Bill Stepien, began the call by talking about the Republican ground game and other factors that he said supported Mr. Trump’s path to victory.

But the president had other things on his mind. “People are tired of Covid,” he complained. “I have the biggest rallies I’ve ever had. And we have Covid. People are saying, ‘Whatever. Just leave us alone.’ They’re tired of it.”

He added, “People are tired of hearing Fauci and these idiots, all these idiots who got it wrong.” [Pols emphasis]

Mr. Trump also called Dr. Fauci a “nice” guy, but he said, “He’s been here for 500 years,” and added, “Every time he goes on television, there’s always a bomb, but there’s a bigger bomb if you fire him. This guy’s a disaster.”

One of these men is a trusted source of information about public health matters. The other is the President.

This rhetoric does not match with a much-criticized campaign advertisement in which the Trump campaign uses Fauci’s comments out of context in order to make it look like The Big Orange Guy has done everything possible to contain COVID-19. Trump’s attacks on Fauci are also at odds with public opinion; according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in September, 68% of Americans trust Dr. Fauci to provide accurate information about the pandemic, compared to a 40% rating for Trump. Even Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who is as much as Trump sycophant as anyone, has called Dr. Fauci a “national treasure.

Perhaps Trump is escalating his attacks on Fauci because he’s having trouble landing other messages directed toward 2020 voters. During a campaign rally in Nevada on Sunday night, Trump tried to woo suburban women to support his re-election campaign by claiming that he has made their dishwashers more efficient.

No, seriously. This is what Trump said on Sunday:

“Go buy a dishwasher. I said what’s wrong with this thing? It doesn’t clean the dishes right. The women come up to me, the women who they say don’t like me — they actually do like me a lot. Suburban women, please vote for me. I’m saving your house. I’m saving your community. I’m keeping your crime way down.”

As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:

OK, so. The logic behind this argument goes like this.

1. Suburban women are the ones who do the dishes in their households
2. Dishwashers make doing the dishes easier
3. Trump made the water pressure in dishwashers better
4. Dishwashers now work better
5. Suburban women must vote for Trump

Yes, really. That’s the logic.

Historians will argue for centuries about the great dishwasher debate of 2020.

Trump has long been obsessed with the idea that government regulations have led to decreased water pressure. As National Public Radio reported in December 2019:

On the night that the House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump, he delivered a two-hour campaign rally speech that took a detour — into the bathroom. His long riff about plumbing, household appliances and lightbulbs had the crowd in Battle Creek, Mich., cheering and laughing along…

“Remember the dishwasher, you’d press it. Boom — there’d be like an explosion. Five minutes later, you open it up, the steam pours out,” Trump said reminiscing about dishwashers that used more energy and water to wash and dry dishes. “Now you press it 12 times. The women tell me, again. They give you like four drops of water.”

Setting aside his assumption that women are the ones who do dishes, Trump also shared his thoughts on faucets and shower heads. [Pols emphasis]

At Trump’s behest, actual federal government employees have been spending time in recent months working to change federal laws intended to improve water efficiency and reduce waste, but as The Associated Press noted in August, this is not an issue that anybody really cares about:

Andrew DeLaski and officials at Consumer Reports said there’s been no public outcry or need for change. The Department of Energy’s own database of 12,499 showerheads showed 74% of them use two gallons or less water per minute, which is 20% less than the federal standard.

It’s hard to say if talking about dishwashers is more or less insulting to suburban women than promising to keep them safe from scary brown people, which had been Trump’s focus prior to Sunday’s rally.

Elections are about choices. If you believe that Dr. Fauci is an alarmist and that the real problem in America is water pressure, then Trump is absolutely your guy in 2020. We have no doubt that Joe Biden is more than happy to have the support of everyone else.

Oops! Joe Ricketts Botches Cory Gardner Rescue Mission

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A press release last Thursday from Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper’s campaign took note of a late investment in the flagging fortunes of GOP incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner by Joe Ricketts, the billionaire owner of the Chicago Cubs:

With ballots already coming in at record speed, Senator Cory Gardner’s wealthy corporate backers are panicking about losing their top ally in the U.S. Senate and pumping another million dollars into false ads. Hickenlooper for Colorado press secretary Ammar Moussa released the following statement regarding the latest attack from Gardner’s shady billionaire backers:

“With 19 days left to vote in Colorado, Cory Gardner’s billionaire friends are throwing everything and the kitchen sink to attack John Hickenlooper and lie about Gardner’s toxic record. After collecting from Cory Gardner’s trillion dollar tax giveaway, billionaire Joe Ricketts and his super PAC are rewarding Senator Gardner with a million dollars worth of false attack ads and desperate greenwashing. These attacks will do nothing to erase Cory Gardner’s record of rubber stamping Trump’s agenda, from a trillion dollar gift to the wealthiest people and largest corporations to ramming through a Supreme Court nominee while refusing to get desperately-needed COVID relief done.”

The campaign runs through a brief history of Joe Rickett’s lowlights, including some heartfelt Islamophobia and–naturally–“birther” theories about Barack Obama’s citizenship back when that was all the rage. All told, Ricketts is the kind of donor that Gardner probably doesn’t want in the headlines while he struggles with a double-digit deficit in every poll. But with respect to Rickett’s ads for Gardner in Colorado, sharp-eyed observers were quick to spot a more fundamental problem:

Grand Canyon in pro-Cory Gardner ad

That’s the Grand Canyon, folks. In Arizona.

In the annals of Colorado politics, one of the most lampoonable errors that can be committed in campaign ads is the substitution of non-Colorado scenic vistas for perfectly suitable beauty spots that abound in our state. Cory Gardner, who banks heavily on his multi-generational Colorado heritage, has managed to avoid this embarrassing faux pas being attached to his image.

Thanks to Joe Ricketts, Gardner is now the butt of one of Colorado’s most humiliating inside jokes.

Szabo vs TKT: The Bellwether County Commish Race In Colorado

Libby Szabo (right) poses with actor Scott Baio during the 2016 Republican National Convention.

With so much attention focused at the top of the ticket in this highest-stakes-ever presidential election year, the situation down the ballot is as always somewhat less clear than the emerging consensus in polling locking down the big races. It’s generally expected that voters in Colorado will be engaging in much less “ticket splitting” in 2020 than was the case in previous election cycles, owing heavily to the declining Republican brand and a strong sense among voters that Republicans at all levels have enabled the President they’re turning out in droves to vote out.

In one particular race in Colorado’s bellwether Jefferson County, the Jeffco District 1 commissioner’s race, there’s a change quietly unfolding that packs more political importance than meets the eye at casual glance. Outgoing Democratic Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, termed out of the swing HD-29 seat she ably defended for Democrats for eight years, is running against former HD-27 Republican Rep. Libby Szabo. Szabo was appointed to the Jeffco board of commissioners in 2015 to replace “serial job jumper” Faye Griffin, another peculiarity of Jeffco politics we’ve discussed at length in this space.

Readers will recall that Libby Szabo’s term in the Colorado House was marked by distasteful wedge-issue crusades that made her a brief Fox News Channel celebrity and GOP convention speaker after she claimed that Colorado’s first LGBT House speaker was “protecting” pedophiles. Szabo’s base of support in HD-27 was (and still is, presumably) the notorious evangelical megachurch Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, where her husband Denes Szabo taught a Bible study class on the ways Barack Obama fits the description of the Antichrist.

In a county that has served for decades as a leading indicator of Colorado’s political trends, Szabo’s re-election bid in 2020 after narrowly holding the seat in 2016 is definitely one to watch as an indicator of how far down the ballot Jeffco is trending blue. In previous years, swing voters disaffected with Republican choices at the top of the ballot would look elsewhere to “compensate” and retain their self-image as a voter unbeholden to either party. In 2018, the sweep of the statewide offices of AG, Secretary of State, and Treasurer in Colorado led a rout down the ticket that signaled the end of this psychological need on the part of voters to balance out their votes in the big races.

That’s bad news for Libby Szabo–and for Jeffco voters who do the homework, they’ll find that Szabo embodies every problem they have with Republicans writ large.

The GMS Podcast: Laura Packard and Mayor Michael Hancock

We’ve got two big interviews his week on The Get More Smarter Podcast.

First, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Laura Packard — health care activist, stage-four cancer survivor, and a powerful voice against Republicans who want to destroy the Affordable Cara Act. Next, we talk with Denver Mayor Michael Hancock to discuss Denver’s lengthy ballot,  rising COVID-19 concerns, Black Lives Matter protests, and right-wing disinformation campaigns (the City of Denver is, in fact, not a smoking pile of rubble).

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Grassroots Action at a Lakewood Intersection near you

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

As usual, I heard many car horns honking as I pulled up to the intersection of Alameda and Wadsworth last Saturday, October 17, 2020. But it wasn’t an accident,  sports fans, or a wedding parade – it was the usual coterie of local Lakewood activists that have been demonstrating at various intersections each week since last spring.  I tapped out a quick “Shave and a haircut” on the horn and hurried to park and join about 70 of  my friends and comrades in peaceful protest.

Since spring of 2020, Lakewood Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) has been organizing “pop-up” protests during rush hour at  high-traffic intersections in Lakewood. The group’s founders, Christopher Arlen,  Zenat Shariff Belkin, and others  had felt compelled to do something when George Floyd was publicly murdered by police last May, and cities were convulsed with protests and brutal reaction. They wondered if people would come out for quick one hour protests to create a visible nonviolent presence in Lakewood. They recruited their friends,  neighbors, families, church members, and Democratic colleagues to stand during rush hours on Tuesdays for 16 weeks. For months, “Black Lives Matter” was the focus of the signs and of the one hour  vigils. Protesters generally avoided partisan messages, focusing on the issues of racism and violence in policing.

But in October, with the election underway, and a Republican court-packing maneuver in progress, many of the protesters were the same, but the subjects of the signs were different. Signs praising the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, signs affirming women’s right to abortion and reproductive freedom, a Trump puppet figure, and plenty of American flags and Biden / Harris 2020 signs were on view from 2-3 pm. Brenda Bronson organized the Lakewood action as one of hundreds around the nation in solidarity with the Washington Women’s March 2020.

Protesters 10 17 20


Don’t Believe The Hype: Cory Gardner Did This To Himself

Donald Trump and Cory Gardner embrace voluntarily in Colorado Springs, February 20, 2020.

We’re 17 days out from the 2020 general election, and in Colorado certain inevitabilities are beginning to come into focus. Driven by unprecedented early turnout overwhelmingly led by Democratic and what’s assumed to be left-voting unaffiliated voters, an historic landslide election is shaping up for Colorado Democrats once again–with a strong possibility of further growing already historic majorities won in the 2018 midterms.

With Joe Biden polling as high as 14 points ahead of Donald Trump in Colorado, and by all expectations very little ticket-splitting expected from Colorado voters in 2020, it’s easy to make excuses for the impending doom surrounding the campaign of Republican incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, down by a least 10 points in every recent poll. And as we saw first yesterday in a story from the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter, the pre-post-mortem spin of Gardner’s fate by Republicans is already underway:

“My perception is that Cory and his allies have together bought a huge amount of television time. At some point, does another $100,000 make any difference? I’m not sure it does,” said Dick Wadhams, a former Colorado Republican Party chair who has managed successful U.S. Senate campaigns.

“Cory’s problem is not that he does not have enough money in his account or that there’s not enough spending on that side. Cory’s biggest problem right now is the national political environment, and that has been driven by President Trump’s numbers against Joe Biden,” Wadhams said. “I’m not sure any money can offset that right now.”

CBS4 Denver echoed this scripted pre-buttal to defeat from former Colorado GOP chairman and longtime Republican campaign manager Dick Wadhams, who whatever else you can say about the man knows what losing looks and feels like:

“There still is a great deal of enthusiasm among Republicans for the president and Cory Gardner but I’m not going to to kid you or anybody else, Trump is a liability to Cory Gardner.” [Pols emphasis]

“It comes under the heading of life isn’t fair and neither is politics. Cory has run a magnificent campaign, he’s probably one of the best candidates we’ve ever fielded for statewide office in decades. John Hickenlooper, in my opinion, has been a miserable candidate with a campaign to match. Yet he might win this race solely because of the national political winds.”

“That’s just the brutal reality. I think Mike [Dino] and I have both been in politics long enough to know that sometimes there are factors beyond your control. In this case, that’s the case with Cory.”

This is a tempting story for Colorado Republicans to internalize, though they won’t be able to fully accept it until after Trump’s expected defeat in two and a half weeks. Cory Gardner wasn’t beaten on the merits, they’ll say, he was washed away in a wave against Trump from which no Republican was fully spared. It’s not that the voters rejected Cory Gardner, they’ll say, or Republican legislators who lose their seats with him. “National political winds” sealed the fate of these poor innocent bystanders.

And it’s completely wrong. Republicans seeking to blame losses in 2020 on “national political winds” are ignoring the extent which the GOP was rejected all the way down the ballot by Colorado voters in both 2016 and 2018. Every election in Colorado since Gardner’s narrow victory in 2014 has resulted in big losses for Republicans at all levels, including in 2016 when Trump lost Colorado–albeit by a smaller margin than the polls show Trump losing in 2020. As for John Hickenlooper’s supposed “weakness” as a candidate and Gardner’s “magnificent campaign,” it’s just a silly fictionalization of actual events. Republicans invested basically their entire campaign against Hickenlooper in Frank McNulty’s wildly overhyped ethics complaint, while Gardner became a national symbol of Republicans’ willful refusal to acknowledge Trump’s failed presidency. Gardner was considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republican Senators up in 2020 all the way back in January of 2019, when polls showed him losing by a wide margin to a generic Democrat.

We’ve sometimes wondered whether Colorado’s U.S. Senate race would look different if Gardner had taken a different path after Trump’s election, the path he started down when he declared “I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women” and called for Trump to pull out of the race in October of 2016. The final abandonment of this once-honorable position for Gardner in last Tuesday’s debate, when Gardner said Trump is an “ethical and moral man” without ever reconciling this with this previous words.

Obviously had Hillary Clinton prevailed in 2016 as Gardner and everyone else expected, this year’s elections would look different. But if Gardner had approached Trump’s victory with the wariness of fellow GOP Sens. John McCain, Ben Sasse, and later Mitt Romney among other examples he served with in the U.S. Senate, would Gardner be losing by the double-digit margin he is today? The answer is maybe not. But when you consider other issues like the Affordable Care Act, which Gardner vilified throughout his career in federal office and now polls better than at any time in its history, or abortion, the issue Gardner was able to gum to death in 2014 but now looms large before an expected 6-3 conservative Supreme Court, there’s just no reason to believe Gardner would be winning this essentially blue state today no matter how he had dealt with Trump. And that’s before you factor in what the proselytized GOP base does to Republicans who stray from the MAGA party line.

From Obamacare to embracing Trump to the treachery Gardner joined in against Merrick Garland, Cory Gardner made conscious choices that led to the electoral abyss. Gardner didn’t have to morph shamelessly from one of Trump’s harshest critics to closest allies. Likewise, Colorado Republicans as a whole didn’t have to lurch out of the mainstream under Patrick Neville and Ken Buck. If Colorado Republicans take the easy way out of reckoning their losses in 2020 from Cory Gardner on down, blaming externalities instead of looking inward, they are setting the stage to become a permanent minority.

Team Gardner Hunkers Down with Bucket of Rocks

UPDATE: You tell ’em, Team Gardner! This is totally not sad or anything.


Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is not going to be re-elected next month. The writing was on the wall this week, and today it became super-duper official when a major Democratic SuperPAC decided to pull out of Colorado altogether.

Gardner and his staff understand that there will be no second term for the Yuma Republican, and they’re not handling the news very well. As Alex Burness of The Denver Post reported, Gardner popped up in Aurora today and then refused to talk to the media:

It is a bit weird to avoid the media when you’re a candidate for an election that is just two-and-a-half weeks away, but that’s what Gardner has continued to do (just recently, Gardner refused an interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio). It’s also very strange to do what Gardner spokesperson Jerrod Dobkin did next on Twitter:

Gardner spokesperson Jerrod Dobkin, in full bridge-burning mode.

This did not go over well with Cindi Andrews, senior politics editor at The Denver Post:

You don’t have to be happy about spending the next couple of weeks stuck in an alley with no exits, but there’s a middle ground you could occupy that doesn’t include macing your own face. Sadly, that is not part of the plan here; a few minutes later, Gardner Campaign Manager Casey Contres dove into the mosh pit:

Team Gardner is trying to portray Burness as some sort of paid left-wing shill, which is: a) Stupid, B) Pointless, and C) Not without irony. Perhaps Dobkin and Contres can also explain why Gardner regularly dodges reporters from EVERY media outlet.

You don’t always get to control whether you win or lose, but you can always control how you react to the outcome. Some people, like 2016 Senate candidate Jon Keyser, stick their fingers in their ears and hide in a dark room. Others lash out inexplicably.

Dobkin and Contres are very sad because their campaign is in the crapper, so they’re trying to make themselves feel better by bashing the media on Twitter. This isn’t going to prevent them from going down the toilet; they’re just going to end up with more shit on their clothes at the end.

But hey, some people must like the smell.