Sullivan Recall Implosion: Whining About RMGO Is Not Enough

Cory Gardner with Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

The week’s political news in Colorado has been dominated by the approval of petitions to recall freshman Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial, a campaign kicked off by the vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party Kristi Burton Brown with support from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s family political consulting operation. As most of our readers know, Tom Sullivan’s son Alex was murdered in the July 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting, which led to Tom’s run for office on an unapologetic platform of enacting gun safety legislation.

The announcement of the recall against Sullivan has been met with severe and in some notable cases bipartisan backlash, with Democrats morally outraged by the threat to Sullivan for keeping his most sacred campaign promise and some moderate Republicans fearfully warning that the attempt will backfire with the voting public in HD-37–cementing Democratic control of a winnable swing seat for Republicans, and sideswiping the credibility of attempts to recall lawmakers in other parts of the state.

In a Denver Post column today, conservative writer Krista Kafer sums up the desired frame for Republicans who see the danger of going ahead with the recall of Rep. Sullivan, laying 100% of the blame for the situation at the feet of RMGO–to the exclusion of “Republicans” Kafer calls on to stand up to RMGO as though they are a distinct entity:

It is not enough to condemn behind closed doors RMGO’s depraved behavior, as many do. The GOP needs to openly rebuke these tactics and to act to ensure they fail. I am calling on my fellow Republicans and fellow gun owners to refuse to sign the recall petition against Rep. Tom Sullivan and to vote against the measure should it come to that.

There will be opportunity in the 2020 election to hold this legislature accountable for its actions. The legislature passed several pieces of legislation that are antithetical to economic prosperity, personal freedom, and constitutional rights. Ideas have consequences and the cost of these harmful laws will be evident over time. Republicans can make a strong case that new leadership is warranted. If, however, Republicans do not oppose the morally corrupt tactics of RMGO, we will not deserve to make a comeback.

Since news of the Sullivan recall broke early this week, there’s been a consistent effort by Republicans who don’t support it to insulate the Colorado Republican Party as a whole from the recall effort. The problem with this, of course, is that the recall was filed by the vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party. With the party making no attempt to distance themselves from the actions of Colorado GOP’s vice chair, no one else should either.

But even that’s not the full picture: over many years and accelerating after the 2013 recall elections, RMGO has worked successfully to install their favored candidates by winning Republican primaries. That reshaping of the Republican caucus is a major reason why close RMGO ally Patrick Neville was able hold on to his minority leadership position even after 2018’s devastating losses and allegations of mismanagement.

Whether it’s a genuine moral objection as is plainly the case from Rep. Sullivan’s Republican predecessor Rep. Cole Wist, who admits now that he was “in denial” of the extent of RMGO’s control of the Colorado Republican Party, or simple lucidity of the destructive political consequences of recalling the father of an Aurora shooting victim over gun safety legislation, the bottom line is the same: the problem is bigger than Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. In fact, vilifying RMGO while the party they effectively control carries out RMGO’s agenda makes everyone who engages in that diversion culpable.

And until the “civil” Republican talking heads accept that, Kafer is right: they don’t deserve a comeback.

Friday Open Thread

“It is more of a disgrace to be robbed of what one has than to fail in some new undertaking.”

–Pericles

Cory Gardner: Rainbow Warrior?

POLS UPDATE: LGBTQ rights organization One Colorado minces no words:

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(More like rainbow washing – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sens. Cory Gardner & Susan Collins at LGBT GOP fundraiser

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner was one of three swing-state Republican senators to receive money from a fundraiser hosted by American Unity Fund (AUF), a conservative LGBT rights group.

First reported by North Carolina conservative blog the Daily Haymaker, AUF hosted the $250 per person event on Tuesday at the Washington D.C. office of Hogan Lovells, a white shoe law firm with a large Denver presence.

Longtime AUF supporter Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, posted a picture of Gardner and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) posing with Timmons and his husband at the event.

Last month Timmons and his husband were honored by Equality Virginia for their advocacy for the right of same-sex couples like themselves to become parents. In 2007, then-State Rep. Cory Gardner voted against a bill to allow Colorado gay and lesbian couples to adopt children.

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Former Rep. Cole Wist Blasts RMGO, Recalls in New Op-Ed

Former Republican State Rep. Cole Wist is fed up with right-wing recall madness.

Earlier this week, former Republican Rep. Cole Wist raised eyebrows with a direct and thorough rebuke of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) and their latest recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan (D-Aurora). What makes this particularly noteworthy is that Wist was defeated by Sullivan in the 2018 election cycle, in part because RMGO went after him for his 2018 support of “red flag” legislation.

In an Op-Ed published today by The Colorado Sun, Wist elaborates on his social media comments from earlier in the week and goes into greater detail about the recall grift that we have regularly discussed in this space:

Too many in politics are in it for their own personal gain, not any actual desire to affect policy or make life better for our communities

Take my experience as an example. I sponsored a bill that was opposed by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a group whose stated purpose is to advocate for gun rights. They didn’t like my bill, so they raised money to attack me and littered my district with nasty fliers hoping to elect my Democratic opponent, Tom Sullivan, who is an outspoken supporter of sweeping gun control.

Why would a group that says it’s about gun rights help elect a gun control supporter? Well, so they can raise more money. And that’s just what they are doing now. They are trying to recall Tom Sullivan, whom they helped elect, so they can raise more money. [Pols emphasis]

Since the 2018 election, it seems there has been a steady drumbeat for recall elections. What’s behind recall fever? Yes, many voters are frustrated with sweeping legislation passed by the legislature this year on a number of fronts, but for many trying to instigate these recalls, it’s mostly about money and feeding the political election machine.

Wist later makes it clear that while he disagrees with Sullivan’s politics, he doesn’t dispute what happened in November:

I disagree with Rep. Sullivan on a number of policies. And, I am opposed to numerous pieces of legislation that he voted for this last session. However, Rep. Sullivan won the election, and I lost. He ran on gun control and then pursued it.

Recall enthusiasts are still pushing their nonsense rhetoric, of course, as Nic Garcia reports for the Denver Post:

Yet, according to the Republicans behind the recall, Sullivan duped voters.

When I pushed Kristi Brown – the state GOP’s vice chair and leader of the charge to recall Sullivan – on this logic, she acknowledged Sullivan’s track record as a gun control activist. But she added that the legislation he sponsored went further than a previous version of the bill. She added that his votes on sex ed and oil and gas reform were part of the “overreach.”

RMGO leader Dudley Brown

One of the major problems with this, um, logic is that RMGO’s Dudley Brown already blew it up in an interview with RealVail.com last week:

REAL VAIL: Some sheriffs and prosecutors who supported red flag last year, including Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek, switched sides this year and opposed it. Why do you think that is? Did the bill change that much from 2018 to 2019?

BROWN: Nope, I don’t think they were that different, last year and this year’s bill. [Pols emphasis] I don’t think it was different enough to warrant some massive swing. It’s just this year sheriffs are able to read the tea leaves and that their constituents are now understanding what the concept of red flag is. And now they’re realizing that they’re going to face a big backlash from their constituents if they’re forced to carry out these, quote, protection orders. They don’t want to do it.

It’s tough to claim that the Sullivan recall is about “overreach” when one of the recall leaders admits that the “red flag” legislation that so angers them wasn’t much different than a similar bill in 2018. That’s pretty much the exact opposite of the meaning of the word “overreach.”

Efforts to recall Democratic lawmakers in Colorado are about two things, and two things only: 1) Making money for Republican consultants, and 2) trying to find a back door for Republicans to capture seats that they can’t otherwise win in a regular election. Every other rationale is just another way to justify one of the first two reasons.

James O’Keefe: Back and Promising Fresh Local Shenanigans

We wrote last week about the most recent “Lincoln Day” dinner hosted by the Pueblo County Republicans, featuring newly-minted “CEO” of the Colorado Republican Party Steve House saying too much about the real purpose of threatened recalls against Democratic state lawmakers–a fresh angle from which to combat the GOP’s trend of losses in Colorado elections, which threatens to relegate their party to long-term minority status.

That was significant, but we also wanted to make sure readers were aware of the keynote speaker at this dinner, infamous Republican hidden-camera gotcha artist James O’Keefe. O’Keefe gained fame nearly a decade ago by baiting workers for the social welfare organization ACORN into making politically and morally questionable on-camera statements. Success in that campaign led to Project Veritas, in which O’Keefe himself or well-trained and paid subordinates fan out across the country during election season in search of Democrats they can entrap. In 2014 one such entrapment campaign led to brief notoriety in Colorado–which collapsed once it became clear that the fraud he was goading low-level local organizers into discussing would have been easily busted by county clerks before any fraudulent votes were counted.

With all of this in mind, here’s a rough transcript of a portion of O’Keefe’s remarks to Pueblo Republicans:

JAMES O’KEEFE: Someone asked if I’ve been to CO before and I fumbled the answer because I’m not supposed to say where I go in terms of investigations but I have been here before many times. Sometimes I’m here and nobody knows. [applause] I’m here to talk about Veritas. It’s the Latin word for truth…

Do people recognize me? Sometimes I wear a disguise. Most of time, I’m not doing undercover stuff–it’s a team. Sometimes. They never recognize me. Don’t expect to be recorded. Don’t people know you’re filming? Not really because corruption is everywhere…so what Veritas is doing is equipping brave patriots to wear tiny cameras. Where do they go? Everywhere. Tie, blazer, hat, lapel pin, pimp costume. [Pols emphasis]

James O’Keefe, wearing a Mark Udall sticker in 2014.

Although O’Keefe has no real mainstream credibility, his popularity with conservative media outlets ensures wide distribution for all but the most self-immolating of his stunts. O’Keefe’s credibility took a huge hit in 2017 during a botched attempt to “gotcha” Washington Post reporters with a fake informant with planted allegations about Alabama Republican Roy Moore’s sexual misconduct–which ended with the reporters turning the tables on O’Keefe’s mole and writing a very different story.

But if there’s on constant in conservative politics, it’s that their operatives don’t stay discredited for long! A fresh proposal to tap the right’s seemingly limitless reserves of political nonprofit giving, for example sending a wave of hidden camera-equipped GOP activists to infiltrate Colorado Democratic campaigns and liberal groups, is all O’Keefe needs to bounce right back. And it appears he has.

With all of this in mind, here’s another reminder to do what you should be doing anyway–vet your volunteers. The website Veritas Exposed keeps track of O’Keefe’s operatives and methods as much as that’s possible, and it’s a good place to start, but you should be checking the voter file, social media histories, and whatever background check services you can afford or are comfortable with. But above all, it’s critical to inspire a culture of office awareness: that the way O’Keefe gets most of his material is by having a camera rolling during preventable mistakes he can then de-contextualize for maximum political effect.

The best place to stop James O’Keefe and his band of undercover tricksters is at the door. Failing that, if someone you don’t know starts spontaneously “joking” with you about election fraud while subtly angling the lapel of their coat towards your face, please do not laugh along. This may be the only warning you get.

Jamie Giellis: A Streetcar Named Disaster

FRIDAY UPDATE: This headline in the Denver Post sums up an awful week for Giellis:

Elsewhere, this interview with Kyle Clark of 9News demonstrates that Giellis still has no idea how to deal with her own blunders:

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Giellis’ Mayoral campaign is a train wreck streetcar wreck.

This week started out pretty good for Denver Mayoral candidate, streetcar enthusiast, and occasional voter Jamie Giellis, who is campaigning ahead of a June 4 runoff election against incumbent Mayor Michael Hancock. On Monday, Giellis held a rally to announce the support of former Mayoral candidates Lisa Calderon and Penfield Tate in a show of unity against Hancock.

After that, everything went off the rails.

On Tuesday, Giellis participated in a live interview on Brother Jeff Fard’s webcast focused on African-American issues in Denver. Giellis was asked about her knowledge of the “NAACP,” and she made it clear that she didn’t have the slightest idea what the acronym stood for. As the Denver Post reported:

Giellis offered that it could begin with the words “National African American,” laughing as she learned that was incorrect.

Jamie Giellis

GAH! This was indisputably bad for Giellis. Then she made it worse. As 9News reports:

Giellis apologized Wednesday for what she called a “momentary lapse” when she was unable to identify what the initialism NAACP stands for in an interview on the Brother Jeff Fard show.

Within hours, Giellis announced a tacos and lowriders fundraiser at a Mexican restaurant in Denver. 

A tweet announcing the tacos and lowriders campaign event was later deleted from Twitter Wednesday night. [Pols emphasis]

“Tacos and lowriders”? Double GAH!

Soon afterward, Giellis COMPLETELY DELETED her social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram, but not before one particularly terrible Tweet was captured in a screenshot. The Tweet below came from the account of Jamie Licko, which is Giellis’ maiden name:

 

Triple GAH!

The Giellis campaign issued a statement this morning regarding the sudden purge of her social media accounts. It was also not good:

“Our campaign Facebook and Twitter pages remain active and we are working on restoring the campaign Instagram page. I turned off my personal accounts when I felt like personal statements were being taken out of context for the purpose of diverting the conversation from the issues that Denver is facing and voters care about.”

Scrubbing social media accounts for problematic posts is something that a smart campaign would have already done a long time ago. Nobody completely deletes their social media accounts — particularly a candidate who is just weeks out from Election Day — for any other reason than to hide embarrassing and or incriminating information. You can’t talk your way around something like this.

In less than a week, Giellis destroyed her chances of becoming Denver’s next Mayor and made political casualties out of prominent supporters like Calderon and Tate. The incumbent Hancock has been working hard on his final re-election campaign, but at this point, all he really needs to do is just get out of the way of Giellis’ runaway streetcar.

Thursday Open Thread

“Men are more moral than they think and far more immoral than they can imagine.”

–Sigmund Freud

Jamie Giellis, Walking Facepalm

Jamie Giellis points to her biggest problem in the Denver Mayoral runoff.

Denver’s June 4th runoff election is just around the corner. It can’t come soon enough for Mayoral candidate Jamie Giellis, who is trying to oust incumbent Mayor Michael Hancock.

We noted in April that Giellis barely manages to vote at a 50% clip — she didn’t even vote in the 2018 Primary Election — which she explained by eloquently saying, “It’s my bad for not doing that [voting].” On Tuesday, Giellis managed to trip over her own feet once again.

As the Denver Post reports, this mistake is gonna sting:

Denver mayoral challenger Jamie Giellis failed to identify what the acronym “NAACP” stood for in a live interview on an African American-focused show Tuesday afternoon, renewing debate among minority voters about whether she’s a promising new ally or too far removed from communities of color.

Host Shay Johnson told Giellis on Brother Jeff Fard’s webcast Tuesday that the show had received several questions about her knowledge of the NAACP. Giellis offered that it could begin with the words “National African American,” laughing as she learned that was incorrect. [Pols emphasis]…

…“They do advocacy for the African American community, they talk about policy, they talk about issues, they stand up for civil rights, they do a number of things,” Giellis said.

Yes, really.

The acronym “NAACP” stands for “National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.”

Former Colorado Republican Attorney Mike Davis Tweets Photo of Judge Merrick Garland’s Severed Head

(All class – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado Special Assistant Attorney General Mike Davis was busted by national media last week for tweeting an inflammatory fake photo.

Davis shared the fake photo, originally created by the Onion, showing a bloody U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky holding up the severed head of Judge Merrick Garland, whose nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court by Obama was torpedoed by McConnell.

Davis deleted the tweet soon after, but not before Reuters reporter Lawrence Hurley grabbed a screenshot.

Davis is best known as the GOP point man for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. He had briefly clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch before going to work for Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley on the Senate Judiciary Committee as Chief Nominations Counsel, where he was responsible for shepherding President Trump’s judicial nominees through the vetting and approval process.

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Colorado Public Radio is Saving Political Journalism

According to Corey Hutchins of Colorado College and the Colorado Independent, there is a new political journalist on the scene whose calls to Sen. Cory Gardner will soon go unreturned:

Colorado media outlets haven’t had a regular presence in Washington D.C. since Mark Matthews left the Denver Post last summer. Both the Post and the long-deceased Rocky Mountain News used to employ Beltway-based reporters who covered Colorado political and policy angles; with increasing cutbacks in newsrooms, that luxury has slowly dissolved over time.

Colorado Public Radio (CPR) has made a number of new hires to beef up its reporting on Colorado politics recently, perhaps most notably the move of Bente Birkeland from KUNC radio last fall. The increase in coverage of political and policy news is a welcome change in a state where the trend in recent years had been for news outlets to continually cut back on political reporting.

So, let us welcome Caitlyn Kim to the ranks of Colorado political journalists. May Sen. Gardner’s voicemail treat you well.

Neville: Removal of Ryan Call As Chair of Fundraising Committee Would Be “Wise Move”

(It’s war. For Colorado Republicans, it’s always war. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

Republican leaders expressed what appeared to be cathartic disagreement yesterday over whether to support a move by Colorado’s Republican Party to recall a state lawmaker for backing a gun-control bill, after the lawmaker, whose his son died in the Aurora theater massacre, campaigned on the issue.

The dispute prompted a top Colorado Republican to say it would be a “wise move” to oust the former leader of the Republican Party from his chairmanship of a key GOP fundraising committee.

Colorado’s GOP House minority leader, Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, made the comment on KNUS radio during day of intense infighting among conservatives, which opened wounds, inflicted by Republicans on themselves, that have been festering under the party’s skin for at least a decade here.

The pain was evident on Twitter, where warriors representing factions of the Republican Party put aside restraints and publicly denounced one another’s stances.

After a conservative radio host Chuck Bonniwell slammed Tyler Sandberg, who was former U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s campaign manager, for telling a news site that Trump has a “less than zero” chance of winning in Colorado, Sandberg tweeted, “Chuck, take my advice, put down the meth pipe.”

But the proposed recall campaigns, opposed by the deep-pocked oil and gas industry and other corporations, were the focus of most of the day’s debate.

Former Colo GOP Chair Ryan Call came out against the recall campaign of State Rep. Tom Sullivan of Aurora, which led to this conversation on KNUS 710-AM’s Chuck and Julie Show, with Neville and hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden:

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Trump Trade War Threatens Colorado’s Export-Heavy Economy

As the Denver Post’s Judith Kohler reports, escalating tensions over trade with China as the Trump administration carries out threats to impose protectionist tariffs in order to “get a better deal” are resulting in a direct threat to Colorado businesses of all sizes, as the flip side of “getting tough on trade” starts to take on local names and faces:

Colorado farmers, ranchers and some retailers were hit by tariffs on imports and retaliatory tariffs by China during the trade battle last year. The Trump administration’s abrupt decision to boost those tariffs to 25 percent from 10 percent on $200 billion worth of products last week and threats to add another $300 billion worth of items have rattled the business community.

“These tariffs are just having a huge effect on everything,” said Gail Ross, the chief operating officer of Boulder-based Krimson Klover…

“It’s kind of late for us to say to our customers who’ve already given us an order, ‘Hey, we’re going to bump your prices up 25 percent,’ ” Ross said. “On the other other hand, we’re a little company that can’t absorb a 25 percent increase.

“It’s a fallacy that China is paying for the tariffs,” Ross added. “Let’s be clear. It’s like Mexico paying for the wall; that’s not happening.” [Pols emphasis]

As with many issues of global trade, there are both ideological and regional complexities that make sorting out one’s personal stand on the issue more difficult. In areas of the country hit hard by the erosion of domestic manufacturing in favor of offshoring production to China, President Donald Trump “getting tough” sounds great–enough so that it’s troubling for Democrats to see a Republican winning Rust Belt voter loyalty this way.

Here in Colorado, though, the situation is very different. The state’s large agricultural export business has been effectively robbed of one of the world’s biggest markets, and Colorado companies who design products manufactured in China are in danger of having their supply chains disrupted. Short of benefits that may occur over the horizon, there’s no upside to the present trade war with China for Colorado and a great deal to lose.

No matter where you stand on the issue of trade policy and protection of American jobs,  and we know this isn’t an issue on which either side is unanimous, in the end a standoff that shrinks the economy of both sides hurts everybody. This is why, more than drama in either direction, what’s needed in such negotiations is maturity.

And with that, Donald Trump can show himself out.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 15)

May 15 is Peace Officers Memorial Day. It’s time “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…

A memorial service will be held today for Kendrick Castillo, the 18-year-old STEM school student who likely saved the lives of many of his classmates when he intervened during a shooting at the Highlands Ranch school last week.

 

► The Republican-controlled state legislature in Alabama on Tuesday passed the most restrictive abortion law in the country. Chris Cillizza of CNN explains where this is all headed:

The state’s Republican governor — Kay Ivey — is expected to sign it. When she does, two things will happen: 1) Alabama will become the state with the country’s most restrictive abortion law and 2) the law will immediately become fodder for the swirling debate over if (and when) the Supreme Court might consider overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling.

That two-pronged goal was clearly the intent of the bill’s sponsor — state Rep. Terry Collins (R), who said after the vote: “This bill is about challenging Roe v. Wade and protecting the lives of the unborn, because an unborn baby is a person who deserves love and protection.”…

…The point here is two-fold. First, there’s no doubt that legislation like the abortion ban in Alabama is aimed at the larger goal of prohibiting abortion nationwide. Second, the court has been mysterious enough on the issue to make it very difficult to predict with certainty how it might rule — and when — on these challenges to Roe.

 

► Allies of the United States are voicing their skepticism over an aggressive military shift against Iran. From the New York Times:

As the Trump administration draws up war plans against Iran over what it says are threats to American troops and interests, a senior British military official told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday that he saw no increased risk from Iran or allied militias in Iraq or Syria.

A few hours later, the United States Central Command issued an unusual rebuke: The remarks from the British official — Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika, who is also the deputy commander of the American-led coalition fighting the Islamic State — run “counter to the identified credible threats available to intelligence from U.S. and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region.”…

…“We are aware of their presence clearly and we monitor them along with a whole range of others because of the environment we are in,” General Ghika said.

But he said, “No, there has been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria.”

As Politico reports, Trump administration officials will brief Congressional leaders on Thursday about their latest saber-rattling (or sabre-rattling, if you prefer) over Iran.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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WTF: Bizarre Sullivan Recall Launch Confounds Colorado Politics

UPDATE #2: The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:

The Republican who lost his seat last year to Democratic state Rep. Tom Sullivan said Tuesday that he does not support efforts to recall Sullivan over the recently passed red-flag bill.

Cole Wist’s remarks came a day after paperwork was filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office that allows Sullivan’s critics to begin collecting signatures. Sullivan, of Centennial, has been a vocal gun control proponent since his son, Alex, died in the Aurora theater shooting.

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UPDATE: Former GOP Rep. Cole Wist, who lost in 2018 to Rep. Tom Sullivan after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners turned on him, denounces the recall attempt:

This is truly a remarkable moment in Colorado politics.

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GOP operative Tyler Sandberg slams RMGO.

We’re less than 24 hours into the attempted recall of freshman Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial by Kristi Burton Brown, the vice-chair of the Colorado Republican Party and longtime ally of the Neville family of politicians and operatives–who are in turn closely linked with the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the hard-right single-issue advocacy group with a reputation for bloodying fellow Republicans in pursuit of caucus unity.

But by far most notable about yesterday’s oddly low-key launch is the highly visible and public lack of Republican consensus on initiating this recall attempt–with the substantial wing of the party not aligned with RMGO denouncing the group, the Nevilles, and the hit on Rep. Sullivan. Colorado Public Radio:

“Recalls can identify people, but it also can strengthen elected officials that survive them. The long-term strategy has to be to win November elections,” said Republican political consultant Michael Fields, who heads Colorado Rising Action.

Former GOP chairman Ryan Call said initiating recalls is “a dramatic departure from the historic role and practice of the Republican party in Colorado.” He added that the party historically gets behind recall efforts if there’s malfeasance or if someone in public office is acting in a way that doesn’t align with campaign pledges, which he doesn’t see as the case here.

“We have seen a pretty significant shift in public policy under single-party control of state government, but Democrats are pretty much governing how they promised they would,” [Pols emphasis] Call said. “Voters may have hoped for a more balanced and bipartisan approach, but what we saw during the legislative session is consistent with what most Democratic candidates said they would do while they were running.”

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette confirmed RMGO’s eager involvement in his story today, which anyone with knowledge of Kristi Burton Brown’s ties with the Neville political machine could already have surmised:

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a hard-line Second Amendment advocacy group, is committed to help Kristi Brown oust Sullivan, said Dudley Brown, executive director of RMGO.

“I welcome any group that wants to jump in on it,” Kristi Brown said. “A lot of Colorado parents in my district are upset with Rep. Sullivan and the way he voted.”

The response to yesterday’s news that Rep. Sullivan would be the next Democrat targeted for recall, especially the unenthusiastic response from fellow Republicans, underscores a longstanding divide between the Neville/RMGO axis anchored by Minority Leader Patrick Neville and the rest of the Republican establishment in the state. The recent exposure of highly questionable management of the 2018 House campaigns managed by the Nevilles, which resulted in the smallest GOP House minority in decades, has put the once-formidable political dynasty on the defensive–enough so that they were given a dubious welcome at best when they arrived to “help” with the now-defunct recall campaign against Rochelle Galindo.

But more importantly, going after Tom Sullivan, whose powerful backstory inspires both personal sympathy and support for his agenda of reducing gun violence, is politically hazardous to the point of being totally inexplicable. We’ve talked to a number of smart people on both sides of the aisle, and literally no one can understand why RMGO would start with Rep. Sullivan, kick off the campaign against Sullivan without other targets among which to distribute the backlash–and above all let the news break with no attempt to control the message. To say this is not how you’re supposed to do things is an understatement, and we’re left wondering if they simply didn’t care how it looks to the outside world.

Either way, there is a bipartisan consensus following yesterday’s news that a recall of Rep. Sullivan would be a grave mistake–both objectively for our state’s politics, and politically for Republicans. And that is something we did not expect to see, at least not so quickly and so openly. After years of struggling for dominance within the GOP, the overreach of this recall attempt could represent the beginning of the end for the Nevilles and RMGO.

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