If You Want a Semi-Automatic AR-15, Maybe You Should Start Going to GOP Fundraisers

(We’re good, thanks – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you want to start amassing guns, you might consider attending Republican Party fundraisers in Colorado.

To get your own military-style semi-automatic AR-15 rifle this weekend, you’d have to be lucky (or unlucky if you hate guns), because it’s the grand prize in a Saturday raffle for the Teller County Republican Party.

In May, you could have gotten one at a GOP fundraiser in Colorado Springs.

The AR-15 is the firearm used at the mass killings of students in Florida this year and Sandy Hook in 2012. it was used in the Las Vegas massacre in 2017 and San Bernadino in 2015. And, unfortunately, elsewhere.

Does that bother the organizers of the raffle?

“Absolutely not,” said Erik Stone, the elected chair of the Teller County Republican Party, told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Individual people are responsible for individual acts. Guns are inanimate objects. They are tools. They can be used the same as a car, a knife, a sword, as we saw in Kansas City. There are many weapons people can use with evil intent. And I have no problems with our raffle.”

Stone said the winner of the raffle will have to pass a background check before receiving his or her grand prize.

“If they cannot pass a background check, they will receive a cash prize in lieu of the firearm,” said Stone, adding that he is not only a gun-rights advocate but also an NRA certified instructor who recently taught a free concealed-carry class for teachers and first responders. “Everything will be done completely legally.”

At a GOP fundraiser in May, your chance to win an AR-15 would probably have been more pricey. Instead of being raffled off, the weapon was the first of six “live auction items” at the El Paso County Republican Party’s annual fundraiser at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs.

The estimated value of the AR-15 for this weekend’s raffle is $1,500. The second prize in the raffle is 10 one-once Liberty Silver Dollars, with a retail value of $200. Money goes to Republican efforts in Teller County, located outside of Colorado Springs.

Stone said the AR-15 has multiple uses. It is America’s number one gun choice for killing varmints, he said, which is the same point made in March by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) when he said farmers and ranchers in his district use the AR-15 to shoot “pests, raccoons, or foxes or other smaller animals that are trying get into their chickens or disrupt their operations.”

Gun-safety advocates say you don’t need a semi-automatic weapon to kill raccoons or other farm pests. It’s essentially a military weapon, designed for rapid-fire killing not hunting or other civilian use, they say.

Governor Candidate Doug Robinson Is “Least Likely to have a Closet Full of Skeletons,” Says Conservative Activist

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a short video endorsement posted on Thursday, conservative activist Laura Carno lists her five reasons for endorsing Doug Robinson for Republican nominee for governor. Her fifth reason:

“Doug is a good, decent man and I love his wife Diane. He is also the least likely to have a closet full of skeletons.

As she is speaking in the video, the hashtag “#ChoirBoy” appears on the screen.

Carno, however, does not explain on camera why she thinks the other Republican candidates for governor, Walker Stapleton, Greg Lopez and Victor Mitchell, are more likely to have as-yet-unknown politically damaging stories in their past.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 15)

Get those Primary ballots in the mail or deliver them to a nearby ballot drop. Check GoVoteColorado.com for more information. 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… 

► Paul Manafort, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump, has been sent to jail by a federal judge over allegations of witness tampering. From the Washington Post:

“You have abused the trust placed in you six months ago,’’ U.S. District Court judge Amy Berman Jackson told Manafort. “The government motion will be granted and the defendant will be detained.”

The judge said sending Manafort to a cell was “an extraordinarily difficult decision,” but added his conduct left her little choice, because he had allegedly contacted witnesses in the case in an effort to get them to lie to investigators…

…Manafort had been confined to his home on electronic monitoring and other restrictions since he was first indicted Oct. 27 during Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Most of the criminal counts relate to activity that preceded Manafort’s time as Trump’s campaign manager, from March to August of 2016, when he resigned amid news reports that he had received secret cash payments for his Ukraine consulting.

On Friday President Trump said that Manafort “has nothing to do with our campaign.” CBS News quickly pointed out why this is nonsense; in May 2016, Trump promoted Manafort as CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN of his Presidential bid.

 

► Today’s news about Paul Manafort should be concerning enough to Team Trump, but it may not even be Trump’s biggest problem. As CNN reports, Trump attorney Michael Cohen appears to be willing to cooperate with federal investigators:

President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen has indicated to family and friends he is willing to cooperate with federal investigators to alleviate the pressure on himself and his family, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Cohen has expressed anger with the treatment he has gotten from the President, who has minimized his relationship with Cohen, and comments from the President’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the source said. The treatment has left him feeling isolated and more open to cooperating, the source said.

Asked by reporters Friday if he was worried about Cohen cooperating, Trump said, “I did nothing wrong, nothing wrong.” He also said he hasn’t spoken with Cohen “in a long time,” adding, “I always liked Michael and he’s a good person.”

CBS News reported Thursday that Cohen believes Trump and his allies are turning against him.

 

 The Democratic Party is moving up the dates for its national convention. From CNN:

Democrats will hold their convention in 2020 earlier than they have in more than two decades, Democratic operatives tell CNN, partly out of anticipation of a crowded and contentious primary.

The Democratic National Convention is slated to take place from July 13 to July 16, 2020, almost two weeks earlier than the 2016 convention.

Denver is among eight cities still being considered to host the DNC.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Trump Torpedoes Immigration Compromise

CNN reports, President Donald Trump has spiked the best-laid plans of more civil Republicans once again:

President Donald Trump on Friday morning delivered a potentially fatal blow to a compromise immigration bill under development in the House.

Trump said on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” that he is not planning to sign the negotiated measure.

“I’m looking at both of them. I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one,” Trump said. “I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that. We have to get rid of catch-and-release.”

…The rejection of the compromise contradicts messaging from the White House in recent days.

Earlier this week, top White House adviser Stephen Miller, a known hardliner on immigration, was on the Hill telling key conservatives the White House was supportive of the negotiations on the bill, and House Speaker Paul Ryan told his GOP members behind closed doors that he had been in touch with Trump who was “excited” about the process.

But that’s not the story today–and Rep. Mike Coffman, who has staked a good chunk of his political future on getting a “compassionate” immigration reform deal through his hard-right Republican House leadership and on to the President’s desk, lashed out against Trump on Twitter earlier this morning:

Wow! But wait, isn’t this the same Coffman who said just a few months ago of the same Donald Trump:

“He’s got the credibility in terms of being tough on immigration and I think he’s the only one, probably, within the Republican Party that can solve this issue,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Why yes, yes he was! And as far as the attempt to pass comprehensive immigration reform under President Barack Obama back in 2013–as we recall, didn’t Mike Coffman have something to say about that too?

I think both parties have it wrong right now. [Pols emphasis]

Well, scratch that then! As for President George W. Bush’s failed attempt at immigration reform, Coffman wasn’t in Congress then–but his predecessor Tom Tancredo was, and readers will recall that back then Coffman and Tancredo were much tighter on immigration than Coffman purports to be today. And here’s what Coffman said about Bush’s efforts back then:

 

And with that, our work is done here. There are Republicans in Congress today who have credibility when it comes to this long-vexing issue, and a consistent record of trying to find solutions so that doesn’t smack of contrivance and political desperation.

Mike Coffman is not one of those Republicans. In every way that counts, he is part of the problem.

Friday Open Thread

“Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.”

–Norman Schwarzkopf

Hogan to Hogan: Finalists Named for Aurora Mayor

Timothy Hogan, son of the late Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, may fill his father’s term.

As the Aurora Sentinel reports, 43-year-old Timothy Hogan is one of four finalists to be selected to complete the remaining term of late Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, who died last month after battling cancer:

Last month, just a few days after his dad died from cancer, Hogan filed paperwork to replace him as Aurora’s mayor. City Council whittled the list of mayoral finalists to four last week and is expected to appoint a new mayor in the coming days.

The other three finalists — Bob LeGare, Renie Peterson and Debi Hunter-Holen — are all current or former city council members, prominent from years spent on the council dais.

Hogan is a registered Republican and the chief operating officer of a company called Elite Sterling Security, which sells body armor. The Aurora City Council must choose one person from the four finalists to fill the remainder of Steve Hogan’s term, which expires in 2019.

Inspector General Report Doesn’t Back up Trump Claims

A new report from the inspector general does not point to where Trump hoped it would.

The office of the inspector general at the Justice Department released a 500-page report today related to former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.

As the New York Times explains, the report is certainly critical of Comey but does not back up claims of bias from President Trump and the White House:

The former F.B.I. director James B. Comey was “insubordinate” in his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election, a critical Justice Department report concluded on Thursday.

But the report, by the department’s inspector general, Michael E. Horowitz, does not challenge the decision not to prosecute Mrs. Clinton. Nor does it conclude that political bias at the F.B.I. influenced that decision, the officials said.

“We found no evidence that the conclusions by department prosecutors were affected by bias or other improper considerations,” the report said. “Rather, we concluded that they were based on the prosecutor’s assessment of facts, the law, and past department practice.”

The report has been highly anticipated in Washington, not least by President Trump, who has argued that a secret coterie of F.B.I. agents rigged the investigation to help Mrs. Clinton win the presidency. The findings cite no evidence to support that theory. [Pols emphasis]

Of course, President Trump doesn’t need things like facts or evidence to be convinced of something, and there is at least one quote in the report that Trump can — and probably will — use to reassert his “deep state” conspiracies.

GOP Challenger Touts Health While Opponent Recovers from Back Surgery

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

An Otero County Republican candidate forum got personal last week when primary challenger Don Bendell touted his health and pain tolerance at an event incumbent State Rep. Judy Reyher (R-Swink) was forced to miss while recovering from spinal surgery. 

Reyher is recovering from a May 22 spinal surgery for severe disc disintegration and was unable to attend. She sent a long letter explaining her absence, listing her legislative accomplishments and offering her priorities for her the upcoming year. It started with an extensive explanation of her recent surgery and the challenges that prevented her from attending the debate.

“When [the surgeons] got in there it was worse than they thought with the actual membrane surrounding the nerve being impaired.  I believed I could just drive La Junta for the forum today and and drive back tomorrow for my first post-op visit. My body put a full halt to that notion this morning as I was getting ready to make the trip. My body just has a lot of healing to do.”

Her opponent, Don Bendell, began his remarks by asking for prayers for Reyher’s recovery.

“I came here to debate. I really feel bad for my opponent, I’m sorry she couldn’t be here and I ask for you to join me in prayer for her quick recovery. I certainly can sympathize, since I started running I’ve had two 9mm kidney stones… It’s not fun dealing with pain but I’ve dealt with it my entire life. I had a broken back too, in 2011 and my prayers certainly go out to my opponent. I’m not here to say anything bad about my opponent but I am here to talk about her record.”

He then launched into a stump speech before taking questions from the audience. The first question was, “What do you have to offer Otero County?”

Here was his answer:

 

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Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for Governor?

The Primary Election is less than two weeks away, so it’s time for our very wise readers to start prognosticating.

As always, we want to know who you think will be the winner in this race — not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to gauge the current perception of this race through the eyes (and mouse clicks) of politically-astute observers like you, so we’re more interested in your gut feeling than anything else. Vote away!

Who Will Be the Republican Nominee for Governor?
Walker Stapleton
Victor Mitchell
The Nephew of Mitt Romney
Greg Lopez
View Result

Who Will Be the Democratic Nominee for Governor?

The Primary Election is less than two weeks away, so it’s time for our very wise readers to start prognosticating.

As always, we want to know who you think will be the winner in this race — not who you support or who you would prefer to see emerge victorious. The point of this exercise is to gauge the current perception of this race through the eyes (and mouse clicks) of politically-astute observers like you, so we’re more interested in your gut feeling than anything else. Vote away!

Who Will be the Democratic Nominee for Governor?
Jared Polis
Cary Kennedy
Mike Johnston
Donna Lynne
View Result

You Call This a “Nasty Primary?” Puh-leeze

Oh noes! Candidates…campaigning!

9NEWS reports that outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper is terribly upset about the “negative campaigning” in the Democratic gubernatorial primary to succeed him–this being the second such admonishment from Hickenlooper, after a PAC supporting Cary Kennedy “went negative” attacking two of her opponents for their stands on education:

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) says allies of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis went “below the belt” by using his image in an attack ad against fellow Democrat Cary Kennedy.

“Seeing my face used in a negative ad after I had pretty clearly stated what I thought about it, I thought that was hitting below the belt,” Hickenlooper said in a Wednesday news conference at the state Capitol. “I didn’t think it was fair.”

9NEWS asked him about an ad from an outside spending group called “Bold Colorado,” which accurately quoted Gov. Hickenlooper as saying he was “disappointed” by a previous attack made by a similar spending group intending to help Kennedy.

Early on in the governor’s race, all Democratic candidates signed a voluntary pledge to avoid “unnecessary personal and negative attacks” against one another. The “violations” of this pledge have so far, and this is an important point, generally not been carried out by the candidates themselves–rather by “independent” message groups that are legally prohibited from coordinating with the candidate they support. That makes these calls for candidates to “put a stop” to ads being run by independent groups either disingenuous or a tacit admission that there is no real separation between PACs and candidates.

The latter seems to be the case for Republican candidate Walker Stapleton, whose SuperPAC was openly supported and pitched by the candidate before he was technically in the race. Democratic candidates should keep this in mind as it could be an important issue in the general election–and avoid opening themselves to charges of hypocrisy if it does.

Which leads us to the most important point: the 2018 Democratic gubernatorial primary, in any objective sense, isn’t all that “negative.” The Clean Campaign Pledge signed by Democratic candidates obliges them to refrain from “unnecessary personal and negative attacks.” But is an ad outlining the candidates’ records on a key issue like education really “unnecessary?” We’d say that’s exactly what campaign ads should be about. Debating education policy isn’t something you would call “personal,” not in the manner of (for example) GOP gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell’s acrimonious attacks on Stapleton’s Bush family lineage.

In the end, there’s more hand-wringing going on about the notion of “going negative” in this race than there is, well, anyone actually going negative. Tame issue-based exchanges like what we’re seeing between the Democratic candidates on education do not a “smear campaign” make. Not even close. And even if it was, it isn’t the candidates doing it.

This is why we’ve been here since 2004, folks. To help keep this perennial silliness in perspective.

Is This What “Maximum Pressure” Looks Like?

In the words of Sen. Cory Gardner, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy:

“The Trump Administration, under Congressional direction, deserves praise for abandoning the failed policy of strategic patience and pursuing a maximum pressure campaign that has resulted in unprecedented sanctions against this heinous regime,” said Senator Gardner.

In this case, “maximum pressure” is a firm handshake! We don’t know the details about the North Korean general President Donald Trump bobbled his salute to–but hopefully he hasn’t killed too many of his own people, you know, personally. Because that wouldn’t be the kind of man our President should be saluting.

And sure, we could invoke the times Republicans came unglued on President Barack Obama for saluting American soldiers too “casually.” But that would be stupid, because this is so much worse.

Isn’t it? Or does nothing matter anymore?

Thursday Open Thread

“Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.”

–Steve Martin

S360: Polis 34%, Kennedy 23%, Both Beat Stapleton

Cary Kennedy, Jared Polis.

Ernest Luning of the former Colorado Statesman reports on a new poll from Strategies 360 on behalf of the Service Employees International Union’s small-donor committee–showing Jared Polis cruising to victory in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, but both Polis and principal Democratic challenger Cary Kennedy both ahead of Republican presumed frontrunner Walker Stapleton:

Jared Polis holds a lead over Cary Kennedy atop the four-way Democratic primary to be Colorado’s next governor, but both would defeat Republican frontrunner Walker Stapleton by the same margin, according to a new survey…

The poll of likely Democratic primary voters and likely general election voters also shows that nearly half of respondents consider themselves to be either just getting by or struggling economically — despite the state’s booming economy — and a good share of them haven’t decided how to vote for governor, either in this month’s primary or the November election.

Those voters, the pollsters added, appear to be receptive to candidates who are up front about supporting workers.

Here’s the full memo on today’s poll.

An interesting detail in this poll, obviously germane to the SEIU’s political platform, is the difference in the results between respondents who describe themselves as struggling economically versus those who self-identify as financially comfortable. Among primary voters who are struggling, the race between Polis and Kennedy is substantially tighter with Polis’ lead shrinking to four points. It’s worth noting that the head-to-head matchups against Stapleton are similarly closer among economically struggling voters, which means the question runs deeper than the mere wealth of the candidates.

All told this poll is good news for Polis, good for Democrats in general, and a clear indicator of where the swing votes will be both in the primary election and in November. Colorado’s economy is booming, but not everyone is seeing the benefits. The candidate who succeeds in winning voters who have yet to feel the recovery with a positive vision for their personal futures will have the decisive edge in the race to be the next governor.

Love him or hate him, this is a truth that John Hickenlooper won two terms by never forgetting.

Stapleton Condemns Racism but Some Say He Should Go Further in Addressing His Great-Grandfather’s KKK Ties

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton.

Swirling on the fringe of Republican Walker Stapleton’s run for governor is the question of how, and if, he should address the fact that his great-grandfather, former Denver mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton, was a leader of the Klu Klux Klan in Colorado in the 1920s.

Benjamin Stapleton’s KKK ties have led community groups and associations to remove “Stapleton” from their names. It’s led one of Stapleton’s GOP opponents to accuse Walker Stapleton of using his family’s vast wealth to try to cleanse his name in the community.

In a vote earlier this year, after a prolonged debate, residents of the Stapleton United Neighbors neighborhood association came seven percentage points shy of the required 60 percent necessary to change their neighborhood’s name to “Central Park United Neighbors.”

Stapleton has mostly avoided comment on the debate about his great grandfather, but last month he told the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins that he’d “leave it to others to opine on what happened in Colorado 100 years ago.”

“I absolutely condemn racism and I’ll leave it to others to opine on what happened in Colorado 100 years ago,” Stapleton told the Independent, a left-leaning publication.

“I think that whoever lives in that community, whoever has a business in that community, whoever is involved in economic development in that community, whoever is involved in nonprofits in that community— that community should decide,” he added.

In this comment, which appears to be his only response to the KKK controversies involving his family, Stapleton stops short of specifically condemning his great-grandfather’s actions or apologizing for them, leading some to question whether his response goes far enough.

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