Colorado Legislature Close to Gender Equality

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The new legislative session will open with 45% of Colorado General Assembly seats being held by women according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers. This is second only to Nevada where 50.8% of the seats are held by women (well done Nevada).

Unsurprisingly most of these women are Democrats. In the state senate 11 of the 12 women are Democrats and in the house 25 of the 33 women are Democrats. Another way to look at it is that more than half of the Democratic caucus (60.97% of the house and 57.89% of the senate) in Colorado are women.

All of these numbers are increases from 2018 when 38.0% of Colorado legislators were women and our state ranked down in 4th place.

FiveThirtyEight had an excellent analysis of Why the Republican Party Elects So Few Women last year. Their answer was that Republicans first do not get as many women to run for office as Republicans and then the retention of women in office is worse on the Republican side.

The top 10 states:
Nevada (50.8%) (up from #3)
Colorado (45.0%) (up from #4)
Oregon (41.1%) (up from #9)
Washington (40.8%) (up from #5)
Vermont (39.4%) (unchanged % drops them from #2)
Maine (38.7%) (up from #7)
Alaska (38.3%) (new to the top 10, was #12)
Rhode Island (38.1%) (up from #10)
Arizona (37.8%) (down from #1)
Maryland (37.2%) (increased %, but down from #8)

Also unsurprisingly given the gap between the parties is that very red West Virginia and Mississippi are nearly tied for last place with 14.2% and 14.4% respectively.

Would Gardner Vote To End the Shutdown?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has been emphasizing that he voted for a senate bill late last year that would have kept the government running.

He made the point in a Dec. 21 tweet, stating, “I voted for a clean government funding bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday night.”

Gardner is referring to his vote on a bipartisan measure that would have kept the government operating without funding for a border wall. That’s why he refers to it as a “clean” bill. It passed the senate but died after the House passed a bill that contained the wall funds.

Gardner said again today in a KOA radio interview that he voted for the clean senate bill in December and that he wants to end the shutdown.

Now the question is, would he vote for the same or very similar bill again, if it’s passed, as expected, by House Democrats in the coming week?

Would he push for a senate vote on the legislation?

That follow-up question wasn’t put to him on KOA this morning, and Gardner didn’t return a call from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking to know the answer.

Another reasonable question is, if the bill were to clear the senate, would he vote to override a Trump veto?

Bob Rankin: No “Boob Grabber,” But Will He Appease The Right?

Rep. Bob Rankin (R), sitting on a fence.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports on the selection yesterday of Rep. Bob Rankin of Carbondale to replace Sen. Randy Baumgardner, who is resigning after a long controversy over Baumgardner’s serial sexual harassment of women at the Capitol:

Baumgardner’s resignation is effective Jan. 21. That’s when Rankin will be sworn in as his replacement. A new vacancy committee for his House district seat will be formed to replace him. Rankin said he expects to continue to serve on the Legislature’s Joint Budget Committee.

Baumgardner, who was re-elected to Senate District 8 in 2016 and had two more years to serve before being term limited, said he would “retire” from the Senate to spare his family from that controversy.

During last year’s session, the 63-year-old senator faced two investigations of suspected multiple incidents of sexually harassing women inside the state Capitol. Those investigations said there was substantial evidence to indicate that he was a “boob grabber” who repeatedly showed a propensity to sexually harass female staffers, including right outside the Senate chambers.

Bob Rankin has a reputation as one of the more level-headed Republicans serving in the Colorado House, befitting his service on the powerful Joint Budget Committee and providing a sorely-needed degree of professionalism in a frequently immoderate Republican caucus. We’ll never forget when Rankin took on the gun lobby by unsuccessfully proposing a public relations campaign to debunk the wild falsehoods about the state’s 2013 gun reforms–in marked contrast to most Republican lawmakers who were busy spreading those very same falsehoods. And yes, Rankin also voted to expel ex-Rep. Steve Lebsock from the House last year, further distinguishing himself from Baumgardner’s soiled legacy.

All told, Rankin’s appointment to Baumgardner’s SD-8 seat is a hopeful development for the Colorado Senate’s incoming GOP minority. Unfortunately for Rankin, it’s not likely to be the final word. Debra Irvine, a “Tea Party” activist from Summit County contested Rankin for the SD-8 appointment and is likely to run in the 2020 GOP primary for the seat. Irvine’s much more strident conservative platform and grassroots support could upend the primary against a less-exciting incumbent Sen. Rankin.

For today, though, we’re calling Rankin a win for adulting in the Colorado Senate.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 3)

This is the first “Get More Smarter” update of 2019; try not to pull a brain muscle after the long holiday break. 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.



► The 116th Congress convenes today with Democrats in majority control of the House of Representatives. California Rep. Nancy Pelosi is expected to be elected Speaker of the House on Thursday afternoon. Colorado’s Congressional delegation includes two new members — Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) and Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora).

At the top of the list for the new Congress is finding a solution for the federal government shutdown now in its second week. From Politico:

Pelosi is set to pass a package of government funding bills on Thursday afternoon aimed at reopening the quarter of the government that’s closed and shirking President Donald Trump’s border wall. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says he won’t take up the proposals — or anything at all without Trump’s approval.

A government shutdown has never in recent history dragged on from one Congress to another, but like so many things under Trump’s presidency this conflict is one without precedent.

The sharp impasse comes after a bipartisan meeting with the president on Wednesday aimed to restarting moribund negotiations. But Trump dismissed Pelosi’s plan and said he would look “foolish” for reopening government departments unrelated to the immigration dispute, leaving the new divided Congress opening in a state of remarkable gridlock.

On Wednesday Trump flat-out rejected a compromise deal with Democrats that had been worked out by Vice President Mike Pence.

For more on the opening day of the new Congress, check out the Washington Post.


► The Colorado legislature convenes for a new session on Friday. Anna Staver of the Denver Post takes a look at the new Democratic supermajority:

The diverse group of incoming state legislators includes a pediatrician and solar entrepreneur, as well as Colorado’s first transgender lawmakerand nine new Latino members who, when added to the list of five returning legislators, set a record for Latino representation in the General Assembly. It’s also the first time women have held a majority in either chamber. The Colorado House has 33 women and 32 men, but this could change in the coming days because of one and potentially two appointments.


President Trump presided over a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that was bizarre even by his standards. Trump said that he “essentially fired” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and then things got even weirder. As the Washington Post reports:

President Trump, 12 days into a government shutdown and facing new scrutiny from emboldened Democrats, inaugurated the new year Wednesday with a Cabinet meeting. It quickly became a 95-minute stream-of-consciousness defense of his presidency and worldview, filled with falsehoods, revisionist history and self-aggrandizement…

…He took credit for falling oil prices, arguing they were the result of phone calls he made to the leaders of oil-producing nations.

“I called up certain people, and I said let that damn oil and gasoline — you let it flow, the oil,” he said.

And Trump defended his push to fund his promised border wall, parrying complaints from Democrats who have called the wall immoral by remarking, “Then we have to do something about the Vatican, because the Vatican has the biggest wall of them all.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America!


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Adams GOP chair on school fracking setback deal: “COGA capitulated to the environazis”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Adams County Republican Party Chair Anil Mathai dismissed a unanimous vote by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission to increase oil & gas well setbacks from schools to 1,000 feet as “[capitulation] to the environazis.”

Representatives from the oil & gas industry and environmental groups both praised the deal. Colorado Public Radio characterized it as “a rare moment of agreement between oil and gas companies and conservation groups.”

Neither side appeared to share Mathai’s view of the agreement, who also attacked “establishment Republicans.”


Next Romney Family Thanksgiving Is Gonna Be Awkward

CNN, let’s start the family feud:

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel sided with President Donald Trump over her uncle Mitt Romney, slamming the Utah senator-elect for writing an op-ed in which he criticized the President.

“For an incoming Republican freshman senator to attack (Donald Trump) as their first act feeds into what the Democrats and media want and is disappointing and unproductive,” McDaniel wrote on Twitter Wednesday, choosing not to name her uncle. As of Wednesday morning, she had also “pinned” the tweet to the top of her profile.

In case you haven’t read Sen.-elect Mitt Romney’s op-ed dissing fellow gazillionaire and successfully-elected President (sorry but it’s true) Donald Trump just before clocking in for the next six years on behalf of our neighboring Beehive State, here’s the lede:

The Trump presidency made a deep descent in December. The departures of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, the appointment of senior persons of lesser experience, the abandonment of allies who fight beside us, and the president’s thoughtless claim that America has long been a “sucker” in world affairs all defined his presidency down.

It is well known that Donald Trump was not my choice for the Republican presidential nomination. After he became the nominee, I hoped his campaign would refrain from resentment and name-calling. It did not. When he won the election, I hoped he would rise to the occasion. His early appointments of Rex Tillerson, Jeff Sessions, Nikki Haley, Gary Cohn, H.R. McMaster, Kelly and Mattis were encouraging. But, on balance, his conduct over the past two years, particularly his actions last month, is evidence that the president has not risen to the mantle of the office.

Yeouch! Obviously the President was not pleased, and expressed his displeasure via the Twitters–while seemingly leaving the door open for Sen. Romney to come home:

Criticism of Trump from fellow Republicans is a bellwether trend to watch as we move into the presidential election cycle. Don’t forget that Romney had his own period of awkwardly sucking up to Trump when he was looking for a Cabinet post, but today the contrast between Romney’s comparatively vocal criticism and Sen. Cory Gardner’s well-established image as a Trump toady is bigger than ever. Following Romney’s lead, as politically expedient as it would be for Gardner, is going to be a real stretch.

On the other hand, at least Gardner won’t get flamed by his own niece.

2018 In Review: Colorado Pols’ Top Ten Most Shared Posts

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Recovering from our New Year celebrations after the most momentous year in Colorado politics since before most of us were born, here’s a list of our top stories of 2018 as determined by our readers’ social media sharing habits–which seems like a nice, small-d democratic way to do things.

Two familiar names dominated readers’ interest:

  1. New Poll: Cory Gardner Would Lose The Election Today
  2. Gardner’s Hollow Words on Kavanaugh Accusers Exposed
  3. BREAKING: Denver7 Pulls False Ad Attacking Jared Polis
  4. Cory Gardner is So Screwed
  5. Suppose The Vice President Showed Up And Nobody Came
  6. Walker Stapleton: The Candidate Nobody is Afraid to Face
  7. Seriously, Is Everything About Walker Stapleton a Lie?
  8. Hate Group Rally At Capitol Features Colorado Republican Speakers and Stapleton Super PAC
  9. Walker Stapleton’s Packed-House Victory Tour Continues
  10. Stapleton Says He’s Bringing Trump To Stump!

Honorable Mentions:

Thanks to everyone who saw fit not only to visit, but help circulate our content throughout the internets in 2018.

Taking A Trump Piñata For A Walk On Denver’s 16th Street Mall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I was bit nervous when I took a Trump piñata to Denver’s 16th Street Mall recently–even though I had no plans to wrap a blindfold around my eyes, grab a bat, and hit it–or to encourage anyone else to do so.

But I figured just the existence of the piñata could upset Trump supporters–and others who might see it as disrespectful to the office of the president.

This was just a lunch-time nonviolent journalistic exercise, but it had the potential to go south.

It turned out that during the one-hour excursion from the office, not a single person objected to the piñata.

The response was 100 percent supportive, but not so much of Trump, starting with the first comment I got from a guy at the wheel of a white van stopped at a light.

“Hey! Can I hit that piñata?” he asked.

“No,” I said, bringing the piñata over to him. “But you can rub his hair.”

From there it was constant amused grins, rubbernecking. Lots of smiles.

In fact, if you’re sad, friendless, and lonely, and want people to come to your party, the Trump pinata could work wonders, at least in downtown Denver.

“Someone is gonna have fun! Can I come to the party? I got 30 bucks!” said one lively guy.


2018-19 #TrumpShutdown Day 12 Open Thread

“When they talk about the government shutdown, they’re going to be talking about the president of the United States, who the president was at that time. They’re not going to be talking about who was the head of the House, the head the Senate, who’s running things in Washington. So I really think the pressure is on the president.”

–Donald Trump, 9/2013

Gardner On Trump: 2018 In Review

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) enters 2019 on thin blue ice–as he looks to defend his seat in 2020 with Trump’s name on the same election ballot.

To add context to the Gardner debate going forward, here’s a list of 2018 Gardner quotes relating to Trump, taken mostly from the Colorado Times Recorder’s coverage of Gardner. Because the senator and his staff refuse to return our phone calls, most of these quotes are from other media sources.

“Revenge Majority”

“This is nothing more than a revenge majority,”  Gardner said on Fox News’ ‘Fox and Friends’ in December, speaking of the Democratic majority in the U.S. House. “They want to fight against a president that they believe never should have been elected in the first place, and so the policies that they are pursuing are all going to be based on revenge: investigations, cutting border security, doing everything they can to provide that revenge.”

“I’d Like to See the President Come to Colorado.”

“And so I think those are the two key takeaways [from the mid-term election], how President Trump did more than I think any other president has done for elections and getting these candidates elected, and how we were able to defy history,” Gardner said on conservative radio after November’s election, adding on another show: “So, look, I look forward to continuing our work together. And I’d like to see the President come to Colorado. I’d like to see my colleagues want to see him be successful. Let’s talk about the good things we’ve done in Colorado. Let’s show him the good things we’ve done in Colorado. I hope that everybody is engaged in wanting us to have a successful president.

“Radical Left” Opposes Trump

“I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country,” Gardner said in November. “There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on. But the economy is creating jobs… Wages are going up. This is incredible.”

The “Media Is Afraid of This”

In June, Gardner told conservatives at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver that Republicans will be able to confirm scores of judges if they can retain control of the U.S. Senate in November. Gardner said the “media is afraid of this,” and they “want us to fail.”

Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong-un “Certainly a Positive Move”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said in May that it was “certainly a positive move” for Trump to enter into talks with North Korea, even though he said the then likely meeting should be taken “not only with a grain of salt but with perhaps an entire salt block.” After once lambasting Obama for lower-level talks with North Korea, Gardner reiterated to CBS that the talks were “positive development.”

Help Secure the “future of President Trump’s America First agenda”

“Your contribution is vital to the future of President Trump’s America First agenda,” Gardner wrote in an August fundraising appeal for a national Republican organization. “With your support, we will strengthen our Senate Majority. Will you step up and make a contribution today?”

“Loony Left” A Potential “Problem” in Mid-Term Election

“Obviously, voter motivation and intensity is important in elections,” Gardner told a libertarian radio host in September. “And if more on the radical left, the loony left, get out and vote than the right, that’s a problem.”

Advice for Trump before State of the Union Speech

“I think this is a chance for the President to really talk about those accomplishments, to talk about the fact that we passed significant bipartisan legislation to make it easier for lifesaving drugs to get approved, that we passed legislation to repeal a whole bunch of bad regulations that were dragging the economy down, that we passed a massive tax cut for the American people allowing them to keep more of their own dollars in their own pocket” Gardner told a conservative radio host in January.

“So this is a little bit of a chance for the President to say, ‘Hey, this is what we accomplished over the last year. As a result, we have more people believing we have the strongest economy in decades. We have more people seeing wage growth. We have more people being able to keep more of their own dollars in their own pocket. We have more people finding better jobs. And this is what we can now do together to make this next year even better.’”


Happy New Year!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Now Get to Work.

When 2018 started, few expected great things – although it is doubtful anyone saw how far things would go, ending in complete political break-down – an infantile President being met with an infantile House unable to even perform the most basic duties of governance. Good riddance. Let’s finish the clean up in 2019 – 2020.

As the old year gets tired and we bid it goodbye, few will rank the rank political dysfunction that has gripped our nation a highlight of the year now past. As cities combust and flood and farms go fallow, there was a time–if we are to believe the history–when this nation could come together to solve problems.

So with new leadership coming in, and the pitch of urgency rising, perhaps this year will be a year we move forward on addressing climate change. With the Colorado State Legislature in Democratic control, perhaps we can take some real and bold steps toward meeting  soon-to-be-Governor Polis’ clean energy ambitions. Now we can finally make clear, perhaps, to the oil and gas companies spilling their oily cash all over our body politic that of course public health and safety and a sustainable future are the priority, and they always will be from here on out.

Maybe with some leadership we can turn to building for our future, not wasting energy fighting ill-conceived fossil fuel projects, but creating a more resilient economy. Maybe we can find the maturity to face the reality that an increasing demand on the dwindling resource that makes all this possible: water – means we need to get our act together.

At the federal level, despite a GOP regime that has lost all mooring to fact or reality, Colorado’s House Delegation has also shifted toward climate action, with the election of Jason Crow and Joe Neguse. Rep.-Elect Neguse has made climate action central to his agenda in the 116th Congress.

So, while 2018 may be notable for its stark climate warnings coming right as the wheels of government seem to be coming off – the election outcome, and with  new state leadership, and new Members in Congress being seated, our work here will be crucial in 2019.


That’s Our Junior Senator!

Bloomberg’s Erik Wasson reports via the Twitters this morning:

Showing the courage Colorado voters have come to expect from their accountability-averse junior Republican Senator, Cory Gardner appears to have made a much bigger spectacle of himself by fleeing Capitol reporters than he would have by delivering a few rote talking points about the shutdown. Then again, the trouble could easily be that Gardner has no workable talking points for the shutdown, being cornered between supporting President Donald Trump like a good Republican and answering to Colorado voters who just rejected Trump in historic fashion at the polls.

Whichever it was, Cory Gardner running through the Capitol looking for an exit, then screeching away from pursuing reporters, is a metaphor for his entire career in the U.S. Senate. We’ll update with video.

Please, let there be video.