Republican Won’t Seek Re-Election As CU Regent

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

University of Colorado Regent John Carson, a Republican representing a Democratic-leaning district, has decided not to run for re-election next year, widening the highway for Democrats to color Colorado a deeper hue of blue.

Republicans currently hold a tenuous one-seat majority on CU’s Board of Regents, which fell under intense scrutiny after it voted in a 5-4 party line vote in May to appoint CU President Mark Kennedy, a former GOP Congressman, to be CU’s President.

Carson’s departure from the race leaves Republicans without the advantage of incumbency in a district where Democrats have a distinct, but not overwhelming, advantage. The district covers Aurora and suburbs south, east, and north of Denver.

CU Regent Carson

A Democratic victory next year would likely flip CU’s governing board, as two regents up for re-election next year come from solid blue districts that would be expected to elect Democrats.

Gaining a majority on the board of regents would mark another step in a steady takeover of statewide representative bodies and offices by Democrats, having flipped the state Senate and Colorado State Board of Education last year–as well as the secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general offices.

Only two Colorado Republicans remain in offices that require approval by voters statewide: U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who will defend his seat next year, and CU Regent at-large Heidi Ganahl, who’s up for re-election in 2022.

Republicans have held a majority on the Board of Regents for a jaw-dropping 40 years, and the board has a history of appointing Republican Presidents, like Kennedy, Bruce Benson, Hank Brown (a former Colorado Senator), and others.

Carson told the Colorado Times Recorder that he decided not to run primarily because he’s been dedicated to public service, in various capacities, for 14 years, and he wants to spend more time with family and elsewhere.

Asked if the political climate in Carson’s district was a factor in his decision, Carson said it would have been a close race that would have demanded a lot of his time.


Wednesday Open Thread

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

–Ayn Rand

From Good Point To Silly Season In One Tweet

UPDATE (4:30 pm): The Colorado Sun has an update to this story in today’s Unaffiliated newsletter that may well alter its trajectory:

[S]ix of the seven women candidates in the Democratic primary sent a letter to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee asking them to pull their support for Hickenlooper…

It’s worth noting that the “bulk” of the letter was actually written by former Democratic state Rep. Joe Salazar. [Pols emphasis] Salazar, a prominent Hickenlooper critic and oil and gas activist who leads the organization Colorado Rising, confirmed to The Sun on Tuesday that the note was his idea and that he actually approached the candidates about it.

Salazar said the women candidates offered input and that changes were made at their behest. He said his work on the letter was done in his personal capacity and that it doesn’t have anything to do with Colorado Rising.

Objectively speaking, what’s worse here? That it was a dude who wrote the letter ostensibly from women protesting the endorsement of a man in the race over women–or that the man in question is taking credit for the whole operation instead of deferring to the women who are supposed to be the story? Either way this does not, with all the facts in view, help anybody.

If anything, it’s an embarrassment. To everybody.


Andrew Romanoff (D-ude).

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports on an interesting couple of developments in the Democratic U.S. Senate primary we’d be remiss to simply ignore–not least because it’s truth we’ve previously observed in this space:

Six of the women vying for the Democratic nomination in Colorado’s 2020 U.S. Senate race sent a letter Monday to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and its leadership urging them to reconsider their early endorsement of John Hickenlooper in the race.

“We are writing today to urge the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to reconsider its early endorsement of former Governor John Hickenlooper. All of us, like many women in Colorado and across the country, have seen well-qualified women passed over for male candidates in the workplace time and again,” wrote Sen. Angela Williams, Alice Madden, Diana Bray, Stephany Rose Spaulding, Lorena Garcia and Michelle Ferrigno Warren to the DSCC, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

They sent the letter on Monday, which was Women’s Equality Day 2019 in the U.S.

Let’s start with the most important point: our purpose in writing about this today is not to disparage the central message of these six women U.S. Senate candidates, which is that women are regularly prevented from reaching the top of their profession–and in the case of the state of Colorado, we’ve never elected a woman either governor or U.S. Senator, the two pinnacles of statewide elected office. They’re not wrong about this, and we’ve had occasion to agree in the past that it’s a status quo ripe for a change.

With that said, we don’t believe the present state of the Democratic U.S. Senate primary, or the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s (DSCC) decision to endorse John Hickenlooper from the outset in the race, is reflective of any deliberate bias against women candidates. As we’ve said before, this is an arithmetic question first and foremost–and if any of the large field of candidates in the race regardless of gender had gained traction before Hickenlooper’s entry it would be different. If you’re a candidate for the U.S. Senate and you can’t raise enough money to mount a successful campaign for the state legislature, you’re just not going to be taken seriously.

But it’s okay, because from here things took a turn for the…well, the farcical!

There’s no nice way to say this: this was a letter highlighting the fact that women have not been elected to Colorado’s highest elected offices, and it happens to be in this regard entirely accurate. But the white dude positioning himself as the scorched-earth underdog to the much bigger-name white dude who just got in the race does not get to glom on.

We’re sorry, that’s ridiculous. And it reinforces to us the need for a big reality check in this race.

Republicans Target County Commissions to Fight Colorado’s New Oil-and-Gas Safety Law

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Lori Saine (R).

Colorado’s GOP House leader says fellow Republicans are fighting Colorado’s new oil-and-gas safety law by trying to get elected to county commissions, which now have more authority over oil-and-gas operations.

Discussing the new oil-and-gas law last week on KLZ 560-AM, state Rep. Patrick Neville said the “next election cycle in 2020 is pretty pivotal” in terms of exerting local control, as allowed under the law.

Neville pointed to state Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), who is running for Weld county commissioner, as the type of candidate needed to fight back against the new law, passed this year to make health and safety the top priority in oil-and-gas regulations.

“I think it’s important that we actually get people like [Saine] – especially in Weld County – elected as a county commissioner in Weld County, because she will fight!” said Neville on air. “You guys know Lori, she will fight tooth and nail for that local control aspect. And so, we’ve got to have rock solid people at that local level fighting up.”

In fact, Saine wants Weld County to be an “oil-and-gas sanctuary,” free from enforcing any oil-and-gas regulations.

Neville said former state Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction) is running for Mesa County Commissioner “for kind of the same reasons Lori is.”

Scott acknowledge the importance of oil-and-gas issues in his decision to run.


The Pivot–“Official” Polis Recall Committee Shifts The Grift

As predictable as sunrise, 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger reports:

One of two groups seeking contributions to try to recall Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) recently diverted nearly a third of its money to a different effort.

“Official Recall Colorado Governor Jared Polis” has received $108,000 in contributions since forming in March.

In a campaign finance filing on Monday, that group reported giving $29,657.47 to “Colorado For Trump.” The reason stated was “Board approved expenditure for pivoting purposes.”

To recap, since it’s been awhile since the Recall Polis campaign(s) have merited much attention, with the doomed effort to collect over 600,000 voter signatures heading for its September 6th day of reckoning–this is the “Official” Recall Polis campaign, not the “Dismiss Polis” effort currently conducting the petition drive to get a recall question on the ballot. Readers will recall that the “Official” Recall Polis campaign denounced the “Dismiss Polis” campaign as a sham with no resources, and Dismiss Polis responded with similar allegations against the “Official” campaign excepting the significant resources the “Official” campaign has raised and refused to spend. Because none of these efforts have a snowball’s chance in hell of actually succeeding in placing a recall question on the ballot, all of the money raised by these committees can be reasonably categorized as scammed loot from conception to execution.

With all of this in mind, this decision by the “Official” Recall Polis committee to “pivot” a third of their cash to Colorado For Trump might seem like an attempt to do right by their donors, some of whom had posted on social media about spending their disability and welfare checks on donations to the campaign. The problem is, only a third of the money raised to recall Gov. Jared Polis going to any electoral purpose is still a scam no matter how you sugar-coat it. What’s the status of the other $70,000 this committee took in? We know that some of the biggest checks early in the campaign were written to former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and online payment processors like the Independence Institute, but there’s tens of thousands of dollars slushing around that this rerouting of funds to the Trump re-election campaign does not account for. If it was our money, we’d want to know how to get it back. It’s easy, after all, to donate to the Trump campaign ourselves if we want.

And yes, this is further confirmation that the movement to recall Colorado’s popular freshman governor less than a year after his double-digit victory is just about to be relegated to the dustbin of history! Hopefully that part, anyway, is not news to anyone.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 27)

Colorado could see its first snow of the season as soon as next week. Yes, it is still officially summer. 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.


President Trump wrapped up his visit to the G7 summit in France with a long, rambling press conference that could easily just be a cold opener for “Saturday Night Live” by itself. This is the actual President of the United States of America at the peak of his lunacy.


Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in Aurora on Monday to talk about curbing gun violence. As the Denver Post reports:

“Be bold, be courageous. The nation is counting on you,” Giffords told a standing-room-only crowd of about 150 people during a town hall meeting in Aurora.

Giffords was shot and nearly assassinated in early 2011 during a constituent event in Arizona. To focus on a lengthy recovery, she retired from Congress the following year and has since become one of the nation’s leading advocates for gun control measures.

On Monday night, she hosted the town hall event with three Democratic members of Congress from Colorado — Reps. Jason Crow, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter — as part of her advocacy work in the Centennial State. Attorney General Phil Weiser and several state lawmakers were also in attendance.

“The good news is, the tide is turning,” said Crow, who represents Aurora and ran for Congress on a gun control platform last year. “The majority of Americans are with us” on gun control.

Cardboard Cory — who has had a very big month already — was also in attendance on Monday:

Photo via Aaron Ontiveroz/Denver Post


► Democratic Senate candidate Andrew Romanoff reached a new level of self-parody on Monday.


► The latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. Find out more about John Hickenlooper’s Senate candidacy, Cardboard Cory’s adventures, and whether or not wearing pants will become the signature issue of 2020.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Modest Culottes and Cory Collisions

Check out the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, now available wherever you listen to podcasts.

This week, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss John Hickenlooper’s U.S. Senate candidacy; the collision of Cardboard Cory and non-Cardboard Cory Gardner; stupid recall stuff at the State Fair in Pueblo; ghostwriting help from the oil and gas industry; and whether or not women’s pants will be the key issue of the 2020 elections.

Get caught up on all the episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Buzzsprout. You can also find “The Get More Smarter Podcast” on Facebook and Twitter.

Click to listen after the jump below…


Gardner Still Lacks Plan to Cover People with Pre-Existing Conditions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) told a conservative talk-radio host Friday that he and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders both want to repeal and replace Obamacare with a healthcare law that covers people with pre-existing conditions.

In fact, Sanders’ universal healthcare plan, called “Medicare for All,” would cover all people, including those with pre-existing conditions.

But Gardner has yet to produce a specific plan that would do so. Instead, Gardner voted three times to kill Obamacare, even though he had no plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions.

“I disagree with [Sanders] on [Medicare for All], but [Democrats] still want to repeal and replace Obamacare,” said Gardner in an interview with KHOW’s Dan Caplis Friday.

“But what we can agree on is making sure people with pre-existing conditions have coverage, required coverage,” said Gardner on air. “That’s what we are about. That’s what we’ll fight for and continue to succeed with.

“We know that we can come together with better plan, a better policy, a better idea that works, that covers people with pre-existing conditions. And unfortunately, Obamacare has failed to do what they promised it would do.”

Gardner’s office did not return a call asking for his “better plan,” if he has one, to replace Obamacare.

Steve House Moving from State GOP to CO-6

Steve House for…House

The “CEO” of the Colorado Republican Party, Steve House, is stepping down from his day-to-day job directing the State GOP in order to (presumably) prepare for a run for Congress in CO-6.

As Randy Corporon of KNUS radio discussed over the weekend, former Jefferson County GOP Chair and CO-7 candidate Don Ytterberg will take over for House as the new right-hand man of State Party Chairman Ken Buck, who can’t be a full-time Party Chairman on account of the fact that he’s still serving in Congress himself. House has not indicated publicly that he will run for Congress in CO-6, but that’s the reason for the change from what we hear.

Ernest Luning reported last month that House was considering running for the Republican nomination in CO-6, despite (or because of) the fact that Casper Stockham is already in the race (although Stockham has the support of former CO-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo). State GOP Party bylaws prevent House from remaining in a leadership role while also running for public office.

Democrat Jason Crow ousted longtime Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in 2018 to take control of a seat that Republicans had never once relinquished in the history of the district. Crow has already raised more than $1 million for his re-election campaign.

House was a Republican candidate for Governor in 2014 and floated the idea of another statewide bid in 2018 before deciding otherwise. House is perhaps best known in Colorado political circles for his involvement in the “Coffmangate” scandal and his prominent role in a strange #NeverTrump fiasco.

More Colorado Republicans Tripped Up Over Jordan Cove

Sen. Ray Scott (R-Grand Junction).

After last week’s damaging story from The Guardian documenting what sure looks like a huge violation of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s promise to steer clear of conflicts of interest between his current position and his friends and former clients in the oil and gas industry–revelations that came courtesy of emails from Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson celebrating Bernhardt’s unethical promotion of the Jordan Cove natural gas export project–the Huffington Post reports:

In late June, Colorado State Sen. Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese published a guest opinion column in the Boulder Daily Camera celebrating the growing “momentum” for an initiative to export Colorado and Utah natural gas to markets in Asia.

“What benefits us locally will translate into geopolitical and environmental gains for the United States and the world,” the column says…

But while those words were attributed to Scott and Pugliese, they were actually the work of the Consumer Energy Alliance, a Houston-based industry trade group whose members include oil giants like BP, Shell and ExxonMobil. Emails HuffPost has obtained via the fossil fuel watchdog Energy and Policy Institute show that while the Colorado officials wrote a first draft of the piece, CEA heavily revised it before publication.

That line is one of many additions CEA made to the column, and the emails show the inner workings of a larger campaign to win local support for a major liquified natural gas infrastructure project in Oregon.

Sen. Ray Scott doing some “research” during 2019 legislative session.

To put it charitably, Sen. Ray Scott and Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese do not top anyone’s list of “experts” in the field of oil and gas development or, well, anything else. Sen. Scott, a fireplace dealer by trade, is the same state senator who waxed idiotic about the “massive improvements in the climate” made in recent decades during this year’s legislative session, and was even caught watching movies during debate instead of paying attention. Pugliese is less known on the east side of the divide, primarily for her work on the National Popular Vote repeal initiative, but Mesa County locals have been documenting her antics in this space for years.

Back in May, readers will recall, Secretary of State Jena Griswold was subjected to an over-the-top roasting by Republican opponents organized by former Secretary of State Scott Gessler after her office sought and received minor edits from Planned Parenthood to a press release condemning the state of Alabama’s recently-passed abortion restrictions. Contrast that to this full-scale rewrite of Scott and Pugliese’s op-ed by oil and gas PR guys–so much that Sen. Scott even responded:

“When you guys edit you really edit…….lol,” [Pols emphasis] Scott responded later that afternoon.  “Overall I’m fine with it,” he added.

We’re going to hazard the guess that the Republicans who lost their minds over Griswold’s trivial Planned Parenthood edits will be a little less incensed this time! But with Colorado charting a course away from fossil fuels while a faction of Western Slope Republicans and energy extraction interests and the Western Slope-born Interior Secretary works surreptitiously against the interests of their own state, this is a story so much more important…it’s just kind of ridiculous to compare them.

Cardboard Cory Takes a Star Turn

UPDATE: More from the Huffington Post:


“The true measure of a man is whether or not people prefer him in cardboard form.”

     — (Not) Socrates

Cardboard Cory might not just be the most popular cardboard cutout in modern history — it might be the most popular version of Cory Gardner in existence today. Cardboard Cory recently concluded a weeklong journey around Colorado that generated an astonishing amount of media coverage (more on that in a moment), demonstrating once again that Gardner is in a perilous position as he looks ahead to a 2020 re-election campaign.

The cardboard cutout version of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was birthed in 2017 by activists seeking to draw attention to the fact that the real Gardner has a troubling tendency to avoid his constituents in Colorado; in February 2017, some 1,500 people showed up to a “town hall” event featuring the recyclable senator. Cardboard Cory has since made regular appearances at political events across the state. It has flourished in part because of clever organizing and outreach but also because the real Gardner has made inaccessibility his brand. As Colorado Public Radio recently reported, “this perceived lack of accessibility has Democratic activists dogging his every step.”

Last weekend in Pueblo, Cardboard Cory came face-to-face with actual Cory, the culmination of a wildly-successful week of activism that might best be summed up by this editorial from the Greeley Tribune that plainly states, “the organizers of the “Cardboard Cory” tour make a pretty good point.”

Gardner has been largely absent during the past five years when it comes to being available for his constituents, to whom he needs to be accountable.

His own office couldn’t even recall his last appearance in a town hall-like setting. Instead, they provided the Tribune a list of events Gardner had appeared at in the past few months, most of which were private or were the sort of public appearances, like walking tours, that don’t actually give voters the kind of access the “Cardboard Cory” folks have been asking for. [Pols emphasis]

Walking tours provide a great photo opportunity, but they don’t allow constituents to directly interact with Gardner, and that’s especially true when the tour hasn’t been advertised or put on some kind of schedule to which the public has access.

That’s what the “Cardboard Cory” tour is really seeking, scheduled events at which they have direct access to their Senator. We don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation.

The Cardboard Cory #SinceUBeenGone tour made headlines across the state in the last week, from the Ft. Collins Coloradoan and KJCT8 (ABC News) in Grand Junction, to The Durango Herald and KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs.

Nevertheless, as Shareblue Media reports, (actual) Gardner continues to insist that his constituents are his top priority:

In a campaign fundraising email, the Gardner campaign insisted “the single most important part” of Gardner’s job is to “listen to all Coloradans and what matters to them.”


A Few Words About Nuking Hurricanes

CBS News updates this weekend’s wacky Donald Trump news you’ve probably already heard, the President’s reported interest in exploding nuclear weapons inside hurricanes to break them up–now disputed as “fake news” by Trump:

While dealing with an economic storm of his own while overseas at the G-7 summit, President Trump is disputing a report that he suggested dropping nuclear weapons into the eye of hurricanes in an attempt to weaken their contact. Axios reported over the weekend that Mr. Trump has suggested multiple times to senior Homeland Security and national security officials that they explore using nuclear bombs to stop hurricanes from hitting the United States, citing sources who have heard the president’s private remarks.

Mr. Trump reportedly pushed the idea during a hurricane briefing at the White House, much to the briefer’s shock. Axios reports that the president also raised the idea in a conversation with NSC officials before current national security adviser John Bolton took over.

But after the story broke, the president called it “ridiculous.” “The story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous. I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!” Mr. Trump said on Twitter.

But the Axios reporter who wrote the story stands by it:

The idea of dropping nukes on a hurricane is of course so bad that even Fox News was obliged to consult experts, who promptly explained to their impressionable pro-Trump viewers that yes, dropping nukes on a hurricane is bad:

“Detonating a nuclear bomb inside a hurricane would do nothing to disrupt the storm,” tweeted climate analyst and meteorologist Ryan Maue Sunday. “Instead, you now have a radioactive hurricane.” [Pols emphasis]

In all fairness, though, dropping nukes on hurricanes did not actually originate first-person in the mind of President Trump, but was one of a bevy of suggested “peaceful uses” of nuclear weapons known as the Plowshare or “Atoms for Peace” program. Another such idea that actually made it to the testing phase was Project Rulison, a 1969 nuclear explosion near Rifle intended to demonstrate the ability of nuclear blasts to liberate natural gas from shale. While the 40-kiloton blast did indeed frack the hell out of the targeted shale, unfortunately the resulting gas was (wait for it) radioactive and commercially useless.

To summarize, yes it’s crazy to try to drop nuclear bombs on hurricanes, and it’s not impossible or even implausible Trump thought it might be cool to try.

And yes, that’s scary as hell.

Monday Open Thread

“You know that being an American is more than a matter of where your parents came from. It is a belief that all men are created free and equal and that everyone deserves an even break.”

–Harry S Truman

Caption This Photo: When Corys Collide

Here’s the scene forwarded to us from a short while ago today at the Pueblo State Fair Parade–a parade which witnessed the first-ever joint appearance by Sen. Cory Gardner and “Cardboard Cory,” a two-dimensional doppelganger who has served as a stand-in for Democrats and liberal activists calling out Gardner’s years-long lack of authentic public appearances in his home state.

In the movie Back To The Future Part II, there was some concern that such a meeting could result in, to quote the eminent Dr. Emmett Brown:

The encounter could create a time paradox, the result of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe! Granted, that’s worst-case scenario. The destruction might in fact be very localized, limited to merely our own galaxy.

We’re all still here, so fortunately Doc Brown was wrong.