Is Kanye’s Colorado Cabal Sorry Yet?

Former Cory Gardner staffer Rachel George.

As the New York Times reports, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West has been re-suspended from Twitter today after violating the site’s terms of service so egregiously that controversially laissez-faire new owner Elon Musk was obliged to step in:

Elon Musk, Twitter’s chief executive, said late Thursday that Kanye West would be suspended from Twitter after the rapper and fashion designer tweeted an image of a swastika inside the Star of David. Mr. Musk said the post violated the social media outlet’s rule against the incitement of violence.

The tweet was deleted shortly before Mr. West’s account became no longer accessible. His page was soon replaced with a label: “Account suspended.”

So continued the controversy stirred by Mr. West — who goes by Ye — and his string of antisemitic remarks on social media. Instagram blocked him from posting after he suggested on the platform that Sean Combs, the rapper known as Diddy, was being controlled by Jewish people. Ye has also lashed out against Jewish people via Twitter.

The indefinite Twitter suspension happened on the same day that Ye had appeared on a podcast hosted by the Infowars conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones, during which he told Mr. Jones, “I like Hitler.”

Kanye West, Donald Trump.

Kanye West’s extremely public slide toward inevitable and very much called-for cancellation accelerated in October after he appeared at a Paris fashion show wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “WHITE LIVES MATTER,” and then threatened to go “DeathCon 3” on “Jewish people.” Kanye reacted poorly to deserved criticism of these statements and the loss of lucrative business deals that accompanied public criticism, spiraling further into disgrace until West proceeded to kneecap his alleged friend former President Donald Trump by inviting his Nazi incel friend Nick Fuentes to Mar-a-Lago. Trump dining with the openly white supremacist anti-Semitic Fuentes has been very widely condemned, including by some longtime political allies like local developer and pro-Trump GOP funder Larry Mizel through the Simon Wiesenthal Center–an organization that bent over backwards to excuse Trump’s misdeeds while in office.

If there’s anyone in Colorado politics who should be squirming today while Kanye West embarrasses everyone who has ever been associated with him, it’s the Republican operatives who helped qualify West for the presidential ballot in Colorado in 2020. Whatever Kanye imagined he was doing, the purpose behind GOP usual suspects signing up to support West for President was peeling away some number of votes from Joe Biden–perhaps not many, but perhaps enough to be worth the effort. Colorado Public Radio’s Bente Birkeland named all the names in August of that year:

The possible electors listed on West’s paperwork include Seth Jacobson, Kittrick MacLean, Shelley Kon, Joseph Peters, Stanley Pence and Matthey Zielinski, all from Denver. The final three are from surrounding suburbs including Adam Johnson of Centennial, Emily Daniels of Golden and Mark Polk of Brighton. [Pols emphasis]

Vice News reported that Rachel George, a Republican political strategist who formerly worked for Republican Sen. Cory Gardner when he was a representative in the House, had reached out to her contacts to try and help West get on the ballot in a last-minute bid.

It was painfully obvious from the beginning that West’s campaign was nothing more than a diversion to peel away low-information votes from Biden, but of course none of Republican participants in this plot could say so at the time. Instead, Birkeland quoted some of them the next day preposterously insisting they were supporting Kanye because of the “issues.”

“The reason I signed was because I think that both major parties have let a lot of Coloradans down,” said elector Seth Jacobson. He’s registered as unaffiliated but worked for former Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn and now works for the conservative social media site, CaucusRoom.

Jacobson said he had already decided he wasn’t going to vote for President Trump or Joe Biden. “Kanye has all the requirements to be on the ballot and I did a fair amount of research before I agreed to do this. He’s talking about issues that no else is talking about. I’m very serious about voting for him.” [Pols emphasis]

Organized by longtime local Republican staffer Rachel George, Kanye West’s Colorado electors included one of the principals behind the much-balleyhooed CaucusRoom conservative organizing platform, Seth Jacobsen, as well as the spouse of another CaucusRoom employee and 9NEWS Republican commentator Kelly Maher, Mark Polk. After last June’s Republican primaries, Maher complained bitterly about so-called “Democratic primary meddling” to boost fringe Republicans even though it could be argued Democrats got the idea from the Kanye West for President campaign (they didn’t, of course, but they may as well have).

Today, Kanye is a disgrace to everyone around him, including Colorado Republicans who helped him to run for President.

It’s nothing we’d want on our résumé.

Shellacking Or No, Looks Like Trump’s Gonna Jump

Despite the unexpectedly poor showing for Republicans across the nation in last week’s midterm elections, especially but not limited to Republicans loyal to and boosted by ex-President Donald Trump, all news reports as of this writing indicate that Trump plans to proceed with his “very big announcement” tomorrow at Mar-a-Lago that he’ll be running for President once again in 2024. CNBC reported Saturday:

“We had tremendous success — why would anything change?” Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

Longtime Trump aide Jason Miller said Friday morning that Trump will definitely be announcing his campaign next Tuesday.

“I spoke with the President Trump this morning. He was on the golf course and I talked to him about Tuesday which is really his focus,” Miller said on the podcast of Steve Bannon, a former senior Trump advisor, NBC reported.

“He said, ‘There doesn’t need to be any question. Of course I’m running. I’m going to do this and I want to make sure that people know that I’m fired up and we got to get the country back,’” Miller said.

As the New York Times reports, Trump’s determination to get back in the ring seems to have only hardened since last Tuesday’s election despite the bad night for his favored candidates–meaning Trump is not listening to Republicans begging him to put off this announcement until after the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month:

Mr. Trump’s plans to run for president, which he is expected to announce on Tuesday, could force the issue in ways not seen since his first campaign, as party leaders are asked to declare their allegiances to him or to other potential rivals…

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking House Republican, endorsed Mr. Trump for president on Friday ahead of his anticipated campaign announcement on Tuesday.

“President Trump has always put America First, and I look forward to supporting him so we can save America,” Ms. Stefanik said on Twitter.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, as readers recall, tried to expand her sphere of influence to include the Republican nominee in Colorado’s brand-new CD-8 by endorsing both Barb Kirkmeyer and primary rival Jan Kulmann. Stefanik is still considered upwardly mobile in the House GOP caucus, and a candidate to someday replace GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last week, Trump endorsed McCarthy’s re-election as GOP Leader and Stefanik as GOP caucus chair, and it’s hard to imagine McCarthy not returning the favor.

And we assume Colorado’s Rep.-by-a-thread Lauren Boebert will be on hand tomorrow evening in Palm Beach.

From there, Trump’s campaign will impose a loyalty test that every Republican will have to reckon with for themselves. After the violence on January 6th and many Republicans including McCarthy turned against Trump briefly only to come crawling back, realistic hope that this party might someday stand up to Trump was largely dashed. If Trump blows through his primary opposition this time as he did in 2016, Republicans will face the question Joe O’Dea stumbled over disastrously on the campaign trail: whether to vote for Trump if he wins the nomination, or commit the greatest sin any Republican can.

In the end, even Joe O’Dea was prepared to dance with the Trump who brought him.

Pam Anderson’s Selective Opposition to Election Deniers

Republican Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson on Monday evening

Last night, Colorado candidates for Secretary of State took part in one of the few public debates in that contest. The forum televised by 9News featured a lot of detailed discussion about elections and voting that was about as interesting as it sounds, but there was one key exchange between incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold and Republican challenger Pam Anderson that is worth highlighting.

We’ve written several times in this space about Anderson’s selective opposition to election deniers (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). Anderson, the former Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County, launched her campaign for Secretary of State by claiming that Griswold was “too partisan” while standing herself up as a true Republican champion of fair elections. Anderson likes to say that it is “critically important” to inform the public “that elections are safe and secure” and that she will be a Secretary of State that “both sides can trust.” This all sounds great, except that Anderson’s deeds do not always match her rhetoric.

The sad truth is that Pam Anderson is totally against election deniers…except when she is not.

On Monday evening, Anderson was asked to explain how it is that she talks about opposing election deniers while also regularly campaigning with election deniers. Her response was pretty bad:



KYLE CLARK: Ms. Anderson, you in fact have campaign alongside election deniers, including the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Danny Moore. But you recently criticized a scheduled event featuring Moore and fellow election denier, FEC United’s Joe Oltmann. You called him ‘reprehensible.’ Can you explain to us why you are comfortable keeping company with SOME election deniers but not other election deniers? [Pols emphasis]

PAM ANDERSON: So, I am a registered Republican and a center point of my campaign is to go to voters where invited to push back on false, misleading information and conspiracy. It’s been a real honor to go and go talk about my campaign for 10 minutes and then answer questions for an hour and 45 minutes. Now, I haven’t seen my opponent doing that. Thirty-second spots saying, ‘Trust me, I’m your government’ isn’t going to get us through this.

I have pushed back against President Trump, former President Trump, candidate President Trump, and anyone who seeks to mislead it [sic]. My opponent won’t even stand up to her party when they spent millions of dollars propping up the candidates, saying exactly what she says she hates. So I’ve done it when it’s difficult. I will continue to do that against either party that misleads our voters.

Anderson’s initial response here is to provide a similar answer to what Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has said about 2020 election denialism. It’s the Why can’t we just have a conversation? argument. Or Danny Moore’s I’m just saying… explanation.

Pam Anderson (left) with Danny Moore (center) and Joe O’Dea (right)


To his credit, Clark was not satisfied with Anderson’s gibberish about her opposition to multiple iterations of Donald Trump, which will also come into play again in a moment.

CLARK: But I’m trying to understand the difference. Why will you literally stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate, Danny Moore, who is an election denier…but then another election denier, Joe Oltmann, you said that the two of them campaigning together is reprehensible. Where’s the line? [Pols emphasis]

ANDERSON: Actually, when Danny Moore was appointed by the Governor candidate, Heidi Ganahl, I said that I was disappointed in that appointment because of his comments. What I will continue to do is not, um, wag my finger and lecture people about their questions, but talk to them. I don’t think that we…if we vilify people with good conscience, like voters, we should push back on candidates. I’ve reached out to all of them to provide information, opportunities to visit with county clerks, to learn more about elections. And I think that’s made a difference.

I will continue to run my own race, who I am, representing all voters, regardless — in a non-partisan way — not dividing people and vilifying them.

Election denier Heidi Ganahl (left) and Pam Anderson. Also, Lang Sias.

At this point, Griswold asks if she can add a comment.

JENA GRISWOLD: I just want to explain how dangerous this is to Colorado elections and why it’s so personal to me. You know, the “Big Lie” is why Tina Peters breached her election infrastructure. The “Big Lie” is why the Chafee County Clerk works behind bulletproof glass. The “Big Lie” is why a man was just sentenced to 18 months in prison for threatening my life. This has real effects. These lies are destabilizing our democracy. And Coloradans can always expect from me never to campaign with election deniers, to stand up…if there’s a Democratic election denier, I will stand up to them. If there is a Republican, I will stand up to them.

Coloradans can also expect me to very clearly state I will never vote for someone trying to take away our right to vote. That’s another distinction between my opponent and me. She refuses to say that she will not support Donald Trump if he runs again.

CLARK: (to Anderson) Is that the case?

ANDERSON: That is absolutely false. I’ve said as a principled election official that I won’t tell you who I will vote for but I will continue to push back. I will also tell you that there is no nuance for me, ever, on this issue. [Pols emphasis]


It’s a really bad look to spend three minutes providing nuanced answers about your opposition to election deniers and THEN proclaim “there is no nuance for me, ever, on this issue.”

What might be worse is talking at length about your opposition to Donald Trump and THEN refusing to say whether or not you would support Trump in 2024. Why would you do this?

In fact, Anderson’s answer reminds us of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. From CNN:

Asked on his charter plane whether Donald Trump’s questioning of President Barack Obama’s birthplace gave him pause, Romney simply said he was grateful for all his supporters.

“You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Anderson doesn’t really have the political courage she claims to possess. People who oppose election deniers don’t campaign with election deniers, just like people who oppose white supremacists don’t take pictures with Klan members. It’s not more complicated than this.

Likewise, people who say they oppose conspiracy theories don’t promote conspiracy theories in order to win elections…which is exactly what Anderson did in April 2022 when she claimed that she would “crack down on ballot harvesting” despite the fact that “ballot harvesting” isn’t a real thing that actually happens.

Pam Anderson may be perplexed that others find it odd that she claims to oppose election deniers but regularly campaigns with them. Colorado voters will likely be less confused.

One Year of Running in Circles

The editorial board of The Denver Post formally backed incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday, joining every serious newspaper in Colorado that plans to make endorsements for public office in 2022.

We’d guess that supporting Polis was not a particularly difficult decision for the Post editorial board given the persistent lunacy of Republican gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. You could no more craft a logical endorsement of Ganahl than you could advocate for replacing your car tires with giant wheels of cheese. It is nevertheless instructive to look at what the Post had to say because of three critical paragraphs at the very end of the endorsement:

Ganahl is asking voters to look past the current Republican realities. While presenting herself as a law-and-order supporter, Ganahl has linked herself too closely to a fringe Republican movement — led by former President Donald Trump — aiming to undermine America’s democracy and turn Americans against one another with outrageous claims that a vast conspiracy of Democratic Party operatives have rigged our elections.

Ganahl did not want to talk about the issue when asked if she was concerned about Trump’s actions.

“I’m concerned about a media that is completely biased and out of control … I know who you are going to endorse, so we don’t have to complete the conversation if this is how it’s going to go,” Ganahl said. “Danny (Moore) and I have both said loud and clear that Biden is the president, the media just doesn’t want to cover it, and we are focused on beating Jared Polis.” [Pols emphasis]

If you have been following the 2022 race for Governor in Colorado, this will all sound very familiar. Ganahl is ending her gubernatorial campaign in basically the exact same place she began.

When Ganahl formally launched her bid for Governor in September 2021, she talked with a group of reporters and immediately set the precedent for a combative relationship with Colorado media outlets based on her non-answer to one simple question: Do you think there was fraud in the 2020 election?

This was, and remains, an important topic for any 2022 candidate — particularly a candidate for statewide office. It is no small thing to acknowledge that you believe in the system of democracy in which you are seeking to take part. Ganahl whiffed on the question when asked by multiple reporters (including The Denver Post). She followed that up with a disastrous interview with Marshall Zelinger of 9News in which she tried (and failed) to change the subject.

Weirdly exasperated by the same question she had already failed to answer, Ganahl responded: “Why all the divisive questions?”

When Zelinger did not just allow Ganahl to change the subject, she followed up with this:

“Oh my goodness, Marshall. Let’s talk about what’s important to the people of Colorado. And that’s kids, it’s skyrocketing crime. I just said that kids are killing themselves at record rates and we want to talk about other things that aren’t that important to many people.”

Sitting down with the editorial board of The Denver Post one year later, Ganahl seems to be utterly incapable of understanding that the reason people keep asking her this question IS BECAUSE SHE NEVER PROVIDES AN ANSWER.

This is not rocket surgery. If you don’t answer a question, you can bet that journalists will keep asking — particularly when you simultaneously select a noted election denier as your running mate.

Ganahl and her Lieutenant Governor choice, Danny Moore, now say that “Joe Biden is the President,” which is not an answer to a question about election fraud. Ganahl won’t elaborate on this no matter how many times she is asked. The only logical conclusion to make amid this defiance is that Ganahl truly believes in Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

This is strange, because surely Ganahl had to understand that being a full-fledged election denier would make her unelectable in Colorado. The alternative is even weirder: If Ganahl actually does NOT believe in the “Big Lie,” then she flushed her credibility down the toilet for no reason at all.

Whatever the answer, the end result is the same. This entire campaign was a complete waste of time for Ganahl and every one of her supporters. When you’re running in circles, you always end up right back where you started.

Triangulate This: Joe O’Dea Finally Earns Trump’s Wrath

TUESDAY UPDATE: As Chris Cillizza explains for CNN:

What Trump is doing here is actively sabotaging O’Dea’s chances.

In order to have a chance at pulling off an upset against Bennet, O’Dea needs the Trumpist Republican base fully behind him and the support of independents and moderates across Colorado. He can’t win without both parts of that equation – and Trump just made it much harder for O’Dea to keep the GOP base strongly aligned behind him.

The back and forth is just the latest example that Trump cares about himself first, second and third – and does not put what’s best for the Republican Party anywhere in that mix.

UPDATE: Count loud and proud “ultra MAGA” Rep. Dave Williams out:


Joe O'Dea

GOP Senate candidate Joe O’Dea.

Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union yesterday morning, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea was asked about his evolving position on former President Donald Trump, progressing from promising to support Trump in 2024 if Trump wins the GOP nomination to walking this back after winning the Republican primary–though very careful to avoid promising not to vote for Trump if he wins the GOP nomination. As reported by Business Insider:

O’Dea, who is running as a center-right candidate, called Jan. 6 “a black eye on the country,” adding that he has been “very vocal” in saying he thinks Trump “should have done more to keep the violence from heading towards the Capitol.”

“I don’t think Donald Trump should run again,” O’Dea said.

He continued: “I’m going to actively campaign against Donald Trump and make sure that we’ve got four or five really great Republicans right now.”

First of all, as readers know, O’Dea had a very different view of January 6th during the  primary:

“I had friends that were out at January 6, they went nowhere near the building,” O’Dea said. “That’s a rally in my opinion.”

But we’ll set that aside for a moment. Joe O’Dea is certainly not unique in “evolving” away from deeply unpopular ex-President Trump after winning his Republican nomination in order to appeal to the general election audience. But voicing this opinion on the national Sunday morning news appears to have finally put O’Dea on Trump’s radar. This morning, Trump personally responded to O’Dea’s disloyalty with a trademark nastygram sure to cost O’Dea support among the Republican base:

Trump’s broadside against O’Dea this morning is prompting some hot takes suggesting this attack from Trump might be helpful to O’Dea. There may be some number of swing voters in Colorado not yet aware that O’Dea is running a triangulation game in this blue-state underdog race, but at this point there probably aren’t that many. On the other hand, there is a very large segment of Republican MAGA base voters who have resolved to hold their proverbial noses and vote for O’Dea despite his feints to the left, and they all just got told in the clearest terms Trump can manage not to vote for Joe O’Dea.

It’s a dicey game that O’Dea has been playing from the beginning, and the calculation has always been that triangulating off the former President’s unpopularity was worth more in attracting swing voters than it cost O’Dea with the loyalist Republican base. The great risk in running this kind of counter-brand campaign is that one can end up with no base of support at all, or a base so tepid after being maligned that they’re demoralized and unmotivated.

The one thing we can say for sure is that if Joe O’Dea loses as every poll predicts, Trump will want the credit.

Wait, What? (Erik Aadland Edition)

Yeah, not so much

We were taking our time, catching up on our political news today, when a sentence just reached out and socked us in the face like one of Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s out-of-left-field batshit insane theories on education reform.

Sandra Fish did a comparison of the candidates in CO-07 for The Colorado Sun that was mostly a “she says this, he says that” kind of piece. Democrat Brittany Pettersen and Republican Erik Aadland explained their positions on a number of issues (admittedly, “explained” is a very generous term when it comes to Aadland’s policy proposals). Aadland also generally took the opportunity to flat-out lie on multiple occasions.

This isn’t the thing that smacked us in the face, but for example:

The Sun asked Pettersen and Aadland, who have each talked about their mothers’ battles with opioid addiction, how Congress could address drug addiction and recovery.

Aadland falsely claimed that Pettersen “started a clean injection site.”…

…Aadland didn’t offer a federal solution to the issue.

Kudos to Fish for pointing out here that Aadland’s words were not at all true. Unfortunately, Fish didn’t always take the time to, um, “correct” Aadland’s misperceptions.

The big smackaroo came at the end of the Sun article, in response to the following question: “Did Joe Biden legitimately win the 2020 presidential election?”

Because she is not a lunatic, Pettersen answered that yes, she believes Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. And then it was Double-A’s turn to respond:

Aadland acknowledged that Biden “is the legitimate president. I have said that many times.”

The Sun asked about reports that he said the election was illegitimate. In June, he told a Republican group the election was “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and now how we have an illegitimate government in power.” The Washington Post included him on a list of election deniers.

“I said it was rigged,” he told The Sun. “That’s different.”

First of all, this is complete horseshit from Aadland. Dating back to June 2021, when the political world was first learning of his existence, Aadland has publicly questioned the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election at least seven different times. As recently as June 21, 2022, Aadland told members of the Mountain Republicans Club that he was concerned by how the 2020 elections were “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and how we have an illegitimate government in power.”

The Sun made the following correction later in the day:

Via The Colorado Sun

Okay, now that we have that first part out of the way, let’s examine the rhetorical punch to the face we mentioned at the top:


“I said it was rigged. That’s different.”



If you believe that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged…but you ALSO claim that President Biden is “the legitimate president,” then there may be several words at play here that have simply eluded your comprehension.

If you are sure that you understand the meaning of all the words and you STILL think the election was rigged AND you think the winner of that election is “the legitimate president”…then we are sad to inform you that you are most likely an absolute fucking moron.

Seriously. We have had it with these election denier candidates who make it to the General Election and try pretending that they didn’t really question the integrity of the Presidential election. If you truly believe that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged, then own it. If nothing else, owning it is a gazillion times better than making it appear as though you are too stupid to understand simple questions that require basic logical reasoning.


“I said it was rigged. That’s different.”


Aadland knows that it is bad for his election hopes if people know he is a full-on “Big Lie” believer. Why do we know he knows this? BECAUSE HE SAID IT HIMSELF. Out loud. In public. In front of a camera.

So what does Aadland do when confronted with this question by the Sun? He reaffirms, for all intents and purposes, that he is both an election denier AND a complete goddamned idiot. Frankly, the two are probably one in the same anyway, but you get what we’re throwing down here.

In an election cycle that has been unusually dumb, Erik Aadland persevered and somehow found a way to make #copolitics even dumber.

Jan. 6 Committee Drops Bombshells, Votes to Subpoena Trump

UPDATE #2: In a unanimous vote, the committee voted to subpoena Trump himself. From The New York Times:

“He is required to answer for his actions,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, at the end of what was possibly the panel’s final public session. “He is required to answer to those police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy.”



The final pre-election hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection is taking place as we type this sentence, and it looks like they may be close to reeling in the biggest fish of them all.

As The Washington Post reports:

The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is planning to vote during Thursday’s hearing to subpoena former president Donald Trump, according to three individuals with knowledge of the vote.

The individuals did not say whether they are seeking the former president’s direct testimony or more documents beyond those the committee has already received.

The chances of Donald Trump actually heeding a subpoena are probably not good, but this is still a major step in the investigation of Trump’s coup attempt.

Today’s hearing is also revealing some startling new information about Trump’s direct involvement in the insurrection. The Jan. 6 committee said today that Trump directly participated in an effort to use fake electors to overturn the election. Again, from the Post:

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told the committee that Trump’s attorney, John Eastman, called her asking her to arrange for the fake electors to meet and rehearse the process of casting their fake votes.

“I don’t remember the exact date it was,” she said. “It was from the White House switchboard, and it was President Trump, who in turn contacted and he introduced me to a gentleman named John Eastman.” 

“And then essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors,” McDaniel added. [Pols emphasis]

The House committee also presented evidence that the Secret Service KNEW that armed Trump supporters were going to show up to the U.S. Capitol.

We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

Dark Brandon Arrives in Colorado

UPDATE #2: Live from Vail:


UPDATE: Via Sen. John Hickenlooper, a Colorado fashion shot if there ever was one:

Rep. Joe Neguse is the most Colorado dressed of the bunch, with Hickenlooper in second and Sen. Michael Bennet coming in a bookish but respectable third. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gets it totally wrong without a trace of denim or corduroy, and Gov. Jared Polis has, no surprise here, the flashiest shoes.


President Joe Biden is in the house!

As Denver7 reports, Biden will speak in Colorado about designating the Camp Hale/ Continental Divide National Monument — his first such national monument designation as President:

Biden signed a proclamation Wednesday designating Camp Hale and the area of the Continental Divide that surrounds it as a national monument, and his administration moved to protect 225,000 acres of the Thompson Divide from mining and oil and gas production…

…Wednesday’s proclamation has been expected since last week, when sources first confirmed Biden would be making Camp Hale – where soldiers trained to fight in the Alps during WWII – a national monument.

The moves announced Wednesday include designating 53,804 acres including Camp Hale and the surrounding Tenmile Range as a national monument that will be managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which will develop a plan to protect and manage the land and the historical significance of the area, the White House said.

Click here to watch live coverage of Biden’s remarks.

Kellner Throws RAGA, and His Election Hopes, Under the Bus

Republican John Kellner

As we approach the final days of the 2022 election cycle, a similar theme is playing out across many of Colorado’s top contests. Democratic candidates who have significantly outraised their Republican opponents are now up on television with a bevy of advertisements; underfunded GOP challengers, meanwhile, continue to twiddle their thumbs hoping that some sort of national money will be spent in Colorado on their behalf. 

In the race for Attorney General, incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser started running this ad last week and will likely maintain a presence on television through Election Day. 

As of the last fundraising period ending Sept. 14, Weiser had raised $4,160,692 and reported $1,130,285 in the bank. Republican John Kellner, meanwhile, has raised a total of $242,116 and reported a cash-on-hand amount of just $97,867. This is enough money to produce a TV spot but not enough to make an ad buy that will come anywhere close to reaching enough voters to give him a chance against Weiser.

As we’ve written before in this space, Kellner’s only real chance at making a dent in Weiser’s support would likely have to come via funds from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), the group that spent more than $5 million in 2018 trying to boost the chances of GOP candidate George Brauchler (whom Weiser defeated 52-45). While RAGA does have a committee open in Colorado that could receive and spend money in the race for AG, as of this writing there is no indication that any significant expenditure is forthcoming.

Yet even if RAGA were to make a last-ditch effort in Colorado, it would put Kellner in a very difficult position given an answer he gave at a candidate forum last week. 

RAGA has been floundering trying to fix its reputation after it was widely reported in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection that the group had spent big money trying to help the very folks who were intent on overturning the results of the 2020 Presidential election. As a result of its zeal in pushing election fraud conspiracy theories and funding robocalls to urge “patriots” to attend the Jan. 6 insurrection, donations to RAGA fell off appreciably in the months that followed. 

During a candidate forum sponsored by the Lowry United Neighborhoods on Sept. 20, both candidates for Attorney General were asked a very specific question about taking help from election deniers. Here’s that video and the transcription:


QUESTION: Would both of you pledge to commit to accepting no campaign funds and holding no fundraisers with anybody that gave to the Jan. 6 insurrection and worked with election deniers?


KELLNER: That’s a great question, and it’s absolutely appropriate to ask. I think anybody who violated the law that day on Jan. 6 should be held accountable, [and] should probably go look at jail or prison [time]. I don’t support the folks that denied the outcome of the election in any way, shape, or form. [Pols emphasis] 

What I’m gravely concerned about, honestly, is the amount of money – upwards of $10 million dollars – spent by the Democrat Party to try and uplift people that they also simultaneously said are a true threat to our democracy. I think that amount of hypocrisy is probably something that we’ve never, ever seen before. I think it is fundamentally wrong.

So, to answer your question, no, I don’t support that. I support the peaceful transition of power as a Marine, as an officer. I was commissioned under George W. Bush. I went to war under President Obama. I served under President Trump in the reserves. I continue to serve under President Biden in the reserves and I’m proud to do it.

Kellner’s statement — “I don’t support the folks that denied the outcome of the election in any way, shape, or form” – would absolutely apply to RAGA, and it would put him in a very weird position if RAGA decided to start spending money in order to assist his campaign for Attorney General. Perhaps Kellner went ahead and gave the answer he did because he already knows that RAGA isn’t coming to his rescue, but this is still a problem for him. 

Kellner’s statement last week also means he has some explaining to do regarding his attendance at the RAGA “Summer National Meeting” in Colorado Springs in August; on the final day of that retreat, Kellner held a RAGA-sponsored fundraiser for his campaign. This is a question he’s going to have to answer at some point in the next few weeks. 

Kellner needed RAGA’s money to give him a chance in November, but after last week, any help from the national group would come with new problems for the District Attorney from the 18th Judicial District. And if RAGA needed an excuse to stay out if this race, they got it from the candidate himself.

“Dark Brandon” Makes The Trains Run On Time

Engineer Dark Brandon.

CNN reports on another big win for President Joe Biden with crucial midterm elections right around the corner–an announced tentative deal averting what would have been an economically catastrophic nationwide railroad worker strike:

President Joe Biden proclaimed a huge win for rail workers and organized labor Thursday after his administration brokered a tentative deal with freight bosses on long-sought improvements in working conditions and averted a potentially disastrous strike…

[Biden’s] intervention — including calls with union leaders and bosses in the critical run-up to the deal on Wednesday night — helped lift the threat of a dispute that could have had serious consequences for the economy and still-roaring inflation after talks, led by his Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, lasted all through Wednesday and into the middle of the night on Thursday.

The agreement in principle was a validation of Biden’s support for unions, a politically significant factor given the movement’s role supporting Democrats in November’s midterm elections. But it also averted a prolonged shutdown of freight rail that could have hammered the economy and hurt the President and his party politically and exposed him to Republican criticism.

A railroad strike would have tremendously compounded supply chain issues that have plagued the economy since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and shut down both long-distance Amtrak rail lines running through Colorado. Union rail workers won a big raise retroactive to 2020 and other important concessions that reflect the industry’s massive profits reaped during the last few years.

Stacking this latest win on a growing pile of tangible victories for Democrats to campaign on in the rapidly approaching midterm elections, a dramatic improvement in public approval for President Biden supplies fresh hope that the traditional curse of being the party in power during a midterm election could break (or at least retreat) in 2022:

Support for Biden recovered from a low of 36% in July to 45%, driven in large part by a rebound in support from Democrats just two months before the November midterm elections. During a few bleak summer months when gasoline prices peaked and lawmakers appeared deadlocked, the Democrats faced the possibility of blowout losses against Republicans.

Their outlook appears better after notching a string of legislative successes that left more Americans ready to judge the Democratic president on his preferred terms: “Don’t compare me to the Almighty. Compare me to the alternative.”

Like Vince Lombardi famously said, “winning is habit.” The change in fortunes for Democrats, and not a moment too soon, is undeniable.

FBI Seizes Mike Lindell’s Phone During Investigation of Colorado Clerk & Other Election Conspiracists

(Stand by for a new promo code — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell reads from his FBI search warrant

Returning from a successful morning hunt at his favorite duck pond, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and a friend pulled into a southern Minnesota Hardee’s drive-thru for a bite on the way home. While awaiting their order, three cars surrounded Lindell’s vehicle from all sides.

Lindell says he told his friend, ‘those are either bad guys, or the FBI.’ It was the FBI, with a search warrant for his phone.  

Reached by phone, Lindell tells the Colorado Times Recorder they wanted to talk to him about indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and former math teacher turned Big Lie propagandist Douglas Frank.

“They asked me when I first met Tina. I told them what I’ve always said: I never met her until she arrived at the Cyber Symposium. They asked me about Doug Frank too. I told them I met him when we made the [election fraud conspiracy movie] Scientific Proof.”  

Lindell says he considered refusing to hand over the phone in hopes of forcing the FBI to arrest him and thus generating headlines, but that his own lawyer, whom he called while being detained, told him to give the agents his phone. He says he and his lawyer are now working on getting it back from the Department of Justice.

Lindell shared images of a cover letter and search warrant on his podcast yesterday. He told the Colorado Times Recorder that federal agents gave him the documents during the encounter at Hardee’s.

The DOJ declined the Colorado Times Recorder’s request for comment, but the FBI confirmed to multiple news outlets that it executed a search warrant at the location Lindell described. 

The warrant authorized federal agents to search Lindell and seize his cell phone. The search request, which comes from an Assistant U.S. Attorney based in the Department of Justice’s Grand Junction office, lists the phone data of concern to the DOJ. It specifies any records involving Lindell, Frank, Peters, her staffers Belinda Knisley and Sandra Brown, (who have already been charged).


New York Prosecutes “We Build The Wall” Scam

UPDATE: Who will Hiedi Heidi Ganahl turn to for moral support once Steve Bannon layers up in jailhouse orange? It’s a “divisive question” that Ganahl nonetheless should be working on an answer for.


Steve Bannon digesting a baby.

CNN reports today that former presidential advisor, January 6th, 2021 coup plotter, and quintessential political bad guy Steve Bannon has been indicted by a New York state court on criminal charges related to the failed “We Build The Wall” campaign: a scam to bilk donors out of millions of dollars in fruitless pursuit of a privately-funded wall on the Mexican border:

Former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon was indicted on state charges of money laundering, conspiracy and fraud related to an alleged online scheme to raise money for the construction of a wall along the southern US border, according to an indictment obtained by CNN.

Bannon surrendered Thursday morning to authorities and is expected to plead not guilty when arraigned, his attorney Robert Costello told CNN.

The state charges are based on the same conduct Bannon was charged with by federal prosecutors in 2020 that alleged he and three others had defrauded donors in the border wall effort, which raised more than $25 million.

Presidential pardons do not apply to state investigations, however.

Steve Bannon, Tom Tancredo pitch “We Build The Wall.”

“We Build The Wall,” which sold itself as a serious effort to use private funds to build at least appreciable sections of President Donald Trump’s promised but unrealized wall across the entire southern border, never came close to accomplishing its stated goals. But it did manage to raise millions of dollars, not enough for a wall but still a lot–of which Bannon is accused of pocketing $1 million and other co-conspirators getting their cuts as well. That includes right-wing Castle Rock, Colorado businessman Timothy Shea, whose trial on the federal charges Bannon was pardoned for ended in mistrial earlier this summer. Politico reports that Shea is expected to be retried later this year:

Prosecutors said Shea and other fund organizers promised investors that all donations would fund a wall, but Shea and the others eventually pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars for themselves.

Shea’s lawyers contended that he acted honorably regarding the fundraising campaign and did not commit a crime.

Shea, of Castle Rock, Colo., owns an energy drink company, Winning Energy, whose cans have featured a cartoon superhero image of Trump and claim to contain “12 oz. of liberal tears.”

Colorado’s foremost anti-immigrant firebrand Republican politico Tom Tancredo, who built his career on demonizing immigrants years before it became cool for Republicans again, served on the “advisory board” of “We Build The Wall” and helped sell the idea at meetings around the country. Unlike Bannon and Timothy Shea, Tancredo was evidently not on the revenue-positive side of the grift–or at least not enough to have faced charges of his own.

As for Bannon and his pardon? Even though it’s a state case, isn’t this an instance of what’s known in the law as double jeopardy? As the Washington Post reports, pre-emptive presidential pardons have a loophole:

Because Bannon was granted clemency in the federal case before a conviction, there is not expected to be a viable issue of double jeopardy in his new case.

That’s a check on presidential pardon power that makes plenty of sense after seeing how an unscrupulous President can abuse it.

The GMS Podcast: Dark Brandon’s MAGA Smackdown

Charles Ashby, sans beard

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss President Biden’s momentous speech last week calling out “MAGA Republicans” and what it means for the 2022 election in Colorado. We also update on the apparently very expensive recall effort against new Democratic State Sen. Kevin Priola; big new problems facing Republican State Sen. Dennis Hisey in El Paso County; and top GOP candidates who are scrubbing all mention of “abortion” from their campaign materials.

Our interview this week is with podcast favorite Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, who stops by to update us on the always-weird Tina Peters saga, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s Christian Nationalism, and the Western Slope perspective on the final stretch of the 2022 election.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

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Biden Delivers Powerful Speech as MAGA Republicans Freak Out

UPDATE: Greg Sargent of The Washington Post sums up the conundrum for “MAGA Republicans:

Republicans are in a rage over President Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, in which he flatly declared that the American democratic experiment is in serious danger due to Donald Trump and the Republicans who remain allied with his political project.

So here’s a question for those Republicans: What exactly in Biden’s speech was wrong?…

…That MAGA coup attempt included extraordinarily corrupt pressure on many government actors, including law enforcement, which flouted the rule of law on its face. It involved pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to violate his constitutional duty. Pence himself said he was being asked to betray basic tenets of constitutional democracy.

Many Republicans who are now professing outrage supported all that. A review of their own conduct proves Biden right.


“The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail.”

     — President Biden (9/1/22)

President Joe Biden delivered a powerful primetime speech on Thursday night from the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia that laid out in clear terms the battle for democracy in the United States.

As David Frum wrote later for The Atlantic, Biden’s speech was so effective because it was real:

The response from Biden’s Republican opponents has been hotter than mere tut-tutting. Biden’s sharp speech has only one justification: So much of it is true.

If you missed Biden’s 24-minute speech, you can read the full transcript here or watch it in full below. To better understand the significance of Thursday’s events — including here in Colorado — it helps to break things down into a few different parts. Let’s start with…



Biden’s remarks on Thursday were masterfully constructed. In plain language, he began by defining “MAGA Republicans” as people who were intent on destroying democracy. Biden did not resort to name-calling but stuck with facts instead:

And here, in my view, is what is true: [Pols emphasis] MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election, and they’re working right now as I speak in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

President Joe Biden

Biden then carefully explained that “MAGA Republicans” are a fringe minority in the United States, which had the effect of placing them in a rhetorical corner with the rest of the country on the other side:

But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can, we are not powerless in the face of these threats. We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy. There are far more Americans, far more Americans from every background and belief, who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. [Pols emphasis] And folks, it’s within our power, it’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy…

…MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live, not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies. But together, together, we can choose a different path. We can choose a better path forward to the future, a future of possibility, a future to build a dream and hope, and we’re on that path moving ahead.

Meanwhile, “MAGA Republicans” were busy identifying themselves and proving every one of Biden’s points.



Biden Prepares to Bring the Ruckus Tonight

UPDATE: In an apparent attempt to proactively make Biden’s point for him, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delivered this bonkers line in a pre-Biden speech:

Dude…this is exactly what Biden is talking about. Stop attacking the FBI and law enforcement officials because you’re scared of Donald Trump.


President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden will deliver a speech to the nation tonight that is already creating a lot of buzz. As The New York Times reports, Dark Brandon has had enough of this MAGAbot election fraud nonsense:

Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday for a prime-time address in which he will accuse Republicans loyal to former President Donald J. Trump of embracing a form of extremism that is a direct threat to the United States.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to preview the speech, a senior White House official said the president would state in direct language how “MAGA Republicans” have put the nation’s institutions at risk and undermined democratic values.

The focus on threats to democracy is a return to the issue that Mr. Biden said drove him to run for the presidency, after white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

The speech is intended to deliver a dark message about threats to the very fabric of American democracy.

Biden previewed some of this message earlier this week, saying that Republicans have embraced “semi-fascism”:

As the Times reports, Biden has recently decided that it’s time to start telling it like it is:

The president had long planned to give another speech on the state of democracy but grew more motivated in recent weeks by persistent false claims of election fraud and the midterms, a White House official said.

Here’s a similar take from POLITICO:

In recent days, Biden and his top aides have called out the Republican response to the FBI search of Trump’s Palm Beach home. They note how some GOP lawmakers called to defund federal law enforcement while others have warned that violence could follow a possible Trump arrest. To Biden, that was just the latest transgression from a Republican Party he has told aides he barely recognizes — one that has remained in the thrall of Trump and in support of the insurrection.

Republicans, meanwhile, are very sad about Biden telling the truth and are raising their rhetoric in response. As Fox News reports:

“Joe Biden’s wretched attacks on millions of Americans have fueled attacks on pregnancy centers, Republican offices, and an assassination attempt on a Supreme Court Justice,” said Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “Joe Biden is the divider-in-chief and epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party: one of divisiveness, disgust and hostility towards half the country.”

Um, okay.

Biden will speak at 6:00 pm (MST) tonight from the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. It probably won’t be hard to find a live stream wherever you watch television.

Erik Aadland Tries (and Fails) to Scrub Away the MAGA

Erik Aadland didn’t think this through.

Republican Erik Aadland is fairly new to politics, but he apparently understands — albeit a bit late — that being a full-throated election denier and “Big Lie” MAGAbot isn’t going to be very helpful in trying to win election to Congress in CO-07 against Democratic State Sen. Brittany Pettersen.

Aadland spoke about his beliefs that the 2020 election was “absolutely rigged” during a June 2021 speech to the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club. He would like that video to go away, but that’s not how the Internet works. As Chase Woodruff reports for Colorado Newsline:

A Jefferson County Republican group has quietly removed from its website a video of a conspiracy theory-laden speech by Colorado congressional candidate Erik Aadland, in which he falsely claimed the 2020 election was “absolutely rigged.”

Aadland, an Army veteran and former oil and gas executive, spoke to the Jefferson County Republican Men’s Club in June 2021, shortly after declaring his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Following longtime Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s announcement that he would not seek reelection in 2022, Aadland jumped to the 7th Congressional District race, where he faces state Democratic Sen. Brittany Pettersen.

“The 2020 election, it was rigged. Absolutely rigged,” Aadland said in the speech to Jefferson County Republicans last year. “If you do enough looking into it, I think you’ll be convinced.”

“It’s extremely scary what transpired,” he continued. “There was a significant amount of fraud in the 2020 election.”

You can see why Aadland would WANT to scrub this away, but there are too many other people who saw and heard those comments:



Woodruff includes an excerpt of the video in his story for Newsline, but plenty of others realized at the time that this was probably a clip worth saving…including us!




As Woodruff writes, “Aadland’s campaign did not respond to questions about his position on the 2020 election or the removal of the June 2021 video.” And now he doesn’t have to!

Here’s a free tip for Aadland: Nothing draws more attention to something than trying to hide it.

Game Over: Tina Peters’ Deputy Cops Plea, Sings Like Canary

Belinda Knisley, Tina Peters.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, another precipitous development in the felony case against Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters today as her indicted Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley cops a plea and an expected light sentence–in exchange for Knisley’s cooperation in the felony prosecution of her erstwhile boss:

Belinda Knisley, the sidelined deputy under Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, is to enter into a plea agreement with prosecutors later today that will keep her out of prison in exchange for testifying against Peters and other co-conspirators in her case, according to documents filed with the court this morning.

Under the deal, which Knisley has signed, the deputy clerk is to fully cooperate with state and federal prosecutors in any pending or future cases against Peters, her now fired elections manager, Sandra Brown and anyone else who may be charged in relation to the case.

“The defendant participated in a formal recorded proffer interview with state and federal prosecutors and law enforcement in these cases on June 8, 2022,” the plea deal reads.

“In that interview, the defendants explained that beginning in April 2021 and into May 2021, she was aware of and participated in a scheme with Tina Peters and other identified people to deceive public servants from both the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office and Mesa County,” the plea deal adds. “This scheme, which was significantly directed by Tina Peters, [Pols emphasis] ultimately permitted an unauthorized individual to gain access to secure areas inside the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder’s Office so that this person — fraudulently held out to be improperly titled as Gerald Wood, but who was later identified to actually be Conan Hayes — could participate in Mesa County’s trusted build with Tina Peters and Sandra Brown.”

The plea deal keeps Belinda Knisley out of jail, and allows Knisley a resolution with only a misdemeanor conviction instead of the two decades of prison time she originally faced for a range of felony and misdemeanor charges. That’s as long as she continues to faithfully cooperate in the case against Peters, and if Knisley reneges on that agreement the previous charges against her can be reinstated.

Knisley’s cooperation with prosecutors is worst-case scenario news for Clerk Peters, who looks increasingly likely to take a big fall in this case if she doesn’t come to her senses and start negotiating a plea deal of her own. For the last year, Peters has been celebrated by the election denier movement as a “martyr” for the cause of so-called “election integrity,” even though the only actual breach of election security uncovered in Peters’ case is the breach she committed. Flown in private jets around the country and given the red carpet treatment at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate for the premiere of a movie about totally unrelated election conspiracy theories, it was easy for Peters to keep distracted from the looming criminal case against her–especially as a candidate for office, which gave her exceptional privileges as a pre-trial accused felon.

That’s all over, folks. Tucker Carlson has moved on. And the walls are closing in fast.

Trump doesn’t care about Clerk Peters. She made a terrible mistake out of misguided loyalty to a man who doesn’t reciprocate loyalty unless it suits him. Tina Peters is a criminal, but she is also a victim of a much greater crime.

The sooner Peters (or her counsel) realize that, the sooner this can all be over.

And perhaps Republicans who are so obsessed with recalls should consider attempting to boot someone who ACTUALLY COMMITTED CRIMES.

What Will It Take To Wipe That Smirk Off Jenna Ellis’ Face?

Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis.

Local attorney Jenna Ellis, who rose to a dubious kind of fame from relative obscurity as a Colorado Christian University instructor with little real-world legal experience joining the team of lawyers working on now ex-President Donald Trump’s behalf to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by any means necessary, has built a reputation for…well, smugness in the face of increasingly serious allegations against her. When subpoenaed by the Select Committee investigation into the January 6th insurrection, Ellis cracked that “the committee is just mad they can’t date me.”

But as the AP reports, Ellis lost a court battle yesterday over whether she should be compelled to testify before a grand jury in Georgia investigating Trump’s attempts to coerce local officials into overturning the results of the election:

In the petition seeking Ellis’s testimony, [Fulton County DA Fani] Willis identified her as “an attorney for the Trump Campaign’s legal efforts seeking to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere.”

Ellis appeared with Giuliani at a Dec. 3, 2020, state Senate committee hearing at the Georgia Capitol during which false allegations of election fraud were made, Willis wrote. She also wrote at least two legal memos to Trump and his attorneys advising that then-Vice President Mike Pence should “disregard certified electoral college votes from Georgia and other purportedly ‘contested’ states” when Congress met to certify the election results on Jan. 6, 2021, the petition says.

Evidence shows that Ellis’s actions were “part of a multi-state, coordinated plan by the Trump Campaign to influence the results of the November 2020 election in Georgia and elsewhere,” Willis wrote.

In May, a DC-based legal watchdog group filed a complaint with the Colorado Supreme Court’s Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel summarizing Ellis’ role in Trump’s coup plot and asking for Ellis’ Colorado law license to be suspended like Ellis’ former boss Rudy Giuliani’s law license was suspended in New York. Unfortunately, Colorado’s attorney oversight does not appear based on a number of recent unpursued complaints to be nearly as robust as New York’s–which we hope doesn’t become common knowledge among the Saul Goodmans of the world.

But as we know today, attorney oversight is not the only path to accountability for Jenna Ellis. Ellis lied to a lot of people in a lot of places in a brazen, unprecedented attempt to subvert American democracy. Society should not reward Ellis with cash and prizes and TV news appearances for that, but since January 6th, 2021 Ellis has prospered even while her co-conspirators face the heat.

That needs to end. Hopefully, this is the first step.

House Passes Inflation Reduction Act, Sends Bill to Biden

In other news not related to the potential theft of nuclear secrets by a former President, the House of Representatives did a very important thing today.

As The Washington Post reports:

House Democrats on Friday approved a sprawling bill to lower prescription drug costs, address global warming, raise taxes on some billion-dollar corporations and reduce the federal deficit, sending to President Biden the long-delayed, last component of his economic agenda in time for this year’s elections.

The 220-207 vote marked the culmination of roughly a year and a half of debate that at times pitted the party’s lawmakers against each other, revealing Democrats’ fierce ideological divides. In the end, though, the often-fractious caucus banded together to overcome unanimous Republican opposition, adopting a measure to improve Americans’ finances originally premised on Biden’s 2020 campaign pledge to “build back better.”

The bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, secures the largest-ever investment to tackle climate change, with roughly $370 billion dedicated to curbing harmful emissions and promoting green technology. The bill also moves to cap and lower seniors’ drug costs while sparing about 13 million low- and middle-income Americans from increases in their insurance premiums that otherwise would occur next year.

President Biden — you know, the one NOT being investigated for violating the Espionage Act — is expected to sign the bill into law as soon as this weekend.

You Knew It: Joe O’Dea Shakes The Etch-a-Sketch On Trump

UPDATE #2: What the hell is going on here?

And with that, Joe O’Dea walks back today’s walk-back of his prior support for Donald Trump.

What does it mean? Who knows, but Michael Bennet is the only one winning votes from this debacle.

We haven’t seen a candidate mace themselves in the face like this since former Democratic congressional candidate Levi Tillemann literally maced himself in the face in 2018.


UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark in search of a straight answer from Joe O’Dea:


This morning on local AM radio host Ross Kaminsky’s friendly talk show, Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea made a move that we’ve been anticipating ever since he prevailed in the June 28th primary. After competing with state Rep. Ron Hanks down the stretch in the Republican primary by assuring the party faithful that he is supported by many of former President Donald Trump’s key officials, and explicitly promising Republican voters that he would support Trump as the nominee in 2024, O’Dea is race-walking these unpopular positions back faster than Cory Gardner can say “there is no federal personhood bill.”

O’Dea’s campaign will now commence disposing of all the evidence they control down the memory hole, much like Gardner did in 2014 when it came time to reinvent himself on abortion–so let’s take a moment to revisit just what a wholesale flip-flop this represents from pre-primary Joe O’Dea. In his June debate against state Rep. Ron Hanks hosted by the Colorado Sun and CBS4 Denver, O’Dea was very clear that despite a number of other potential candidates he liked, he would support Trump in 2024 as the presidential nominee:


SHAUN BOYD: Is former President Trump to blame, at least in part, for the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol? And Representative Hanks?


BOYD: Mr. O’Dea?

JOE O’DEA: Uh, no. But I believe he could have done a lot more to slow that process down. I was a little disappointed to see him go three and some hours before he told his people to stand down.

BOYD: Would you support Donald Trump if he runs for president in 2024 or would you like someone else to be the nominee, Mr. O’Dea?

O’DEA: Look, there’s a lotta really good candidates that can serve an eight-year term. I really like DeSantis. I like some of the other Republicans that are coming through. But if Donald Trump happens to be the Republican nominee, I definitely won’t vote for Biden or Pelosi, so that’s where I’d be. [Pols emphasis]

Just before the June 28th primary, O’Dea’s campaign sent this text message to Republican primary voters, touting the support he enjoyed from numerous Trump administration officials with local ties like former Interior Secretary David Bernhardt:

Text message sent by Joe O’Dea’s campaign before the June 28th Primary Election.


Brief Bipartisanship After Biden Blades Up Very Bad Man

“Terrorists your game is through, ’cause now you have to answer to…”

As the Washington Post reports, though if you’re not living in a cave in…well, Afghanistan, you probably already know:

The United States has killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda and one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists, who, alongside the group’s founder, Osama bin Laden, oversaw the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Biden announced Monday evening.

Zawahiri was killed in a CIA drone strike in Kabul over the weekend, according to U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence.

When U.S. forces withdrew from Afghanistan last August, Biden administration officials said they would retain capability for “over-the-horizon” attacks from elsewhere on terrorist forces inside Afghanistan. The attack against Zawahiri is the first known counterterrorism strike there since the withdrawal.

The precision droning of Al Qaeda leader and major player in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks Ayman Al-Zawahiri in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan is a huge foreign policy coup for the Biden administration, so much that not even Rep. Lauren Boebert could attach any of her trademark vitriol to her congratulations–though she of course didn’t mention President Joe Biden by name:

Along with an apparent resolution of Joe Manchin’s singlehanded obstruction of President Biden’s agenda and the recent passage of bipartisan legislation to boost semiconductor manufacturing, you can file the killing of the leader of Al Qaeda as another positive political development for Biden and by extension Democrats up for election in this November’s midterms. That means you can expect any bipartisan praise for this action to be terse and fleeting–and in a few days Republicans will pretend it scarcely happened at all.

But it did happen. For a few hours, politics ended at the water’s edge like they’re supposed to.

Welcome Back Friends To The Show That Never Ends

UPDATE: Let the slow heavy metal music play:


Steve Bannon and Tina Peters celebrate raising cash for a recount, 7/26/22.

As Colorado Newsline’s Zoe Schacht reports, two Republican candidates for statewide office, who not coincidentally are major proponents of 2020 presidential election fraud conspiracy theories, submitted a second request to Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold for a recount of the primary elections they each lost by substantial margins. Joining them in this new request are a few new friends:

After hosting fundraisers and asking for donations to fund a recount of the Colorado primary election, five Republican candidates who lost their races, including Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and state Rep. Ron Hanks, filed recount requests with the secretary of state’s office Tuesday, the last day they could.

Four of the candidates are part of the Colorado Recount Coalition, a group that says it’s “demanding” a hand recount of the June 28 primary.

The secretary of state’s office is due to tell candidates how much a recount will cost them.

The Republican candidates and Colorado Recount Coalition members who filed requests and the offices they sought are Peters, secretary of state; Hanks, U.S. Senate; Summer Groubert, state House District 18; and Lynda Zamora, Colorado Senate District 19. Also filing for a recount was Karl Dent, who lost his race for state House District 21 but is not listed as part of Colorado Recount Coalition.

That’s how it works: once you convince yourself that elections are all fraudulent, and you start telling other people that your loss in the recent election was fraudulent, fellow losers can’t help but start thinking the same thing! Since no evidence is required any more than Donald Trump needed any, GOP sore losership is becoming quite contagious.

This is why Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and state Rep. Ron Hanks should have been stopped by the high cost of a recount conducted in a race outside the narrow margin required for an automatic recount under state law. Last week’s request by Peters and Hanks was met with a cost estimate of over $230,000 per race, followed by silence since neither Hanks nor Peters had that kind of money.

Except now it appears that at least Peters might:

Peters, an election conspiracy theorist who denies the result of the 2020 presidential election, appeared on Steve Bannon’s podcast “War Room” Tuesday morning. She said she had raised $190,000 from individual donors in time to request a recount.

That’s right, folks–on election coupmeister Steve Bannon’s War Room program yesterday, Bannon more or less took credit for raising the funds required to conduct a recount for Peters, claiming the “The War Room Posse put their shoulder to the wheel” to raise what should have been a prohibitively large amount of dough to move forward. If Bannon and Peters are to be believed, these funds were raised in small increments within the donation limits for Peters’ race. It’s not clear as of now whether Ron Hanks has also benefited from the “War Room Posse’s” largesse, or where these state legislative candidates plan to get the smaller amounts needed to pay for recounts in their races.

But for Republicans hoping that Peters and Hanks would go away and let the winners of the Republican primary consolidate the base, that’s not going to happen–at least not yet. Remember, none of this is about proving anything–it’s just about keeping the uncertainty going for another news cycle, allowing the mass delusion common to Karl Dent, Donald Trump, and everyone in between to live on.

With help from Steve Bannon’s “War Room Posse,” that mission is accomplished.

GOP Vote Fraudster Relearns Why Nobody Commits Vote Fraud

Suzanne and Barry Morphew.

Denver7’s Blair Miller updates us on the case of Barry Morphew, a Chaffee County man who has been cleared–for now–in the disappearance of his wife Suzanne Morphew on Mother’s Day 2020. This missing person case attracted a great deal of media attention over the summer of 2020, so when Chaffee County elections officials received a mail-in ballot that October allegedly from Suzanne Morphew, they knew instantly something wasn’t right.

Although the murder case Barry Morphew has been dismissed without prejudice, meaning charges could be filed again if new evidence emerges, voting his missing wife’s ballot earned Morphew a felony charge to which he pled guilty yesterday:

Morphew will have to do 32 hours of community service and will be on supervised probation, according to the sentence. The charge he pleaded guilty to in Chaffee County District Court is a class 5 felony.

Two other charges – attempt to influence a public servant and election mail ballot offense – were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Morphew is being hit with a very harsh penalty for voting his missing wife’s ballot, in no way offset by the minimal value of one more vote in a state Donald Trump was destined to lose. Defending his actions with law enforcement, Morphew cited Trump’s baseless claims of widespread election fraud to justify his own actual commission of election fraud:

Morphew was originally charged in this case when he told FBI agents who were interviewing him in connection with the case of his missing wife, Suzanne Morphew, that he “wanted Trump to win” and “I just thought, give him another vote,” according to an arrest affidavit.

“I figured all these other guys are cheating,” Morphew said, [Pols emphasis] according to the affidavit. “I know she (Suzanne Morphew) was going to vote for Trump anyway.”

This is another example of false claims of election fraud giving rise to actual cases of election fraud on the part of Republicans who are wrongly convinced that fraud is commonplace–enough that they may as well take part in it. It’s also more proof that election security measures in place in Colorado work. Much like Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters’ alleged breach of election system security in a failed attempt to provide evidence of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, the only crime that’s been uncovered is crime Republicans committed themselves. And even then, not on a scale that would change the outcome of any election.

As surely as the riot at the U.S. Capitol, this is lawlessness enabled by the “Big Lie.”

It’s not worth the price. It never has been.

Poll: Half Of Americans Believe Civil War Is Coming Soon

Rioter carries a Confederate flag in the U.S. Capitol, January 6th, 2021.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported last night on a new study released by the University of California at Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program, looking at the current attitudes of Americans with regard to political violence 18 months after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021 that tried and failed to obstruct the certification of President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential elections.

In an era where hyperbole is the norm rather than the exception, it’s easy to get unnecessarily worked up–and desensitized–by overheated rhetoric. But the results of this study, if accurate, should deeply concern every American:

One in five Americans believes that violence can be at least sometimes justified “to advance an important political objective,” and half believe that a civil war is on the way “in the next few years,” according to a new nationwide survey by researchers at UC Davis’ Violence Prevention Research Program…

When asked questions about specific objectives, nearly 12% of respondents said that violence could be at least sometimes justified “to return Donald Trump to the presidency this year” and nearly 25% said “to stop an election from being stolen.”

Meanwhile, around 7% of respondents believed it could be at least sometimes justified to use violence “to stop people who do not share my beliefs from voting,” about 24% said it could be OK “to preserve an American way of life based on Western European traditions,” almost 19% “to oppose the government when it does not share my beliefs,” and 38% “to oppose the government when it tries to take private land for public purposes.”

…The survey of 8,620 people aimed to learn more about what was motivating Americans at a time when researchers noted that both gun violence and gun purchases are increasing, more people believe QAnon-type conspiracy theories, and political polarization is widening.

Militant far-right ideologues often make the claim that only 3% of the population of the American colonies actually participated in the American War for Independence. The truth is the percentage was substantially higher than that, though never a majority of the population participating in combat. This has given rise to a persistent belief on the militant right that majority support for their agenda is neither necessary nor even desirable. And that means democracy is no longer their highest priority.

The numbers in this survey bear that out:

In one of the survey’s more startling findings, more than 40% of the respondents said that “having a strong leader for America is more important than having a democracy.” [Pols emphasis]

If 40% of Americans in 2022 really believe a “strong leader” is more important than democracy, and 24% say violence is appropriate to preserve the “American way of life based on Western European traditions,” and 25% to stop a future election from “being stolen,” that is more than enough of a mass abandonment of the founding principles of the country to lead to escalating political violence. Although Donald Trump bears major responsibility for destabilizing American politics and sowing doubt about the integrity of our elections, Trump might not personally be the beneficiary of the chaos he’s planted in the heart of American democracy.

Trump, for all the harm he did, was self-limited by his own incompetence. Thanks to Trump, the stage has been set for someone smarter to succeed where Trump failed.

Needless to say, we hope this study is wrong.

Big Lie Forever: Tucker Carlson Takes Up Tina Peters’ Cause

Ex-GOP Secretary of State candidate Tina Peters (R).

As could have been predicted by just about anyone, some Republican candidates who lost their primary elections a week ago are refusing in the finest tradition of former President Donald Trump to accept the outcome of those elections. In particular, state Rep. Ron Hanks and Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, two of the most ardent “election truthers” on the ballot this year, have rejected the election results and vowed to…well, continue rejecting them, very loudly, while the rest of us move on with our lives.

Except there’s a problem with the “moving on” part. In addition to the large percentage of Republican rank-and-file voters who agree with Hanks and Peters that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, and as a result are predisposed to believe them, a whole industry from the Trump family down has no interest in letting this lucrative conspiracy theory just dissipate. Last week, in a mystifying report that we’re still trying to fully digest, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson took up Tina Peters’ cause in prime time before his audience of millions–or at least a person named Tina Peters, possibly in a parallel universe that differs from our own in small but important ways. Seriously, folks, hear Tucker out:

A day after Steve Bannon’s arrest, this would be November 16, 2021, the FBI raided the home of Sherrona Bishop, that’s the former campaign manager for Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado. According to Bishop, here’s what happened: “While homeschooling my youngest children, the FBI decided it was necessary to bust open my front door with a battering ram and put me in handcuffs while they trampled through my home, terrifying my family. My daughter was pulled around by the hoodie, by her hoodie, by one of the agents.” Now, why would you do this to the former chief of staff of a sitting member of Congress? Well, the FBI gave no reason. They took Bishop’s cell phone and they left, never charged with a crime.

Then that same day, and you didn’t read this in The New York Times either, the feds hit the home of Mesa County Republican Clerk Tina Peters. What was the justification for that raid? We’re breaking into a lot of houses all of a sudden of Trump voters. Why? Well, in this case, DOJ said, “Peters raised doubts about the legitimacy of the last election.” That’s not allowed anymore, can’t question the outcome. They didn’t arrest her. [Pols emphasis] They just tore her house apart. Peters called the raid evidence of, “a level of weaponization of the Justice Department we haven’t seen since the McCarthy era.” But of course, even during McCarthy, no one did that. In May, she came on Fox Denver to explain what exactly happened to her, watch.

TINA PETERS: My attorneys, when they read the indictment the other day, they, I mean, Harvey Steinberg, and I’ve got the best attorneys, and they just laughed. They said, ‘are you kidding?’ This is, this is a political maneuver to shine the light on me, to keep me from running against and defeating Jena Griswold.

Oh. So in the name of punishing people for complaining about the last election, they’re subverting elections currently taking place. And last night, the woman you just saw, Tina Peters, lost her bid for secretary of state, which of course, was the whole point of targeting her…

So, there’s a lot to unpack here. Western slope far-right crazypants activist Sherronna Bishop was never the “former chief of staff of a sitting member of Congress.” Bishop was Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign manager during the primary phase of her 2020 campaign, after which their previously close association appears to have become estranged. Sherronna Bishop was also the manager for Tina Peters’ 2022 Secretary of State campaign launched in February of this year, and although Carlson pretends otherwise, Bishop was very well aware of the purpose of FBI’s search warrant–the election security breach for which Peters now stands accused of multiple felonies.

From there, Carlson jaw-droppingly fictionalizes the history of the investigation and eventual indictment of Clerk Peters on multiple felony counts by a Mesa County grand jury. In fact, Carlson never directly told his millions of viewers that Peters was charged with a crime at all, claiming that Peters losing her bid for Secretary of State was the “whole point of targeting her”–when in reality, as all of our readers know, the search warrants were served on Bishop and Peters months before she ever filed to run for Secretary of State. Peters’ indictment by a grand jury came three weeks after Peters’ campaign launched, but the grand jury originally convened in January.

For those of us who know the true story of what happened here, Tucker Carlson’s version of events is so audaciously false that it’s a legitimate shock to read it. There’s no way Carlson omitted so much crucial information about what happened by accident. And to Carlson’s vast audience, this intentionally fictionalized version of events is now canonical.

What can we say to local reporters who have faithfully reported the truth about this long-running investigation, only to have Fox News misinform more Americans in one segment than their reporting will ever reach?

We hope it makes them at least as angry as a few ads paid for by Democrats in a Republican primary.