Buck Votes Against Own Gun Safety Bill, Says He Didn’t Read it Closely Enough

(Ken Buck at his finest — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Congressman Ken Buck, who has campaigned for nearly two decades on his pro-gun stance, finally found a gun safety bill he could support, at least until it came time to vote for it.

Buck, a Republican, is a co-sponsor of a proposal to create a voluntary waiting period to purchase a firearm, but ultimately voted against it after its hearing Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee. Back in July, Buck co-sponsored H.R.8361, the bill introduced by Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) with the goal of preventing those who may experience suicidal thoughts from being able to immediately obtain a gun.

Anyone may add themselves to the “no-buy” list, which firearm dealers would consult as part of the national instant criminal background check system before making a sale. Those who change their mind can remove themselves from the list after a three-week waiting period.

Buck’s co-sponsorship of this bill angered Colorado’s most extreme gun rights group, the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), the national arm of Dudley Brown’s Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. NAGR’s sent an email on Tuesday urging its members to call Buck and demand he “reverse course” and pull his support.

Yesterday, during the House Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill, Buck did just that.

“I have proudly cosponsored this legislation because I believe in doing everything we can to minimize suicides and protect people from themselves under certain circumstances,” said Buck. “I have issues with this bill and I will ask the gentlelady [Jayapal] if there’s a way to work to address them before or after the end of this markup.”

Buck then listed several changes he wanted to make to the bill.

Buck’s explanation for his flip-flop after being a co-sponsor for five months? He didn’t read the bill carefully enough.

“I apologize to my friend from Washington [state] for misleading her when I initially co-sponsored this bill,” he said. “I still would like to work on this bill, make it stronger and bring it back — since we have six days left in this Congress, perhaps next Congress — and see if we can’t do something to reduce the number of suicides in this country.”

Jayapal welcomed some of the changes Buck suggested and thanked him for his partnership and for reading it thoroughly, to which Buck replied, “I wish I’d read it thoroughly earlier.”

In another email sent after Buck voted against the bill, NAGR asked its members to call Buck again and vote against the bill, this time on the floor.

“The tremendous backlash from the pro-gun grassroots has already caused one Republican Congressman to abandon his support of this gun control scheme,” the email also noted, without mentioning that the Congressman in question was Buck himself.

Buck’s office declined to comment beyond his statements during the hearing.

Could An “Adjudicated Recount” Make a Difference in CO-03?

There are a lot of ways to screw up a bubble.

One of the more surprising outcomes of the 2022 election has opened the door to an unusual new recount request that could potentially have repercussions elsewhere.

As part of the massive “Bluenami” that drowned darn near every Republican in Colorado in 2022, Democrat Bob Marshall upset “incumbent” Republican Rep. Kurt Huffman in Douglas County (HD-43) by 405 votes (Huffman was appointed by a vacancy committee in June after Rep. Kevin Van Winkle was selected to fill a State Senate vacancy, so he wasn’t really a true “incumbent). In a district where 45,349 total ballots were cast, 405 votes is outside the margin for an automatic recount (triggered when the difference between the top two vote-getters is within 0.5% of the leading candidate’s vote total).

Huffman could pay for a traditional machine recount himself — Colorado doesn’t do hand-counts — though he’d be unlikely to find enough votes to change the outcome of the race; that process generally only adjusts vote totals by a smidge, as we saw with last summer’s recount in the Republican race for Secretary of State. Instead, Huffman is hoping a different request could alter his fortunes.

As the Colorado Secretary of State’s office explained on Thursday via press release:

The permissive recount was requested by candidate Huffman on December 5. The Secretary of State’s Office requested an estimate from Douglas County for the cost of the recount and provided it to candidate Huffman on December 6. The cost estimate provided to candidate Huffman was $738. Candidate Huffman submitted a $1,000 check to the Colorado Department of State on December 7. The recount order to Douglas County was sent on December 8. Any unused funds will be refunded to the candidate.

Per candidate Huffman’s request, the recount will be conducted via readjudication, meaning only ballots that required adjudication in the initial tabulation will be examined in the recount. This approach, which is specified in Election Rule 10.9.2, calls for the county’s bipartisan election judges to reexamine all of the ballots which required human adjudication during the initial tabulation of votes and recheck to ensure that those human adjudications were accurate. Candidate Huffman had the option under Election Rule 10.9.3 to request a recount by means of a re-scanning of all of the ballots, but he has elected to request, and pay for, a recount by means of readjudication.

Lauren Boebert’s “oh, s***” face.

In short, the process of “adjudication” is used to help determine a voter’s intent when a completed ballot is unclear. For example, if a voter filled out the wrong bubble, crossed it out, and then circled a different name, an election judge would examine said ballot in an attempt to determine what the voter meant to choose on a particular ballot question.

Colorado’s ballot tabulation machines flag ballots that appear to contain overvotes (more than one selection on a given question) or other markings (such as writing in the margins) that are then set aside for a bipartisan team of election judges to review.

In a “permissive recount” — what we are calling an “adjudicated recount” — all ballots flagged as containing overvotes or undervotes (when no mark is made on a particular question) are reviewed by a bipartisan team in order to ensure that there wasn’t a voter mark that might need to be re-interpreted.

Whew! Got it?

Now, because the race in HD-43 did not have a third-party candidate, it is unlikely that there were hundreds of misinterpreted ballots out of a total of 45,379 total ballots cast. Those odds are much different in a Congressional race, however.

In CO-03, where a mandatory recount is underway in the race between incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democrat Adam Frisch, it is theoretically possible that an “adjudicated recount” could make more of a difference. Boebert entered the mandatory recount with a 550-vote advantage out of a total of 327,134 ballots cast. If 276 ballots out of that total were counted for Boebert when the voter intent was to select Frisch, the outcome of this race could be very different.

There is no indication that Boebert or Frisch are considering this question, and we really have no idea whether there could actually be enough of these mis-marked ballots to make a difference in CO-03. But this wasn’t a question we had even considered until Huffman filed his permissive recount request earlier this week.

The original mandatory recount in CO-03 must be completed by Tuesday, Dec. 13. The “permissive” or “adjudicated” recount in HD-43 is scheduled to be finalized by Thursday, Dec. 15.

Anyway, at some point the 2022 election will in fact end. We’re 99% sure of that.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 9)

Mighty Brazil was ousted from the World Cup today in a penalty kick shootout with Croatia. Now, 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Questions continue to swirl about what law enforcement officials did NOT do that might have prevented the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs last month. As The Denver Post reports:

The 2021 criminal case against the Club Q shooting suspect that involved an alleged threat to become the “next mass killer” was dismissed by a judge after the suspect’s family members refused to participate in the court process, Fourth Judicial District Attorney Michael Allen said Thursday.

Law enforcement officials seized two guns from Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, after that incident, including a 9 mm pistol that was a “ghost gun,” as well as an AR-15 rifle. But, Allen said, those guns were never returned to Aldrich, who now stands accused of carrying out a mass shooting with an AR-15-style rifle and a handgun.

Five people were killed and another 22 injured, 17 by gunfire, in the Nov. 19 attack at the LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs. Prosecutors this week charged Aldrich with more than 300 criminal counts, including first-degree murder and hate crimes.

The new revelations about Aldrich’s arrest last year on felony kidnapping and menacing charges came only after El Paso County District Court Judge Robin Chittum unsealed the case Thursday morning, citing a “profound” public interest in the 2021 arrest and prosecution that significantly outweighs Aldrich’s right to privacy.

Republican officials in Colorado Springs — including District Attorney Michael Allen, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, and incoming Sheriff Joe Roybal — are all outspoken opponents of Colorado’s “red flag” laws that are intended to prevent exactly this sort of scenario. Elder is doing a lot of back pedaling these days.

 

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema seems hell-bent on making sure nobody likes her. From POLITICO:

Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema is changing her party affiliation to independent, delivering a jolt to Democrats’ narrow majority and Washington along with it.

In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. “Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,” she said.

Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.

Sinema would not address whether she will run for reelection in 2024, and informed Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of her decision on Thursday.

Sinema began her career in public office as a member of the Green Party before winning elections to Congress and U.S. Senate as a Democrat. By this time next year, she’ll be calling herself a “Whig.”

 

Colorado Public Radio reports on advancements toward passing a new National Defense Authorization Act:

The House took the first step Thursday to passing the National Defense Authorization Act, a defense policy bill Congress has approved every year for more than 60 years. The bill passed 350-80. It now heads to the Senate.

GOP Rep. Ken Buck was the lone Colorado vote against the bill. Reps. Lauren Boebert, Jason Crow, Diana DeGette, Doug Lamborn, Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter all voted for it.

After the vote, Buck said he couldn’t support spending the amount of money the NDAA authorizes.

The bipartisan bill totals almost $858 billion for defense programs, which is $45 billion more than President Joe Biden sought. It includes a 4.6 percent pay raise for military personnel.

Ken freaking Buck, ladies and gentlemen!

 

Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and a discussion about the “Infinity War” within the Colorado Republican Party.

 

 

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Morgan Carroll Ends Term In Blaze Of Electoral Glory

Colorado Democratic Party chair Morgan Carroll.

As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, after six years at the helm of the Colorado Democratic Party, former State Senate President Morgan Carroll is passing the proverbial baton to a successor to be elected in the spring who will inherit a big responsibility: protecting historic Democratic majorities in Colorado that Carroll presided over the making of.

Morgan Carroll, who has served as chairwoman of the Colorado Democratic Party since 2017 and presided over her party as it secured more sustained power in the state than ever before, will not run for a fourth two-year term in the leadership position…

“I don’t know what I’m doing next, but I feel proud enough of where I have left the state party that I feel like I can hand this off to somebody else,” she said. “I have loved this so much, and the results make a difference and that is incredible.”

Carroll is stepping down with Democrats in solid control of state government, including every major statewide office, until 2027.

Leaving Democrats with the most lopsided control of Colorado since Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President is a personal and vocational triumph for former Senate President Carroll, who lost a punishing race against then-Rep. Mike Coffman in 2016–which would become Coffman’s penultimate race for Congress–and then rebounded to win the race for Democratic Party chair in 2017. What followed was three subsequent landslide elections for Colorado Democrats, while Republicans burned through failed leadership in each of those two-year cycles. Although Carroll’s Republican counterparts received much more media coverage from failed recall campaigns and gas station press conferences, Morgan Carroll’s Democratic Party delivered something more important: a functioning infrastructure that helped candidates win.

The first announced candidate to succeed Carroll as chair of the Colorado Democrats is the very capable Shad Murib, longtime top staffer for Democrats like Gov. Jared Polis and Sen. John Hickenlooper and the spouse of former Sen. Kerry Donovan. There are other candidates likely to announce in the coming days, and the winner will face first and foremost the substantial challenge of defending the sweeping gains made by Democrats under Carroll’s leadership. With only the presidential statewide race to contend with in 2024, the job is to hold the ambitious state House and Senate majorities won in 2022, solidify control of swing CD-8, and knock Lauren Boebert out in CD-3 now that her vulnerability has been exposed.

For today, Morgan Carroll is leaving Colorado Democrats at an unprecedented pinnacle of power.

That legacy is secure.

Friday Open Thread

“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”

–Horace

Meet The Incel Insurrectionist Pushing Abortion Ban In Pueblo

Anti-abortion activist Mark Lee Dickson, who has reportedly never participated in the physical act of love.

FOX 31’s Gabrielle Franklin reported last night on the controversy brewing in Pueblo over an anti-abortion city ordinance nominally introduced by recently-elected City Councillor Regina Maestri, but under the hood the brainchild of a Texas-based anti-abortion rabblerouser who participated in the January 6th, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

“There’s an ordinance that had just been passed in Hobbs, New Mexico. I brought it to council to open it up for discussion. I asked our legal department if they could draft something that Pueblo could use in the same manner in order to prevent an abortion clinic from setting up shop here,” Maestri said.

The first-year councilwoman said she worked with Tamara Axworthy, of A Caring Pregnancy Center in Pueblo, and the leader of Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn, Mark Lee Dickson of Texas, to bring forward the ordinance. Both have said they support the anti-abortion movement.

The Pueblo Chieftain’s Anna Lynn Winfrey reported in detail about the background of Mark Lee Dickson, the “Johnny Appleseed” of municipal abortion bans passed across the state of Texas now turning his sights on Colorado despite our state’s passage of strong statutory protections for abortion rights this year in the Reproductive Health Equity Act. Banning abortion is Dickson’s main gig, but it’s not his only political interest:

According to Dickson’s Wikipedia page, he identifies as a “36 year old virgin” and attended the insurrection in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, but claims he did not enter the U.S. Capitol… [Pols emphasis]

He helped write an ordinance that attempts to skirt Colorado’s Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA), a law state legislators passed just before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 50-year precedent of a constitutional right to abortions in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision in June.

“We have we have no reason to believe this wouldn’t work and we’re not afraid of RHEA … Federal laws trump state statutes,” Dickson said.

In short, the proposed Pueblo ordinance is a municipal version of Texas’s controversial anti-abortion law that utilizes private lawsuits to be brought against anyone who “ships or receives abortion pills or abortion-related paraphernalia.” After Pueblo residents voted along with the rest of the state against numerous statewide ballot measures to restrict and/or completely eliminate abortion rights, this ordinance is needless to say completely out of step with the repeatedly-expressed interests of this community.

Pro-choice stakeholders in Pueblo hope that the City Council will reject this ordinance outright whenever it comes up for a final vote, and failing that the city’s Mayor Nick Gradisar will veto it. If it is passed into law, Attorney General Phil Weiser has promised to defend state law guaranteeing abortion rights–and either way this sneak attack on abortion in Pueblo should prompt state legislation to restrict local communities from monkeying with reproductive rights.

Much like Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown’s vow to focus on school board races and city governments like Mike Coffman’s Aurora, here we have the MAGA right once again “going small” to notch wins. In Colorado, where Republicans have been backed into a corner after years of punishing defeats, these small proxy battles are likely to become the norm at least for the next couple of years.

They’ll require the same determination as the big fights, or they’ll become footholds for future treachery.

Post-Election Media Bashing: Conservative Radio Is ‘Only Way We Got Our Voice Out,’ Says Ganahl

(Preach only to the choir? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“What really was frustrating to me is that the public, the people of Colorado, didn’t get to hear my heart. They didn’t get to hear who I am, or how I wanted to solve problems for them because [the news media] were so jaded and cynical, cynical and selective,” Heidi Ganahl told KOA radio host Mandy Connell last week.

“I would have a conversation with a reporter for an hour and talk all about policy and what I wanted to do. And the headline would be — what do you think?”

Ganahl

“Furries! Furries!” responded Connell.

“Or election deniers or you know. …” said Ganahl.

Ganahl said the situation with the media is “not fair to the people of Colorado.”

“Look at what’s happening with Twitter right now,” she told Connell on Dec. 5. “That’s not fair to the Americans who could have made a different decision about what they were going to vote if they knew what happened with the Hunter Biden story or pick your pleasure, whichever story they covered up. But in a smaller scale that happened in Colorado because we could never get our message out.”

In the end, Ganahl is left thinking that “conservative radio in Colorado is the only way we got our voice out.”

Ganahl is not the only failed conservative candidate in Colorado who’s said that conservatives should avoid media environments where challenging questions might pop up — and instead focus on their own platforms.

In the runup to his loss in 2020, former Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican, said that to win, conservatives should skirt the media’s “pre-approved filter” and speak directly with constituents in order “to get our message around the people who want to twist or turn it or ignore it.” Gardner once told a right-wing talk radio host that the media is biased against “people like us.”

Asked by Connell if she regretted not accepting an offer during the campaign to debate on 9News, Ganahl said, “No, Mandy, I don’t. I just, I have no respect for [9News anchor] Kyle Clark. He does not treat women well. And I’ve spent the last couple of decades of my life working on helping women, lifting them up, and teaching them how to be strong and bold and speak up for themselves. And at the end of the day, we tried to negotiate something with 9News where he had a woman with him instead of Marshall. Nothing against [9News political reporter] Marshall [Zellinger]. We just to make a point, said, ‘You need a woman’s perspective up there to counteract his attitude towards especially conservative women.’ And they wouldn’t do it. And so at that point, it was like, ‘Fine, then never mind, I am going to put my money where my mouth is and stand up like I tell other women to do and say no, even if it will cost me, you know, some name recognition.’ But I also, you know, we had four other debates that were really good that people could watch online.”

On the other hand, Ganahl praised CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd’s coverage of the furry story, which first appeared in the Colorado Times Recorder, but she lamented that “nobody paid attention” to it because it came out late.

Meanwhile, with respect to her Democratic opponent, Gov. Jared Polis, Ganahl told Connell, “The media covered up for him and let him do his thing.”

The Tide Swamps Future Republican Hopes in Colorado

(Interesting analysis — promoted by Colorado Pols)

I took a break over lunch hour and looked at some of the election results here in Colorado. Bottom line: the cracks are in the Republican firmament in Douglas, El Paso and Weld counties. Mesa remains reliably Republican but its significance is declining due to the growth on the Front Range.

Douglas County: Ganahl defeated Polis by less than 1%. Jason Crow won the area of Douglas County in his district. O’Dea defeated Bennett 53% to 45% which is well below par for what Republicans used to win in that county in major statewide races.

El Paso County:  It’s still a Republican county but the margins in the major races are down significantly and the county now has 3 Democratic state representatives and 1 Democrat in the state senate. Ganahl defeated Polis 51% to 47% and O’Dea beat Bennett 53% to 44%. Remember the old days when a major Republican candidate would win El Paso 2 to 1. In 1992, when Gov. Romer ran for his third term, he put 20+ paid campaign staffers into El Paso because he wanted to be the first modern Democrat to win that county. After all that effort, Romer received 35.9% of the vote. Bruce Benson, a flawed candidate, blew Romer out of the water in El Paso. In other words, with urbanization and population growth, El Paso’s bright red is fading to a pale pink.

Weld County:  Weld still looks and votes Republican and will do so for the next few cycles but a closer look shows major shifts have begun, especially in southern Weld along the I-25 corridor. Those areas voted for Biden in 2020 and the same areas voted almost exclusively for Democrats running for the General Assembly this year, plus the eastern half of Greeley has been blue for quite some time. The northern metro suburbs (southern Weld) will continue to grow and the population expansion there is going to eat away at the Republican dominance in that county.

Bottom Line: Two things are going on in Colorado. One, former Republican strongholds, Arapahoe and Jefferson counties have turned absolutely bright blue. Two, except for Mesa, in the remaining large counties (the three above), the Republican Party is slowly losing its grip and even if they continue to vote Republican, the Republican margin of victory will be so thin in those counties that a statewide Democrat will win every time. Unless the Democrats nominate an absolute lunatic, the Republican Party cannot build a coalition that can win major statewide races in Colorado for the foreseeable future. In fact, I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better for the Republicans. Through their silly stupid machinations and positions, they have alienated the vast majority of Colorado voters.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 8)

‘Tis a mighty blustery day. Now, 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 learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

FIRST UP…

 

Journalists at The New York Times are on strike after contract negotiations broke down, so there will be no links to the Times in this edition of “Get More Smarter.”

 

After Roe v. Wade was overturned last June, there were lots of rumblings that conservative judges on the U.S. Supreme Court might be interested in going after same-sex and interracial marriage protections next (Justice Clarence Thomas openly spoke about that desire). Today, Congress took final steps to make sure that those protections remain in place regardless of what the Supreme Court does next.

As The Associated Press reports:

The House gave final approval Thursday to legislation protecting same-sex marriages, a monumental step in a decadeslong battle for nationwide recognition of those unions that reflects a stark turnaround in societal attitudes.

President Joe Biden is expected to promptly sign the measure, which requires all states to recognize same-sex marriages. It is a relief for hundreds of thousands of couples who have married since the Supreme Court’s 2015 decision that legalized those marriages and have worried about what would happen if the ruling were overturned.

The bipartisan legislation, which passed 258-169 with almost 40 Republican votes, would also protect interracial unions by requiring states to recognize legal marriages regardless of “sex, race, ethnicity, or national origin.” After months of negotiations, the Senate passed the bill last week with 12 Republican votes.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who presided over the vote as one of her last acts in leadership before stepping aside in January, wiped her eye as she became emotional before signing the bill, which sent it to the White House immediately after the vote. She called the bill “a glorious triumph of love and freedom.”

Every Democrat in Colorado’s Congressional delegation voted in favor of the “Respect for Marriage Act.” Every Republican — Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn — voted ‘NO.’

 

► Brittney Griner, the WNBA basketball star who has been detained for months in Russia, was finally freed in a prisoner exchange negotiated by the Biden administration. Griner is expected to arrive in the United States at some point today.

 

Don’t miss the latest episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) and a discussion about the “Infinity War” within the Colorado Republican Party.

 

 

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Denver Does Right By Bussed-In Migrants

THURSDAY UPDATE: As officials continue to unravel the mystery of a large busload of migrants who arrived in the city this week without advance warning, it’s looking less like political chicanery and more of a case of migrants helping themselves out of a bad situation. The Colorado Sun:

The city is still trying to learn more about an uptick of recent migrants to the city — including the origin point of a bus that delivered roughly 90 people Monday night — but said it has ruled out speculation the migrants were sent here by another state’s governor.

“There was sort of an informal gathering on social media among those folks themselves,” said Evan Dreyer, the Denver mayor’s deputy chief of staff. “This does not appear to be anything that was organized by another government entity to direct people to Denver. We do not think that was the case — no evidence of that.”

That’s a relief, and either way Denver is doing an exemplary job at providing for their needs.

—–

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, chief players of the GOP migrant trafficking game.

We’re monitoring a late-breaking story in downtown Denver today, after some 100 Spanish-speaking migrants arrived unannounced by bus yesterday in need of basic services, which fortunately the city has been planning to provide as needed in the recent months as dumping migrants in so-called “sanctuary cities” far from the U.S. border became a favored stunt for border-state Republican governors to pull. Denver7 reports:

Mayor Michael Hancock tweeted Wednesday that many of the roughly 100 migrants are asylum-seekers and refugees. Last month, the city welcomed a bus of about 50 migrants from El Paso, Texas. They were seeking asylum and were sheltered at a faith-based facility in west Denver.

Hancock tweeted, “Denver is and always will be a welcoming community, and we will support these individuals and families with the humanity and dignity they deserve while facing such a difficult situation. Our priority is the health and safety of all our residents, including those who are migrants. We will do what we can to provide for their needs at this time, including uniting them w/ friends, family, jobs & transportation to other destinations. We lead w/ compassion & we will never turn away from anyone looking to achieve a better life for themselves or their loved ones.”

The Denver Post’s Joe Rubino reports that the migrants who arrived yesterday appear to be from Venezuela, but the circumstances by which they boarded buses for Denver is so far unclear:

Through conversations with the immigrants, the city has learned that most are from Venezuela. A majority are between the ages of 20 and 40 but there are at least one or two children in the group, according to Ortega.

“They all speak Spanish and they all have told us they are migrants,” Ortega said.

There is still much the city doesn’t know including where the immigrants came from last or how they got on the bus. The city also does not have a description of the bus to share at this point, Ortega said.

“We are continuing to talk to them but their stories are not matching up on how they got here,” Ortega said. “I have to note there is a distrust in government. They are afraid.”

Although Denver has received busloads of migrants before, their transportation was generally by private charities and (key point here) coordinated with local relief agencies. That doesn’t appear to be the case with this latest round, leading Sen. John Hickenlooper to fear the worst:

That’s everything we know as of now, and we’ll update once the organizer claims responsibility. The lack of communication from whoever organized this is extremely irresponsible all by itself, and implicates a political motive. If this does turn out to be another Republican-engineered stunt to “draw attention” to the border by luring migrants onto buses under dubious pretenses, as with other cities targeted Denver will ensure these people are properly cared for and have their immigration cases processed in accordance with the law.

And then we can only hope it backfires politically.

These are people who need help, not trafficked as disposable political props.

Nobody Wanted To Throw Money Down Deep Colorado Wells

One of Deep Colorado Wells’ many anti-Polis billboards.

The Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul followed up yesterday with one of the biggest individual funders pumping message dollars into the 2022 elections, Weld County oil and gasman millionaire Steve Wells. Back in September, Wells made a big splash with his announcement that he would spend millions in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl in an attempt to counter wealthy incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ overwhelming financial advantage.

But now we know thanks to the Sun, who reported originally in their Unaffiliated newsletter last week, that Steve Wells’ “Deep Colorado Wells” were more like holding tanks for money that went mostly unspent:

Wells says he has refunded himself about $7 million from the super PAC, Deep Colorado Wells, that he formed to defeat Polis and support Republican candidates, leaving about $850,000 in the committee’s coffers for future political spending.

Wells said he always intended to spend the full $11 million but that he stopped at $3.3 million about a month before Election Day after he realized other GOP donors weren’t going to open their wallets in Colorado and as he saw how much money Polis, a wealthy self-funding candidate, was dedicating to his reelection bid…

A few fake last-minute polls and lots of hot air notwithstanding, the race between Polis and Ganahl was never close, with every credible poll showing her losing by 10 points or more going into the campaign’s final weeks. As Ganahl mired herself in disastrously silly right-wing sideshows like the quest to prove that “furries” are overrunning Colorado’s public schools, Ganahl’s decline in the polls accelerated toward her eventual 19-point defeat on Election Day.

But incredibly, Steve Wells doesn’t blame Ganahl, but rather fellow Republican donors who refused to pony up:

Wells, whose fortune comes from oil and gas drilling on his 40,000-acre Weld County ranch, said he has severed ties with some wealthy GOP donors over their unfulfilled financial commitments.

“It’s changed who I do business with,” Wells said without getting specific. “If you want to sit and piss and moan and bitch about your taxes and crime and all this shit and do absolutely nothing, then get the hell away from me, because I don’t have time for that.”

…Wells said he doesn’t blame Ganahl for her loss, and he doesn’t regret supporting her candidacy rather than directing his money toward other candidates. [Pols emphasis] He figured that supporting Ganahl would provide a boost to all Republicans running this year. Wells also thought other GOP donors would follow his lead.

There’s no nice way to say this, but the “wealthy GOP donors” who refused to throw good money after Wells’ bad money did so based on a realistic assessment that this race was unwinnable, and they were right. This was money spent unimaginatively (see cheesy representative billboard above) by an individual with little to no political experience. The fact that Steve Wells didn’t have anyone to tell him he was on a fool’s errand is Wells’ problem and no one else’s.

This is not an attempt to defend the strategic choices made by Republican donors in the 2022 election cycle as a whole. But in the case of Heidi Ganahl, no responsible strategist with the ear of any GOP funder would have advised to keep pumping money into Ganahl’s lost cause–especially at the expense of races like the Eighth Congressional District, where a few million dollars might have gone much farther in support of Barb Kirkmeyer.

Like self-funding lost cause Joe O’Dea, Wells was a fool easily parted with lots of his money.

May both of them learn lessons from the losses they were unable to cut.

Georgia On Our Minds

UPDATE 8:30PM: Multiple news outlets call Georgia’s U.S. Senate race for Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. Democrats win a 51-49 Senate majority as the 2022 election cycle finally comes to a close.

All of American politics awaits the results of the runoff election for the U.S. Senate in the state of Georgia today pitting incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock against Republican football legend Herschel Walker. Poll aggregates show the race extremely close but with Warnock holding a small persistent edge. A Warnock win would give Democrats a crucial one-seat “Manchin Margin” to pad their Senate majority.

A completely unscientific for-discussion-purposes poll follows. As always, try to set aside what you want to happen and vote for what you think actually will happen. And we’ll update this evening with results.

Who will win Georgia's U.S. Senate runoff election?

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