Neville: I Talked Trump Out of Backing Red Flag Bill After Parkland

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock)

As Trump is promising action on gun safety legislation, Colorado Republican House leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock is taking credit for talking Trump out pushing a red flag bill in the wake of the 2018 Parkland, Florida, gun massacre.

“Just about eighteen months ago, I went and visited the president and actually talked him out of [supporting a red flag bill],” Neville told KNUS hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden, referring to legislation that would allow judges to authorize the confiscation of guns from dangerous people. “I went to the Roosevelt room [at the White House]. The staff tried to prepare us beforehand, saying, ‘Here’s what we are going to talk about. Pump this up.’

“And so everyone did until they got to me. And I was like, ‘Hey Mr. President. I think these are terrible laws. And here’s why.’ And I gave him a bunch of different reasons.”

Neville thought he was going to leave the room with “some weird nickname from the President.”

Instead, Trump “actually listened,” said Neville, who’s a Columbine shooting survivor. 

Now Neville thinks Trump’s staff is again poisoning his thinking on red flag legislation.


Recall Donations Have a Funny Way of Disappearing

You could donate to a Neville recall campaign…or keep warm for a few minutes.

As we’ve discussed in this space on numerous occasions, various efforts to recall Democratic elected officials in Colorado are about two things: 1) Figuring out a way to get around the fact that pesky Colorado voters won’t support Republican candidates, and 2) Raising money by any means possible.

The fundraising aspect has become so intense, in fact, that it has sparked some nasty infighting among right-wing groups scrapping for loose change. One of the main financial beneficiaries of Recallpalooza is the Neville Clan, led by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville and his political consultant brother, Joe Neville. This isn’t just speculation on our part. The Nevilles openly admit that they are promoting recalls in order to profit financially, which is perhaps somewhat more honorable than pretending otherwise but no less disgusting in general.

As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman…well, let’s just say you can color us unsurprised:

A political fund controlled by state House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock and his brother, Joe Neville, has been attempting for months to raise money for the effort to recall Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

But groups involved in the recall effort say they haven’t seen any of that money yet. [Pols emphasis]

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock)

The most recent fundraising email was sent Aug. 5 under the name of Take Back Colorado, asking respondents to reply to a survey on whether the governor should be recalled. It included a link to a donation site, operated by Values First Colorado, the 527 campaign committee run by Joe Neville that primarily supports Republican candidates for the Colorado state House.

Under tax law, 527 committees can raise unlimited funds to influence an election or issue but can’t coordinate with a campaign.

Joe Neville told Colorado Politics that any money received through that Aug. 5 fundraising email would go to the Resist Polis PAC, one of two groups involved in the petition effort to recall the governor. He did not respond to a request on how much money was raised by the Polis-recall emails.

But Resist Polis PAC spokeswoman Korry Lewis said the group’s dealings with the Nevilles have been frustrating, because while “we’ve been talking to them since April” about the fundraising emails, it hasn’t seen any money yet.

As we’ve already seen with failed recall attempts targeting Democratic Rep. Tom Sullivan, you had better hold on to your receipts if you decide to write a check to one of these grifting operations. Some recall donors have in fact figured this out and are asking for their money back, which is sort of like waiting for a check from Bernie Madoff.

This is not the first time that the Nevilles and their friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners have made campaign donations disappear. Since Republican donors don’t seem to be learning anything from these mistakes, it surely won’t be the last time, either.

Hickenlooper To End Presidential Campaign

THURSDAY UPDATE: Watch Gov. John Hickenlooper’s gracious presidential race exit video, in which he pledges to seriously consider a run for the U.S. Senate:

I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the US Senate. They remind me how much is at stake for our country. And our state. I intend to give that some serious thought.

And this from Sen. Kamala Harris’ press secretary:

And for good measure, Sen. Elizabeth Warren:


John Hickenlooper

As the Associated Press reports, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday will end his bid for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination:

John Hickenlooper is expected to drop out of the Democratic presidential primary on Thursday.

That’s according to a person close to the former Colorado governor who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly before the announcement and who spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday night on condition of anonymity.

It is not expected that Hickenlooper will immediately announce his next steps — only that he is dropping out of the race for President. It has been looking increasingly likely in recent weeks that Hickenlooper is moving toward a run for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Cory Gardner: Going The Extra Mile For…Movie Theaters?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Sen. Cory Gardner continued his low-publicity “walking tour” of Colorado towns and cities yesterday with a stop in the conservative mountain town of Buena Vista–seat of red-leaning Chaffee County, which narrowly voted for Donald Trump and Darryl Glenn in the last presidential election. The Mountain Mail newspaper obliged Gardner with the closest we’ve seen to a controversy-free puff piece during this year’s August recess, in which Gardner is basically pretending to engage with the public while minimizing the ability of opponents to organize around these short-notice “public events.”

One particular claim from Gardner during this uncharacteristically sedate walking tour of Buena Vista is worth discussing:

Gardner took a walking tour of East Main Street for about an hour, stopping to answer questions from constituents, discussing topics including energy, affordable housing, bipartisan compromise, cannabis and the Pearl theater.

“One thing we’ve done with rural theaters … we have theaters that are stuck with the choice of digital cameras that cost a quarter of a million dollars more than they have. And this is the other thing I find interesting: For the towns like, say, Akron, Colorado, if they want a first run of a movie, say they want to get the new Spider-Man movie or the new Marvel movie, they’re required to keep those in the theater for three weeks. In a small town, you’ve seen it the first weekend,” Gardner said while standing outside the Pearl.

“So I actually called the CEO of Disney and said, ‘Can you make some kind of exception for rural theaters? I guarantee they’re not making the difference in your quarterly profit. So can you just say you guys don’t have to keep it for three weeks?’”

Got that, voters? If your town movie theater needs a break, Cory Gardner will call the CEO of Disney! That’s amazing news for small-town movie theaters, although the story doesn’t mention if Disney’s CEO, you know, ever said yes. But that’s not really the point: once Gardner starts ringing up CEOs on behalf of some constituents, shouldn’t he do that for all of us? Like constituents getting price gouged by pharmaceutical companies? Screwed by their private insurance? Ripped off by loan sharks? Sickened by neighborhood polluters? We could go on and on.

It’s a lot of CEOs, folks. On the upside, most of them should be easier to get on the phone than Robert Iger.

Thursday Open Thread

“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

–John F. Kennedy

Checked Your Stocks Today?

Look out below.

Maybe don’t. Or have a stiff drink first:

The Dow fell 800 points Wednesday after the bond market, for the first time in over a decade, flashed a warning signal that has an eerily accurate track record for predicting recessions.

Here’s what happened: The 10-year Treasury bond yield fell below 1.6% Wednesday morning, dropping just below the yield of the 2-year Treasury bond. It marked the first time since 2007 that 10-year bond yields fell below 2-year yields.

US stocks fell as investors sold stock in companies and moved it into bonds. The Dow (INDU) fell as many as 808 points and was nearly 3.1% lower at the close. The broader S&P 500 (SPX) closed down 2.9% and the Nasdaq (COMP) sank 3% Wednesday. It was the worst day for stocks of 2019.

We’ll hold off on the political prognostication long enough for readers to grieve. But clearly there will be some.

Ultra-Conservative Pastor Running for CO House Seat Thinks Women Shouldn’t Wear Pants

(We have nothing to add – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The question of whether it’s appropriate for women to wear pants is one you might expect to see while studying the beginnings of the feminist movement in the 19th century, but probably not in a 2019 race for a seat in Colorado’s House of Representatives. And yet, here we are.

Longmont pastor Corey Seulean, who recently announced he’s running to replace term-limited Colorado Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), tells women in his congregation at Hopewell Baptist Church that it’s immodest to wear pants, and that they should instead wear either skirts or “modest culottes,” a woman who attended his church said on Facebook.

Corey Seulean
Source: Youtube

When asked by the Colorado Times Recorder about the pastor’s stance on how women decide to cover their legs, a Seulean spokesperson confirmed that he does in fact believe that pants are immodest and that women shouldn’t wear them.

The comment from Melissa Ford was posted on Seulean’s candidate Facebook page announcing his campaign kickoff event.

“Mr. I am going to tell the women of my congregation how to dress?” wrote Ford on Seulean’s post. “Please pick a better candidate.”

When prompted for more details by another commenter, Ford wrote, “We attended his church at one point. He would get in front of the congregation and basically tell us women should not wear pants. We should wear skirts or ‘modest culottes’. Not sure that is the best candidate to be putting forward.”

Ford could not be reached for comment.

The post with Ford’s comment has since been deleted.

Campaign manager Benjamin Seulean, who’s also Cory Seulean’s son, said that’s because they updated the event announcement after learning that Rep. Saine would no longer be able to attend, not because they didn’t want Ford’s comment on their page.

“I did not delete it because of [Ford’s] comment,” said Seulean. “I didn’t have a problem with what she said.”

Benjamin Seulean told the Colorado Times Recorder that while the church doesn’t enforce a dress code, Pastor Seulean has made it known that he believes that the Bible says it’s immodest for women to wear pants.


Cory Gardner Talking Points Robot Appears in Minturn

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made a 2020 re-election campaign stop in Minturn on Tuesday. It was not particularly inspiring, even by Gardner standards.

As Nate Peterson captures for the Vail Daily, Gardner was asked some tough questions — for which he provided some very Gardner-esque non-answers. Check out this discussion:

Joy Harrison, the former chair of the Eagle County Democrats, pleaded with Gardner to support the CORE Act in a seven-minute back-and-forth exchange.

“It’s an incredibly important bill that would preserve these incredible public lands for our kids and our kids’ kids,” Harrison said. “Your vote and your support is absolutely critical because Republican Senators, your colleagues, are looking to you to see what you will signal.”

“The CORE Act has supporters and it has people who don’t like it,” Gardner said. “I think what’s important in Colorado is that we find that way to find something that people can support. I think that’s incredibly important.” [Pols emphasis]

“You’re dismissing so much work and so much coalition-building that has gone into this,” Harrison said.

“All I said is we’ve got to find a way to find something that works,” Gardner responded. 

“The work is already done,” Harrison said.

Gardner wasn’t done waffling, however, later adding this: “To be clear, I do not oppose this bill.” Clear as mud, sir.

Ready? Here come the words!

Gardner is a caricature of himself at this point. Last week in Wheat Ridge, he answered questions about immigration, racism in politics, and gun violence with nonsense platitudes like, “I’m going to do what’s right for the people of Colorado,” and our personal favorite, “If we have an immigration policy that works, most Americans are going to agree with almost all of it.”

From gun violence to health care, Gardner mumbles out non-answer after non-answer. When he’s not taking credit for things he actually opposes, Gardner attempts weird subject changes in response to basic questions. For example, consider this answer to a question about whether Gardner supports Trump administration efforts to gut the Obama-era Clean Power Plan:

“I voted that climate change is real.”

Uh, okay. What in the hell does that even mean?

Gardner has been getting slammed for regularly ignoring constituents and reporters in Colorado. Now that he’s finally showing his face in his home state, he’s not doing himself any favors by prattling on like a mindless politician. It’s not a mystery why Gardner faces an uphill battle on his road to re-election in 2020.

Surprising Poll Results for Proposition CC, TABOR Refunds

The Colorado Sun reports on some surprising new polling data about Proposition CC and TABOR refunds in general:

A survey conducted by Republican firm Magellan Strategies found that 54% of likely 2019 general election voters intend to approve Proposition CC, while 30% said they were going to reject the question. And 15% said they were undecided. [Pols emphasis]

“You have to give the Democratic legislature and governor credit, because the language of the ballot question is very simple and very good,” said David Flaherty, who leads Louisville-based Magellan. “It’s not your typical ‘shall taxes be raised by $10 billion for transportation or roads?’ It’s a very simple ask and it doesn’t even mention TABOR.”

He pointed to the fact that 32% of Republicans said they intended to support the measure as proof of the well-written language by proponents, given that conservatives are typically fierce defenders of TABOR, Colorado’s complicated tax law limiting government growth and mandating that voters approve any tax hike.

Those polled were read the exact ballot language and then asked if they would support the measure when they vote in November.

The full polling memo from Magellan Strategies is available HERE.

Via Magellan Strategies

Proposition CC is a measure for the November 2019 ballot that was referred by the state legislature earlier this year. It essentially asks voters to allow the State of Colorado to attain excess revenue — for transportation and education funding — that would otherwise be returned to taxpayers in very small amounts under a formula established by the 1992 “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR).

As anyone familiar with Colorado politics well knows, attempting to make any sort of changes to TABOR has typically been an arduous and often unsuccessful task. It is a huge surprise, then, that 54% of likely general election voters already support the idea of Proposition CC — particularly given that there is still no organized campaign promoting the measure. Republican opponents of Prop. CC have been out in force for months, with funding and support from groups like Americans for Prosperity and big-name fist-shakers such as Walker Stapleton and Heidi Ganahl leading the charge. In other words, Prop. CC is viewed favorably by voters despite the fact that nobody is telling them good things about the measure — and perhaps because there is active opposition from well-known Colorado Republicans.

So, what’s happening here? As Magellan Strategies notes, while 46% of respondents still view TABOR favorably, only 20% say that they are “very familiar” with the 1992 ballot measure. Those respondents who dislike Colorado’s funding restrictions are well-tuned to the anti-TABOR messaging:

“The primary reasons 36% of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of TABOR is the belief that the amendment has had a negative impact on adequate funding for public education, roads, transportation and other government services.”

It’s way too early to get too excited about these polling numbers if you support Prop. CC, but opinions on TABOR are clearly trending in a negative direction. Some of that is undoubtedly because many Colorado voters have no familiarity with TABOR after 27 years; Colorado’s recent blueward tendencies also play a significant role.

Should Prop. CC supporters manage to scrap together a semi-decent campaign this fall, we could be looking at a very interesting election night in November.

Climate Crisis in Colorado: America’s Headwaters Hit by Warming

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

High in the San Juan Mountains and rising from the porous geology of the Grand Mesa, the headwaters to the Gunnison River – the second largest tributary in the Colorado River system – are among the areas in our nation most threatened from climate change.

The Gunnison River Basin is among the most threatened in the nation from climate change, with major portions of its watershed among the nation’s most-impacted from warming.

The Gunnison Basin, the land drained by the river and its tributaries, stretches from the northern slopes of the San Juan Mountains, from the Sawatch and Elk mountains just west of the Continental Divide, from the West Elks and Grand Mesa, to the eastern flanks of the Uncompahgre Plateau.

The Gunnison and its tributaries start at some of the highest elevations in the U.S. and it joins the muddy Colorado River in the desert at the edge of canyon country in Grand Junction – the confluence being that city’s namesake.

It’s a storied river, full of promise and misery, luck and misfortune, chance connections and betrayals. It’s history, and prehistory, is rich, including the Ute Tribes that lived and farmed there for centuries, with Spanish priests and explorers searching for wealth and a route to connect New Spain with missions on the coast. The region is full of stories, French-Canadian fur trappers, mountain men, guides, and miners. Finally, it is the story of the settlers who turned the valley lands to agriculture. Some of Colorado’s most productive farm and ranches are watered by the Gunnison, square in climate change’s cross-hairs.

Crawford, Colo sits in Delta County on the Montrose County line, and near the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Delta and Montrose counties are both among seventy-one U.S. counties being most impacted by warming.

Now a new county-by-county look from the Washington Post shows just how threatened the Gunnison Basin is from the climate crisis.

The August 13 report, “2°C: Beyond the Limit: Extreme climate change has arrived in America,” identifies seventy-one U.S. counties that have already hit the “two degree” threshold of warming.

But global warming does not heat the world evenly.

A Washington Post analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark.

…Seventy-one [U.S.] counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.

This 2°C threshold is broadly identified as the too-far-gone global benchmark to avoid even more catastrophic climate disruption. Eight of the seventy-one counties on the Washington Post list are in Colorado.

And seven of those eight are on the Western Slope—which is to say that 10% of U.S. counties that have already crossed the threshold—are in the headwaters to much of the United States. And five counties on that list comprise major portions of the Gunnison River Basin, together representing seven percent of all the nation’s seventy-one identified climate critical counties. The climate crisis is real – and it is already here in Colorado.


PPP: Hickenlooper 51%, Gardner 38%

UPDATE: As the New York Times reports, Hick is sure looking like a Senate candidate:

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado is in discussions about ending his presidential bid and entering the race for his state’s Republican-held Senate seat, potentially giving Democrats a strong candidate in a race they must win to have hopes of retaking the chamber in 2021, according to four Democrats familiar with his thinking.

Mr. Hickenlooper, who is mired at the bottom of public polling of the presidential race, hopped into Senator Michael Bennet’s car on Friday night in this Northern Iowa town to discuss his impending decision, said Democrats familiar with the discussion, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe confidential talks.

The two drove around Clear Lake for about 20 minutes ahead of the Wing Ding dinner, a Democratic fund-raiser that drew 21 presidential candidates. Aides and advisers to the two men, who have been both allies and rivals over their careers in Colorado politics, declined to reveal what was discussed.


As the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter reports:

“I think there’s one candidate who can beat Cory Gardner and send (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell into the minority and it’s John Hickenlooper,” said Josh Morrow, the 314 Action Fund’s executive director…

“I just see this as doing a greater service to the country,” Morrow said of running for Senate, “than running for president and being president.”

The 314 Action Fund also paid for a poll of 739 Colorado voters, conducted Aug. 8-11 by Public Policy Polling, that found Hickenlooper leading Gardner in a hypothetical head-to-head contest, 51% to 38%. The margin of error was 3.6%.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper polling over the 50% threshold as a hypothetical candidate against incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner in this latest poll from Democratic-aligned Public Policy Polling only reinforces the psychological effect of yesterday’s poll showing Hickenlooper over 50% versus the next-best Democratic primary candidate at only 10% support. There’s just no way anyone else in the running today can compete with Gov. Hickenlooper’s overwhelmingly high name in-state name ID and popularity if he decides to get into the U.S. Senate race.

As for the other candidates, including one with a pre-existing relationship with 314 Action Fund as the Post reports today, this turn of events isn’t personal–though it is certainly disappointing to those hopefuls. There was always the possibility that a higher-order candidate would emerge, if not Hickenlooper than with member(s) of Congress whose names came and went. The path for Democrats to retaking the U.S. Senate in 2020 is exceedingly narrow and can afford to leave nothing to chance. That being the case, the best choice by far is the one that minimizes risks.

Every single indicator we have today says that’s John Hickenlooper.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 13)

Enjoy your last day of summer vacation, Jefferson County students. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us Facebook and Twitter.


► Eight counties in Western Colorado are among the fastest-warming places in the entire country, according to data compiled by the Washington Post:

Over the past two decades, the 2 degrees Celsius number has emerged as a critical threshold for global warming. In the 2015 Paris accord, international leaders agreed that the world should act urgently to keep the Earth’s average temperature increases “well below” 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 to avoid a host of catastrophic changes…

…A Washington Post analysis of more than a century of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data across the Lower 48 states and 3,107 counties has found that major areas are nearing or have already crossed the 2-degree Celsius mark.

— Today, more than 1 in 10 Americans — 34 million people — are living in rapidly heating regions, including New York City and Los Angeles. Seventy-one counties have already hit the 2-degree Celsius mark.

Montrose, Rio Blanco, Mesa, and Ouray counties are among the Top 10 most rapidly warming counties in the United States.


Colorado Public Radio follows up on a story we’ve been watching closely here at Colorado Pols: The real reason for moving the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management to Colorado. From CPR:

Critics of the Trump administration’s decision to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction fear the real goal is to weaken the bureau.

These concerns and suspicions have only been heightened by recent statements and actions from administration leaders. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed William Perry Pendley as acting BLM director. For years, Pendley advocated selling off the public lands of the agency he’s now leading…

…George Stone, with the Public Land Foundation, a nonprofit made up of many former BLM employees said there’s another saying in D.C.: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

He and many others fear BLM is the next dish to be served up, facing de-facto cuts and a marginalized position far from D.C. power players to advocate for its interests.


A “Draft Hick” movement is the next step in what is increasingly looking like an inevitable U.S. Senate campaign for former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Recent polling indicates that Hickenlooper holds a 51-point lead over the rest of the Democratic field should he join the race for the 2020 nomination.



Get even more smarter after the jump…


How Are Those Trump Tax Cuts Working Out For You?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

CNBC reports that they’re not working out so well for the nation’s bottom line:

The U.S. budget deficit widened another $119.7 billion, good for a 27% increase over a year ago, according to government figures released Monday.

Total outlays increased by 22.8% over last July as receipts grew 11.6%. For the year, receipts were up 3% in the October to July period, totaling $2.86 trillion, while expenditures were at $3.73 trillion, an 8% rise.

That brings the fiscal year deficit through July to $866.8 billion, a little over a year and a half after the Trump administration ushered through a $1.5 trillion tax cut that the White House has vowed would pay for itself. At this point last year, the deficit was $684 billion.

While it’s true that overall tax receipts are up with the strong economy we’ve enjoyed for most of the 2010s, the loss of the federal revenue growth that would have occurred were it not for the Trump tax cuts is directly responsible for a budget deficit headed over one trillion dollars this year–the inevitable result of tax cuts made with no offsetting cuts in spending. Spending cuts are the second act of the conservative “starve the beast” philosophy of deliberate fiscal crisis inducement–the part they don’t want to talk about while passing big tax cuts, but then in recent years has become too politically toxic to carry out as the harm those spending cuts would do to ordinary Americans is quantified.

Have voters seen this shell game played enough times to stop playing in 2020? We’ll have to see if repetition of this same tired tactic overcomes short attention spans. The one thing this situation cannot be called is fiscally responsible, and that’s the one thing Republicans are expected to be. Is it true that “deficits only matter when Democrats are in charge?”

If so, we can cut the proverbial crap.

“Never Trump” Kafer Considers Eating Out of the Trump Dumpster

(Okie dokie then – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A once brave “Never Trump” conservative, who couldn’t hold her nose and vote for Trump, is caving.

That’s Denver Post columnist Krista Kafer. As a talk radio host, she took endless abuse for her stance against Trump, and KNUS eventually dumped her.

Now, she’s saying she’s upset with Democrats and “looking at voting for Trump.”

“The deal is, that, yeah, [voting for Trump] a little like eating out of the dumpster, but if you’re that hungry, you’re going to do it,” said Kafer on Colorado Public Television’s weekly politics show, Colorado Inside Out. (on channel 12)

I’m a fan of dumpster diving. Great stuff to be found, including good food.

But if Kafer eats out of the Trump dumpster, not only will she get incredibly ill and possibly die, but she’s leading conservatives into a long stretch of political starvation.

Swing Voters in Colorado hate Trump, and Republicans can’t win without them. If you’re a practical Republican, you have to avoid the Trump dumpster–because the numbers don’t work for Republicans. Ask failed GOP congressional candidate Mike Coffman if he agrees.