How Bad Are Romney’s Tax Returns?

THURSDAY UPDATE: Former Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez was a bad surrogate for himself. Romney’s campaign might want to find someone else to respond to stuff like this, as Fox 31’s  Eli Stokols reports:

Six years ago, Beauprez’s campaign demanded that his primary opponent, Marc Holzman, come clean with his own tax returns, even though Beauprez didn’t recall that when asked about it on Wednesday.

“We might have,” Beauprez said. “I don’t think I cared much about it because I knew we were going to win. But the campaign might have called for that.”



Yesterday we pondered the question of how long Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney can continue to refuse to release tax returns beyond what little he has offered to this point. The obvious conclusion to make here is that there are things in those tax returns that are potentially very damaging to Romney — why else would he just stand there and take blow after blow when he could stop the questions whenever he wants?

As The Huffington Post reports today, maybe his tax returns really are that bad:

Mitt Romney has been determined to resist releasing his tax returns at least since his bid for Massachusetts governor in 2002 and has been confident that he will never be forced to do so, several current and former Bain executives tell The Huffington Post. Had he thought otherwise, say the sources based on their longtime understanding of Romney, he never would have gone forward with his run for president.

Bain executives say they’ve been instructed to keep company and Romney-specific information completely confidential, tightening the lockdown on an already closed company.

But pressure has been building on the presumptive GOP nominee. On Tuesday, the conservative National Review added its voice to a chorus of Republicans pushing him to disclose his returns from the years before 2010…

…A variety of possible explanations for Romney’s refusal to release the returns have flowed into the information vacuum. The Obama campaign has floated the notion that maybe he payed no taxes at all in some years. Others have wondered if he was part of the Swiss tax evasion scandal of 2009.

It seems clear that Romney isn’t going to be able to just refuse to release his returns and hope people stop asking for them. But maybe the alternative is just too risky for his campaign to ponder.

What say you, Polsters? What is in Romney’s tax returns that is so dangerous to his campaign?

Forget the Primary…Let’s Talk 2014!

The Colorado Statesman has some good gossip online about the 2014 Senate race (Sen. Mark Udall’s seat). There are a few particular items that we thought worthy of further analysis:

In no uncertain terms, state GOP boss Ryan Call wants to demolish the notion that he might be considering a run for Democrat Mark Udall’s U.S. Senate seat two years from now. That’s right: He’s not running, not even maybe.

We don’t think Ryan Call would be a particularly strong candidate for the GOP in 2014, but it’s interesting that his name came up enough to garner reporting from the Statesman. When you see or hear someone’s name being floated for a particular office, it’s almost always with at least implied consent from said person. This says a lot about Call’s future ambitions, but what really stands out is the relative weakness of the GOP bench; if Call’s name is being taken even slightly seriously, then Republicans have little hope of taking out Udall.

The Statesman writes that Rep. Mike Coffman’s name might be cooling off significantly as a 2014 Senate contender. As we have noted in this space many times, Coffman has been trying to put down his marker for the eventual Republican nomination for more than a year now. But if it’s not Coffman?

The most likely Republican candidate for Udall’s seat, top Republicans tell us, is a name familiar to friend and foe alike: former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, who gave up a congressional seat six years ago to launch what most agree was a stumbling campaign for governor, which he lost to one-termer Democrat Bill Ritter.

That’s right, Beauprez, a former state party chairman and nearly constant fixture at major state Republican events in recent months, is weighing a run for the U.S. Senate what would be eight years after his last race.

We’re more than a little surprised to hear the name Beauprez being mentioned with any shred of truth. We’re talking about a guy whose 2006 campaign for governor is on the short list of worst statewide campaigns in Colorado history.

We still think that Coffman will eventually be the Republican nominee unless he crashes spectacularly this November. But even if it isn’t Coffman, we’d be absolutely floored to see Beauprez emerge as the GOP favorite.

Dan Maes Still Mad…At Everybody

Republican Dan Maes, the 2010 GOP nominee for Governor (it still feels weird to write that) is apparently not letting his bygones, uh, be.

We didn’t have a chance to get to this earlier in the week, but didn’t want to forget to mention it. On Tuesday, Maes sent out a long note to supporters and people who “want the truth” detailing his continued anger at Tom Tancredo, Steve Durham, Bob Beauprez, Josh Penry, etc., etc. We were forwarded Maes’ “newsletter” as it appeared on a Facebook page, and we’ve included the entire missive after the jump.

The 2010 election is old news, certainly, but it’s interesting to read Maes’ detailed account of some of the events leading up to his nomination for Governor, as well as his calling out a handful of Republicans individually:

Bob Beauprez – you broke my heart.  You mentored me and you called me from Chicago right after the assembly to congratulate me personally.  Your radio commercial was a betrayal to me and conservative voters.

Freda Poundstone – you called me 4-5 times a day, even at 7:00 AM on the weekend to snoop around while acting like you supported me.  Shame on you.  You gave 300.00 to another candidate and told him not to cash it until after his election.  The games you played.

Josh Penry – you were a hired gun that could not hit a target.  Your political capital is gone except in parts of GJ and with some of your cronies.

Greg Brophy – you sell out to whomever Penry tells you to.

Ted Harvey – be thankful for your strong R base in Douglas County.  Their loyalty to you is admirable and your loss for chair has been your chastisement.

Click after the jump to read the full “newsletter,” complete with references to The Christmas Story, Men In Black and a sermon about giving forgiveness 77 times.


Calling A Spade a Spade


There are many classic movie bullies.  One of my favorites is the kid from The Christmas Story.  You remember him don’t you?  The tall one with the coonskin cap, braces on his teeth, and a bad chip on his shoulders.  Ralphie got his vengeance one day when he finally lost his cool and pummeled the poor kid with years of rage that had built up.  A classic!

Next to the common bully or gang of thugs is the more annoying one.  Come on, you know the one.  The short one with the big mouth.  He wants to be the bully but only talks smack when his gang is around to protect him.  If he spoke without the gang he would likely get his butt kicked.

These guys are not usually welcome at the spring formal or invited to the social event of the year.  Why?  Because they are who they are, they ticked off the wrong people, or they simply went over the line one too many times and no one wants them around.  If they show up, you know there is going to be trouble and it’s better for everyone if they just stay away.

Well, the bully of the 2010 election has decided he wants to hang out with the popular kids and he just is not feeling the love (tissue please).  That’s right, Tom Tancredo has friends trying to grease the skids for him at Lincoln Day Dinners.  “Uh hem, Mrs. Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth would like to join you for dinner.  He asked me to speak for him because he felt a little uncomfortable asking for himself”.  History buffs, just go with it.

Scripture says we are to forgive not just 7 times but 77 times.  During a great sermon on unforgiveness a month ago I broke down when I was convicted for the same.  I had let my anger get between me and God and that was a bad place to be.  I chose to forgive; but forgetting is another thing.  It is extremely interesting to me that it is the offenders who preach the message of “let’s put the past behind us”.  I had done so but just this week some of you asked me to revisit some of the details in an effort to shine the light on the truth so many who were mislead will hopefully not make the same mistake again.

Premeditated Assault on the Republican Party

Remember the memory erasure in Men In Black?  The feds waved a cool device with a bright light in front of a citizens eyes to erase their most recent memory of an alien encounter.  Folks, we are not talking about the Both Ways Bob thing of 2006, nor the poor judgement of running vicious attack ads during a primary.  We are talking about the premeditated, intentional, attack of BOTH the Republican Party AND its rightfully elected candidate.  Folks, do not look into the light!

Let’s revisit the highlights:

Summer of 2009 I am told to meet with TT and his henchman Steve Durham (see loud mouth and bully above) by one of their old friends who thought I could get them on board.  TT chooses not to attend but Durham does.  The conflicting environment of the beauty of the Garden of the Gods Club and the ugly conversation that took place was prophetic of the highs and lows of campaigning.  Durham proceeded to tell me how I could not get from here to there and win.  The conversation was like a verbal whooping and intended to convince me I was irrelevant.  Then his bravado reached out toward McInnis when he stated that he would see to it that McInnis did not make it past September if he had anything to do with it.  You see, this machinery was being prepped for manufacturing their candidate, Josh Penry. Need we talk about the track record of 30 something Josh’s in Denver?&n bsp;

November 2009.  TT starts rattling his sabre about entering the race for Governor as an R. He has his shot, he chokes.

Fast forward to spring of 2010 when some no name got 40% of the caucus straw poll for Governor.  Soon appeared the websitewww.danmaescan’ .  That’s right (currently down for maintenance)!  Stay with me here folks, it gets better.  The spokesman on the website was Big Ben Goss, the leader of the American Constitution Party.   That’s right, the guy who stepped aside so TT could run on the ACP ticket.  The video droned on about the exact same thing TT had droned on to me about in private as to why I could not win, money and the lack of it as well as lack of power broker support.

Then comes a few weeks before the assembly and the rumor is that TT will try to flank both me and Scott with some floor maneuver to get on the ballot.  He will swoop in and save us all.  He chokes again.  As I said above, talk is cheap when there is no one to back it up.

Need we even revisit the ugly events of TT and Wadhams on the Boyles show?  Yes, I think so.  I never thought Dick was behind TT early on.  I think he got on board later.  The show revealed TT’s disgust with the Republican party that was backfiring at him and Dick was the face of the machine.

Finally we have the High Noon Show Down and the general election.  TT was literally demonstrating his arrogance and possibly his psychopath side.  Did anyone really think we would listen?  Did anyone really think either one would step aside?  The man who had no loyalty to the party and said multiple times, “the party is just a vehicle to accomplish my goals” was threatening the party’s candidates.  His actions would lead to the loss of the election for R’s, the loss of bonus members, and potentially lead to the party becoming a minority party.  If you do not know what that means then you have no clue what damage he could have caused all current and future R candidates!  


Can You Explain the Hysteria?

I still speak with a mentor who supported me publicly, pulled his support publicly, and then encouraged me not to drop out.  Yea, you read that right.  He jokingly challenged me  over breakfast to hire a specialist in mass human behavior to explain the quick and massive movement of support to TT when he got in once and for all.  Even he was shocked at the speed and size of it.  Many made the move for many reasons but I think most of it was the fear of backing the loser.  That is one of the most weak and politically motivated reasons I have ever seen or heard of and, in this case, reflected a temporary irrationality and lack of reason  given even the most novice of voters knew TT could not win a statewide race.


I understand the mass mentality for the average voters but some made calculated decisions to also betray the party and they must be held accountable.

Bob Beauprez – you broke my heart.  You mentored me and you called me from Chicago right after the assembly to congratulate me personally.  Your radio commercial was a betrayal to me and conservative voters.

Freda Poundstone – you called me 4-5 times a day, even at 7:00 AM on the weekend to snoop around while acting like you supported me.  Shame on you.  You gave 300.00 to another candidate and told him not to cash it until after his election.  The games you played.

Josh Penry – you were a hired gun that could not hit a target.  Your political capital is gone except in parts of GJ and with some of your cronies.

Greg Brophy – you sell out to whomever Penry tells you to.

Ted Harvey – be thankful for your strong R base in Douglas County.  Their loyalty to you is admirable and your loss for chair has been your chastisement.

There are others my Patriot friends but I fear the list is too long and they will be forgiven by their obscurity into the future.

I promised an article on Patriot Groups in this addition but that will have to wait another week.  I will explore what groups walk their talk and which ones sold out their principles for personal gain.

Until next time,

Dan Maes

Abortion Ban. “Buckpedaled.”

Reporter Allison Sherry of the major Denver newspaper is out today with a story you knew was coming sooner or later: GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck has officially abandoned Amendment 62, the so-called “personhood amendment,” claiming he ‘did not understand’ that it might actually ban certain forms of birth control. Having given the measure his steadfast support throughout the primary election, Buck’s campaign now says he will vote against it.

Buck also now says that he will not introduce a constitutional amendment overturning abortion rights, as he told voters during the primary he would. And Buck even backed off his prior position on an abortion litmus test for nominees–pro-choice would not ipso facto mean “disqualified” now. He has not, apparently, changed his position that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest; these specific policy applications are merely where the issue is forced to the surface.

But it’s no less of a turning point in this campaign, folks, indeed this could be the big one that throws all the other incidents of Buck’s flipping-flopping and dishonesty, from the democratic election of U.S. Senators to abolishing the Department of Ed, Social Security and Medicare being “fundamentally against” what he believes, or a national sales taxall of them–into unbearably sharp relief for the voters. Bob Beauprez earned the nickname “Both Ways” over far less. This all strikes us as a significant strategic error on the part of Buck’s campaign. The lessons from the Beauprez campaign, and prior to that, the John Kerry 2004 Presidential run, remain fresh in our mind; it’s always more dangerous to look like a “flip-flopper” than any one or two specific policy stances can ever be.

Buck has abandoned so much more than Beauprez ever did, so much of what he used to stand for, it begs the question: is there anything left of the Ken Buck who won the primary?

Worst Week in Colorado #3

It’s time for another edition of “Worst Week in Colorado,” where we ask Colorado Pols readers who it is who had the worst week in Colorado politics.

Previous winners (or losers) include Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams and former GOP Gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis. Our nominee this week is the Colorado Republican Party and Establishment in general, for its shamelessly apparent attempts to discredit Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes and force him out of the race so that they can appoint someone else.

We had no problem with the GOP trying to get Maes out of the race prior to the Primary, or even soon afterwards, but this week the process took on a whole new level of desperate absurdity. If they can’t get Maes to agree to any sort of plan to bow out of the race, they could at least try to do it a little quieter while not openly poking in the eye the hundreds of thousands of Republicans who, for whatever reason, did vote for him in the Primary.

Who, or what, else would you nominate for “Worst Week in Colorado” this week?

Who Had the Worst Week in Colorado This Week?

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Last-Ditch Attempt to Force Maes Out Underway?

THURSDAY UPDATE #6: The Wall Street Journal puts Dan Maes’ name in lights again, accorded the no-small honor of Quote of the Day:

Enjoy the ride, Mr. Maes. Whatever happens tomorrow, he’s writing his poetry and the newspapers are printing it.

THURSDAY UPDATE #5: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols Tweets from today’s debate:

THURSDAY UPDATE #4: This is all becoming really very silly. Former Senate President, and Republican right-wing standard bearer, John Andrews issued this statement this morning:

This morning I called Dan Maes to withdraw my endorsement and urge him to end his candidacy, for the public good.  As a conscientious Republican who earlier voted for Dan, I cannot support a manifestly unfit nominee.  He has flunked his job interview with the people of Colorado in the weeks since Scott McInnis faded.  The party should cut Maes loose if he does not resign the nomination.  I intend to write in a vote for Jane Norton for Governor. [Pols emphasis]

Jane Norton? This makes perfect sense. Try to kick out someone who won the Republican primary in order to replace him with someone who lost a primary election of her own. We’ve absolutely reached the point where this is causing more harm than good for Republicans, whether or not they can convince Maes to withdraw.


THURSDAY UPDATE #3: There is a Gubernatorial debate scheduled to be taped today at Noon as a joint production between Colorado Public Television (CPT12) and CBS 4. The debate is scheduled to air at 9:00 p.m. tomorrow, which could be a bit odd if Maes did withdraw from the race.


THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Moments ago, Dan Maes posted this defiant-sounding update to his Facebook page. Does this read like a man about to pull out of this race?

THURSDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Statesman’s Jody Strogoff confirms much of this story in a detailed must-read report this morning: renewed pressure to withdraw, a few days of expressed leeway by the Secretary of State’s office should a vacancy committee be necessary, and a twist you may not have expected: Bob Beauprez waiting in the wings?

According to sources in the Colorado Republican Party and elsewhere interviewed Wednesday by The Colorado Statesman, major escalating problems and daunting revelations about Maes’ gubernatorial candidacy – with still more possible bombshells to drop – could unravel any hopes Maes has to stay on as the GOP standard bearer by Friday, prompting the state party to convene a special vacancy committee to select a new nominee after the required five-day advance notice. If that happened, the meeting could be held Tuesday, Sept. 7, and a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said that even though the general election ballot is set to be certified this Friday, Sept. 3, there is probably enough wiggle room for county clerks to update ballots next week if necessary…

Although Wadhams would not discuss possible scenarios for replacing his party’s nominee, he confirmed Wednesday night that the required five-day advance notice under state election law would allow a vacancy committee to meet as early as next Tuesday, if it became necessary. Colorado secretary of state spokesman Richard Coolidge confirmed that county clerks have some leeway to order ballots printed, and agreed that changes could still be made…

“I’m flattered,” Beauprez said when asked whether he might step in. “What I have told them is that, if a vacancy were ever to occur, I’d entertain the phone call to think about it seriously. I like to think I have plenty of gas in the tank and plenty to give. But it’s a bit idle (to talk about) now. First things first,” Beauprez cautioned.

That being said, Beauprez acknowledged that he would be “a better candidate than I was in 2006,” and emphasized that he has learned from that experience.

“I believe that was a job that had my experience and credentials and passion written all over it,” he said about the governor’s race four years ago. “That hasn’t changed. I still have another rodeo in me. If that vacancy were to occur, I would take the candidacy discussion very seriously,” he said.

Original post follows–major developments likely today.

A series of events in the last 24 hours leaves us more or less convinced that GOP leadership has commenced one final concerted attempt to force gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes out of the race. This morning, the Denver newspaper published long-rumored information about Maes’ brief record as a police officer in Kansas, showing where Maes has possibly embellished his record and subsequently removed said embellishments from his campaign website.

It’s not a new story–inferences about Maes’ time as a cop in Liberal, Kansas 25 years ago, a job from which he was fired, have been widely circulated. We’re not downplaying the story, because it’s obviously the last thing Maes needs, but the story certainly doesn’t seem any worse than, for example, Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois–who despite revelations of much bigger exaggerations about his military service record remains the GOP’s nominee for U.S. Senate in that state.

But it seems to be the pretext that Colorado GOP kingpins were looking for.

We’ve reported in this space about at least two not-so-secret attempts by GOP chairman Dick Wadhams and other powerbrokers to force Maes out since his narrow primary win over Scott McInnis at the beginning of the month. Today, allegedly on the strength of this report about Maes’ history as a police officer, Karen Crummy reports at the Denver newspaper’s blog that former Sen. Hank Brown is withdrawing his endorsement of Maes, and Bob Beauprez is calling on Maes to pull out, while Allison Sherry writes that leading “9/12” groups in the state are demanding a meeting with Maes before the end of the week. Maes himself was summoned to DC on a red-eye flight this morning according to FOX 31’s Eli Stokols–either for recommitment from the Republican Governor’s Association like his spokesman hopes, but more likely something else.

First of all, we don’t buy that the “9/12” groups–who, mind you, are not the ‘Tea Party’ and subject to their own influences–are spontaneously rising up against Maes, any more than we think Hank Brown didn’t know all about Maes when he endorsed him. After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there’s very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches.

Look, folks, we’ve been clear about our estimation of Maes’ chance at winning the governor’s race, and we understand on a bare strategic level why Wadhams and the other Republican kingmakers want him out. But what you are seeing play out here, far too publicly, is seriously jeopardizing prospects for GOP success in Colorado–up and down the ticket. What they’re basically asking is for the voters to get behind a fourth gubernatorial candidate: after forcing Josh Penry out of the race, watching McInnis self-immolate, and now with the Republican brass trying one last time to veto the choice made by almost 200,000 Republican rank-and-file voters.

And for all the angst about Maes among GOP leadership, why don’t the voters share it?

Tom Tancredo is substantially underperforming expectations in polls. Obviously, with a Congressional resume, long history, and very high name recognition, Tancredo has assets in his favor that should make him competitive with Maes–especially as Maes stumbles–but his numbers have steadily declined from their peak. As Tancredo’s numbers have unexpectedly weakened, and as Maes has weathered repeated attempts to force him out, many Republicans we’ve talked to have been more interested in stabilizing the situation so they can proceed where they have an advantage–not another day of uncertainty in the governor’s race. They said so a couple of weeks ago when Wadhams acted as Tancredo’s emissary in that attempt to force Maes out of the race.

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the negative reports on Maes in the last few days that either was not known or warrants on merit another attempt to force Maes out. And yet here we are.

With all the stops pulled out in a last-ditch effort to have their way, hoping Friday’s important-yet-obscure deadline can be beat without inspiring rebellion, there’s just not a lot of pretense left to hide behind. And you can’t tell us, no matter how optimistic Republicans are for success across the nation, that this weakness and disorganization at the top of Colorado’s Republican ticket doesn’t imperil much more than this race.

As for Maes? What possible incentive could you offer him to not ride this coaster all the way? Maes is the only man on either side with absolutely, positively nothing to lose here.

McInnis is NOT Worse Than Bob Beauprez

Check out this absolute gem of a letter to the editor in this week’s Colorado Statesman, which is in reference to this column by Aaron Harber. We thought it was a joke until we read who signed the letter:

I beg your pardon! Comparing Scott McInnis and Bob Beauprez is ludicrous. McInnis’ problems are the result of character flaws, whereas the political environment and outside factors contributed as much to Congressman Beauprez’s election outcome as any policy issues or campaign strategy.

In the many years I have known Congressman Beauprez, never has anyone had the temerity to impugn his character as Mr. Aaron Harber has just done in the July 23 issue of The Statesman.

The anti-Bush climate during the 2006 campaign was entirely different from the present pro-conservative environment – to suggest otherwise is delusional. Congressman Beauprez’s integrity is firmly in place, he has not changed his mind on any values issues; he remains pro-life, conservative, and supports family and friends (did you miss Cory Voorhis’s letter about the support he received from the Congressman?).

An apology is due.

Shirley Seitz

2006 Beauprez Campaign Office Manager

Republicans Fret Over Hickenlooper Run

UPDATE: Denver Post reports that the last of the big three candidates besides Hickenlooper–Rep. Ed Perlmutter–will not enter the gubernatorial race. Perlmutter may be pulling his name out of the mix in advance of a Hickenlooper announcement, as many politicians do so as not to look like a second choice. If for some reason Hickenlooper does not run, the most discussed (and strongest) candidates for Democrats are Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Rep. Betsy Markey and former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. We’d be surprised, however, if Hickenlooper is not the Democratic candidate at this point.

While no public decision has been made as of yet regarding the race for Governor, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams seems to think that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper will be the Democratic candidate. We’ve written before that we think Hickenlooper will eventually enter the race, and the state GOP is already trying to get out in front of any potential announcement.

In a press release sent out today, Wadhams calls Hickenlooper “Hickenritter” and speculates that Hick would be identical to Gov. Bill Ritter in several ways. Republicans are obviously concerned about a potential Hickenlooper candidacy, because when he was passed over for Michael Bennet when the latter was appointed to the U.S. Senate last year, they openly stated that Hick would have been tough to defeat in 2010.

From former Rep. Bob Beauprez in The Colorado Statesman last February:

I’m guessing John Hickenlooper has name ID that rivals the governor’s, maybe exceeds the governor’s. I’m guessing that John Hickenlooper has 4:1 favorable/unfavorables statewide. There isn’t enough money in the world to peel that down to 1:1 – to where you could maybe beat him.

John Hickenlooper could claim – he won’t do it because he’s got enough humility to not do it – but he could claim that the DNC was successful in large part because of his efforts to raise the money. He not only has a Rolodex with names in it, they are successful names.

John could raise more money and be more easily elected. His appointment would have taken that seat almost completely off the table. I don’t know what John could have done to make it truly competitive. [Pols emphasis]

Here’s what Wadhams had to say about Hickenlooper in December 2008, when Hick was being considered as a replacement in the U.S. Senate for Ken Salazar:

Dick Wadhams, the state GOP chairman, conceded that Hickenlooper “is immensely popular as the mayor of Denver” but said “he’ll look a lot different after two years of votes in the U.S. Senate.”

These two quotes highlight exactly why many observers, including Colorado Pols, see Hickenlooper as such a strong potential candidate. As we wrote in The Big Line, Hickenlooper has great name ID and is a prolific fundraiser, which are probably the two most important qualities you could have as a candidate for statewide office. That doesn’t make him a shoo-in for Governor, but at the very least he would enter the race with an advantage over Republican Scott McInnis on both fronts.

What the Oughts Brought: Part One

Now that 2010 is here (and most of you are back to work after the holidays), it’s time to take our look back on the decade that was.

We asked your opinions on what the Oughts Brought, and now it’s time to start revealing the winners. We’ll be here with this all week, folks, so check back for more categories every day.

Best/Worst Politician and Best/Worst Campaign awards after the jump.


Ken Salazar (D)

This might be the easiest choice on the entire list (well, after “Worst Campaign,” that is). At the beginning of the decade Ken Salazar was Colorado’s Attorney General, preparing for a re-election run in 2002. Now? He’s eighth in line to succeed the President of the United States.

Salazar’s U.S. Senate victory in 2004 was the first major success by Democrats in Colorado in a decade, and during the 2008 Presidential election his name was floated as a potential choice for Vice President; had Hillary Clinton won the Democratic nomination for President, Salazar very well could have been the V.P.

Had Salazar run for re-election to the Senate this year, he would have been a virtual lock to win a second term. But in 2009 he was confirmed as United States Secretary of the Interior, where he has overseen major overhauls of land policy already. Salazar is becoming a major player in national politics, and he has so much juice in Colorado that he could pretty much win whatever race he wanted. But don’t expect him back anytime soon–it’s no stretch to think that Salazar could be a top contender for President in 2016.

RUNNER UP: Former Republican Gov. Bill Owens, the last true star for Colorado Republicans. Not coincidentally, Owens did not believe in the “drown government in a bathtub” philosophy that exists among many current Republicans and actually sought to govern in what he thought was in the state’s best interests. He wasn’t always right, but at least his answer to every question wasn’t the robotic “cut taxes, cut spending” mantra of today’s GOP–and that’s why he left office in 2007 with pretty strong approval ratings.

HONORABLE MENTION: State Treasurer Cary Kennedy, who created Amendment 23 (love it or hate it, the measure has been important) and ran a seamless campaign in 2006, is in a great position to be Colorado’s first female governor in 2014.


Marilyn Musgrave (R)

The very definition of being a bad politician is losing a safe seat because of your own dumbass mistakes, and former CD-4 Rep. Marilyn Musgrave fits this description perfectly. Musgrave was embarrassingly ungracious in defeat when she lost in 2008 to Democrat Betsy Markey, though she was the only person surprised that she lost despite the 57-43 blowout margin. The fact that she was apparently shocked to have lost in 2008 shows just how out of touch she really was, since polls had indicated for weeks that Musgrave was dead.

As a two-term incumbent in a district with a heavy Republican voter-registration advantage, Musgrave should never have lost this seat. But she was completely tone-deaf to the issues that actually mattered to people, never morseo than when she publicly declared that “Gay Marriage” was the most important issue facing America today. Gay marriage may have been important to some of her constituents–although those people were always going to vote for her anyway–but Musgrave never seemed to understand that social issues were most assuredly not the main problems people were facing in their lives. Markey ran a strong campaign in winning this seat, but Musgrave lost her job over a period of a few years by not paying attention to the real interests of her district.

RUNNER UP:Former Republican state Sen. John Andrews, whose ultra right-wing nonsense has doomed every GOP politician who ever listened to what he had to say. If you were going to blame just one person for the Republican’s troubles in the last decade–though many people contributed to their fall–you could definitely pin the tail on Andrews. It was Andrews who drove the GOP off of a cliff with his leadership of the state Senate at the beginning of the decade; his obsession with social issues and his expressed belief that government sucks (including his desire to abolish public education altogether) didn’t sit well with a voting populace that kind of wanted their government to, you know, fix actual problems.

DIS-HONORABLE MENTION:Republican Bob Schaffer, who started the decade in Congress but ended it by failing to win two different U.S. Senate races, including a blowout loss in 2008 to Democrat Mark Udall. Schaffer is the embodiment of the problems with the Colorado Republican Party, from an obsession with social issues to massive self-inflicted wounds.


John Hickenlooper, Denver Mayor, 2003

In 2002, nobody outside of a small circle of folks in Denver had any idea what a Hickenlooper was; by late 2005, Hickenlooper was so popular that his approval rating–and this is completely absurd–was in the 80s across the Front Range. Hickenlooper and his staff did it by turning him into an incredibly likable and approachable character, but also by paying attention to small issues.

Hickenlooper’s campaign was brilliant in its simplicity-a simplicity that too many Colorado politicians have yet failed to emulate. Hickenlooper eschewed the traditional and tired campaign ads of speaking into a camera and talking about Denver for a more playful approach that helped him stick out in a qualified, but boring, field of candidates.

But the real genius was his focus on everyday issues in which every voter could relate: Parking meters. People were angry about an increase in the rate for parking meters in Denver, so Hickenlooper pledged to reduce them and told voters about it in a classic ad where he walked around town placing coins in expired meters. “Vote for me, and I’ll make parking meters cheaper,” wasn’t exactly John Kennedy-esque, but to the average voter it made a lot of sense. Or cents. Sure, there were bigger issues in Denver, but Hickenlooper’s campaign never forgot that the vast majority of voters don’t pay that much attention to politics–and that everybody uses parking meters.

RUNNER UP: Ed Perlmutter (D), CD-7, 2006. In 2004, Republican Bob Beauprez was re-elected in CD-7 with 55% of the vote. Two years later, Perlmutter’s well-oiled campaign crushed Republican candidate Rick O’Donnell 54-42–despite the fact that Perlmutter first had to win a tough and expensive primary challenge–to make him the first Democrat to hold the seat. Perlmutter’s 2006 campaign and subsequent strong fundraising were so impressive that Republicans didn’t even bother mounting a serious challenge in 2008, despite the fact that CD-7 is a relatively competitive district by voter registration.

HONORABLE MENTION: Wayne Allard, U.S. Senate (2002). “Lawyer, lobbyist,” the oft-chanted slogan used by Allard’s campaign to describe Democrat Tom Strickland in 1996 (borrowed from Strickland’s Democratic challenger Gene Nichols) and again in 2002, became one of the most effective memorable slogans in Colorado political history.  Allard didn’t win this race because of his charisma; indeed, he was so dull and ineffective in the U.S. Senate that TIME magazine later dubbed him “The Invisible Man” and one of the country’s five worst Senators. But what Allard’s campaign did do was relentlessly brand Strickland as a “lawyer lobbyist” while keeping a laser focus on a strong voter turnout effort. Strickland was much more charismatic and was a relentless fundraiser, but Allard’s campaign was a machine.


Bob Beauprez (R), Governor, 2006

This one is an absolute no-brainer. Nevermind the decade–Beauprez’s 2006 campaign for governor might be the worst statewide campaign ever in Colorado.

Beauprez was actually considered to be a very tough opponent when he first started running in 2005, and early polls had him ahead of everyone not named John Hickenlooper.  After two terms in Congress, including being named to the influential Ways & Means Committee, Beauprez was thought to be a formidable statewide candidate. But it turns out that running your own statewide campaign is different than having big brains from D.C. run your races for Congress.

“Both Ways Bob” (has there ever been a more fitting nickname?) couldn’t make up his mind on anything. And when he did make a decision, he usually made sure to stick his foot in his mouth.  Beauprez’s campaign was so terrible that a race that should have been competitive was pretty much over before September. And to make matters worse for Republicans, what likely would have been a safe congressional seat in CD-7 had Beauprez not left ended up going to Democrat Ed Perlmutter in a landslide. Beauprez singlehandedly cost Republicans two of Colorado’s 10 biggest political seats in 2006, which will be hard for anyone to top.

RUNNER UP: Bob Beauprez (R), Governor, 2006. Beauprez’s run was so bad that it’s just not fair to list a runner up and even place another campaign nearby.

DIS-HONORABLE MENTION: Mark Hillman (R), State Treasurer, 2006. The former Senate Majority and Minority Leader was considered one of the GOP’s brightest stars when he was appointed State Treasurer in 2005 while Mike Coffman served in Iraq. Hillman soon announced plans to run for the job when Coffman was term-limited in 2006, but his bizarre inability to manage campaign funds cost him the election.

Both Hillman and Democrat Cary Kennedy accepted voluntary spending limits, which restricted them to spending about $500,000 in total. By July 2006 Hillman had somehow already spent more than a third of that limit, while Kennedy’s campaign was scrimping and saving every dime for television ads in the fall. Kennedy ultimately won a close election, no doubt pushed over the edge by the fact that she was able to advertise on TV much more regularly than Hillman.

Colorado is probably better off anyway; after all, who wants a Treasurer who can’t handle a budget?

Beauprez’s Out, Which Means Norton’s In

From Politics West:

Former Congressman Bob Beauprez will not run for the U.S. Senate, he said in an email to supporters this afternoon.

“Having been presented with the potential to serve in the United States Senate, Claudia and I considered it very carefully. However after significant reflection, I will not be a candidate for the Senate in 2010,” he wrote.

His decision leaves four GOP candidates: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, Evergreen businessman Dan Maes and Cleve Tidwell of Denver. Last week, the Denver Post reported that former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is also looking at entering the GOP field.

Let’s face it: Beauprez isn’t running because he looked around, considered various staffers, and finally realized what we’d been saying for a long time. He. Can’t. Win.

It’s no secret that Beauprez has been wanting to get back into politics since 2006, but he’s still way too much damaged goods.

Meanwhile, Jane Norton’s Senate bid is basically a lock at this point. Everybody’s talking about it. Democrats we’ve talked to this evening seem awfully confident, like they know something we don’t know. That’s likely to be the case for a majority of Colorado voters, a good percentage of whom probably think her first name is Gale. Though to be fair, voters could think her first name was “Ken,” and it’s still a positive for her. Name ID is name ID, especially in a GOP primary–and general election–where nobody knows anybody.

And for all the buzz about “salvation,” we kind of doubt Ken Buck sees it that way–and he’s probably the one extant candidate we’re not writing off yet.

UPDATE: We omitted Cleve Tidwell from our original post. We regret the error. Deeply.

Beauprez Will Run for Senate

UPDATE #2: Beauprez is a little more up front about it with Politico:

Former Republican congressman Bob Beauprez told POLITICO that he is “leaning towards running” against Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) because he doesn’t think any of the party’s current crop of candidates can win. [Pols emphasis]

“There’s a general sense that our field isn’t really set on our side, and Bennet is quite vulnerable,” said Beauprez. “We’re looking at it — with an increased sense of urgency.”

Look! Something we agree with Beauprez about: The current crop of GOP candidates cannot beat Bennet. But being on the top of the trash heap still leaves you on the trash heap. Beauprez may or may not be better than Buck, Frazier and Cleve, but if he is better, he’s not that much better.


UPDATE: Beauprez tells Lynn Bartels over at Politics West that he isn’t definitely in or definitely out. But the most telling quote, perhaps, is this:

Beauprez said he is “asking the questions that need to be asked” as he deliberates about whether to run.

“I don’t want to go in assuming everything is just going to work out, somehow, and the team will come together, somehow, and the money will be there, somehow, and at the end of the day we will win, somehow,” Beauprez said.



Following up on a post from Mountain Dem a little earlier, it sounds like Bob Beauprez will indeed run for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. We hear that Beauprez is telling friends that “he’s in” and is already beginning to solicit financial support.

Coming off one of the worst campaigns in the country in 2006, and what many — us included — have called the worst statewide campaign in Colorado history, Beauprez would seem to be a poor choice to be the Republican candidate against Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet. But Beauprez does have a deep financial rolodex and should easily be able to outraise both Ken Buck and Ryan Frazier. Whether or not he can convince GOP primary voters that he is not the same disaster that he was in 2006 is another story entirely.  

I’m Not a Racist. I Eat Mexican Food

We almost missed this gem from over the weekend, but we’re glad we had a chance to share. Check out this story from The Greeley Tribune:

A T-shirt Weld District Attorney Ken Buck is selling was imported from Mexico, just like many of the illegal immigrants Buck battles.

The T-shirts made by Gildan, a Montreal-based textile manufacturer, were purchased through a Windsor graphics shop that pressed Buck’s message poking fun at the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit on the front and back of the shirts…

…Buck said he didn’t initially know where the shirts were made. Just because the shirts were made in Haiti and imported through Mexico, that doesn’t mean he should not support a product from there, he said.

He said the insinuation is that he’s racist. He is not, he said.

“I vacation in Mexico, I eat Mexican food,” Buck said. “I don’t dislike Mexicans.” [Pols emphasis]

Ah, yes, the oft-tried, seldom effective way to deflect racism ploy of saying “I’ve been to Mexico!” Former Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez tried using it to disastrous results back in 2005 (remember ‘Mexican Time?’), and many other Republicans throughout the years have used the fact that “they’ve been to Mexico” or “like Mexican food” as irrefutable proof that they aren’t, in fact, racist.

Buck is considered a top contender to challenge Betsy Markey in CD-4, but if his handling of this situation is any indication, she needn’t be too concerned. We don’t know if Buck is a racist or not, but given his ludicrous and insensitive attempts to dispel the charge, we’re starting to assume he might be. Either way, we can indisputably determine from these statements that Buck is, in fact, a moron.

To be fair, Buck isn’t the only moron to have used this form of “logic” to somehow prove that he isn’t a racist. But it’s still nonsense. It’s no different, for instance, than saying this:

“I can’t be a sexist. I have sex with women!”

“I don’t hate Jews. I eat kosher hot dogs all the time!”

Or, one of our all-time favorites, “I’m not a homophobe–I work with a lot of gay people.”

This logic is ridiculous on so many levels, but particularly if you look at it the other way around. If you don’t like Mexican food and have never been to Mexico, does that mean you are a racist?

What if you refuse to eat Rocky Mountain Oysters? Does that mean you hate Colorado?

If you don’t have any gay or lesbian co-workers, are you a homophobe? What if you have gay and lesbian co-workers who haven’t yet come out of the closet? Are you still okay, then? Or are you a homophobe?

If you’re looking for a microcosm of why the Republican Party is still lost in the wilderness, look no further than Ken Buck and “Swastika Guy,” both of whom hang out with fellow Republicans who seem completely oblivious to the damage they do to their own images.

This Guy (?) for U.S. Senate

We’ve been hearing talk about this for weeks now, and most Republicans we have talked to have all but laughed it off. But the Rocky Mountain News reports that Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, the goofball in the laughably-staged picture at left, somehow believes that he could be a strong Republican candidate for…wait for it…U.S. Senate.

Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier is seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010, testing his ability to raise the millions of dollars needed to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

Frazier, a black Republican, has met with GOP movers and shakers in Washington, D.C., and Colorado.

“There are a lot of options I need to look at and a lot of things I need to consider before I make a definite decision,” he said.

Financing a campaign is among those considerations.

“I’m going through the motions and paces right now to see if I can raise the money,” he said. “I think we can put together a winning campaign. I’m moving in that direction.”

As we said earlier, most Republicans we’ve talked to have basically laughed this off. Frazier barely won re-election to the Aurora City Council a few years ago – the idea that he’s ready for a jump to the U.S. freakin’ Senate is downright silly.

On the plus side for Democrats, Frazier would be one of the few candidates Republicans could nominate with lower name ID than Democrat Michael Bennet. And labor unions would absolutely tee off on Frazier, who was the public face behind the soundly-defeated Amendment 47, or, “Right to Work.”

Still Crazy…After All These Years

Former Congressman and failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is thought to be seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate in 2010. In today’s Rocky Mountain News, Beauprez had this gem to say about incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet:

“The fair thing to do is watch Michael Bennet,” said former Congressman Bob Beauprez, who also hasn’t ruled out a 2010 challenge. “He’s a smart, capable guy . . . Who knows? Maybe he’s a pro-business, small- government, strong- national-defense senator. If he turns out to be me – which would surprise me a little bit – I probably don’t have much interest in running against me.”[Pols emphasis]

Really, Bob? Because you might be the only person you could beat in a statewide race.

Tancredo, Beauprez Eye Ritter

We’d been waiting until after the election to discuss 2010 more in-depth, but it looks like the cat is out of the bag regarding one potential GOP challenger. Congressman Tom Tancredo, long thought to be considering a run for Senate in 2010, has instead focused his sights on running for Governor. The reason, we’ve heard, is that poll numbers show Ken Salazar to be a strong incumbent, while Gov. Bill Ritter is the weaker of the two statewide candidates. Tancredo wants to run statewide in 2010, and it makes more sense to take on Ritter than to challenge the stronger Salazar.

Also rumored to be seriously considering another run for governor in 2010 is – don’t laugh – Bob Beauprez. But while Beauprez may be seriously considering a run himself, it’s doubtful that any other top GOP backers would seriously take him seriously. You don’t run the worst statewide campaign in Colorado history, as Beauprez did in 2006, and try to run again for the same race four years later.

Sarah Palin = Janet Rowland?

Is it just us, or does Sarah Palin for John McCain’s VP remind you a little of Janet Rowland for Bob Beauprez’s Lieutenant Governor in 2006?

If you recall, not long after Beauprez announced Rowland as his running mate, we learned that she had recently compared homosexuality to bestiality. Nobody knew anything about Rowland – including, apparently, the Beauprez campaign – and her selection just highlighted further Beauprez’s disastrous statewide campaign.

Now, Palin is no Rowland, but the former has her own far-right ideas that McCain now has to deal with. As Colorado Independent reports, Palin supported the idea of teaching Creationism in schools when she was asked about it during her campaign for governor in Alaska:

Then in a classic McCain-style back-flip, a few days later Palin tried to take it back…

…She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

This is the person McCain thinks should be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office? As a former McCain fan, I’m actually quite sad about this, but his run for President has turned McCain from a maverick to just a mimic for the far right.

Creationism really isn’t an idea you flip-flop about. Either you believe it should be taught in schools, or you don’t. If you even entertain the idea that Creationism is worthy of being taught in schools, you’ve already crossed that line far enough – there’s no going back from there.

But, But, But…We Issued Policy Papers!

Former gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, he of the worst statewide campaign Colorado has seen in decades, was back in the Rocky Mountain News today talking about future plans and his failed 2006 bid. The story talks about Beauprez getting back into politics at some point, but from the sound of it, he still hasn’t faced the reality that his campaign just flat-out sucked:

“It was the weirdest campaign I’ve ever been involved in – never could quite get traction,” Beauprez said. “We issued policy statement after policy statement on what we would do when I became governor, on transportation, on education, on health care, on water, on the environment, on and on and on, and none of it ever seemed to matter.”

Why in the hell would issuing a bunch of policy papers make any difference whatsoever? Frankly, issuing policy papers was one of his problems – remember his ingenious plan to train elk to migrate around oil and gas drilling sites?

Colorado Hearts Romney

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has consistently performed better in Colorado Pols Presidential polls than he has nationally, and that’s no doubt due to the support he gets from high-profile Republicans in Colorado (including Romney’s Colorado campaign consultants, Phaseline Strategies).

Former Gov. Bill Owens signed on with Romney many months ago, and so has failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.

But as Mt. Virtus notes, Colorado GOPers also have love for Rudy Giuliani:

Meanwhile, some other big Republican names in Colorado are throwing their support behind Rudy Giuliani and organizing an April fundraiser. Among them are former U.S. Senator Ben “Nighthorse” Campbell, Beauprez’s 2006 primary opponent Marc Holtzman, House Minority Leader Mike May, former Denver Bronco stars John Elway and Ed McCaffrey, former Nuggets GM Kiki Van de Weghe, Douglas County Commissioner Jack Hilbert, former society columnist Diane Wengler, Denver GOP Chair Mary Smith, and several other prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs, and attorneys.

Jason Bane, Kevin McCasky, Kevin McCaskey

Well, That’s a Relief

UPDATE: Bob Beauprez plants what presidential hopeful Mitt Romney hopes isn’t the kiss of death (from an email delivered moments ago):

Because we believe that the next presidential election will be a defining moment in shaping the future of this nation, we have taken the unusual step of making an early commitment to the person we are convinced should be elected President in 2008. His name is Mitt Romney.


Former Rep. Bob Beauprez reassured Republicans at the State Capitol yesterday that he is still active in politics. As the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Beauprez joked with House Republicans that after losing a lopsided election to Democrat Bill Ritter in November some people made him feel “a little like the corpse in the coffin.”

“But we did not die. The sun did come up the next day…and we’re going to live to fight another day,” Beauprez said, drawing applause and knowing laughter from the House Republicans Caucus.

“We get the same thing in our caucus, Bob. We understand,” said Caucus Chairman Rep. Bill Cadman R-Colorado Springs. Statehouse Republicans, after a long stretch as the party in power, are also biding their time as a feisty minority and plotting their own political resurrection.

Beauprez said he is about to unveil a new free-market and traditional-values-friendly charitable foundation, and is blogging on his new “common-sense” public policy Web site ( He won’t rule out a run for the U.S. Senate in 2008.

You’ve got to give Beauprez credit for one thing: He has shown an amazing ability to continually get stories written about him that discuss how he’s “not dead yet” (insert “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” voice here).

Great. We get it. You’re still around. Whatever.