There’s nothing like an objective witness…

(The joys of pay-to-play–nice catch – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In the course of some routine research, Checks and Balances came across an interesting piece of information. James Schroeder, President and CEO of Mesa Energy Partners, LLC and President of the Western Energy Alliance is scheduled to be a witness at Rep. Lamborn’s hearing Tuesday.

Schroeder contribution

Schroeder contributed $2,000 to the Western Energy Alliance’s PAC in 2010.

WEA Schroeder

WEA PAC then turned around and contributed $2,000 to Lamborn’s re-election campaign.

WEA Lamborn

The question has to be asked, is this transparent government that avoids even the appearance of impropriety?

The Republican Club of Falcon?

Last night, we traveled back up to Colorado Springs once again – this time to attend the only Fifth Congressional District debate of the election season where Congressman Doug Lamborn would be present. Mind you, there have been several other opportunities to debate over the past few months; however, Doug Lamborn has always been too busy until now to show up and talk about the issues with the Democratic nominee, Hal Bidlack.

Indeed, Lamborn indicated to Bidlack earlier this month that he would only be willing to do one debate – on the eve of the election, after over half of the voters had already voted. Oh, yes, and that debate had to be sponsored by the “Republican Club of Falcon.” For the uninitiated, the Republican Club of Falcon is informally known as the “Lamborn wing” of the El Paso County Republicans.

But Hal Bidlack is a good sport, and he’s serious when he says he’ll debate Doug Lamborn any place, any time. So he jumped on the offer.

Last night, though, the Republican Club of Falcon looked a lot more like a Democratic hangout.

At Sand Creek High School – in the northeast portion of Colorado Springs (the “conservative” part of El Paso County) – a casual observer might have mistaken Hal Bidlack as being the “home team” at this Republican Club of Falcon debate. By the end of the debate, it was clear that at least 75% – a count I heard from several people – of the crowd was cheering for Hal Bidlack, not Doug Lamborn.

Congressman Lamborn looked a lot like Sarah Palin up there – almost entirely reading from prepared notes, and nervously hoping just to not screw up. His debate performances in 2006 became legendary, even to the point where a widely-circulated video of him telling an audience member to “Shut Up” was featured in Jay Fawcett’s television ads. Indeed, discussing the issues has never been a strong suit for Lamborn, and it wasn’t last night either.

The first five questions were scripted. All three candidates (Constitution Party candidate Brian Scott was also present) were given the questions beforehand by the Republican Club of Falcon. What was interesting was that apparently Marilyn Musgrave would also fit right into the GOP Club of Falcon. Of the five issues that were thought to be the most important – so important that they required pre-written questions – two of those five most important issues were abortion and gay marriage. Left off the list of the five most important issues to Republicans in Falcon? Education. Health care. Social Security. The Environment.

Even though I had a lovely Lamborn supporter over my left shoulder who insisted on muttering comments to every single thing Hal Bidlack said, he shined. And Lamborn? Eh, not so much. For instance, he may be the only person left in America who thinks we can drill ourselves out of the energy crisis: “I strongly disagree with those who say we cannot drill our way out of this problem.” Really? Really?

Lamborn’s only saving grace is that he wasn’t necessarily the strangest duck on the stage. No, Constitution Party candidate Brian Scott strove for that honor. He indicated that he would set up a Congressional office in Baghdad to work on ending the war in Iraq single-handedly. And he was clear: “I won’t vote on legislation; I won’t sponsor legislation; I won’t caucus. I’ll be camped out in Baghdad. I recognize this is an abdication of many of the core responsibilities as a congressman.” And before you get too comfortable with the fact that he’s got an anti-Iraq War position, remember that he also made it clear that he supports outlawing abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

But Scott was a sideshow to the main event. Lamborn versus Bidlack. And Lamborn continued to show the pettiness that makes him one of the least-liked Republican leaders in Colorado. Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack has proven himself as a servant of his country. He has served as an ICBM launch officer; he’s worked in the State Department; he was literally in the Pentagon on 9/11 when the airplane crashed into the building. And he’s taught Constitutional law at the Air Force Academy. How did Congressman Lamborn address Lt. Col. Bidlack? Every time his name was mentioned, Lamborn – with a sneer – referred to him as “Professor” Bidlack. It amazes me that someone with such disrespect for the military service of an opponent represents such a heavily military-based district.

The zingers of the evening, though, were exclusively Bidlack’s. He received huge cheers when, in response to a question about gay marriage, he said, “I’m troubled by this notion of the right wing Republicans that we want as limited a government as possible, except for reading your e-mail and except for in your bedroom!” After Congressman Lamborn spent a great deal of time talking about his work to bring a veterans cemetary to the region, Bidlack calmly praised that work, but then said that he felt we needed to focus more on supporting veterans while they are alive, too. Another resounding round of applause.

One of the strangest moments was when an audience question about torture and Guantanamo Bay arose. In a scene eerily familiar of the Bob Schaffer playbook, Lamborn stated, “I did tour Guantanamo Bay and I did not see any evidence of torture.” He then went further and argued that terrorists “do not follow the Geneva Convention. Should we be required to grant them the protections of the same Geneva Convention?” When the crowd erupted with an impromptu simultaneous shout of “Yes,” Congressman Lamborn had that familiar deer-in-the-headlights look about him. Apparently, he doesn’t quite understand the Geneva Convention’s requirements of participants in the treaty.

In the end, though, the audience questions, submitted on index cards before the beginning of the debate were pretty good questions, dealing with issues such as Pinon Canyon, the Patriot Act, energy sources and economics. On Pinon Canyon, Congressman Lamborn insisted that the purchase could be made without any use of eminent domain – stating that all of the sellers in the controversial expansion were “willing sellers.” I’ve spent more than a little bit of time down in southeast Colorado, and his description simply does not match up with what I know to be true. He seems to be living in quite a fantasy land when it comes to Pinon Canyon.

In the end, it was another wonderful example of why Hal Bidlack would be leading this race by 20-30 points in any other congressional district. And it’s another example of why this race, like the one with Hank Eng in the 6th CD, could be out-of-nowhere surprises on Tuesday night.

Of course, don’t take my word for it; feel free to watch the debate online at:…

Hal Bidlack Is On the Air!!!

(Cross-Posted to DemNotes at

Many of you know how excited I’ve been about the candidacy of Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack for the 5th C.D.  Yes, I know, the 5th C.D. is a tough race, but polling is showing that Hal can win IF he can get the message out in the next four weeks about who he is and what he stands for.

That’s why the news today that Hal is now up on television in the 5th C.D. is so important.  His first ad is a great biographical introduction to Hal, and has a perfect tone for the military-heavy Fifth Congressional District.  Take a look:

Right now, the ad is running for the next 9 days.  To keep this on the air for the remainder of the election season, he needs more resources.  He’s already raised a record amount for a 5th C.D. Democrat, and Doug Lamborn has been nowhere to be seen.  Take a second and donate today:

Around a Year Ago in CD-5 News

The Who’ll Win in CD5 Poll a year ago shows how different things can look after a year.  

Doug Lamborn – 17 votes (21.25%)

Jeff Crank – 63 votes (78.75%)

The charitable interpretation is that the addition of Rayburn to the mix that killed Crank’s chances.  But there really was reason to think the Lamborn had no chance back then.

The diary it is attached to also has some interesting predictions in retrospect.  A user with the handle Robert predicted that “If Rayburn jumps in and makes it three way, my bet is that he will split the anti-Lamborn vote with Crank and Lamborn will win with a 40-35-25 (Lamborn, Crank, Rayburn).”

The actual results were

Lamborn – 56,171 – 44.5%

Crank   – 16,431 – 29.3%

Rayburn – 14,721 – 26.2%

A fairly close prediction, but the actual show a lot more support for Lamborn or at least for the incumbent.  CD-5 Line was much further from the mark saying that he was “putting odds by a whisker in Crank’s favor in a 3 way.”  

How could we all be so wrong?  Well at that time there were all sorts of diaries about Lamborn accepting a gambling donation, not reporting it, and then threatening constituents who brought it up.  An example is the diary Lamborn Comes Unglued on Aug. 31.  

By September 5th it was looking really bad for Lamborn with ColoradoPols writing a diary with the headline The Day Doug Lamborn Self-Destructed.  

In the end though all the talk of how damaging the House Ethics Investigation might be came to naught.  Hardly anyone was talking about gambling and threats on primary day earlier this month.  Part of that may have been the fact that the Colorado Springs Gazette was much kinder to Lamborn during the scandal than other newspapers.  This comment by CD-5 Line is a pretty good example of that.  He noted that the Post was much harder on the congressman.  While I’m sure that some people in Colorado Springs read the Post and the News, more probably read the Gazette.  The power of a hometown newspaper going easy on a local politician cannot be underestimated.

Plus things do change.  A poll of ColoradoPols users attached to a diary on Sep. 11 last year found a clear plurality of 44.23% thinking Hillary Clinton would be the nominee of the Democratic Party.  And Rudy Giuliani lead in a similar poll for the Republican question.  More on those predictions later.

Statesman Blasts RCF – NEWSMAN Fires Back.

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lamborn supporters threaten to oust party chair

The Colorado Statesman without interviewing me or requesting an interview from anyone at the RCF ran this story under the sub-headline.

Republican Club of Falcon raises hell


There are some things the Statesman failed to find out that the reader might find interesting. I made one phone call to a reliable source at the RCF, and got a ton of information. I do occasionally post on their blog.  You don’t have to be a member to do that, or even give your name. Yet the Statesman wrote:

Republican Club of Falcon members were very upset.

Judging from its Web site, the club is on a decidedly pro-Lamborn crusade. More than 15 articles extol Lamborn’s virtues under such titles as “Defend Doug” and “My prediction – NO Debates for Lamborn.” Some are press releases from his congressional office.

The site contributors bash Crank and Rayburn in articles such as “Jeff Crank and Me Generation Selfishness” and “Rayburn no guarantee of more military jobs.”

I am embarrassed for the Statesman to be the one to point this out to them.

They made a rookie mistake here. What they just quoted IS NOT on the RCF website.  It is on the RCF Blog (Conservative Voice of the Rockies), with this disclaimer:

The Republican Club of Falcon presents member and visitors opinions and commentary. The views expressed are solely those of the author and are not necessarily the views of the RCF or its entire membership.

That’s like blaming Pols, CNN or FOXNEWS for the things said on their Blogs.

But it gets worse.

…”That isn’t a surprise considering that the club was headed by John Vander Meulen before he became district director of Lamborn’s congressional office in 2007…”

But what they failed to say is at the founding meeting of the RCF, elected  Chairman was John Vander Muelen (subsequently hired as chief of staff by Congressman Lamborn) and vice chairman Chuck Broerman (Crank campaign advisor), Neither are current RCF officers.…

The RCF website still proudly states its endorsment of D-49 school board President Anna Bartha, who is hardly ever confused as being a Lamborn supporter.

There are many Lamborn supporters in this Club, but there are a lot of Lamborn supporters in the EPC Republican party. What do you expect? They’re Republicans. Lamborn is the current Republican Congressman.

The RCF has a by-law prohibiting endorsement of any candidate in a primary race, and has members from several opposing campaigns. Example, one of the principles from the Waller campaign is co committee chairman with a 20 year supporter of Doug Bruce. Like I said, the RCF has

club members that are Republican division leaders, several precinct leaders, US House Congressional staff,  School Board members, Falcon/Peyton Masterplan committee members, Airport Board members, etc.

The RCF has club members that have worked every major campaign in our area since its inception 4 short years ago.

Name another EPC Republican Club that has been instrumental in defeating 2 tax issues, and changed the majority philosophy on a school board, or any elected board.

And the there is this from the Statesman:

Republican Club of Falcon blogger, NEWSMAN, posted the following on the club’s Web site and the Colorado Pols Web site on July 26. The dual posting is neither rare nor coincidental.

If they would have more accuratly called me “Pols blogger NEWSMAN”, would that imply Pols approves of what I say? But now you know, I post things on more than one blog. No it’s not rare, a lot of bloggers post on more than one blog.  Cross posting is common. So What! But what they then quote are not my words.

“The Republican Club of Falcon is shocked and dismayed that our Republican County Chairman Greg Garcia has cast aside his pledged commitment to remain neutral during primary election contests and thus has violated our party by-laws.

“He ignores false statements repeatedly told by Jeff Crank about Congressman Doug Lamborn and Bentley Rayburn and criticizes Lamborn and Rayburn for pointing out Crank’s false statements.

“Garcia’s proclaimed code of fair campaigning was never approved by the membership, and is a smoke screen for political favoritism … Garcia and (Nathan) Fisk are biased and using rose-colored glasses when viewing Crank’s false statements.

“Garcia’s behavior is dividing our county party and negatively impacting our ability to unify and help Bob Schaffer and John McCain win in November. Therefore, the Republican Club of Falcon calls for the resignation of Greg Garcia.”

Those are the words of the RCF Resolution posted on the RCF website.  I copied them and posted them on Pols verbatim. I also showed the link to the RCF website and credited them.…

If they had a question, my contact information is with my Pols profile, all they had to do was click on my name and they would have found this:

NEWSMAN   Email:

It is just possible the RCF’s call for Garcia’s resignation was based on what Garcia’s arbitray and unequal treatment of many Republican campaigns was doing to Republican morale and unity, and not to favor one campaign.  After all, the KOAA TV ch5 examples cited where Rayburn, Dan May, Lamborn, Newsome and Crank. 2 seconds was about Lamborn.  But don’t just take my word for it, “trust but verify.”…

Political experts agree that it is very unusual for a party chairman to behave this way. “They are supposed to be staying out of it,” said Bob Loevy, Political Science Professor at Colorado College. “They are supposed to be staying neutral. They are supposed to be holding their fire until they go against the Democrats in November.”    

SO I have to ask,

STATESMAN, did you get your information for this story from the Crank Politburo of Propaganda, aka the Crank campaign?



Who do you believe?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

CD-5 Smackdown TONIGHT !


CD-5 Candidates in a violent confrontation

at the East Library, Union & Vickers, in Colorado Springs.

7 PM Tonight!



Jeff Crank reserved a meeting room weeks ago, so he could rally his troops just before the Big Surge.  

His web site calls it a Town Hall Meeting.

I am predicting that spies from the Rayburn and Lamborn camps stake it out,

and when they see that there’s TV crews there,

they call and notify the candidates, who will already be standing by.  

By 7:15 PM, the three of them will be either in the back of the room, or out in the hall, calling each other “boogerface” and “tax lover” and “soft on abortion.”  

Violence ?  Ah, no actual battery.  

I’m bringing non-alcoholic drinks for any Pols regular who comes up to me and self-identifies.  

For those who don’t know me on sight, I’ll be next to (or sitting on) a red plastic cooler.

If you come after about 6:55, I may be standing next to a crushed red plastic cooler.  


Who would win an actual Smackdown ?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Pinon Canyon- It’s Only Halftime

Lamborn’s House site posted their more recent release that cited that, yes, the MILCON amendment was never offered, but the already House passed NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) has language that allows the Army to buy from willing sellers…

A provision Congressman Lamborn included in HR 5658, the House-passed Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009, would allow willing sellers to work with the military on private land sales, if they so choose.

“This provision differs from the one-year restriction on PCMS expansion included in today’s Military Construction /Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. We will need to work together to reconcile the different perspectives in the bills.  I remain committed to working with my colleagues in the delegation to find a reasonable solution to this issue.…

The language of the bill states:


(a) Protection of Private Property- The Secretary of Defense and the Secretaries of the military departments shall make every reasonable effort to acquire real property expeditiously by negotiation. Real property offered shall meet the requirements of Secretary-approved real property acquisition plans.

(b) Willing Sellers- The Secretary of Defense or the Secretary of a military department shall not be precluded from acquiring real property from willing sellers so long as the real property offered meet the requirements of Secretary-approved real property acquisition plans.…

So much for questioning Lamborn for not taking any effective action. This guy took some preemptive action and anticipated.  

MILCON, passing the House this morning, with language for the one-year moratorium on Pinon Canyon, and the NDAA with Lamborn’s “willing sellers” language, are awaiting action on the Senate side.  Lets see if some a reasonable solution can be crafted as these two bills with conflicting language move along.  

Together Let’s Make History

(We still don’t think he can win, but since he took the time to write this diary, this is the least we could do. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

They say it can’t be done.  But they only say that because it has never been done before.

Since it was created in 1972, the 5th Congressional District has always had a Republican representative.  In 2006, Jay Fawcett proved that the 5th CD could be competitive. In many ways, Jay paved the way for my campaign.

And a lot has changed since 2006. Three times this year Democrats shocked the nation by winning in Republican strongholds akin to the 5th Congressional District. In perhaps the most surprising of these wins, Travis Childers won in a Mississippi district that voted by 62% for George W. Bush in 2004.

Still, there are those who say it can’t be done here. But the people who tell me I can’t win are the same people who told John McCain he didn’t have enough money, and told Barack Obama the American people weren’t ready for change.  

If we’ve learned anything this election season, it’s that the unlikely is possible, and that the surprising can happen. But while optimism and hope have been the buzzwords of this political season, everyday Americans aren’t feeling the joy.

Everyday Americans are hurting. They’re hurting because of real problems like $4 gas and unprecedented rates of home foreclosures. Everyday Americans are scared. They’re scared because they don’t know how they’ll fill their refrigerators and their prescriptions, or how they’ll pay for their kids to attend college.  And Americans are outraged at the lack of care and attention paid to our veterans.

Americans are looking for leaders, leaders who understand the importance of a balanced budget, but acknowledge our moral obligation to care for our veterans returning from battle.  Our country has broken a sacred promise to those who put on the nation’s uniform, and we must fulfill that promise.

Americans want real solutions to our nation’s problems. They aren’t looking for quick fixes or partisan bickering, and they certainly aren’t looking for sham solutions.

Early last week, President Bush announced his plan to address soaring gas prices. In what has become typical of his shallow solutions, the President’s plan calls for little more than recklessly drilling holes that won’t bring a drop of oil to your neighborhood gas station for ten years. But even less surprising was the Thursday statement released by Mr. Lamborn’s office: “Doug Lamborn today threw his support behind the President’s four-pronged approach,” read the first line of the release.

Of course this isn’t surprising, since Doug Lamborn has voted with President Bush 99.3% of the time. Any member of Congress that brags about never, ever being willing to be bipartisan misunderstands the lessons our Founding Fathers taught. I believe good ideas can come from both sides of the aisle, and I will most certainly work with anyone who has the good of Colorado and the nation at heart.

Our congressional leaders shouldn’t vote in lockstep with the White House – regardless of the party in power.  The Founding Fathers intended Congress to be an independent voice, and in a time of hardship, worry, and war, an independent Congressional voice is more important than ever.

In Congress I will be that independent voice.

Next Monday is a critical financial deadline for my campaign. Political pundits, reporters, and supporters nationwide will carefully review our 2nd quarter fundraising results, and their judgments may very well determine the course of this election. This year we have an opportunity to change 34 years of District history.  This year we can finally elect a Western Democrat. A fiscal conservative/social moderate can win, and with that in mind, please consider visiting my website: and making a campaign donation.

Because of how important the June 30th deadline is, four of our supporters have agreed to match the first $15,000 raised between now and the end of the month. Donate today, and double the impact of your donation.

Thank you for your time.


Lionel Rivera Endorses Bentley Rayburn in CD-5

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

From KOAA in Colorado Springs:

Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera endorsed Bentley Rayburn for Congress. Rayburn is seeking the republican nomination for the 5th congressional seat currently held by Doug Lamborn.

Rivera cited Rayburn’s military experience in his endorsement. “Realizing that our nation is involved in a long, protracted war, coupled with the fact that this community is the home to five military installations, leads me to believe that it is critical for the congressman representing this district to have military experience.”

This is a pretty big endorsement for the General and well deserved. He is showing that he can drum up support from prominent officials in CD5.

JEFF CRANK & Me Generation Selfishness

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews asks the question every voter in the 5th congressional district should be asking. Why should I vote against my accomplished Conservative Republican Congressman, and what is motivating his vanquished challengers to require a re match?

…”Why dump a proven conservative … and put another “all about me” contender in his place?…” John Andrews

By: John Andrews

“Republicans lost Congress in 2006, and may lose more seats in 2008, largely because members forgot it’s all about the principles, the party, and the country, acting instead as if it was “all about me.”  Unless I’m missing something, that’s also the reason two primary challengers are hounding Congressman Doug Lamborn in Colorado’s 5th congressional district this summer.

As a freshman, Lamborn has compiled one of the most stellar conservative records in the US House or Senate, bar none.  Club for Growth ranked him in their top 5 out of 535 members in the two bodies.  National Journal rates him No. 1 among all House Republicans in consistently voting against Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats.

He co-founded the House Caucus on Missile Defense and battled his way onto the diminished GOP side of the Armed Services Committee.

His endorsements for reelection, in addition to the Club for Growth, include National Federation of Independent Business, National Pro-Life Alliance, National Right to Work, Concerned Women for America, Republican National Coalition for Life, and the Minutemen Civil Defense PAC.

Other than that, he has done nothing, earned no one’s admiration and support, and put up a big zero for the conservative cause, the state of Colorado, and the people of his Colorado Springs-centered district.

It’s hard, therefore, to discern any motivation for the greater good or causes beyond themselves that would be driving ex-Hefley staffer Jeff Crank and retired Gen. Bentley Rayburn to force a rematch with Lamborn after losing to him two years ago.  

These are two likable, accomplished, and capable men as best one can tell, but (news flash) we already have a solid Republican congressman in the 5th. So the burden of proof is on them to demonstrate objective reasons why either should displace the honored and honorable incumbent of their own party.  

Absent some such reason — and I’ve seen none — the only remaining explanation is such nakedly selfish assertions as “I belong in Congress” or “He’s not half the man I am” or “This is my destiny.”  Gag.

This is the kind of “me generation” thinking that eventually produced rank overspending, gross expediency, incumbency mania, scandal, and in some cases even prison terms for the GOP idealists of 1994 as things spiralled downward toward the voters’ repudiation in 2006.  

Why dump a proven conservative whose record shows he is not susceptible to any of those things, and put another “all about me” contender in his place?

The sensible decision for Republican primary voters, come August, is to keep Rep. Lamborn right where he is, and encourage Mssrs. Crank and Rayburn to find other outlets for the public service which they unconvincingly claim is their only motive.”

John Andrews ( is a fellow with the Claremont Institute and a past president of the Colorado Senate.

Cross Posted at: Voice of the Rockies  http://voiceoftherockies.blogs…

What do you think?

DO you agree, or Disagree with Senator Andrews?

Why, or Why not?  

A multi vote poll below. Vote for all that apply.

What will be the effect of the Crank and Rayburn campaigns?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Rayburn Tells Lamborn That It’s Game Time in CD-5

Today, CD-5 candidate Bentley Rayburn renewed his challenge to Doug Lamborn to participate in a series of debates.  In a letter to Lamborn, Rayburn reminded him that, “On February 5, 2008, as you were announcing your candidacy for re-election I sent you a letter suggesting a series of 3 to 5 debates in order to facilitate a positive healthy exchange of ideas between candidates. Unfortunately, you did not respond to that letter.”

Lamborn has remained noticeably absent from most 5-CD forums, discussions, and events.  He continues to claim that he is just too busy in Washington to focus on these types of things.  Things like discussing the issues with his constituents.  

In the letter, Rayburn suggested to Lamborn that the proposed debates, “will give the voters in the Fifth Congressional District a first-hand view as to which candidate has the ideas and the life experience in order to begin moving our party, our district and our country forward.  ”  Lamborn has said in the past that once the ballot is set he will make the effort to participate in such discussions.  It is fair to say that at this time it is almost certain that the ballot is set, with Rayburn and Lamborn each turning in more than 2800 petition signatures, and Jeff Crank locking in his spot through the Assembly.

Rayburn’s letter is a call to action; a call for Congressman Lamborn to pay his due respects to the voters.  Lamborn will either have to face up to these challenges or appear even weaker to his constituents.  The ball is in Lamborn’s court, what he chooses to do with it will be highly indicative of the man’s leadership capacity.

The complete content of the letter can be seen at…

Lamborn and Rayburn Petition Onto Ballot

As The Colorado Springs Gazette:

Two Republican 5th Congressional District candidates petitioning onto the primary ballot have completed their efforts.

Rep. Doug Lamborn turned in nearly 3,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office last week.

Today, Bentley Rayburn will submit more than 2,600 signatures.

To be placed on the ballot, candidates must submit 1,000 signatures of registered voters in the six-county district.

Rayburn spokesman Mike Hesse said notable signers include Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera, Buena Vista Mayor Cara Russell, Attorney General John Suthers, former State Sen. Ron May and former State Reps. Barbara Phillips and Bill Sinclair.

A third candidate, Jeff Crank, will attend the district assembly Friday, where he is expected to garner a majority of delegates to gain top line on the ballot.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: It is truly amazing that a sitting congressman from anywhere in Colorado would have to petition onto the ballot for re-election.

My Coffee with Hal

In CD-5 (and CD-6) we have a thankless job for a volunteer. Run as the Democratic candidate in an almost impossible district. Oh, and we want someone who is professional, polished, competent, thoughtful, and has 6 months to devote full time to this quest. In return you will get dragged through the mud and called every dirty name in the book. What a deal.

To me it’s surprising that we get anyone to do this. It’s simply amazing that we get someone who is, by every measure, a really good candidate that we can be proud of to have represent the Democratic party. Hal Bidlack is a really good candidate. And candidates like Hal are one of the key means by which we implement the 50 state strategy.

Normally when I do these meetings my main question is "what are you going to do in office." But in this case I started off with a more basic question – "how on earth do you have a prayer of winning" (I said it a little nicer than that).

I got a realistic answer. It’s a very tough fight. Jay Fawcett moved the Dem vote up from 20% to 40%, but that next 10% is a gigantic battle. Hal talked very honestly about the situation, but at the same time it was about how he could win. Not how he unquestionably will win, but how it is reachable. I think that balance speaks very well to both his staying grounded in reality but also with an eye on pulling off an upset.

He also discussed at length how it is important in a Democracy for their to be two choices on a ballot. How even if one party has zero chance of winning, it is incumbent on them to put forward a quality candidate. A lot of people talk about service to our country – Hal is practicing it. I guess after 20 years in the Air Force it’s natural for him, but I find it impressive.

As he said, this is not just a choice on the ballot. This is having an impassioned advocate to present an alternative approach to solving our problems in the election. In the debates, in the media, in the ads. Regardless of the odds, the voters in CD-5 are going to hear about both approaches.

Hal’s approach is very measured. At first I considered that a severe negative. There are tremendous advantages to a Barack Obama who can lift a crowd and carry them along with them. But as I thought about it, I’m not so sure. Hal has to reach people who have never voted for a Democrat in their life. The most effective way to reach them may be to almost be in stealth mode, to not stand out until after they have considered his words.

To sum up, can Hal win? I have no idea. But that’s lots better than no way.

So what do we get with Hal in the House? First off, he’s a realist. He understands that as a junior member of a 435 person body, his influence is minimal. But it is much greater as a Democrat than as a Republican as we Democrats will control both houses of Congress as well as the White House. And that’s a significant help for Colorado Springs.

What lit him up was talking about fair trade. He saw the damage done to Colorado Spring’s economy when Intel pulled out. And he saw that it is not "free trade" when China pays Intel to move the fab to the PRC. He supports global trade, he understands how high tariffs have historically done great damage to all economies. But he also sees that having no barriers as other countries practice predatory economic policy won’t work either.

This to me is a very interesting emphasis. A number of House members do this country great service by investing a lot of their time and energy on a difficult issue and working with others to find ways to address the problem. This is one of those problems that does need a couple of members who make it their major emphasis. He will serve the country well in this capacity.

The other major topic that lit him up was early American History. We got on the topic of Alexander Hamilton – I did not realize that he has spent a lot of time studying Hamilton. If it wasn’t for having to write this blog, I would have happily spent the rest of the time discussing this. He had a very interesting take on Hamilton’s speeches vs his true intentions at the Annapolis convention that I think makes a lot of sense. I also agree with him that Hamilton was one of our essential founding fathers. (I think the Washington/Hamilton partnership was arguable the most astute political team in human history.)

I think there is great advantage in having politicians with a strong knowledge of our history. It helps put what we do today in perspective. And in many cases it gives us examples of what has worked and what has not worked.

He’s an exceptional candidate and it’s the candidates we have stepping up in races like this that show the true strength and depth of the Democratic party.

First posted at Liberal and Loving It