Sad Trombone for Brandon Shaffer

UPDATE: Lynn Bartels of the Denver paper reports that the ad was temporarily taken down after questions stemming from the lack of a required note disclaiming the use of a photo of Brandon Shaffer in a Navy uniform. Here’s the corrected video, now back online:


This 2012 just isn’t Brandon Shaffer’s year. The Senate President was hoping for good redistricting news to give him a shot at taking out incumbent Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in CD-4, but that didn’t work out. Nevertheless, Shaffer has gamely plowed ahead with a Congressional campaign that has all the momentum of that car on blocks sitting in your neighbor’s lawn.

Thus it was sadly fitting that a press release today announcing Shaffer’s first TV ad linked to this YouTube page:

Here’s that sad trombone to set the mood. Full press release from Shaffer after the jump, where you can at least read a text description of the ad (it’s the least we could do).

Shaffer Goes Up On Television

With First Candidate Ad in Colorado’s 4th CD

LONGMONT – On Wednesday, voters across Colorado’s 4th Congressional District will see the first candidate ad in this race.  Brandon Shaffer’s new ad draws a distinct comparison between Brandon Shaffer, a Navy veteran and pro-education public servant, and Cory Gardner, special interests’ favorite Congressman.

“Being the first candidate in Colorado’s 4th Congressional District to have an ad on television is important, because according to our most recent poll, 20% of voters are undecided, and they need to know that they have a real choice in November,” said Kim Howard, Shaffer’s campaign manger.  “After voters hear about Congressman Gardner’s coziness with lobbyists and Brandon Shaffer’s dedication to education, our poll has the race down to a 3 point margin: Gardner 40% to Shaffer 37%.  Clearly, the more voters learn about Brandon, the closer this race gets.”

Shaffer’s ad references a CBS undercover camera exposé that revealed Cory Gardner giving special interest lobbyists “the type of access that ordinary Americans can only dream of.”  On March 16, 2012, CBS aired their report on several GOP freshmen, prominently featuring Gardner, who joined these lobbyists for a high-dollar weekend fundraiser at an exclusive Florida seaside resort.

Shaffer’s ad opens with footage of Cory Gardner hobnobbing with lobbyists from the CBS exposé and the screen reads “GOP Freshman, Big-Bucks Donors Hobnob At Resort.”

Reporter: In Key Largo, Gardner appeared to offer special interests lots of face time.  Here, he’s talking to an attendee who says he works for a bank.

Then the scene changes to Shaffer in his living room, speaking to camera.

Brandon Shaffer: Congressman Gardner’s relationship with lobbyists is what’s wrong with Washington.  

I’m Brandon Shaffer.  In the Navy, I learned the importance of honor and character.  In Colorado, I stood up to special interests and balanced our budget responsibly to create jobs and protect education.

I approve this message because I’ll bring honesty and integrity with me to Congress.


Brandon Shaffer is a third generation Coloradan and former Naval officer. He was elected to represent Longmont in the Colorado Senate in 2004 and was unanimously elected President of the Colorado State Senate in 2009. He is running for Congress in the 4th Congressional District against Cory Gardner.

The 4th Congressional district incorporates Longmont, Weld County, Douglas County and the Eastern plains from Holyoke all the way down to Trinidad.  This district borders 5 states and includes part or all of 22 counties.

Recent Polling Shows…Eh, Whatever

Democrat Brandon Shaffer is doing his dardnest to make a race out of his challenge to incumbent Republican Rep. Cory Gardner in CD-4. But as we’ve said in this space before, the makeup of the district leaves little room for a potential Shaffer upset.

That doesn’t mean that Shaffer’s team can’t try to show some sort of momentum, as a new press release explains:

The results of a recent poll show Brandon Shaffer making significant gains on Cory Gardner in the race for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.  Compared to a poll conducted in Dec 2011, Brandon Shaffer has considerably chipped away at Cory Gardner’s lead, reducing it to a 7-point race.

Significantly, when voters learn more about each candidate, support for Gardner decreases and support for Shaffer increases.  With Gardner at 40% and Shaffer at 37%, it is a 3-point race.

While that last paragraph may be true, it means little given that Shaffer isn’t going to have enough money to inform voters about much of anything. At the end of the last fundraising period, Shaffer had about $271,000 cash-on-hand compared to more than $1 million for Gardner.

Full press release on Shaffer’s polling after the jump.

Recent Poll: Brandon Shaffer Makes Significant Gains on Cory Gardner, Colorado 4thCongressional District Trending More Moderate

LONGMONT – The results of a recent poll show Brandon Shaffer making significant gains on Cory Gardner in the race for Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.  Compared to a poll conducted in Dec 2011, Brandon Shaffer has considerably chipped away at Cory Gardner’s lead, reducing it to a 7-point race.

Significantly, when voters learn more about each candidate, support for Gardner decreases and support for Shaffer increases.  With Gardner at 40% and Shaffer at 37%, it is a 3-point race.

“The poll clearly demonstrates increasing support for my campaign and that district trends are also in my favor. Anyone who thinks I don’t have a chance in this district doesn’t know what they’re talking about,” said Shaffer. “I’ve known Cory Gardner for years, and he is a nice  guy, but obviously voters are disappointed that he isn’t following through on his promises now that he is in Congress.”

INITIAL BALLOT:   Gardner: 42%     Shaffer: 35%

FINAL BALLOT:   Gardner: 40%     Shaffer: 37%

The results also clearly demonstrate that voters are far from happy with Congressman Gardner’s work in Washington D.C.  Since December 2011, his job approval rating has fallen considerably.  In the last poll, voters gave Congressman Gardner a 42% positive and 43% negative job rating, but now, his positive job rating has dropped 6-points to 36% and his negative has increased considerably to 47%, demonstrating significant disappointment with his work in Congress.

Shaffer receives the only net-positive job rating among all officials and groups tested in this poll.  In December, voters gave Brandon a 34% positive job rating and 42% negative job rating.  This poll shows that his positive has increased to a 38% positive job rating and his negative job rating has decreased significantly by 7-points to 35%.

Currently, voters give Brandon a higher job approval rating than Cory at 38% to 35%, while also disapproving of Cory at a much higher margin.  Brandon Shaffer receives a net positive rating, while Congressman Gardner receives a net rating of -11.

“”Ultimately, when people realize this race is between a pro-education veteran and a do-nothing darling of special interests they realize there’s a better choice in the 4th Congressional District,” said Kim Howard, Shaffer’s campaign manager. “Brandon Shaffer is focused on revitalizing the middle class and has a proven track record of fiscal responsibility; while Cory Gardner attends extravagant junkets with special interest lobbyists, and gives tax breaks to companies that outsource our jobs.”

Poll results also illustrate a larger trend throughout the district: Colorado’s 4th Congressional District is becoming more moderate.  The approval rating of Democratic elected officials has risen since the last poll in December 2011, while that of their Republican counterparts has fallen.  For example in the 4th Congressional District, Governor John Hickenlooper’s positive job rating has improved from 31% to 42%, and his negative job rating has decreased from 62% to 53%.


Brandon Shaffer is a third generation Coloradan and former Naval officer. He was elected to represent Longmont in the Colorado Senate in 2004 and was unanimously elected President of the Colorado State Senate in 2009. He is running for Congress in the 4th Congressional District against Cory Gardner.

The 4th Congressional district incorporates Longmont, Weld County, Douglas County and the Eastern plains from Holyoke all the way down to Trinidad.

Cory Gardner Blames Government for Mother Nature

We understand that saying “government is bad” is a popular position for a right-wing Republican to take on any issue, but it’s a bit absurd to see Rep. Cory Gardner go so far as to blame the government for lightning and forest fires.

From The Ft. Collins Coloradoan:

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is calling for an investigation into how federal roadless area policy related to bark beetle-killed trees may have contributed to the spread of the High Park Fire.

Just more than a month after the U.S. Forest Service finalized the Colorado Roadless Rule for the state’s national forests, the High Park Fire likely burned through the eastern edge of the White Pine Mountain Roadless Area in the Roosevelt National Forest, according to data appearing on a map of the fire that incident command presented to evacuees Monday.

Last month’s Hewlett Fire burned within the Greyrock Roadless Area.

“We will be asking for a full-blown investigation into whether or not roadless policies contributed to the severity of this fire,” said Gardner, who ordered his staff on Monday to track down maps of Colorado’s roadless areas to determine whether the High Park Fire has burned within a roadless area.”

So is this really a viable connection to make, or is Gardner just using a weird issue to grandstand about government regulations? It would seem the latter, as this quote confirms:

“Not knowing whether or not roadless policies contributed to the severity of the fire, that’s a question that has to be answered,” he said.

Got that? Gardner has no friggin’ idea if this question makes any sense whatsoever, but dammnit, he’s going to insinuate anyway!

Rep. Steve King: Worst Endorsement Ever?

Republican Rep. Steve King is obviously so safe in his Iowa district that it doesn’t really matter what crazy crap comes out of his mouth — he’s going to get re-elected one way or the other. But that doesn’t mean that he’s a good guy to have on your list of endorsements.

You might recall in 2010 that Cory Gardner cancelled a fundraiser with King as the featured guest after King’s bizarre comments to the media that President Obama has a “default mechanism” that “favors the black person.” Then-gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo welcomed King for his own fundraiser, and Tancredo no doubt would be pleased with the kind of rhetoric that King spewed out recently.

According to, King compared immigrants to, well, to dogs:

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, compared immigrants to dogs at a town hall meeting yesterday, telling constituents that the U.S. should pick only the best immigrants the way one chooses the “pick of the litter.”

King told the crowd in Pocahontas, Iowa, that he’s owned lots of bird dogs over the years and advised, “You want a good bird dog? You want one that’s going to be aggressive? Pick the one that’s the friskiest…not the one that’s over there sleeping in the corner.”

King suggested lazy immigrants should be avoided as well. “You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog. Well, we’ve got the pick of every donor civilization on the planet,” King said. “We’ve got the vigor from the planet to come to America.”

So what’s that have to do with Colorado politics? Well, King recently endorsed Mitt Romney for President, which is probably helpful with certain Tea Party constituents but might not be as useful with everyone else — including undecided Colorado voters who hear about these comments through an aggressive Obama campaign.

BREAKING: Gardner Snared In Access Peddling Junket Expose

Full video after the jump

UPDATE: The Colorado Independent has reaction from Rep. Cory Gardner's Democratic opponent, Senate President Brandon Shaffer, who needs more exposés like this one:

"This is just latest example of what's wrong with Washington and Congressman Cory Gardner," state Senate President Brandon Shaffer, who is running to unseat Gardner this year, told the Colorado Independent. "Despite campaigning on a pledge to stand up to the Washington special interests, Congressman Gardner has sold out to the highest special interest bidders and lobbyists. [He] has been a reliable vote to put the special interests and the ultra wealthy first, while leaving the middle class and seniors last."



CBS News seems to be in the process of breaking a problematic story for our up-and-coming freshman representative in the relatively safe 4th Congressional District (video after the jump):

In 2010, many freshmen Republicans were swept into Congress on the promise of doing things differently. But fast-forward to 2012, and the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Fla. — an exclusive seaside resort and home to 54 holes of championship golf and a private marina full of luxury yachts.

That's where we caught up with a select group of Republican freshmen, engaged in business as usual. But they didn't come alone. They invited big campaign donors and lobbyists to join them – for a price. And we secretly sent our cameras along for a unique inside look at their first joint fundraiser, where special interests got the kind of access ordinary Americans can only dream of: on the golf course; over drinks at the resort bar; at a private beach lagoon…

Congressmen Canseco and [Cory] Gardner were seen on camera heading in to host happy hour. To get in, donors had to pay at least $10,000.

During his campaign, Gardner promised average voters would inspire his actions. One ad said, "I will always put Colorado families before the Washington special interests."

But in Key Largo, Gardner appeared to offer special interests lots of face time. [Pols emphasis] He was seen on camera talking to an attendee who said he works for a bank. In another shot, he's seen going charter fishing as part of the fundraising package — they head out on a group of boats including one named "Good Life."

While the story doesn't allege any laws were expressly broken on this trip, they raise the obvious questions about why lobbyists pay so much for this kind of intimate and prolonged access. Rep. Cory Gardner has quickly taken to the Washington, DC Republican elite culture since his election in 2010, playing a role in powerplays between Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor and frequently cited as the "A-list" GOP member of our delegation. Gardner seems to have reached the hockey-stick moment in his upwardly mobile political career, with a newly-safer seat and and a clear path to the highest levels of GOP congressional power.

Folks, this is what you do behind the scenes–what some will say he must do–to be that guy. A fitting analogy we can think of, but probably wouldn't recommend, is one Rush Limbaugh and friends have made toxic. Whatever you call it, it looks very bad on a grainy hidden camera.

A poll follows–how "safe" is Cory Gardner, really?

How much hidden camera access peddling can Cory Gardner endure?

View Results

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Miklosi Lays a Fundraising Egg; Haney Lays a Loan

UPDATE: The Miklosi campaign issued a rather silly press release this afternoon. Full release after the jump, but here’s the opening sentence:

In a sign of growing momentum, the Joe Miklosi For Congress campaign announced it has $173,000 cash on hand and more than 1,300 grass roots supporters who have already contributed to the campaign.

It’s a very good idea to point out the number of individual donors that Miklosi received in Q4 — that’s always the best approach when you can’t point to impressive totals. But you shouldn’t point out a weak cash-on-hand number, and it does more harm than good to say something like “In a sign of growing momentum…”  

Remember, a press release is not something sent to the general public — the people who receive press releases are generally folks who have some idea of what is going on in the race, and when you try too hard to spin horrible news in the other direction, you just end up looking silly.


Earlier this month Republican Rep. Mike Coffman announced that his campaign had raised $415,000 in the final quarter of 2011. When Democrat Joe Miklosi never sent out a news release discussing his Q4 fundraising numbers, it was a pretty safe assumption that the figures weren’t going to be good.

Today is the deadline for Congressional candidates to file their end-of-2011 reports, and FEC reports show that Miklosi raised a meager $104,451 in Q4. Miklosi raised just $130,000 in his first fundraising quarter, and we’ve said since then that it was absolutely vital for his campaign to have a much stronger Q4. Altogether Miklosi now has $173,700 in cash on hand, significantly less than Coffman’s warchest of $961,374.

Unfortunately for Miklosi, there’s no positive spin that can help him at this point. In order for him to be a top-tier contender that receives the kind of national help and attention needed to defeat Coffman, Miklosi had to be raising at least $200k per quarter by now (which is what Sal Pace did in Q4, and why Pace is on the top of the DCCC’s takeover list). Numbers this low will almost certainly cripple future fundraising, because nobody wants to write a big check to someone who doesn’t look like they can win; money begets money in politics, and Miklosi doesn’t have the warchest to convince big donors to get on the bandwagon. Miklosi’s poor Q4 will also embolden Senate President Brandon Shaffer to make the jump from running in CD-4, where he would almost certainly lose to incumbent Rep. Cory Gardner. Shaffer didn’t have a great Q4, either, but he has shown that he can be a better fundraiser than Miklosi by bringing in nearly $300,000 — a race that is much less plausible for Democrats to win than CD-6.

There are probably a lot of factors contributing to Miklosi’s weak fundraising numbers overall, but when you do this poorly it usually means you didn’t have the necessary connections to put a big-time campaign in place to begin with. We can’t fault Miklosi for trying, but his campaign is all but over now.

The other Democrat currently running in CD-6, unknown chiropractor Perry Haney, raised just $16,025 in Q4 but loaned his campaign $370,000. According to the FEC, Haney now has $684,215 cash on hand — nearly all of it from his own wallet.



GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLORADO – JANUARY 31, 2012 — In a sign of growing momentum, the Joe Miklosi For Congress campaign announced it has $173,000 cash on hand and more than 1,300 grass roots supporters who have already contributed to the campaign.

“Grassroots donors have been, and remain, a strong source of support for our campaign,” said Joe Miklosi, candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District. “Our supporters didn’t get involved because of lines on a map or numbers in a poll. We are committed to idea that we can and should be working together to reignite the American Dream and restore job growth.”

The campaign reported raising $104,000 in for the 4th quarter despite the eleventh-hour finalization of the congressional map, for a total of $230,000 since the launch of the campaign with a large majority of donations coming online.

The campaign also announced this week the addition of Joe Livoti as Finance Director. Mr. Livoti, a veteran fundraiser who worked on Congressional and statewide races around the country, was referred to the campaign by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).  

Shaffer, Morse Considering Run in CD-6

Lynn Bartels at the Denver paper is reporting that Democratic Senators Brandon Shaffer and John Morse are both considering running in CD-6, where Joe Miklosi and some dude named Perry Haney are already seeking the Democratic nomination.

We’re not terribly surprised to read this, as we have heard rumors for awhile that Shaffer may ultimately look to CD-6 and abandon what most observers believe to be an unwinnable race in CD-4. We’re not sure where Morse really fits into this discussion, but we’d guess he’s just throwing his name out there for the chattering class more than anything serious.

While Miklosi has pulled in a lot of endorsements from Democrats, he is not raising the kind of money that will get him on national target lists and lead to the really big funding a Democrat would need to beat Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. The incumbent Coffman raised $415,000 in Q4 and is now sitting on a million-dollar warchest.

Miklosi raised just $130,000 in his first quarter of fundraising, a paltry sum for a top challenger in one of the more statistically competitive districts in the country (the benchmark is closer to $200,000 per quarter, but top-tier candidates should be closer to $250k). Campaign finance reports from Q4 should be available anytime now, and the fact that Miklosi has not proactively announced his fundraising totals suggests that he did not do much better in his second three months.

Neither Miklosi nor Shaffer is particularly well-known in the new boundaries of CD-6, so there would be little built-in disadvantage for Shaffer to move his sights to the new district. Shaffer has, however, shown a better capacity for fundraising. And let’s face it, folks: as much as anyone wants to complain about it, money matters a lot. It doesn’t just matter because you need it to reach voters — it is a show of support in and of itself. If Miklosi isn’t raising it, then he cannot — cannot — beat Coffman in November. With a district this favorable for taking out a Republican incumbent, Democrats can’t, and shouldn’t, give a challenger the benefit of the doubt.

All this might be a moot discussion if it comes out in the next 24 hours that Miklosi really raked in the cash recently. Given the timing of this news, however, we’re guessing that won’t happen.

Stop! You’re “Trashing Capitalism!”

Our friends at the Washington Post report:

Both former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have argued that Romney destroyed jobs and lives at the venture firm Bain Capital by buying up and then shuttering struggling companies. A super PAC supporting Gingrich is airing ads in South Carolina attacking Romney’s record, using footage drawn from a 30-minute documentary called “King of Bain.”

The ad uses the same argument Romney has used on the campaign trail – that Bain helped Staples, the Sports Authority and Steel Dynamics create jobs.

“We expected the Obama administration to put free markets on trial, but as the Wall Street Journal said, ‘Mr. Romney’s GOP opponents are embarrassing themselves by taking the Obama line,'” the narrator concludes.

Allison Sherry at the Denver paper reports that GOP Rep. Cory Gardner joined yesterday in the pushback against attacks on Mitt Romney’s “corporate raider” record at Bain Capital, imploring Republicans running against Romney to refrain from such nasty Democrat-style “class warfare” (although Romney himself has done just as much to push that narrative). Newt Gingrich, for his part, has answered that he’s not disparaging capitalism so much, but heartless predatory outfits like Bain Capital that give capitalism a bad name.

No, says Gardner, that’s disparaging capitalism.

It’s an interesting pickle the Republican presidential challengers have gotten themselves into, having found a line of attack against the frontrunner that resonates, but with the side effect of upsetting key philosophical “free-market” assumptions among conservatives. They can’t take it back. Add that to the fact that these are probably futile attacks on the likely Republican nominee, and segue perfectly into President Barack Obama’s message, and you can easily see why player Republicans like Gardner suddenly realized that this had all gone much too far.

But so nobody accuses us of being unfair, Romney’s response ad follows too.

Gardner COS Will Manage Coffman Re-Election Campaign

According to Allison Sherry at the Denver newspaper, Rep. Cory Gardner’s Chief of Staff, Chris Hansen, is taking a leave of absence from the office in order to run Rep. Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign in CD-6.

Hansen managed Gardner’s 2010 campaign, and his move to oversee the Coffman campaign says a lot about both CD-4 and CD-6. Gardner is obviously not terribly worried about his re-election chances against Democrat Brandon Shaffer, while Coffman is rightly concerned about his new district.

GOP Shuts Down Online Schools Audit

UPDATE: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols:

The State’s auditing office gave preliminary approval to the request, but the audit committee had to approve it to let it move forward.

On a 4-4 party-line vote Monday, the audit request failed with all four Republican committee members — state Sens. Scott Renfroe of Greeley and Steve King of Colorado Springs, as well as state Reps. Brian Delgrosso of Loveland and Cindy Acree of Aurora — voting against it…

Republicans called Shaffer’s initial request “political grandstanding”; and, on Tuesday, they tried to amend Shaffer’s request to call for an audit on all state education spending, not just online schools.

That amendment was defeated.

“They wanted to be political in looking at one part of education and not all of it,” Renfroe told FOX31 Denver.

Our understanding is that the proposal was definitely intended to spike the process of investigating deficiencies in online schools. Nonpartisan staff were reportedly blindsided by the GOP’s request to expand this audit to include all schools, and the proposal would have inflated this investigation into a years-long morass, hopelessly off track from the task at hand. Online schools are significantly different than traditional schools, whether public or private, so there’s no rational reason to not investigate them separately.

The incident does little to reassure us that this kind of petty obstruction isn’t going to happen over and over again, every time they think there are points to be scored off Brandon Shaffer.


That news in a press release we just got from the Senate Majority Press Office:

Today, Republican members of the Legislative Audit Committee voted against investigating possible waste, fraud and abuse by schools in the State’s online schools system. Many online schools currently receive state funding. It was estimated during today’s hearing that the overall online school budget was as much as $85 million last year. Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) requested an emergency audit of online schools on September 26, following the review of several Colorado Department of Education reports that exposed serious problems with a number of online school programs.

On September 27, members of the Legislative Audit Committee authorized the State Auditor to study the feasibility of such an audit. However, despite the study released today determining an audit would be feasible, Republicans on the committee-Senators Scott Renfroe and Steve King, and Representatives Brian DelGrosso and Cindy Acree-voted against the transparency and accountability measure.

Following the party-line defeat of his request for an audit of online schools Senate President Brandon Shaffer released the following statement:

“I am very disappointed Republicans chose to make this into a partisan issue, instead of simply doing the right thing.  Despite overwhelming evidence of widespread fraud and abuse by online schools, they blocked an audit that would have saved Colorado taxpayers millions of dollars.

“Instead of fighting for taxpayers, they chose to stand with corporate giants on Wall Street who are bilking Coloradans of millions while providing a vastly inferior educational product resulting in low test scores and high drop-out rates.

“While today’s vote is disappointing, it’s not entirely unexpected.  Lobbyists representing online schools are extremely powerful in the legislature, and that’s why these schools have a sweetheart deal with no accountability or oversight.  

“I will continue to fight for Colorado taxpayers.  The investigative reports of numerous news outlets across the State give us ample evidence of online school abuses.  I will bring forward legislation during the 2012 session to reign in these abuses and restore accountability to the system.

“Coloradans deserve better representation than what they received today.”

It’s quite odd to see Republicans voting all together against an audit of taxpayer funds spent on public education, especially after the heavy press coverage deficiencies in these schools received at the end of September. We haven’t seen a press release from Republicans yet, but the arguments against this audit seem to boil down to accusations of “politics” on the part of Senate President Brandon Shaffer–who, in case you’ve been living under a rock all summer, is running for Congress. Unless you latch onto that and stop, this decision seems awfully out of place. Republicans should want public school accountability, shouldn’t they?

Anyway, you hope this doesn’t become a pattern. There are many issues between now and next November they could become suddenly intransigent over…because Shaffer has an opinion. Just because he’s running for Congress doesn’t mean his opinion is suddenly less relevant.

Brandon Shaffer Raises $180,000 in Q3

Senate President Brandon Shaffer, a Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Rep. Cory Gardner in CD-4, announced yesterday that his campaign had raised $180,000 in the third quarter, his first full fundraising quarter.

Shaffer’s Q3 haul isn’t eyebrow-raising for any reason, but it’s a strong amount that puts him on a fundraising pace that will keep him in the top tier for potential national support from the DCCC. Full press release after the jump.  

Brandon Shaffer announced today that his campaign raised just under $180,000 in the third quarter, with donations from more than 900 individuals.

“The response to our message has been incredible,” said Shaffer. “People are disgusted with Washington and the hyper partisan rhetoric they see. They want jobs, jobs, jobs, and all they get from Washington is bickering and gridlock.   This campaign will be difficult fighting against the special interests’ favorite incumbent, but it’s increasingly obvious that Northern Coloradans are fed up with all the hot air coming from Washington and are ready for straight talk and real Colorado solutions.”

Additional Statistics:

Amount Raised: $179, 485.70

Total # of individual donors: 909

Average individual contribution: $153.78

98% of individual donors are from Colorado

Gardner Town Hall Highlights 2012 Problems for GOP

We’ve regularly discussed in this space the problems that Republicans face in 2012 as they try to maneuver between Tea Partiers who want strict adherence to far-right ideals and Independent voters who don’t want big cuts to programs such as Medicare. As Bob Moore of the Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports, Republican Rep. Cory Gardner was smack in the middle of that dilemma during a town hall meeting on Monday:

Not all the criticism aimed at Gardner came from Democrats. One Republican from Loveland, who didn’t give his name, said he voted for Gardner because he wanted someone who would “stand for principles.”

“It seems like we always compromise, we on the Republican side,” the man said, to hoots of derision from Democrats in the room.

During the meeting, Gardner defended his positions on a number of issues, such as the recent compromise to reduce federal spending while raising the debt ceiling. Most of the audience was older than 65, and Gardner received criticism by some for his support of a Republican budget plan that would greatly overhaul Medicare.

“The only way that we are going to save and preserve a safety net program is if we take responsible reform and actions to make sure that it remains in place,” Gardner said, provoking some catcalls from the audience.

Gardner is already facing 2012 problems over his support of the “Ryan Plan”, and the debt ceiling debate hasn’t made things any easier. Gardner is one of many Republicans around the country who is going to have to ease voter fears over Medicare cuts while also maintaining support from Republicans, such as the man quoted above, who think that the GOP “compromised” too much during the debt debate. With public approval of Congress at an all-time low, 2012 is shaping up to be a difficult time to be a Tea Party-backed Republican incumbent.

Larimer County GOP Facing $200,000 in Fines

As the Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports, the Larimer County Republican Party is looking at as much as $216,000 in fines because of problems stemming from former Party Chairman Larry Carillo:

Former Larimer County Republican Party Chairman Larry Carillo used more than $17,000 in party money for payments to two companies he owned and for ATM withdrawals and other payments that can’t be explained, according to amended campaign finance reports the party is filing…

…A Coloradoan review of the new disclosure showed $5,350 in contributions from Carillo’s companies that the Larimer GOP has reported could wind up costing the party more than $200,000 in fines because the contributions appear to violate state campaign finance laws.

The payments to his companies and the debit card use are likely at the heart of an ongoing criminal investigation of Carillo’s tenure as party chairman.

Carillo was first elected Chairman of the Larimer County Republican Party in 2009; he resigned on February 28 after other party leaders noticed a bunch of unpaid bills and other more problematic findings. The bigger problem, where campaign finance law is concerned, is that the Larimer GOP apparently didn’t file any campaign finance reports in 2010.

The Larimer County GOP is looking at at least $65,000 in fines for not filing reports in 2010, but that number is continuing to rise. They’re still facing $50 per day late fees because they admitted that the report they finally filed in March of this year was inaccurate, and because some contributions from more than two years ago were not reported, fines could reach $216,000. But fortunately for them, there are two big-name Republicans in charge of the criminal case and the campaign finance problems. Again, from The Coloradoan:

The Larimer County GOP is seeking a reduction in those fines, and Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s office has said it will wait to determine the final fine amount until the party filed its amended campaign finance reports and until a prosecutor decided on whether to file criminal charges in the case.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck was named special prosecutor in the case after the District Attorney for Larimer County, Larry Abrahamson, recused himself because he had contributed to the county GOP. Buck’s office only will say the investigation is ongoing.

Wait a minute…so Larry Abrahamson, the Larimer County District Attorney, (rightfully) recused himself from the case because he is a donor to the county party. So the case instead goes to Weld County D.A. Ken Buck, who was the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in 2010??? Didn’t Buck and his campaign work with the Larimer County Republican Party last year?

Also involved with this case is former Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden, who is now…wait for it…the Executive Director of the Larimer County GOP.

Gessler has already shown in his first six months in office that he’s not overly concerned with silly things like “laws” or “rules”, and he might very well be inclined to agree with the Larimer County GOP’s request to reduce their fines. After all, says the Larimer GOP, it’s not their fault that nobody in the Party paid any attention to what was happening. Here’s the County GOP’s reasoning for why they shouldn’t be fined:

“[The Larimer County Republican Party] should not be penalized by the imposition of such substantial fines when the failure to file the requisite campaign finance reports was a result of the failure of its volunteer chairman to inform the executive committee or the committee as a whole that reports had not been filed as required.”


In other words, the Larimer County GOP thinks that it shouldn’t get in trouble because it’s not their fault that nobody was paying any attention to anything. No fair, no fair! He didn’t tell us that he was breaking the law!

We don’t know how many officers the Larimer County GOP contained in 2010, but according to their website, there are 14 people listed as 2011-13 “Officers” or members of the “Executive Board.” We’d assume that there were roughly that many “Officers” in 2010, and if the Larimer GOP is like most county parties, they have more regular meetings than Alcoholics Anonymous.

Nobody ever asked if they filed their campaign finance reports? Really? Never?

What about the Party’s Treasurer? Former Treasurer Terri Fassi apparently resigned in July or August 2010 and was not replaced before the end of the year — but she still would have been responsible for reporting for the first half of the year. And what about previous Treasurer Matt Fries, who resigned in 2009 (a year that is also missing reporting details)? Fries at least tries an excuse, claiming that he didn’t open letters from the Secretary of State’s office related to the problems.

It strikes us as a little disingenuous to claim that nobody knew what Carillo was doing when there were plenty of people who, at the very least, should have had some questions. If you put your hands over your ears and close your eyes really tight, maybe it will all just disappear! If you just don’t open the mail, the bad words won’t come out!

Look, we acknowledge that it sucks when one person royally screws things up for an entire organization. There’s no excuse for that…but it’s also inexcusable that nobody else in the County Party lifted so much as an eyelid. It will be interesting to see if Republicans such as Gessler and Buck will accept this nonsense excuse and bury everything at Carillo’s feet. Carillo deserves what’s coming to him, but he shouldn’t be alone.

Paul Ryan Radioactive to Republicans

The Republican budget plan drafted by Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has created a — yes, we’ll say it — shitstorm of problems for Republicans around the country because of a key component that would dramatically change Medicare.

Here in Colorado, freshman Rep. Cory Gardner has been furiously trying to spin the Medicare piece of “The Ryan Plan” to make it appear less horrible to average voters. In CD-3, Republican Rep. Scott Tipton is facing the same problems. But all the spin in the world on various pieces of “The Ryan Plan” may not do much to help Gardner and Tipton if Paul Ryan himself remains as unpopular as he is in a new poll. As Politico reports:

Democrats are winning the messaging war on Rep. Paul Ryan’s bid to overhaul Medicare, with a new Bloomberg poll finding 57 percent of Americans believe they would be worse off under his plan.

Only 34 percent said they would be better off if Congress replaced “traditional Medicare” with a program to purchase private insurance with government subsidies, as Ryan has proposed.

The poll also found Ryan is now the nation’s third most disliked Republican, with net unfavorable ratings that trail only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Yikes! This creates a whammy of a messaging problem for Gardner and Tipton, because any attack ads in 2012 can double-down on the rhetoric for better effect. We can already see the ad: [insert scary voice] Cory Gardner voted to approve Paul Ryan’s budget plan that would destroy Medicare as we know it.

Not only would this message hurt Gardner (and Tipton) because of people angry with the proposed Medicare changes — it also hurts with people who don’t like Paul Ryan.

Thanks a lot, budget wunderkind!


Gardner and Tipton vs. Perlmutter on Medicare Privatization

Discussing the surprise victory this week by Democrat Kathy Hochul in New York’s CD-26 special election, for which credit is broadly being attributed to the Republican 2012 budget proposal and its replacement of Medicare with a voucher system in ten years, we posted video clips of Colorado freshman Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton defending it for posterity.

Tuesday, reports the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard, Colorado Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter responded to the GOP budget proposal, and attacks on Medicare generally.

“Americans know Medicare didn’t get us into this financial pickle, yet the Republicans in Congress want to pick on Medicare because they’ve never liked the program. Medicare is not harming the financial success of this country, so why are we blaming a program that is working and helping seniors have healthier, longer lives?”

Like we said yesterday after the Senate rejected the “Ryan Plan” with five GOP defections, it’s a very easy choice for us which of these two positions we’d rather run on in 2012. Fortunately for our two freshman Republicans, we haven’t seen any redistricting maps that would pit either of them against Perlmutter–but we expect their challengers will know what to say too.

And now there’s evidence it might really work, like 2010’s “death panels” but based in reality.

Senate Rejects Ryan Budget, Medicare Overhaul

From Politico:

With five Republicans joining Democrats in opposition, the Senate easily rejected a House-passed budget plan Wednesday calling for deep cuts in domestic appropriations and major restructuring of Medicare, the government-backed healthcare program for the elderly.

The 57-40 roll call proved more for show than substance but still stung for GOP leaders, coming less than 24 hours after the same Medicare issue figured prominently in the upset of a Republican candidate in a special House election for upstate New York.

In a tell-tale sign of trouble ahead, there were significantly more defections among GOP moderates than in a similar partisan show vote in March testing support then for an earlier House Republican budget initiative focused on discretionary spending cuts. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner was defiant regarding the Ryan budget in an earlier Politico story today, but this afternoon’s Senate vote is telling in how moderates rejected the Ryan budget across-the-board. There’s Gardner’s strategic approach to Medicare and the “Ryan budget,” and then there’s the strategy being employed by Senate moderates — we can tell you which direction we’d be more comfortable with as an incumbent member of Congress (hint: it ain’t Gardner’s position).

House Republicans Finally Notice Their Own Disaster

As our friends at The Washington Post report, somebody finally talked some sense into tone-deaf House Republicans:

Republican lawmakers have removed the term “forcible rape” from an antiabortion bill in Congress after women’s groups accused them of trying to change the widely held definition of rape.

The bill, called the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, seeks to permanently bar federal funds from being used to subsidize abortions. It allows exceptions in cases in which the pregnancy resulted from incest or when the life of the mother would be threatened if the fetus was carried to term.

In the original language, it also allowed exceptions in cases of “forcible rape.” The term provoked an outcry from critics, who said rape is by definition committed by force and that lawmakers were seeking to exclude from coverage certain kinds of rape by adding the modifier – for example, cases in which the victim was underage or unconscious.

The bill now echoes existing law by taking out the term “forcible” and excepting all cases of rape.

A spokesman for Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.), a chief sponsor of the bill, said Thursday that they decided to change the term because it was being “misconstrued.” [Pols emphasis]

There he is! We haven’t seen this guy in quite awhile — the old “misconstrued defense.” The “misconstrued defense” is a close relative of the classic “rogue staffer” blame game and the fraternal twin of the “I apologize if you were offended” non-apology apology.

We didn’t do something horribly insensitive — you just misconstrued what we said! Since YOU can’t seem to understand what we really meant, we’ll just go ahead and change it.

Come 2012, we’ll have to remember to ask Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton if the “misconstrued defense” is making those attack ads any less effective against them.

Will Colorado Republicans Support Steele for RNC Chair?

As our friends at “The Fix” explain:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s announcement Monday that he will seek a second term as chairman of the committee stunned the political world and left strategists scrambling to assess the impact he could have on the contest.

Steele, in a detailed statement released last night announcing his intentions, sought to claim credit for Republican gains at the ballot box in November and insisted his job was only half done…

…While Steele’s stridency to prove his naysayers wrong is without question, his ability to win the race is far less clear. Sources knowledgeable about the alliances of the 168 members of the RNC estimate the chairman’s support at roughly 40-50 votes — roughly half of those he would need to claim a second term.

How Steele plans to build beyond that base — and whether he can — remains to be seen but it’s hard to see his reelection campaign succeeding, particularly given the forces lined up against him and with other candidates.

The current favorite, in fact, seems to be Wisconsin Republican party chairman Reince Priebus who managed Steele’s 2009 RNC campaign. Priebus has been gathering support from committee members formerly loyal to Steele.

The performance of Steele was a recurring topic among Colorado Republicans in advance of last August’s Primary, especially after reports of lavish spending emerged in the spring. Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams has tentatively supported Steele both recently and during a summer visit. Other Colorado Republicans have been less supportive, including Rep.-elect Cory Gardner, who tossed Steele to the Tea Party wolves in April.

Colorado Election Results Open Thread

UPDATE (11:25): The big Denver paper and many of the other big TV stations have some major problems with their reporting. The Denver Post, for example, had Buck ahead of Bennet 48-46, on the strength of a 52-45 advantage in Boulder. A quick check of the Boulder Clerk and Recorder’s website has Bennet leading Buck 67-29. There are a lot of somebodies who should have caught this immediately — there’s no way Boulder County would go solid red for any Republican.

We recommend sticking with the results from Fox 31, which not only has a page that seems to actually load correctly, but isn’t making any obvious errors that we can see.


UPDATE (11:16): It looks like we may be headed for at least one state legislative recount. In HD-29, Democratic Rep. Debbie Benefield trails Republican Robert Ramirez by 148 votes (50.34% to 49.66%).


UPDATE (11:12): That didn’t last long. With 56% of ballots counted, Bennet and Buck are now tied at 47-47.


UPDATE (11:00): Buck has pulled ahead of Bennet for the first time tonight, leading 49-46 with 49% of precincts reporting.


UPDATE (9:50): It’s looking like the race that will have the biggest impact from an ACP candidate will not be the one anybody expected. The Secretary of State race is neck-and-neck, but the ACP candidate is already pulling 6% of the vote. Buescher may well win this seat by virtue of the American Constitution Party.


UPDATE (9:44): The percentage of precincts reporting continues to rise, and Michael Bennet continues to hold a 50-45 lead over Ken Buck. This is not good news for Buck, because early returns should have favored him (Republicans voted in higher numbers than Democrats in early and absentee voting). Given Buck’s numerous gaffes in the last two weeks of the campaign, it’s not likely that late voters are going to choose him over Bennet, so it’s hard to see how Buck is going to make up 5 points with 27% of the vote already tallied.


UPDATE (9:08): It’s always fun to see those really early returns that show absurd numbers. In HD-22, Democrat Christine Radeff is pummeling Republican incumbent Ken Summers 7,875 to 12. Yes, 12. For a few more minutes, anyway.


UPDATE (9:05): Republican Cory Gardner is being declared the winner in CD-4.


UPDATE (9:03): The Secretary of State race is coming down to the wire, and may be decided by the number of votes pulled in by the American Constitution Party candidate. Meanwhile, the race for Attorney General seems to be widening in favor of incumbent John Suthers.


UPDATE (9:00): Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter has been declared the winner in CD-7.


UPDATE (8:38): The old adage that Jefferson County decides statewide elections is largely holding form. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, unofficially, are doing better in Jefferson County, as is John Suthers. Cary Kennedy and Walker Stapleton are neck-and-neck in Jeffco, while Scott Gessler leads Bernie Buescher in the large west Denver suburb.


UPDATE (8:35): Ladies and gentlemen, your next Governor…John Hickenlooper! The race has been called for Hick. Now the excitement turns to whether or not Dan Maes can cross the 10% threshold. From a Hickenlooper press release:

Colorado voters on Tuesday elected John Hickenlooper, a brewpub pioneer turned Mayor of Denver, as the 42nd Governor of Colorado.

“I am humbled and honored by the decision Colorado’s voters have made, and I accept the challenge you have entrusted to me to lead our state as Governor,” Hickenlooper said. “This is not the end of our journey. This is the beginning. And it starts with bringing people together.”


UPDATE (8:20): Here’s a couple of developing stories to watch. All of this can change, of course, but as of right now…

  • Bennet maintaining early lead on Buck

  • Hickenlooper holding early lead for Governor

  • Tipton well ahead of Salazar in CD-3

  • Kennedy surprisingly strong in Treasurer race

  • Buescher may be saved by ACP candidate for SOS

  • Third party turnout not yet playing role in CD-4

  • Attorney General race staying close

  • Every major ballot measure getting crushed

  • Both Rep. Diana DeGette (CD1) and Jared Polis (CD2) have been declared winners already
  • —–

    We’ll update results as we can. In the meantime, please keep them updated, with links, in the comments below.

    *NOTE: Candidates in bold and italics have been declared the winner by at least one local news outlet.


    Michael Bennet (D): 47%

    Ken Buck (R): 47%

    56% reporting


    John Hickenlooper (D): 51%

    Tom Tancredo (ACP): 37%

    Dan Maes (R): 11%

    48% reporting


    Cary Kennedy (D): 51%

    Walker Stapleton (R): 49%

    44% reporting


    John Suthers (R): 57%

    Stan Garnett (D): 43%

    44% reporting


    Bernie Buescher (D): 44%

    Scott Gessler (R): 50%

    Amanda Campbell (ACP): 6%

    44% reporting


    John Salazar (D): 45%

    Scott Tipton (R): 50%

    63% reporting


    Betsy Markey (D): 41%

    Cory Gardner (R): 53%

    Doug Aden (ACP): 5%

    Ken “Wasko” (I): 1%

    69% reporting


    Ed Perlmutter (D): 53%

    Ryan Frazier (R): 42%

    16% reporting

    “Wrong Markey” Gardner TV Ad Pulled

    UPDATE: More details from Fox 31. Apparently Gardner’s campaign has pulled the ad from every station on which it had been running:

    Apparently, the ad mistook the vote of Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, who did vote yes on the budget, for that of Markey, the first-term Democrat who is fighting hard to defend her seat in Colorado’s predominantly Republican fourth congressional district.

    “We get these disputes all the time, and they’re usually really gray and we can’t do anything,” [Fox 31 Station Manager Peter] Maroney said. “In this case, it was prima facie that there was a screw-up, it seemed so blatantly wrong to me and so black and white, that we went back to the agency that books advertising for Gardner and asked for a response from them.”…

    …The ad was quickly becoming a flash point in this high-profile race since it began airing on Tuesday.

    In a debate Tuesday night, Markey asked Gardner directly if the mistake was an oversight or intentional and called on him to take the ad down. He never responded during the hour-long forum held in Loveland.

    The new, corrected ad is now running in place of the original on all TV stations in the state that had been airing it.

    We don’t know what “prima facie” means, but it sounds bad.


    According to a press release from Rep. Betsy Markey’s campaign:

    KDVR Fox 31 today became the first television network in the United States to refuse to air a candidate’s campaign commercial because the ad is patently false.

    Representative Cory Gardner’s latest attack ad criticizes Colorado’s Betsy Markey for a vote taken by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

    Watch the ad here:…

    “We applaud Fox 31 for standing up to Rep. Gardner’s bald-faced lies,” said Markey (Betsy)’s campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “The people of Colorado are seeing a lot of awful negative campaign commercials this year, but through all the misleading clutter, Fox 31 decided that Rep. Gardner’s latest lies are too egregious to broadcast. Rep. Gardner should be ashamed of himself and should apologize to the people of the Fourth Congressional District for lying to them.”

    This is more bad press for Republican challenger Cory Gardner one day after it was revealed that Gardner’s negative TV ad incorrectly accused Betsy Markey of votes that were actually taken by Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey.

    We’re mystified why Gardner’s campaign doesn’t just admit the error and make a quick editing change to the ad, rather than face the bad press that comes with being the first campaign in the country to see its television ad pulled — and from a Fox TV affiliate, no less (while Fox 31 isn’t really connected to the national Fox News, the average voter reading about this probably doesn’t know that).

    It’s bad enough for Gardner’s campaign to make another stupid mistake with the initial ad, but it’s inexcusable to compound the error by not just doing a simple re-edit. Media coverage from this is going to continue to hurt, because it potentially makes voters question all of Gardner’s negative talking points against Markey (Betsy, that is).

    Full press release after the jump. Note the “bald-faced lie” quote from Markey spokesperson Ben Marter, an obvious side joke poking fun at a Gardner press release from last week.

    KDVR Fox 31 today became the first television network in the United States to refuse to air a candidate’s campaign commercial because the ad is patently false.

    Representative Cory Gardner’s latest attack ad criticizes Colorado’s Betsy Markey for a vote taken by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

    Watch the ad here:…

    “We applaud Fox 31 for standing up to Rep. Gardner’s bald-faced lies,” said Markey (Betsy)’s campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “The people of Colorado are seeing a lot of awful negative campaign commercials this year, but through all the misleading clutter, Fox 31 decided that Rep. Gardner’s latest lies are too egregious to broadcast. Rep. Gardner should be ashamed of himself and should apologize to the people of the Fourth Congressional District for lying to them.”

    The ad accuses Markey (Betsy) of voting for “the most fiscally irresponsible budget in history.” However, Betsy Markey voted against the President’s FY 2010 Budget for just that reason. Markey (Betsy) felt the proposed budget was far too large, and did not include deep enough spending cuts from each of the federal departments.

    The Markey campaign is currently awaiting word from Colorado’s four other television networks that they will join KDVR in refusing to air Rep. Gardner’s false advertisement.

    You Knew They’d Hit The Wrong Markey Eventually

    UPDATE #2: Rep. Ed Markey (the Democrat from Massachusetts — the male Markey) chimes in with his own quote:

    “As the other Markey in Congress, I’ve always admired and respected Betsy’s intelligence and political independence. The fact is, we don’t always vote the same way, and we don’t even look alike! I’m wondering whether all of the attacks Cory Gardner has levied against Betsy over the last several months were based on a fundamental confusion over exactly which Markey he is trying to attack.”


    UPDATE: We’ve created this handy-dandy tool that allows you to quickly figure out which Markey you are trying to discuss — Ed or Betsy (just trying to do our civic duty!):


    That’s the new ad up from CD-4 GOP candidate Cory Gardner, attacking incumbent Betsy Markey–one little, well actually not so little problem, is likely to see it pulled pretty quickly. Betsy Markey voted against the Obama administration’s 2010 budget along with a number of other “Blue Dogs,” Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is the Markey in Congress who voted for the budget. Rep. Markey’s (that is, Betsy Markey of Colorado) release follows, says spokesman Ben Marter, “Rep. Gardner’s new attack ad is lousy with the same already-debunked lies and misleading claims, but if there were degrees of ‘false’, this one takes the cake.” And our favorite quote from the release: “Colorado deserves better than Gardner’s half-baked hit jobs,” added Marter. “Frankly, Massachusetts deserves better too.”

    We’ll be honest, we were expecting this mistake–but we thought one of the innumerable 527s glomming onto this race would have made it, not Cory Gardner’s campaign itself. It is kind of sloppy; two weeks from the election, this can’t be the first time they’ve run afoul of the wrong Markey.

    This is one of the main reasons we’ve always maintained that Markey has a better-than-prognosticated chance at holding onto her seat. Gardner’s campaign has made so many unforced errors that all add up to a big problem in a close race. This latest ad is a perfect example; this silly, stupid, preventable error is going to lead to news stories that point out the fact that Markey voted against the Obama budget in 2010.

    This line about Markey opposing Obama’s budget would not have been written about otherwise, but thanks to Gardner’s bumble, voters across CD-4 are going to hear, once more, that Markey might not be the lock-step Democratic voter that Gardner wants to portray her to be. Some of those voters might also start to question whether other parts of Gardner’s ads have been falsely attributed to that other Markey guy. That’s a pretty harmful blow to Gardner’s overall narrative.


    Tuesday, October 19th, 2010






    Rep. Gardner doesn’t do his homework, misfires badly

    FORT COLLINS-Representative Cory Gardner’s latest negative attack ad, his third in two weeks, criticizes Colorado’s Betsy Markey for a vote taken by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.

    Watch the ad here:…

    The new ad accuses Markey (that’s Betsy Markey) of voting for “the most fiscally irresponsible budget in history.” However, Betsy Markey voted against the President’s FY 2010 Budget for just that reason. Markey (Betsy) felt the proposed budget was far too large, and did not include deep enough spending cuts from each of the federal departments.

    “Rep. Gardner’s new attack ad is lousy with the same already-debunked lies and misleading claims, but if there were degrees of ‘false’, this one takes the cake,” said Markey (Betsy)’s campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “I would point Rep. Gardner to a site on the ‘internet’ to research his claims a little better: If Rep. Gardner can’t figure out how this whole voting system works, how can he be trusted to actually read bills?”

    The two citations used in the attack on Markey (Betsy)’s vote on the FY 2010 Budget are Roll Call vote 192 and Roll Call vote 216.

    Roll Call 192 can be googled like this:…

    Roll Call 216 can be googled like this:…

    “Rep. Gardner has taken lying to new lows with this attack ad, and he should stop broadcasting it immediately. Colorado deserves better than Gardner’s half-baked hit jobs,” added Markey (Betsy)’s campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “Frankly, Massachusetts deserves better too.”


    New Rasmussen Poll Actually Bad News for Republicans

    From Rasmussen Reports:

    Is independent Tom Tancredo now becoming the de facto Republican candidate for governor of Colorado? He’s now moved to within four points of Democrat John Hickenlooper to turn the race into a toss-up.

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Colorado finds Hickenlooper with 42% support, while Tancredo, the candidate of the American Constitution Party, earns 38% of the vote. Support for Republican Dan Maes continues to fall and now stands at 12%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.

    Less than two weeks ago, Tancredo earned 35% of the vote to Hickenlooper’s 43% and Maes’ 16%. That shifted the race from Solid Democrat to Leans Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard. Now the race moves to a Toss-Up.

    First off, we don’t believe for a second (and neither do most informed politicos in Colorado) that the governor’s race here is anything close to a toss-up. Democrat John Hickenlooper is going to be elected governor — he’s been too far ahead for too long, and he has significantly more resources than Tom Tancredo.

    But news of this poll from the notoriously right-leaning Rasmussen Reports is not actually helpful for Colorado Republicans. Tancredo is going to (rightly) tout these polling numbers as proof that he can defeat Hickenlooper, which will do two things: 1) Convince more potential Republican voters to choose Tancredo over GOP nominee Dan Maes, and 2) Give a big boost to American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden in CD-4.

    According to Rasmussen, Maes is sitting at 12% of the vote, just two points away from falling under the 10% required to cause Republicans to lose their “major party” status. More significantly, any rise for American Constitution Party candidate Tancredo makes Aden look more credible as well, and just about every vote that Aden receives is a vote that would have otherwise gone to Republican Cory Gardner in CD-4.  

    More Fun With Press Releases: Bold, Italicized and Underlined Lies

    Rachel Boxer, the spokesperson for Republican Cory Gardner’s campaign for congress in CD-4, might have put out this press release a tad too quickly. It’s always a good idea to read these things over again, or else you end up with headlines like this:

    Betsy Markey resorting to bold face lies

    We’re guessing she meant to say “bald-faced lies” but perhaps correct grammar is just another one of those tricks that Rep. Betsy Markey uses to fool her constituents. Or maybe Markey really does lie in darker colors (you can always tell if she is telling the truth if she speaks in a slanted tone like this).

    The full press release is after the jump (and no, the whole thing isn’t bold faced).

    Betsy Markey resorting to bold face lies

    Congresswoman Betsy Markey outright lies and completely disregards the Colorado Constitution in her latest negative ad attacking Cory Gardner.

    “Rep. Markey should be embarrassed and ashamed of her latest attempt to save her political career,” said Rachel Boxer, spokeswoman for the Gardner campaign.  “The only candidate in this race that has a record of higher taxes is Rep Markey-she supported the government takeover of our healthcare system, a national energy tax and the $787 billion stimulus bill.”    

    House Bill 1158, which is the subject of Markey’s latest attack, was designed to protect private property rights and keep the courts from voiding private sale contracts.  It had absolutely nothing to do with taxes.  The Taxpayers Bill of Rights requires voter approval of any new tax or taxing entity.  Clearly there is no TABOR question presented in this bill.

    Markey Breaks Fundraising Record

    Here’s another reason why we think some national prognosticators are really off on their assessment of CD-4. From a press release from the campaign of Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey:

    Betsy Markey raised $858,000 in the third fundraising quarter of 2010, bringing her total raised to more than $3.1 million, the most ever raised cycle to date by a House candidate in Colorado history.

    “I have been humbled again and again by the huge outpouring of support for this campaign,” said Markey. “We are gaining momentum and excitement, but we’ve never taken anything for granted and we’ll continue to work harder door to door and person to person to win this campaign.”

    98% of the campaign’s 3rd Quarter donors were individuals, and a full third of total contributions came from first-time donors.

    Markey’s $3.1 million raised for this cycle is really an incredible number. For comparison’s sake, the Republican Senate candidate, Ken Buck, had raised all of $1.2 million in total through the end of July; Buck’s Q3 fundraising numbers are not yet available, but it’s quite possible that Markey will have outraised the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.

    Musgrave Endorses Gardner in CD-4

    Republican Cory Gardner, who is seeking to unseat Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey in CD-4, recently received the endorsement of former CD-4 Rep. Marilyn Musgrave in a fundraising letter sent out to supporters that also included the endorsements of former Republican Rep. Bob Schaffer and former GOP Senators Hank Brown and Wayne Allard.

    The support of Brown and Allard, and to a much lesser extent, Schaffer, is nice for Gardner to have. But does he really gain anything from getting the vocal support of Marilyn Musgrave? After all, the two-term Republican Musgrave was so unpopular that she barely survived her 2006 re-election before getting pummeled by Markey to the tune of 12 points in 2008 (and then being named the “Sorest Loser in America“).

    We don’t see the benefit of Musgrave’s endorsement, but what do you think? Vote in the poll after the jump.

    On another note, we did get a good chuckle out of the fundraising letter containing Musgrave’s endorsement. The prose is gooey-thick and maybe a tad overboard on the hyperbole with lines like this:

    When we see the “Gardner for Congress” campaign, it’s like something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

    We weren’t sure which Norman Rockwell painting Musgrave and friends was referencing, but after a quick search online, we found it:

    Is Marilyn Musgrave's Endorsement Helpful for Gardner?

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