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.”


    Support for Clean Energy a Benefit, Not a Hindrance, for Candidates

    The National Resources Defense Council released polling results today showing that voters think favorably of congressional candidates who support clean energy legislation.

    This is interesting news, particularly in CD-4 here in Colorado, where Rep. Betsy Markey has been attacked in Republican ads for voting for last summer’s comprehensive energy bill. According to polling results, a majority of voters are supportive of those efforts:

    Voters from Connecticut to California and Michigan to Florida are more likely to support candidates who support an energy bill that cuts climate change pollution, based on new poll results released today.

    New surveys by Public Policy Polling (PPP) for the NRDC Action Fund from 23 key Congressional Districts show that voters favor a clean energy plan that creates jobs and limits climate change pollution by an average of 52 percent.

    Voters supported clean energy legislation and by a clear majority in 21 out of 23 races, with two races in a statistical tie.  Moreover, they were more likely to support candidates who supported such a bill by an impressive 20-point spread…

    …The NRDC Action Fund selected these districts based on ratings from independent analysts that showed these incumbents were in close races and because the outcome of these contests could determine which party will control the House of Representatives.  

    “Our poll presented our opposition’s main, misleading talking point – that a climate bill is akin to an energy tax,” said Heather Taylor-Miesle,NRDC Action Fund director “Voters overwhelmingly rejected this idea in favor of a bill that creates millions of new jobs, reduces our use of foreign oil, holds corporate polluters accountable and cuts the pollution that causes climate change.The poll results challenge political spin which says a ‘yes’vote on ACES will hurt candidates running for re-election. The results show that clean energy and cutting pollution are actually issues voters support”

    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?

    View Results

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    More on The Hill’s CD-4 Poll

    In a poll released today by The Hill, 11 of 12 House Democrats are trailing Republicans, and while we can’t tell you more in the way of analyzing the results for other races, we can postulate some ideas on the CD-4 polling results. We mentioned this poll briefly in an earlier post, but the significance of these numbers are worth their own subject.

    To make it easier to read, we produced a condensed version of the initial crosstab results from The Hill polling. These results below answer the question: “If the elections for Congress were held today, which candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?”

    We’ve written before that any poll in CD4 must ask about all four candidates in order to be considered completely accurate, but any way you slice it, this is good news for Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey and bad news for Republican challenger Cory Gardner.

    The only other public poll released in CD-4 (which came in early September) showed Gardner with an 11-point lead over Markey. We questioned the accuracy of that poll, just as we question the accuracy of today’s poll, because neither included American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden nor Independent candidate Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz (more on that in a minute). But even if you forget the third-party candidates, Markey has closed the gap from being 11 points down to now being within the margin of error and behind just three points (41-44). More importantly, Markey has the advantage over Gardner with both Independent voters (43-39) and Senior Citizens (43-40). Also notable is that Markey attracts the support of 11% of Republicans, while just 2% of Democrats expressed support for Gardner.

    Now, back to that third-party thing. Colorado is showing a proclivity for voting in higher numbers for third-party candidates in 2010, and CD-4 has always been more fond of third-party choices than elsewhere in the state. If Aden and “Wasko” had been included in this poll, it’s very possible that Markey might be leading the race at this point. In fact, the only poll that included all four candidates that has been released (a Markey internal poll) showed Wasko and Aden pulling a combined 7 percent of the vote, with Markey and Gardner tied at 38 percent apiece.

    With mail ballots beginning to drop in the next week, Markey is clearly trending in the right direction. We’ve always said this race is a toss-up, but if you had to bet on it today, you’d have a hard time talking yourself into Gardner.

    EMILY’s List Targets Gardner as Race Tightens

    That’s the new TV spot from Women Vote!, a project of EMILY’s List–a very strong and emotionally compelling attack on GOP candidate Cory Gardner’s vote against autism coverage for children in the state legislature. From the accompanying release:

    In Colorado, WOMEN VOTE! is up on the air for two weeks with a significant buy, presenting Kate Dran, the mother of an autistic child, discussing her efforts to help her son, and Cory Gardner’s vote in the state legislature against requiring insurance companies to cover critical services and treatments for autistic children. The ad will run on broadcast and cable television. EMILY’s List WOMEN VOTE! last went on the air in Colorado during the summer, with an ad about Cory Gardner’s record that moved women voters double digits.

    “The more that women learn about Corey Gardner’s record in the state Senate, the more they know that he is wrong for them,” said Denise Feriozzi, Director of WOMEN VOTE! “From voting against cracking down on dead beat dads who skip child support payments to voting against coverage for children with autism, Corey Gardner’s votes have real consequences for Colorado families. This ad makes powerfully clear, in Kate Dran’s voice, how Cory Gardner thinks about children and families. We are all waiting for Gardner to answer the question: What if Chris was his child? Would he still have voted to deny him coverage?”

    In related news, the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard reports this morning on a new poll indicating the CD-4 race has tightened considerably. This poll didn’t even include the third party candidates in the race, which is bad news for Gardner.

    Penn Schoen Berland’s new poll for The Hill has this race at 44% for Gardner, 41% for Markey, with 14% undecided–well inside the margin of error, much better than Marilyn Musgrave was showing at this point in 2008, and evidence that despite the desire of national pundits to move this race into the “over” column, it is anything but. Markey is leading in the poll among independents and senior citizens, which is exactly where you’d want to be at this point in the race.

    And this ad is not going to help Gardner push these numbers back.

    Betsy Markey Gets NRA Endorsement

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) will endorse Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey in CD-4 in what is a major blow to the campaign of Republican challenger Cory Gardner, who has been trying to cast Markey as a straight-up liberal in Congress. As The National Review reports:

    Her opponent Cory Gardner’s campaign manager Chris Hansen flatly told Battle ’10, “The NRA told us they were endorsing Betsy Markey.”

    Calls to NRA-PVF regarding an imminent endorsement in CO-4 were not immediately returned. There is some consensus that the NRA’s political arm has developed an “incumbent endorsement policy” in contested, non-open seats. A source for Battle ’10 said that the rule likely is not a hard-and-fast guideline, but given two choices and an incumbent with an adequate rating, the NRA will most likely endorse that person, regardless of party…

    …Markey voted for the NRA-friendly DISCLOSE Act, which exempts large non-profits like the NRA from disclosing their donors, pending the organization’s completion of certain criteria that, in this version, favored large national groups like the NRA. Garnering only 219 votes to pass, Markey’s vote was consequential to the success of the DISCLOSE Act.

    The strangest part of this story is that it was Gardner’s campaign that essentially broke the news to the media about Markey’s pending endorsement. Good call, there, Gardner campaign manager Chris Hansen! Way to be the one to break the news that the NRA will support your opponent!

    This news comes a day after it was revealed that the NRA was endorsing Democratic Rep. John Salazar in CD-3.

    Gardner One Of Only Four in House GOP Not On Anti-60, 61, 101 Letter

    UPDATE: According to the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, Gardner really does oppose 60, 61 & 101, but he, uh, was too busy to sign the letter?

    “Cory also opposes the measures. Not sure why they didn’t ask him to sign. Probably just because we’re so busy,” campaign spokeswoman Rachel Boxer said.

    Uh, okay. We suppose it would take a lot of time to sign a letter and Republicans didn’t want to bother him. Although if we were Gardner’s spokesperson, we might have chosen a more plausible excuse, like “Cory’s dog ate it.”


    The big Denver newspaper reported today that a huge majority of Colorado Republican lawmakers have signed on to a letter opposing the “Evil Three” measures on the 2010 ballot (Amendments 60 & 61 and Proposition 101). The campaign of Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey was quick to point out that Republican State Rep. Cory Gardner, her main challenger in CD-4, was one of just four House Republicans refusing to sign the letter.

    We’re more than a bit confused as to why Gardner would not openly oppose these measures. As the press release from the Markey campaign (after the jump) points out, there is widespread opposition to 60, 61 and 101, and we don’t see how this could really benefit Gardner’s bid to unseat Markey. Again, it’s not like opposing the Evil Three is really a bold position, since most Republicans and traditional Republican allies don’t even like them. We can’t understand why Gardner would want to align himself with far-right extremists like Sen. Kevin Lundberg here, and we certainly don’t see any strategic benefit to this stance.


    Rep. Gardner one of just four House Republicans absent from letter

    FORT COLLINS-State Representative Cory Gardner earlier this year refused to sign a letter from 23 of the 27 Republican members of the Colorado House of Representatives, urging fellow Colorado Republicans to oppose Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

    Reported by the Denver Post, the Republican lawmakers wrote that, “this reaction is so far overreaching that it will ultimately kill Colorado jobs and strip local governments’ ability to provide police and fire protection and to educate our children.”

    “Representative Gardner refused to sign the letter opposing three of the most disastrous ballot measures our state has ever seen,” said Markey campaign spokesman Ben Marter. “He either supports these initiatives-that even his colleagues in the state House admit will kill Colorado jobs-or doesn’t have the guts to take a stand against them. Representative Gardner says one thing during his primary, then tries to pretend it never happened. He’s playing politics with our economic future, and Coloradans just can’t trust him.”  

    Here’s what people are saying about these three ballot measures:

    Greeley Tribune Editorial Board: “We believe the three amendments on this fall’s election ballot will kill economic growth in Colorado, cripple services provided by state and local government, and doom education funding at a time when it already is dismally low.” [Greeley Tribune 09/05/10]

    Denver Post Editorial Board: “The operating language within each one is a virus that would cripple the ability of our local and state governments to provide the most basic of services – from building schools for our children to supplying clean water to our homes.” [Denver Post 07/07/10]

    Loveland Chamber of Commerce President: Amendments “Will Do More Devastation than Good.” On September 12, 2010 the Coloradoan reported that Brian Williams, president and CEO of the Loveland Chamber of Commerce said, “We are opposed to wasteful spending, we are in strong support of TABOR but in this case the initiatives that are trying to address wasteful government spending are going about it the wrong way. Ultimately, they will do more devastation than good.” The chamber board ultimately voted to oppose the three measures, as did the Fort Collins and Greeley chambers. [Coloradoan, 9/12/10]

    Local Republicans Pledged Opposition to Measures. On September 13, 2010 the Denver Post reported that, “A flood of Republicans at the local government level have pledged their opposition to the initiatives, including more than half of Republican county commissioners in Colorado.” [Denver Post, 9/13/10]

    Business sector strongly opposes ballot measures: On September 12, 2010 the Coloradoan reported that “Opponents, including many local business owners, say the measures threaten jobs and could result in a voter-approved recession exacerbating an already slow economic recovery.” [Fort Collins Coloradoan, 09/12/10]

    Republican Senator Greg Brophy: Amendments Go Beyond Limited Government. On September 13, 2010 the Denver Post reported on the ballot initiatives that would “slash billions in state and local taxes.”  Republican State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Way) said he couldn’t support the initiatives, saying “I consider myself an advocate of limited government and these could very well go beyond where I’m comfortable.” [Denver Post, 9/13/10]

    Markey, Gardner Tied in GOP-Leaning Poll

    As The Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports:

    Democrat Betsy Markey and Republican Cory Gardner are in a dead heat with less than eight weeks until Election Day, according to a poll released today by the Markey campaign.

    The poll is a stark contrast to one released last week by a Republican-affiliated group, which showed Gardner with an 11 point lead.

    The Markey campaign poll showed her and Gardner with 38 percent each, independent Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz at 5 percent and American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden at 2 percent. The remaining 17 percent were undecided.

    We wrote last week that any poll in CD-4 that does not include all four candidates cannot be considered accurate, and these numbers prove our point (not to mention the most recent U.S. Senate poll in Colorado, which showed the Libertarian candidate getting 5% of the vote). As we said before, CD-4 has a history of voting for third-party candidates, and national trends are showing disgust with both Democrats and Republicans. Third-party candidates are going to play a significant role in 2010 as a “protest vote” option for many voters. We wrote last week that internal polling from both the Markey and Gardner campaigns had shown third-party candidates receiving as much as 12% of the vote when respondents had a choice between all four candidates; the Markey poll has the total third-party vote at 7%, but that’s likely because they sampled a smaller percentage of Unaffiliated voters.

    While critics will say that the Markey poll must be biased because it is an internal poll, it’s hard for that argument to get much traction given the significant oversample of Republicans. This poll sampled 50% Republicans and 37% Democrats, compared to 44% Republicans and 36% Democrats in last week’s Republican-ordered poll.  

    New CD-4 Poll is Swell…If You Don’t Care About Accuracy

    Lost in the hubbub about the Dan Maes for Governor saga was a story about the first public poll in CD-4, which Republicans have breathlessly used to claim that GOP candidate Cory Gardner is going to easily defeat Democratic incumbent Rep. Betsy Markey.

    The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported on the poll this morning, blindly restating the polling memo message that Gardner is outpolling Markey 50-39. Sounds bad for Markey, right?

    The problem with the poll, done for the newly-formed Republican “think tank” American Action Forum, is that the results are based on a two-person race in CD-4. Of course, there are four candidates in CD-4, including American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden and Independent candidate Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz.

    From what we understand, every other internal poll, done either by campaigns or outside groups, has polled on a four-way race, and the results are dramatically different because Aden and “Wasko” combine for as much as 12% of the vote. This isn’t at all surprising, given that Reform Party candidate Eric Eidsness grabbed 11% of the vote in CD-4 in 2006, in a three-way race with Rep. Marilyn Musgrave and Democrat Angie Paccione. Common sense says that Aden and Wasko take the majority of their votes away from Gardner, because they are more closely aligned ideologically to a Republican candidate than a Democrat — and because Markey’s high name ID means that most people have probably made up their minds about her already.

    Saying that Gardner is well ahead of Markey in a two-way race is as pointless as those Gubernatorial polls showing that Dan Maes does better against Democrat John Hickenlooper if ACP candidate Tom Tancredo is not in the race. Sure he does. He probably also kicks ass in a poll in which neither Hickenlooper or Tancredo are mentioned. So what? That’s not the makeup of the actual ballot that people will use in six weeks, so none of these hypothetical matchups mean squat. American Action Forum might as well show us how Gardner does in a head-to-head matchup with Aden — that would be equally irrelevant.

    If you still don’t believe that this poll is nonsense, consider this: If the NRCC or the Gardner campaign had poll results showing he was ahead of Markey by double digits in a four-way race, they would have fallen all over themselves trying to publicize it. But they don’t have those results. The fact that there has been no poll on this race released by anybody tells us that it is basically a toss-up, because neither Gardner nor Markey have anything to gain from releasing polling numbers to the public.

    Wasko Waxes Poetic in CD-4

    Check out the YouTube channel for Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz (we’re fairly sure we spelled that correctly), the Independent candidate running for Congress in CD-4. Ken has a bunch of videos online about what he plans to do on a variety of issues. His unemployment video is 6 minutes long, and it’s probably awesome…but we got bored and stopped watching after about 30 seconds. But we did catch this nice observation:

    “Working is one of those necessary things in life, and no matter how much we might dislike our jobs from time to time, we must keep working.”

    Hell, yeah!

    Cory Gardner Just Can’t Help Himself

    Republican Cory Gardner has amazed us here at Colorado Pols for his uncanny ability to commit self-inflicted wounds seemingly every couple of weeks. Just a few weeks after cluelessly attending a fundraiser organized in part by a major lobbyist from British Petroleum, the Gardner campaign sent out an email to supporters touting this fundraiser:

    Honorable Mike Coffman

    Honorable Doug Lamborn

    Cordially Invite You To A Special Luncheon Honoring Cory Gardner

    Republican Candidate – 4th District of Colorado

    Republican Whip – Colorado General Assembly

    Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

    12:00 PM

    Bistro Bis at the Hotel George

    15 E Street NW

    Washington, DC

    Suggested Contribution: $1,000

    Contributions should be made payable to Gardner for Congress and mailed to:  

    Gardner for Congress

    507 Capitol Court NE, #100

    Washington, DC  20002

    To RSVP, Please Contact Steve Gordon or Anne Burnley at (XXX) XXX-XXXX or via email to

    Seems harmless, right?

    The problem is that the return email address is is the home of the lobbying and governmental affairs firm Total Spectrum. In other words, Gardner sent an email touting a fundraiser with the return email address pointing to his name @ a lobbying firm.


    Latest Gardner Bumble Gets National Attention

    Earlier this week we marveled at Republican Cory Gardner’s seemingly endless capacity for self-inflicted wounds, the latest of which was a fundraiser hosted by a BP lobbyist.

    Well, that boneheaded decision ended up getting national media attention that may end up helping his opponent in CD-4, incumbent Rep. Betsy Markey, in raising more money than he could have brought in to make it worth the bad press:

    Which Colorado Politician Would You Draft #1?

    UPDATE: You can read our Top 5 after the jump. Tomorrow — the “sleeper” picks.


    The NFL Draft kicks off tonight, with the first round being held in prime time for the first time in history. That got us thinking about how a political draft might play out in Colorado.

    Which Colorado politician, active or retired, would you select #1 overall if your goal was to win a statewide election in 2010? Here’s the scenario:

  • Suppose Colorado was awarded a third U.S. Senate seat, so there is no incumbent and no history of incumbency.

  • You are choosing the best politician to win that seat in 2010.

  • This is not about who would be the best Senator or do the best job in office. This is pure politics — who is most likely to get elected AND who helps you down the ticket? Ideally you want your top pick to be helpful for the rest of your political “team.” You could make your #1 pick an “Independent” candidate, but that wouldn’t help anyone else down-ticket.

  • Ignore current partisan labels. You could choose Gov. Bill Ritter and run him as a Republican if you wanted.

  • Pay no attention to whether or not someone would be putting another seat in danger if they ran for something else (for example, Rep. John Salazar. Pick as though you want the single best chance to win this one race.
  • So, how would you fill out your wish list? Who would you choose #1? Who would make up your Top Ten, in order? Make your picks below, and read about our Top Five after the jump.

    Here is how our Top Five might look, off the top of our collective heads:

    1. Ken Salazar (Democrat)

    Not only is Salazar very popular in Colorado, but the Interior Secretary would have a lot of support from the White House (Salazar and President Obama are close friends). But the real sweetener in this pick is that Salazar would likely have a strong impact on turning out more Hispanic voters, which would help every down-ballot candidate.

    2. John Hickenlooper (Democrat)

    The Denver Mayor is really a nightmare scenario for just about any opponent because he is wildly popular throughout Metro Denver (an area that includes a HUGE chunk of the total number of Colorado voters), but he also has a strong business background that makes him attractive to the state’s swing voters who are essentially Libertarians (they want smart fiscal leadership but don’t care much about controversial social issues).

    We considered whether it would make sense to run Hick as a Republican, given that he is not very liberal, but reconsidered as we thought about how most of his social positions would really alienate a right-wing Republican base (not to mention the fact that he is from Denver, which automatically gives him a stigma with Republicans).

    3. Bill Owens (Republican)

    We can’t think of another obvious Republican to put at the top of this list besides Owens. The former Governor left office in 2007 with decent favorability ratings, and he was always good at playing the insider political game that kept a lot of other Republicans in line (and that lack of leadership has been all too apparent for Republicans in recent years). Sure, Owens is probably a little too much of his own man for many Republicans, including those still mad about Referendum C. But we see his bipartisan leadership on major issues like Ref. C as more of a positive than a negative with the majority of voters.

    4. Betsy Markey (Democrat or Republican)

    A moderate female candidate could really have an advantage in a statewide election, if nothing else because it makes them stand out; Colorado has never elected a woman to the Senate or the Governor’s mansion, and that narrative would get a lot of attention in the last few months of the election (current GOP Senate candidate Jane Norton will benefit from this to a degree if she wins the Republican nomination this year, but it won’t be as effective because she has gone so far to the right on many issues).

    Markey has shown herself to be a good fundraiser and a disciplined campaigner who rarely departs from her message. She’s also the owner of a successful small business, which gives her the “businessperson” cache that is so helpful to Hickenlooper. We just can’t decide whether we would run her as a Democrat or a Republican, because there are some obvious advantages to both.

    5. Cary Kennedy (Republican)

    If you could go back in time and re-invent Jane Norton, you could do worse than making her out to be more like State Treasurer Kennedy (a Democrat). A solid campaigner and good public speaker with a nice-looking family, Kennedy has the financial and policy brains but also a history as a big supporter of public education. She’s like a PTA mom on steroids, and while she’s a little left of moderate, her current elected position has kept her out of the weeds on most of the controversial social issues. Kennedy is a strong candidate as a Democrat, but we think Republicans — particularly women, who have not traditionally been well-represented by the Colorado GOP — would love her.

    5(a). Ed Perlmutter (Democrat)

    We left out Perlmutter at first mention, but he’s got to at least be in the top six. Perlmutter is a great fundraiser with strong political ties (in both parties) across the state, and he’s also a talented natural politician. But perhaps his biggest advantage is the makeup of his district; Perlmutter represents big chunks of two of the most populous counties in Colorado (Jefferson and Adams) and three of our largest cities (Aurora, Lakewood, Arvada), and his district borders Denver on three sides. That’s a huge percentage of Colorado voters that are already somewhat familiar with his name.

    Big Line Updated

    The Big Line has been updated now that Democrat Andrew Romanoff’s fundraising numbers for Q1 have been reported.

    The biggest changes are on The Line are for Senate, Attorney General and CD-4…


    This race has really come down to three people now: Sen. Michael Bennet for the Democrats and Jane Norton and Ken Buck on the Republican side.

    Bennet is raising as much money, if not more, as anyone else in the country and has already put four ads up on television. Democrat Andrew Romanoff had a weak Q1 in fundraising, but more importantly, he only added about $23,000 to his total warchest after spending most of the $385,000 he raised.

    Romanoff is just out of time now. He’s got $500k in the bank, but most of that will be spent on general campaign operations in the next 3-4 months. That means that he needs to raise at least a million dollars in the next three months to be able to afford a strong TV presence opposite Bennet. Even the staunchest Romanoff supporter can’t be optimistic about the chances of that happening.

    As for the Republicans, Norton is the only one of the three candidates who is raising real money. Buck is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in outside interest group money running ads on his behalf, so that has to be factored into his total ability to raise his profile. Tom Wiens, meanwhile, hasn’t been able to raise much money from people not named Tom Wiens, and he’s going to have to make a decision in the next month or two about what to do with the $500k he has “loaned” to his campaign; does he stay in the race and spend that cash, or pull out and refund his loan to himself?


    A few weeks ago incumbent Republican John Suthers looked like a lock for re-election. But then he went and got involved in the health care reform lawsuit, and as a result he now has a serious Democratic challenger in Boulder County D.A. Stan Garnett. Suthers is as dull a politician as you will find, and Garnett has the ability to raise a lot of money in a very short time. At the very least, this race is now a tossup.


    Republican Cory Gardner had a good Q1 in fundraising, and the rest of the GOP field seems to have disintegrated. Gardner surely can’t wait for the legislative session to end so that he can stop having to take so many absences to head off to fundraise elsewhere. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey had another strong fundraising quarter and continues to do just about everything right. This race is going to get tighter, but we still give Markey the edge.

    Betsy Markey: True to……Betsy Markey

    I read this in the Sunday Denver Post (12/20/09) in the section, Colorado Votes:

    H.R. 2847 – Jobs and Benefits: Voting yes: DeGette, Polis, Salazar, Perlmutter

    Voting no: Lamborn, Coffman, Markey

    H.R. 4313 – U.S. Debt Limit Voting yes: DeGette, Polis, Salazar, Perlmutter

    Voting no: Lamborn, Coffman, Markey

    Now, maybe I could understand Rep. Markey’s decision, as a newly anointed “Blue Dog” Democrat to vote against extending the federal debt limit.  I get that she needs to reinforce her image as a fiscal conservative for the voters in her district.  It was in Republican hands for many years.  And the thought of a return of Marilyn Musgrave is enough to make me wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.  So Betsy has to be careful about how she votes.  I’ll give her that.

    But come on!  How do you justify calling yourself a Democrat and voting against extending jobless and healthcare benefits to unemployed people in your district, many of whom voted for you?  I don’t care what kind of bullshit excuse Rep. Markey cares to offer in her defense.  That vote, had it gone in her favor, would have done just one thing – hurt people in her own district who are already suffering.  I call that shameful.

    It’s bad enough that Lamborn and Coffman consistently put their party ahead of their country by routinely voting against any legislation put forth by Democrats, offering no solutions, and scorning any attempts at bipartisanship.  My expectations of them are zero when it comes to their making any kind of thoughtful, reasoned contributions to our national discourse.  But Markey goes one step further.  She puts herself ahead of her party and her country by refusing to have the courage of her convictions.  Maybe it’s time for the Democrats in District 4 to find a real Democrat to give her some competition next year.

    Pols Poll 2: CD-4

    As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

    Who Will Be Elected to Congress in CD-4 in 2010?

    View Results

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    A Microcosm of Why Betsy Markey Will Be Tough to Beat

    (What plays well in an election year? How about: I got credit card companies to not raise your interest rates? – promoted by Colorado Pols)

    UPDATE: Today Discover has pledged not to raise rates for its cardholders. CNN gives more great pub to Markey.

    We’ve said before that Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey will be tough to beat in 2010 even though she represents a Republican-leaning district. The main reason: She’s been very smart about how she votes and what issues she tackles publicly.

    Case in point is Markey taking on credit card companies for raising rates significantly before reform legislation takes effect next year. Markey appeared on CNN last night to discuss the issue, and don’t think this kind of thing doesn’t play very well among average voters — no matter which political party they belong to.

    Pols Poll: CD-4

    As we’ve done in other election years, we regularly poll our readers on various races to gauge changing perceptions. These obviously aren’t scientific polls, but they do help to show how the perception of various candidates are changing. We’ll conduct these polls each month and then show the results to see how the winds are shifting.

    As always, please vote based on what you think will happen, not on who you would vote for or which candidate you support personally. Think of it this way: If you had to bet the deed to your house, who would you pick?

    Thus far this is the only congressional race that appears to be headed toward a competitive race, so we won’t poll on other races unless or until a stronger race appears.

    Who Will Be Elected to Congress in CD-4 in 2010?

    View Results

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    Markey Breaks Fundraising Record in Q1

    Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey announced today that her re-election campaign raised more than $340,000 in Q1, which the campaign says is the most ever raised by a freshman Representative in Colorado history. Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter was the previous record-holder, raising $263,900 in Q1 2007.

    Full press release follows…

    Today Congresswoman Betsy Markey announced that she has raised more than $340,000 in the first quarter of 2009.  Markey’s total is the highest amount ever raised by a freshman representative for the first quarter in Colorado history.

    Markey’s campaign will report more than $300,000 cash on hand.

    “I am so honored to have the continued support of the people of the Fourth Congressional District,” said Markey.  “I made a promise to my constituents to work as an independent voice in Washington, DC and the continued support of so many people who live and work in Colorado shows that we are keeping that promise. In such tough economic times I am humbled that people are reaching deep in their pockets to support me as a fiscally responsible voice for the people of the Fourth District in Congress. ”

    Markey’s fundraising numbers represent support from nearly 600 individual donors-Republicans, Democrats, and Independents-from across the 4th congressional district.  Over 75% of the campaign’s contributions came from donors inside Colorado.