DeGette Leads “Women’s Health Wednesday” Smackdown

UPDATE: Senator Michael Bennet joins the fracas. Press release after the jump.


Via the Colorado Independent:

DeGette’s remarks as delivered differed slightly from the prepared version sent out to members of the media and reprinted below:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to announce the Inaugural Women’s Health Wednesday. Starting today, and continuing for every Wednesday, Members of this distinguished body will take to the floor to stand against the unceasing attacks on women’s health care levied by my colleagues across the aisle and the extreme right wing across the nation. [Pols emphasis]

Mr. Speaker, I would like to kick off this first Women’s Health Wednesday by reminding everyone this is 2012, not the Dark Ages. Let me say that again: This is 2012. Yet because of the actions of this Congress, and straight up to the positions of their candidates for president, we are actually debating birth control. Birth control. 99 percent of women have used birth control at some point in their lives, including 98 percent of Catholic women, and 1.5 million women rely on it for non-contraceptive purposes to treat a variety of medical conditions.

The Institute of Medicine has determined, based upon science, that birth control is a fundamental part of women’s preventive care. Yet, here we are debating birth control.

Mr. Speaker, everywhere I go women stop me to express their disbelief and outrage that we are actually debating birth control. Birth control saves lives, helps prevent unintended pregnancies, improves the outcomes for children, and reduces abortion. Those are all good things for women; for their families; for our nation. So why on earth would my colleagues across the aisle and their party launch a massive effort to limit access to birth control? This is 2012. We all know better.

Rep. Diana DeGette’s being kind with that last, since apparently, some of them do not.

Press release from Sen. Bennet’s office:

Bennet Statement in Opposition to Blunt Amendment Restricting Access to Contraception

Bennet: Women Don’t Need to Be Told by the Government How to Make Their Own Health Care Decisions

Washington, DC – On the floor of the United States Senate, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet today voiced his opposition to an amendment, introduced by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, that would restrict access to contraception and other preventative health care for women. The Senate voted down this amendment 51-48.

“I have a wife and three daughters…, and one thing I know is they don’t need to be told by the government how to make their own health care decisions, nor do the 362,000 Colorado women who would be affected immediately if this amendment passed. This amendment is written so broadly that it would allow any employer to deny any health service to any American for virtually any reason, not just for religious objections.

“In my home state of Colorado, I have held hundreds of town hall meetings in red parts of the state and blue parts of the state…. They want to know why we aren’t spending our time working on how to create more jobs for them…, how to fix this nation’s debt and deficit or how we pass a bipartisan transportation bill that creates immediate jobs and fixes a crumbling infrastructure.

“[It’s] another case where political games are risking our ability to provide more opportunity, not less, for the next generation of Americans. And instead over the last several weeks, we’ve continued to debate about women and whether they should have access to the health care services they need and whether they should be the ones that are able to make the decisions about the health care services they need. And we sit here and wonder why the United States Congress is stuck at an approval rating of 11 percent. Maybe it’s because we’re talking about contraception in the context of a transportation bill.”

Bennet: Communism, IRS, Paris Hilton More Popular Than Congress

TUESDAY UPDATE: Bennet is getting a lot of national attention for this. From “The Fix“:

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who has taken on the unpopularity of Congress as something of a pet cause, said this morning on MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown” that “for the last year or so this town has effectively come the land of flickering lights, where the standard for success is somehow you kept the lights on for the month where the rest of the world isn’t waiting for us to figure out how we’re going to meaningfully participate in the 21st century economy.”


Pretty scathing stuff earlier this week from Colorado’s junior Senator:

As the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard reports:

“I get the feeling that people don’t think people are watching.” Wrong, he said. They are watching and they aren’t liking what they see. “At a minimum they would like to see us prevent things from getting worse.”

Talking about the impasse over the debt ceiling, which resulted in a downgrade of America’s credit rating, he said, “There is not a mayor in Colorado who would threaten their town’s credit rating for politics, not a one, not a Democrat, not a Republican, not a Tea Party Republican, not a one.”

Sen. Michael Bennet’s chart of comparative approval ratings is really fascinating: The IRS has a 40% approval rating, BP (polled at the height of the Deepwater Horizon disaster) at 16%. We’re surprised to learn that socialite heiress Paris Hilton only has a 15% approval rating–but that’s still six percent higher than Congress. Congress’ record-low 9% approval puts them dead even with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, and two points lower than America “going communist.”

As you can see, bringing the government to a standstill over and over again to spite Barack Obama (current approval 47% and tracking upward) is working out really well.

Bennet Throws Down on Republican Obstruction of Education Bill

From Fox 31:

Those who have criticized Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet for being bland or quiet should take note of his fiery speech Wednesday morning on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Speaking without notes, Bennet lashed out at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for stalling the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the legislation Bennet has helped mold that will re-write the Bush era education law, “No Child Left Behind”…

…Only four amendments were considered during Wednesday’s two-hour mark-up session, which ended when Paul blocked a motion to continue the meeting. Senate rules limit committee meetings to two hours while the Senate is in session, a rule that’s often broken when senators agree. But the objection from any one senator is enough to enforce the two-hour rule.

Bennet, a former Denver Public Schools superintendent, took to the Senate floor and with maybe a half dozen senators, including Paul, in the chamber, lashed out.

“Sen. [Paul] speaks of the tragedy of this process,” Bennet said. “I’ll tell you what a tragedy is: the tragedy is that only nine of 100 children living in poverty in this country in 2011 can expect to get a college degree. That’s a tragedy.

“It’s a tragedy that there are people working in our schools right now doing the best they can to serve our kids and we think a two-hour meeting is too long. That’s a tragedy.”

Poll after poll after poll shows that Americans are angry at Congress, which they perceive to be a body that generally doesn’t do much. And time after time recently, Republicans have done their very best to reinforce that negative image. Something’s gotta give here eventually.

Maybe Mike Coffman Doesn’t Want to Get Elected Statewide

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is putting forth legislation to repeal a section of the 1973 Voting Rights Act that allows districts with high percentages of non-English speakers to print ballots in different languages. From Talking Points Memo:

Coffman said Wednesday that his legislation would repeal Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, which requires states or districts to provide bilingual voting materials if more than 10,000 or more than 5% of voters “are members of a single language minority and are limited-English proficient,” or if the illiteracy of members of the language minority is higher than the national average.

“Among other factors,” Section 203 says, “the denial of the right to vote of such minority group citizens is ordinarily directly related to the unequal educational opportunities afforded them resulting in high illiteracy and low voting participation.”

As Polster VanDammer points out, Coffman has signed on to most major “anti immigrant” bills offered in Congress in the last year. While this would make sense for a conservative, Tea Party-loving Congressman, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for someone with statewide aspirations.

Coffman has made no secret of the fact that he wants to run against Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, but he’s going to have a hard time winning a statewide race by going out of his way to antagonize Hispanic voters, which he is doing with bills like repealing part of the Voting Rights Act. There’s a reason why Texas Governor, and now Presidential candidate Rick Perry has been supportive of issues like in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants — he knew he needed support from Hispanic voters in Texas.

In the 2010 Senate race in Colorado, 81% of Hispanic voters selected Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet over Republican Ken Buck; if Buck had received just 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, he would be in the Senate today. Take a look at what Mike Melanson, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign manager, had to say about the Hispanic vote last November. From Colorado Independent:

He said the Hickenlooper campaign saw an uptick in early voting among Hispanics this year – the first time he had seen that in a non-presidential year. He said Hispanic voters are a very strong element in Colorado and that it was a mistake by Republicans to focus on immigration in a negative way.

Either Mike Coffman wasn’t paying attention in 2010, or he just doesn’t really want to win a statewide race. But if he continues down this path of casting himself as a hardliner on immigration, there’s no way he’s going to defeat Udall in 2014. Hispanics accounted for 12% of all Colorado voters in 2010, and that number is only going to increase in the next four years. The numbers don’t lie — you just cannot win an election if you immediately lose the support of 10-15 percent of the electorate.

Udall, Bennet Vote to Repeal Oil Subsidies

Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet voted in favor of a failed measure last night that would have repealed taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies. As Politico reports:

Democrats said the bill on the floor Tuesday was needed to reduce unnecessary spending and help lower the debt, pointing to about $36 billion in profits over three months recently reported by Big Oil. “The administration believes that, at a time when it is working with the Congress on proposals to reduce federal deficits, the nation cannot afford to maintain these wasteful subsidies,” according to a statement of administration policy.

Tuesday’s outcome was never in doubt. Democratic leaders knew the measure would fail to get the necessary 60 votes to advance, but it gave them a chance to give talking points to some of their vulnerable colleagues this election cycle.

While this particular vote may have failed, Republicans are keenly aware that this issue is not good for them, and Democrats have promised to bring it up again. Polling shows that more than 80 percent of Americans blame oil companies for rising gas prices, and 74% favor cutting oil and gas subsidies.

More from Sen. Udall’s office in a press release after the jump.

Moday, Mark Udall joined a majority of his colleagues in voting to begin debate on a bill to close tax loopholes and subsidies for the five biggest and most-profitable oil companies in the world.  Unfortunately, the measure failed to win the 60 votes needed to proceed.

The legislation would have saved the taxpayers over $21 billion over 10 years – money that could have been put toward deficit reduction.  Experts said that eliminating the tax credits will not impact gas prices.

Udall delivered a speech on the Senate floor earlier in the day to express support for the bill.  He said the measure would end subsidies that Coloradans oppose and that the most profitable companies do not need in order to make billions of dollars in profits.

But he also added that he is disappointed that the Senate is not debating comprehensive energy policy to wean ourselves off of foreign sources of oil.

“Like most Americans, I’m frustrated that once again politics is getting in the way of progress.  I’d much rather that we be debating a comprehensive energy policy this week that includes a renewable electricity standard, promotes energy efficiency and encourages responsible development of domestic resources like safe nuclear power and natural gas,” Udall said in his speech.

“We need to move beyond partisan fights and blame games,” he continued.  “Instead, we need to work toward what we all can agree are key priorities: developing energy that brings affordable prices to American families and businesses; building a sustainable long-term energy future; and doing it in a way that protects our clean air and water for future generations.  Put simply, establishing energy security – perhaps above any other issue – will assure our nation’s future success.”

Please contact Tara Trujillo or Jennifer Talhelm at 202-224-4334.

The following are Senator Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

Mr. President, I rise today to speak about the energy-related votes that we face this week the Senate.

Coloradans – and all Americans – are feeling the sting of skyrocketing gas prices.  And “pain at the pump” puts a crimp in the budgets of hardworking families and small businesses everywhere.  I hear this every time I am back in my home state, talking to folks.  They think it’s unfair – and I agree.  

Runaway gas prices are not acceptable … and we must work across the partisan divide to bring a stop to it.

In fact, I recently called on the State Department and the U.S. Trade Representative to do everything they can to crack down on global oil market manipulation.  And I joined my colleagues in urging the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to ratchet up their efforts at preventing over speculation in oil trading domestically.  Taking these steps would help reduce the chance that market manipulation is hurting American consumers.

But from a larger perspective, the challenge is that we simply do not have any quick fixes.  And substantial relief today would have required us to take steps years ago to reform our energy system – but unfortunately we let those opportunities pass us by.  That is the unvarnished truth the American people need to hear, not false promises or bumper sticker solutions.

The real solutions involve tough choices and strategic investments in clean energy that will help wean our nation off foreign sources of oil.  It really is the only way we will be able to dig ourselves out of this hole and lower gas prices.  And importantly – it’s one of the ways that we will get the United States back on the path to winning the global economic race.

Unfortunately, neither of the votes that we will take this week will reduce gas prices for consumers.  Like most Americans, I’m frustrated that once again politics is getting in the way of progress.  I’d much rather that we be debating a comprehensive energy policy this week that includes a renewable electricity standard, promotes energy efficiency and encourages responsible development of domestic resources like safe nuclear power and natural gas.  

We need to move beyond partisan fights and blame games.  Instead, we need to work toward what we all can agree are key priorities: developing energy that brings affordable prices to American families and businesses; building a sustainable long-term energy future; and doing it in a way that protects our clean air and water for future generations.  Put simply, establishing energy security – perhaps above any other issue – will assure our nation’s future success.

Now, we each often say that our states are the best laboratories to create innovation.  But in Colorado, we have a great example of this in action.

Back in 2004, Colorado cast aside partisan politics and bumper sticker solutions by taking a big, brave step forward and embraced the emerging clean energy economy.  That year I led a bipartisan ballot initiative with the former Republican Speaker of the Colorado House, Lola Spradley, in a campaign to convince the voters of Colorado to approve a state-based RES that would harness renewable resources like the sun, the wind, and geothermal energy.  We barnstormed the state, speaking over and over again – to anyone who would listen.

There was a lot of industry opposition to an RES, and dire predictions that it would cost consumers money and damage Colorado’s economy.  But, Mr. President, those arguments were proven wrong.  And Colorado industries, consumers and people across the political spectrum have embraced clean energy as part of Colorado’s effort to win the global economic race.

In fact, last year, the Colorado legislature approved and former Governor Bill Ritter signed a bill to increase the RES standard even further: from 20 percent to 30 percent renewable energy by 2020.  This makes the Colorado RES the second most aggressive standard in the nation, only after California.

Even more refreshing is that in the years since Colorado established one of the earliest and strongest Renewable Electricity Standards our energy producers have embraced the move.   One of our state’s largest utilities, Xcel Energy, has become a national leader in clean energy.  In proving that clean energy can be profitable and competitive, Xcel is making the case for how an RES can create jobs, stimulate the economy and help us achieve energy independence.

The clean energy economy is one of the greatest economic opportunities of the 21st century, and the global demand for clean energy is growing by one trillion dollars every year.  The lesson to be learned from Colorado is that clean energy can unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit.  We must pursue forward-thinking policies that will help America seize and lead this growing market.

Make no mistake – we are in a race against foreign competitors and are quickly being left behind.  Last year, I returned from China where I discussed clean energy issues with American businesses located there.  I saw it firsthand…they are ready to eat our lunch when it comes to clean energy.  China is pursuing renewable energy and clean energy technology so ambitiously, not because they want to save the planet, but because it makes good business and economic sense.

In fact, China has announced that it is investing over $738 billion dollars over the next 10 years in clean energy development – nearly the size of our entire American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.  Just imagine, their economy uses a comparable amount of energy, but they take clean energy so seriously that they plan to invest a stimulus-sized amount of money solely in renewables.

But we can’t just rely on renewable energy … rather, America must have an all-of-the-above energy policy.  For example, conservation and energy efficiency efforts offer the quickest way to reduce energy demand today.  And safe nuclear energy and natural gas can and should fill a larger share of our energy portfolio as they both are cleaner fuels.  In addition, we all know that America will be dependent on fossil fuels for years to come … so, it’s not realistic to exclude them in our strategy.  All of these elements should be in America’s energy mix and we must acknowledge that to really embrace 21st century solutions.

But when you look at the future demands for clean energy and the economic opportunities ahead of us, renewable resources hold the greatest promise.  And the more home-grown renewable energy we can produce, the less money we need to spend buying oil from foreign nations who wish to do us harm – which means less money spent at the gas pump.   I don’t think anyone in this chamber can argue with the proposition that we should be moving aggressively toward energy independence with dividends like that.

It is time we made a concerted national effort to reclaim our position at the front of the pack.  We should be harnessing the wind and sun and other renewable resources here in America, and putting Americans to work in good-paying jobs developing, building, and leading the clean energy revolution.  It’s an example of what we call back home “Colorado common-sense.”

But instead of pursuing those common-sense goals that are sure to move our economy forward, we are here today exchanging political punches on issues largely unrelated to our energy independence and the prices Americans pay at the pump.

While I support reducing tax breaks for the five largest oil companies, I honestly wish this issue was a smaller part of a larger discussion on a comprehensive energy strategy that allows the U.S. to lead the global economic race.  That said, I will vote to repeal these needless tax breaks for BIG oil.  Traditional energy production has received billions in subsidies over the last 70 years.  And the top five oil companies in particular make billions in profits that far exceed the need for government support.

I happen to agree with the thousands of Coloradans who have told me: these companies – among the biggest in the world – don’t need and shouldn’t receive taxpayer money, especially as we look for ways to consolidate our tax code and reduce the deficit.

Now, it’s important to me that this bill is limited to the top five companies and does NOT include small, independent producers that provide many jobs in Colorado.  I should note that there are some tax credits – like the production tax credit for wind, the investment tax credit for solar, and the intangible drilling costs tax credit for SMALL oil and gas producers – that are important to jobs in Colorado and across the country.  While my ideal energy market would be free from any tax credits, I also want to make sure we continue to invest in domestic energy industries that still need help getting off the ground.  Just as with most policy, it is a delicate balance.

As I wind down my remarks today, my request to my Senate colleagues is that we would take responsibility for our economic future and get serious about energy independence.  This means shedding our doctrinaire positions, and our “my way or the highway” approaches.

There are ways to responsibly drill for oil while also increasing our renewable electricity usage.

There are ways to safely expand nuclear power while also boosting energy efficiency.

There are ways to harness natural gas as a bridge fuel while also spurring a generation of electric cars.

These are NOT either-or propositions.

We must seize this clean energy opportunity so that two, four, and 10 years from now we are not still sidetracked on political infighting because we’ve once again failed to make the tough decisions.  A comprehensive energy policy is critically important to our nation’s economic recovery and our long-term energy future.  Believe me, Americans are ready for it – in fact, they are demanding it.  Thank you.

Government Shutdown Looming: Who Gets the Blame?

UPDATE: Sen. Michael Bennet yesterday tore into his colleagues over a potential government shutdown. Bennet says people in Colorado are saying, “We hired you to do a job — work it out!”


CNN reports on the latest in the Congressional budget negotiations:

Key Democrats rejected a Republican proposal Tuesday to keep the government running for one more week at the cost of an additional $12 billion in cuts. Republicans, meanwhile, dismissed Democrats’ insistence that there had been an agreement to cut $33 billion for the rest of the fiscal year, which expires on September 30.

If there is no deal by midnight Friday, when the current spending authorization measure expires, parts of the government will close down.

The infamous 1995 government shutdown was a political death blow to then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his Republican caucus that hurt them at the polls for years. But who would get the blame if the government shuts down on Friday?

Cast your vote after the jump. As always with our polls, we want to know what you think will happen, not your opinion. If there is a government shutdown, which Party do you think will take most of the blame?

Who Will Get the Majority of the Blame in a Government Shutdown?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Bennet To Head DSCC?

UPDATE: CNN says Bennet’s answer is no.

All along Democratic sources said it was unlikely that Bennet would take the job. He just barely won a brutal battle to keep his Senate seat, and he has three young children.


From Politico’s Ben Smith:

A senior Senate Democratic source told POLITICO this afternoon that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has asked Colorado Freshman Michael Bennet to head the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Bennet, who won an uphill battle for election to his appointed seat, “didn’t say yes, and he didn’t say no” in the Tuesday conversation with Reid, the source said. Bennet has been on a “thank you” tour of his state in the wake of his bruising campaign, but will need to decide soon on the committee post…

This would be a big job for freshman Michael Bennet, but deserved recognition of the powerful fundraising ability he demonstrated this past election. It’s also a big validator for the efforts of Bennet’s senior campaign staff, some of whom you might reasonably expect to move over to the DSCC with him. There are reasons why Bennet might turn the job down, of course, like Colorado’s other Sen. Mark Udall has said he would–the time required beyond his duties as Senator. But Democrats could only benefit by repeating what happened here as many times as possible…

Senator Michael Bennet, Well and Truly

The Denver newspaper called the race moments ago on a margin of just under 7,000 votes.

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Adam Schrager Tweets the word from Ken Buck’s campaign: “We will have further comment later today.”

UPDATE #2: The Associated Press now calling the race for Bennet, still awaiting word from Buck.

UPDATE 3:35PM: Schrager Tweets that Buck has called Bennet to concede. Statement:

Buck Congratulates Senator Bennet

DENVER – Ken Buck said he called Senator Michael Bennet this afternoon to congratulate him on winning the U. S. Senate race.

Buck said that while the final margin in the race is very small, Colorado voters have spoken and he wishes Senator Bennet well.

Buck said, “my Senate campaign has been the experience of a lifetime. I will be forever grateful to the thousands of Coloradans who helped make this grassroots journey possible.”

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

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    Remember, we don’t want to know who you are voting for or who you support. If you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of the U.S. Senate race, who would you choose?

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Colorado Pols/RBI Poll: Bennet 43%, Buck 42%

    UPDATE: FOX 31’s Eli Stokols reports on this poll, and two other corroborating inside-MoE polls released today from CNN and Rasmussen. Also picked up by Political Wire and Alicia Caldwell of the Denver newspaper.

    The first in a series of poll results for key Colorado races, released by Colorado Pols and conducted by Denver-based RBI Strategies & Research. Today, the U.S. Senate race:

    Republican Ken Buck and Democrat Michael Bennet are locked in one of the most competitive US Senate races in the country. Currently, 43% of likely voters in Colorado are supporting or leaning towards supporting Bennet while 42% are supporting or leaning Buck. 3% say they will support the Libertarian, Maclyn Stringer, and 1% say they will support the Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey. Men and women are mirrored in their preferences, with men favoring Buck 45% to 41% while women favor Bennet 44% to 39%.

    Both candidates benefit from strong support from their respective parties, with 81% of registered Democrats favoring Bennet and 80% of Republicans favoring Buck. Bennet holds a 41% to 34% advantage among Unaffiliated voters. Voter preferences vary widely by region with Bennet leading in the North Front Range and Denver while trailing in all other regions of the state. Voter preferences are also correlated to age, with voters under 45 favoring Bennet by 5 points and voters over 65 favoring Buck by 7. While Buck holds a 5 point lead among white voters, Bennet leads by double digits among Hispanic voters.

    RBI Strategies & Research conducted a telephone survey of 501 Colorado voters who indicated it was likely that they would vote in the 2010 General Election. Interviews were conducted October 24 – October 26, 2010 by Standage Market Research of Denver, Colorado, a market research firm specializing in telephone survey interviewing. Respondents were randomly selected from a list of Colorado voters, purchased from Voter Contact Services, who voted in the 2008 General Election or registered to vote at any time following the 2008 General Election.

    The margin of error for a survey of 500 interviews is +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error is higher for subsamples within the full sample. Other sources of error not accounted for by the stated statistical margin of error include, but are not limited to, question wording, question order, refusal to be interviewed, and demographic weighting.

    Summary | Crosstabs | Toplines

    Kevin Ingham of RBI Strategies will join us TODAY in this thread from 1-3PM to answer your questions about this poll. Tomorrow, we’ll release numbers on the gubernatorial race, and Friday on major statewide ballot initiatives. Kevin will join us for Q&A each day in comments.  

    Please be respectful in your comments and questions for Mr. Ingham. We appreciate the time that he is making for this Q&A session, and whether you agree or disagree with anything he says, there is NO reason you need to voice your opinion in a rude or disrespectful manner. We will not tolerate bad behavior from anyone during this Q&A session, so please be good Polsters.

    Buck Campaign Makes Strategic Move: Don’t Let Buck Talk Anymore

    Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck was scheduled to appear with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet on “The TODAY Show” this morning. According to a press release from the Bennet campaign, Buck canceled the 5:00 a.m. appearance (yes, that’s 5:00 a.m. Mountain Time) due to a “scheduling conflict.”

    It’s probably pretty unlikely that Buck’s scheduler accidentally double-booked the candidate at 5:00 in the morning, but in fairness to Buck’s campaign, there’s really not a good excuse for the likely real reason: Because Buck is absolutely killing himself this week seemingly every time he opens his mouth, just letting him talk to Al Roker would be too dangerous.

    In fact, it’s fair to say that Buck may very well have lost the election this week with his double-whammy of comments that started with comparing homosexuality to alcoholism and then continued with an affirmation that global warming is a hoax, which Buck’s campaign has been desperately trying to clarify. As we discussed yesterday, Coloradans are holding onto their ballots thus far, which makes this a pretty terrible time to be offending voters.

    Buck’s campaign has been spinning out of control all week, reeling from one misstatement after the other, so it makes good strategic sense for his campaign team to just try to stop Buck from talking altogether. Given his silly mistakes this week, Buck is either rattled, or not ready for such a big spotlight (or maybe both); either way, there doesn’t appear to be any net positive left for Buck in sitting down with reporters, even if they only ask softball questions.

    It wouldn’t surprise us if Buck just sort of quietly slips away from public view until Election Day. It says a lot about the candidate himself that we would probably advise the exact same thing from a purely strategic perspective — it’s a sad state of affairs when your candidate has a better chance of winning an election if he just stops talking altogether.

    Is Ken Buck TRYING to Lose?

    UPDATE #2: The League of Conservation Voters turned this funny retort right around:

    UPDATE: That didn’t take long. This story has now gone national, with Politico and The Hill, among others, recounting Buck’s week of bad press.


    We know that headline sounds absurd, but we don’t know what else to say after Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck’s latest misstep. As the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports:

    After his meeting with supporters, Buck headed to a Loveland fundraiser that featured Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.

    “Sen. Inhofe was the first person to stand up and say this global warming is the greatest hoax that has been perpetrated. The evidence just keeps supporting his view, and more and more people’s view, of what’s going on,” Buck said.

    Coming off of Sunday’s comments during a “Meet the Press” debate in which Buck compared homosexuality to alcoholism and essentially said that being gay was a “choice,” you’d think he would be a little more careful about what he said out loud. But nope, there’s Buck again last night, talking about global warming as a “hoax.”

    Given that a vast majority of Americans believe that global warming is a serious issue, and considering that the vast majority of Unaffiliated voters in Colorado have yet to cast their ballot, these type of absolutely foolish comments may very well cost Buck the election. Think about how Colorado voters may now view Buck compared to this time a week ago — you know, before he started publicly calling homosexuality a “choice” and global warming a “hoax.”

    Not good, Ken. Not good.

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    It’s time to poll again as we try to gauge the changing (or not) perceptions in the Senate race. Here’s last week’s results for comparison.

    Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    How Could Buck Have Done So Poorly?

    You’ve no doubt seen the video already on Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck comparing homosexuality to alcoholism in a debate with Sen. Michael Bennet yesterday on “Meet the Press.” That statement is getting a lot of negative press for Buck today, as it should (here, here, and here, for a few examples), but as we reflect on the national interview as a whole, we keep coming back to the same question:

    How could Buck have been so bad?

    With one exception (Presidential races), political debates are largely meaningless affairs so long as the candidates involved don’t do or say something stupid that will create headlines the next day. Buck made a tremendous mistake in answering the question about homosexuality in the manner he chose, but why would he even answer that question at all? Was he not properly prepared by his staff? Did he just panic? Or is Buck just really not ready for this kind of prime-time exposure?

    Buck is running against an incumbent Senator, and by all accounts, the race is neck-and-neck. This is a great position for a challenger to find himself just a few weeks from Election Day, and it makes the strategy for Buck really simple: Run out the clock without screwing up. If you get asked a question like the one about homosexuality, all you have to do is duck and dodge in one answer, and perhaps one follow-up answer, and then you’re on to the next topic.

    But it wasn’t just Buck’s answer on homosexuality that had us scratching our heads. In one question, moderator David Gregory asked each candidate about their biggest personal goal. Bennet did what he should do: He answered with something about raising his three daughters to be good citizens. But Buck, inexplicably, decided to say that his biggest personal goal was to play as much golf as possible and try to reduce his handicap.


    This is politics 101, folks. When you get asked about your personal life, you talk about your family. This ain’t rocket surgery.

    Again, was Buck not properly prepared by his staff? Did he panic and spurt out the first thing that came to mind? How do you completely whiff on such a massive softball of a question?

    The U.S. Senate race in Colorado looks like it’s going to come down to the wire. If the race is decided by just a few thousand votes, it may very well be Buck’s own amateurish responses like these that ultimately make the difference.

    Bennet Gets Big Endorsement

    Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet has been endorsed by the big Denver newspaper over Republican Ken Buck in the race for the U.S. Senate.

    A user diary about this endorsement had been promoted to the Front Page of Colorado Pols by one of our guest editors, but we demoted it from “Front Page” status because we are expressly prohibited from “any and all unauthorized literal copying” from The Denver Post as mandated by their attorneys (if you’re not familiar with this whole saga, click here to read more).

    Buck’s “Woman Problem” Takes Serious Turn

    UPDATE #2: The legs on this story are growing longer by the day. Full reports now from ABC News, Fox 31, and The Huffington Post, the latter of which includes the full audio.


    UPDATE: Politico’s David Catanese reports to a national audience:

    Buck seemed skeptical about the ability to prosecute the case from the beginning of the conversation.

    “It’s the totality of the circumstance … prior relationship with him … talk to the experts who try rape cases and have not found a prosecutor yet who would …,” Buck said before being cut off by the victim.

    “His statement says, ‘When he finished, … (reading police report) … tried to get the victim to wake the victim up so he could apologize.’ How is that not ‘physically helpless, meaning unconscious, asleep, or unable to act?,'” she interjects.

    Buck then pointed to the fact that she invited the alleged rapist to her apartment, and questioned whether she ever verbally refused the man’s advances.

    “You told him how to get in … It would appear to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him. Whether that you, at that time, were conscious enough to say yes or no?,” he asked. “I’m telling you that’s what the circumstances suggest, to people, including myself, who have looked at it.”

    It’s hard to say if this is the kind of momentum-swinging revelation that can decide an election, but it sure has all of the components of one. And before anyone tries to pass the blame on this or offer up some other explanation, remember this: like much of the negative press Buck has received, it is BUCK’S OWN WORDS that make this story so bad for him. “A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse,” came from Buck’s very mouth, and it’s that single statement that may make the difference between a negative story and a game-ending story.


    Fresh on the heels of our discussion yesterday of the growing disparity between support for GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck among men versus women, and potential major consequences for Buck in this race, the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard is out with a story this morning that could dramatically worsen Buck’s problems. Excerpts from this new and detailed report on a 2005 Weld County rape case that Buck dismissively refused to prosecute–a must read:

    When Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck refused to prosecute a rape case five years ago, he probably had no idea that anyone beyond a small circle of people would care. He learned otherwise quickly enough as the victim demanded a meeting with him (which she secretly – but legally – taped), organized a protest and made sure the media knew all about her plight…

    The alleged rape victim is back and determined to be heard. She told her story to the Colorado Independent and provided the tape of their meeting, in which Buck appears to all but blame her for the rape [Pols emphasis] and tells her that her case would never fly with a Weld County jury…

    With any other victim, this case may have ended when Buck refused to charge the man with a crime.

    This victim, though, has worked as a rape victims’ advocate, and she refused to let the matter drop. When her meeting with Buck got her nowhere, she organized a protest rally at the DA’s office. She spoke with the media. Buck was forced to respond.

    He said the facts in the case didn’t warrant prosecution. “A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse,” [Pols emphasis] he told the Greeley Tribune in March 2006. He went on to publicly call the facts in the case “pitiful.”

    …”She is very strong about her feelings,” said Forseth of the victim. “She believes a grave injustice has been done and that she is a victim of the system.

    “What’s most troubling to me about this case,” Forseth continued, “is the way he talks to her in that meeting. There is just so much judgment, in his voice, toward the victim. I would think a district attorney would be an advocate for victims and offer some support, but instead he offers indignation and judgment.”

    Uh, not good, folks, and that awful “buyer’s remorse” quote in reference to an alleged rape victim both outdoes and reinforces the ugly connotations of “vote for me because I don’t wear high heels.” And what do you suppose, dear reader, will happen when somebody puts those two quotes together in a well-funded TV spot? Something very bad for a man who wants to be a U.S. Senator.

    And as we hinted yesterday, and the Independent hints further by identifying this story as the first in a “three-part series,” the worst revelations about Buck’s “woman problem” could be yet to come…

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    It’s time to poll again as we try to gauge the changing (or not) perceptions in the Senate race. Here’s last week’s results for comparison.

    Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Anti-Bennet Ad Campaign Propped Up By Foreign Cash?

    (Shouldn’t the “Tea Party” have a rather large problem with this? Bumped on Wednesday by popular demand – promoted by Colorado Pols)

    ThinkProgress has a story that shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of us in the wake of Citizens United.  It hits hard, and it hits close to home: the U.S. Chamber Of Commerce is funding its massive attack ad campaign this year from its general fund, which includes a lot of foreign money.

    The largest attack campaign against Democrats this fall is being waged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a trade association organized as a 501(c)(6) that can raise and spend unlimited funds without ever disclosing any of its donors. The Chamber has promised to spend an unprecedented $75 million to defeat candidates like Jack Conway, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jerry Brown, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), and Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). As of Sept. 15th, the Chamber had aired more than 8,000  ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates alone, according to a study from the Wesleyan Media Project. The Chamber’s spending has dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending. A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. And while the Chamber will likely assert it has internal controls, foreign money is fungible, permitting the Chamber to run its unprecedented attack campaign. According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.

    The USCOC receives membership dues of hundreds of thousands of dollars (each) from foreign-owned companies and various foreign business councils.  All the money goes in a single pot, and out pops $75m in attack ads aimed at Democrats.  Republicans (and the USCOC) can’t very well claim there is good separation between these funds when they’ve been screaming for years how it’s impossible to separate Planned Parenthood abortion funds from their other medical work (even when there are two separate accounts…).

    The Chamber has spent at least $250,000 in ads targeting Sen. Michael Bennet here in Colorado, making Ken Buck a beneficiary of this illegal foreign campaigning.  Buck should tell the USCOC to back out of the race until they can set up a donor-disclosed organization through which the Chamber can verify the nationality of its campaigning contributions.

    In the meantime, ThinkProgress is asking that the DOJ investigate the Chamber for using illegally using foreign money for campaigning.

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    It’s time to poll again as we try to gauge the changing (or not) perceptions in the Senate race. Here’s last week’s results for comparison.

    Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    Not Everyone Riding the Republican Wave

    Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez is predicting that Democrats will maintain control of the Senate after the November election. While we’re not surprised with this sentiment, we are surprised to hear Menendez openly making such a prediction.

    As “The Fix” explains:

    “The one prediction that I will make is that, (after) Nov. 2, Democrats will be in the majority in the United States Senate,” Menendez said at a luncheon hosted by the National Press Club.

    Republicans would have to gain 10 seats in order to retake the majority. While the GOP technically has enough Democratic seats in play — 13 if you count Delaware, Menendez pointed out that his committee still aims to play offense in Republican-held states like Missouri and Kentucky, too.

    Menendez’s counterpart at the luncheon, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas), also had a prediction. He said that the consternation caused by the tea party movement during GOP primaries earlier this year will lead to a surge in GOP enthusiasm in November.

    “I predict that the stormy weather we’ve seen in the primary season will lead to a tsunami on Election Day,” Cornyn said, adding later: “As much as Bob enjoyed the turbulence of the primaries, I think they’ve underestimated what’s coming at them.”

    There has been so much talk along the national narrative of the “rising Tea Party voter” or “angry Republicans,” that it’s a little silly to say, as Cornyn did, that Democrats have “underestimated what’s coming at them.” In fact, the open prediction by Menendez is all the more striking considering that everyone in politics is well aware of this “rising tide” from Republicans. It would be impossible to underestimate a narrative that has been blaring through the TV and radio for months. But perhaps there is some real concern that Republicans are realizing that they have been overestimating this wave; it’s certainly interesting that Cornyn declined to make the same sort of bold prediction as Menendez.

    We’ve long thought that Republican control of the Senate could be at risk the more that Tea Party-esque candidates emerged as the GOP nominees in particular states, with Christine O’Donnell’s victory in Delaware a prime example. O’Donnell’s primary win over Rep. Mike Castle instantly changed the handicapping of that race from “Leans Republican” all the way towards “Leans Democrat” in favor of Democrat Chris Coons.

    As mentioned above, Republicans would need to win 10 of 13 Democratically-held seats in order to take over majority control of the Senate, and that already small margin of error diminished every time a candidate like O’Donnell ended up with the Republican nomination. O’Donnell’s candidacy means that Democrats will have to expend fewer resources trying to hold that seat in Delaware…which opens up more money and resources that can be spent, as Menendez says, on offense.

    So while O’Donnell’s flailing candidacy puts more pressure on Republicans to win in states like Colorado, it also opens up more opportunities for Democrats to shift resources to our state as well. We may very well be counting “Tea Party” victims well into the afternoon of Nov. 3 before this is over.  

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    We’re going to do this poll every week as a gauge of changing (or not) perceptions in the Senate race. Here’s last week’s results for comparison.

    Remember, we want to know what you believe will happen, not what you might want to happen. To repeat our usual description, if you had to bet everything you owned on the outcome of this race, who would you pick?

    Who Will Win the U.S. Senate Race?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

    New American Crossroads Ads Targeting Bennet

    As “The Fix” reports:

    The conservative outside group American Crossroads is launching new ads in the Missouri and Colorado Senate races today…

    …The Colorado commercial, which hits Sen. Michael Bennet (D) for remarking that “we have nothing to show for” the amount of debt the country has racked up, will air for one week in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction media markets and is part of a $550,000 buy.

    To date, American Crossroads, which was formed by former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and Bush White House senior adviser Karl Rove, has raised better than $17 million — the bulk of which has been spent on television ads targeting Democrats running for the Senate.

    American Crossroads’ ads had been pulled in Missouri amid allegations of illegal coordination, but apparently that issue has been cleared up (or at least the investigation delayed). As we wrote in that story, Buck must continue to see these ads in Colorado if he is going to defeat Bennet, because he hasn’t raised enough money on his own to match the incumbent on TV.