Ken Buck Goes Full-On U.N. Conspiracy Theory

In 2010, GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes drew avalanches of scorn for theorizing that the city of Denver’s bicycle sharing program, B-Cycle, was part of a conspiracy to turn Colorado into a “U.N. community.” “This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes said.

Today, the GOP’s 2010 U.S. Senate nominee in Colorado joins Maes in U.N. conspiracyland:

In the video above, 2010 GOP Senate nominee and Weld County DA Ken Buck declares his opposition to the U.N. Small Arms Treaty, a subject we’ve covered in this space a number of times. Each time we’ve brought it up, it’s been to point out the absurdity of this idea that Hillary Clinton and blue-helmeted stormtroopers are headed to–let’s use Greeley for today’s example–to confiscate the firearms of ordinary law-abiding American citizens. As if the United States, which already blows off the U.N. whenever we feel like it, is suddenly going to start confiscating firearms in defiance of the sacrosanct Second Amendment.

Folks, because Ken Buck is the highest-profile Coloradan yet to jump on the U.N. gun ban conspiracy bandwagon, we’re going to say it one more time: the U.N. Small Arms treaty is intended to regulate international trafficking in firearms. The U.S. representative to the treaty negotiations himself has said so repeatedly and unequivocally:

[W]e must acknowledge and respect that this negotiation is not an attempt to intrude, either in principle or process, into states’ internal activities, laws, or practices concerning the domestic possession, use, or movement of arms. Rather, this treaty will regulate only the international trade in arms. Any attempt to include provisions in the treaty that would interfere with each state’s sovereign control over the domestic possession, use, or movement of arms is clearly outside the scope of our mandate. [Pols emphasis]

Ambassador Donald A. Mahley, the U.S. representative assigned to arms control negotiations who wrote the above summary, is a 27-year U.S. Army veteran, who served in the Bush administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Threat Reduction and Export Control.

So…this guy is part of the conspiracy too? We’d love to see somebody ask Buck that.

We were a bit surprised to see such a strongly-worded opinion on this issue from Buck, who could be considered to have more credibility than, say, state Rep. J. Paul Brown–for whom the “U.N. gun ban” is a lead-off topic of conversation on the stump. Whether meant to provide political cover for people like Brown, or a sincere statement of belief in what seems to be a far fetched, self-debunking conspiracy theory, this is a sad day for Buck’s reputation…or whatever is left of “the reputation formerly enjoyed by Ken Buck.”

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.

Larimer County GOP Facing $200,000 in Fines

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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    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.

    He’s Not a Witch, But Ken Buck Has a Christine O’Donnell Moment

    Christine O’Donnell, the Republican candidate for Senate in Delaware, has been widely mocked for her infamous “I am not a witch” TV ad, and more recently, for her statements during a debate in which she questioned whether the U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state. Those comments made national headlines, and now they’re pointing a similar spotlight back at Colorado.

    The reason? It would seem that Colorado Senate candidate Ken Buck actually has stronger words than O’Donnell on the subject. As Think Progress writes, Buck had this to say at a forum for Republican Senate candidates last year:

    I disagree strongly with the concept of separation of church and state. [Pols emphasis] It was not written into the Constitution. While we have a Constitution that is very strong in the sense that we are not gonna have a religion that’s sanctioned by the government, it doesn’t mean that we need to have a separation between government and religion.

    Here’s Buck’s statement in all its YouTube glory:

    We don’t need to tell you how bad this looks for Buck. As anybody with a 6th grade knowledge of American history can tell you, the separation of church and state isn’t some crazy liberal theory — it was perhaps the primary reason that this country was founded.

    In the same statement above, Buck is also critical of President Obama for renaming the White House Christmas Tree the “Holiday Tree.” Nevermind that this never actually happened.

    Live From New York…It’s Ken Buck!

    It’s not every day that a Colorado politician makes it onto “Saturday Night Live.” Any Polsters out there remember the last time a Colorado politico was on SNL?

    The joke is in reference to Buck’s disastrous appearance on “Meet the Press” a week ago. We’d say it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve said something seriously significant (alliteration rules!) once your statement crosses over into mainstream popular culture.  

    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.

    “Buyer’s Remorse” Hits the Airwaves

    We told you this was coming.

    That’s the new ad on the air in Colorado Senate race, to our knowledge the first TV spot to invoke the recent scandal involving GOP candidate Ken Buck’s refusal to prosecute a case of alleged date rape in 2005. Sponsored by Women’s Voices Women Vote Action Fund, we’re awaiting information on the size of the buy–if it’s big, this ad is going to hurt.

    But before this scandal even made it into a TV spot, which we knew from the moment it broke that it would, it was already harming Buck in polls–just from the press coverage. We can’t say exactly what the polls will look like after a week of “buyer’s remorse” in prime time, but Buck’s not going to like it.

    UPDATE: WVWVAF’s release follows, described as a “high six-figure multi-media campaign.”

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund Unveils Major Media Campaign in Colorado

    High Heels Featured Prominently in TV Ads Targeted to Colorado Women

    Colorado-Today, Women’s Voices. Women Vote Action Fund (WVWVAF) begins a major advertising campaign designed to make sure Colorado candidates reflect women’ s concerns. ” The women of Colorado have incredibly high stakes and are facing important choices in 2010, and WVWVAF is committed to making sure candidates are listening to what voters really want,” said Page Gardner, president of WVWVAF.

    WVWVAF’s high six-figure multi-media campaign is comprised of broadcast and cable, radio and online advertising. The broadcast and cable spot features Leslie Allen, a Boulder resident who calls Ken Buck to task for stating he should be elected because he “doesn’ t wear high heels,” questions his refusal to prosecute a rape by explaining the victim had a case of “buyer’ s remorse” and his opposition to a woman’ s right to choose even in the case of rape or incest. The spot begins airing Wednesday, October 20.

    The advertising campaign began Thursday, Oct 14 with a radio spot highlighting Michael Bennett’s support of key women’s issues, including his votes to extend unemployment benefits, rein in abuse by credit card companies and support fair pay, as well as his pro-choice principles.

    All three spots encourage Colorado women to make their voices heard by contacting Michael Bennett and Ken Buck and urging them to support policies that help, not hinder, Colorado women and families.

    “The women of Colorado need to have their voices heard and respected and their concerns addressed — whether they wear high heels or cowboy boots. They are facing too many questions of critical importance to stay silent,” concluded Gardner.


    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?

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    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).

    Pro-Life Group Attacks Buck in Press Conference Today

    UPDATE: The flyer handed out at today’s press conference:

    We discussed yesterday how Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck hasn’t done himself many favors by trying to moderate his pre-primary positions. As we’ve said time and time again, looking like a flip-flopper is far worse than having particular positions that some voters may disagree with, but sometimes changing your position causes even more trouble with the people you were originally trying to target.

    According to a press release from American Right to Life Action (full release after the jump), they plan to give Buck the business during a 1:15 p.m. press conference today:

    “Ken Buck has already broken every pro-life campaign promise he made,” said Lolita Hanks, president of ARTLA, “including that he now recanted on his promises to fight for a state pro-life amendment to protect unborn children from the beginning of their development, to introduce a ban on abortion, and to not confirm pro-abortion judges.”

    By all accounts, the U.S. Senate race is going to come down to the wire. Buck can hardly afford to be losing a base group of potential voters at this late date, and if today’s press conference gets decent media coverage, there may be a good number of otherwise supportive voters who decide just to leave his name blank on their ballots.

    American Right To Life Action, a 527 group headquartered in Colorado, will hold a press conference in front of Denver’s federal Courthouse today at 1:15 p.m. criticizing a Republican U.S. Senate candidate.

    “Ken Buck has already broken every pro-life campaign promise he made,” said Lolita Hanks, president of ARTLA, “including that he now recanted on his promises to fight for a state pro-life amendment to protect unborn children from the beginning of their development, to introduce a ban on abortion, and to not confirm pro-abortion judges.”

    Also appearing for American RTL will be former Colorado candidate for governor Ben Goss who spoke with Ken Buck to determine whether the U.S. Senate candidate held a true anti-abortion commitment. Goss will explain that in a conversation withKen Buck, the candidate admitted that he would not make personhood a feature of his campaign, but that every other indication was that he would fight to end abortion.

    “Now he says he will even confirm ‘pro-choice’ judges,” said Goss, “that’s not pro-life, that’s unacceptable.”

    “Republicans like Ken Buck have turned abortion into a perpetual fundraiser,” said Hanks. “In the primary, they’re 100% pro-life; in the general election, they moderate; and if they win, they govern as liberal pro-choicers.”

    “We will also attempt to prove that Ken Buck lied to pro-lifers and to all Colorado voters on CBS’ Face the Nation,” said ARTL’s director of research Darrell Birkey, “with this exchange:”

    Bob Schieffer: You also said at one point that you would support a proposed law out there in Colorado that would have banned some forms of birth control, some birth control pills. Do you still hold to that?

    Ken Buck: I have never said that. No. I have said that there is a state amendment on personhood. I am in favor of personhood as a concept. I am not taking a position on any of the state amendments.

    ARTL will also present the survey question from a Colorado pro-life organization that Ken Buck answered “Yes” to indicating that he would support a state pro-life constitutional amendment upholding the sanctity of life from the single cell stage of development. “That answer, and other evidence, shows that Ken Buck misled pro-lifers into believing he truly would fight to protect the tiniest children,” said Hanks. “At least Buck has made it clear before election day that he uses the unborn as a political ploy to get money and votes.”

    Who: American RTL Action with former Colorado Candidate Ben Goss

    What: Don’t Throw the Bums In Press Conference

    Where: In front of Denver’s Byron White U.S. Courthouse, 1823 Stout Street

    When: 1:15 p.m. today, Friday Oct. 15

    Buck Rape Case Scandal Continues to Grow

    The Denver newspaper published their interview today with the victim of an alleged rape committed in 2005, a crime that now-GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck dismissively refused to prosecute, telling newspapers at the time that that a jury might conclude it was a case of “buyer’s remorse.” Today’s story by reporter Allison Sherry is just the latest in a series of damaging revelations about this case, which began Monday with a story in the online Colorado Independent.

    Today’s story accurately relays the view of this alleged rape victim, as reported by the Independent yesterday in their interview, that Buck immediately cast the circumstances of her case under a cloud of prejudicial suspicion–she believes that Buck focused unfairly on, in her words, “what I did wrong.”

    “It sounds like he’s threatening me,” the alleged victim says of her recorded conversation with Buck.

    Like we said yesterday, the alleged victim’s willingness to come forward and talk to the press destroys the Buck campaign’s “shoot the messenger” defense against this scandal–you can’t continue to impugn this story as the work of “liberal smear merchants” when this victim is telling her side of the story all by herself. What’s more, as the Independent reported in their interview but the Denver paper missed, the alleged perpetrator was recorded admitting to the crime. Lingering questions about the admissibility of that recording, and what affect that admission may or may not have had on Buck’s decision not to prosecute the case, remain unanswered.

    In addition, Buck’s campaign told Sherry, and other media outlets this week, that his “buyer’s remorse” quote was merely intended to illustrate what a potential jury might conclude in the case, not his personal view of it. Unfortunately, the recording of that conversation totally undermines this defense (from yesterday’s Independent story):

    “I’m telling you that’s what circumstances suggest to people, including myself, [Pols emphasis] who have looked at it. Although you never said the word ‘yes,’ the appearance is of consent.” Buck said.

    Also of note, apparently the Buck campaign responded yesterday with a rape victim of their own, whose case Buck did choose to prosecute. Now, the circumstances of that case appear very different–it was a random assault, not a date rape, therefore a much clearer-cut case–and for reasons unknown, this person didn’t make it into the Denver newspaper’s report. Perhaps because the circumstances were so different? Perhaps because it was plainly a defensive move by Buck’s campaign to muddy this story? We can’t say for sure, but we’ll be watching for developments. We expect to see more of this defense, even if it’s apples-to-oranges compared to the case in question–not to mention that their prior “exploiting a rape victim” defense is rendered hypocritical.

    None of this changes the fundamental point of why the original story is harmful to Buck; it’s not about whether he was or was not justified in not prosecuting the case, but about his statements to, and treatment of, the alleged victim.

    Bottom line: the story can’t be contained at this point–it’s been covered from coast to coast, online, on local and cable news, and now in the state’s newspaper of record. We’ve heard that very potent TV spots on this scandal are imminent, and could start rolling before the weekend is out. We have also heard that internal daily tracking numbers are showing heavy damage to Buck from this, especially among women. This is reinforced by the shrill and defensive response to the story from conservative-leaning media–they know this is a potentially race-ending situation. Once the ads roll out, watch for that trajectory to steepen, both in terms of shrill responses and damage done.

    We’ve maintained from the moment this scandal broke that we could be looking at the end of the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Colorado. Nothing has happened since Monday to change our minds.

    Buck Loses Defensive Cover on “Buyer’s Remorse” Rape Scandal

    UPDATE: Scot Kersgaard of the Independent responds directly to partisan attacks on his reporting.


    So the campaign of GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck has chosen its response to the emerging scandal surrounding his refusal to prosecute an alleged case of rape in 2005–a case he refused even though the alleged perpetrator was recorded admitting to the crime. The expressed callousness toward the victim in the case, not to mention preconceived biases that may have affected his judgment, are the central themes in this story as now reported coast to coast.

    Buck’s response? Naturally, shoot the messenger.

    In [Buck spokesman Owen] Loftus’s opinion, ProgressNow, Waak and others are acting as if they’re compassionate, “but they’re really exploiting victims — and that’s the really unfortunate thing about this. Now, a victim might not want to report a case because they’re afraid their story could end up on the front page of the Denver Post.”

    That’s a peculiar defense we must say, since it’s easily arguable that the way Buck treated this alleged victim is a far greater deterrent to a future rape victim reporting a case than a political group giving said victim a platform to tell what happened could ever be. And as the Colorado Independent’s Scot Kersgaard reports this morning, the latest in a devastating series, the victim being “exploited” by these “liberal smear merchants”…is talking to the press all by herself.

    So much for shooting the messenger:

    “I represented something he didn’t like,” said the victim, who didn’t wish to be identified, in an interview with the Colorado Independent Saturday. “I don’t know why. I was a full-time student, I worked full-time, I was doing tons of volunteer work.

    “We all have these stereotypes, but we have to be able to look past them in order to deal with the individual. In a position like DA, you have to be able to do that, and he couldn’t do it,” she said.

    Specifically, she is talking about his reference, in a private meeting, to an abortion she says she never had, as well as his references to her drinking on the night in question, and his repeated references to the fact she had invited the suspect into her home…

    During the victim’s meeting with Buck, Buck referred to the fact that she had invited the suspect to her apartment, saying, “It would appear to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him.”

    “So, you’re telling me that previous sexual relations is enough to provide consent; you’re telling me that because I called him and invited him up, that I invited him up for sex?” she asks.

    “I’m telling you that’s what circumstances suggest to people, including myself, who have looked at it. Although you never said the word ‘yes,’ the appearance is of consent.” Buck said…

    “He (the suspect) admitted he did it, and they gave him a pass, said, ‘Thanks for coming in,'” the victim says. [Pols emphasis]

    “Buck told me that something morally wrong happened, but that it wasn’t legally wrong. I read him the statute (Colorado Revised Statute 18-3-402), which says it is sexual assault if the victim is physically helpless or intoxicated,” the victim said.

    Make sure you read the entire feature-length report, with much more directly from the alleged victim, as well as comments from experts on sexual assault who dispute pretty much everything Buck asserted to her about the law. And the worst part of today’s story for Buck? The “liberal smear merchants” that he’s relying on to deflect from this growing disaster are nowhere to be found.

    It’s looking more and more like an endgame, folks. We’ve seen it before.

    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?

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    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

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    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.  

    Abortion Ban. “Buckpedaled.”

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

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

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

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

    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

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