BREAKING: Lawsuit Filed To Disqualify Jon Keyser

Time to break out that industrial strength anti-perspirant, Jon Keyser.

Time to break out that industrial strength anti-perspirant, Jon Keyser.

UPDATE #2: The Aurora Sentinel’s Chris Harrop:

The lawsuit — brought by Marcy Cochran, Jonathan Royce and Michael Cerbo and filed in Denver District County Court — alleges that at least 60 signatures collected for Keyser in the 1st Congressional District that were accepted as valid by Williams’ office appear to be forged…

Additionally, the lawsuit argues that because petition circulator Maureen Moss — who is accused of forging signatures on petitions for Keyser — “falsely swore” that each signature was from the person it purported to be, all 178 accepted signatures collected by Moss should be ruled invalid. If the court were to invalidate those signatures, Keyser’s total signatures in the 1st Congressional District would fall to 1,342, also below the legal threshold for sufficiency.


UPDATE: Plaintiffs have a new list of sixty alleged forged signatures for Jon Keyser, dramatically increasing the number of signatures in question and mathematically calling into question Keyser’s qualification for the ballot. Because ballots for the June 28th Primary are already being prepared, Keyser can’t technically be removed from the ballot; however, a judge could still rule that any votes Keyser receives should not be counted.


Big news in the Jon Keyser petition fraud controversy breaking now via multiple sources:

We were forwarded the court filing, read it here. The summary reads:

In the implementation of a democracy, there may be no more patently offensive concept than fraud in the election process. Where election officials are not empowered to detect fraud or are simply overwhelmed and cannot do so, it becomes incumbent upon the courts to provide a forum to address such fraud and protect the electoral process. This is as true in the petition process as it is for any other aspect of an election. “If we do not hold in this way, we shall be compelled to say that, if a petition with a sufficient number of names on its face valid should be laid before the secretary of state, it could not be successfully attacked, even though every name were forged and every affidavit attached to it were false.” Elkins v. Milliken, 249 P. 655, 657 (Colo. 1926) (invoking powers as a court of equity).

Not every name has been forged on the petitions that are the subject matter of this litigation, and not every affidavit attached to them is false. But so many forged signatures and false affidavits were filed with and accepted by the Secretary of State to result in an unwarranted placement of Jon Keyser on the primary ballot for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Additionally, the Secretary’s failure to issue a Statement of Sufficiency as to the Keyser petitions frustrates the ability of any eligible elector to challenge Keyser’s petitions.

As a result, this action seeks to ensure votes will not be counted for one candidate whose placement on the ballot is a function of fraud in the petitioning process. Alternatively, this action seeks an order that the Secretary issue a Statement of Sufficiency as required by statute.

Never a dull moment in this insane Senate race, dear readers.

Denver7’s Zelinger responds to baseless criticism of his work on Keyser forgery story

(Journalist commits journalism, Republicans freak out – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s a basic part of a journalist’s job to respond publicly to questions about their reporting. Yet, many don’t do it.

So, in case you missed it last week, it was good to hear Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger respond to hostile, and baseless, criticism from KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis.

Caplis was upset with Zelinger’s reports on the forged signatures on the ballot-access petitions of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser. Caplis accused Zelinger of doing the work of Democrats generally and pulling a “punk-ass move” by seeking a mid-afternoon interview with Keyser at Keyser’s home, after Keyser and his campaign didn’t respond to numerous requests for interviews. Zelinger responded directly to Caplis’ accusations. Here’s the audio.

Friday Open Thread

“The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte

Latest Maketa Indictments Highlight Problem of Police Domestic Violence

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Terry Maketa, former El Paso County Sheriff, was indicted Wednesday, May 25, 2016, by a Grand Jury on six felony counts, including extortion, tampering with a witness, and second-degree kidnapping.  The latter two charges stem from Maketa and codefendants Paula Presley and Juan San Agustin intimidating a witness to keep her from testifying against her abuser, a deputy under Maketa’s supervision.

From Benzel and Sun’s Gazette reporting:

After a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in August 2013 for assaulting his girlfriend, Maketa directed the woman to recant her story and tell investigators she “instigated the incident in order to allow (the deputy) to get his job back,” the indictment alleges. When the woman, a civilian jail employee, followed his instructions and provided a false confession about being “the aggressor,” she was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, assault and driving under the influence.

“Detective Lisa Kaiser, the interviewing and arresting officer, did not believe she had probable cause to arrest (the woman) for either crime, but arrested (her) because the order came from her superiors,” the indictment says.

Maketa was booked and bonded out of jail on Thursday, May 26 .  Maketa had resigned in disgrace in 2014, ahead of a recall effort, amidst charges of sexual misconduct, corruption, and incompetence in his office.

Terry Maketa's mugshot

Maketa’s 5/25/16 mugshot  Credit : Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office

Maketa was one of the so-called “Constitutional Sheriffs” involved in a lawsuit against Colorado’s stricter gun laws, including magazine size limits and background check requirements.

Colorado media outlets have capitalized on the lurid sexual content of the Maketa case – Westword,   the Denver Post, and the Colorado Springs Gazette have all run stories emphasizing the conduct of the “Shirtless Sheriff”. We’re all sick of that steamy shower selfie, so, please, Pols, don’t post it in this diary.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 26)

Get More SmarterIf at first you don’t succeed…just keep filing lawsuits until a judge gives up. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).


► Wednesday witnessed the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, and today you can watch the second part of an interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper about his new memoir.


► For now, at least, there are officially 5 Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate. A district court judge ruled on Wednesday that Ryan Frazier won’t have to drop out of the race because of a lack of valid petition signatures. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, the GOP Senate field is starting to get a bit nasty with just weeks to go before mail ballots are sent to Primary voters — and Darryl Glenn isn’t happy about having so many opponents:

One-time longshot Darryl Glenn, buoyed by the recent endorsement of the prominent Senate Conservatives Fund, continued to spit fire at his challengers in a Colorado Public Television debate Wednesday in which he suggested three of themonly qualified for the ballot because of “judicial activism.”

The action unfolded as Ryan Frazier won a court battle to secure a spot on the ballot a minute before the debate started. A Denver judge issued a ruling that allowed the state to count signatures on Frazier’s petitions from voters who didn’t update their registration, saying it met the “substantial compliance” standard in law.

Blaha and Jon Keyser needed judicial orders to qualify for the race after their petitions contained mistakes that prompted the state to initially reject them. Glenn, who won his slot in the race at the state Republican Party convention, suggested the judge went too far.

“The court should only look and determine whether or not the secretary of state did its job,” said Glenn, an El Paso County Commissioner running a bare-bones campaign. “This whole substantial compliance standard needs to be thrown out.”
He didn’t appear to know that state law explicitly requires the court to use the “substantial compliance” standard.


► Former Republican Senate candidate and current state Sen. Tim Neville is backing Robert Blaha for U.S. Senate. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Neville’s son, Joe Neville, is now running Blaha’s campaign.

Blaha, meanwhile, has decided that it would be advantageous for his Senate campaign if he tries to “out-Trump” Donald Trump. Perhaps Blaha is drinking the same Kool-Aid as Trump staffers who insist that His Hairness is echoing the sentiments of the American people in his calls to ban Muslims from the United States.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

The Get More Smarter Show: Hickenlooper’s Opposite of Woe

Watch Part 2 of the Get More Smarter Show’s extended interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper! In today’s segment we’ll be talking to the Governor about his new memoir–although Hick says he’s “too young to have a memoir”–The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics, on bookshelves now.

If you missed yesterday’s debut episode of the Get More Smarter Show, you can watch it here in all its technically challenged glory including Part 1 of our interview with Gov. Hickenlooper. Next week’s show will feature fewer production mistakes, mostly because we made so many of them with the first episode.

Many thanks again to Gov. Hickenlooper for sitting down with us.

Blaha Trumps Trump

UPDATE #2: Backpedal time!

We do love the media attention, but Robert has never supported a ban on Muslims. He supports going “beyond” Mr. Trump’s statements, which singles out Muslims, to instead equally vetting all factors that could present a threat to American lives…

So, Blaha said he wants to “go beyond just Muslims.” That statement would certainly appear to include Muslims. But definitely, tell every reporter in America that what they can plainly see isn’t true. That approach worked out smashingly for Jon Keyser.

Really, how hard is it to choke out the words “I misspoke?”


UPDATE: The Hill’s Lisa Hagen:

A Republican Colorado Senate candidate said this week that he wants to take Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States a step further…

Blaha is part of a crowded GOP field in the June 28 primary to try and unseat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). The seat is one of the few GOP targets this cycle as Republicans seek to hold onto their slim Senate majority.

Democrats blasted Blaha’s remarks for taking Trump’s proposal to the “next level.”

“We already knew Robert Blaha was unabashed in his extreme policy positions, but saying banning Muslims from entering the country isn’t taking it far enough is taking extreme to the next level,” Colorado Democratic Party spokesman Chris Meagher said in a statement. “Instead of focusing on real policy solutions, Blaha is adding to the outlandish, offensive, prejudiced rhetoric that is antithetical to our values as a nation.”


Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

Buzzfeed picked up a gem of a tirade from Robert “Bla-ha!” Blaha, a Colorado Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate fighting for relevance in a 5-man race:

Robert Blaha, a Republican primary candidate in Colorado’s Senate race, said on Tuesday that Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country doesn’t go far enough.

“I want to go beyond just Muslims,” Blaha said at a GOP meeting in Fremont County. “And I’ll tell you why. The issue is not—the issue is partially a religious issue, but the real issue there is—the real issue is security. The real issue is we do not know who these people are. We don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know whether a terrorist state. We do not have the ability as a government right now to vet these people…”

“Until we can properly vet people and know who they are and know where they’re coming from and know what their belief structures are they’re coming out of, we cannot afford to take that risk,” he said.

When Blaha says we “can’t vet these people,” we have to assume he just hasn’t heard about all the ways we do “vet these people” right now. We assume Blaha is principally concerned with refugees like other Republicans who find political advantage in demagoguing this stuff, but the fact is, refugees are much more thoroughly screened than other kinds of visitors to the United States–like tourists. Tourists from abroad constitute a large percentage of the 75 million people who traveled to the United States last year from abroad, and while they’re here they contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy.

Including right here in the year-round alpine playground of Colorado. Is that what Blaha is trying to do? To hurt Colorado’s tourism economy?

Donald Trump is doing enough to damage America’s image in the world, to include desirability as a vacation destination, with his xenophobic scare tactics. For Colorado’s sake, it would be nice if our Republican U.S. Senate candidates weren’t doing their best to ensure our state has the same problem.

BREAKING: Trump Clinches GOP Presidential Nomination

trumpburnAP reporting, playtime is now officially over:

Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president.

His triumph completes an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign.

Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP on Thursday they will support him at the convention.

Controversial firebrand billionaire Donald Trump has been the presumptive GOP presidential nominee for some weeks now after his last two primary opponents, Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, recognized the inevitable and bowed out. But it’s always more impactful when the technical threshold is reached, which appears to be the case today.

Whatever happens between now and November, you can’t deny the historic implications of this moment.

Probably very bad implications, but for today you can just kind of stand in awe of what has happened to the once-grand (and still enormously powerful) Republican Party. Whether Trump wins or loses, the Grand Old Party will never be the same again.

State GOP chair boots blogger seen as “risk” to Colorado RNC delegation

(The ghost of “Coffmangate” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

houseforgopchairUPDATE: GOP Executive Director Shana Banberger responds: “Mrs. Porter has explicitly declared herself to be a member of the media and has been acting in that capacity for more than a year. After consulting state party and RNC rules we determined that should Mrs. Porter wish to attend the convention as a reporter she is required to be credentialed as press by the RNC.”  Porter had told House that she wanted to attend the convetion “so I can support our delegation and offer email updates on the presidential nominee, platform items, proposed rules changes, etc.” I’ve asked KVOR radio host Jeff Crank, another guest of the delegation, if he plans to report/blog/tweet from Cleveland.


Colorado Republican Party Chair Steve House has booted Republican activist and blogger Kathryn Porter from the group of Colorado Republicans who are going to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveleand July 18 because House thinks her blogging poses a “risk” to the Colorado delegation.

Porter, whose work appears on the Politichicks blog and was among the first to report details on efforts to oust House as GOP chair, was slated to attend the RNC as a guest of delegate Mike McAlpine, Porter said, under rules which allow each delegate to take a guest.

But in an email to Porter, House wrote it’s his “job to protect the delegation” and Porter’s “actions as a media representative in the past year and especially the past month and a half clearly represent risk to this delegation that we do not need to take at this critical convention in Cleveland.”


Thursday Open Thread

“Though the dungeon, the scourge, and the executioner be absent, the guilty mind can apply the goad and scorch with blows.”


Colorado Dems Ridicule “That Blaha Moment”


Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

From the social media fails file–Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha’s campaign came up this week with a too-clever-by-half “meme” series they’re calling “That Blaha! Moment,” like those “a-ha moments” you’ve had at important points in your life but…you know, with “Bla-ha” instead of “a-ha.”

Shut up, it’s clever. Check out the example above where he says “free college is just longer high school.”

Wait, what the hell does that even mean? Don’t think about it too much or you might have a different response than “a-ha.”

At any rate, Colorado Democratic Party spox Chris Meagher has his own list of “Blaha moments,” but not the ones Team Blaha wants you to remember! From a release today:

Since there have been plenty of #thatBlahamoments since the beginning of his campaign, here are several moments to remember –

1.    He has vigorously endorsed Trump, even calling him a “man of vision and courage.”

2.    He has said he would’ve voted to shut down the government.

3.    He said he wants to be a Senator much like Ted Cruz.

4.    He didn’t originally get on the ballotthen sued to get onthen demanded the Secretary of State resignthen was ruled off, then a judge put him back on.

5.    He invoked a painful rectal exam in a television ad.

6.    He posted a Facebook meme that “seems to compare Blaha and pro-gun politicians to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, and Blaha’s opponents who are gun control advocates to Hitler.”

7.    He received donations that exceeded the legal campaign contribution limit.

“Robert Blaha has endorsed Donald Trump, and he has shown he is eager to keep up with Trump’s outrageous behavior and rhetoric,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party.

And with that, it’s back to the drawing board for a real “a-ha moment.” Or maybe just a “blah moment?” Either way, it’s better to focus group these kinds of things before you unleash them on a heartless, ridiculing world.

If we were running his campaign, we’d tell Bla-ha (we can’t imagine it without the hyphen anymore) to downplay the unfortunate surname. For every Jeff Flake exception, there’s a Jeff Crank who proves the rule. But it’s too late now for Robert Blaha.

Oh, sorry. Blah-ha!

The Get More Smarter Show: May 25, 2016

This week on Get More Smarter: in our technically-challenged first episode of the Get More Smarter Show, Jason Bane and Alan Franklin discuss the Jon Keyser petition fraud scandal and Colorado’s crazy GOP U.S. Senate primary. Then, stay tuned for Part 1 of GMS’s exclusive interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado!

Along with the Get More Smarter daily roundup of Colorado politics each day on, we’ll be taking a few minutes every week to talk about Colorado politics for the Get More Smarter Show. We’ll have great interviews like today’s with Gov. Hickenlooper, commentary that will get increasingly smarter as we shake off our stagefright and technical hurdles, and as much fun as our state’s political chattering class can handle.

Thanks for watching! To jump directly to our Hickenlooper interview, which will make us kind of sad but feel free, click to 8:04 in the video above or click here.