BREAKING: Blaha, Frazier Both Disqualified from Primary Ballot

UPDATE #2: It sounds like Ryan Frazier will be challenging the Secretary of State’s ruling:

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UPDATE: It will be interesting to see if either Blaha or Frazier (or both) now get involved in Jon Keyser’s legal challenge. If Keyser remains off the ballot, then Blaha and Frazier would have a bigger list of signers to include on their lists (check here for more information).

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From the Secretary of State’s office:

U.S. Senate candidates Robert Blaha and Ryan Frazier were declared insufficient to appear on the Republican primary ballot, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced today.

They were required to gather 1,500 signatures from Republican voters in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts for a total of 10,500 signatures per candidate. The Secretary of State’s office conducted a line-by-line review of their petitions.

Blaha, a Colorado Springs businessman, submitted 17,844 petition signatures to the Secretary of State’s office. Of that, 10,507 were deemed valid. He was short in three congressional districts.

Frazier, a former Aurora City Council member, submitted 18,581 petition signatures. Of that, 11,108 were deemed valid. He was short in four congressional districts.

Signatures were rejected for a variety of reasons, including the signer was not a Republican, the signer’s address did not match voter registration records, duplicate signatures and notary errors.

Blaha came up short 151 signatures in CD-1, 169 in CD-3, and 49 in CD-6 (here is the signature report for Robert Blaha).

Frazier was short 52 signatures in CD-1, six in CD-2, 306 in CD-3, and 44 in CD-6 (here is the signature report for Ryan Frazier).

Blaha, Frazier Still Waiting to Hear About Primary Ballot

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

UPDATE #2: Both Blaha and Frazier have been disqualified from the Primary ballot for insufficient signatures. More on this story here.

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UPDATE: At least one group of Republican voters in Colorado isn’t interested in this outcome.

For the first time in 13 years, the El Paso County Republican Strategy Forum decided to back the Libertarian candidate in the U.S. Senate race. Lily Tang Williams received the group’s support after a meeting on Wednesday, as the Colorado Independent reports:

[Republican Strategy Forum Chair Sheryl] Glasgow said her group has been disappointed with the large GOP field for U.S. Senate this year, especially after state Sen. Tim Neville was knocked out of the running at the Republican Party’s April 9 state convention.

None of the other candidates for U.S. Senate have spoken to the group about their bids, she said.

We don’t want to overstate the importance of this decision by the Republican Strategy Forum, but it is certainly interesting that an organization with “Republican” in its name has decided against supporting any Senate candidates with an ‘R’ next to their name.

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Tomorrow is April 29th, the deadline for the Secretary of State’s office to finalize the June 28th Primary ballot. Three U.S. Senate candidates — Jon Keyser, Robert Blaha, and Ryan Frazier are still waiting to find out if their names will be on that ballot.

As of this writing, only two candidates are cleared for the Primary ballot: El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former Colorado State University Athletic Director Jack Graham. After months of suffering through a clown car cavalcade of terrible candidates, it’s now possible that the GOP nomination could come down to just Glenn and Graham – a scenario nobody would have predicted at the beginning of the year.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, the nature of the petition process gives a huge advantage to the first person submitting signatures. Jack Graham’s signatures were accepted at a dangerously-low 56.6% “validation rate”; the only reason he made the ballot was because he turned in so many additional signatures (22,786) and because he was the first of the four petitioning candidates to turn everything over to the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office (Senate candidates must collect 1,500 valid signatures from registered Republican voters in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, for a total of 10,500 signatures).

Ryan Frazier

Ryan Frazier

Jon Keyser is waiting to hear from a Denver judge about ballot access after falling 86 signatures short in CD-3; those signatures were ruled invalid by the SOS because the staffer responsible for collecting these signatures was not a properly registered voter according to petition-gathering rules. The standard rule of thumb in collecting petition signatures has always been to submit double the required amount so that you have enough of a cushion to overcome ineligible signatures. Submitting extra signatures is why Graham made the ballot despite having nearly 47% of his signatures tossed out, and it’s a big reason that Keyser is in trouble now; because his campaign was so careless in gathering enough extra petitions to account for unexpected problems (Keyser turned in 16,607 total signatures), he had very little margin for error in the first place. In addition to failing to meet requirements in CD-3, Keyser barely made it in three other districts: CD-1 (with 20 signatures to spare), CD-5 (76 extra), and CD-6 (75 extra).

Blaha and Frazier are still waiting to hear back from the SOS as to the validity of their petitions, and the clock is ticking. It’s entirely possible that Keyser’s legal challenge is holding up the process of confirmation for both candidates, and if one or both are denied ballot access, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario whereby another legal fight delays the process of finalizing the Primary ballot. If Blaha or Frazier learn that they have not made the Primary ballot but feel they have reason to challenge the Secretary of State’s opinion, they won’t have much time to file some sort of legal motion or protest…all of which could delay finalizing the Primary ballot.

Both Blaha and Frazier claim to have submitted more than 17,000 signatures, so they don’t have a huge margin for error. We wouldn’t be surprised if neither Blaha nor Frazier qualified for the ballot, but we’d have to think that either campaign would think long and hard about challenging any ruling. And then, there’s Keyser; a Denver judge is expected to rule within the next day or two on Keyser’s challenge of the SOS office.

This time next week, we could have five Republican Senate candidates running in the June 28th Primary. We could also have as few as two. Oh…and mail ballots are supposed to start going out the door in 5-6 weeks. We could be in for a very interesting couple of days.

Caption This Photo: “Dirty Douggie” Lamborn!

Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, not generally known as a rugged manly-man politician, nonetheless got his “man card” renewed with a visit to the Magnum Shooting Center–perhaps a very good idea in advance of his unexpectedly stiff primary challenge from a charismatic young female opponent. Lamborn asks, do you feel lucky?

Well do you, punk?

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Are we the only ones who find that look on his face a little…disconcerting? A few more photos of the all-new Badass Doug Lamborn® after the jump.

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“Rolling Coal”–Seriously Republicans, WTF?

Rolling coal--ladies, please don't encourage this.

“Rolling coal.”

Nick Coltrain at the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports on the death Tuesday of Rep. Joann Ginal’s House Bill 16-1319, legislation that would have outlawed the practice of intentionally modifying your diesel vehicle to spew black soot on unsuspecting pedestrians, Prius owners, and other such wussies:

Ginal, D-Fort Collins, said she wrote the bill to target the activity, not the modifications. She had input from Fort Collins law enforcement and city officials on the bill. The bill would have created a $35 fine for those who rig light diesel trucks to blast thick, black exhaust and use it to obscure roadways or harass pedestrians, referred to as rolling coal. It would have also tacked two points on the offender’s license. Too many points in a one- or two-year period will lead to license suspension.

The bill passed out of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives on a bipartisan vote earlier this month. It failed on a party-line vote in the Senate transportation committee, with the three Republicans voting against it. A phone message to the chair of the committee, Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Prius-RepellentLet’s have no confusion about about the plain language of HB16-1319:

The bill prohibits “coal rolling”, or “rolling coal”, which is the act of intentionally blowing black smoke through one or more exhaust pipes attached to a diesel vehicle after modifying, disabling, bypassing, or removing the vehicle’s pollution controls, for the purpose of harassing another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian or obstructing or obscuring the view of another driver, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. A person who violates the prohibition commits a class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, punishable by 10 to 90 days in jail or a $150 to $300 fine, or both, and is subject to 3 points assessed against the person’s driver’s license.

As you can see, we’re not talking about a new law to bust down poor people with old smoking vehicles. The citizens who would face penalties under this bill have intentionally modified their diesel vehicles to emit vast quantities of sooty diesel smoke from their exhausts at will. There are diesels on the road that emit more than their share of smoke already, but this is a modification that produces far more than any engine problem. If you’ve ever seen someone “rolling coal,” you know that the pall of smoke they generate can dangerously obscure an entire major boulevard–not to mention choke out anyone unfortunate enough to be walking outdoors nearby.

Safe to say, it’s a very bad practice that should most definitely not be legal–any more than it’s legal to defeat your emission controls in a regular car. And since it’s something done with the express purpose of harassing others and creating a nuisance…yeah. It’s ridiculous. Throw the book at ’em.

But no, Sen Randy Baumgardner and his Republicans colleagues on the Senate Transportation Committee chose instead to protect your God-given right to “roll coal.” So remember to keep your Prius’ windows rolled up tight and don’t make eye contact.

Tea Party activist is now “executive editor” at the Colorado Statesman?

POLS UPDATE: Yes, this is the same political hack Jennifer Kerns who absurdly claimed ballots were being mailed “from Chicago” for the 2013 recalls, and who later warned the nation of Colorado’s epidemic of “marijuana crack babies.” What can we say? People fail upward sometimes.

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Jennifer Kerns.

Jennifer Kerns.

If all you knew about Jennifer Kerns is her job title of executive editor of the Colorado Statesman, you may have been surprised if you attended last Thursday’s meeting of the North Jeffco Tea Party, where she provided an evening lecture titled, “Brokered Brand: How the GOP continues to compromise its brand and lose elections… and what you can do about it.”

A couple days before her Jeffco speech, Kerns’ Tea-Party conservatism was blaring from KNUS 710-AM, where she subbed for arch conservative Dan Caplis:

Kerns: We can’t forget that we have a big senate race coming up here in 2016, the race against Sen. Michael Bennet, one of the more liberal members of the U.S. Senate, very similar to Mark Udall, except, in my view, there’s one big problem with Senator Bennet, and that is, whereas Mark Udall was concerned about one thing and one thing primarily, your uterus–That was his nickname at least on the campaign trail, given to him by The Denver Post.–Sen. Michael Bennet has many, many interests that he wants to control in your life. And to talk about that a little bit is the executive director of Advancing Colorado, Jonathan Lockwood. … I want to go through some of the attacks you’ve made on Sen. Michael Bennet and rightfully so, given his track record. Let’s start with his support of President Obama’s nuclear deal that gives Iran basically unfettered access to nuclear material… Great work you’re doing, Jonathan Lockwood….

This doesn’t sound like a journalist who, a couple weeks later, would be writing a front-page Statesman article about the Bennet race. But, yes, Kerns authored the April 13 piece, headlined “Bennet will have a fight, but how much of one is TBD.”

The headline was fair enough, but the article hit a low note by repeating an inaccurate conservative attack against Bennet:

“[Bennet’s] initial support of transferring prisoners from Guantanamo Bay detention camps was an unpopular sell to many Colorado voters,” Kerns reported.

Bennet never supported transferring GITMO prisoners here, and Kerns was immediately challenged on Twitter by “MissingPundit,” who pointed out that Politifact found it untrue that Bennet supported bringing Gitmo detainees to Colorado.

In response, Kerns called Politifact a “lefty site,” again repeating a conservative talking point that ignores the fact that Politifact won the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. Kerns tweeted that Politifact is “lefty” in the same way America Rising is “righty.” In reality, America Rising was established to expose the “truth about Democrats”, while the mission of Politifact is fact checking.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 28)

MoreSmarter-RainAll these April showers had better bring some serious May flowers. 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Ted Cruz’s quixotic announcement of “running mate” Carly Fiorina yesterday, which has baffled the political world since, well, he’s probably going to lose outright at this point to Donald Trump, remains today’s big political story:

Ted Cruz on Thursday said his campaign for the Republican nomination would continue “as long as we have a path to victory,” expressing confidence that he would earn a majority of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination during the Republican National Convention…

“Well, we are fighting to the end, we are fighting to win, and we are going to do everything possible to win here in Indiana. We’re barnstorming right now,” Cruz said, ticking through his three campaign events scheduled across the state and encouraging Katz’s listeners to visit both his usual campaign website and the one launched yesterday to mark the choice of his vice presidential pick, Carly Fiorina, CruzCarly.com.

Katz attempted to clarify what Cruz meant later in the same interview, to which the Texas senator responded, “We are continuing as long as we have a path to victory, and I believe we are going to earn a majority of the delegates at the convention.”

Local Republicans appear a bit befuddled by the whole Fiorina thing too.

► Meanwhile, the long goodbye begins for Bernie Sanders as his campaign begins laying off staff en masse. The Sanders campaign and millions of supporters now face the challenge of putting a bruising primary campaign behind them and uniting against a common foe–and that foe is not Hillary Clinton.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Ted Cruz to Announce Carly Fiorina as Pointless Running Mate

Carly Fiorina (right), with Rep. Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt. Picture taken long before Fiorina was a pointless VP choice.

Carly Fiorina (right), with Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt. Picture taken long before Fiorina was a pointless VP choice.

Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is expected to announce today that he has selected Carly Fiorina as his “running mate.”

It is mathematically impossible for Cruz to win the GOP Presidential nomination, so this all seems particularly pointless. Our friends at “The Fix” attempt to explain:

Cruz and his team understand that after the primary votes over the past two weeks, any momentum he might have had following Wisconsin on April 5 is now gone. And all of it has gone to Donald Trump who now looks damn-near unstoppable in his quest to become the GOP’s nominee.

Given that reality, Cruz needs to change the narrative of the race. Immediately. There are five and a half days until the Indiana primary and if Cruz loses to Trump there the nomination fight will be effectively over. And, if nothing changes in the race in the Hoosier State, Cruz will lose…

…This is rightly understood as a desperate attempt to re-take the momentum in the race before it’s too late. To Cruz’s credit, he’s trying it. (I’m a big believer in leaving it all out on the field. If you are going to lose, lose with all of your best plays called. Or something.)…

…But, make no mistake: This is a Hail Mary pass. It, like the deal that Cruz and John Kasich cut earlier this week, amounts to a tacit acknowledgment that if nothing changes in the race Trump is going to win.

Could it work? Sure. Sometimes Hail Marys get caught. But usually they get knocked down and the other team starts celebrating.

So, there’s that.

Kiss of Death: Gardner Switches Endorsement To Losin’ Ted Cruz

UPDATE: What does it mean when the losing candidate picks a running mate?

Answer: Diddly squat. Sorry, Carly Fiorina.

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A marriage of convenience.

A marriage of convenience.

A press release from Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign today announces the endorsement of Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who was left high and dry after his first choice Marco Rubio dropped out of the race:

“Ted Cruz has always been a fierce defender of the Constitution and a tireless advocate for conservative principles,” said Senator Gardner. “He has spent his entire career fighting for the men and women of this country and pushing back against the special interests in Washington. Ted is the only candidate who will change the way Washington works and restore the balance of power back to the American people. It’s time for Republicans to rally behind this campaign in order to put forth the best candidate to stop Hillary Clinton in November. I am confident Ted Cruz is that person and I’m thrilled to endorse him for President.”

“Cory has spent his time in Congress focused on improving the economy, creating jobs, and fighting for the people of Colorado,” said Cruz. “He has stood up and been a strong advocate for conservative principles like stopping the train wreck that is Obamacare and this dangerous deal the Obama administration struck with Iran. I am honored to have Cory’s support and look forward to working together to continue to coalesce Republicans around this campaign.”

Mutual admiration in today’s statement aside, Gardner’s endorsement of Cruz is just another sign of the desperation establishment Republicans are increasingly gripped with as frontrunner Donald Trump continues to win primary after primary. Before Cruz became the last hope to stop Trump, he had a reputation of being the least popular member of the U.S. Senate–a man with more influence among the “Tea Party Caucus” in the House than within his own chamber. That didn’t stop Gardner from invoking Cruz’s devotion to the cause of repealing Obamacare during his own run for the Senate, but Gardner has certainly fallen more on the establishment wide of the U.S. Senate GOP majority than Cruz’s since taking office.

And after Trump’s clean sweep of yesterday’s Northeast primaries, accelerating his pace to clinch the Republican nomination ahead of the party’s convention in July, Gardner’s endorsement looks like a “too little, too late” attempt to rehabilitate a loser.

Which is pretty much what happened with Marco Rubio.

Senate Dems Vote Unanimously Against Loan Sharks

loanshark2A press release from the Bell Policy Center celebrates…well, it bears some explanation, but they’re celebrating the passage of a bill they strenuously oppose: Senate Bill 16-185, a late bill to allow predatory subprime lenders like OneMain Financial to charge higher interest rates on larger personal loans.

Why would the Bell celebrate the passage of a bill they oppose? Simple: every Democrat in the Colorado Senate voted against it. In the fraught battle to protect Colorado consumers from predatory lenders who are deliberately courting Democratic support, that’s a big, big win:

Today the Colorado Senate passed (18-17) Senate Bill 16-185, meaning some senators chose to support New York hedge funds over hard-working Coloradans.

We appreciate and thank the 17 senators who stood against making Coloradans pay at least $9.5 million in additional interest and finance charges. Now we need help urging the House to reject this bad bill.

The senators who voted yes on this bill did so despite there being NO need to increase interest rates. The number of loans issued and the amount loaned has increased over the past five years.

This bill would increase interest rates on all supervised loans larger than $1,000. The bill would also increase the rates charged to Coloradans who finance the purchase of appliances, furniture and used cars. Many of these loans are more expensive than they appear because of high-cost credit products sold with them.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office testified at the hearing on the bill there is no evidence that borrowers cannot get access to these loans or that lenders are not making them available. The lenders making these loans are highly profitable and their cost of capital has decreased dramatically since 2000. The representative from Springleaf, the major Colorado lender, told the Denver Post that the company is very profitable nationally and confirmed a 30 percent Colorado growth over the past four years.

The majority shareholder in Springleaf is the owner of Fortress Investment Group, a Wall Street Private Equity Group/Hedge Fund. Its investment in Springleaf has grown by 2,700 percent since 2010.

From here the bill moves on to the Democratic-controlled House. Last year, a bill allowing predatory lenders to jack up interest rates started in the House, and with the help of Democratic-friendly lobbyists raced out of that chamber on a 62-2 vote. All indications are as of this writing that House Democrats are not interested in getting burned again, as they were in 2015 when the pushback against the bill took leadership by surprise. We’re watching for this bill to be routed directly to the “kill committee.”

Looking ahead, what we’re seeing here could be the end–at least in Colorado–of the predatory lending industry’s corrosive influence over Democratic lawmakers. For years we have documented this struggle, first against payday lenders who tried to win over Democrats in the name of “access to credit,” and now high-rate personal lenders making almost exactly the same arguments. We don’t expect the debate over predatory lending to end entirely, but we do foresee a clearer partisan split on the issue: thanks to the patient work of the Bell Policy Center to educate Democrats.

For anyone who thinks the harm of predatory lending outweighs any benefit, stripping away its “bipartisan” veneer is a good thing.

Tom Sullivan’s War: Casus Belli

We’ve had a few occasions to mention the name Tom Sullivan in recent years, long before he announced his candidacy for the Colorado Senate a few weeks ago. Sullivan is the father of a victim of the 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting that left 12 people dead and many dozens more wounded. Photos of an anguished Tom Sullivan desperately seeking information about his son in the hours after the shooting are seared into the memory of everyone who was following the news that day, whether he knew his name or (more likely) not.

In 2013, Sullivan joined with survivors and family from the Aurora shooting, the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting that occurred just months after Aurora, and other incidents of gun violence to testify in support of the gun safety bills passed that year: requiring background checks for most transfers of firearms, limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds, and strengthening protections for domestic violence victims. Sullivan earned a reputation as one of the most dedicated witnesses on either side of these debates, with his clear ringing voice and harrowing story forcing even the most jaded pro-gun Republican to at least acknowledge his loss.

For awhile, anyway.

Unfortunately, Sullivan has increasingly endured what we can only describe as totally inappropriate disrespect from a variety Republican lawmakers. We took note of a incident in May of 2013 in which Sen. Bill Cadman flew into an insolent rage at Sullivan during a Denver Post panel on the legislative session. And during this week’s hearing in the Colorado State Affairs Committee, Sullivan was dissed again:

everettneville

This photo was taken at the exact moment Sullivan was testifying late Monday night about the death of his son in the Aurora theater shooting during testimony against Senate Bill 16-113, the bill to repeal the 15-round magazine limit. These two Republican lawmakers, Reps. Justin “Sleepy Dwarf” Everett and Patrick Neville, are co-sponsors of the bill. Sources tell us that Rep. Everett never looked up even once during Sullivan’s entire testimony, apparently engaged in an intense…well, something or other on his smartphone. Facebook? Angry Birds? We’ll never know.

What we do know is that this is unacceptable behavior for a lawmaker listening to witness testimony on their bill. And before you shoot back with a photo of a Democrat looking downward in a hearing, you’ll want to explain to us in detail the moment in time the photo originated.

For example, the moment a witness is testifying about the murder of his son.

As the debate over the 2013 gun laws has dragged on in the Colorado legislature, we don’t doubt that the failure of pro-gun Republicans to repeal them has provoked great frustration. The recalls didn’t scare Democrats into abandoning their principles, and the 2014 “GOP wave” election’s failure to unseat Gov. John Hickenlooper or the Democratic House proved only that the 2013 gun laws were not going anywhere.

But folks, this infantile disrespect for Tom Sullivan is not the way to express their frustration. We don’t care how many times they’ve seen him testify. Especially as sponsors of the bill to repeal what he fought for, they owe Sullivan their attention every time.

If they won’t give it to him as a citizen, we’ll see what they do when he’s a senator.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 27)

Get More SmarterIf you still have an old Gart Bros. gift certificate, you might want to hurry up and try to redeem that sucker. 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► It looks like we are going to have a Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump matchup in the race for President. Trump went 5-for-5 last night in the “Acela Primary,” or whatever the hell you want to call it. By winning in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island, Trump has likely created a scenario where next Tuesday’s Indiana Primary is the last real chance for anti-Trump forces to stop His Hairness from winning the GOP nomination.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz had an awful night, finishing in third place in every state but Pennsylvania. Cruz says his campaign will make a “major announcement” this afternoon; there is some speculation that Cruz may announce a potential running mate for the GOP nomination that he is no longer mathematically able to win anyway.

 

► On the Democratic side of the Presidential equation, Clinton all but sealed the nomination with big wins in delegate-rich states on Tuesday. As NBC News reports:

With five Northeast states voting Tuesday, Clinton easily won the two biggest prizes of the night: Pennsylvania and Maryland. She also took home Delaware and Connecticut in tighter races. By 12:15 a.m. ET, NBC News put Clinton at 2,117 delegates and Sanders at 1,330. The nomination requires 2,383 delegates.

The added delegates create a virtually unbridgeable gap for Sanders, who had already moved on to West Virginia, which holds its primary May 10…

…Meanwhile, Sanders addressed more than 6,400 people and made it clear he has no interest in dropping out. Notably, he spoke about his campaign as a movement with more important goals than winning.

 

► Lawyers for Republican Jon Keyser were in a Denver courtroom on Tuesday making the case that their client deserves to appear on the Primary ballot even though his campaign failed to collect enough valid petition signatures before the April 4th deadline. There was no official ruling on Tuesday, though a judge said that a decision would come within 72 hours. Two more Republican Senate candidates — Robert Blaha and Ryan Frazier — are still waiting to hear from the Secretary of State’s office in regards to the validity of their own petitions.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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East Coast Primary Open Thread

UPDATE 6:50pm: Hillary Clinton captures the biggest prize of the night, winning Pennsylvania and a sizable share of its 189 delegates.

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UPDATE 6:38pm: CNN projects that Hillary Clinton will win the Delaware Primary. Earlier she was declared the winner in Maryland.

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trumpburn

5 up, 5 down. Donald Trump sweeps all five East Coast Primaries on Tuesday.

UPDATE 6:34pm: Five-for-Five for Donald Trump, who easily wins in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Delaware. Trump’s Tuesday sweep decreases the likelihood of a contested convention.

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UPDATE 6:22pm: Rhode Island has not yet been called for Trump, but he maintains a substantial lead over Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

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It’s 6:10pm Mountain time, and most polls on the East Coast have closed.

On the Republican side, Donald Trump has already been declared the winner in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Connecticut.

For Democrats, Hillary Clinton is projected to win the Maryland Primary.

We’ll update the results as the come in, but please feel free to beat us to it in the comments thread below…

Keyser Ballot Rejection Court Challenge Races Ahead

UPDATE: No ruling today says the Denver Post’s John Frank:

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Jon Keyser's "two ballots."

Jon Keyser’s “two ballots.”

A hearing for embattled GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser, who was unexpectedly thrown off the 2016 primary ballot this week after Secretary of State Wayne Williams determined he did not submit enough valid petition signatures in CD-3, is getting under way right now in Denver District Court. From Keyser’s filing:

Due to the Secretary’s breach/neglect of duty or other wrongful act, Mr. Keyser was wrongfully deprived of a place on the primary election ballot for the Republican Party’s nomination for United States Senator.

Here’s the court filing. Keyser’s rejection appears to boil down to a (presumably paid) petition circulator who was not properly registered as required under Colorado election law, and resulted in the invalidation of signatures collected by that circulator. Keyser’s response is never mind those pesky details:

WHEREFORE, Petitioner prays for judgment and relief as follows:

A. For an order requiring the Secretary to comply with the Colorado Elections Code by accepting the Keyser petitions circulated by Tyler Gonzalez and all otherwise valid signatures thereon;

B. For an order requiring the Secretary to place Jon Keyser’s name on the Republican primary election ballot for United States Senator;

C. In the absence of an order requiring the Secretary to accept the Keyser petitions circulated by Tyler Gonzalez, an order continuing the proceeding on this Verified Petition for no longer than four business days to allow the Keyser Campaign to supplement this Verified Petition on the basis of additional wrongfully rejected signatures before the deadline under C.R.S. §§ 1-4-909 and 1-1-113; and

D. For such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

We’ll update when we hear what happens in court this afternoon.