Suppes and Suthen Boy Make National News

Don Suppes Twitter

Don Suppes’ offensive Tweets/”homework.”

UPDATE: Suppes is changing up his excuse to the old "Rogue Staffer" problem. Remember, Suppes and his campaign previously blamed his Twitter problem on invisible "hackers," but now he has a different explanation in a follow-up to the Mother Jones article:

Sept. 23, 2014 at 3:30 pm: In an email to Mother Jones, Suppes confirms that his campaign reported unauthorized activity on the @DonSuppes2014 Twitter account. Suppes adds that he has taken steps recommended for victims of identity theft.

Suppes also notes that he did not manage his campaign's Twitter account. "The campaign Twitter account had been managed by a staffer who has since been terminated," Suppes writes. "No authorization was ever granted to comment on articles. I had never heard of Southernboy and only recently investigated the bizarre postings which were of great concern to me."

Suppes is running for SD-5 in the State Senate. How is it that he has multiple paid staffers doing anything for his campaign, let alone managing his Twitter accounts? Suppes doesn't mention anything about why his personal Twitter account, @DonSuppes, was deactivated. When this story first broke on Colorado Pols a few weeks ago, the initial response from team Suppes was to deactivate @DonSuppes, leaving @DonSuppes2014 online; eventually both accounts were deactivated.

—–

A few weeks ago we told you about the Twitter accounts of Republican State Senate candidate Don Suppes, which have been deactivated after absurd claims from the Suppes campaign that his accounts had been "hacked." Well, that original screengrab we posted (image at right) has gone viral, with Mother Jones magazine picking up the story. It's not good for Suppes:

In a race that could decide which party controls the Colorado state senate, Republican state senate candidate Don Suppes is fending off accusations that his campaign tweeted out a link to a neo-Confederate website that denigrates gay people, women, and African-Americans, and complains that white people can't use the N-word.

Colorado Democrats are circulating this screenshot of the tweet, dated May 26, in which the Suppes campaign shares a link to the website SuthenBoy.com, with the words, "Interesting read…"

…Suppes is the two-term mayor of the 3,100-person town of Orchard City and runs a heating and cooling business. Democrats are also circulating a video of Suppes claiming that members of the US Senate were supporting UN plans to control parts of the United States. Suppes goes on to describe a plaque he saw on his vacation to Mexico bearing the number 21—the plaque is proof, he implies, that the UN has used "Agenda 21," a non-binding resolution that encourages sustainable growth, to encroach on sovereign nations; conservatives often describe Agenda 21 as a plan to evict US residents from rural communities and turn that land back into wilderness. "I do my homework," says Suppes. "If that makes me a conspiracy theorist, I'm sorry." [Pols emphasis]

Yeah, sure. "Homework."

21.

Coffman vs. Romanoff, Round 3: Live Blog!

CD6Debate-Dpost1

Insert candidates here.

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. Tonight we're at the auditorium in the Denver Post building for CD-6 debate #3 between Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff.Mike Coffman. Andrew Romanoff (we covered Round 1 in Highlands Ranch with a Live Blog on Aug. 14.)

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.


6:21 pm
Oooh. Tough question for Coffman about why he has changed his positions on issues such as immigration and Personhood.

Coffman says he opposes Personhood, then offers strange answer about how he "didn't run on immigration" in prior elections.

Good response from Romanoff, who says Coffman opposed adding Aurora to the CD-6 boundaries in re-districting. "I will be happy to relieve you of that responsibility."

6:20 pm
Romanoff goes after Coffman for supporting the government shutdown last fall.
 

6:18 pm
Next question: Would you support cuts to Buckley Air Force Base?

Romanoff says he thinks both he and Coffman would agree that Buckley needs to be protected.

Coffman says he supports the President in military base realignment. What's going on here? This is the 2nd time already that Coffman has said he supports President Obama.
 

6:15 pm
Next question on tax reforms.

Coffman talks about inversion, when companies re-incorporate overseas in order to avoid taxes. Says we need a "Territorial Tax System," and we need to reform taxes in general. Coffman started alright, then went off into technicality-ville.

Romanoff says we need to stop corporations from skirting their tax obligations.

6:12 pm
Romanoff is attacking Coffman early and often. Brings up that Coffman has called Social Security a "ponzi scheme."

Coffman responds by saying he sponsored legislation to reform food stamps and Social Security disability. "I do think that wealthier Seniors should pay more for their Medicare benefits." Bizarre and rambling response from Coffman.

6:10 pm
We're moving along faster than Don Suppes can delete his Twitter account. Next question is about the rising national debt.

Coffman: I break with my Party on the issue of defense spending. Nation building (like in Iraq) is a bad idea.

Romanoff: Eliminate redundant government programs. Says Department of Health and Human Services should be able to negotiate better prescription drug prices. Says we shouldn't dismantle Medicare, which he says Coffman has supported.

6:07 pm
Next question is on federal government responsibility to provide access to higher education.

Romanoff goes first, says federal government is absolutely responsible for helping students to get college education.

Coffman says his father went to an HVAC training school, and says administration is biased against "trade schools." Okay, then.

6:06 pm
Coffman says he wrote the President "a bipartisan letter" about…something about Sunni Arabs and Iraq.

6:04 pm
Romanoff won the backstage coin toss, so Coffman goes first. Question #1 is about ISIS and President Obama's plan to deal with the threat.

It takes less than 1 minute for Coffman to mention that he is a former Marine. That might be a record.

Coffman and Romanoff give fairly similar answers to this first question.

6:00 pm
The candidates and moderators have arrived. You can watch the debate online at DenverPost.com. Moderators are Denver Post Political Editor Chuck Plunkett and CD-6 reporter Jon Murray.

5:43 pm
The crowd is filing in to the auditorium while we wait for the candidates and moderators to arrive.

 

 

Students Walk Out Across Jefferson County

ralstonvalleyprotest Photo via Twitter

The backlash against the new right wing Jefferson County Board of Education's proposed "curriculum review committee," intended by conservative board members to ensure the district's history courses promote "citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority," and "presents positive aspects of the United States and its heritage," continues today as hundreds of students walked out of Jeffco high schools in protest. As the Denver Post's Jesse Paul reports:

The walk-out followed a similar protest Monday by at least 100 Evergreen High School students who left classes to voice their opinions at the county's school administration building. On Friday, two county schools closed after 50 teachers either called in sick or used a personal day.

Tensions have been mounting in the school district as students and teachers push back against district leadership. Community members are angry about an evaluation-based system for awarding raises to educators and a proposed curriculum committee that calls for promoting "positive aspects" of the United States and its heritage and avoiding material that would encourage or condone "civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law."

A slate of conservative candidates took control of the board last year and hired a new superintendent, Dan McMinimee, to replace the veteran Cindy Stevenson. Stevenson resigned and left earlier than planned, saying her work was being impeded by the board majority.

Walk-outs Tuesday happened at Arvada West, Pomona, Ralston Valley, Wheat Ridge and Golden high schools.

These highly visible protests, just a few months after similar protests of the hiring of Douglas County's Dan McMinimee as the district's superintendent but by all accounts much larger, pose a considerable and unforeseen political risk to Republicans in Colorado's electoral bellwether population center. The connection between the conservative board majority proposal to "examine" history curriculum with openly political goals and Republicans on the ballot in Jefferson County is very easy to draw. The close family ties between board member Julie Williams and Republican SD-16 candidate Tim Neville are a matter of record, as well as extended ties between Williams and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-endorsed Jeffco legislative candidates like Tony Sanchez and Laura Waters Woods.

Bottom line: the Jeffco board's history curriculum review proposal could well alienate independent voters from Republicans in Jefferson County and perhaps elsewhere. Even where one might not agree with Democrats on everything, something that looks like an attempt to manipulate public school instruction for political purposes is repellent in a way that crosses political lines. Outside a conservative diehard bloc that isn't troubled, this all seems terribly…

In a word, un-American.

Google Dumps ALEC, Crickets In Colorado

google_dont_evil250px

The Center for Media and Democracy claims another huge win in their years-long campaign to persuade American corporations to stop funding the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)–an organization with deep ties to Colorado Republicans that has somehow managed to evade scrutiny in local press even as nationwide controversy rages about the group's improper influence in state legislative policy.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Monday that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is "literally lying" that climate change is not a reality, and that its membership in ALEC "was some sort of mistake."

ALEC stated that it is "unfortunate to learn that the company had ended its membership." Over 80 companies have dropped their membership in ALEC since the Center for Media and Democracy launched ALECexposed.org in 2011…

"I'm curious to know if Google is still supporting ALEC," a caller to the show asked, given the group's promotion of climate change denial and Google's purported commitment to environmentalism.

"Um, we funded them as part of a political [campaign] of something unrelated," Schmidt replied. "I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we're trying to not do that in the future…"

"Well, the company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts — what a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place. And so we should not be aligned with such people — they're just, they're just literally lying." [Pols emphasis]

ALEC has faced growing scrutiny and criticism in recent years, with a nationwide campaign launched against the group in the aftermath of the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin–whose killer escaped justice, drawing attention to a law pushed by ALEC in Florida called "Stand Your Ground." ALEC's role in a broad variety of Republican legislation, from "right to work" schemes to school vouchers and everything in between, has further stoked controversy as stakeholders in many states discover how many bad ideas that have become law began life as ALEC "model legislation."

Here in Colorado, ALEC enjoys what we can only call protection, or at least deference, from a local media which has been convinced for whatever reason that ALEC "isn't a story." That bias in the local press has forestalled coverage of ALEC's large footprint in the Colorado General Assembly, even as protests against ALEC raged across the nation and major corporations renounced their ties to the group. Despite all of that, Republicans in Colorado serve proudly in key ALEC positions, once in awhile dubious ALEC model bills even attract Democratic support–and nobody says anything.

This is something we really think ought to change.

No Means No: Fight Colorado’s Amendment 67

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 

All across the country, women are fighting for control of their own bodies, to make their own choices. Access to birth control, safe, legal abortion options, the ability to decide when, and if, to have children—these rights seem to be under constant attack.

Nowhere is the fight fought harder than here in Colorado. Personhood USA, the leading group in the country working to ban all abortion by giving rights to a fertilized egg, is based right here in Colorado.

The polling has shown that if Amendment 67 were voted on right now, it would pass and Colorado would face the harshest restrictions on women’s rights in the country.

Personhood USA has gotten more savvy each year they bring their “Personhood” measure forward. They only talk about “protecting the life of a pregnant women”. The ballot language is confusing and misleading and right now it is working. Polling shows Amendment 67 would pass if it were voted on today.

Which means we MUST reach each and every voter in Colorado and educate them about what Amendment 67 would really do. Ban all abortions. Outlaw common forms of birth control. Criminalize women.

(more…)

Gardner Moves Greeley Office Behind The Wire

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

As the Greeley Tribune's Bridgett Weaver reports, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner has moved his congressional Weld County service office inside a county court house annex building, citing protest activity this summer by immigration reform proponents:

Jennifer Finch, county spokeswoman, said Gardner’s move into a county building does not mean the county is taking a position on the Senate race.

“The decision was not based on politics,” Finch said. “It was based on assisting a government office that was in need of temporary space in order to continue to offer needed services to the constituents of Weld County. The county is not endorsing any political candidate for any political office.”

Protesters disrupted the building in which Gardner’s former office was located and that was a cause for his move but Finch said Gardner moving his office to a county building does not thwart free speech…

Chuck Poplstein, Gardner’s district director, said the move was amicable.

“After numerous discussions with our landlord we decided the best course of action would be to relocate to a space where protesters will not disrupt private business.”

The problem is, the Weld County Centennial Building, located adjacent to the county courthouse, has court house security–metal detectors, armed guards, and (we assume) prohibitions on mariachi bands. The solidly Republican Weld County government might say this wasn't done to put a stop to politically troublesome demonstrations ahead of November's elections, but that's obviously the effect. Gardner's three-month lease on the office space in the Weld County Centennial Building is $1–to "save taxpayer money," of course.

Can they do this if all parties want? Sure. Does it look bad for Gardner? Definitely.

Frantic Republicans Try Really Weird Pivot on Women’s Issues

Laura Carno

Laura Carno

It's no secret that Republicans in Colorado have been having a heck of a time trying to convince women to vote for them in recent years. In 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Republican challenger Ken Buck thanks primarily to strong support from female voters (assisted by Buck's tone-deafness around women's issues). In 2014, Republican candidates such as Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Mike Coffman are facing similar electoral conundrums when it comes to appeasing their right wing base and trying to attract the support of moderate women in Colorado.

Republicans have yet to figure out how to deal with their problem of (not) appealing to female voters — and make no mistake about the size of the problem. As noted on Colorado Pols today, Beauprez is on the record in a very Todd Akin-like manner on abortion, declaring that he believes abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. Both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman are rowing the same boat.

If you are a Republican, how do you reach out to women voters while your candidates are simultaneously making them cringe? When all else fails, apparently, you do your best to tell women that these issues don't really matter anyway. Check out this guest commentary from the Denver Post over the weekend in which Republican activist/consultant Laura Carno sacrifices the interests of the GOP base at the altar of election-year panic:

Since the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade has "survived" the pro-life presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush

…a deafening barrage of political commercials is now telling women their reproductive rights are in danger. Let's be clear: They aren't. [Pols emphasis]

In other words, don't worry about Bob Beauprez's far-right view on abortion because Republicans can't or won't change the law anyway.

“Ta-da!”

Lest you think these are the words of a lone wolf activist, you should know that Carno is the founder of an organization called "I Am Created Equal," which lists among the members of its "Advisory Board" — wait for it — Bob Beauprez himself.

You can't make this stuff up.

Carno's guest commentary is incredibly enlightening in offering a peak at Republican strategic thinking on the even of the election. Clearly, the GOP has no idea how to deal with their "women voters" problem, which is never going to go away until Republican candidates stop taking positions that are offensive to female voters.

Without putting forth more moderate candidates, this is certainly a difficult conundrum for Republican strategists to ponder. But we dare say that Carno's messaging isn't helpful for a lot of reasons.

For one thing, there are plenty of right-wing Republicans waiting in the wings who will use this message to defeat moderate Republicans in future Primary Elections.

And then there is this closing argument from Carno, which takes us full-circle back to the original problem:

The option for a woman to choose a legal abortion is only one issue out of many. And since that option is not likely in jeopardy, look at the other choices that are important to you and your family, including health care, take-home pay and your family's safety.

Why would you bring up "take-home pay" for women when politicians such as Rep. Mike Coffman have voted again and again and again to deny legislation that would ensure equal pay for women? Why would you bring up equal pay for women when Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is the co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and your Republican candidate for Governor (Beauprez) is on the record in opposition?

See, female voters shouldn't just worry about issues like abortion, because Republican candidates are just as bad on fair pay for women!

Carno is trying really hard here to discount the idea of a "War on Women," while at the very same time demonstrating that Republicans wouldn't be fighting for women if such a war did exist. (Not) well played.

 

Denver Post Editorial Board Hammers Jeffco School Board

UPDATE: Students in Jefferson County are organizing their own protests against the School Board. From the Denver Post:

Dozens of Evergreen High School students walked out of their morning classes on Monday and car pooled to the Jefferson County School Administration Building to protest what they see as the school board's attempt to censor advanced history curriculum.

"I want honesty in my classroom," the students said in a letter presented to Superintendent Dan McMinimee, who spoke with four student representatives, and the board. "Teachers want honesty in the classroom."

The protest followed a teacher sick out that closed two schools last week. Schools were back open on Monday despite rumors that educators might not show again. Students said similar protests are planned for the rest of the week.

—–

With backlash against the right-wing Jefferson County School Board continuing to grow, the editorial board of the Denver Post weighs in today about efforts by the board to make specific curriculum changes to history classes hat would basically ignore, well, history:

Whatever their purpose, the guidelines, if adopted, would give the impression that the board seeks a narrow, upbeat and even propagandistic curriculum instead of the broad and even-handed approach that is best.

The pursuit of a first-rate curriculum by the district is a worthy goal. If the board wants to appoint a committee to examine current offerings, so be it. But don't taint the process with language that hints at an ulterior and non-academic agenda.

In case you don’t think Beauprez’s abortion stance is important

(Beauprez's Todd Akin moment, this is a must-read – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

I wrote last week about gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's comment, unchallenged by reporters, that he believes a governor has "very limited impact" on a woman's right to choose–even though he told Colorado Public Radio back in 2006 that he'd sign a bill outlawing abortion, if such a bill landed on his desk.

If you're a reporter, and you're inclined to sluff this off, because Beauprez isn't thumping his chest about banning abortion nowadays, you need to know more of what he said during that interview with CPR's Ryan Warner back in 2006.

You can read his exact words below, but, to summarize, he dismisses the notion of making abortion exceptions for rape an incest with, "No. No. I don't make exceptions for that."

He also said, specifically, that he'd support a law preventing a raped 16-year-old girl from having the right to choose abortion, saying pregnancies resulting from rape are "relatively few" and the "child" conceived by the rape should not be punished.

Here's a partial transcript of the interview:

HOST RYAN WARNER: Let’s start with abortion. As governor, if Roe v. Wade is overturned, would you sign a bill banning all abortions in Colorado?

BOB BEAUPREZ: As long as it protected the life of the mother, I would.

WARNER: Rape? Incest? Anything like that?

BEAUPREZ: No. No, I don’t make exceptions for that.

WARNER: Would you seek such a bill?

BEAUPREZ: Uhh, –

WARNER: Or would you sign it if it came to your desk.

BEAUPREZ: I believe that what happened up in — I believe it was North Dakota, or South Dakota –North, if I remember right.

WARNER: South Dakota

BEAUPREZ: South Dakota, excuse me. I thought that was a legitimate question to put in front of the people again. And I thought that’s what South Dakota did. If there was a move mood within the legislature, I’d, uh — I would applaud that.

WARNER: Let me give you what is admittedly an extreme hypothetical. A sixteen-year-old girl is raped. She and her parents want to get an abortion for her. They would pay for it, it wouldn’t be state dollars. You would support a law preventing her from getting an abortion under those circumstances?

BEAUPREZ: Yes, and I’ll tell you very simply why.

WARNER: Please.

BEAUPREZ: I don’t think it’s the child’s fault. And I think we either protect life — all life, especially the most innocent of life — or we don’t. The situations of rape or incest, and pregnancies resulting from, are relatively few. And I think, unfortunately, what we have done, sometimes, is use rather what we think of as extreme exceptions, to justify a carte blanche abortion policy that has resulted in– well in excess, as I understand it, of a million abortions a year in our nation. Tragically, I think, in some of our ethnic communities we’re seeing very, very high percentages of babies, children, pregnancies, end in abortion. And I think it’s time that we have an out in the open discussion about what that means.

WARNER: Do you know which ethnic communities, in particular?

BEAUPREZ: I’ve seen numbers as high as 70% –maybe even more– in the African American community, that I think is just appalling. And I’m not saying that it’s appalling on them. I’m saying it’s appalling that something is happening to encourage that. Frankly, it raises another question, you know? Do we think it is okay that that many African American babies aren’t allowed to be born and live an otherwise normal life and reach the blessings, the fullness of the American Dream. I think those are very serious, very intense, very personal questions that a society such as ours ought to ponder. [BigMedia Note, After being called out by MediaMatters of Colorado, Beauprez later admitted that his 70% figure was incorrect.]

WARNER: Do you believe the state has a role in preventing unwanted pregnancies?

BEAUPREZ: Yes. Yeah, and I’ve supported abstinence training, for example, which is very consistent with my belief and my background. I think that’s a very appropriate role. Some, certainly, their beliefs embrace birth control and the use of condoms. I think that kind of awareness is fine. I’ve got, you know, my own personal beliefs. But I think we need to — certainly need to provide that kind of education to people.

WARNER: Just to briefly–

BEAUPREZ: –especially to young people, I might add.

WARNER: On your personal beliefs, where do you stand on birth control and prophylactics?

BEAUPREZ: We don’t use them. I’m Catholic. And I’m Catholic by choice, and I embrace the teachings of my church, and so we’ve used what our church calls — and I think is widely recognized as ‘natural family planning’ It served me and my wife very, very well.

This interview is proof positive that reporters should ask Bob Beauprez to clarify, precisely, what kind of abortion restrictions (counseling, MRI's, hospital requirements, etc.) he'd impose in Colorado, if legislation, for example, requiring a woman to view an MRI of her fetus before being allowed to have an abortion, as passed in other states, is presented to him for his signature.

MSNBC Nails Gardner As Federal Personhood Deadline Passes

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

​MSNBC's Steve Benen reports on the deadline missed by Rep. Cory Gardner last Friday, as noted by our friend Jason Salzman, to remove himself as a co-sponsor of the federal Life at Conception Act before the November elections:

No issue has dogged Rep. Cory Gardner’s (R) Senate campaign in Colorado more than a policy known as “personhood,” which would ban abortions and many common forms of birth control. In a bit of a surprise, the far-right congressman has decided to ride this train straight through to Election Day.
 
Gardner has long been a culture warrior, championing personhood at the state and federal level, even after Colorado voters rejected it (twice). After launching a statewide campaign, the Republican tried to flip-flop on the issue, but Gardner struggled to even do this properly – the congressman announced he no longer supports the state personhood policy, but he would remain a co-sponsor of the federal personhood legislation.
 
With Election Day nearing and Gardner locked in a very close race with Sen. Mark Udall (D), would the conservative Coloradan complete the reversal and walk away from the right-wing legislation? Apparently not. Jason Salzman reported Friday that “the die is cast.”

…There’s simply no ambiguity here. Over a year ago, Gardner signed on to the Life at Conception Act (H.R.1091) as a co-sponsor. The Colorado Republican ostensibly changed his mind about the issue a few months ago, but nevertheless kept his name on the federal personhood bill, despite having ample opportunity to withdraw his support.
 
And now it’s too late to do anything about it.

Now that the House has adjourned until November 12th, there's no opportunity for Gardner to take the formal steps necessary in order to remove himself as a co-sponsor of this legislation. In response to questions about the obvious conflict between Gardner's abandonment of the state Personhood ballot measures and his continued sponsorship of the functionally equivalent federal Life at Conception Act, Gardner has clung to a fictional distinction between the two proposals. Both Personhood and the Life at Conception Act contain the same language conferring rights from "the moment of fertilization" that could result in a ban on certain forms of "abortifacient" birth control.

The fact-checkers have thoroughly debunked Gardner on this point, but Gardner still hasn't changed his answer to the question. The simple remains that the same language that exists in the Personhood abortion bans Gardner has abandoned is in the bill Gardner is still sponsoring. Gardner's abandonment of Personhood is therefore meaningless at best, and a desperate, incomplete attempt to escape his record ahead of a statewide run in the more likely case.

And now he's stuck. The only thing Gardner can hope for now is that the voters won't figure it out until it's too late–that, as GOP consultant Katy Atkinson said, he can "muddy it up" enough to confuse the issue until the election. That was the whole purpose of Gardner's over-the-counter birth control redirection, which has also been dismantled by fact-checkers. But the polls show clearly that this issue has already severely harmed Gardner with women voters, and there's more for them to learn about the story now. Gardner's refusal to acknowledge this ongoing liability opens him to a whole new line of attack.

If anyone can outline a scenario where this ends well on Election Day, we're all ears.

Reminder, Aurora: Mike Coffman Loves Guns

The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund sent a round of mailers last week to households across the state, touting that group's endorsement of the three top Republican candidates in Colorado this year. Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and Senate candidate Cory Gardner both get a nod:

gardnernra beaupreznra

The content of this mailer seems to be aimed at the (there's no nice way to put this) less rational segment of the gun owning public. That's the only demographic we are aware of where such preposterous notions as the fictional "United Nations Gun Ban Treaty" are taken seriously. Also for good measure, NRA members are reassured that these Republican candidates will oppose "any bans on guns and ammunition," and "requiring government approval for gun sales between lifelong friends and family members"–wonderfully deceptive descriptions of Colorado's new magazine limit and universal background check laws respectively. All arguments we've heard before, with varying degrees of wild inaccuracy, in the long debate over gun safety in Colorado the past two years.

Where the NRA's efforts on behalf of local Republicans gets dicey is this mailer in support of Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

coffmannra

Rep. Mike Coffman, as we all know in Colorado and NRA staff should be aware, represents most of Aurora–including the Century Theater that was the site of the 2012 mass shooting now eponymous with the city's name. In addition to that tragedy, the city has seen a great deal of gun violence over the years. In 2005, a witness to a murder named Javad Marshall-Fields was himself gunned down in Aurora to prevent his testifying. That killing resulted in convictions of two of the three men on death row in Colorado today, as well as catapulting Javad's mother Rhonda Fields into public office on a mission to reduce gun violence.

Bottom line? The NRA is free to shovel their "United Nations Gun Ban" nonsense all they like. But it might not have the desired effect in Aurora.

Monday Open Thread

"When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

–Edmund Burke

Republican “Study Committee” Heads For The Border (Again)

UPDATE: Bonus round–check out this photo from 2010's "fact-finding tour" and tell us how many guns you see.

ColoGroupBorder
From left: 2010 House candidate Chris Holbert, then-Rep. Kent Lambert, Sen. Scott Renfroe, then-Rep. Laura Bradford, 2010 House candidate Janak Joshi, then-Rep. Randy Baumgardner.

A press release this week from the arch-conservative Republican Study Committee of Colorado, a social club for the more right-leaning among Republican legislators in this state, announces they are taking another field trip to the Mexican border. In 2006 and 2010, both years like 2014 when immigration was in the headlines, a gaggle of Republican elected officials and candidates undertook similar border "fact-finding tours."

The Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC) has planned a fact-finding trip to Texas to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation with respect to U.S. border security in southern Texas. In just a few weeks (October 5-7), Colorado legislators plan to meet with representatives from the Texas State Legislature, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Military Forces (Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard), and perhaps even some local citizen groups during a brief three-day visit.

"With all of the information and misinformation that we see on the topics of immigration and border security, and what they mean to Colorado citizens, we thought that the best approach would be to go gather some real-time information for ourselves," said RSCC Chairman and State Senator Kevin Lundberg, representing Colorado Senate District 15. 

No taxpayer funds will be used for the trip. 

Republican legislators have a history of traveling to the southern border, having made similar visits in 2006 and again in 2010. For legislators, there have been some things that have changed dramatically, and some that haven't changed much at all. The 2010 trip revealed a porous border, some unsettled locals, increasing criminal activity, and frustrated officials. Local ranchers, veterinarians, and others who used to work regularly with their neighbors on the border had seen a dramatic shift in the nature of activity over the years. 

For some legislators, the place to start is to define just what the issues are. "When people talk about immigration', I think it's important to define what we're talking about. Does that mean Naturalization and citizenship? Does it refer to the movement of labor and capital? Does it refer to national security? Does it refer to criminal activity, particularly in drug, slave or sex trafficking? Does it refer to the availability of entitlement programs? Defining and parsing out the issues is an important place to start before we can craft good policy for Colorado," stated Senator Lundberg.

During their 2010 trip to Arizona, RSCC members were "briefed" on that state's new anti-immigrant law SB-1070 by its principal backer, then-Sen. Russell Pearce. Pearce enjoyed brief popularity for his role in passing SB-1070, but within a few years his political career had completely unraveled. Pearce was ousted from his seat in 2011 is Arizona's first-ever successful recall of a sitting legislator. Then just this week, Pearce resigned as vice chairman of Arizona Republican Party after saying this on a local radio show:

"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations,” Pearce said, according to the Phoenix New Times. “Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

We assume the RSCC will not be meeting with Mr. Pearce during their trip to the Texas border. With that said, RSCC members who took the trip to see Pearce in 2010 introduced numerous pieces of legislation the following year–both mimicking Arizona's SB-1070 anti-immigrant law, along with other ideas they had heard about on their "fact-finding tour." In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down most of SB-1070 as unconstitutional in the landmark case of Arizona vs. United States.

And of course, in the fall of 2012, Democrats retook the Colorado House from the GOP, crushing that party's single-seat, single-term majority in the one chamber they had managed to wrest control of in 2010–and helping lock down what has been the state of affairs in the General Assembly for going on a decade. Immigration wasn't the only factor in the GOP's significant legislative defeats in Colorado last election, but we can safely say that the Colorado GOP's image was not helped by the RSCC's antics in any way. Whatever disappointment Latino voters feel with Democrats for being unable to pass immigration reform, this is the stuff that reminds America's fastest growing bloc of voters who their enemies are in the starkest possible terms.

So, you know, take lots of pictures in Texas.

A Rising Tide in the Sage Brush Sea – Saving the Sage Grouse is Good for Wildlife

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

This time of year the color comes out in Colorado, and it’s not only the golden aspen in the high country or rusty scrub-oak on south-facing slopes.  Blaze orange is also in full display in western Colorado as communities put out banners, and the hunters don’t disappoint—for the arrival of the fall hunting season

The Piceance Basin has been called, at various times, Colorado’s ‘mule deer factory’ and a ‘national sacrifice area.’  One is an apt description of biological fact—the Piceance is home to the largest migratory deer herd in North America and the other an unfortunate description of what too many think: that developing the area’s abundant fossil fuel deposits ought to take precedent over everything else.  Including the wildlife

This isn’t meant to be a soapbox: a lot of lands are already leased or controlled by energy companies in Northwest Colorado, more drilling is coming.  But unlike where the shale is getting drilled and fracked on the East Slope, out in Weld County for instance, gas in the Piceance isn’t worth as much for a variety of reasons and companies are mostly sitting on their large reserves—for now.

This gives Colorado’s wildlife a bit of a time out, and we shouldn’t waste it.  Because it’s not just the mule deer, or the elk, it’s all the wildlife that relies on humans not being reckless with their habitat just to suit our purposes.  That includes the Greater Sage Grouse.  And that’s a reason for everyone to come to the table and figure things out quick. 

Which gets back to the hunting season.  Hunters need animals, and animals need habitat.  It’s as simple as that, and that’s why hunters have long been counted among America’s original conservationists.  The Sage Grouse is in the news lately because its habitat needs are not being met and its headed for a listing under the Endangered Species Act.  Lots of different folks would like to avoid that—including many conservation groups if the bird’s habitat can be protected and enhanced so the grouse’s decline can be reversed. 

But the State of Colorado needs to act fast to put real and strong protection in place that protect the bird’s habitat.  That means doing more to protect habitat in the Piceance Basin, which is also where the Greater Sage Grouse occurs in Colorado.  That’s good for all the animals.  And hunters.  

Greater Sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) Displaying on a Montana Lek from Ronan Donovan on Vimeo.