Jon Keyser Declares Death of Senate Campaign

Good luck trying to find Jon Keyser on Tuesday.

Good luck trying to find Jon Keyser on Tuesday.

This is a pretty astounding admission from the Senate campaign of Republican Jon Keyser. As Brandon Rittiman reports for 9News:

As the results come out in Tuesday’s GOP primary for US Senate, all but one of the five candidates will hold election night parties for their campaign supporters.

Former state legislator Jon Keyser will take the quieter option of watching election returns “at home with his wife and kids,” according to campaign spokesman Matt Connelly.

To political observers, it’s an obvious sign that his campaign is in bad shape.

“That’s a really bad sign,” said 9NEWS Republican expert Kelly Maher. “The only reason to not have an event is if you have some information that doesn’t point to a favorable outcome.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s certainly an unusual move. Even when candidates expect to lose badly, they tend to hold events on election nights to thank donors and volunteers for their support.

It’s not much of a surprise to learn that not even Jon Keyser thinks Jon Keyser is going to win the GOP Senate nomination on Tuesday, but hiding in your house on Election Night is damn near unprecedented. We can’t recall the last time we heard that a candidate for a major statewide office was completely forgoing any sort of election night event; even Scott McInnis had an election-night party after it was obvious that he was going to lose the 2010 GOP gubernatorial Primary to Dan Maes.

Republican commentator Kelly Maher, once a big cheerleader for Keyser, put the final nail in Keyser’s coffin with her quote for 9News that all but declares the patient campaign dead. This isn’t just an embarrassing loss for Keyser — this is an embarrassment for the entire Republican establishment that tried to invent Keyser as a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Keyser was a tough-talking candidate when it came to his military service and his shameful attempts to browbeat reporters. Taking the coward’s way out on Tuesday sums up Keyser better than any attack ad could have spun things, and it may very well end whatever could have remained of his political career.

Woods defends comparing police to Crips and Bloods

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

In a Facebook post Saturday, State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Arvada/Westminster) defended her comparison of police to Crips and Bloods.

Woods wrote that when some law enforcement officials confiscate property under Civil Asset Forfeiture laws, it’s a “direct violation of due process,” and she asks, “And what makes that any different than a gang member or a common street thug who takes something from you?” She also emphasized that she supports “law enforcement at every level.”

But she did not explain why the comparison of police to violent and murderous gang members was appropriate, especially for an elected official.

It’s one thing to criticize police appropriately, in an effort to improve things, and clearly asset-forfeiture abuse must be stopped, but Crips and Bloods? How does that comparison benefit Arvada?

Reporters should make an effort to find out why Woods, who doesn’t return my calls, thinks such an extreme comparison is justifiable.

Woods initially made the comparison on a talk radio show, affirmatively agreeing that police and Crips and Bloods are “no different” in some situations involving confiscation of property.

CALLER MIKE: Ok, so, Laura, these [police] are no different than the Bloods and the Crips that they’re constantly whining and crying about down in downtown Denver or Colorado Springs, or up in [Fort] Collins. I mean, how is law enforcement different from the people they’re fighting? I mean, if they can just take your stuff for no reason.

WOODS: Yeah, when they are taking stuff from innocent people with no conviction or no charges filed, they are no different.


WOODS: Yeah.

Here’s Woods’ statement on Facebook:


Donald Trump Plummeting in National Polls

"I'm fired!"

“I’m fired!”

Perhaps it might be a good time for Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump to start, you know, actually campaigning for a victory in the General Election. As Politico reports:

Donald Trump said last week he hasn’t really started campaigning in the general election. It shows in his poll numbers.

After weeks of blistering news coverage, the latest round of national and battleground-state polling underscores the hole in which Trump now finds himself: trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin with fewer than 100 days remaining until early voting begins in the key swing states of Ohio and Iowa.

Two new, major national polls released Sunday morning — surveys from ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal — differ to some degree, but both are consistent with the broader trend: Clinton holds a reliable lead over Trump, an advantage that occasionally swells to double digits.

Trump now trails Clinton by 6.3 points in the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, and by 6.6 points in the HuffPost Pollster model. In the key states in the Electoral College, POLITICO’s Battleground States polling average shows Clinton ahead by 4.3 points. And perhaps even more important, Trump is lagging behind on a number of other key indicators, including candidate favorability.

Many Colorado Republicans remain confused about whether or not they can/should support Trump in a General Election, but there’s no question about the disastrous effects Trump could have on down-ticket races in our state. For Colorado Republicans, the only thing worse than Donald Trump as your Presidential nominee is Donald Trump running a terrible campaign for President.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 27)

MoreSmarterLogo-ElectionRemember, friends: If you still have a ballot at home, it is too late to put it in the mail. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Colorado’s Primary Election is tomorrow, which means it is too late to put your ballot in the mail if you haven’t voted already (ballots must be received by your county clerk before 7:00 pm on Tuesday; postmark dates are irrelevant). For ballot drop-off locations and other voter information, go to

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has updated voting turnout results as of 8:00 am on Monday.


► The Supreme Court had a busy morning as it works on finishing up its to-do list before Justices begin their annual summer break. The Washington Post reports on the ruling that captured the most attention:

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Texas abortion restrictions that have been widely duplicated in other states, a resounding win for abortion rights advocates in the court’s most important consideration of the controversial issue in 25 years.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberals in the 5 to 3 decision, which said Texas’s arguments that the clinic restrictions were to protect women’s health were cover for making it more difficult to obtain an abortion.

The challenged Texas provisions required doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and said that clinics must meet hospital-like standards of surgical centers.

Similar restrictions have been passed in other states, and officials say they protect patients. But the court’s majority sided with abortion providers and medical associations who said the rules are unnecessary and so expensive or hard to satisfy that they force clinics to close.

In a separate ruling that was also announced today, the Supreme Court overturned a corruption conviction for former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Critics worry that the court’s decision in the McDonnell case could make it harder to prosecute public officials for criminal wrongdoing.


► The five Republican candidates seeking their party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate race continue to straddle the fence on their support of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump. As John Frank writes for the Denver Post:

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn made clear for months that he supported Donald Trump for president. He even called Trump “a patriot.”

But with Ted Cruz in Denver last week, Glenn added an “if” caveat that didn’t go unnoticed in the state that is driving the #DumpTrump effort ahead of the convention.

“Right now, we have a presumptive nominee,” Glenn started. “And if he remains our presumptive nominee, we have a responsibility, a responsibility, to get in line and support that candidate.”

(He also landed Cruz a standing ovation for this line: “If he cannot be our next president of the United States of America, I am personally going to lead the charge to make sure he’s our next Supreme Court justice.” Cruz demurred politely.)

Frank’s entire story is worth a read, as he tries to understand the meaning behind some of Glenn’s more cryptic comments on the GOP Presidential race.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Coors, Shanahan, Mizel Headline Denver Trump Fundraiser

Larry Mizel loves him some Donald Trump.

Larry Mizel loves him some Donald Trump.

As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports:

Pete Coors and Mike Shanahan, a pair of giants in Colorado beer and football, are two of several boldfaced names planning a Friday fundraiser for Donald Trump to coincide with the Republican candidate’s visit to the state that day for the Western Conservative Summit.

While the names on the host committee may suggest a Sunday-tailgate kind of affair — Coors is a longtime beer executive and Shanahan used to coach the Denver Broncos — the entry fee to the presidential fundraiser is decidedly more expensive than what one would find in the parking lot of Mile High stadium…

Longtime Colorado kingmaker and political donor Larry Mizel also is listed as a co-chair.

Pete Coors, and especially Denver Republican kingpin Larry Mizel, hosting a fundraiser for the most controversial Republican presidential nominee since Barry Goldwater are the clearest signs we’ve seen locally of the attempt to make “legitimate” Republican politics safe for Donald Trump. It’s a most debatable question whether the damage widely expected to the Republican brand from Trump’s campaign will “trickle down” to those who put their own names on the line to support him.

Ordinarily we’d say a man of Mizel’s means and influence–influence that results from the means–can get away with anything. But Trump has a way of proving people wrong, often in ways that are damaging to one’s credibility. Hopefully one our state’s most legendary Republican powerbrokers doesn’t get burned.

Of course, Mizel will always have The CELL.

NARAL Colorado Statement on SCOTUS Decision Upholding Abortion Rights




Today the Supreme Court released its ruling on Whole Women’s Health v Hellerstedt, the most critical abortion rights case in 20 years. In a 5-3 ruling, the court overturned the Texas law, HB 2, which restricted abortion rights.

You can read the background on the case here from the Center for Reproductive Rights:

According to NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado Executive Director Karen Middleton, “The decision means TRAP bills like those repeatedly attempted by abortion opponents and anti-choice legislators in the Colorado General Assembly should stop. They are unconstitutional.

Colorado doesn’t have TRAP laws because thank to the work of NARAL, our Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice Coalition, and our allies in the legislature. We’ve defeated every TRAP bill that’s been introduced, most recently in the 2016 General Assembly. But this case has brought into focus just how critical the November election is for protecting the basic constitutional rights of Colorado women.

And it means Senator Cory Gardner needs to Do His Job and meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland.

Colorado voters have said over and over we are a pro-choice state. NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado will continue the fight to protect and expand reproductive freedom for all by supporting legislation that respects our rights, electing officials who fight to preserve these rights, and supporting candidates who understand the importance of appointing judges who respect our rights.

We can’t let what happened in Texas happen here. And we won’t.“




Bob Beauprez Making Dr. Chaps Very Angry

Carly Fiorina (right), with Rep. Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt.

Carly Fiorina (right), with Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Rachel Riley reports, the red-on-red purge campaign masterminded by two-time GOP gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez rolls on–and is provoking an angry backlash from its targets, including SD-12 primary contender  Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt:

Just days before the primary election, state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt is fighting back against a political advocacy group he believes to be responsible for mailing attack ads against him to Republican voters in his district.

Klingenschmitt, who faces Bob Gardner in the state Senate District 12 race Tuesday, submitted a letter to 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office Thursday calling for a criminal investigation into former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, founder of nonprofit Colorado Pioneer Action.

In the letter, Klingenschmitt said the mailers contain false information, a misdemeanor under state law. He added that the ads also violate campaign finance law because they do not identify what individual or organization sent them…

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

You’ll recall earlier this month when GOP SD-4 candidate Jess Loban, running hard in a primary against “establishment” Ben Lyng, called out Beauprez via subordinate operative Justin Prendergast for wading into his primary. Loban also claimed that Beauprez’s group was running attacks against a number of conservative incumbent lawmakers in addition to Loban–including Reps. Klingenschmitt, Janak Joshi, and Lori Saine. Lumping himself in with those incumbents is clearly about boosting Loban, since picking favorites in an open primary is much more acceptable behavior than attacking incumbents.

We haven’t heard as much about Saine and her primary against Mead trustee Colleen Whitlow in all of this, but Beauprez’s involvement in these two hot primary races in El Paso County seems quite likely to result in intra-GOP bad blood one way or the other. Despite the widespread loathing for Klingenschmitt in non-crazy Republican circles, we’ve heard that he may indeed be the favorite going into tomorrow’s primary against former Rep. Bob Gardner. We’re less certain about Joshi, whose cut-throat race against Larry Liston may hinge more on personal dislike for Liston.

In all of these races where Beauprez appears to be targeting conservative incumbents, there will be grateful winners and angry losers on Wednesday morning. Having lost two critical gubernatorial races for Colorado Republicans in two attempts, backroom purging and kingmaking may be Beauprez’s last best shot at relevance in our state’s politics.

But it had better work. If it doesn’t, Beauprez has made nothing but enemies.

Ballot Return Numbers Jump Over Weekend

votebuttonUPDATE: The Secretary of State’s Office sent out a corrected version of this morning’s press release, noting that turnout for Republicans is 24% (not 29.41%, as stated in the original release).


We’re continuing to pass along the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary (numbers are accurate as of 8:00 a.m. on Monday):


Ballots sent: 990,873;
Ballots returned: 208,572;
Percent: 21%


Ballots sent: 997,631;
Ballots returned: 239,483;
Percent: 24%
*(NOTE: the SOS’s office originally listed turnout at 29.41% but has since corrected its release)

Total turnout in the 2014 Primary was 21.84%. According to the Secretary of State’s office, nearly one-fifth of all voters waited until Election Day to cast their ballots in the 2014 Primary.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF).

Weekend Open Thread

“The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”

–John F. Kennedy

Get More Smarter on Friday (June 24)

gmsaustinpowersBrexit, baby! 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► After voters in the United Kingdom unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union yesterday, the entire world is more or less freaking out:

Stocks on Wall Street plunged on Friday after the United Kingdom shocked the world overnight by voting to cut ties to the European Union, a move that many fear could lead to similar votes across the continent and damage a fragile American economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 611 points , or around 3.4 percent, following big drops in Europe and Asia after UK voters defied late polls and voted strongly in favor of Brexit. The price of gold, a safe-haven in times of crisis, surged nearly 5 percent. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond fell 18 basis points, the biggest move since the financial crisis, to 1.57 percent as investors fled to safety. The Nasdaq took the biggest hit, falling over four percent in its worst day in five years. Tech stocks that do a lot of business in Europe got slammed.

The British pound fell to 30-year lows following the Brexit vote while the Japanese Nikkei index fell nearly 8 percent…

Un the upside, vacations in England are about to get much more affordable as the pound plunges! The British may not find that very comforting.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is really excited about Brexit, which should tell you all you need to know.

► The decision yesterday by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down President Barack Obama’s immigration plan for undocumented children isn’t sitting well with local Democrats:

“Every one of those Supreme Court justices are here by virtue of immigration,” said state Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, who is co-chair of the Colorado Democratic Latin Legislative Caucus “Their families came to this country seeking a better life or fleeing oppression. It is an utter hypocrisy that four members of the court stand against immigrant families.

“Our government, from the Congress to the United States Supreme Court, needs to grow up and recognize the value, economically and culturally, immigrant families are to our nation.”

► The GOP U.S. Senate primary is everyone’s most-watched race going into next Tuesday’s elections. Two wealthy candidates, Robert Blaha and Jack Graham, are spending big to break out of the pack. If you haven’t already, vote in our highly informal poll for who you think will win.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Poll: Who Will Win The GOP U.S. Senate Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now just days away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of races around the state. This year’s Republican U.S. Senate primary to determine a challenger to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is the most wide-open such contest in recent memory. Five Republicans are competing for this nomination: Darryl Glenn, Robert Blaha, Jack Graham, Ryan Frazier, and Jon Keyser.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the GOP U.S. Senate primary?
Darryl Glenn
Robert Blaha
Jack Graham
Ryan Frazier
Jon Keyser
View Result

Graham makes unusual pro-choice claim in Republican Senate primary

A huge frustration of Personhood USA folks is the familiar pattern of Colorado Republicans building their political careers and winning primary elections with the help of hard-working anti-choice activists and then buckpedaling away from the “pro-life” loyalists once they face the frowns of general-election voters.

See, for example, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) in 2014 and Republican senatorial candidate Ken Buck in 2010. Buck lost anyway, but Gardner (and Rep. Mike Coffman) buckpedaled their way to victory in general elections.

But now Republicans have a candidate who’s breaking free and saying he’s pro-choice from the get-go.

That’s former Colorado State University athletics director Jack Graham, whose website states:

Graham: Although I would never personally support an abortion as a way to deal with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, I do not believe I have the right to impose my choices on others. I support and I believe in a woman’s right to choose; and that our government does not belong in this decision.

It’s hard to imagine Graham buckbedaling on that pro-choice stance if he miraculously wins the GOP primary Tuesday. Why would he? A huge majority of Coloradans support abortion rights.

But Graham’s problem is, can he survive the GOP primary, where anti-choice activists join forces with Tea Partiers and actually win primaries. (See Buck and Maes.)

Graham’s competitors won’t be worrying about losing votes from anti-choice GOP voters because, as I outlined in a post for Rewire today, they’re all pro-life in varying degrees, with Darryl Glenn on top of the heap with the official approval of Colorado Right to Life, meaning he opposes all abortion, even for rape and incest. And he’d give legal rights to fertilized eggs (zygotes).

“I am an unapologetic pro-life American,” Glenn said during a recent televised debate.  “I don’t agree with the decision of Roe v. Wade.”

Graham and his campaign manager, long-time friend Dick Wadhams (See them them together here.), are probably hoping that the “pro-life” vote fragments among Glenn, Robert BlahaRyan Frazier (Listen to Frazier here.), and former state  Rep. Jon Kyser, leaving Graham to snare the three GOP primary voters who are pro-choice.

But, unfortunately for Graham, he already won over the three pro-choice Republicans with his other stands, like his support of gay marriage. And if choice is so important Republicans and determined who they’d vote for, they’d be Democrats! Or marginalized Republicans who aren’t voting in the primary.

So it’s hard to see how Graham wins politically with his pro-choice stance. But if he does, it will be great not to have to see the Buckpedal again. It’s such an ugly dance.

Laura Woods and her friends are lying to you

Dear Neighbor,

I live just down the road from you here in Colorado’s Senate District 19. You may not know it but we live in one of the most important and competitive state senate districts in all of Colorado.

That’s why the negative campaign lies are already flying fast here in Arvada and Westminster. Supporters of Laura Woods, the far-right radical activist who barely won control of the senate seat in 2014, are pushing completely false claims about Woods’ progressive opponent–claims that were in fact debunked years ago. [1] It’s against the law to make blatantly false statements in a political campaign in Colorado, but Woods’ supporters apparently don’t care.

Send a message to Laura Woods right now: tell her to put a stop to the lies her friends are telling about Rachel Zenzinger.

The truth is, Laura Woods is one of Colorado’s most wildly out-of-touch lawmakers. Woods has no business representing the moderate middle-class families of this district. Woods is an “anti-vaxxer” extremist who vigorously fought against any attempt to improve Colorado’s dismal vaccination rates for school-age children. Woods is a pro-gun radical who opposes background checks on gun sales–checks that have stopped thousands of criminals from buying guns. And Woods is trying to impose her values on Colorado and prevent all women from getting an abortion, even in cases of rape or incest.

The reason Laura Woods and her friends are telling blatant lies about Rachel Zenzinger is simple: they don’t want to talk about Woods’ disastrous record in the Colorado Senate. In 2014, a right-wing “wave year,” Woods won this seat by fewer than 700 votes. In 2016, Woods is considered the most vulnerable lawmaker in the Colorado legislature. And with your help, we’re coming for her.

Tell Laura Woods and her friends that you’re not buying the lies. We’ll make sure she gets the message.

Thanks for standing up for honesty in our elections. It matters now more than ever.


Alan Franklin