Trump Campaign’s Colorado Education Co-Chair…Wait, What?!

Recalled Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

Recalled Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

Denver7’s Deb Stanley reports, get ready for a spit take:

The Trump-Pence Colorado campaign is creating numerous coalitions in Colorado to target various group of voters.

The coalitions include African Americans for Trump, Women for Trump, the Education/School choice coalition, the Sportsmen coalition, the Agricultural coalition and the Faith coalition…

“These leaders are contributing valuable time and energy in order to advance Mr. Trump’s conservative message to a range of important groups and organizations throughout the state,” said Colorado State Director Patrick Davis. “With their help, Coloradans will reject the third Obama term that Hillary Clinton represents and will vote for change in November.”

Plenty of B-List names you’ll nonetheless recognize if you’re familiar with Republican politics on this list, including Jerry Natividad and and Derrick Wilburn representing Hispanics for Trump and African-Americans for Trump respectively. Former state Rep. B.J. Nikkel is heading up Women for Trump along with RNC member Lilly Nunez.

But the aforementioned spit take will come when you get to the choice of Trump’s education co-chair:

The Education/School choice coalition will be led by Dr. Jim Geddes, Colorado’s 6th Congressional District on the CU Board of Regents and businessman and consultant Ken Witt. [Pols emphasis]

Note how Ken Witt’s biggest qualification to serve as the campaign’s education “expert,” being elected to the Jefferson County, Colorado Board of Education, isn’t listed? That’s probably because Ken Witt, along with his fellow right-wing board members Julie Williams and John Newkirk, were recalled last year by a lopsided 65% of the vote. “WNW” were recalled after spending two years outraging Jeffco students and parents with their open hostility to teachers and bizarre ideological flights of fancy–such as the proposal to “review” the district’s AP history course for politically objectionable content, and Williams calling on Jeffco parents to keep their kids out of school on a day when bullying against LGBT students was being protested.

We can’t claim to be shocked by much that comes out of the Trump campaign at this point, but the selection of Witt as Trump’s education co-chair in Colorado is really shockingly tone-deaf. To the extent that voters in Jefferson County ever learn that Witt is affiliated with Trump’s campaign, it’s going to motivate them even more to turn out against Trump on Election Day. Jefferson County is widely considered a bellwether for the entire state, and we would be hard pressed to imagine a more self-injurious pick for winning over Jeffco voters.

If anything, this baffling choice might keep alive the persistent rumors that Trump is trying to lose.

Buck Called Trump a “Fraud” But Now Says He’ll Vote for Him

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck.

Rep. Ken Buck.

After once calling Donald Trump a “fraud,” and then remaining silent on the GOP presidential nominee for months, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck has now thrown his endorsment to the celebrity mogul.

“What we have to do as Republicans, in my view, is we got to get Donald Trump elected, and then we got to hold him accountable,” Buck told Randy Corporon and Steve Kelly on KNUS yesterday afternoon. “We got to surround him with good, sensible people who will give him the best advice on how to move this country forward.”

Earlier this year, however, Buck slammed Trump, after Trump proposed a temporary ban on allowing Muslims to visit the United States. Buck told CBS 4:

“Trump’s proposal violates the Constitution, the values of our nation, the Republican Party platform, and my conscience. He should withdraw from the Presidential race. He is a fraud,” said Buck.

Yesterday, Buck sang a different tune, pointing out that “we have a system of checks and balances in this country which allows Congress and the Supreme Court to rein in the power of the president,” and that’s what Congress may have to do with “either president.”

If Trump doesn’t behave, “there are remedies,” said Buck, calling Buck a “strong person” who has “never been tested in office.”

“We have an unknown entity that we are going to be taking a risk on,” Buck said, adding that Hillary is “known entity” that he wants to reject. “I don’t think anybody can argue that Donald Trump isn’t an unknown quantity, to a cerntain extent.”

“There is one thing I know for sure,” Buck said on KNUS, in what appears to be Buck’s first public endorsement of Trump.  “If I call the White House, and President Clinton is in the oval office, no one is going to take my call. If I call the White House with a President Trump, I have a chance of influencing policy in the executive branch.”

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Rep. Clarice Navarro Celebrates Her Love For Donald Trump

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has nosedived in popularity since claiming the party’s nomination last month, the vocal and very public support Trump has received from a particular Republican state legislator in Colorado, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo, has struck us as a potential major liability in her own re-election campaign. House District 47’s population is about 35% Hispanic, after all, and Trump has worked so hard to aggrieve Hispanic voters–and most everybody else, but especially Hispanic voters–that it’s almost like it was a deliberate goal.

We took note last weekend of a photo that Rep. Navarro in fact sent to us of herself with Trump, the second such picture she has distributed publicly, with a note reaffirming how she is proud to support Trump so there. Today, Rep. Navarro tripled down with a guest op-ed in USA TODAY:

Latino voters are American voters. They want the laws followed, a safe America and a future of hope. While we may not have loved the delivery of some of Mr. Trump’s comments, his vision for “making America great again” is what matters.

We have over 70 days before the election, and there is so much more to come. I don’t believe that this election has even started until the debates begin…

Again, after a recent meeting with Mr. Trump, I found him to be consultative, compassionate, and a man who understands the challenges we face, not just as Latinos, but as Americans. We are desperate for a new direction, and a Clinton presidency will only offer a four-year extension of the Obama administration. We deserve better now, and our children deserve better for their futures. That’s not solely a Hispanic or Latino vision; that is an American vision and hope.

And there you have it, folks! Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo is now one of Donald Trump’s biggest apologists. Also, “consultative” is a stupid word.

In terms of Navarro’s political career, this either ends miraculously well…or very, very badly.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 25)

Get More SmarterIt was darn near…chilly this morning. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence is apparently a big supporter of “Official English.” When he was a Member of Congress, Pence was a frequent co-sponsor of legislation designed to make English the “official” language of the federal government. Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has also regularly co-sponsored “Official English” legislation.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump will stop in Aspen today for a fundraiser hosted by prominent Colorado Republican Larry Mizel. Meanwhile, new polling from Pew Research suggests that the majority of Americans are not big fans of Trump’s immigration policies. From the Washington Post:

Large majorities of those surveyed said they believe that undocumented immigrants fill jobs U.S. citizens don’t want, are as honest and hardworking as U.S. citizens and are no more likely than U.S. citizens to commit serious crimes — sound rebukes of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration.

Even some of Trump’s own supporters reported positive views of undocumented immigrants on some issues. They expressed negative views of undocumented immigrants on other issues, including whether undocumented immigrants commit more violent crimes than U.S. citizens.

A majority of those surveyed also rejected one of Trump’s signature policies: building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump has vowed to get Mexico to pay for the wall, and the proposal has become such a big part of Trump’s presidential campaign that supporters chant “build the wall” at his rallies.

It’s no wonder that Trump is sorta kinda walking back some of his rhetoric on immigration reform.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Thursday Open Thread

“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

–H. L. Mencken

Mike Pence Supports “Official English,” Just Like Mike Coffman

Mike Pence, Mike Coffman

Mike Pence, Mike Coffman

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence recently reaffirmed his support of efforts to make the English language the official language of the federal government. According to a press release issued this week by “ProEnglish”:

ProEnglish Executive Director Sam Pimm recently attended an exclusive meeting with Vice-Presidential candidate Governor Mike Pence.

Governor Pence is a longtime advocate of official English; as a former Congressman, he cosponsored H.R. 997 (a bill to make English the official language of the federal government) five times. [Pols emphasis]  English is also the official language of Indiana, where Pence is Governor. Hot off the campaign trail, Governor Pence met with Pimm and others in a closed door meeting to discuss policy positions.

ProEnglish Executive Director Sam Pimm took the opportunity to ask Governor Pence, if elected Vice-President, if he would continue to “advocate for English as our official language,” noting that “54 other countries have English as their official language.”

Governor Pence not only reiterated his support for official English, but clarified why he supports official English. “When my ancestors came here they already spoke English. Speaking English is the key to assimilation and achieving the American dream.”

The “Official English” movement, which has long been supported by former CD-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo, has also been a favorite cause of Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) over the years.

Although Coffman would have you believe that he is “One of Us,” he is also a repeat co-sponsor of “Official English” legislation. Like Pence, Coffman has regularly co-sponsored H.R. 997 during his time in Congress (here, and here). Coffman has not offered his name as a co-sponsor in the most recent iteration of the “Official English” legislation, however.

Does Coffman no longer believe in the “Official English” movement? Or is he just no longer willing to attach his name as a co-sponsor?

Thanks Judge, But We’re Gonna Avoid Kansas Anyway

1992_ford_crown_victoriaWestword’s Michael Roberts reports:

The claims consistently maintain that law enforcers in jurisdictions beyond this state are more apt to stop vehicles for marijuana-related searches if they’re outfitted with Colorado license plates.

Such tactics were always controversial. Now, a federal court says they’re totally unjustified.

In the strongest ruling on this topic to date, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals says that Colorado license plates alone are not nearly enough to sanction a traffic stop.

The case is based on a lawsuit filed by Peter Vasquez against two Kansas state troopers, Dax Lewis and Richard Jimerson — and the incident itself took place nearly five years ago.

As the story goes, these two Kansas highway patrolmen decided basically on the strength of a car having a Colorado license plate that a search of the vehicle was justified–after all, Colorado has legal marijuana, and Kansas doesn’t. Isn’t that probable cause enough, say the Jayhawkers?

The answer, of course, is hell no it’s not. Simply residing in a state where marijuana is legal does not ipso facto make one a suspect for transporting marijuana across state lines. Colorado does have a higher percentage of pot smokers than the national average, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the number is a little less than 14% of our state’s population.

And sorry Kansas, but probable cause that isn’t.

If you’re one of the 86% of Coloradans who doesn’t smoke weed–and even if you do, since it’s perfectly legal here–Kansas asserting the right to pull over Coloradans just for being Coloradans could reasonably be considered very offensive. In a state already facing economic problems due to extremely poor fiscal management by ideological conservatives, this doesn’t seem like the way to encourage folks to drop tourism dollars there–or even drive through. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it:

den-to-kc

Take the long way to Kansas City next time.

And Then There Were Seven Ballot Measures

Your Colorado statewide ballot just got a little bit longer.

According to the Secretary of State, two more initiatives have qualified for the 2016 ballot:

Initiative No. 98 allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without having to declare being a member of a certain party, as is the current law. However, Republicans and Democrats could decide to forgo having a primary election and instead choose their general election nominees at the assembly or convention, providing that 75 percent of the party’s state central committee agrees.

Initiative No. 140 restores a presidential primary to be held before the end of March in presidential election years, and allows unaffiliated voters to participate without declaring to be a member of a political party.

The Secretary of State’s office is still looking at signatures to determine the fate of two more ballot measures, both dealing with fracking (local control and mandatory setbacks).

Trump Surrogate To Big Oil: Just Kidding, He Loves Fracking!

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

The Denver Post reports from the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit underway now at the Colorado Convention Center:

Donald Trump’s top energy adviser on Tuesday sought to play down the Republican presidential candidate’s recent comments in Colorado that he could support local efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources Inc., said in an interview with the Journal that Trump did not fully understand the question when he was asked about local control over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by a reporter at 9News. He said Trump was a strong supporter of the industry.

“Donald Trump did not understand that concept at the time in my opinion,” Hamm said in an interview at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference. “He does now.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raised eyebrows in his interview with 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman at the end of July, in which Trump asserted that voters should “have a say” in decisions about oil and gas development–noting (correctly, we might add) that “there are some areas maybe that don’t want to have fracking.” Now, it’s entirely possible that Trump said this completely ignorant of the battle over fracking in Colorado, in particular the environmentalist position that local communities should have more control over oil and gas drilling within their boundaries than they do now.

In short, Trump was siding with the dreaded “enviros” and he didn’t even know it.

But not to worry, as the Post continues:

Hamm said he hasn’t spoken to Trump about the comments, but emphasized that he is confident the GOP nominee does not support local bans on fracking. A request for comment to the Trump campaign by the Journal was not immediately returned Tuesday…

Hamm said Trump got caught up in the term “local control.”

“I think he was pulled into that with the term local control, which is a magnet for Republican thoughts,” Hamm said. [Pols emphasis]

Why, yes it is! Modern conservatives in fact view the abstract concept of “local control” as an article of faith, on a broad range of issues from education policy to civil rights laws. “Local control” has been a battle cry for decades for Republicans against remote, aloof federal (or state as the case may be) governments that “don’t understand” the interests of the local community they’re interfering with.

But as we know in Colorado, not for oil and gas! Trump obviously wasn’t aware that in Colorado, the conventional wisdom regarding “local control” has been turned on its head. In Colorado, “local control” is the slogan of neighborhood activists who persuaded cities along the Northern Front Range to pass moratoria and bans on fracking within their boundaries. They contend their hand was forced by a state oil and gas authority that proved ineffective at protecting their communities. On the other hand, it’s the oil and gas industry who favors statewide “one size fits all” policymaking on oil and gas–not least because they’ve got a highly accommodating partner in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

For as often as Trump is accused of abandoning “conservative values” so as to not be constrained by them on the campaign trail, in this case, Trump was actually defaulting to a conservative position when asked about fracking.

Unfortunately, in Colorado “conservative values” come second to what’s good for the oil and gas industry.

Paul Ryan is in the Denver Area if You Can Find Him

From Mike Coffman's campaign Facebook page (Aug. 24, 2016)

From Mike Coffman’s campaign Facebook page (Aug. 24, 2016)

House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Wyoming this week for a big meeting of major Republican donors and associated advisors. Today, Ryan is in Colorado helping Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to raise money at a super-secret luncheon of some sort.

We can’t tell you much more about where Ryan is stumping with Coffman, or for how long, because Coffman’s own campaign won’t really talk about it. Check out the weird statement that showed up this morning on Coffman’s campaign Facebook page, in which Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s name is mentioned four times before Ryan’s name comes up.

“We can’t take anything for granted and we’re honored to have Speaker Ryan in Colorado today,” says Coffman spokesperson Cinamon Watson.

Anyhoo…so, the Speaker of the House is in Colorado today, and nobody wants to talk about it.

Nancy Pelosi!!!

Sorry, Darryl Glenn: You’re Still Darryl Glenn

Darryl Glenn (you can see him if you squint)

Darryl Glenn (you can see him if you squint)

On Tuesday we wrote about a pretty (unintentionally) sad moment for Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, in which he told an audience at Colorado Christian University that his mother received an email from the campaign of Sen. Michael Bennet indicating that Glenn was within single digits of Bennet. This is almost certainly not accurate — polls show Bennet is closer to a 20-point lead than a 10-point lead — and was another telling moment for a Senate candidate who is nowhere near being ready to contend in a statewide race. But that wasn’t the worst part of Glenn’s day. Late Tuesday afternoon, John Frank of the Denver Post tweeted about an astonishingly-meatheaded encounter with Glenn:

Glenn is probably still mad at the Denver Post for having the audacity to let reporter Joey Bunch do his job and look deeper into Glenn’s weird accounts of a domestic incident when he was 18 years old. At the time, some of Glenn’s supporters bellyached about the Post story as some sort of witch hunt, which was a silly if predictable response. But Glenn has apparently decided to channel his inner-Donald Trump and start blacklisting media outlets he deems unfavorable. This is absolutely idiotic.

Glenn is a proud man who doesn’t take kindly to even the slightest of, er, slights, but his ego is blinding him to his political reality. Glenn’s campaign doesn’t have the money to do any serious advertising on television, which means his only hope of generating attention is through earned media. Stiff-arming the Denver Post may soothe Glenn’s ego, but it only hurts his chances of winning the Senate race in Colorado.

Trump has used a strategy heavy on earned media to scrap his way to the Republican Presidential nomination, and his media “blacklist” doesn’t prevent these outlets from covering him. Trump, however, has long been a household name from his numerous reality TV appearances, and now that he is the Republican nominee for President, media outlets have no choice but to report on his campaign. Darryl Glenn is just, well, Darryl Glenn.

Nancy Doty’s Backwards Worldview

(The graphic design follies continue – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Doty upside down EarthI’ve been trying to convince journalists to find out why state senate candidate Nancy Doty thinks Sarah Palin gave a “Spot on” speech in Denver, in which the former Alaska governor raved about Donald Trump. (Here’s a funny video to emphasize the point.)

From where I sit as a progressive, the world is pretty backwards if you think Palin is “spot on.”

And it turns out, judging from the recent Doty advertisement on your right, that’s exactly how Doty sees the Earth–transposed, ass backwards, if you will.

So, does the inverted worldview on Doty’s mailer have anything to do with her enthusiasm about Palin and Trump?

Or is Doty’s backwards Earth related to the ability of kids to “count on NANCY DOTY” for a “WORLD CLASS” education?

I doubt it, to be honest, but she’s yet to be questioned, so we don’t know. And if there’s one thing you learn as a journalist, it’s that you never know what someone will say until you ask them.

Doty’s Arapahoe County race against State Rep. Daniel Kagan is key, along with an Arvada state senate contest, in the GOP’s struggle to maintain their one-seat majority in the senate chamber and thereby block Democrats’ hopes of controlling state government next year.

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Wednesday Open Thread

“If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”

–Charles Bukowski

Sad Trombone for Darryl Glenn

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn spoke to a group at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood today, and as Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman Tweets…well, this is just sad:

Is it sadder that Glenn is getting his opposition research from his mother…or is it worse that he is bragging to a crowd that he might be within “single digits” of Sen. Michael Bennet?

We’re going to go with option C: All of the above.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 23)

Get More SmarterOn this day in history…it turns out not much happened. 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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Congressman Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign is mashing the panic button. On Monday, Coffman’s campaign started attacking Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll with bizarre claims that she is not a supporter of immigration reform; in 2013, in fact, Carroll was a co-sponsor of the ASSET bill in Colorado, also known as “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” Of course, it is Coffman who has been wishy-washy on immigration issues throughout his entire career, and Monday’s blatant attempt to confuse the issue was another indication of Coffman’s political worries this election cycle. 

Perhaps Team Coffman is lashing out in anger over the fact that former CD-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo — a man Coffman once called his political “hero” — is making a point to dump on Coffman whenever possible. On Monday, Tancredo clarified earlier statements that he might consider voting for Carroll (though he doesn’t actually live in CD-6 anymore) while making sure to rip Coffman again. “I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Mike Coffman,” said Tancredo in an interview with Jason Salzman.

 

► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is sorta-kinda taking a new approach to the issue of illegal immigration. As the Washington Post reports:

After spending a few days reflecting on his immigration stances and consulting with Hispanic supporters, Donald Trump on Monday detailed how he would deal with the millions of immigrants illegally living in the United States: Enforce laws that are already on the books and continue to do what President Obama is doing, although “perhaps with a lot more energy.”

This strategy marks a sudden change for the Republican nominee, who has presented himself as a politically incorrect outsider who is not afraid to take extreme measures to combat illegal immigration, such as deporting 11 million people or constructing a massive wall along the Southern border. For more than a year, Trump insisted that all illegal immigrants “have got to go” and that he would create a “deportation force” to carry out the task.

Trump struck a starkly different tone during an interview with Bill O’Reilly that aired on Fox News on Monday night. Trump said he would separate the country’s undocumented immigrants into two groups: The “bad ones” who would be kicked out of the country as soon as he takes office and “everybody else” who would go through the same process that the Obama Administration is currently using.

On Monday, Trump told O’Reilly that the first thing he would do as President would be to “get rid of all the bad [illegal immigrants.]” That sounds so easy! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?

 

► Trump is expected to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Aspen on Thursday, but contrary to national media reports, Trump will not make a separate appearance in Colorado to deliver a big speech on his immigration reform proposals.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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