Hickenlooper Nabs Big-Time Speaking Slot at DNC

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper

We’ve known since last week that Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper would be speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, but until today, we didn’t know when. As the Denver Post reports, Hick has been handed one of the most desirable time slots of the entire convention:

He won’t be introducing Hillary Clinton, but Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper still landed a prime time speaking slot this Thursday at the Democratic National Convention, the curtain call of the four-day gathering.

Hickenlooper told Denver Post TV that he is slated to speak between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. eastern — not long before Clinton is expected to deliver her acceptance speech at the Wells Fargo Center. The topic of the speech was not disclosed.

This is a pretty big deal. Democratic House leader Crisanta Duran is also speaking on Thursday, sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, but Hickenlooper’s time slot is about as good as it gets if you aren’t the nominee for President. Hick will speak shortly before Hillary Clinton is announced to accept the Democratic nomination for President, which all but guarantees that he will speak in front of a huge national TV audience.

Hickenlooper’s high-profile speaking slot is also another good indication that he will likely be picked for some sort of Cabinet post if Clinton is elected President.

At Least We Got That One Vote Counted Correctly

Scott Turner

Scott Turner

Well, that sucks.

Scott Turner is a Republican who narrowly lost to Longinos Gonzales, Jr. in the June 28th Primary for El Paso County Commissioner (District 4). The final tally had Gonzales winning by just 34 votes — a tantalizingly narrow margin that nevertheless fell outside of the window for an automatic recount conducted at county expense.

But 34 votes just seems so close. It was such a narrow margin, in fact, that Turner agreed to reimburse El Paso County for a recount (which is allowed under Colorado election law, provided the margin between candidates is sufficiently small). The results of the recount were made public today, and, well, it’s hard not to feel a little tinge of sadness for Mr. Turner:

Official Results
July 7, 2016
Gonzales, Jr: 3,450 votes
Turner:  3,416 votes

Recount Results
July 26, 2016
Gonzales, Jr: 3,450 votes
Turner:  3,417 votes

As you can see, the recount did not change the outcome in El Paso County Commissioner District 4…but Turner did end up with one more vote. And it only cost him $2,660!

We don’t know anything about either of these candidates, but you don’t need any personal information to understand how much this would suck for Scott Turner. Sorry, dude.

On the plus side, it certainly affirms that our vote counting systems in El Paso County are in good shape.

Conservation Colorado Backs Local Control Ballot Measure

Fracking near a high school in Greeley, Colorado.

Fracking near a high school in Greeley, Colorado.

A press release from Conservation Colorado yesterday throws support behind Initiative 75, the statewide ballot measure campaign that would enshrine rights of local communities to better control oil and gas development within their boundaries:

Conservation Colorado today endorsed Initiative #75, the ballot measure entitled “Local Government Authority to Regulate Oil and Gas Development.”

Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith released the following statement:

We have long believed that local governments should have a say in decisions directly affecting their communities, including if, when, and how drilling occurs within their borders. We made our position clear when we fought for this commonsense policy during our work with the governor’s oil and gas task force, our involvement with the Fort Collins Supreme Court case, and our advocacy for similar bills in multiple legislative sessions. Since little progress has been made in these arenas, we believe there is tremendous merit in putting this measure on the ballot and letting the voters decide.

As oil and gas development creeps closer to homes and schools, it’s critical that we empower local governments to better balance energy development with public health and safety. We are proud to lend our support and resources to this effort.

Initiative 75 is a direct response to court rulings invalidating local moratoria and bans passed by a number of northern Front Range cities in recent years. Another measure that would mandate a large setback between oil and gas and other development is also headed for the November ballot, but there is a growing consensus that the 2,500 foot requirement in that initiative is too large–a de facto ban on development of oil and gas in most of the state. The fact is, there is little political appetite for a wholesale ban on oil and gas development in Colorado, and large inflexible setbacks run counter to the “local control” message that has proven successful in cities that passed their own moratoria and bans.

But giving local governments back the power they lost in court after trying to protect themselves?

This measure has a very good shot at passing.

Laura Woods Blames “The Left” For Yard Sign Vandalism

woodsvandalized1

Let’s start by saying unequivocally that we don’t condone vandalism, against politicians or anybody else. As you can see in the photo above being circulated by Republican Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign, somebody vandalized one of her yard signs being displayed on the fence of an Arvada constituent earlier this month.

And if you’re to the left of Woods on the political spectrum, she blames you.

Within 5 days Team Woods has had two banners vandalized. One at 92nd and Ingalls was stolen within 20 hours of being hung, and one on Pierce was spray painted! All of this brought to you by the “tolerant left”!! [Pols emphasis]

In a comment on Facebook to the photo posted above, Woods explains her blame further:

In two election cycles, I’ve had banners painted, vandalized, knocked down and stolen and my opponent’s signs are untouched. THAT’S why I blame the left…

Now, we of course don’t know who decided to tag Woods’ yard sign, but from experience we can tell you in these situations it is almost never one’s political opponents who commit crimes like petty vandalism of yard signs. It’s true that Woods has big vinyl signs all over Senate District 19–and their ubiquitous presence might all by itself be a motivator for some juvenile delinquent with a can of spray paint to deface one.

Either way, it’s silly and irresponsible to blame one’s opponent for this kind of thing with no proof. Woods claims she has installed motion-sensing “game cameras” near some of her banners in an attempt to record future acts of vandalism. If Woods actually catches an adult with any bonafide connection to her opponent vandalizing her signs, or has her allegations against “the left” confirmed in any way by competent investigators, we’ll be the first to apologize and correct the record.

Otherwise, it’s another exercise in paranoia–from a lawmaker so paranoid she was afraid to use her real name on the radio.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 26)

Get More SmarterBarack Obama may not be the best orator in his own home. 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…

► The Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia began with controversy on Monday — largely because of the presence of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz. But once Democrats got their shouting out of the way and Wasserman Schultz stepped aside as DNC Chair, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders helped quiet the crowd. From Politico:

Bernie Sanders loyalists heckled and hassled Democratic stars all day. But when Sanders himself addressed the Democratic National Convention on Monday, the party’s nightmarish day finally brightened.

“Hillary Clinton must become the next president of the United States,” Sanders boomed. And delegates, for the most part, cheered his call.

That was the clearest sign of an easing after an excruciating day of failed attempts at projecting unity following the divisive and protracted Democratic primary.

Colorado delegates are apparently confident that Democrats will unite behind Hillary Clinton this week.

 

► While Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President was a pivotal moment at the DNC on Monday, the most powerful speech of the night — and the new standard-bearer for the rest of the week — was an address by First Lady Michelle Obama. As “The Fix” writes, Republicans had better keep their fingers crossed that Mrs. Obama doesn’t ever decide to run for office herself.

 

► Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign is apparently feeling pretty good about its chances in Colorado. As First Read reports, Clinton’s campaign is adjusting its TV advertising budget away from Colorado and putting more money in state’s considered to be swingy-er.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Elected GOP officials say good-bye to the Colorado Republican party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

With Colorado Trump campaign manager Patrick Davis  relying on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican party, it’s particularly newsworthy that GOP county and district officials are resigning from their elected positions and leaving the party.

In the past week, Patrick Crowder, vice chair of the Rio Grande Republican Party, and Craig Steiner, chair of House District 43 Republicans, said good-bye to fellow Republicans.

Steiner, who’s a long-time GOP activist, Central Committee member, and former Douglas County GOP chair, resigned on Friday, writing on Facebook:

…I believe over the last week the Republican Party lost all remaining pretense of principled conservatism while the national party simultaneously lost any credible claim to being the party of the “rule of law.”  The nominee is a nutcase who can’t even stop defending the National Enquirer the day after the Convention. And in a way I haven’t seen in past elections, this race has turned people I know into people I barely recognize. It’s disheartening.

Though I’ve considered myself a Republican since I saw Reagan debate Carter at age 9, today with sadness I updated my party affiliation.

As I am no longer a registered Republican, I have submitted my resignation as chairman of Republican House District 43.  I have also submitted my resignation as a member of the Colorado Republican Central Committee.

After Steiner, who did not immediately return a call for comment, came Crowder, who tweeted Sunday that he’d resigned his vice chair post and become unaffiliated.

Asked why he left the GOP, Crowder said, “Trump is scraping out everything that the Republican Party has stood for and building a wall in its place.”

“A lot of farmers are concerned about our beef and potato exports,” he continued, telling me about recent conversations at a GOP fundraiser. “There’s a lot of concern about what’s going on.”

Crowder doesn’t see “core Republican principles,” including “sanctity of life” and economic positions, “reflected in our nominee.”

Steiner and Crowder are elected party officials who’ve left the GOP, but other party stalwarts and activists continue to resist pressure to peel off the #NeverTrump label. More on these folks in another post.

Meanwhile, if you hear of more Colorado Republican officials who’ve left the party, please let me know.

Republicans Try to Make Martyr of Ben the “Libertarian” Bachelor

Guess which reality star was a registered Libertarian as recently as April?

Guess which reality star was a registered Libertarian as recently as April?

The short-lived candidacy of Ben “The Bachelor” Higgins made for an interesting story last week, but it was not the kind of news that we thought we’d still be talking about today. Yet while Higgins’ official candidacy is finished after he withdrew from HD-4 last week, the conspiracy theories continue to grow. The GOP is working hard to make Higgins look like a martyr whose only crime was being a Republican, but as it turns out, the facts tell a much different story.

Ben Higgins is not a Republican martyr. Higgins is barely a Republican at all.

Late Sunday, the conservative website The Blaze published an “exclusive” story essentially accusing the television network ABC of forcing Higgins out of the race in HD-4 because he is a Republican (yes, really, because he is a Republican). Joey Bunch of the Denver Post then published his own follow-up story, which includes a particularly strange quote from an official with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office (more on that in a moment). The story that Republicans are peddling now is that of a poor reality-show martyr who was denied a chance to be the frontrunner in a State House race purely because of his political affiliation.

Now, there is a much different version of this story, including an important fact that hasn’t yet been mentioned: Ben Higgins may not have been legally able to run as a Republican in HD-4 because he had been a registered LIBERTARIAN as recently as April 18, 2016.

First, let’s back up. In case you missed the news last week because you got norovirus at the RNC and haven’t been reading anything that wasn’t conveniently near a toilet, here’s the short and sweet of our story:

Ben Higgins is a former star of the ABC TV show “The Bachelor,” a show he headlined in Season 20 after losing out to another guy in a previous ABC TV show called “The Bachelorette.” Higgins ended his “Bachelor” run by proposing to Lauren Bushnell, and sometime afterward, they apparently moved to North Denver. The final episode of the 20th season of “The Bachelor” began in January and ended in mid-March, 2016.

Rumors had been circling for a few weeks that Higgins was contemplating making a run in HD-4. It was reported on Friday, July 15, that Higgins had officially signed paperwork to run as a Republican candidate in HD-4 against incumbent Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon. We thought this was odd for a number of reasons, primarily the fact that HD-4 is the single best Democratic-performing district in Colorado. Pabon won re-election in 2014 with 80% of the vote, for crying out loud; you could resurrect Ronald Reagan and he’d still lose to a Democrat in HD-4.

Less than a week later, on Friday July 22, it was announced that Higgins would be withdrawing from the race because of some legal and contractual issues associated with his upcoming reality TV show: “Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After.” There were two announcements sent to the media, actually: One from Disney – the parent company of ABC – and the second from Higgins’ own campaign.

And that, dear readers, seemed to be that. But now Republicans are attacking ABC and something called the “Freeform” channel (formerly ABC Family, and the network that will carry Higgins’ new reality-TV show). In a statement issued by the Colorado Republican Party on Sunday, Chairman Steve House puts on the tin-foil hat for a long rant about how The Man is keeping Republicans down:

“Disney and ABC’s decision to reportedly threaten Ben Higgins’ future with the network and even his wedding if he did not drop out of the (House District) 4 race is downright despicable…Their stunning about-face the week of our national convention after months of being aware of Ben’s political pursuits is incredibly suspect…

“The reality is Ben would have entered this race as the front-runner. ABC’s thuggish tactics send a message they care far more about suppressing the voice of conservatives and protecting a left-wing politician who displayed grossly unethical behavior during a recent DUI arrest than Ben’s selfless interest in serving his community…

…It is hard to imagine ABC would have delivered a similar ultimatum to Ben if he were a Democrat, and that is shameful.”

The ultimatum that Disney/ABC/Freeform delivered to Higgins isn’t as nefarious as House makes it sound. The network had grown uncomfortable with the potential legal ramifications of promoting a reality TV star who is running for public office, and they told Higgins that they did not want him to be a candidate at the same time they were filming “Ben and Lauren.” Higgins obviously decided that making tons of money for a reality show was sufficiently more important to he and his fiancé than running for the state legislature, and we can’t say we blame him there. The decision may have also helped him avoid some inevitable legal problems with his voter registration…

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Fact Check:  Gardner Opposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Backed Government Shutdown

(Check out the update — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Update: After seeing the comments attacking Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett, I asked him to comment on my blog post below. I regret not seeking comment from him before posting, but here’s what Plunkett said via email:

Gardner has called for acting on immigration reform. He stood and clapped when Obama asked in is SOTU in 2014 calling for Congress to get it done. He’s for a path to legal status. Yes, he says the border situation has to be secure, and I understand that some use that condition to dodge real reform, but Gardner has for the last two years been more friendly to the issue than others.

I include this piece from Mark Matthew’s in 2014 to show what I mean.

I get it that the use of the word “comprehensive” is too much of a buzzword and it isn’t specific enough. And were I writing specifically about immigration I would have had to have been more detailed. But in the context of a broader editorial about leadership styles, a 10,000-foot view comparison between Gardner’s approach and Cruz/Trump, Gardner is much different. Cruz called for deporting 12 million people in the country illegally, for example.

—————-

In an editorial this weekend holding out U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner as the model of the way forward for the Republican Party, The Denver Post claimed Gardner “supports comprehensive immigration reform.”

In fact, then U.S. Rep. Gardner opposed a 2103 comprehensive immigration reform bill, which died in the Republican-controlled House, after it passed by a bipartisan 68-32 vote in the U.S. Senate.

Gardner said at the time immigration reform has to start with border security, and he called for  “additional personnel on the border,” an “e-verify system,” and “additional security, a fence, you name it, on the border.”

Sounds much like Trump, even though The Post’s editorial, titled “How will the GOP rebuild after Trump,” aimed to contrast Gardner with Trump.

Since then, Gardner has called for immigration reform, but the issues section of his website doesn’t list immigration at all. There’s no indication that his position has changed or that he’s for comprehensive immigration reform, in any real sense of the term.

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Rep. Justin Everett Called Out For RNC Anti-LGBT Assholery

Colorado Rep. Justin Everett (R).

Colorado Rep. Justin Everett (R).

We’ve talked a couple of times already about the starkly conservative platform adopted last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Where the GOP’s official party platform addressed rights for LGBT Americans, as ratified it was so far backward relative to the evolution of national sentiment on the issue that Colorado’s Republican attorney general pronounced herself “ashamed” at the direction her party was taking.

Cynthia Coffman may or may not have known how much of that platform was home-grown right here in Colorado:

The 2012 GOP platform calls same-sex marriage “an assault on the foundations of our society.” With the Republican Platform Committee not yet sharing updated language with reporters, it’s not clear if the 2016 platform will say that as well. But from a hotly debated amendment, it’s clear divisions in the GOP over gay marriage exist. First came an amendment offered by Colorado delegate Justin Everett: “Where it says ‘Children raised in a two-parent household,’ I want to insert before ‘two,’ ‘traditional….” [Pols emphasis]

That’s right: Colorado’s own Rep. Justin “Sleepy Dwarf” Everett was one of the driving forces behind the GOP platform’s hard lurch to the right in 2016, offering an amendment to insert the word “traditional” into a plank about how two-parent households are better off. By “traditional,” Everett of course means “Adam and Eve” and not “Adam and Steve.”

You get the idea.

But as you can see in this video clip from California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Everett’s amendment drew an irate response from at least one Republican on the Platform Committee:

That raised the ire of New York delegate Annie Dickerson, who had lost other battles over same-sex marriage language in a subcommittee meeting earlier. “This is outrageous to suggest that children of a gay couple are more likely to be completely unbalanced and use drugs in droves and be criminals. This is so provocative.”

Nonetheless,

Other members questioned if the language insults single parents and the adult children of gay parents as well. But the vote of the 112-member committee endorsed adding the word “traditional.”

Like we said about Cynthia Coffman, we do believe that the anger expressed by RNC delegate Annie Dickerson over the unapologetically anti-LGBT language in the Republican Party’s 2016 platform is legitimate. Unfortunately, it appears to be the minority view within the Republican Party. That delegates approving the platform sided overwhelmingly with Everett against Dickerson is the story this year, not the ultra-minority who dissented.

If Republicans want to recover the support their platform will cost them this year by 2020, we suggest fewer Justin Everetts.

Clarice Navarro “Pre-Buts” Crisanta Duran For Trump

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Donald Trump, Rep. Clarice Navarro.

Rep. Crisanta Duran, the Majority Leader of the Democratic-controlled Colorado House, scored a big coup with her scheduled address to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this coming Thursday. The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports:

[A]lthough she received only a week’s notice to prepare the biggest speech of her political career so far, Duran’s past aligns well with the campaign of presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton.

“It’s an amazing opportunity and an amazing moment, when we’re on the verge of having the first woman president, not because she is a woman but because she has the right vision for America,” Duran said Friday.

Rep. Duran’s speech at the DNC this week is just one of dozens of speeches from Democratic elected officials, activists, and others intended to present Democrats as the more diverse, more mainstream, and above all the more sane and prudent choice for Americans compared to last week’s parade of horrors at the Trump Republican Party’s convention in Cleveland. Duran probably won’t net any more cable news face time in her speaking slot than GOP U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn did, but considering Glenn is a Senate candidate and was speaking much closer to prime time, Duran is still on the receiving end of quite an honor. Also, Duran’s speaking voice doesn’t come across like fingernails of a chalkboard a la former Rep. Libby Szabo’s forgettable RNC speech, so there’s that.

We did want to take note of the “pre-buttal” response to Rep. Duran from what appears to be the Team Trump’s foremost Latina surrogate in Colorado, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo:

“Latinos across America want the same things I want for my Latino children,” said Navarro, a rising Republican star who introduced Sarah Palin at the Western Conservative Summit on July 1 and has been lauded by the RNC.

“They want a safe America, they want a prosperous America with jobs, they want a smaller government, they want an America that provides a solid education,” Navarro said. “The liberal progressives haven’t done that for Latinos in America for the last eight years, and Rep. Duran, in the majority, hasn’t done it for Colorado.”

First of all, somebody should tell Navarro about the millions of jobs created during the Obama presidency?

But perhaps more important–like having her photo taken with Donald Trump, a photo now certain to be used against her with Pueblo voters–once again the choice of Navarro as the GOP’s countermessenger to Democrats taking the national stage is strategically very questionable to us. However strongly you feel for or against Trump, the simple fact is that Trump is alienating large numbers of Americans, including overwhelming numbers of Latinos. The decision to publicly align with Trump in any even remotely competitive race, especially in a place like Pueblo and southeast Colorado, is fraught with uncertainty that hinges on Trump’s own popularity. If the polls that show Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in a close race prove accurate, it may not matter as much.

But if Trump gets slaughtered on Election Day, a lot of Republicans who are perceived to have aligned themselves with Trump will go down with him. In that event, Navarro may sorely regret taking on her high-profile Trump surrogate role.

Minimum Wage Increase Campaign Submits Yuuge Signature Haul

2016minimumwageA press release from Colorado Families for a Fair Wage announces their submission of over 200,000 petition signatures in support of their ballot measure to raise the minimum wage in Colorado to $12 an hour by 2020–more than double what was needed to qualify for the ballot in November:

Today, a coalition of business owners, workers and supporters with Colorado Families for a Fair Wage delivered boxes containing petitions with 200,000 signatures to place a ballot initiative that will raise the Colorado minimum wage to $12 by 2020 on the November ballot. The 200,000 signatures is more than double the 98,492 signatures needed to qualify, showing overwhelming support for the measure.

“It’s clear our measure to raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 will be on the November ballot,” said Patty Kupfer, Colorado Families for a Fair Wage campaign manager “Raising the minimum wage is fair and smart. It’s fair because people working full time should earn enough to support their families. It’s smart because when working people have more money in their pockets, they spend it here in Colorado, boosting our economy and helping our communities thrive.”

The average age of a minimum wage earner is 35 – and more than 86 percent of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20. A full-time minimum wage worker takes home less than $300/week, not nearly enough to afford food, rent and other basic needs. In Colorado, a minimum wage worker needs to work 80 hours per week to afford a basic two bedroom apartment.

“Even though I work full-time as a nursing assistant, I can’t afford to support us without public assistance,” said Marrisa Guerrero, a mom raising a school-age daughter. “We have no choice but to rely on subsidized housing, can’t afford health insurance and we even struggle to buy enough food for us to eat. I always thought if I worked hard and played by the rules, I’d be able to make it, but that isn’t going to happen until wages are raised.”

Extensive research shows that modestly raising the minimum wage helps the economy by increasing consumer spending – and does not result in job loss in sectors most likely to hire minimum wage workers. Because low and middle-income workers are more likely to spend pay increases than higher paid workers, each $1/hour wage increase creates a ripple effect in spending, generating $1.20 in the local economy, potentially leading to further job growth.

“Gradually increasing Colorado’s minimum wage to $12 by 2020 is the right thing for businesses, said Yoav Lurie, CEO and Founder of Simple Energy. “Higher wages drive better results, give customers more money to spend in our businesses, and create a better business climate. That’s why the majority of business leaders support raising the minimum wage.”

The Denver Business Journal reports that, after considering a smaller minimum wage increase ballot measure of their own, business interests led by the Colorado Restaurant Association are going with straight opposition to any further minimum wage increase:

Leaders of the Keep Colorado Working effort argue, however, that the proposal is an extreme one, especially after a 2006 voter-approved minimum-wage hike has upped the bottom level of pay by 61 percent in the past 10 years.

And while they acknowledge that the issue is a popular populist cause that is likely to draw people to the polls — both presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her former challenger, Bernie Sanders, supported a national minimum-wage hike in their campaigns — they believe that they can reach voters by explaining what they say is the negative impact on local companies.

The effort is likely to spend between $2 million and $3 million, said Loren Furman, CACI senior vice president of state and federal relations.

We expect this to be a good fight. Support for raising the minimum wage is running high after years of organizing by the “Fight for 15” coalition and both Democratic presidential candidates making a call for a minimum wage a central part of their own campaigns. It’s true that Colorado passed a progressive minimum wage increase in 2006, but in 2016 the argument that $8.31 isn’t enough for any worker to survive on is easy to make.

On the other side, you have millions of dollars from opponents with a direct bottom-line interest in the lowest minimum wage possible, not to mention Donald Trump’s infamous view of the minimum wage: “wages are [too] high.” So yes, the fight over raising the minimum wage in Colorado will have a proxy warfare component, as the larger competing ideological poles in this year’s election duke it out for votes. If Trump gets drilled in November, Colorado’s most vulnerable working families could benefit in more ways than…well, than just Trump losing.

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 25)

Get More SmarterCompared to the Olympic Village in Rio, all of the accommodations in Philadelphia are 5-star locations. 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…

► The Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Philadelphia got underway on Monday with an unexpected jolt of controversy. As Politico reports:

Democrats on Monday struggled to contain the chaos that threatened to take hold in Philadelphia, as Debbie Wasserman Schultz bowed out of plans to gavel in the Democratic National Convention and restless Bernie Sanders’ supporters lashed out.

A day after the resignation of the embattled party chairwoman over a massive leak of emails showing disdain for Sanders’ campaign, the party could not escape the optics of a convention marred by discord, much like the Republicans’ the week before. And once again, Hillary Clinton has found herself ensnared in another email-related controversy.

Trouble started early Monday, when Wasserman Schultz’s debut at the convention proved disastrous. The Florida congresswoman as was heckled as she tried to speak before the Florida delegation breakfast, with some in the room yelling “Shame!”

By Monday afternoon, Wasserman Schultz had wisely decided to step aside as DNC Chair altogether. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the mayor of Baltimore, takes over as the gaveler-in-chief in Philadelphia.

Elsewhere, the Washington Post previews the DNC by asking (and answering) 10 important questions.

 

► Two prominent Colorado Democrats will be on the stage in Philadelphia for prominent speaking roles. House Democratic Leader Crisanta Duran, likely the next House Speaker should Democrats maintain control of the lower chamber, will tell the story of “Colorado, women, and Latinos” on Thursday evening. Governor John Hickenlooper is also scheduled to speak at the DNC later this week.

 

► There are conflicting reports about how far Gov. Hickenlooper really advanced in the Veepstakes to become Hillary Clinton’s running mate. Over the weekend, Clinton announced that she had tapped Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine for the VP role.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Tim Kaine: The Better Hickenlooper?

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA).

The New York Times reports on the selection of Sen. Tim Kaine as Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton’s running-mate: beating out a number of other “finalist” contenders including Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado:

Hillary Clinton named Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia to be her running mate Friday, selecting a battleground-state politician with working-class roots and a fluency in Spanish, traits that she believes can bolster her chances to defeat Donald J. Trump in November.

Mrs. Clinton’s choice, which she announced via text message to supporters, came after her advisers spent months poring over potential vice-presidential candidates who could lift the Democratic ticket in an unpredictable race against Mr. Trump…

Ultimately, Mrs. Clinton, who told PBS that she was “afflicted with the responsibility gene,” avoided taking a chance with a less experienced vice-presidential candidate and declined to push the historic nature of her candidacy by adding another woman or a minority to the ticket.

Instead, the campaign, which had become concerned about its deficit with white men, focused on Mr. Kaine and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and looked more closely at Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado. [Pols emphasis]

Sen. Tim Kaine is in many ways a safe pick for Clinton, being a relatively moderate white male politician in a key swing state. It’s true that those descriptors could also apply to our own Gov. Hickenlooper, although we’d say excepting Hickenlooper’s soft spot on energy issues he’s probably more of a “progressive” than Kaine is. With Clinton expected to run strongly to the middle in a bid to pick up support from Republicans who cannot bring themselves to vote for Donald Trump, Kaine can be regarded as a “ticket balancer” who will make the choice of Hillary more palatable.

Bottom line: this may not be the more exciting choice for the Democratic base, but Kaine is arguably closest to what Hillary needs to close the deal: with the broadest possible range of American voters.