Trumpalooza! Protests Rock Downtown Denver as Trump Speaks

UPDATE #2: CBS4’s Shaun Boyd, ouch–Trump couldn’t even fill the room:


UPDATE: A pro-Trump rally at 1PM on the West Steps of the Colorado Capitol appears to have fizzled:



Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

Lots of coverage coming in from the scene around the Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center today, where GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump addressed the conservative faithful while protesters and Trump supporters mixed it up outside. CBS4 Denver:

Law enforcement worked to control protesters in downtown Denver outside a conference featuring Donald Trump on Friday. Three people were arrested after clashes between protesters and supporters.

Protesters began gathering outside the Colorado Convention Center early Friday morning, where Donald Trump was scheduled to speak at 10:30 a.m. at the Western Conservative Summit.

By 11 a.m., protesters were seen fighting at 14th Street and California Street. Three people were arrested and SWAT teams from the Denver Police Department and the Denver Sheriff Department moved in to the crowd.

The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports:

Outside of the scuffle, Trump supporters and a much larger contingent of opponents mostly kept to fierce yelling matches, which included name calling and profanity, and that were monitored by police.

Carlee Flanagan, a 19-year-old University of Colorado Boulder student, arrived with her mother and two 14-year-old sisters before 9 a.m. She held a DUMP TRUMP poster decorated with poop emojis.

“I think we all feel that Donald Trump is an embarrassment to our country,” Flanagan said. “He’s a racist. He’s a bigot.”

Pro and anti-Trump protesters mingle.

Pro and anti-Trump protesters mingle.

Inside, the Post’s John Frank reports on Trump’s “rambling” speech–an attempt to smooth over rocky relations with Colorado Republicans who rejected Trump during the delegate hunt:

Trump opened his rambling 50-minute speech addressing the elephant in the room: his blistering attack on the state’s Republican Party’s delegate selection process. But he didn’t retreat from his criticism, referencing his loss in Colorado as many as four times.

“It’s alright,” he told a half empty ballroom at the Denver Convention Center. “It worked out. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Here we are.”

…Earlier in the day, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin eviscerated the “never Trump” crowd plotting against the billionaire businessman. “I just call them Republicans Against Trump, or RAT for short,” she said to big applause. [Pols emphasis]

Did Trump with special guest star Sarah Palin manage to placate Colorado’s party faithful? Was Trump’s appearance at the Western Conservative Summit worth the negative spectacle of protests outside, which is now an indelible part of the story?

“In the end, it doesn’t matter. Here we are.”

That actually may be the whole answer right there.

Trail of Evidence that Larry Mizel, Co-Chair of Trump Fundraiser, Owns the Colorado Statesman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Statesman publisher Jared Wright.

Colorado Statesman publisher Jared Wright.

It’s no surprise that Colorado Republican kingmaker Larry Mizel is a co-chair of today’s $10,000-per-couple lunch for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at the home of former Broncos’ coach Mike Shanahan.

But it inspired me to check out a tipster’s suggestion that I lay out a public trail of evidence showing that Mizel controls the Colorado Statesman, a political weekly that’s inserted as an ad in The Denver Post on Thursdays.

A search on the Colorado Secretary of State website reveals that the “trade name” of the Colorado Statesman is owned by “Mistro, LLC.”

The registered agent for Mistro is CVentures, Inc., and a simple Google search turns up numerous references to Larry Mizel as a director and chairman of the board of CVentures.

In 2008, Larry Mizel of “CVentures, Inc.,” gave $4,600 to Republican senatorial candidate Bob Schaffer, according to (So keep a close eye on the Statesman if Schaffer jumps into the U.S. Senate race next time.)

CVentures is located at 4350 S. Monaco St., Fifth Floor, which happens to be the corporate address of the giant homebuilding company, MDC Holdings. which Mizel founded in 1972 and for which he currently serves as director and chairman of the board.  MDC Holdings did not return a call from moi, if you can believe it.

A phone message at a number listed for CVentures on a Bloomberg “Company Overview of CVentures, Inc” was not returned either.

Why does this matter if Mizel owns the Statesman? Unlike me, who admits to a progressive orientation, the Statesman is claiming to be a traditional news outlet without any internal pull one way or the other. Playing it straight.

I trust some of the reporters at the Statesman and want to believe editor (and former GOP state legislator) Jared Wright when he says his goal is fairness, though anti-journalistic incidents, like one fill-in reporter doubling as a conservative political operative, have emerged. As well as other strangeness. And Wright doesn’t talk about Mizel.

So, to lesson concerns about Mizel hosting Trump fundraisers and to honor the journalistic ethics it aspires to reflect, the Statesman should tell its readers that it’s owned by one of the most powerful Republicans in the state of Colorado. Better yet, give Mizel a space to explain his intentions with the Statesman. And let readers take it from there.

A Few Words on Donald Trump and Larry Mizel

Larry Mizel.

Larry Mizel.

Ever since word broke earlier this week about a fundraiser for Donald Trump tomorrow at former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan’s house, we’ve heard a particular line of grumbling about another co-chair of tomorrow’s Trump fundraiser–homebuilder Larry Mizel, one of the state’s richest and most philanthropic citizens and a major Republican “kingmaker.”

Who happens to be Jewish.

Now we want–no, we need–to be explicitly clear that Mizel is by any estimation a champion of Jewish-American and Israeli interests. Mizel is a co-founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, one of the foremost anti-racism and anti-Semitism organizations in the world. Mizel is on the board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). Mizel created the Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL) in Denver to educate the public about the threat of international terrorism.

It is with this all in mind that we cite this report from Harretz two days ago. As respectfully as we may:

Donald Trump’s candidacy and his rhetoric on the campaign trail has presumably led to the uptick in racism and anti-Semitism in the U.S., the Anti-defamation League’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said on Monday.

“I’m not saying that Donald Trump is a racist or anti-Semite but the racists and anti-Semites have come out of the woodwork during this political season to support him,” Greenblatt told CNN’s Deborah Feyerick in an interview broadcast on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.

“This is not normal,” the ADL chief said, pointing to George Wallace’s run for U.S. president in the 1960′s as a similar example of “racism being inserted into the public conversation in a presidential election.” [Pols emphasis]

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

So, you’ve got the head of the Anti-Defamation League flat-out accusing Trump of causing an increase in “racism and anti-Semitism,” on the same day news breaks of Trump’s fundraiser in Denver with leading Jewish philanthropist Larry Mizel. The Jewish Virtual Library has a backgrounder on various anti-Semitic (or at least not very tasteful) statements from Trump over the years, and recently on the campaign trail:

Trump has been known to make anti-Semitic comments. In a 1991 book written by a former close colleague of Trump, the real-estate mogul is quoted as saying, “the only kind of people I want counting my money are little short guys that wear yarmulkes every day.” During a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition on December 3, 2015, Trump depended on age-old Jewish stereotypes to relate to the crowd and get his message across. Trump commented that he is a, “negotiator… like you folks,” and asked the crowd, “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?” Trump added that he thinks that the Jewish people are not going to support him because “I don’t want your money. And you want to control your own politicians.” These comments sparked backlash from Israeli news agencies, with the Times of Israel running a headline the next day that read,“Trump courts Republican Jews with offensive stereotypes.”

…In the wake of the November 13 Paris terror attacks, Trump stated that he would consider closing down all Mosques in the United States, tracking all U.S. Muslims within a database, and making all U.S. Muslims wear a “special identifier” if elected President. When asked how these ideas differ from how Hitler tracked down and identified Jews during the Holocaust, Donald Trump simply stated to the camera “you tell me.” Trump suggested that we should ban Muslims from coming into the United States in early December 2015, a comment White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “disqualifies him from serving as President.”

Trump announced plans to visit Israel and meet with Netanyahu in late 2015, and a date was set for December 28. After Trump made offensive comments about banning all Muslims from entering the United States days after the announcement, Netanyahu cancelled the meeting and issued a statement condemning his Islamophobic rhetoric. [Pols emphasis]

There is plenty more we could cite here, like the Times of Israel’s timeline of Trump’s anti-Semitic controversies. All of this is longstanding public knowledge. Trump’s failure to make a clean break with the racist elements of society he has energized, purposefully or not, is emerging as a major theme of his campaign for President.

“The fact of the matter is, his failure to reject and repudiate their racism, their anti-Semitism, and their hate, with the same clear terms that he has used in the presidential debates, that he has used in his rallies, or that he has used about the other candidates, that lack of symmetry in the way he talks about white supremacists and racists, has helped to mainstream them into this political conversation,” Greenblatt said during an interview with Israel’s Channel 1. “And that’s what we find so problematic.”

And with that, we must ask the question: why doesn’t Mizel find it problematic?

Because he should. If anybody should, Larry Mizel should.

Glenn Says His CO Convention Speech “Wasn’t Me” But “Holy Spirit” Instead

(Why not? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Darryl Glenn.

Darryl Glenn.

Left out of much of the coverage of Darryl Glenn’s victory Tuesday is the fact that he’s a full-throttle supporter of a personhood abortion ban, according to Colorado Right to Life.

Glenn’s support of personhood apparently stems from his deep religious beliefs, which he spotlights frequently on the campaign trail.

For example, as I reference in a Rewire post today on the implications of Glenn’s personhood stance, Glenn discussed the importance of religion to him and his campaign in an April 11 interview on Colorado Springs radio about his speech at the Republican state convention:

RANDALL:  You were the one who brought it all.  And yours – if they were going to listen to one speech, including Ted Cruz – no offense—yours was the one to listen to.  There’s a lot of passion in you.  Where does the passion come from?

GLENN:Well, that wasn’t me.  That was the Holy Spirit coming through, just speaking the truth.

RANDALL:  Seriously!?

GLENN:  Absolutely.  This campaign has always been about honoring and serving God and stepping up and doing the right thing.

RANDALL:  Then I got to tell you what:  It’s a powerful thing.  I’ve always been baffled at how the Holy Spirit works. […]  but if you are the conduit, and that is what is coming out of you, then it is a powerful, powerful thing!

Based on this, it would be interesting to know what Glenn thinks of the separation between church and state, but it’s clear that he takes his religious beliefs seriously.

“Not Like Other Republicans”–Coffman’s Most Craven Ad Ever

Here’s the debut ad from perennially embattled incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman, meant to re-introduce himself to the culturally diverse voters of the swing Sixth District. This ad features citizens from a range of ethnicities telling stories about how they met Mike Coffman: at an Ethiopian community fundraising event, as well as him being “very involved” in the Chinese and Korean communities–and a “real leader” on immigration reform.

The whole ad builds up to the key line delivered by a young woman, “he’s not like other Republicans.”

Folks, there’s no way to call this a bad ad, because it’s actually quite good. This is exactly the kind of sanitized, pleasing image that Coffman wants to send to the voters of CD-6. Watching this ad, it’s almost impossible to imagine this being the same Mike Coffman who called Social Security a “Ponzi scheme,” claimed President Barack Obama “is not an American,” or who tried to limit the availability of multilingual ballots back when he represented Tom Tancredo’s old stomping ground.

If you don’t know about Coffman’s true record, this ad could easily sway a ticket-splitting swing voter, who is repelled by Donald Trump but feels obliged to “compensate” for not voting Republican at the top of the ticket. It’s up to Coffman’s opponent, and also to our local media, to make sure Coffman’s unsanitized history gets told.

If that doesn’t happen, Coffman could well soft-light his way right into another term.

Time to Honor a Colorado Public Servant

(Armstrong has been fighting cancer and is reportedly not doing well — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen_William_L_ArmstrongMany times we raucously and vigorously debate issues, candidates, and the political world we live in but tonight is a time to thank someone who is gravely ill for his service to our state and our nation. United States Senator Bill Armstrong (R-CO) served Colorado for nearly three decades as a state representative, state senator, three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and two terms in the United States Senate. Regardless of his political philosophy or stands on issues, he was foremost a gentleman to everyone, including those with opposing viewpoints. He was always well informed and prepared to defend his positions.

After his public service was completed in 1990, he continues to this day to serve our young people as President of Colorado Christian University. His deeply held and sincere Christian faith has set a standard of conduct that everyone can appreciate and emulate.

Public service, especially elected office, requires great sacrifices by elected officials and their families. Senator Armstrong made those sacrifices on our behalf. Tonight please offer your thoughts and prayers to him and his family.

Who Weeps For Doctors Chaps and Nick?

Gordon Klingenschmitt, Janak Joshi.

Gordon Klingenschmitt, Janak Joshi.

Two incumbent Republican members of the legislature from Colorado Springs responsible for a lot of negative press lost their seats in yesterday’s primary elections, results that seem likely to manifest in further GOP infighting down the road–even as some more socially well-adjusted Republicans breathe a small sigh of relief today. The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Rachel Riley reports on the long-awaited ouster of Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt in the SD-12 primary:

“I work hard to establish God’s kingdom, not my own, and, as you know, God’s will is not always done in this world,” Klingenschmitt told dozens of supporters beneath model airliners hanging from the ceiling…

Klingenschmitt fielded handshakes and pats on the back from throngs of supporters encouraging him to keep faith.

“I thank God for the opportunity to run a clean race on my side, even if that was not reciprocated,” he said in an interview. “I’m disappointed that people can lie, steal and cheat and violate their cadet honor oath and still win elections. I kept my cadet honor oath, and I ran with integrity, and I hold my head high.”

On Facebook, Colorado’s most (in)famous Republican lawmaker, who freely accused his detractors of being possessed by demons, implied gay scoutmasters should be “drowned in the depths of the sea,” and claimed Rep. Jared Polis wants to behead Christians like ISIS, sounds like he’s finally ready for the Second Coming:

In all my endeavors I have tried simply to establish the kingdom of God on this earth. In Luke 19, Jesus commands us to occupy until he comes. But in verse 14 of the parable of the talents, the citizens did not want God’s appointed steward to rule over them. At the end of the story, the King returns and takes his throne. I look forward to His return, and I want only Christ to rule my heart and world. Maranatha. Come quickly, Lord.

nickOver in House District 16, once-and-future Rep. Larry Liston is celebrating his hard-fought win over incumbent Rep. Janak “Dr. Nick” Joshi. The Liston vs. Joshi race featured some of the nastiest red-on-red attacks in any Colorado election this primary season, and as the Gazette’s Ellie Mulder reports, don’t look for them to kiss and make up anytime soon:

Liston told The Gazette in early June that he entered the race because he heard complaints about Joshi’s lack of community involvement.

“People know me and they trust me,” Liston said in the June 15 interview. “They appreciate the fact that I run a clean, above-board, issue-oriented campaign and not a sleazy gutter campaign like my opponent.”

Meanwhile, the Committee to Elect Janak Joshi created the website

“We wanted to show people who is telling the truth,” Joshi said in the interview. “We have all the evidence of everything we’re saying. That’s why we have this web page, so people can go and check it out themselves.”

Joshi’s campaign positively threw the kitchen sink at Liston, attacking him on bipartisan votes like the state’s health insurance exchange, dubiously using photos of Liston from “Hummer” skits at the legislature against him, a huge violation of decorum–and even finding a senior citizen willing to accuse Liston without any supporting evidence of beating her up.

In response, Liston had his own legislative record, Joshi’s lack of engagement in the district, and (of course) the fact that “Dr.” Joshi lost his medical license before being elected to the legislature–a fact that for whatever reason Joshi managed to keep from media scrutiny for his entire House career.

In both Chaps’ and Joshi’s cases, these are lawmakers whose base of support was always on the far right of the Republican political spectrum. Although defeated last night in what appears to be only a partly successful attempt at an intraparty “purge,” the hard right isn’t going away. Whether these men or new “whacktivist” contenders, you can be assured that they’ll be back. They’ll be angrier than ever. And they’ll win seats.

For today, though, you can celebrate a couple of baby steps toward relative sanity.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 29)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Still holding onto that Primary ballot? Consider making a nice paper airplane. 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.


► The five-way Republican race for the U.S. Senate nomination came to a conclusion on Tuesday night with a surprisingly-easy victory for El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. With nearly 36% of the Republican vote, Glenn easily held off his nearest challenger; Jack Graham finished a distant second with slightly more than 24%.

The biggest winner in the Senate race appears to be Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. Republicans in Colorado and around the country are openly admitting long odds for Glenn to knock off Bennet in November.


► There were a lot of uncontested Primary races on the ballot on Tuesday, so we broke down the results to give you the numbers on the most notable Primary fights.


► We’ve updated The Big Line following Tuesday’s Primary. We predicted the correct order of finish in the GOP Senate race for the top three spots (Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, and Robert Blaha).



Get even more smarter after the jump…


Colorado is First Again

(We like making history – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

flag-decorative-transgender02_1Among the big stories of Tuesday night’s primary, there is a story that I think is a bigger deal than it’s coverage would indicate.

As the New York Daily News reports, Colorado tied with Utah as the first states to nominate openly transgender candidates for Congress.

Two women have become the first transgender candidates to gain a major party nominations to Congress after Democratic primary wins.

Colorado’s Secretary of State website still showed one county left to be tallied in Plowright’s race, though she led Donald Martinez by more than 16 points and local media had called the race for her.

On her campaign website the 33-year-old former Microsoft employee describes herself as “an Army veteran, a self-educated woman, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and a passionate social democrat.”

She will face Douglas Lamborn, a Republican incumbent running for his sixth term in the House who has had a series of easy wins for the positions in general elections and easily defeated a primary challenger on Tuesday.

Misty Plowright defeated Donald Martinez in CD-5, and will now go on to face Doug Lamborn in the general election. Neither of the two candidates featured in the article are likely to win their elections in November, but nonetheless, this is a milestone worthy of notice.

Michael Bennet Big Winner After GOP Senate Primary

Sen. Michael Bennet and GOP nominee Darryl Glenn

Sen. Michael Bennet and GOP nominee Darryl Glenn

As the Washington Post reports this morning, Republicans are feeling glum about the chances of GOP nominee Darryl Glenn (R-Colorado Springs) knocking off incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) in November. In fact, the Post goes so far as to say that “Senate Republicans are basically writing off Colorado”:

Republicans can’t afford any mistakes, and Tuesday’s GOP primary in Colorado looks like it qualifies. In that swing state, Sen. Michael Bennet is one of Senate Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents — or at least he was supposed to be. Republicans stumbled to find a credible challenger, and a messy, chaotic primary ended Tuesday with the one candidate Senate Republican operatives really, really didn’t want to win: El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn. [Pols emphasis]

…Glenn turned a shoestring primary campaign into a victory. The problem is that he’ll have to repeat that all over again to have a chance in the general election. It’s a long shot — so much so that his own party doesn’t really see a path to victory.

In the overarching race for control of the Senate, Senate Republicans just took a big hit.

Republicans have already reserved some $40 million of air time for TV ads in key states; tellingly, Colorado is not one of them.

Key Race Watch: Primary Election Results

The Primary Election is (finally) complete. You can view the complete election results at this link via the Secretary of State’s website, but for your convenience, we’ve rounded up the results in some of the most-watched Primary races (we’re assuming you already know what happened in the Senate race).

There are only a few races that were close enough that it may still be too early too declare a winner, such as the 3-way Republican Primary in SD-4 (Douglas County), where Jim Smallwood leads Benjamin Lyng by less than 100 votes (5,858 — 5,789 as of this writing). In HD-7 (Denver), Democrat James Rashad Coleman leads Michele Wheeler by a slim margin as well (2,609 — 2,529 as of this writing).

Click after the jump for the full list of key race results…