Get More Smarter on Friday (July 22)

Get More SmarterGoodbye, Cleveland; hello, Philadelphia. 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…

► Donald Trump formally accepted the Republican nomination for President on Thursday to wrap up the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Trump delivered a very long speech that seemed intended to scare voters more than inspire them to jump onboard the Big Orange Bus, as the Washington Post explains:

The language he used was as dark and ominous as in any acceptance speech in recent memory, and what he promised to fix was a mess that he laid directly at the feet of Clinton, the former secretary of state and wife of former president Bill Clinton, as well as at the feet of President Obama.

Running through a litany of problems in the Middle East that have happened over the past seven-plus years, Trump said of his rival: “The legacy of Hillary Clinton is death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”…

…Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, had promised earlier in the week that Trump would campaign on a theme of law and order, a theme that was largely unspoken through much of the early months of Trump’s candidacy.

On Thursday, Trump embraced that message in the opening minutes of his speech, asserting that this is a “moment of crisis” for the country that threatens “our very way of life.” He painted a picture of an America out of control, with rising crime in big cities, police being shot and illegal immigrants streaming across the border.

“Beginning on January 20th of 2017, safety will be restored,” he said.

In a separate story about Trump’s acceptance speech, James Hohmann of the Washington Post summed up the remarks thusly:

Trump essentially used the most important speech of his campaign – and perhaps political career – to yell fire in a crowded theatre.

The Associated Press did some fact-checking on Trump’s acceptance speech, pointing out several problems with his statements on the economy, immigration, and — of course — Hillary Clinton.

 

► With the Republican Norovirus Convention coming to an end in Cleveland, John Frank of the Denver Post notes the continued defiance from Colorado delegates:

Colorado’s delegates remain reluctant to support Donald Trump, which is to say most of them will vote for the Republican nominee despite their bad history.

This is what it looked like Thursday night —  Donald Trump hit one of his big applause lines in his acceptance speech Thursday night at the Republican National Convention and his screaming fans jumped to their feet.

The Colorado delegation, for the most part, remained in their seats. Some clapped. Others sat arms crossed.

“Look at stubborn Colorado,” a Georgia delegate and Trump campaign surrogate snorted from behind the delegation’s seats.

Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” offers up his Winners and Losers from Day Four of the RNC.

 

► It appears increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will name Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. From Politico:

Hillary Clinton’s veepstakes is ending the way it began: with the humble-but-sturdy Tim Kaine sitting at the top of her list.

After an extensive, months-long process during which the campaign considered a host of different options — even vetting a serious candidate from outside the political arena — the squeaky-clean Virginia senator, whose biggest liability to emerge was that he was boring, is emerging as Clinton’s top choice. Kaine has been urged along by two men familiar with the demands of the job: President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton, those close to the process say.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 21)

Get More SmarterThe norovirus celebration in Cleveland comes to an official end tonight. 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…

► Former Republican Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz emerged as the biggest story from Day Three of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, overshadowing an evening that was supposed to belong to Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence. The big news from Cruz was his pointed refusal to endorse Donald Trump as the Republican nominee for President, a gambit that appears to be backfiring already. From the Washington Post:

Ted Cruz is on the defensive after he gambled his political career on refusing to endorse Donald Trump, with key allies turning on him and members of his home-state delegation questioning his motives.

After his dramatic prime-time speech here last night to the Republican convention, after which he left the stage to loud boos and was then refused entry into an angry Sheldon Adelson’s suite, the runner-up for the nomination came under friendly fire during a surreal Texas delegation breakfast.

As some chanted “Trump, Trump, Trump,” Cruz argued that the less courageous route would have been to skip the convention. He said he called Trump three days ago to say he wouldn’t endorse him. “Why not,” someone yelled from the crowd. “I’m happy to answer that, but I won’t engage in a screaming fight,” the senator replied…

…Another Texan asked him how he could go back on his pledge, made during a Fox News debate last summer in the very arena where he delivered his speech last night, to support whomever wins the GOP nomination. Cruz said Trump “abrogated” the pledge with “personal” attacks on his wife’s looks and by suggesting that his dad was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “I’m not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” he said.

Cruz’s refusal to endorse Trump is obviously a longer-term political gamble that assumes Trump will lose badly in the General Election to Democrat Hillary Clinton. A likely Presidential candidate again in 2020, Cruz is also hoping that Republicans either forget his dismissal of the GOP nominee or somehow come to view the move as a principled political stance rather than a selfish grab for the spotlight. We may get the answer to this question fairly soon; much depends on whether or not Cruz’s non-endorsement actually moves the needle in a negative way for Trump or is generally ignored by GOP voters.

 

► Donald Trump will accept the Republican nomination for President tonight at the RNC in Cleveland (theoretically, at least). The success of the Convention in general may hinge on Trumps’ performance.

 

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is not likely to be named as Hillary Clinton’s running mate on a Democratic ticket this fall. From the Denver Post:

Hillary Clinton may name her choice for vice president as early as Friday, and despite repeated flirtations, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is not expected to propose to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Instead, three other Democrats — U.S. Sen. Timothy Kaine of Virginia, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Labor Secretary Tom Perez — emerged this week as more likely picks to join the Clinton ticket.

Rumors about a potential Vice Presidential slot for Hickenlooper have been ongoing for months now, reaching their peak last week after Hickenlooper met with Hillary at her home in Washington D.C. We can’t say we’re surprised by this — while Hick was certainly in the discussion at some point, there was never any strong indication that he had cracked the Top 3 on Clinton’s wish list. On the plus side for Hickenlooper and his supporters, it seems very likely that the Governor could end up with a Cabinet appointment in a potential Clinton administration.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 20)

Get More SmarterToday is the 47th anniversary of the first manned moon landing (if you believe in that sort of thing). 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…

► We can finally dismiss with the formality of calling Donald Trump the “presumptive” Republican nominee for President; on Tuesday delegates at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland made it official. Trump’s formal nomination came despite continued protests from Colorado’s delegation. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, Colorado Republicans are being shunned as a result of their un-Trumpiness:

Colorado is the troublemaker at the Republican National Convention. And Donald Trump — many delegates believe — put them in the corner as a punishment.

The rebuke is obvious when you look at the red-carpeted convention floor. The seats for the state’s 37-member delegation are as far as possible from the stage in a not-so-subtle signal that it remains a “Never Trump” stronghold.

From its back-corner position Tuesday, Colorado defiantly cast 31 of its 37 votes for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, drawing boos from the crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Only four delegates declared support for Trump.

To make matters worse, the state later requested a correction to its tally to add two more delegates for Cruz after the first tally was announced with an error.

Colorado’s defiance didn’t make any difference in the results on Tuesday, as a rumored last-ditch anti-Trump protest failed to materialize.

 

► Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, takes center stage at the RNC tonight in his first real introduction to a national audience.

 

► Colorado will not see a fall ballot measure to suspend TABOR refunds after supporters announced that they were not able to generate sufficient resources to qualify for a November campaign. As Ernest Luning writes for the Colorado Statesman:

Supporters of a state ballot measure to set a 10-year time-out on TABOR revenue restrictions called it quits Tuesday, blaming what could be a crowded fall ballot, the high cost of getting across a complicated argument to voters and an “uncertain political climate.”

“In November, Colorado voters are going to be asked to decide on up to 10 statewide ballot initiatives, dozens of candidates as well as local ballot initiatives,” said Colorado Priorities co-chairs Dan Ritchie and Al Yates in a joint statement. “The crowded ballot has made it difficult to secure the resources necessary for us to win in November.”

The ballot measure would have asked voters to approve spending tax revenue — regardless of restrictions on revenue growth under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights — on education, transportation, mental health and services for seniors.

The proposal was one of several that emerged from Ritchie’s Building a Better Colorado effort, which was aimed at determining what state residents want from government and charting a course to get them there.

Colorado Priorities says that the proposed measure was polling very well in early testing.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 19)

Get More SmarterIf you catch any phrases below that look familiar, it’s probably the fault of a rogue speechwriter. 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…

► If there is a ray of hope for Republicans after a disastrous first day of the Republican National Convention, it may be as simple as this: It (probably) can’t get any worse in Cleveland. As Ron Fournier reports for The Atlantic:

Trump and his four-day infomercial are about to become laughingstocks—unless he quickly figures how to manage an enterprise far smaller and less complicated than the U.S. government.

A divisive first day of the GOP presidential convention turned to disaster late Monday night when the denizens of social media discovered that the candidate’s wife, Melania Trump, had plagiarized Michelle Obama’s 2008 convention speech. As you can see here, large portions of the speeches overlap in a way that can’t be blamed on coincidence.

The Trump campaign, as if often does, disputed the indisputable.

It’s difficult to pick the biggest story from Day One of the RNC, but you could certainly cite charges of plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech on Monday evening. The Trump campaign was spending much of the day on Tuesday working on damage control.

As disasters go, you could also point to an afternoon delegate challenge of Trump as the Republican Presidential nominee as the big story of the day. An effort to force a state-by-state roll call vote, which was driven in part by Colorado’s Republican delegation, was shut down when Rep. Steve Womack appeared on stage (twice) to declare the challenge a failure.

 

► John Frank of the Denver Post has more on Monday’s delegate revolt against Donald Trump that included significant involvement from Colorado’s GOP delegation:

Republican leaders moved quickly to silence the effort — eager to present an image of unity despite a fractured party — and approved the rules on a debatable voice-vote that sparked a shouting match on the floor…

…“We were just completely robbed,” said Kendal Unruh, a Colorado delegate and a leader in the “Free the Delegates” movement that is part of the Delegates Unbound coalition scheming to upset Trump.

 

► Colorado Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn had a prime-time speaking role during the RNC on Monday evening that fell completely flat. Glenn’s speech was going to be overshadowed by earlier events at the RNC — as well as Melania Trump’s plagiarized remarks later in the evening — but Glenn didn’t help himself by delivering the same red meat cliche-ridden speech that helped him capture top line at the Colorado Republican Convention in April.

Here’s what Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” had to say about Glenn’s remarks in calling the El Paso County Commissioners one of the “Losers” of Day One:

A series of hackneyed one-liners (Hillary in an orange jumpsuit etc.) and blatant appeals for applause (stand up and cheer for blue lives) were bad enough. But this Glenn line put me over the edge: “Someone with a nice tan needs to say this. All lives matter.”  Oomph.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Celebrity state house candidate won’t say whether he’ll vote for Trump

(Don’t ask “questions” about “issues,” I’m a reality TV star! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

What does it take to score national media coverage even before you decide to run for a northwest Denver state house seat? Try being the star of ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelor.”

Bachelor star Ben Higgins has been stacking up the news coverage for his decision to run, as a Republican, for Colorado House District 4, which is an incredibly progressive northwest Denver district. I should know; I live there. Voters in HD 4 sent Democrat Dan Pabon into office with a 78 to 22 percent margin in 2014, and it’s hard to imagine his DUI arrest would turn voters to any Republican.

So how is Higgins possibly going to win in HD4? Is Higgins going to be some kind of anti-Republican Republican?

News coverage of the race didn’t illuminate his specific policy positions. So I called him with questions, and he had time to answer four on my list, leaving 21 queries for later, I hope.

This week, the biggest question for Republicans like Higgins is, will they vote for their party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump?

“How everybody votes is up to them,” said Higgins, declining to answer my question of whether he’d vote for Trump.

It’s a “good thing” that Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is from Indiana, said Higgins, who’s also from Indiana, but he doesn’t know enough about Pence, a right-wing conservative, to comment on him.

Higgins would not say whether he’s pro-choice.

“My goal as a representative will be to listen to people’s stories,” said Higgins. “We can get in the weeds and the gray areas all the time. When it comes to any social issue, my decisions we be based on my foundation, which is my faith, and I will listen to people’s stories.”

Colorado Statesman referred to Higgins’ Christian faith, but Higgins has not detailed how it would play into the mix in his policy decisions.  From the Statesman:

While producers didn’t emphasize it on the show’s 20th season, fans have flocked to Higgins in part because of his strong Christian faith, demonstrated by a prominent tattoo that has been visible in his shirtless appearances on the show and on social media. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed — Proverbs 16:34,” the tattoo reads. (It should read “Proverbs 16:3,” Higgins acknowledges, but the tattoo artist mistakenly added a “4.”)

The business analyst from Warsaw, Indiana, was considered “such a catch” that contestants competed for his affection more intensely than in any previous season, The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss told E! News in January.

Asked about gay marriage, Higgins said, “I am about everything that makes people happy. I believe love is love.”

(more…)

Sorry, Jon Caldara: Bustang’s a Hit

BustangHiResAs the Denver Business Journal’s Cathy Proctor reported last week:

Bustang, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s foray into regular statewide bus service, had a stellar first year, according to the agency better known for road and highway construction…

The agency had forecasted Bustang’s first year ridership at 87,376.

Actual ridership was 17 percent higher, with a total of 102,577 people taking Bustang through the end of June, said Bob Wilson, a CDOT spokesman.

CDOT expected revenues from paid fares to hit $647,817 for Bustang’s first year.

Instead, the actual revenue was 57 percent higher, with $1,014,781 recorded through the end of June, Wilson said.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Dennis Webb reported this weekend, with the success of the system’s first year there is growing interest in expanding the Bustang service west:

The first-year success of the new state transit service called Bustang is spurring increased hopes of it one day galloping past Glenwood Springs to serve Grand Junction as well…

Wilson said the idea of extending the western service to Grand Junction is on the agency’s radar. There’s just no timetable for it occurring, and any expansion would require approval from the state Transportation Commission, whether additional funding is required or not.

“But extending it from Glenwood to Grand Junction is part of the plan,” [CDOT spokesman Bob] Wilson said. “… It’s become more likely as time has gone on because of the success of the west route.”

This story takes on added political significance because in this year’s legislative session, Republicans introduced legislation to eliminate funding for the Bustang system entirely. Even with income and ridership exceeding expectations, fares aren’t enough to cover the total budget for the Bustang service. The system is funded in part by revenues from the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act of 2009 (FASTER) fee program. Longtime readers will recall that Republicans bitterly fought against FASTER as a violation of at least the spirit of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR), suing and losing all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court–and perennially vowing revenge at the ballot box for this skewering of their most sacred cow.

Well folks, now they’d be taking something away that benefits voters. It’s easy to understand why even the conservative bastion of Grand Junction would want this additional transportation option. The practicalities run up against their rigid ideology, and ideology loses.

And with apologies to the ideologues, that’s how it should be.

Another Far-Right Reality TV Star Runs for Office

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

As FOX 31 reports, it’s not just Donald Trump anymore! Ben Higgins, a conservative Republican who starred in ABC’s The Bachelor reality TV program, is officially running for the Colorado General Assembly in west Denver’s strongly blue House District 4:

Ben Higgins of “The Bachelor” fame is running for the state house in Colorado.

FOX31 Denver political reporter Joe St. George confirmed the information Friday night.

Higgins is a Republican and he will take on incumbent Democrat Dan Pabon in District 4.

Republicans are reportedly very excited about Higgins running, citing his name ID and…well, not much else. The reason is simple: HD-4 is one of the state’s most solidly Democratic districts. In 2014, a Republican “wave year,” Dan Pabon beat his Republican opponent with almost 80% of the vote. As an avowed Christian conservative Republican, Higgins’ agenda is nothing short of antithetical to the interests of the voters he is courting.

Once you realize that, the fool’s errand of Higgins’ run becomes apparent. Although there surely are voters who might be swayed by the superficial appeal of a reality TV candidate they are familiar with, we strongly suspect that the district’s diverse, worldly, and highly educated voters will find what Higgins actually stands for to be repugnant. Past the glitzy appeal of a television star running for office, Higgins simply has nothing to offer HD-4.

Whatever Higgins’ personal (not to mention commercial) aspirations may be in running for office, honest Republicans we’ve talked to consider this race to be more of a “resource sink”–forcing Democrats to spend money defending a seat that otherwise should not be on the table. In addition, Higgins is reportedly set to be filmed by a reality TV crew throughout his run for office, which could raise novel campaign finance issues.

We’d say forcing Democrats to divert resources to hold a “safe” seat is the best case scenario here for Republicans. In the worst case, the voters of HD-4 thrash Higgins so badly that the whole exercise simply does further damage to the Republican brand.

We say “further damage” out of deference to Higgins’ fellow reality TV star at the top of the ticket.

Trump Supporter Who Poisoned Groundwater Places Trump Billboards on I76

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The plains roll on for hundreds of miles  under blank blue skies near Roggen, Colorado. Sage, scrub grass, fracking tanks, and a few cattle dot the vast landscape.  Roggen itself is a ghost of its former prosperity – the town consists of a grain elevator, a telephone co-op,  two churches, a convenience store, and a post office.

Yet, Roggen boasts two new roadside attractions: gigantic “Trump for President” billboards facing west and east, placed to catch the eyes of all travelers along I76.

Trump billboard on Cervi’s land near Roggen, CO

I wanted to find out who felt strongly enough about Mr. Trump’s candidacy to build, paint, and place these monumental political advertisements in this desolate area. I investigated, and found a family saga rooted in the heyday of Colorado political journalism, in the gas and oil boom years, including rodeo circuit stardom and family tragedy, and the criminal indictment and sentencing of the landowner, Mr. Mike Cervi, for violating the Safe Water Act by injecting petroleum wastes into the High Plains / Ogalalla Aquifer from 2001 – 2002.

Cervi’s Journal – the founding Cervi business

Eugene Cervi produced and edited Cervi’s Rocky Mountain Business Journal in Denver from 1954 until his death in 1970.   Cervi’s Journal later became the Denver Business Journal. “Gene” and his daughter, editor Cle Symons Cervi, were both inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.   Gene Cervi was twice Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, although he was critical of JFK. Later in his career, the “Journal” became more conservative and more pro-business in viewpoint.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 13)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenJulius Caesar may or may not have been born on this day a long time ago; we’re not doing the math regardless. 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…

A new poll from Monmouth University has Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 13 points in Colorado — the same margin that Sen. Michael Bennet holds over Republican nominee Darryl Glenn. Both Clinton and Bennet are also doing well in Colorado according to data from Republican polling outfit Harper Polling. As the Denver Post reports:

The survey by Harper Polling found that Sen. Bennet had a 46 percent to 40 percent advantage over Republican rival Darryl Glenn. Clinton, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for president, was ahead 45 percent to 38 percent over presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump…

…“Glenn receives less support from Republicans (78 percent) than Bennet does from Democrats (83 percent), a result of lower name identification for Glenn among party voters,” noted Harper Polling. “Bennet holds a comfortable lead among Democratic-leaning moderates (32-48 percent) but Glenn narrows his lead to just 4 percent among independent voters (33-37 percent).”

Less comforting for Bennet, however, is that it was a tie at 38 percent as to whether he deserves re-election versus the feeling that it’s time to give someone new a chance.

We’d take that last caveat with more than one grain of salt, since poll respondents are often inclined to be more interested in something new when the question is this generic. The fact that Glenn receives less support from Republicans than Bennet does from Democrats is much more relevant in our mind, because those numbers aren’t likely to improve for Glenn given his low name ID and far-right policy beliefs. And with the Monmouth University poll showing Bennet with a 13-point lead, it’s safe to say that Bennet is comfortably ahead at this point in the race.

The Colorado Springs Independent ponders whether Glenn will continue to exceed expectations in his bid for U.S. Senate or ultimately flame out in November. If you’re playing at home, go with choice #2.

 

► We’re still waiting to hear who Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump will choose as his running mate in advance of next week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. While the list of potential Vice Presidential candidates hasn’t been particularly robust for Trump — many top names in the Republican Party want no part of this mess — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence may need Trump more than Trump needs him. From the Washington Post:

Pence risks looking desperate as he all but pleads for the job. During their joint appearance outside Indianapolis, it felt at times like the governor wants to be rescued from having to stand for reelection this November…

…A major reason Pence wants to be Trump’s running-mate so badly is that he could lose his bid for a second term.

— All along, the Democratic theory of the case to beat Pence this fall has been to define him as “distracted.” He ran promising to focus on jobs and education, but his tenure has been overshadowed and defined by culture war clashes, from a botched religious freedom bill (which he had to “fix” under pressure) to new restrictions on abortion.

If you aren’t catching the whiff of desperation from Pence, consider this comment from Pence during a Trump rally on Tuesday: “Trump understands the frustrations and the hopes of the American people like no other American leader in my lifetime since Ronald Reagan.”

Just 10 weeks ago, Pence endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for President.

 

► Colorado delegates may be at the front of the line in an “anti-Trump” movement during next week’s GOP National Convention. Shaun Boyd has more for CBS4 Denver.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Monday (July 11)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenHot enough for ya? 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…

► Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump says he will make up his mind on choosing a running mate within the next couple of days. From “The Fix”:

“I have 5 people including the General [Michael T. Flynn],” Trump told me in a 25-minute phone conversation Mondaymorning. “I do like the military but I do very much like the political.” Trump added that “in my mind I have someone that would be really good.”

While Trump was careful not to eliminate Flynn, it was clear that he believed picking someone “political” was the right move, meaning, presumably, that former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin are in his final four.

Trump is working with a relatively small list of contenders in large part because most potential VP candidates on the Republican side want nothing to do with His Hairness. The Republican National Convention kicks off next week in Cleveland, OH.

 

► Colorado Republican candidates who were hoping for a strong “ground game” this fall — organized through the Presidential ticket — had better start looking at Plan B. The likes of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and 2016 GOP Senate nominee Darryl Glenn are traveling around Colorado on some sort of “unity tour,” but the mood among Colorado Republicans is far from festive.

The Associated Press has more on the GOP’s ground game troubles from a national perspective:

Presidential battleground states were supposed to be swarming with Republican Party workers by now.

“We’ve moved on to thousands and thousands of employees,” party chairman Reince Priebus declared in March, contrasting that with the GOP’s late-blooming staffing four years earlier. “We are covering districts across this country in ways that we’ve never had before.”

That hasn’t exactly happened, a state-by-state review conducted by The Associated Press has found.

With early voting beginning in less than three months in some states, the review reveals that the national GOP has delivered only a fraction of the ground forces detailed in discussions with state leaders earlier in the year. And that is leaving anxious local officials waiting for reinforcements to keep pace with Democrat Hillary Clinton in the states that matter most in 2016.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Caption This: Donald Trump, Meet Rep. Clarice Navarro

Here’s a photo proudly posted to the Twitter feed of Republican Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo, taken at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver earlier this month:

trumpclarice2

Rep. Navarro is considered an important bridgehead for the GOP in an area of the state with a large and swingy population. HD-47 stretches from Penrose and suburban Pueblo West through to La Junta along the Arkansas River valley. The district features large Latino, Mormon, and agriculture-reliant populations. In 2012, the last presidential election year, Navarro won her seat by a relatively narrow 51.7% margin.

And now, depending on the ability of Navarro’s underdog Democratic opponent Jason Munoz to get the word out, HD-47 has this photo to think about. In Southern Colorado politics, one of the worst things you can be accused of is “going Denver”–getting elected, and then promptly forgetting the interests of the people who elected you once you arrive in the state capitol.

In HD-47, Donald Trump might provoke a more visceral response than “going Denver.”

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Read this, then go outside and get some fresh air. 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…

► Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others injured by a sniper targeting police during a protest against police violence. From CNN:

The ambush began with gunshots that killed five officers and sent screaming crowds scrambling for cover. It ended when a Dallas police bomb squad robot killed a gunman after negotiations failed.

Now investigators are trying to piece together answers to key questions: Who was responsible for the shootings, which began Thursday night during a protest against police violence and left parts of downtown Dallas under siege for hours? And are any other suspects on the loose?

The deadly gunfire erupted in Dallas as videos showing two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota spurred protests and debate over police use of force across the country.

The Dallas sniper attacks are yet another horrific example of violent gun crime in America, and the deadliest single day for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. In the wake of the shootings, the spokesperson for the Colorado Senate Republicans inexplicably and disgustingly took to social media to blame President Obama for the attacks. As we wrote earlier today:

In short, to call this response to the Dallas shootings from the Colorado Senate Republicans outrageous is a considerable understatement. It may not quite rate as badly as former Rep. Joe Walsh’s declaration of war, but it’s so far from appropriate the morning after this tragedy that it shocks the conscience in nonpartisan terms.

Sean Paige, the mouthpiece for the Senate Republicans, is a former editor at the Colorado Springs Gazette and staffer at the Koch brothers-funded “Americans for Prosperity.”

 

► Jason Salzman catches a curious edit to an archived story in the Denver Post, in which a quote from Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) about his marriage to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has been mysteriously removed. The former Post reporter who wrote the original story, Lynn Bartels, confirms the missing quote’s existence.

 

► If you thought that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was above the kind of silly political bickering that has gridlocked Congress, then you haven’t been paying attention. As the Denver Post reports:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has joined in efforts to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearances, part of a coordinated GOP effort to continue to take advantage of her e-mail scandal.

On Thursday, Gardner and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, both Republicans, announced they had introduced a bill to revoke security clearances from Clinton and her key aides when she was secretary of state. Several of those aides are in her campaign’s inner circle. The bill they introduced, the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies (TRUST) Act of 2016, would put Congress on record saying that Clinton should have no access to classified information “until she earns the legal right to such access.”

“If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will,” Gardner said in a prepared statement. “At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information, and our bill makes sure of it.”

In other words, if law enforcement officials can’t make a case against Clinton, Republican Senators will dress one up instead! As Politico notes, this bit of political theater is unlikely to go anywhere…but it beats actually working on policy issues.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 7)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218If you’re still waiting for the Denver Nuggets to dive into the NBA free agent market…you might want to get comfortable. 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…

► Big news from the Washington Post this morning: Denver gazillionaire Phil Anschutz has some pretty clear links to the anti-LGBT group “Alliance Defending Freedom.” We summarized the breaking news in a post this morning:

Today’s report documents to a far greater detail than has been disclosed previous the funding and advocacy relationships surrounding the Alliance Defending Freedom–an organization that has spearheaded the opposition to LGBT rights across the nation, and responsible for the defense of figures such as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her battle to avoid having to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Since the U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, ADF has continued to push a wide variety of anti-LGBT legislation in state legislatures across the nation including Colorado’s. The organization has introduced dozens of such pieces of legislation just in 2016, from “bathroom bills” to restrict access to gender-appropriate restrooms for transgender people to “religious freedom” bills meant to carve out space for faith-based discrimination. Safe to say, ADF is diametrically opposed to the direction the nation has been headed on gay rights in recent years.

The rise of Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee for President has shown a new light on the anti-everything sentiments of His Hairness, and there seems to be something of a domino effect happening as media outlets take a fresh look at the names and checkbooks behind some of the country’s more prominent hate groups.

Some of Anschutz’s money also appears to be connected to soon-to-be-former legislator Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, which is embarrassing enough in itself. Unfortunately, the list of Colorado Republicans with ties to hate groups in general seems to be expanding.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will stump in Colorado for Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn. Given Gardner’s recent track record of publicly supporting one loser after another (including former Senate candidate Jon Keyser), this is probably not a good sign for Glenn.

 

► Former Colorado Senator Bill Armstrong died on Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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 larrylies.com.

“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.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► 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…

(more…)