Purged: Priola Resigns as House Minority Whip

Rep. Kevin Priola (R).

Rep. Kevin Priola (R).

The other shoe drops from last week's intra-Colorado House GOP infighting, Denver Post's Anthony Cotton:

Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, said Monday he is resigning as Republican minority whip in the wake of an internal party squabble last week…

During a debate last Thursday on dueling amendments to the Student Success Act, which will provide funding to K-12 schools, Priola backed Democratic co-sponsor Rep. Millie Hamner, D-Dillon, over fellow Republican Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida. The move drew the immediate ire of a number of Republicans, who alleged Priola wasn’t acting in keeping with his role as whip.

Within hours, the Republican caucus held a meeting, with Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, leading an effort to remove Priola. The attempt eventually failed, but it was clear Priola was on shaky ground within the party.

As we discussed last week, there is a great deal of frustration building among conservative Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly. After stoking outrage to a fever pitch during last year's successful recall campaigns against Democrats in the Senate, conservatives have suffered a wave of setbacks in 2014–failing to pack committee hearings for stillborn repeal measures, ridicule after showing up to hearing unprepared to debate their own bills or call witnesses, and widespread criticism of unpopular legislation introduced by Republican legislators like this year's total abortion ban bill. It seems that frustration boiled over last week, when Rep. Kevin Priola supported a Democratic amendment to the Student Success Act over an amendment offered by fellow Republican Rep. Jim Wilson.

The swift retribution campaign against Priola headed by Rep. Chris Holbert ended embarrassingly when caucus leadership declared the move out of order, but we're not at all surprised to see Priola resign from House leadership today. At this point, the caucus would have been weakened further if Priola had not resigned from leadership, even though Priola is not erratic enough to pull a Kathleen Curry and disaffiliate from the GOP altogether. It's expected that the candidate named to replace Priola in last week's dustup, Rep. Polly Lawrence, will be the next minority whip.

With hard right Republican legislative candidates continuing to do well in the primary process, conservatives in the legislature may yet feel empowered to throw their weight around. Don't look for anything to change there until the June primary–or maybe until after November.

 

Here’s how The Denver Post would look if it really hit the bottom

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On the Center for Western Priorities' bog Friday, Erin Moriarty spotlighted a special advertising section that looks very much like the actual Denver Post.

Moriarty wrote:

Even the most seasoned Denver Post readers can be fooled by a new advertising ploy from oil and gas front group Coloradans for Responsible Energy Development (CRED), in which fake, industry-sponsored news stories are being published as part of a special “Energy and Environment” section on the newspaper’s website.

Each CRED-authored story uses the same font and layout as real Denver Post articles from real Denver Post reporters, undoubtedly attempting to pass CRED’s message off as real news. But, it’s not. It’s yet another paid effort that CRED is using to validate its now-dwindling credibility.

CRED is no stranger to promoting its message through paid advertising, as can be seen by the television, radio, online, and bus advertisements that the group has been running since its inception in September 2013. This time, the ad on Denver Post’s website boasts “news” about oil and gas development in the state, when really, the group is just peddling its own version of facts. In the “Energy and Environment” section on the Denver Post’s website, CRED’s advertorial features several stories on natural gas exports, local control amendments, and other energy issues Coloradans have been following for months.

The online version of the CRED ad is labeled in large letters across the top, "This Advertising Section is Sponsored by [CRED logo]." And "Advertising Supplement to The Denver Post" appears on top, in small, but not tiny, font.

Post reporter Mark Jaffe did the right thing by tweeting readers a warning about the fake content last week.

"Faux Denver Post. Industry group's paid article looks a lot a Post story — it isn't," Jaffe tweeted April 9.

The six-page print version of the ad supplement, which appeared March 16, doesn't even have the headline, "This Advertising Section is Sponsored by," and is over-the top deceptive, with the by-lined "articles" and news format, even though "Advertising supplement to The Denver Post" appears on top of each page in font equal to the size of the date.

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GOP Caucus Crackup? Anti-Priola “Coup Attempt” Fails

UPDATE: Here's a clip of Rep. Kevin Priola from yesterday's debate over Rep. Jim Wilson's amendment to House Bill 14-1292. The tension then brewing over Priola's opposition to this mostly GOP-supported amendment is clear in his voice:

​—–

GOP Reps. Kevin Priola and Chris Holbert.

GOP Reps. Kevin Priola and Chris Holbert.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports this afternoon:

House Republicans met for 30 minutes Thursday morning after Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, called a meeting with the goal of replacing Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, as the caucus whip.

Priola had alienated many of his fellow GOP colleagues a day earlier when he declined to support an amendment to the Student Success Act sponsored by Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, that most Republicans supported.

Priola hadn’t paid Wilson, one of the more popular members in the caucus, the courtesy of informing him ahead of time that he wouldn’t be supporting his amendment related to a transparency website to show how school districts spend public money.

The Denver Post's Anthony Cotton has a little more reaction from Republicans:

According to the Republicans, part of Priola’s job as Whip is to determine where the membership stands on the issues and help align support within the party–on Wednesday, party members say, Priola not only failed to do that, he argued on the floor in favor of Hamner’s amendment over Wilson’s.

When Hamner’s amendment was passed in a close vote, it led to Thursday’s move by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, to have Priola removed.

“We were shocked and disappointed that happened,” Holbert said. “He should have let us know his position and we could have made adjustments.”

In the end, despite the push from Rep. Chris Holbert to remove Rep. Kevin Priola from his Minority Whip position on the spot today, minority caucus chair Rep. Kathleen Conti scuttled the move by ruling the motion out of order–as Priola hadn't resigned, the position technically wasn't "vacant." This would clearly indicate that Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso  was not on board. Originally, as Stokols reports, an angry GOP caucus was prepared to oust Priola, as indicated by an initial vote against adjourning the meeting of the caucus. After Conti ruled the whole business out of order, a second vote to adjourn passed.

So what really happened today? For the best clue available, we turn to Rep. Frank McNulty:

The attempted coup, whatever vote precipitated Thursday’s meeting, has been a long time coming, according to several House Republicans who describe a widening gap between the caucus’s moderate and conservative wings.

“This isn’t about the amendment yesterday,” said Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch. “This is about personalities.”

By all accounts, this has been a very frustrating legislative session for the conservative wing of the GOP House caucus. After the success of last year's recall elections against two sitting Senators and the resignation of a third, conservatives expected to vigorously oppose Democrats at every step, setting the stage for a clear election season distinction. Instead, as we've recounted in this space, the base GOP outrage they hoped to sustain into this year has fizzled, and the GOP caucus took heavy criticism for dead-end ideological flights of fancy like the abortion ban bill. This incident over a relatively obscure Democratic amendment supported by Priola–which apparently didn't even pass on clean party lines, with several Democrats voting against along with most of the GOP–appears to ripped the scab off of a much larger intra-caucus disagreement.

Judging from the unsatisfying end of today's blowup, we've probably not heard the last of it either.

The “Great Social Experiment” or “Leadership”?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"This is going to be one of the great social experiments of this century"
~Governor John Hickenlooper

 

Yesterday's senate hearing on SB14-177 and SB14-178 drew a standing-room-only crowd; one that ultimately demanded an overflow room for the observers and witnesses.  The attendees were a broad swath of Colorado citizens: mother and child, medical refugees desperate to find a remedy for their child's condition; attorneys, social workers, business owners, political activists, lobbyists, and myself as the sole farmer in the room. It was an afternoon of passionate testimony by medical marijuana activists who see the bill as a subtle, some may say "backroom" attempt,  to recriminalize the use and or possession of cannabis under section 18-18-102 of the Colorado statute.  The vague language of the proposed bill caused confusion even amongst the law enforcement and social workers who provided testimony for both the proponents and the opposition. 

I'm forever in awe of the breadth and depth of the human and social capacity that Colorado possesses.  The testimony by Jeri Shepard, a Greeley attorney, was compelling.  Jeri went point by salient point, deconstructing the myths around legalization, she offered to the members of the Judiciary Committee they read the book, "The New Jim Crow", an exercise she had participated in as a group Lenten exercise.  If one was measuring the prudence of Coloradans ending prohibition in 2012 by Jeri's testimony, you wouldn't describe our efforts as "a great social experiment".  You would call it "leadership".

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More Grandstanding in Garfield County

On Tuesday, Garfield County Commissioner Tom Jankovsky and biologist Dr. Rob Ramey testified at a House Natural Resource Committee on a number of bills that would amend the Endangered Species Act.

If both those names sound familiar, it’s because it’s not the first time we’ve heard from both of them. Commissioner Jankovsky has been under pressure for paying out-of-state consultants, like American Stewards of Liberty, hundreds of thousands in taxpayers’ dollars for consulting fees to plan and adopt an alternative sage grouse plan—a plan seemingly headed for the trash bucket at BLM and USFWS offices.

One of the consultants that Commissioner Jankovsky hired to draft an alternative Sage Grouse proposal was none other than biologist-for-hire Dr. Rob Ramey. Dr. Ramey has made the point for years that scientific information should be public information.

In his testimony yesterday Dr. Ramey claimed, “when data are not publicly accessible, legitimate scientific inquiry is effectively eliminated as no third party can independently reproduce the results. Such secrecy does not further the goal of species recovery. Such secrecy also puts the evidentiary basis of some resource agency decisions outside the realm of science and in clear violation of the Information Quality Act.”

That’s an interesting take, but one not grounded in reality. In fact, Dr. Ramey consistently finds himself lambasting any science other than his own, which is probably why he’s been routinely hired by industry associations to counter any government findings.

It’s also interesting Dr. Ramey would bring up the idea of information quality.  In 2007, Dr. Ramey said in a Congressional hearing that in order to better make ESA listing decisions the government should “take steps to eliminate financial and other conflicts of interest in Recovery Teams and peer reviews.”  Ramey’s involvement with the American Petroleum Institute and the Western Energy Alliance seems like a clear conflict of interest and a relationship that could lead to a real lack of information quality.

Instead of grandstanding and reciting campaign talking points, our local and national elected officials should be spending their time working with all stakeholders to avoid a listing. Anything but this is a surefire way to an ESA listing. And that’s bad news for Westerners.

Banning Red Light Cameras, Anyone?

red-light-camera

As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports, a bill to prohibit red light cameras in Colorado is gaining some bipartisan momentum:

A proposal introduced in the Senate late last week would bar cities and counties from using automated vehicle-identification systems that pinpoint drivers committing traffic infractions.

Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, has introduced similar legislation the past two years, though unlike in previous sessions, he has strong support this go-round from House and Senate Democratic leadership.

"These cameras just create revenue for cities and don't actually increase public safety at our intersections," said Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, the bill's prime House sponsor. "I think we should be focused on making people safe, not raising money." [Pols emphasis]

As Lee reports, local governments are raking in millions in fines from relatively low-overhead automatic camera enforcement at intersections. Not surprisingly, the Colorado Municipal League doesn't like this bill one bit–though they cite the public safety considerations, not the revenue. At the end of the day, money talks: and the badly needed revenue these cameras provide may prove reason enough to keep them with no further debate needed.

What say you, Polsters? Red-light liberty, public safety, or cash?

Local Control Initiative TV Spot Running in Denver

A brief release from RBI Strategies yesterday:

Coloradans for Local Control today aired their first cable TV ad. The ad focuses on the proximity of fracking to homes and playgrounds, and the need for local control.

Fracking is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years spreading into the residential communities located on top of the Niobrara. Local governments must be able to listen and respond appropriately to community concerns and balance industrial activities with residents' quality of life, health, property values and long-term economic vitality.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

The spot focuses on the proximity of oil and gas wells to schools and homes and asks viewers: “Would you want to live here? Want your kids to play here?

“Right now, you and your neighbors can’t stop it,” the female narrator continues. “With local control of oil and gas drilling, you have the tools to protect your neighborhood.”

As FOX31 Denver first reported last month, Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, is putting his considerable wealth behind the campaign, which is likely to make life more complicated for two of his fellow Democrats on the ballot this fall…

As the likelihood of a ballot measure allowing local communities to regulate industrial land uses including oil and gas drilling within their boundaries increases, we're seeing previews of the likely opposition approach: driving a wedge between conservationist Democrats and top-line Democratic candidates, and the false conflation of a local control measure with an "all-out ban" on fracking statewide. Addressing the former, we would argue that Gov. John Hickenlooper is much more compromised on energy than Sen. Mark Udall, yet even Hickenlooper will be seen as sufficiently preferable–on a wide range of issues–to whoever wins the GOP gubernatorial primary to turn out the Democratic vote just fine. As for Udall, he can demonstrate a stark contrast with his opponent on energy issues favorable to conservationists, and is perfectly safe staying neutral on this "state issue" if he chooses.

The second attack on this initiative is frankly much more dangerous, and as we've discussed in this space, deceptively conflating a local control initiative with an unworkable statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing in the public's mind is becoming an everyday occurrence. It's easy to understand why: a total statewide ban on fracking won't pass. Colorado is an energy producing state, and that's not going to change. This measure is about local communities, at their option, protecting themselves. Just like a number of Front Range residential cities have already done.

If the voters can be made to understand what the initiative actually does, it will pass.

Abortion? Gun Control? Genghis Khan? It Must Be Holocaust Week Resolution Time!

Today, the Colorado General Assembly debated and gave initial passage to House Joint Resolution 14-1015, the annual resolution designating the last week of April as Holocaust Awareness Week. Each year, the debate over this resolution gives Republicans an opportunity to score rhetorical points on a variety of their favorite issues. Last year's memorable tag team on abortion from Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Scott Renfroe was a notable example.

This election year, CD-4 primary candidate Renfroe was muzzled, and Lundberg was a bit more subtle–though the abortion/Holocaust reference is still unmistakable:

LUNDBERG: And I ask all of us, are we still too conveniently numb? I see human life taken, that I believe is immoral and injust, am I too conveniently numb to speak out? [Pols emphasis] I pray that we will all re-evaluate our moral standards in each and every step we take…

Lundberg is known for a lot of things, folks, but failing to speak out about abortion is not one of them.

Not to be outdone, here's Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, making a not-so-subtle reference to the gun safety legislation passed in Colorado in 2013 as he invokes the Rwandan genocide of 1994:

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Field of Candidates for Jefferson County Offices (Almost) Set for June Primary

With both the Democratic and Republican county assemblies behind us, the field is set for the slate of races in Jefferson County. Here's the rundown for every race and candidate that will appear on the June Primary ballot, with a few notable exceptions (SD-16 and HD-23)…

STATE SENATE
SD-16 (Republicans will hold the SD-16 assembly this weekend)
Sen. Jeanne Nicholson (D), Incumbent
Tim Neville (R)
Richard Wenzel (R)

SD-19
Sen. Rachel Zenzinger (D), Incumbent
Laura Waters Woods (R) — top line on GOP ballot
Lang Sias (R)

SD-20
Sen. Cheri Jahn (D), Incumbent
Larry Queen (R)

SD-22
Sen. Andy Kerr (D), Incumbent
Tony Sanchez (R) — top line on GOP ballot
Mario Nicolais (R)
 

STATE HOUSE
HD-22
Rep. Justin Everett (R), Incumbent – top line on ballot
Loren Bauman (R)
Mary Parker (D)

HD-23
Rep. Max Tyler (D), Incumbent
Nate Marshall (R), expected to resign as candidate; Republicans have until April 17th to choose a replacement.
 

HD-24
Jessie Danielson (D) — top line on ballot
Kristian Teegardin (D)
Joseph DeMott (R)

HD-25
Jonathan Keyser (R)
Janet Heck Doyle (D)

HD-27
Rep. Libby Szabo (R), Incumbent
Wade Norris (D)

HD-28
Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D), Incumbent
Stacia Kuhn (R)

HD-29
Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp (D), Incumbent
Robert Ramirez (R)
 

STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION
CD-1
Taggart Hansen (D)

CD-7
Jane Goff (D), Incumbent


BOARD OF CU REGENTS
CD-2
Linda Shoemaker (D)
Robert Weverka (D)

CD-7
Irene Griego (D), Incumbent
 

COUNTY COMMISSIONER
District 3
Don Rosier (R), Incumbent
John Flerlage (D)


ASSESSOR
Louis DAurio (R)
Ronald Sandstrom (R)
Andrew Hassinger (D)

 

COUNTY CLERK AND RECORDER
Faye Griffin (R)
Michael Snow (D)

 

TREASURER
Tim Kauffman (R), Incumbent

 

CORONER
John Graham (R), Incumbent

 

SHERIFF
Jeff Shrader (R) — top line on ballot
Jim Shires (R)
 

On Energy, There’s Plenty Of Stupid To Go Around

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

On Tuesday, we discussed the silly-season "challenge" by GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner of incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall to "oppose any ban on hydraulic fracturing" in Colorado. Gardner cited a recent study of the hypothetical economic impacts of a total statewide ban on "fracking," which is not being proposed by anyone in Colorado today, and used those hypothetical numbers to claim that "100,000 Colorado jobs" are "at risk of being completely eliminated" by Udall's "refusal to oppose a ban on fracking." Gardner is blatantly misrepresenting the results of this study of a nonexistent statewide ban on fracking, claiming they could be the result of a much narrower proposed ballot initiative allowing local communities to regulate drilling within their boundaries.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels follows up today:

Less than two weeks after Republican Congressman Cory Gardner said he didn't take stands on local election issues — whether it was legalizing pot or seceding from Colorado — he blasted opponent Mark Udall for not saying where he stands on a fracking issue that could be on the November ballot.

Bartels makes an excellent point that Gardner has disclaimed any opinion on numerous "state issues," like secession and marijuana legalization. More recently, this stated desire to "stay out of local issues" has helped Gardner flip-flop on the Personhood abortion ban initiatives he had proudly supported in 2008 and 2010. Which makes it more than a little hypocritical to "call out" Udall for not taking a position on this "state issue."

But there's a more fundamental problem that Bartels completely misses in her story: there is no ballot measure coming for a statewide ban on fracking. Gardner's "challenge" to Udall specifically invokes the job losses that a University of Colorado study claimed could result from a statewide total ban on hydraulic fracturing–not the local control initiative(s) actually working their way toward the ballot.

Once you understand that, this whole debate seems awfully…well, pointless.

The only thing we have to add here, as gently as we may, is to suggest that Sen. Mark Udall has little or nothing to gain by trying to outdo Cory Gardner on support for the energy industry. The fact is, as Bartels notes in her story, that Udall is pretty friendly to energy interests overall, and has been for many years. In "response" to the standoff between energy producing Russia and energy transporting/consuming Ukraine, Udall went out of his way to hype the idea of liquid natural gas exports, trying to squelch Gardner's own LNG export pandering–even though the U.S. lacks export facilities for LNG and Ukraine lacks import facilities. This was all rightly called out as misleading by a significant number of experts.

Bottom line: nothing that Udall says or does is going to sway support in the energy industry for Gardner, one of the most beholden members of Congress to energy interests in the entire nation. Udall doesn't have to play this game, and the votes he needs are not in the energy business. The sooner he realizes that, and focuses on refuting Gardner's false statements instead of trying to keep up with him, the better off Udall will be.

Gardner Challenges Udall To “Oppose” What’s Not Happening

An unusual statement Tweeted earlier today by Republican Senate candidate Cory Gardner's campaign:

gardnerfrackban

First off, it would be great if Gardner would publish his press releases in plain text on his website, instead of making graphics out of them. Then again, it's not as easy to actually quote him this way, and that might be strategic for a guy like Gardner.

But here's our real question: what is this "ban on hydraulic fracturing" that "has put nearly 100,000 Colorado jobs at risk of being completely eliminated?" We follow the local news pretty closely, as our readers know, and we know of no such initiative. That said, last week, the Denver Post did publish a rather silly article hypothesizing about just such a statewide ban:

A statewide ban on hydraulic fracturing would cost Colorado 68,000 jobs and $8 billion in economic activity over five years, according to an analysis released Wednesday…

Since 95 percent of the wells in Colorado are fracked, the study assumes that drilling activity would be reduced 95 percent.

68,000 isn't the same as "nearly 100,000," unless you're really generous with your rounding. But in reality, even that lower figure has no rational basis. Why, you ask? Because there is no statewide ban on hydraulic fracture drilling proposed by anyone in Colorado.

While five municipalities and Boulder County have adopted fracking bans or moratoriums, there is no statewide ballot initiative to ban fracking. [Pols emphasis]

"It is a worst-case scenario," Metro Denver EDC chief Tom Clark said. "We wanted the public to understand the size of the oil and gas in Colorado."

…The CU study, which began when there was a possibility of a statewide ban initiative, doesn't reflect the more nuanced proposals, said Brian Lewandowski, author of the Leeds analysis.

Folks, if anyone can show us evidence that a statewide ban on fracking was ever a "possibility," meaning real people actually working to place that on the ballot, we'll be glad to correct the record. Otherwise, this "study" is meaningless propaganda from CU President and oil millionaire Bruce Benson, and allied opponents of any local control over "fracking" anywhere in Colorado. You see, there are proposed ballot measures that would allow local communities to control oil and gas drilling, setbacks from existing development, and other industrial land issues within their boundaries–but to take these "worst case scenario" hypothetical numbers for a statewide total ban on "fracking" that no one is proposing, as Cory Gardner has done, and then claim this to be an actual threat that has "put Colorado jobs at risk," is misleading in the extreme.

We suppose Gardner gets credit for going after an issue other than Obamacare. If Gardner could just be minimally truthful while he does so, that would be a positive step for his campaign. Unfortunately, the facts in this case make a shameless liar of Gardner. Again.

GOP HD-35 Candidate Gets All Racial About Mandela, Obama

UPDATE: Looking further back on Maria Weese's Facebook page, we found this post from July 2012. We feel as though we can rest our case now.

The racial hypocrisy in this country has gotten much worse since Obama was elected President and the heat has really been turned up by the Blacks in this country. [Pols emphasis] Every excuse is being made to create the impression that the Whites in America are still persecuting and suppressing the Blacks in America. Every opportunity to find any slight reason to expose racial discrimination from the Black perspective is being jumped on by Sharpton and Jackson, and of course, our President. It must be an election year and you can see the wagons circling around Obama led by the Blacks, the far left liberalists, the unions, environmental activists, the members of the American communist party, the minorities getting government checks in the mail, the fat cats in the entertainment industry, and the rest of the uninformed and naive liberals in this country…

At least she capitalizes "Black?" This is about as bad as it gets, folks. Pure, undiluted racism–what you'd expect to see at Stormfront, not Facebook. As we wondered when the Nate Marshall white supremacist scandal broke, where is the vetting on the Republican side this year? Or might they be this far in the dregs for want of candidates?

Either way, it's truly stunning.

—–

HD-35 GOP candidate Maria Weese.

HD-35 GOP candidate Maria Weese.

According to the Adams County GOP's website, Republicans have found a candidate to run for House District 35, an open seat being vacated by term-limited Democratic Rep. Cherylin Peniston. We don't know much about HD-35 candidate Maria Weese, but what we do know comes from her Facebook page. It's clear Weese has attended lots of conservative public events recently like the Western Conservative Summit, which is a standard prelude to a run for office. And she likes puppies (photo right).

Last December, as most of the world mourned the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Maria Weese had some interesting thoughts to share on Facebook. And by "interesting," given that we're talking about a Colorado Republican legislative candidate and President Barack Obama, we of course mean racially charged and offensive:

Call it for what it is ,

Mandela was a Communist and and Obama is too….

Mandela won an election based on his race Obama won an election based on his race… [Pols emphasis]

Mandela was made famous world wide be media for his Marxist ideology, Obama was made famous world wide for the media hiding his Marxist ideology…

Mandela endured prison Obama endured Michelle….

To summarize what we think is Ms. Weese's point, Nelson Mandela was black. So is Barack Obama. As everyone knows, they both got elected "based on race" and they're both "communists." But don't think about that too hard, instead enjoy this gratuitous Michelle Obama joke! It's all so witty and on-point as a eulogy for Nelson Mandela that we just threw up in our mouths a little.

Republicans may not have a winner in HD-35, but they may have found Nate Marshall's dream date.

Republican Party Imploding In Most Important Electoral County in Colorado

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

Nate Marshall, GOP candidate for HD-23.

UPDATE #3: Nate Marshall not ready to formally resign as candidate in HD-23 (h/t to Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman). In a diatribe posted on Marshall's website (all CAPS is how it appears on Marshall's site), the candidate says that Jeffco GOP Chair Bill Tucker "[threw] him under the bus":

I AM DONE WITH THE RACE BUT I WILL NOT FILE THE PAPERWORK UNTIL THE JEFFERSON COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY AND COLORADO GOP MAKE AMENDS WITH THE TEAPARTY WHO BETTER REPRESENT CONSERVATIVES THAN RINOS LIKE BILL TUCKER. WE DO NOT NEED SELLOUTS LIKE HAVE INFECTED THE STATE AND COUNTY PARTY! WE NEED TRUE CONSERVATIVES.

BY STATE LAW YOU CANNOT BE REMOVED FROM A BALLOT UNLESS YOU SIGN A NOTARIZED FORM OF WHICH I POSSESS BUT HAVE DECIDED NOT TO FILE. I MAY JUST SIT ON THE DESIGNATION AND GIVE THE SEAT TO THE DEMOCRATS.. IMAGINE IF THEY GET 32-32 AND IN ORDER TO GET THE MAJORITY ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS WELL RESPECT THAT I LEGALLY AND MORALLY HOLD ALL THE CARDS AS I WAS LEGALLY AND CONSTITUTIONALLY DESIGNATED.

I DO NOT WANT TO RUN AND AM NOT BUT AM LEFT WITH LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO PROTECT MYSELF AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES BY STANDING UP TO THESE RINO BULLIES AS BEST I CAN.

We'll continue to update this story as it develops.

—–

UPDATE #2: The Colorado Independent confirms big news from Republican Rick Enstrom (who ran in HD-23 in 2012) that Nate Marshall was recruited to run by Tim Neville, the Republican candidate in SD-16 who has been endorsed by RMGO:

Embattled Colorado state House candidate Nathaniel Marshall was reportedly recruited to run for office by state Senate candidate Tim Neville, a prominent Colorado Republican politi

Republican Senate candidate Tim Neville (SD-16)

Republican Senate candidate Tim Neville (SD-16)

cian with close ties to far-right kingmaker Dudley Brown…

…Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, tweeted Wednesday that Marshall told him that he was recruited to run by Neville. Today Enstrom confirmed that assertion in a phone interview.

“I’m not running for anything, and Tim Neville is a friend of mine but, hey, the facts are the facts,” he told the Colorado Independent.

This is a pretty significant twist to how a white supremacist career criminal could become the Republican nominee for House District 23. While Neville may claim that he didn't know about Marshall's past, it's hard to

 

believe that you could have conversations with the guy and not suspect anything strange. Anyone who followed Marshall on Facebook or Twitter would have seen some of this stuff.

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Tim Neville’s Statement Does Not Make Suspicions Of Link Between Him/RMGO And Nathaniel Marshall Unfounded

(Worse and worse – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Independent has been investigating the circumstances that led to Nathaniel Marshall, a person with significant ties to white supremacism, to enter the race for Colorado HD-23.  As an early result of that investigation, the Independent's John Tomasic reported yesterday that signs had emerged indicating that Tim Neville – a person with significant ties to Rocky Mountain Gun Owner's Association ("RMGO") - recruited Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The signs relied on by Tomasic's article consisted of the following:

1) Rick Enstrom, a prominent candy business executive and onetime Republican House candidate, specifically claiming that Marshall admitted he was recruited by Neville at the Jefferson County Assembly ("Enstrom's Statements")

2) Dudley Brown, RMGO's Executive Director, admitting that per RMGO political director Joe Neville, Tim Neville spoke with Marshall at "an event" ("Brown's Statement")

In response to Tomasic's article, Tim Neville last night put forth the following statement on Facebook (accessible here):

"Regarding the leftist hit piece published today posing as a news story in the Colorado Independent:  I spoke with its author John Tomasik [sic] and told him I had no connection with Mr. Marshall's campaign- not as an endorser or financial donor or supporter.   I suggested Mr. Tomasic retract his story because it’s false.  Then he asked me if I ever met Mr. Marshall and I had to explain to him that I meet hundreds of people each week on the campaign trail.  Then he hung up on me.  Shocked?  No, but I'm very disappointed that a Republican like Rick Enstrom would spread such a story without even a phone call to me.  I believe he knows my number, since his campaign had no problem finding me when I helped him as a volunteer to walk his precincts in 2012.     These types of attacks only embolden me to fight even harder for you.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your calls and emails of support tonight.Iron sharpens iron. Together I look forward to taking back Senate District 16 this November and winning a Republican majority.   Game on!" (emphasis added)

While Tim Neville may wish that his mere claim that a story is false is sufficient to demonstrate that a story is in fact false, that is not the case.  Here, there is evidence to indicate that Neville – and through him potentially RMGO – recruited White Supremacist Nathaniel Marshall to run for HD-23.  The first two pieces of evidence are the Enstrom and Brown Statements.  In addition to those statements, last night Nathaniel Marshall revealed that he had been invited to an RMGO fundraiser as a candidate and that now they were throwing him "under the bus".  Moreover, recruiting Nathaniel Marshall would fit within a perceived pattern of RMGO supporting candidates who repeat its party line but who are poorly vetted – the chief example being former pornographic novel writer Jaxine Bubis.

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Gays, God, and Guns…GOP lineup for HD15

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE:  Gordon Klingenschmitt, aka "Dr. Chaps" just received 71% of the delegate votes at the El Paso County Republican Assembly. Dave Williams announced his intent to petition onto the primary ballot, to be held in June. Great opportunity for the Democrat in the race, Lois Fornander, to pick up some moderate ,Independent, and disenchanted Republican votes, whichever one of these two charmers ends up on the November general election ballot.


 

Voters in El Paso County's HD15 will almost certainly elect a Republican. The district was and is 63-30% Republican vs. Democrat , so Democratic representation is not on the menu for HD15.

But which Republican will get the assembly's nomination on March 29?

Will it be bachelor #1, David Williams, known for extreme homophobia, , while simultaneously  giving child sex offenders the benefit of the doubt? Back in  2013, PCG exposed this bully in a series of investigative diaries.  Best quote (after being requested to apologize to gay Republicans): "You know what I'm sorry about? Not buying an AR-15 sooner." Photo and quote from Williams' Facebook page, researched and diaried by PCG

Williams is strongly supported by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, as evidenced by his campaign financial disclosure of January, 2014: $100 from Tim Neville, $2,000 from Rocky Mtn Gun Owners PAC. Most of the remainder of his $37K finances consist of a loan from himself. The other two candidates are also self-financing.

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