Colorado Dems Ridicule “That Blaha Moment”

blahamoment

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

From the social media fails file–Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha’s campaign came up this week with a too-clever-by-half “meme” series they’re calling “That Blaha! Moment,” like those “a-ha moments” you’ve had at important points in your life but…you know, with “Bla-ha” instead of “a-ha.”

Shut up, it’s clever. Check out the example above where he says “free college is just longer high school.”

Wait, what the hell does that even mean? Don’t think about it too much or you might have a different response than “a-ha.”

At any rate, Colorado Democratic Party spox Chris Meagher has his own list of “Blaha moments,” but not the ones Team Blaha wants you to remember! From a release today:

Since there have been plenty of #thatBlahamoments since the beginning of his campaign, here are several moments to remember –

1.    He has vigorously endorsed Trump, even calling him a “man of vision and courage.”

2.    He has said he would’ve voted to shut down the government.

3.    He said he wants to be a Senator much like Ted Cruz.

4.    He didn’t originally get on the ballotthen sued to get onthen demanded the Secretary of State resignthen was ruled off, then a judge put him back on.

5.    He invoked a painful rectal exam in a television ad.

6.    He posted a Facebook meme that “seems to compare Blaha and pro-gun politicians to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, and Blaha’s opponents who are gun control advocates to Hitler.”

7.    He received donations that exceeded the legal campaign contribution limit.

“Robert Blaha has endorsed Donald Trump, and he has shown he is eager to keep up with Trump’s outrageous behavior and rhetoric,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party.

And with that, it’s back to the drawing board for a real “a-ha moment.” Or maybe just a “blah moment?” Either way, it’s better to focus group these kinds of things before you unleash them on a heartless, ridiculing world.

If we were running his campaign, we’d tell Bla-ha (we can’t imagine it without the hyphen anymore) to downplay the unfortunate surname. For every Jeff Flake exception, there’s a Jeff Crank who proves the rule. But it’s too late now for Robert Blaha.

Oh, sorry. Blah-ha!

The Get More Smarter Show: May 25, 2016


This week on Get More Smarter: in our technically-challenged first episode of the Get More Smarter Show, Jason Bane and Alan Franklin discuss the Jon Keyser petition fraud scandal and Colorado’s crazy GOP U.S. Senate primary. Then, stay tuned for Part 1 of GMS’s exclusive interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado!

Along with the Get More Smarter daily roundup of Colorado politics each day on ColoradoPols.com, we’ll be taking a few minutes every week to talk about Colorado politics for the Get More Smarter Show. We’ll have great interviews like today’s with Gov. Hickenlooper, commentary that will get increasingly smarter as we shake off our stagefright and technical hurdles, and as much fun as our state’s political chattering class can handle.

Thanks for watching! To jump directly to our Hickenlooper interview, which will make us kind of sad but feel free, click to 8:04 in the video above or click here.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 25)

Get More SmarterNo more homework, no more books; no more teacher’s dirty looks. Today is the last day of school for several districts in Colorado, including Jefferson County. 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► At long last, you can finally Get More Smarter without even bothering to read words. Today is the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, presented commercial free on YouTube.

 

► Republican Ryan Frazier’s on-again, off-again relationship with the GOP Primary ballot took another turn on Tuesday. If you thought that this story couldn’t get any more ridiculous…well, obviously you are not familiar with the Colorado Secretary of State. As the Aurora Sentinel explains:

Frazier still has a chance to legitimately appear on the June 28 Republican primary ballot, however, as the state Supreme Court remanded the decision on the legality of another 51 signatures submitted by the former Aurora City Councilman’s campaign back to the Denver district court for reconsideration.

The district court has been ordered to issue a ruling on the final signatures by 5 p.m. Friday, May 27…

…Frazier was one of four Republican candidates who attempted to make the primary ballot by petition. Each of the other candidates — ex-Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham, Colorado Springs Businessman Robert Blaha and former state Rep. Jon Keyser — successfully petitioned on the ballot, despite several hiccups that resulted in various appeals.

The State Supreme Court punted a final decision on Frazier’s candidacy back to a lower court, where a few weeks ago a different judge refused to actually issue a definitive ruling…which is kind of how we got here in the first place. Primary ballots go out in the mail in less than two weeks, BTW.

For a great summary of the mess that is the Republican U.S. Senate race, check out this weekend story from Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is attacking New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez even though she is a Republican. Martinez has plenty of her own problems, thank you very much.

 

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Republican County Chair Jokes about Obama Being a Monkey

(Stay classy – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Delta County Republican Chair Linda Sorenson shared an image on her Facebook page last week depicting Ronald Reagan nursing a chimpanzee. The photo is sandwiched by the phrase, “I’ll be damned… Reagan used to babysit Obama.”

Sorenson told me in a very brief phone interview today that it was a joke.

“I really don’t care if people are offended by it,” she told me of the post, which I received from a source. “Un-friend me. Stop looking at me on Facebook.”

A similar photo was among a group of images exchanged via email among Ferguson, Missouri police and a city official, according to a 2015 report in the Washington Post, which obtained the emails as part of a public records request. The three officals involved were fired. The Post reported at the time:

City officials in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday evening released the full, unredacted content of racially charged and religiously insensitive e-mails sent by the city’s former court clerk as well as two former supervisors in the police department.

The e-mails, released to The Washington Post in response to a public-records request, were sent and received by Mary Ann Twitty, who was Ferguson’s court clerk, as well as former Ferguson police captain Rick Henke and former police sergeant William Mudd. All three were removed from their jobs after the Department of Justice discovered the e-mails, which prompted an internal investigation by city officials. The unredacted versions show for the first time which employee sent which e-mails.

Punting Ryan Frazier

Round and round and round he goes...

Round and round and round he goes…

There are five Republican names on the June 28th Primary ballot. We still don’t know if all of them are official candidates.

Jack Graham, Robert Blaha, and Darryl Glenn are on the ballot and any votes they receive will almost certainly be counted. Jon Keyser is on the ballot (no, really, just ask him), but there are so many problems with his petition signatures that it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was ultimately forced to withdraw from the race before the election.

And then there’s Ryan Frazier. The Secretary of State’s office originally ruled that Frazier did not submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the Primary ballot. Frazier then filed a lawsuit in a Denver court to get his name on the ballot anyway; with the deadline to print ballots looming, a judge ruled that Frazier could remain on the ballot under the condition that if he loses, he must withdraw from the race. Confused? Check out this story from the Grand Junction Sentinel on Sunday for more background.

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued an “opinion” on Frazier’s legal challenge that basically amounted to another punt. The Supreme Court “ruled” that 49 more signatures for Frazier should be counted…but then kicked the case back to a lower court. So it looks like the Frazier case will go back to a courtroom where a judge couldn’t make a decision in the first place. Good times!

If we’ve learned anything from the last month of political Primary ballot football, it’s that judges in Colorado don’t want anything to do with any of these questions. This is not very helpful, since asking for guidance from the Secretary of State’s office is like giving money to a fortune teller on the 16th Street Mall.  

Ballots for the June 28th Primary are supposed to be arriving in voters’ mailboxes in about two weeks. Ryan Frazier still doesn’t even know if he is really a candidate. This is beyond absurd. 

Laura Woods: Ignore Obama Guidelines on Transgender Student Discrimination

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

State Sen. Laura Woods wrote on Facebook Sunday that Colorado should ignore President Obama’s mandate that public schools allow students to use the bathroom corresponding the gender they identify with.

But ignoring the federal rule, as advocated by Woods, would apparently run counter to Colorado law, which, since 2008, has allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. There has been no assualts resulting from the Colorado policy.

Woods wrote on Facebook May 21:

Woods: So, the U.S. Department of Education is now dictating school bathroom policies? This is absurd. Their new policy will completely undermine local control. Plain and simple, this is none of their business and totally beyond Congressional intent in the enactment of Title IX. Therefore, it is a policy Colorado should ignore.

In making its decision earlier this month, the Obama Administration determined that forcing a transgender child to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on his or her birth certificate would amount to sex descrimination.

Obama’s guidelines ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” according to the administration.

Woods, who represents the Westminster area and does not return my calls, is being challenged by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger. The outcome of the race will likely determine which party controls state government.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 24)

Get More SmarterMay 24th may not be a national holiday…but it should be. 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The ongoing petition fraud story surrounding Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser just won’t go away, in large part because everyone associated with Keyser’s campaign is operating on a “Michael Brown running FEMA” level of crisis response. On Monday, Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger managed to find “Maureen,” one of the petition gatherers suspected of fraud related to Keyser’s campaign, and she wasn’t very eager to talk:

“Maureen” can run away from journalists such as Zelinger, but we would suspect she’ll have a more difficult time continuing to evade investigators with the Denver District Attorney’s office.

 

► Mail ballots will drop about two weeks from today in advance of the June 28th Primary, which doesn’t leave much time for the rest of the GOP Senate field to get their mugs in front of enough potential voters. Jon Keyser’s campaign is deader than a parrot in a Monty Python skit, and Ryan Frazier is just hoping that he won’t be required to withdraw from the race before voting commences.  The race for the Republican Senate nomination is likely to be a three-way battle between Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, and Robert Blaha, and the grassroots favorite (Glenn) just landed a huge endorsement for a campaign badly in need of funding.

 

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Michael Bennet is Exactly Who You Thought He Was

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Colorado Republicans have endured weeks upon weeks (upon weeks) of positively brutal headlines as the race for the Republican Senate nomination enters its final month, so we can understand why some in the GOP would be overjoyed to come across some negative news about Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.

Before we get to bursting the GOP’s bubble on this particular piece of Bennet news, let us pause to allow our Republican friends to bask in the dim glow of this story from the Denver Post:

The Colorado AFL-CIO dealt a surprising rebuke to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet over the weekend when the union federation declined to endorse the Democratic incumbent in his bid for re-election.

Bennet was the only Democratic lawmaker in Colorado’s congressional delegation who failed to gain the support of the state’s AFL-CIO chapter…

…Sam Gilchrist, executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said the vote on Bennet was close, but that he fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed for an endorsement because too many union members were unhappy with Bennet’s support of a measure last year that gives the White House more power to cut international trade deals.

That authority is broadly seen as a pathway for the Obama administration to approve a new agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would ease trade barriers among 12 Pacific Rim countries, from the U.S. and Canada to Japan and Chile.

While the Colorado AFL-CIO declined to endorse Bennet’s re-election campaign because of the Senator’s perceived support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Bennet hasn’t exactly been bullish on the idea, either. As the Colorado Independent reports:

Bennet has not yet taken a public position on TPP.

But Bennet voted on a measure giving Obama the authority to “fast track” negotiations for it and other global trade agreements, and Bennet has drawn fire from the AFL-CIO for his stance on trade before. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come out against TPP.

Failing to lock up the endorsement of the Colorado AFL-CIO is certainly not a positive development for Bennet, but it’s not nearly as problematic for 2016 as Republicans would like you to believe. Bennet is a moderate Democrat who goes about his business on Capitol Hill as a moderate Democrat would be expected to act. Bennet’s moderate credentials may not make him beloved by the liberal Democrats in Colorado, but he is who he is. Maintaining his centrist approach to the Senate is a big part of the reason why he is widely favored to win re-election this fall.

Bennet may not get the official support of the Colorado AFL-CIO, but he should have plenty of backing from other labor groups who prefer Bennet over any of his Republicans challengers. Concerns about the TPP issue as a political millstone are overblown as well; you may recall that Bennet supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline in 2015, yet still received the endorsement of prominent environmental groups such as the League of Conservation Voters and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The very fact that the AFL-CIO felt comfortable enough to not support Bennet also bodes well for progressive politics in Colorado. The AFL-CIO made its point with Bennet; the message was received and understood, but not at the expense of mortally wounding the only swing-state incumbent Democratic Senator up for re-election this year.

Senate Conservatives Fund Endorses Darryl Glenn

glennscfSignificant news in Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate primary today, as the influential hard-right Senate Conservatives Fund throws their support behind the winner of Colorado’s GOP assembly in this race, El Paso County commissioner Darryl Glenn. From a letter sent by SCF President Ken Cuccinelli:

Every once in a while a truly exceptional candidate comes along that, if elected, will be a real game changer for the country.

Darryl Glenn, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Colorado, is one of those candidates, and it’s why we’re endorsing him today.

Darryl Glenn is an El Paso County commissioner, a former Air Force officer, and the only reliable conservative in the Colorado Senate race.

When he announced his campaign back in January, nobody thought he had a chance. But in April, he shocked the Colorado political world by winning 70 percent of the vote at the GOP state convention.

Darryl’s principled and passionate message helped him win over the delegates who were looking for a conservative outsider to shake things up.

Colorado Democrats taking note of this endorsement for a good reason, and firing a volley at Glenn for effect:

Today, Darryl Glenn received the endorsement from the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF), a group responsible for helping elect some of the Senate’s most conservative and out-of-touch Senators, including Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee. SCF is the same far right group that helped Ken Buck defeat NRSC-backed Jane Norton in the 2010 Republican Senate primary…

“Darryl Glenn is a climate change denier who has called Donald Trump a patriot, and wants to defund Planned Parenthood and effectively outlaw a woman’s right to choose,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party. “Now he’s won the financial backing from the same national right wing interest group that brought us Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, another sign that he is out-of-touch with Colorado and the wrong choice for U.S. Senate.”

With no clear frontrunner following the implosion of handpicked National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) candidate Jon Keyser, there is a growing opportunity for Glenn to position himself as the grassroots favorite in the race–while better-funded opponents Robert Blaha and Jack Graham slug it out with each other. Glenn’s fiery speech at the Colorado GOP state assembly that catapulted him into the primary is really one of the only bright spots for Colorado Republicans today in a sea of political uncertainty and calamity. Blaha’s bitter attack on Graham over Graham’s record at Colorado State University, without a counterbalance to motivate support for Blaha personally, could play right into Glenn’s hands…particularly if he has the money to make himself known to more Republican voters.

And yes, that’s right–SCF helped Ken Buck take out Jane Norton over the kingmakers’ wishes. So there’s that.

Sen. Chris Holbert Is Terribly Afraid For Your Bathroom

Republican Colorado Sen. Chris Holbert reminded his followers on Facebook yesterday that he’s been trying to stop those nasty transgender perverts from sneaking into your daughter’s bathroom…well, for a really long time:

holbertbathroom

You might think that somewhere in Sen. Holbert’s reasoning on the issue, he might figure out that the law has been on the books since 2008 with no problems whatsoever. That’s consistent with a lifetime of experience on transgender bathroom access for actual transgender Americans, who Sen. Holbert would be shocked to discover having been using the facilities appropriate for their gender expression since long before Holbert ever got caught playing with himself in the boys’ bathroom in elementary school–or whatever happened in childhood that made him so paranoid.

But as Holbert responds to a friendly skeptic, it’s not just about the bathrooms!

holbertresponds

That’s right, since 2008 Colorado has been properly accommodating our transgender students in locker rooms too–with no problem! Now again, to a well-adjusted reasonable person, this would be evidence of a policy that works instead of something that should be repealed. In fact, trying to police bathrooms for people who are already expressing the gender they should be to be there is liable to get rather, um, messy. Much messier than what we do today in Colorado, and what President Obama has directed public schools across America to do, which is to let transgender people live life with the same basic rights as the rest of us.

As for Sen. Holbert, he should maybe work out his repressed teenage angst somewhere else.

Marshall Finds Maureen, Hilarity Ensues

UPDATE: As Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger reports:

The woman who turned in petitions with some signatures that Denver7 has identified as being forged, would only respond “No comment” when we met up with her late Monday morning.

In the last three weeks, Denver7 has exclusively reported a number of stories surrounding forged signatures on petitions that helped Republican Senate Candidate Jon Keyser qualify for the June 28 primary ballot…

Monday, investigators looking into the forged signatures wanted to speak with Moss, but when they met her she refused to answer their questions. Shortly after, Denver7 political reporter Marshall Zelinger tried to speak with her as she left her former employer’s office.

—–

Denver7 reporter Mitchell Marshall Zelinger somehow managed to find “Maureen” today. “Maureen” is the signature collector who has emerged as a key figure in the petition fraud scandal that has destroyed the Senate candidacy of Republican Jon Keyser.

As you can see for yourself in the video posted to Zelinger’s Facebook page, “Maureen” is about as media-savvy as Keyser himself:

Listen closely near the end of the video for a fantastic attempt to “discourage” Zelinger by the driver of the van waiting for “Maureen”:

“Get away from my van! You’re not allowed by my van!”

Get More Smarter on Monday (May 23)

Get More SmarterIf you were in Canada, you’d probably have the day off — Happy Victoria Day! 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The ongoing petition fraud story surrounding Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser is now in its third week, and there is no indication that this scandal is going away anytime soon. ICYMI, here are some of the headlines about the GOP disaster of a Senate race from the last couple of days:

Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger wonders why the City of Denver can verify petition signatures while the Secretary of State’s office apparently cannot.

♦ The Colorado Independent tries to piece together the entire mess that is the Republican field of candidates for U.S. Senate.

Kevin Krug of Denver7 examines Ryan Frazier’s bid to remain on the June 28th Primary ballot.

♦ Republican Senate candidate Robert Blaha talks to 9News about his “brash style” in general and his complaints about the petition gathering process.

 

► It is definitely not a good time to be Jon Keyser, but the month of May has also been particularly rough for Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

 

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