Keyser Fakes Buy For Debunked Ad, Press Sees Right Through It

keyserfearAs the Denver Post’s John Frank reports, beleaguered GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser is up on the air with an ad attacking Sen. Michael Bennet over the Iranian nuclear weapons agreement–well, sort of on the air:

The 30-second spot, which debuts Tuesday, emphasizes Keyser’s service as a “military intelligence officer” who conducted urban “capture and kill missions to remove high-value targets” against “a vicious enemy armed by Iran.”

A stern-looking Keyser then takes aim at the Iran deal, saying President Barack Obama “wants to give these guys nuclear weapons and Michael Bennet, he was all for it.”

The first problem is apparently that there’s no actual money behind this ad, which appears to have been produced solely to elicit press coverage. Unfortunately for Keyser, John Frank asked the next logical question:

…not many people are expected to see it. According to media tracking companies, the Keyser campaign is spending less than $5,000 to air the ad on Fox News through Sunday.

When the press coverage which was the whole point of making the ad reports it’s a two-bit stunt from a campaign that’s essentially broke, you’ve wasted your money. This alone is enough to turn this from a “comeback kid” story into one of desperation and fakery. But it gets even worse:

PolitiFact, a prominent fact-checking outlet, recently gave a False ruling to a U.S. Senate candidate in Florida who said the deal “allows Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.” The wording in Keyser’s ad goes even further. [Pols emphasis]

That’s right, folks! The ad Keyser doesn’t have the money to air is factually full of crap to boot! Here again, this is not why you produce an ad for the express purpose of garnering press coverage. You do this to get good press, not bad press.

But at this point, the “good press” phase of Keyser’s disastrous U.S. Senate campaign is long over.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 31)

Get More SmarterWelcome to the last day of May. 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).


► Just how rich is Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump? As Politico found out, the answer depends on the skill level of your accountant.


► Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser continues to have legal troubles surrounding his apparently fraudulent attempt to qualify for the June 28th Primary ballot. As Marshall Zelinger reports for Denver7:

Forged petition signatures uncovered by Denver7 has led three voters to sue the Secretary of State.

The lawsuit filed in Denver District Court [Friday] asks for a finding that Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser did not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the June 28 mail-in primary election.

“This lawsuit exists because, frankly, the media and Channel 7 and you have brought to the floor, a practice that probably has existed before, but never really been documented,” attorney Mark Grueskin told Denver7 Political Reporter Marshall Zelinger.

A Denver district court judge is expected to hear opening arguments in the case this afternoon.


► Republican candidates for U.S. Senate are starting to flash their mugs on camera in TV ads around the state. If you are at all familiar with the Keyser campaign, you won’t be surprised by his first ad. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, Keyser’s first TV spot strikes a familiar tone but is lacking in accuracy:

Whether his assertions pass the truth test is another question. PolitiFact, a prominent fact-checking outlet, recently gave a False ruling to a U.S. Senate candidate in Florida who said the deal “allows Iran to produce a nuclear weapon.” The wording in Keyser’s ad goes even further. (He was recently rebuked for a different false claim regarding Guantanamo Bay detainees.)

The Keyser campaign said it bought statewide air time through the primary but declined to disclose the size of the TV buy. [Pols emphasis]

Without the details, it’s unclear how many people will hear the message and whether it will make an impact in the race. Through April 30, Keyser only had $200,000 in the bank. though he’s courtedhigh-dollar donors in recent weeks.

With Blaha and Graham on the air with their own TV ads, Keyser’s campaign certainly felt pressure to join the club so that they could claim to be “one of three” candidates on the air. But the campaign’s refusal to disclose the size of the TV buy is a big red flag for any Keyser supporters. When Graham announced his first TV ad, his campaign included the fact that $450,000 was spent on a statewide ad blitz; this is a pretty standard practice, and declining to talk numbers usually means that you don’t have impressive numbers to discuss.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

OF COURSE Dr. Chaps Wants To “Exorcise” Caitlyn Jenner

Our friends at Right Wing Watch publicizing Colorado GOP Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s latest lowlight today, and frankly we’re surprised it took him this long to take on America’s most famous transgender celebrity icon:

On his latest “Pray In Jesus Name” program, Religious Right activist and Colorado Republican lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt declared that Caitlyn Jenner needs an exorcism to rid her of the demonic “spirit of insanity.”

Responding to false reports that Jenner is planning to transition back to male, Klingenschmitt asserted that “it would be a dumb statement for someone to try to say that he wants to stay a woman because he’s not a woman. He’s never been one. His DNA has never changed. He still has male XY chromosomes. He is not a woman, he is a man. In fact, he still has male parts, I’m told.”

Now obviously, obviously, Chaps isn’t going to consider Caitlyn Jenner’s transition from living as a man to a woman to be legitimate. That was as predictable as sunrise. Politically, we’re not even willing to say this will hurt Rep. Klingenschmitt in his upcoming primary election to succeed Senate President Bill Cadman in SD-12–in fact, knowing what we know about the electorate down there, it should net him plenty of votes.

But perhaps in recognition of Chaps’ upcoming primary against loquacious ex-Rep. Bob Gardner, we note that Chaps didn’t call for Caitlyn Jenner to be drowned in the sea, or imply that she wants to behead Christians. No folks, Jenner is just the victim of garden-variety demonic possession:

“The spirit of insanity inside of this man, Bruce Jenner,” Klingenschmitt said, has made Jenner choose sin and “has brought him down a path of destruction … It is a mental illness. Of course, we think it is a demonic illness. The man needs an exorcism.”

See? Chaps can sort of tone it down. Exorcism is a lot nicer than execution after all, and more fun to watch too.

We’re just speculating about that last part.

Delta County Republicans say Facebook “hacked,” but county chair admitted posting racist meme

(The stupid, it burns! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In the wake of a Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s denunciation of a racist Facebook meme shared on the personal Facebook page of GOP County Chair Linda Sorenson, Delta County Republicans are saying a hacker is responsible for the post , contradicting Sorenson, who has taken responsibility for it last week.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Duffy Hayes reports:

“This whole thing is a hoax. Someone got into the Facebook somehow,” said Vic Ullrey, vice chairman of the committee. “It was hacked and somebody got into it, definitely.”

When asked why Sorenson was the specific target of the alleged hacking — possibly a federal crime, if true — Ullrey said, “I have no idea,” later adding, “Just to damage the Republican Party, no doubt. … Just to make us look bad,”

Sue Whittlesey, DCRCC treasurer, said, “That whole thing is bogus. Somebody hacked Linda Sorenson’s Facebook page, and posted that out there.”

“We believe it has something to do with (conservative-media watchdog) Media Matters. They’ve been harassing her the last few weeks,” Whittlesey said.

Trouble is, Sorenson told me directly, as I blogged last week, that she posted the meme as a joke and that she didn’t care if people found it offensive.


Tuesday Open Thread

Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliances are relieved,
Or not at all.

–William Shakespeare, From Hamlet

Progressive PR pro has advice for Keyser

(Coulda, shoulda, woulda – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jon Keyser.

Jon Keyser.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser has gotten a ton of advice on social media about how he should have reacted when it became obvious that signatures on his ballot-access petitions were actually factually forged.

You recall, when asked to comment on the forgeries, Keyser first said nothing, then exploded, and eventrually threw others under the bus.

The best package of how-to-be-a-better-interviewee advice for Keyser came from my friend Jenny Davies, who runs a progressive communications firm. Davies wrote in her newsletter:

We spend a lot of time coaching clients on the “do’s” of handling media interviews to convey our best messages in a trusted way. So we thought we’d use Keyser’s media meltdown as an excellent opportunity to go over some “don’t” pro tips in interviewing under pressure:

DON’T be defensive and combative
DON’T call a reporter the wrong name – repeatedly
DON’T completely ignore the question
DON’T repeat the same thing like a robot, especially if it doesn’t make sense
DON’T threaten a reporter with your big, scary dog
DON’T accuse the reporter of working with others against you

Just keep calm and call Progressive Promotions (or review our materials) the next time you need to handle the media.

A progressive outfit like this might be perfect for Keyser, who appears to think progressives have more power than they actually do–since he’s been blaming, among others, ProgressNow and George Soros for his own troubles.

Hickenlooper Notes 800-Pound Gorilla in Room, GOP Loses Minds

CBS News reports: conservatives across the fruited plain are apoplectic this Memorial Day weekend after an interview on CBS News, in which Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado had the temerity, the effrontery, the gender-traitorous gall to suggest something we suspect about half our readership (give or take demographic samplewise) already know before he said it:

“Some people say, and you’d have to look at it, if she was a man all this stuff wouldn’t be at the same level,” [Pols emphasis] the Democratic governor said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “There’s an awful lot of criticism–literally millions of dollars of criticism against her every week, over things that really aren’t that, against a man, wouldn’t be brought up like that.”

“I think they’ve parsed this about as much as they can,” he said of the email issue. “I mean, she was trying to protect family and friends from unwanted scrutiny — she said it’s a mistake, right? Let’s move on.”

And then Hick lowers the boom on the right wing mediasphere’s obsession with Hillary Clinton’s admittedly undersecured private email server she utilized as Secretary of State–as criticized last week by a State Department report.

“It points out that previous secretaries of state had done roughly the same — had used their own servers, like Colin Powell, and no one had come out officially at the time and said, you know, this is a bad precedent,” he said. “Again, she’s admitted she made a mistake. I don’t understand, it’s not like the end of the world. I understand it’s been made a big deal because people have spent millions of dollars trying to blow it into this incredible flame.”

And folks, Hickenlooper is right–at least right enough that it’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask. In all of hand-wringing over Clinton’s private email server, the one obvious missing component is actual harm done–some demonstrable example of her use of a private email server as Secretary of State actually compromising American interests. Somewhere in the 24/7 obsession by conservatives with an issue that they didn’t care about when a (male) Republican predecessor made the same mistake, the obvious question presents itself.

Because there is no evidence of any harm, and Republicans have no good answer when confronted about former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s exact same mistake, you have to ask why this issue is the subject of so much attention. But that isn’t a new thing: the Clintons have been subject to the most extreme and relentless scandalizing by the conservative media, over the course of decades, that any American political family has arguably ever faced. Indeed, the right-wing media machine we know as an institution today cut its teeth on turning every Clinton molehill into whatever mountain they could conjure up.

Along with that relentless scandalizing, the personal assault on the Clintons since the 1990s set a precedent we see as normal today. Along with every new angle of attack comes a thick coating of personal animus about these two political figures that has effectively dehumanized them among consumers of conservative media.

For Hillary, it’s a bunch of sexist crap. This latest affected “scandal” over her email server is just the latest segue into 20 years of character assassination that freely makes use of every sexist trope in the book where it concerns Hillary personally. It’s likely that Bill would also be getting some of this had it been his email server, but with Hillary, the attacks are bitter in a way that evokes more than the usual political demonizing.

And as hard as it may be to admit, there’s an easy way to explain the difference.

BREAKING: Lawsuit Filed To Disqualify Jon Keyser

Time to break out that industrial strength anti-perspirant, Jon Keyser.

Time to break out that industrial strength anti-perspirant, Jon Keyser.

UPDATE #3: The quote of the day goes to attorney Mark Grueskin, from this Denver Post story:

He rejected the Keyser camp’s assertion about the lawsuit’s motive. “If I had to defend forgery and fraud, I would probably try to deflect the issue to anything else, too,” he said.


UPDATE #2: The Aurora Sentinel’s Chris Harrop:

The lawsuit — brought by Marcy Cochran, Jonathan Royce and Michael Cerbo and filed in Denver District County Court — alleges that at least 60 signatures collected for Keyser in the 1st Congressional District that were accepted as valid by Williams’ office appear to be forged…

Additionally, the lawsuit argues that because petition circulator Maureen Moss — who is accused of forging signatures on petitions for Keyser — “falsely swore” that each signature was from the person it purported to be, all 178 accepted signatures collected by Moss should be ruled invalid. If the court were to invalidate those signatures, Keyser’s total signatures in the 1st Congressional District would fall to 1,342, also below the legal threshold for sufficiency.


UPDATE: Plaintiffs have a new list of sixty alleged forged signatures for Jon Keyser, dramatically increasing the number of signatures in question and mathematically calling into question Keyser’s qualification for the ballot. Because ballots for the June 28th Primary are already being prepared, Keyser can’t technically be removed from the ballot; however, a judge could still rule that any votes Keyser receives should not be counted.


Big news in the Jon Keyser petition fraud controversy breaking now via multiple sources:

We were forwarded the court filing, read it here. The summary reads:

In the implementation of a democracy, there may be no more patently offensive concept than fraud in the election process. Where election officials are not empowered to detect fraud or are simply overwhelmed and cannot do so, it becomes incumbent upon the courts to provide a forum to address such fraud and protect the electoral process. This is as true in the petition process as it is for any other aspect of an election. “If we do not hold in this way, we shall be compelled to say that, if a petition with a sufficient number of names on its face valid should be laid before the secretary of state, it could not be successfully attacked, even though every name were forged and every affidavit attached to it were false.” Elkins v. Milliken, 249 P. 655, 657 (Colo. 1926) (invoking powers as a court of equity).

Not every name has been forged on the petitions that are the subject matter of this litigation, and not every affidavit attached to them is false. But so many forged signatures and false affidavits were filed with and accepted by the Secretary of State to result in an unwarranted placement of Jon Keyser on the primary ballot for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. Additionally, the Secretary’s failure to issue a Statement of Sufficiency as to the Keyser petitions frustrates the ability of any eligible elector to challenge Keyser’s petitions.

As a result, this action seeks to ensure votes will not be counted for one candidate whose placement on the ballot is a function of fraud in the petitioning process. Alternatively, this action seeks an order that the Secretary issue a Statement of Sufficiency as required by statute.

Never a dull moment in this insane Senate race, dear readers.

Denver7’s Zelinger responds to baseless criticism of his work on Keyser forgery story

(Journalist commits journalism, Republicans freak out – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s a basic part of a journalist’s job to respond publicly to questions about their reporting. Yet, many don’t do it.

So, in case you missed it last week, it was good to hear Denver7’s Marshall Zelinger respond to hostile, and baseless, criticism from KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis.

Caplis was upset with Zelinger’s reports on the forged signatures on the ballot-access petitions of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jon Keyser. Caplis accused Zelinger of doing the work of Democrats generally and pulling a “punk-ass move” by seeking a mid-afternoon interview with Keyser at Keyser’s home, after Keyser and his campaign didn’t respond to numerous requests for interviews. Zelinger responded directly to Caplis’ accusations. Here’s the audio.

Friday Open Thread

“The great proof of madness is the disproportion of one’s designs to one’s means.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte

Latest Maketa Indictments Highlight Problem of Police Domestic Violence

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Terry Maketa, former El Paso County Sheriff, was indicted Wednesday, May 25, 2016, by a Grand Jury on six felony counts, including extortion, tampering with a witness, and second-degree kidnapping.  The latter two charges stem from Maketa and codefendants Paula Presley and Juan San Agustin intimidating a witness to keep her from testifying against her abuser, a deputy under Maketa’s supervision.

From Benzel and Sun’s Gazette reporting:

After a sheriff’s deputy was arrested in August 2013 for assaulting his girlfriend, Maketa directed the woman to recant her story and tell investigators she “instigated the incident in order to allow (the deputy) to get his job back,” the indictment alleges. When the woman, a civilian jail employee, followed his instructions and provided a false confession about being “the aggressor,” she was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, assault and driving under the influence.

“Detective Lisa Kaiser, the interviewing and arresting officer, did not believe she had probable cause to arrest (the woman) for either crime, but arrested (her) because the order came from her superiors,” the indictment says.

Maketa was booked and bonded out of jail on Thursday, May 26 .  Maketa had resigned in disgrace in 2014, ahead of a recall effort, amidst charges of sexual misconduct, corruption, and incompetence in his office.

Terry Maketa's mugshot

Maketa’s 5/25/16 mugshot  Credit : Gilpin County Sheriff’s Office

Maketa was one of the so-called “Constitutional Sheriffs” involved in a lawsuit against Colorado’s stricter gun laws, including magazine size limits and background check requirements.

Colorado media outlets have capitalized on the lurid sexual content of the Maketa case – Westword,   the Denver Post, and the Colorado Springs Gazette have all run stories emphasizing the conduct of the “Shirtless Sheriff”. We’re all sick of that steamy shower selfie, so, please, Pols, don’t post it in this diary.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 26)

Get More SmarterIf at first you don’t succeed…just keep filing lawsuits until a judge gives up. 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).


► Wednesday witnessed the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, and today you can watch the second part of an interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper about his new memoir.


► For now, at least, there are officially 5 Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate. A district court judge ruled on Wednesday that Ryan Frazier won’t have to drop out of the race because of a lack of valid petition signatures. As John Frank reports for the Denver Post, the GOP Senate field is starting to get a bit nasty with just weeks to go before mail ballots are sent to Primary voters — and Darryl Glenn isn’t happy about having so many opponents:

One-time longshot Darryl Glenn, buoyed by the recent endorsement of the prominent Senate Conservatives Fund, continued to spit fire at his challengers in a Colorado Public Television debate Wednesday in which he suggested three of themonly qualified for the ballot because of “judicial activism.”

The action unfolded as Ryan Frazier won a court battle to secure a spot on the ballot a minute before the debate started. A Denver judge issued a ruling that allowed the state to count signatures on Frazier’s petitions from voters who didn’t update their registration, saying it met the “substantial compliance” standard in law.

Blaha and Jon Keyser needed judicial orders to qualify for the race after their petitions contained mistakes that prompted the state to initially reject them. Glenn, who won his slot in the race at the state Republican Party convention, suggested the judge went too far.

“The court should only look and determine whether or not the secretary of state did its job,” said Glenn, an El Paso County Commissioner running a bare-bones campaign. “This whole substantial compliance standard needs to be thrown out.”
He didn’t appear to know that state law explicitly requires the court to use the “substantial compliance” standard.


► Former Republican Senate candidate and current state Sen. Tim Neville is backing Robert Blaha for U.S. Senate. It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Neville’s son, Joe Neville, is now running Blaha’s campaign.

Blaha, meanwhile, has decided that it would be advantageous for his Senate campaign if he tries to “out-Trump” Donald Trump. Perhaps Blaha is drinking the same Kool-Aid as Trump staffers who insist that His Hairness is echoing the sentiments of the American people in his calls to ban Muslims from the United States.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

The Get More Smarter Show: Hickenlooper’s Opposite of Woe

Watch Part 2 of the Get More Smarter Show’s extended interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper! In today’s segment we’ll be talking to the Governor about his new memoir–although Hick says he’s “too young to have a memoir”–The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics, on bookshelves now.

If you missed yesterday’s debut episode of the Get More Smarter Show, you can watch it here in all its technically challenged glory including Part 1 of our interview with Gov. Hickenlooper. Next week’s show will feature fewer production mistakes, mostly because we made so many of them with the first episode.

Many thanks again to Gov. Hickenlooper for sitting down with us.