Pollsters (Still) Getting Latino Vote Wrong in Colorado

The rollercoaster of polling results in Colorado has been of the more prominent stories of the 2014 election cycle, and it is a story we would expect to see many media outlets revisit once Election Day has finally come and gone. Polling results for various races have been all over the map in the last two months — some more obviously ridiculous than others (we're looking at you, Quinnipiac) — and politicos on both sides of the aisle have been scratching their heads at the mix of numbers. 

One of the more consistent inconsistencies, however, appears to be a result of errors trying to survey Latino Voters. We mentioned this last week as well, but here's more from Buzzfeed News:

In 2010, Sen. Harry Reid was engaged in a bitter battle with Sharron Angle. He was headed for a loss, polls said.

Despite polls showing him down about 3% on average, he won by 5.6%. The surprise was largely attributed to Latino voters being polled incorrectly. Nate Silver wrote about this after hearing from Matt Barreto, of Latino Decisions, a polling firm focused on the Latino vote.

Now with the 2014 midterm election looming, Barreto argues to BuzzFeed News that it’s happening again, this time in Colorado where polls show Republican Rep. Cory Gardner leading Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

“Even if you give other polls the benefit of the doubt and assume the rest of their statewide numbers are correct — if you pull their Latino numbers out and put ours in — instead of Udall being down by 3, he’s up 3 to 4,” Barreto said. [Pols emphasis]

That's a pretty significant swing that is beyond the margin of error in most polls. So how does it happen?

Latino Decisions says that mainstream polls fail in capturing the nuance of the Latino vote because many only poll in English, with small samples of Latinos somewhere in the 40-60 range, whereas they survey 400-600 bilingually. Cell-phone only, Spanish-speaking, lower socio-economic status Latinos are the most Democratic of all Latino voters, they argue, and are the most difficult and costly voters to include in a poll, according to a recent blog post. Polls in English, on the other hand, oversample higher income Latinos who are more likely to lean Republican, according to Barreto.

A recent Latino Decisions/NCLR Action Fund poll found that 66% of Latinos say they will or are likely to vote for Udall, while only 17% said they would definitely or are likely to vote for Gardner. But of those who were interviewed in Spanish, 76% said they will vote for or are likely to vote for Udall.

Interesting food for thought as field operations take over the spotlight.

Has Right-Wing Media – And a Special Booking Agency – Killed Beauprez’s Chances?

Beauprez-Profile-Right

The vast collection of bizarre online media programs and bunker-crazy talk-radio hosts has probably cost Bob Beauprez the governor's office.

Beauprez can't shake off the digital archive of underground thought that he articulated on these shows beginning after his last gubernatorial loss in 2006 and continuing into this very year. It's defined him.

Calling Obama "a different kind of American than any I know" on the "Talk to Solomon Show," saying, on the Talkback with Chuck Wilder Show, that there's a “growing sentiment” that America might be on the “verge of something very, very bad,” and “folks realize they may need to protect themselves against the government that was supposed to be instituted to protect us," warning, on the Internet show “Christian Today,” that "I hope and pray we don’t see another civil war but this administration is pushing the boundaries like none I think we’ve ever, ever seen," expressing his love for the "Tea Party movement," on KLZ 560-AM's Wake Up with Randy Corporon, as "the healthiest thing we have seen in very long time in America," and accusing Americans of being like "sheep" who’d blindly allow the government to implant microchips in their bodies.

It goes on and on, and you can read more here and here. And if you bottom feed on the Internet for a while, you can probably find something new and shocking yourself.

How did Beauprez get there? How did he find all these weird shows?

It's a good bet that many of them came from Beauprez's apparent booking agency, called "SpecialGuests.com."

This outfit's special guests are truly special, but in the depressing sense, and include a collection of pundits plucked from the right-wing underground. Stars include Gun Owners of America Director Larry Pratt and Phyllis Schlafly, to give you an idea of what's available today.

On SpecialGuests.com, Beauprez's description references his right-wing blog, A Line of Sight, which would have certainly attracted the shadowy shows he frequented:

ABOUT YOUR GUEST, BOB BEAUPREZ:

…Since 2007, Bob has published a monthly e-magazine called A Line of Sight (http://www.alineofsight.com/), a public policy and opinion resource on current political issues. Then, in 2009, he authored his first book: A Return to Values: A Conservative Look at His Party…

Bob continues to stay politically active, guest hosting on various radio talk shows, doing numerous media interviews nationally, and maintains a busy public speaking schedule.

Beauprez's "numerous media interviews," and the conspiracy-tinged questions he was asked as a "special guest," are now a special part of his downfall.

Mike Coffman: “I am a Proud Member of the Party of No”

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman has worked hard over the last two years to distance himself from Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, and for good reason. Mike Coffman has said some things in previous years that Mike Coffman would rather voters not remember in 2014.

Mike Coffman is a problem for Mike Coffman in CD-6 as he tries to convince voters that he's not the same guy who was first elected to a much more-heavily Republican district in 2008. As the Aurora Sentinel noted in its endorsement of Democrat Andrew Romanoff earlier this month, "only one of the candidates would vote on most issues the same way you would, and that’s Andrew Romanoff."

There are plenty of examples of this dichotomy at play, but rarely are they as stark as this video from a 2010 Tea Party rally in which Coffman declares — repeatedly — that he is "a proud member of the Party of 'No.'"

Yeah, that's not good.

New Ads Slam Jeffco Republicans Over School Board Antics

Hard shots continue against Jefferson County Republican candidates tied to the controversy surrounding the new conservative school board majority. Check out new ads ad targeting SD-19 GOP candidate Laura Waters Woods (above) and SD-16's Tim Neville (below). Neville, as we've discussed, is the brother-in-law of lightning-rod Jeffco board member Julie Williams.

The Huffington Post's Samantha Lachman published a great story yesterday evening on the potential effects of the school board's recent history review drama on the upcoming elections. The school board majority is not on the ballot this year, but many Republicans demonstrably tied to Williams and the school board are. The protests against the majority's history review proposal are arguably the highest-visibility grassroots actions in Jeffco in years, uniting citizens with a variety of political views against the common enemy of ideological censorship. And as we've been opining for some weeks, the Jeffco school board's ideological flight of fancy could be the game-changer of 2014 in Colorado's foremost bellwether county.

"For the first time in my life, I will probably vote a straight Democratic ticket." [Pols emphasis]

That realization came as something of a surprise to non-practicing attorney Wendy McCord, who has always thought of herself as a Republican. The mother of two children in Jefferson County's public school system, McCord told The Huffington Post that she has been politically transformed by the actions of the new conservative majority on the county school board, which presides over the state's second-largest school district.

Here in Jefferson County, a bellwether battleground that is almost evenly split between Republicans, Democrats and independents, a local educational controversy is resonating with county voters who otherwise might not have been engaged in this year's elections. Frustrated Republicans like McCord could be the deciding votes in Colorado's gubernatorial race, in which Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) faces a strong challenge from former Rep. Bob Beauprez (R), as well as its Senate race, in which Democratic Sen. Mark Udall is in danger of being unseated by Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner…

The school board controversy is especially relevant given the pivotal role Jefferson County plays in statewide elections. An informal saying here is "As Jeffco goes, so goes Colorado," referencing the fact that the county, which encompasses the suburbs west of Denver, has voted with the winners in U.S. Senate races since 1992 and gubernatorial contests since 1978. [Pols emphasis]

The story quotes Democratic Sen. Andy Kerr, himself fighting off Julie Williams-endorsed Tony Sanchez in SD-22 (new ad in that race follows after the jump) saying that the actions of the new Jefferson County school board majority are at the top of Jeffco voters' minds as he walks neighborhoods. That's consistent with what we're hearing in terms of polling results–which is driving the ads you see here hammering away at Jefferson County Republicans tied to Williams. It does appear Jefferson County voters understand that the controversy at the school board has partisan Republican origins.

Michael Clark, a registered independent who was educated in Jefferson County, suggested that the school board issue could impact November's statewide races if voters take their frustrations out on candidates who are politically aligned with the conservative board members. (No recall election has been initiated for the board itself.) For instance, Beauprez said in an interview earlier this month that the student protesters were being manipulated by their teachers.

"A lot of people were put off by his comments," Clark told HuffPost.

Bottom line: if the anecdotes in this story manifest on Election Night as votes, Julie Williams could play a bigger role in the 2014 elections than anyone who supported her election to this school board ever imagined. The decision to plunge headlong into a radical agenda of "reform" by this board, in a politically moderate and divided place like Jefferson County, could go down in history as a cardinal error; the step too far that provokes a blowback much bigger than anything a school board can achieve would ever be worth.

For Republicans in and outside Jefferson County, we're talking major disaster.

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Money trail indicates RMGO recognizes the toxicity of its own brand

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

RMGOPistol

With all the negative attention on Rocky Mountain Gun Owners of late, you'd think the outfit might want to hide its name when it attempts to influence voters. On the other hand, RMGO isn't known to care about what normal people think.

It appears, though, RMGO has actually gotten the message that its RMGO name scares people. Instead of simply using its independent expenditure committee "RMGO SUPERPAC" to oppose at least one state senate candidate, RMGO is sending money to do so to an entity called "Colorado Liberty PAC."

Exactly $55,000 of the $60,000 donated to Colorado Liberty PAC comes from RMGO, according to campaign finance records. (The other $5,000 came from the "Colorado Tea Party.")

And the designated filing agent for Colorado Liberty PAC is Joseph Neville, who runs RMGO in Colorado and serves as its notorious lobbyist here. So RMGO apparently controls Colorado Liberty PAC. Neville did not return an email seeking comment.

In turn, Colorado Liberty PAC is sending mailers attacking SD 22 candidate Andy Kerr, who's Jeffco district is populated by people whom, RMGO has apparently concluded, don't like the RMGO brand.

See a Colorado Liberty PAC mailer attacking Andy Kerr 10-2014.

And another one attacking Kerr.

Betsy Markey a Bright Spot In Latest PPP Poll; Gov, Senate Updates

UPDATE: Here's another poll to add to the mixMonmouth University ties the Senate race at Cory Gardner 47%, Mark Udall 46%. This poll also shows Gov. John Hickenlooper leading Bob Beauprez by seven points, 50-43%.

—–

Betsy Markey.

Betsy Markey.

The Denver Post's John Frank reports on today's Public Policy Polling numbers, which shows Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner leading by the same comfortless 3-point margin we've seen throughout October, and Gov. John Hickenlooper leading Bob Beauprez by the same statistically insignificant single point:

Gardner received 46 percent and Udall took 43 percent in a Public Policy Polling survey of likely voters released Tuesday. The edge is within the 3.5 percent margin of error. The other candidates in the race get a combined 5 percent with another 7 percent undecided.

It is the latest poll in a long line that show the Republican challenger ahead of the Democratic incumbent.

The governor’s race is even closer, the poll found, with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper holding a one-point edge, 45 percent to 44 percent, against Republican challenger Bob Beauprez. The other candidates on the ballot get 4 percent with 7 percent undecided…

It's the story you know: both races are very close, and the all-star Democratic field campaign has the proven ability, at least in theory, to close the gap in the U.S. Senate race just like 2010. Looking down the ballot, however, there is a pleasant surprise for Democrats. From PPP's memo:

Further down the ticket the closest race is for Treasurer, where incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton leads Democratic challenger Betsy Markey 42/40. [Pols emphasis] Stapleton's lead had been 10 points when we last polled the state in July. Republicans have larger leadsin the other down ballot races- Wayne Williams is up 36/31 on Joe Neguse for Secretary of State and Cynthia Coffman has a 46/32 advantage over Don Quick for Attorney General.

There are several factors we can think of that would explain Treasurer candidate Betsy Markey closing eight points to within striking distance from the last PPP poll–Markey's higher name recognition as a former member of Congress, and effective ads hitting incumbent Walker Stapleton. Cynthia Coffman's large lead over Don Quick in this poll, combined with Markey's strength, may speak to a simple wisdom of running qualified women candidates in these downballot races. In 2010, there was a significant undervote–five percent or more–in the secretary of state, treasurer, and attorney general races. Finding the electable edge here is a perennial challenge, and we'll be interested to see if results this year point to a new strategy.

As for today, Democrats appear to have good reason to get serious about winning the Treasurer's race.

Field Campaigns Win Elections

votebutton

AP's Nicholas Riccardi has an insightful story about the storied Democratic combined field campaign effort, swinging into action again this year as the polls in Colorado's marquee U.S Senate race look a lot like they did in 2010:

The relentless ground game to inspire voters to cast ballots has helped Democrats dominate Colorado under even the most difficult political circumstances. Four years ago, the strategy helped Sen. Michael Bennet’s come from behind to win re-election. Now Bennet is directing the Senate Democrats’ national campaign arm, testing whether a $60 million get-out-the-vote effort — named, “The Bannock Street Project,” for his old Denver campaign office — can do the same for Udall and other Democrats defending their Senate majority…

Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner has led Udall in recent public polls. Bennet didn’t lead in a single public poll in 2010. [Pols emphasis] Udall’s campaign is modeled on Bennet’s — but with a get-out-the-vote operation three times larger. The incumbent may also benefit from Colorado’s new elections law, passed last year by its Democratic-controlled legislature over Republican objections, that sends mail-in ballots to all voters and allows citizens to register until Election Day.

There’s no guarantee Democrats will dominate on the ground this year. Republicans in Colorado and elsewhere in the nation have upped their focus on getting out the vote. But GOP and conservative opponents know the ground game remains a potent Democratic weapon.

In 2012, the Republican coordinated campaign had serious problems with a new integrated field campaign system called "ORCA," which resulted in widespread breakdowns in their get-out-the-vote operation. We've heard that at least some of the lessons from that failure have been learned by the GOP in time for 2014, but the fact remains that Democratic field campaign efforts have done this successfully over and over in Colorado. Democrats have a degree of experience with getting out the vote in Colorado that the right simply has no analog for in recent elections.

One big variable this year is the impact of the 2013 election modernization legislation, House Bill 13-1303, which resulted in both mail ballots being delivered to every registered voter and the ability to register and vote through Election Day. Consistent with past elections, Republicans are leading the early mail ballot returns. Democratic ballots will come in as they're canvassed, and historically Democrats dominate early voting. 

Just like in 2010, it's going to be very close. But Cory Gardner's steady three-point October lead in the U.S. Senate race, given 2010's experience, is nothing for Republicans to feel good about.

Tuesday Open Thread

"The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all."

–Ralph Waldo Emerson

Heads Up: James O’Keefe Skulking Around In Colorado

James OKeefe, wearing a Mark Udall sticker.

James O’Keefe, wearing a Mark Udall sticker in Fort Collins Saturday.

MONDAY UPDATE: Mother Jones reports this afternoon on what James O'Keefe is apparently up to in Colorado–not surprisingly, trying to bait progressive GOTV groups into either committing or condoning voter fraud. Also not surprising, he hasn't found any takers:

James O'Keefe, the conservative provocateur, has been on the prowl in Colorado, the setting of a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, as well as a nip-and-tuck governor's contest. Last week, O'Keefe and two of his collaborators tried to bait Democratic field staffers into approving voter fraud involving Colorado's universal vote-by-mail program, according to three Democratic staffers who interacted with O'Keefe or his colleagues.

Democratic staffers in Colorado recently came to believe they were the subject of an O'Keefe operation after campaign workers became suspicious about would-be volunteers who had asked about filling out and submitting mail-in ballots for others…

Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his twenties showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as "Nick Davis," and he said he was a University of Colorado–Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it. [Pols emphasis]

On Friday, Udall campaigned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the University of Colorado–Boulder campus. After the event, a woman calling herself "Bonnie" approached a different staffer and, according to this staffer's boss, asked whether she could fill out and submit blank ballots found in a garbage can. The staffer, according to her boss, said that she told her no…

The repeated questions about submitting other people's ballots led Democratic staffers to suspect they were being targeted. Later, the staffers viewed photos of O'Keefe—including one taken in Colorado showing O'Keefe sans mustache and sporting a Udall campaign sticker and a Women for Udall button—and they concluded that O'Keefe and the college professor were the same person.

The story goes on to confirm Saturday's incident at the New Era Colorado as we reported yesterday. If you know anyone working on Democratic or progressive campaigns who hasn't yet gotten the word that O'Keefe is in Colorado looking to entrap them…now would be a good time to let them know. Sunday's post follows.

—–

James O'Keefe
GOP provacateur James O'Keefe.

We just got a tip that infamous conservative "gotcha game" artist James O'Keefe is on the ground in Colorado, prowling around left-aligned campaign organizations. O'Keefe reportedly showed up at the Fort Collins office of GOTV group New Era Colorado yesterday, and according to the report we got, "tried to force his way in," necessitating a police call. We can't confirm any of those details, but O'Keefe himself was positively ID'ed. We'll update with any additional information we get about that incident.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, James O'Keefe is one of the right wing's most prolific and controversial provacateurs, but he also played a major role in the partisan destruction of the community group ACORN after posing as a pimp and seeking assistance with a hidden camera. Less known is the fact that he was later forced to pay over $100,000 to one of the ACORN workers he selectively edited. O'Keefe later faced charges for attempting to tamper with the phone lines of a U.S. Senator. Most recently, O'Keefe filmed himself crossing the Mexican border wearing an Osama bin Laden Halloween costume, a stunt that resulted in considerably more ridicule than the intended instilling of xenophobic fear.

Anyway, Democratic and otherwise lefty campaign hands across the state, if you see this guy at your office, be advised that he is not there to make you look good.

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Denver Post: Enough is Enough, Faye Griffin

Faye Griffin

The Denver Post published a strongly-worded editorial critical of Jefferson County Commissioner (and Clerk & Recorder candidate) Faye Griffin. The editorial board's rebuke of Griffin for what the Post calls "job hopping" contains some stunningly-candid quotes from Griffin herself:

We asked Griffin why she would leave the commission two years early, and she was candid in saying it was due to term limits.

Griffin is in the middle of her second term, and if she stayed in the position, she couldn't run for the commission again — and there would be no other palatable options for her, in her mind.

"In two years, there's no county office that is open," Griffin said. So, she is seeking the office she held for eight years, starting in 1998. [Pols emphasis]

Political blog JeffcoPols pointed out Griffin's move and speculated that it could be part of a larger shuffle of Republican politicians in Jefferson County intended to avoid open-seat elections.

Even if it is wrong about the specific moves, the blog makes a valid point about how Griffin's action would cede power to the GOP vacancy committee in Jefferson County.

Last week we outlined how Griffin's "job hopping" could sweep two other Republicans into elected office without having to be, you know, elected, which is a stunt Griffin has helped initiate on more than one occasion. This is an issue that Jeffco Pols first picked up last November, when we wrote, "Finish Your Damn Job, Faye Griffin."

The 75-year-old Griffin has been repeatedly elected to various offices in Jefferson County, primarily because of her longstanding name ID, but it's pretty amazing that she is so blunt about her own personal interests taking precedence over doing right by Jefferson County. Her supporters all say that Griffin is "a very nice old lady," and we have no reason to suspect otherwise, but that doesn't make this right. When Griffin tells the Post that "in two years, there's no county office that is open," she almost makes it sound as though she has no other choice but to run for something else before the end of her elected term. Griffin is asking a lot of Jeffco voters, yet as the Post notes in its editorial, it's not too much for voters to ask that she finish the job she sought in the first place.

At Least It Wasn’t Your Midnight Robocall

Banana phone, ring ring ring.

Banana phone, ring ring ring.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on a weekend political "robocall" with high dirty-tricks potential that failed rather spectacularly:

Numerous robocalls purporting to support U.S. Senate candidate Gaylon Kent went out to voters late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, but the Libertarian candidate says his campaign was not behind them…

The calls seem to be intended to hurt Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, who is locked in a tight race with GOP Congressman Cory Gardner that is likely to determine which party controls the Senate next year.

Via e-mail and social media, multiple people complained of being awoken by the calls. Kent’s campaign said they received reports of calls going out between 10:40 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday.

“Most of the contacts came from Denver-area supporters of (Mark) Udall,” Kent said. “But one gentleman from Philadelphia called me to complain, and I got a Facebook message from a lady in Virginia, too.”

Here's a rough transcript of said midnight robocall:

"Since Mark Udall was elected to the US Senate in 2008, the United States has bombed seven countries. We bombed Iraq, we bombed Afghanistan, we bombed Pakistan, we bombed Libya, we bombed Yemen, we bombed Somalia. And now, we're bombing Syria.

In fact, with Mark Udall in the Senate, the US has bombed more countries than it did under George Bush. Not only has Mark Udall not done anything to stop this, Mark Udall has been leading the charge to bomb Syria for years and to continue the carnage that we're inflicting on the world. It's right there on his website.

There's only one true anti-war candidate in this year's Senate election: Gaylon Kent. So grab your ballot right now and vote for Gaylon Kent, and tell Washington: 'No more war!' This message brought to you by the Libertas Institute."

By all accounts, this call went out to younger, "high propensity" Democratic voters–that is, safe and core constituency voters for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. It's not hard to imagine why Udall's opponents would try just about anything to confound and depress these key voters. Suspicion focused early on an organization called the Libertas Institute based in Utah. That group, however, claims no affiliation with the "Libertas Institute" identified in the robocall. A website for the "Libertas Institute of Colorado," however, displays this message:

Normally calls are restricted to reasonable hours, however, due to a programming error calls continued through the late night hours. It was not the intent to call people in the middle of the night, or to cause Mr. Kent any negative effect.

We deeply regret the intrusive effect of these calls and also the embarrassment they caused Mr. Kent.

Sources tell us a "Libertas Institute" also called active Democrats in 2012, with a similarly-themed call urging Colorado Democratic voters to support Gary Johnson over Barack Obama–with a message that began, "Greetings fellow Democrat!" There's no registration for this group that we can find in Colorado, so it's anybody's guess who they really represent or what their real agenda is. All of which would have probably stayed nicely under the radar had their robocall not gone out in the middle of the night, thus making it an embarrassing news story. Once it's a story, people can easily corroborate basic details like the fact that it was aimed entirely at high propensity Democratic voters.

Once those voters realize they are being played, their reaction is likely to be…other than intended.

Michael “Heck-of-a-Job” Brown doesn’t want “stupid people” to vote

(Tell us how you really feel, Brownie – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Remember Michael "Heck-of-a-Job" Brown, George W. Bush's go-to guy on the Katrina disaster/embarrassment/tragedy.

Now he's a talk-radio host on KHOW 630-AM in Denver, and he's still doing a heck of a job.

We caught "Brownie," as Bush called him, on the air saying he doesn't want "stupid people" to vote, because they're "more likely than not to vote for a Democrat." Who do you think he wants to see voting?

Most talk-radio rants should just be ignored. But, needless to say, there's a great response to this one. Let's vote so the Brownies in our country don't get more power. In Colorado, you can still register at www.justvotecolorado.org.

Politifact Condemns Gardner CDC/Ebola Fearmongering

mostlyfalse

A "flip" statement from Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner in last week's 9NEWS debate is coming in for harsh criticism from Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checker Politifact:

As fears over Ebola reached a crescendo, Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., took a shot at the federal government’s handling of the disease during a debate with Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Gardner has been gaining ground in the closely watched Colorado Senate race, and that contest is just one of many around the country in which Ebola has become an issue.

Gardner, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Perhaps the CDC should quit spending money on things like jazzercise, urban gardening and massage therapy and direct that money to where it's appropriate in protecting the health of the American people."

We wondered if it was true that the government is spending money on jazzercise, urban gardening and the like at the expense of funding for Ebola…

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

And yes, dear reader, the idea that the Centers for Disease Control is blowing its Ebola budget on "Jazzercise" is as ridiculous as it sounds. The funds in question pay for a whole lot of things the public values–including prevention of hospital-acquired infections.

Like Ebola.

Does Gardner’s focus accurately describe what the fund does?

No, it’s pretty misleading…

[E]ven within the $300 million-plus spent on items such as preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer, experts are certain that items such as jazzercise represent a tiny fraction of what CDC is spending.

The plan’s critics have chosen the silliest-sounding items — an effective rhetorical tactic, but not a very honest one…

[A]s it happens, there’s really no need to switch money out of the fund, since the fund can be used directly to pay for Ebola expenses. [Pols emphasis] Remember that $12 million we noted above that’s targeted for "infection prevention in health care facilities" for 2014? That’s relevant because, "right now in the United States, Ebola is exclusively a hospital-acquired infection," Mays said.

Bottom line?

Gardner said the CDC is "spending money on things like jazzercise, urban gardening and massage therapy" that could be redirected Ebola.

We weren’t able to document such expenditures, but given the agency’s spending parameters, it’s certainly possible they’ve been made. However, by cherry-picking three chuckle- (or outrage-) inducing spending items, Gardner presents a misleading description of what the fund does. Those efforts almost certainly represent a tiny fraction of spending from the prevention fund, which is dominated by efforts to attack diseases that kill more than 1.4 million people every year…

The only thing we have to add is that it's objectively not cool, or at least it shouldn't be cool, to mislead people about the government's response to the Ebola outbreak. The CDC funding a couple of insignificant–and cast in a more truthful light, perfectly reasonable–health programs does not render the agency less able to respond to public health threats like Ebola. It's one thing to invoke these kinds of "$500 toilet seat" myths and misleading anecdotes in the abstract. To make these bogus claims in the midst of a public health crisis that is genuinely scaring people in order to win an election is, in our view, deplorable. It's the sort of thing that the Denver Post editorial board used to condemn, not endorse.

We're glad Politifact at least agrees it's bogus.

Snoop Dogg and Mike Dunafon: The Fog of Weed

Snoop Dogg, Mike Dunafon.

Snoop Dogg, Mike Dunafon.

9NEWS reports:

Mike Dunafon is not exactly a household name. Sure, he is a former Bronco and the current mayor of Glendale, but his name is not what

comes to mind when thinking of Colorado's gubernatorial race. But multi-platinum recording artist Snoop Dogg is looking to change that this Halloween weekend.

The "Yes We Cannabis Festival" features a lineup that is yet to be announced, but will feature Snoop Dogg as the main act. Snoop collaborated with Dunafon and artist Wyclef Jean on Dunafon's campaign song, "The Trap," which features all three rapping about campaign issues like big government, pot laws, and campaign finance reform.

Despite a fair amount of press for the colorful mayor of Glendale and longtime principal of the infamous Shotgun Willie's strip club, he has yet to register in the polls with any significance. The reason for that is simple enough: the budding (pun intended) marijuana industry in Colorado has no desire to upset the proverbial apple cart, and Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has openly spoken in favor of repealing of Amendment 64. Even though incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has occasionally made statements about marijuana legalization that upset stakeholders, he's not going to try to kill the industry off out of pure snooty moral rectitude.

There's a good possibility that the voters who Dunafon and rapper Snoop Dogg could swing would not vote at all otherwise, but if Dunafon were to pull votes from anyone it would logically be from Hickenlooper. We think the smart money in the marijuana lobby knows that, and that's why Dunafon hasn't gotten much traction even with high profile (pun intended) entertainers like Wyclef Jean and now Snoop Dogg backing him up.

Having said that, this might be a good remedial lesson in how politics work to share with your stoner friends.