Oppo Dump: Cory Gardner Co-Wrote “Disastrous” Amendment 52

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

A lengthy press release and “research dump” this week from Sen. Mark Udall’s campaign highlights an issue that could prove damaging to GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner with otherwise conservative-leaning constituencies–his co-authorship of 2008′s failed Amendment 52, which would have diverted mineral severance tax funding revenues away from water projects to road construction.

Amendment 52 was described by co-author Josh Penry as a retaliatory ballot measure, intended to complicate the implementation of Amendment 58–a measure from then Gov. Bill Ritter to increase mineral severance taxes to fund education. As the Denver Post’s Mark Jaffe reported then:

“This is all about politics,” said Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, a sponsor of Amendment 52. [Pols emphasis]

Penry said that when Gov. Bill Ritter chose to seek the severance-tax change through the ballot rather than the legislature, those seeking more money for highways “were forced to put our own proposal to the voters.”

Amendment 52, which would become part of the state constitution, would cap tax revenues for water projects and could provide $90 million next year for highway projects and $1 billion over the next decade, supporters say.

While Amendment 58 failed at the polls in 2008, Gardner and Penry’s Amendment 52 went down by a much wider margin. Just about every local government representation group, the state’s Department of Natural Resources, conservationists, and most importantly, water rights stakeholders from across the state came out against Amendment 52.

“We know that we are facing a growing population and a need for water projects,” said Chris Treese, a spokesman for the Colorado River District. “This just hurts.”

We’ve reprinted the Udall campaign’s detailed press release on this subject after the jump. This is just one of a number of stories from Gardner’s long career in politics that warrants close scrutiny by the press between now and Election Day. The negative takeaways for Gardner from the Amendment 52 story are significant: from inappropriate tit-for-tat using our state’s constitution as his chessboard to a callous disregard for vital stakeholders in Colorado’s economy, for the purpose of protecting a couple of percentage points for his benefactors in oil and gas industry.

And there’s absolutely nothing about this story that makes Cory Gardner look good.

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Friday Open Thread

“The future influences the present just as much as the past.”

–Friedrich Nietzsche

DSCC Drops $1 Million To Hammer Gardner on Abortion

AP’s Phillip Elliot reports on the latest media buy from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, $1 million on an ad hitting GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner squarely on the issue of abortion:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Thursday ordered a two-week ad buy that hammers Republican congressman Cory Gardner. The narrator in the 30-second ad says Gardner backed three amendments that would have banned all abortions.

Gardner supported changes to Colorado’s state constitution that would have banned stem cell research, some birth control and abortion. Gardner has since changed his position on the so-called personhood measure, and says now he opposes it.

From the DSCC’s release:

“If Congressman Cory Gardner had his way, Colorado women would be denied critical decisions about their personal health,” said Justin Barasky, a spokesman at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Congressman Gardner’s record of backing measures to take women’s health care decisions away is simply too extreme for Colorado. Until Election Day, the DSCC will continue to highlight how Congressman Gardner is completely wrong for Colorado women, seniors, and middle class families.”

What’s particularly interesting to us about this latest TV spot is the lack of any mention of birth control–focusing strictly on Gardner’s support for banning all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Much of the advertising up to this point has tried to invoke the added consequence of banning birth control as a result of the Personhood abortion bans, and the federal Life at Conception Act that Gardner remains a co-sponsor of. Gardner has vigorously pushed back against the assertion that he wanted to ban even so-called “abortifacient” birth control as Personhood proponents did–going as far as voicing support for over-the-counter birth control as a means of deflecting the charge that he supports legislation that could ban it.

By avoiding the issue of birth control entirely and focusing solely on Gardner’s support for total abortion bans even in cases of rape or incest, the DSCC takes away Gardner’s ability to deflect. Regardless of whether or not you believe Gardner wanted to ban birth control when he supported legislation that could have that effect, there’s no question that Gardner has repeatedly sponsored and voted for legislation to ban all abortions without exception. To be honest, anecdotal conversations we’ve had with low-information voters suggest to us that the claim Gardner supported legislation to ban birth control, intentionally or not, is much harder to swallow than the argument that Gardner supports banning all abortions even in cases of rape or incest.

Given the public’s skepticism of election-season claims these days, it may indeed be better to stick to an argument that Gardner can’t, as local Republican consultant Katy Atkinson crassly admitted was the plan, “muddy up.”

Because we don’t think Gardner can say much about this one.

Gardner Goes Full “Con Man Cory” In Aspen Times Interview

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner sat down with Aspen Times reporter Rick Carroll this week, and was subjected to a lively battery of questions ranging from his views on abortion and contraception to local control over oil and gas drilling. Gardner’s answers are in some ways tellingly evasive if you know the facts, while others could come back to haunt him in very straightforward ways between now and Election Day. Here are some excerpts, make sure you click through to read the whole thing.

On birth control:

AT: During this campaign you have said you favor over-the-counter birth-control pills. Is it fair to say you have changed your mind and how do you explain that?

Gardner: Sen. Udall’s lying and because Sen. Udall can’t run on the economy, on energy, he can’t run on health care, he’s got to run away from those issues. He’s running a very negative and deceptive campaign full of untruths…the fact is I support contraception available over the counter without prescription.

AT: Without prescription?

Gardner: Yes, and that’s the key part and we need to fix Obamacare to allow that to happen… [Pols emphasis]

On abortion:

AT: Do you believe that women have their own right to make their own choices about health care, specifically abortion?

Gardner: I am pro-life and I have voted for measures that have exceptions. [Pols emphasis] I think Sen. Udall wants to divide the state of Colorado and not focus on issues of the economy or health care or energy. In fact, I would say this: When it comes to health care, Sen. Udall has said that people shouldn’t be making their own health-care choices. He cast one of his votes on Obamacare, a bill passed that took 335,000 Coloradans off the insurance they were promised they could keep…

On immigration:

AT: Earlier this month you broke rank with the Republicans by voting against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. But in 2013 you voted in favor of a bill that would have ended it. Can you explain your change of heart?

Gardner: Those were two different pieces of legislation at different times… [Pols emphasis]

On oil and gas drilling and climate change:

AT: Do you support Udall’s legislation to protect the Thompson Divide area from drilling?

Gardner: I know the legislation that Sen. (Michael) Bennet has introduced and Congressman (Scott) Tipton has obviously been working on this issue. … Federal legislation that affects a local issue, those discussions ought to be led by local stakeholders… [Pols emphasis]

AT: Do you believe in climate change?

Gardner: Well, I have said that the climate is changing. I’ve said that before but I’m very concerned that the revenues for it would destroy our economy, like Sen. Udall’s idea to place a carbon tax, driving up the cost on low-income earners, on people with fixed income and they would destroy our economy.

A remarkable interview for the sweeping ground it covers–and the sweeping reinventions Gardner is trying to make from his former staunchly conservative self on display. But beyond that, there’s an audacity to Gardner’s deceptive answers that’s really quite extraordinary. When Gardner says he has voted for abortion ban “measures that have exceptions,” meaning exceptions for victims of rape or incest, he avoids saying that he has also voted and even sponsored abortion bans that do not contain any such exceptions. Gardner’s talk of “fixing” Obamacare is plainly meant to deflect from Gardner’s dozens of unpopular votes to repeal Obamacare. Gardner’s answer on immigration, for its part, is laughably weak, and won’t mollify critics in the least.

But the real shocker in this interview could be Gardner’s lip service to local control over oil and gas drilling. After weeks raking opponent Mark Udall over the coals, demanding Udall publicly come out against ballot initiatives for local control of oil and gas drilling that Gardner falsely characterized as an “energy ban,” what is anybody supposed to make of Gardner saying now that local stakeholders should “lead discussions?”

Even with no knowledge of Gardner’s record and the issues that have been animating this race so far, the responses in this interview raise questions–it’s obvious he’s not telling the whole story, and that he’s responding to allegations the reader can’t fully appreciate without more context. Those who take that next step to get that context will discover pretty easily just how deceptive Gardner was in this interview.

And it’s difficult to see how that ends well for Gardner.

Throwback Thursday: Mike Coffman Hearts Marilyn Musgrave

Former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave doesn’t get a lot of press anymore, but back in 2006, Musgrave was Colorado’s foremost culture warrior in Congress. From abortion to the dreaded gays, no wedge issue was too divisive for Musgrave to not champion from her (relatively) safe Republican CD-4 seat in Congress. In the last great Democratic wave election of 2008, Musgrave was toppled by Democrat Betsy Markey largely on the argument that Musgrave was too focused on wedge issues to effectively represent her constituents on issues that matter.

But in 2006, when this picture was taken, Musgrave was still a star–and then-Treasurer Mike Coffman, at the time running for Secretary of State, was a doting groupie (right).

Those were the days, folks.

Tancredo: Impeach Obama Over Immigration. Just Do It!

tancgov

Talking Points Memo caught up with former Congressman and Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, to ask him what Republicans should do in the event that President Barack Obama takes executive action on immigration–the suddenly burning issue Republicans left hanging as they left Washington for the August recess:

If President Barack Obama takes unilateral steps to grant “amnesty” to people living in the U.S. illegally, the House of Representatives must impeach him, former Rep. Tom Tancredo told TPM in an interview.

“It’s unconstitutional. He should be impeached if he tries it,” Tancredo, a Colorado Republican and outspoken immigration hawk in the House from 1999 to 2009, said Wednesday evening by phone from his home in Denver…

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his allies emphasize that they have no plans to pursue impeachment. Even some conservative House lawmakers say it’s impractical because there won’t be the two-thirds Senate majority needed to convict and remove him from office.

Tancredo’s message Boehner: do it anyway. [Pols emphasis]

“Do you do what’s right or do you look at it from a political standpoint? You can say, gee, we probably couldn’t convict him,” he said. “Of course, Democrats will take full advantage of this and say it’s because he’s black. But if it’s the right thing to do it’s the right thing to do. But if you don’t do it then all of a sudden you have set a precedent for future presidents to violate the Constitution. You’ve raised the bar — you’ve made it harder to impeach somebody. It’s a very dangerous thing.”

At this point, it’s a fair argument that Tancredo really is speaking for the Republican base–just not its leadership, which has no interest in talking about something as radical as impeachment with elections around the corner. TPM cites a CNN poll last month in which fully 57% of Republicans support impeaching the President. Outside the Republican base there is nothing like this level of antipathy toward Obama, which demonstrates the effectiveness of conservative media in both radicalizing and insulating the Republican base from mainstream public opinion. This last point is critical to understand: if the idea of impeaching Obama seems absolutely insane to you, you’re simply not getting the right programming.

The proof is on FOX News every night, where the impeachment drumbeat is loud and proud.

This is how, even as the party’s leadership insists to undecided voters that there is no appetite for throwing our already divided politics into yet more chaos, the GOP grassroots is kept at the fever pitch Republicans need to win elections. It’s a delicate game, but we submit to you that Tancredo knows exactly what his role is: and somewhere in Washington, a Republican strategist is fine with it.

Any who care about the GOP’s long term future are horrified, but without the base, there’s no midterm victory.

Thursday Open Thread

“One who deceives will always find those who allow themselves to be deceived.”

–Niccolo Machiavelli

Countdown Coffman: The End is Near

Exasperated Mike Coffman

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman practicing his “I’m screwed” face.

Last Thursday and Friday marked an important milestone in the race for CD-6 when incumbent Congressman Mike Coffman joined challenger Andrew Romanoff for the first official debates between the two candidates. A few months from now, we may look back at August 14th and 15th as seminal moments – the first glimpse of the end of Coffman’s 25-year political career.

Coffman is facing what is without question the most difficult campaign in a career that began with his election as a State Representative in 1989. He has since been elected as a State Senator, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State prior to advancing to his current Congressional seat in 2008. Coffman has dispatched plenty of challengers as his political star ascended, but never has he faced an opponent the caliber of Romanoff – a charismatic, likable Democrat with strong name ID, serious policy chops, and an ability to raise massive amounts of money for his campaign.

Political pundits across the country consider CD-6 to be among the most competitive races anywhere in 2014, and when all of the checks have been written by supporters and interest groups, total spending should be in the staggering range of $25 million. Money, or a lack thereof, will not be the deciding factor in this race because each side will have no shortage of resources to draw upon. The outcome in CD-6 will be decided instead on other intangible qualities, and after last week’s debates, the countdown is unmistakably visible for Coffman.

In the first debate last Thursday, sponsored by the South Metro Chamber of Commerce (now available online at DenverPost.com/electionshow), Coffman appeared irritable and unsteady next to the more confident and affable Romanoff. But it wasn’t until the next morning, at a debate in Aurora sponsored by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, in which Coffman…cracked.

Check out Coffman’s angry response below to a challenge from Romanoff that is virtually identical from the same point made one day earlier. Instead of brushing off Romanoff’s challenge to stop accepting PAC money, Coffman explodes:

Now take a look (after the jump) at this clip from the end of the debate. Coffman scrambles to gather his papers and exit the stage, moving quickly as if his car were being towed outside. This is not the image of a man who feels confident about his position in this campaign.

Should Coffman end up losing his seat in November, it won’t be because of his performance at these debates – that’s not the point we’re trying to make here. What we are saying is that last week's debates may prove to be the seminal moment in which Colorado politicos saw the end of the line for Coffman. Countdown Coffman has begun.

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Attention Colorado Republicans: You Own The Shutdown

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

Reps. Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports, Democrats are ramping up their attacks on Colorado Republican candidates who supported the shutdown of the federal government last October–support that takes on added toxicity, even over the general unpopularity of the shutdown, due to the problems it caused for disaster relief in Colorado. As locals readers know, the GOP-engineered government shutdown came just days after our state was hit with massive flooding that required a large emergency federal response:

Colorado Democrats, who have already lambasted GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner for supporting his party’s government shutdown last fall just weeks after devastating floods, are now leveling the same charge at Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez.

The party released a new video Wednesday featuring images of last fall’s floods and audio of Beauprez saying on conservative talk radio at the time that he’s “been very, very proud” of his Republican colleagues in Washington, who voted to shutdown the government for 16 days — this, as federal disaster relief was being directed to Colorado flood victims — in a failed attempt to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

“Politics before disaster relief,” reads the white text that appears over a black background on the screen.

“When thousands of Coloradans were ravaged by historic floods, Congressman Beauprez put Washington politics before the needs of the people of our state,” Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said in a statement.

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

The irate response from GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez, echoing the defensiveness from U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's campaign when confronted last week over this same issue, is plainly meant to emote past the real question:

“That the Colorado Democratic Party would politicize these devastating floods where people died and lives were destroyed is appalling. We have been very clear contrasting Bob Beauprez’s plan for a stronger Colorado with John Hickenlooper’s indecisive, weak leadership. That Hickenlooper’s operatives are slinging mud just for the fun of it is outrageous, and Coloradans should be appalled.”

In both Gardner and Beauprez's responses, you can see a lack of willingness to confront the underlying allegation: that Republicans who supported the shutdown abandoned their responsibility to represent Colorado in a time of great need, and left the state in the lurch in the wake of a major disaster simply to score meaningless political hits on President Barack Obama. The shutdown, as you'll recall, ended in abject failure for Republicans as the public solidly turned against them, and the "deal" House Republicans finally agreed to in order to reopen the government after over two weeks of shutdown was more of a capitulation. Republicans enjoyed a brief "I told you so" as the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchange website suffered startup problems, but as Obamacare's prospects have stabilized and the law started finally delivering on its promise, the best the GOP could hope for was that voters would forget about the shutdown completely before the November 2014 elections.

In Colorado, because of the disaster that struck the state just before the shutdown, the situation for the local GOP is even worse. By the time the public nationwide turned against Republicans over the shutdown, Coloradans were already furious over reports that relief efforts were being delayed. Fearing a backlash, Colorado Republicans generally shifted their rhetoric against the shutdown more quickly than their colleagues elsewhere, but nothing they did was reported to have pushed GOP House leadership to resolve the situation any faster. Today, Cory Gardner claims he "never supported the shutdown," but that claim is entirely contradicted by his votes. Maybe Gardner gets it was a mistake now, but he can't admit he was part of it–all he can do is throw a fit when the subject comes up, and hope that fit deflects the hard questions he has never answered.

As for Bob Beauprez? Have you heard the lunatic stuff that's been coming out of his mouth since he lost in 2006? Compared to Beauprez's civil war rant, just as one example among many, this is actually pretty tame stuff. In a perfect world, we'd say the shutdown should be disqualifying for every Colorado politician on the wrong side–but it's not like everyone who backed the shutdown is just going to admit they failed the country and walk away.

But voters are watching. That's the part spin doctors can't control, and it's why they are so afraid of this story.

Colorado Pro-Life Group Announces Endorsements

Via LifeNews.com:

Colorado Citizens for Life, the statewide pro-life group that represents more than 37,000 pro-life families across the state, is announcing today its endorsement of Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO 3rd District), Ken Buck (R-CO 4th District), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO 5th District), and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO 6th District).

Rep. Scott Tipton has voted pro-life on 13 out of 13 votes, Rep. Doug Lamborn has voted pro-life on 27 out of 27 votes, and Rep. Mike Coffman has voted pro-life on 20 out of 20 votes.

All of these Congressman have a 100% pro-life voting record. These votes include voting for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; the repeal of the Obamacare law which contains provisions authorizing federal subsides for abortion; and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which would close certain loopholes that give tax-preferred status to abortion. They also voted to deny federal funds to Planned Parenthood and against the Medicare Prescription Drug Act, which would effectively prevent older people from being allowed to spend their own money, if they choose, to save their own lives through access to unrationed prescription drugs under Medicare.

This is certainly a mixed-bag endorsement for candidates such as Rep. Mike Coffman (CD-6), who have been trying hard to deflect criticism that they do not represent the interests of a majority of Colorado women.

Walker Stapleton: Treasurer in Absentia

Walker Stapleton.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton: Working for you. Sometimes.

It is only Wednesday, but it has not been a good week for State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. And it is only going to get worse from here.

Yesterday, the Colorado Supreme Court dealt Stapleton a blow by refusing to hear his legal attempt aimed at opening up the books of PERA, the Public Employees Retirement Association. As the very-thorough blog Pensions 360 explains:

Back in 2011, Stapleton filed a lawsuit seeking the release of retirement benefit data for Colorado’s highest-earning pensioners. But the state’s pension fund, the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA), said the information was confidential and refused to release it.

Since then, two lower courts have sided with the pension system on the issue. Stapleton appealed the rulings all the way to the state Supreme Court—but the Court announced today that they wouldn’t be hearing his case.

Stapleton has been trying to gain access to information about the top 20 percent of PERA's beneficiaries and their annual retirement benefit. Stapleton's lawsuit, ostensibly to "learn" more information that could give him insight into what he calls "financial DNA" about PERA investments, has been widely dimissed as a political ploy. The PERA board refused Stapleton's request for the data back in 2011, citing privacy concerns and noting that accessing the data was not a function of his role as a trustee of the retirement account. 

Today, however, comes word that Stapleton doesn't typically bother to attend PERA Board meetings anyway. According to information obtained via Colorado's Open Records laws, here's Stapleton's attendance record at PERA Board meetings:

2012: There were 10 PERA meetings. Stapleton attended 3, but left early at 2 of those.

2013: There were 7 PERA meetings. Stapleton attended 2, but left both early.

*NOTE: From the September 20, 2013 PERA Board Meeting Minutes: “Mr. Stapleton requested the removal of his absence from the June 25, 2013 Board meeting minutes, as his designee Brett Johnson was present.”

2014 (through June): There have been 5 PERA Board meetings. Minutes are not available for the June 24 meeting. Of the other 4 meetings, he has fully attended 1 and left early at another 2 meetings.

Stapleton's dismal attendance record at PERA Board meetings makes it difficult for him to argue that his lawsuit — or anything else related to PERA — has been done with the best intentions of Colorado retirees in mind. Stapleton hasn't proven to be particularly savvy when it comes to investment decisions around PERA (or investment advice in general), and his lax attendance at Board meetings further calls into question his capability and interest in managing the state's money.

But perhaps more importantly for Stapleton, this information is a serious mark on his resume as he looks to be re-elected in 2014 and hints at a possible run for Governor in 2018. You might recall that Stapleton was widely criticized for moonlighting on the job; Stapleton has continued to work for the real estate firm SonomaWest Holdings while he has served as State Treasurer, and his poor attendance record at PERA Board meetings again brings up the question of just how committed he is to the job in which in was elected to serve.

If Stapleton can't find time to attend meetings directly related to his elected position…what is he doing instead? And why are taxpayers footing the bill?

 

Dems Press Beauprez-Perry Ties (With Mugshot)

Image courtesy Making Colorado Great

Image courtesy Making Colorado Great

As the Durango Herald's Peter Marcus reports, the felony indictments handed down against Texas Gov. Rick Perry by a grand jury last week continue to ripple. Yesterday, as Gov. Perry formally surrendered to authorities and got his mug shot taken, Colorado GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez faced a call to renounce Perry's endorsement:

A new, well-funded left-leaning organization, Making Colorado Great, has hired well-known progressive Michael Huttner to attack Beauprez.

Incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper has vowed not to run attacks in his tight re-election campaign. On Tuesday, Hickenlooper released a new campaign video in which he doubles down on that promise, touting the economic progress of the state during the last four years rather than targeting Beauprez.

But Huttner, who founded ProgressNow Colorado about a decade ago, is not as shy as the governor. In his first news release for Making Colorado Great, Huttner called on Beauprez to immediately renounce his endorsement by Perry.

“If Bob Beauprez doesn’t immediately renounce Perry’s endorsement, it shows you that Beauprez and Perry are two peas in the same pod,” Huttner said. “We’ll see if Bob renounces Perry’s endorsement or tries to play it both ways as usual.” [Pols emphasis]

Public opinion on Perry's indictment, at least for now, breaks along partisan lines, with most voters in the conservative information loop hearing nothing but praise and defense for Perry and his actions against a local Democratic DA who oversees the state's public integrity investigations office. But as the story unfolds, there is also support building for the case against Perry–enough to make the current Republican strategy of scoffing wholesale at these felony charges against the sitting Governor of Texas, the first such indictment in over a century, more than a little risky.

Beauprez responded at the time, “I was proud to receive the endorsement of conservative Texas Gov. Rick Perry this morning. I am humbled by Rick Perry’s support and friendship … Rick Perry is a good man and an outstanding governor.”

Whether Beauprez likes it or not, these words will be used against him–and with at least some voters, it'll hurt.

Steyer Money Swings Into Action Against Gardner

Tom Steyer.

Tom Steyer.

​FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

NextGen Climate Colorado, the group founded and funded by San Francisco billionaire and climate change activist Tom Steyer, is hitting Colorado’s airwaves for the first time Tuesday with a new TV ad attacking GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner…

The spot taking aim at Gardner, R-Yuma, features a number of people shutting doors and drawing down window-shades; the message to Gardner: “Keep out.”

“He thinks he knows better than the scientists, NASA and the U.S. military on climate change,” a female narrator says over sinister images of a window being closed and a door being pulled shut.

On the screen, text reads: “Denies the science of climate change.”

But the narrator moves right on to highlight a number of other issues: Gardner’s opposition to same-sex marriage and his support for personhood and additional legislation to restrict access to birth control.

As promised, billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer is wading into the Colorado U.S. Senate race to support a conservation minded incumbent Democrat against a GOP challenger who has publicly expressed doubt about humanity's role in global climate change. It's a good hit on Cory Gardner, with polling on the issue showing his climate change skepticism to be a minority view. But having made the decision to target Gardner because of his views on climate change, as you can see, Steyer's group has a broad menu of hits to attack Gardner with.

Does Steyer's investment in Colorado's U.S. Senate race make a hypocrite of Democrats who attack Republican out-of-state funders like the Koch brothers? Maybe a little, although Democrats will argue a, you know, qualitative difference on the issues.

Pragmatic Democrats may be more inclined to shut up about the Kochs until November and let fire fight fire.