Initiative No. 98 allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without having to declare being a member of a certain party, as is the current law. However, Republicans and Democrats could decide to forgo having a primary election and instead choose their general election nominees at the assembly or convention, providing that 75 percent of the party’s state central committee agrees.
Initiative No. 140 restores a presidential primary to be held before the end of March in presidential election years, and allows unaffiliated voters to participate without declaring to be a member of a political party.
The Secretary of State’s office is still looking at signatures to determine the fate of two more ballot measures, both dealing with fracking (local control and mandatory setbacks).
The Denver Postreports from the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit underway now at the Colorado Convention Center:
Donald Trump’s top energy adviser on Tuesday sought to play down the Republican presidential candidate’s recent comments in Colorado that he could support local efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources Inc., said in an interview with the Journal that Trump did not fully understand the question when he was asked about local control over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by a reporter at 9News. He said Trump was a strong supporter of the industry.
“Donald Trump did not understand that concept at the time in my opinion,” Hamm said in an interview at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference. “He does now.”
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raised eyebrows in his interview with 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittimanat the end of July, in which Trump asserted that voters should “have a say” in decisions about oil and gas development–noting (correctly, we might add) that “there are some areas maybe that don’t want to have fracking.” Now, it’s entirely possible that Trump said this completely ignorant of the battle over fracking in Colorado, in particular the environmentalist position that local communities should have more control over oil and gas drilling within their boundaries than they do now.
In short, Trump was siding with the dreaded “enviros” and he didn’t even know it.
But not to worry, as the Post continues:
Hamm said he hasn’t spoken to Trump about the comments, but emphasized that he is confident the GOP nominee does not support local bans on fracking. A request for comment to the Trump campaign by the Journal was not immediately returned Tuesday…
Hamm said Trump got caught up in the term “local control.”
“I think he was pulled into that with the term local control, which is a magnet for Republican thoughts,” Hamm said. [Pols emphasis]
Why, yes it is! Modern conservatives in fact view the abstract concept of “local control” as an article of faith, on a broad range of issues from education policy to civil rights laws. “Local control” has been a battle cry for decades for Republicans against remote, aloof federal (or state as the case may be) governments that “don’t understand” the interests of the local community they’re interfering with.
But as we know in Colorado, not for oil and gas! Trump obviously wasn’t aware that in Colorado, the conventional wisdom regarding “local control” has been turned on its head. In Colorado, “local control” is the slogan of neighborhood activists who persuaded cities along the Northern Front Range to pass moratoria and bans on fracking within their boundaries. They contend their hand was forced by a state oil and gas authority that proved ineffective at protecting their communities. On the other hand, it’s the oil and gas industry who favors statewide “one size fits all” policymaking on oil and gas–not least because they’ve got a highly accommodating partner in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
For as often as Trump is accused of abandoning “conservative values” so as to not be constrained by them on the campaign trail, in this case, Trump was actually defaulting to a conservative position when asked about fracking.
Unfortunately, in Colorado “conservative values” come second to what’s good for the oil and gas industry.
From Mike Coffman’s campaign Facebook page (Aug. 24, 2016)
House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Wyoming this week for a big meeting of major Republican donors and associated advisors. Today, Ryan is in Colorado helping Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to raise money at a super-secret luncheon of some sort.
We can’t tell you much more about where Ryan is stumping with Coffman, or for how long, because Coffman’s own campaign won’t really talk about it. Check out the weird statement that showed up this morning on Coffman’s campaign Facebook page, in which Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s name is mentioned four times before Ryan’s name comes up.
“We can’t take anything for granted and we’re honored to have Speaker Ryan in Colorado today,” says Coffman spokesperson Cinamon Watson.
Anyhoo…so, the Speaker of the House is in Colorado today, and nobody wants to talk about it.
On Tuesday we wrote about a pretty (unintentionally) sad moment for Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, in which he told an audience at Colorado Christian University that his mother received an email from the campaign of Sen. Michael Bennet indicating that Glenn was within single digits of Bennet. This is almost certainly not accurate — polls show Bennet is closer to a 20-point lead than a 10-point lead — and was another telling moment for a Senate candidate who is nowhere near being ready to contend in a statewide race. But that wasn’t the worst part of Glenn’s day. Late Tuesday afternoon, John Frank of the Denver Post tweeted about an astonishingly-meatheaded encounter with Glenn:
Just tried to talk to Darryl Glenn after an event. He made clear he is no longer talking to @denverpost, CO’s largest newspaper. #copolitics
Glenn is probably still mad at the Denver Post for having the audacity to let reporter Joey Bunch do his job and look deeper into Glenn’s weird accounts of a domestic incident when he was 18 years old. At the time, some of Glenn’s supporters bellyached about the Post story as some sort of witch hunt, which was a silly if predictable response. But Glenn has apparently decided to channel his inner-Donald Trump and start blacklisting media outlets he deems unfavorable. This is absolutely idiotic.
Glenn is a proud man who doesn’t take kindly to even the slightest of, er, slights, but his ego is blinding him to his political reality. Glenn’s campaign doesn’t have the money to do any serious advertising on television, which means his only hope of generating attention is through earned media. Stiff-arming the Denver Post may soothe Glenn’s ego, but it only hurts his chances of winning the Senate race in Colorado.
Trump has used a strategy heavy on earned media to scrap his way to the Republican Presidential nomination, and his media “blacklist” doesn’t prevent these outlets from covering him. Trump, however, has long been a household name from his numerous reality TV appearances, and now that he is the Republican nominee for President, media outlets have no choice but to report on his campaign. Darryl Glenn is just, well, Darryl Glenn.
► Congressman Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign is mashing the panic button. On Monday, Coffman’s campaign started attacking Democratic opponent Morgan Carrollwith bizarre claims that she is not a supporter of immigration reform; in 2013, in fact, Carroll was a co-sponsor of the ASSET bill in Colorado, also known as “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” Of course, it is Coffman who has been wishy-washy on immigration issues throughout his entire career, and Monday’s blatant attempt to confuse the issue was another indication of Coffman’s political worries this election cycle.
► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is sorta-kinda taking a new approach to the issue of illegal immigration. As the Washington Post reports:
After spending a few days reflecting on his immigration stances and consulting with Hispanic supporters, Donald Trump on Monday detailed how he would deal with the millions of immigrants illegally living in the United States: Enforce laws that are already on the books and continue to do what President Obama is doing, although “perhaps with a lot more energy.”
This strategy marks a sudden change for the Republican nominee, who has presented himself as a politically incorrect outsider who is not afraid to take extreme measures to combat illegal immigration, such as deporting 11 million people or constructing a massive wall along the Southern border. For more than a year, Trump insisted that all illegal immigrants “have got to go” and that he would create a “deportation force” to carry out the task.
Trump struck a starkly different tone during an interview with Bill O’Reilly that aired on Fox News on Monday night. Trump said he would separate the country’s undocumented immigrants into two groups: The “bad ones” who would be kicked out of the country as soon as he takes office and “everybody else” who would go through the same process that the Obama Administration is currently using.
On Monday, Trump told O’Reilly that the first thing he would do as President would be to “get rid of all the bad [illegal immigrants.]” That sounds so easy! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?
UPDATE: As Politico reports, Trump’s schedule changes are directly related to his new campaign team:
The new approach, which includes visits to Florida and Nevada, appears to have the fingerprints of Kellyanne Conway, a respected Republican pollster who was elevated last week to the role of campaign manager and who has been credited for Trump’s toned-down approach in recent days.
Asked on Tuesday why the campaign decided to nix Trump’s speech on immigration previously slated for Thursday in Colorado, Conway suggested it as a vestige of the old regime.
“You know, we inherited this schedule and although I think it’s a great idea to have that kind of speech and certainly put together a full plan, immigration is such a complex issue and Mr. Trump has been taking the counsel of many different people on this,” Conway told Fox News. “He obviously has some very strong feelings and policy prescription with respect to immigration, but he’s speaking to people to understand how to execute on those ideas.”
USA TODAY’s Eliza Collinsreports on the recent spate of event cancellations by embattled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump–including an event in Denver on Thursday where Trump was set to discuss (sorry, Rep. Mike Coffman) immigration policy:
On Monday, outlets in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon reported that Trump events set to go on in their states were canceled, though in Nevada and Colorado, Trump is still slated to attend fundraisers.
Trump was originally scheduled to make a speech on immigration in Denver on Thursday, but according to The Denver Post the speech has been postponed. The campaign said that his speech was “still being modified.” Trump will, however, attend a fundraiser in Aspen, according to the Post…
Both Colorado and Nevada are battleground states where Hillary Clinton leads in recent polling. However, a Suffolk University poll last week had her lead within the margin of error in Nevada.
The Wall Street Journalhad a good piece last week explaining what the latest staff shakeups and now public appearance cutbacks mean for Trump: damage control before he loses even more Republican support. If he’s hiding in Aspen with Larry Mizel, he’s not outraging the majority of Americans:
Donald Trump’s overhaul of his campaign staff, his second shake-up in two months, is being welcomed by Republicans who want a dramatic change in the candidate’s faltering trajectory. But many are worried about the kind of change it will bring and about whether the campaign will be able to recover the ground Mr. Trump has lost in recent weeks…
Some allies of Mr. Trump say the problem isn’t his top staffers; it’s the nominee himself and his performance on the stump. Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, had said repeatedly that Mr. Trump was transitioning into a more disciplined candidate, only to see him go off-script.
Some Republicans see Labor Day, the traditional starting line for the last sprint to the general election, as a kind of deadline for Mr. Trump.
Trump’s free-wheeling speeches at public campaign events are a major part of his historic energizing of the right-wing GOP grassroots–which enabled him to power right past the helpless Republican establishment and seize the nomination in essentially a hostile takeover of the party. At the same time, Trump’s unscripted, frequently juvenile, and almost always hotly controversial words on the stump may well be setting the Republican Party up for its greatest landslide defeat in generations.
In terms of actually making Donald Trump competitive in this year’s presidential election, we’d say it’s much too late for that. But muzzling Trump before Labor Day could be one of the only damage control options left that might help salvage races down the ballot.
Assuming Trump can stay muzzled, which we’re inclined to doubt.
UPDATE: For good measure, here’s a clip of Mike Coffman praising Tom Tancredo during the latter’s run for governor in 2010:
Listen to the lavish praise from Coffman for Tancredo “standing up” to President Bush’s immigration reform attempts.
And ask yourself how this could possibly be the same man vilifying Democrats today by likening them to Tancredo.
In 2014, GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who once called the DREAM Act to protect immigrant students “a nightmare for the American people” and fought against immigration reform until his congressional district was redrawn to include a large immigrant population, defeated his Democratic opponent in part by audaciously claiming his own position on immigration to be more progressive than the Democrat in the race.
This year, Coffman doesn’t seem to be changing the playbook a bit against his current Democratic opponent, Sen. Morgan Carroll:
Don’t be modest, Morgan. You were the deciding vote to kill CO’s Dream Act.
That’s in reference to Coffman’s predecessor Tom Tancredo, the nationally-famous anti-immigration firebrand who has recently criticized Coffman’s reinvention on the issue as contrived to win votes in his new district. This Tweet refers to a vote in 2009 by Sen. Carroll against legislation that would have created similar tuition status as the DREAM Act for undocumented high school graduates in Colorado.
Just one problem: in 2013, Sen. Carroll cosponsored the ASSET bill, a.k.a. “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” ASSET is now the law in Colorado thanks to Carroll’s support. Once you realize that, it’s obvious that Coffman’s campaign is playing the most cynical kind of game with the truth–the lie of omission.
In 2006, as at least a few of our longtime readers will remember, Republicans proposed a harsh immigration crackdown ballot measure called “Defend Colorado Now.” Hoping to forestall that measure, Democrats in the Colorado legislature made the in-hindsight highly regrettable decision to convene a special session of the legislature to pass immigration restrictions that would make such a ballot measure “unnecessary.” The truth is, Tom Tancredo was one of the original backers of the Defend Colorado Now measure, and was opposed to the special session convened by Democrats to forestall it.
Folks, what side do you think Coffman was on? The Longmont Times-Call reported (article no longer online):
Illegal-immigration foes drew a crowd to the foot of the state Capitol on Thursday to launch their petition drive for a state ballot measure that would deny government services to anyone who’s not in this country legally…
The rally began with state Treasurer Mike Coffman, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, leading the participants in the pledge of allegiance. [Pols emphasis]
In retrospect, both the 2006 Defend Colorado Now measure and the legislative session convened to counter it were ill-advised. Democrats have been taking their lumps over that mistake since 2006. But not only was Morgan Carroll working against Tancredo’s goals in 2006, at that same moment, Mike Coffman was the one standing with Tom Tancredo.
The real story behind today’s attacks on Carroll from Coffman’s campaign is one of such eye-popping hypocrisy and outright falsehoods that we’re legitimately surprised Coffman was willing to go there yet again. On the other hand, this is the perfect example of the kind of blatant disregard for the truth Coffman has repeatedly demonstrated against his Democratic opponents since redistricting.
For all the deference Coffman gets from the media over his wholesale flip-flops on the issues, with this latest we think Coffman may finally have taken it too far. Everyone who was there in 2006 knows the truth about what Coffman said and did then. It’s not a question of interpretation. It’s not a “misstatement.”
According to a press release from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, an initiative seeking to increase the Tobacco Tax has gained approval and will be on the fall ballot:
Initiative No. 143 would amend Colorado’s constitution so that starting in January taxes on a pack of cigarettes would increase from 84 cents per pack to $2.59 per pack. The tax on other tobacco products would increase by 22 percent of the manufacturers’ list price. The language in the measure spells out how specific percentages of tax revenues would be spent.
As of today, there are five measures that are approved for the statewide ballot:
ColoradoCare (single-payer health insurance)
Minimum Wage Increase
Medical Aid in Dying
Making it Harder to Amend the Constitution
Tobacco Tax Increase
Four other proposed initiatives are still awaiting final ballot approval:
In one of the most important elections of our lifetime, in one of the most important counties in the state, the Donald Trump campaign is relying heavily on a 12 year old to help open a field office.
Weston Imer is co-chair of the campaign in Jefferson County.
If you stopped by the field office at the corner of 27th and Youngfield in Wheat Ridge Friday, you would have seen young Weston instructing volunteers on what to do, as well as making phone calls to supporters…
Now first of all, we think it’s totally cool that a 12-year-old kid is interested enough in politics to put in long hours volunteering to help open a campaign office. When we say we wish there were more kids interested in politics and willing to actually get involved in a meaningful way, we mean it–and Weston Imer is living the dream.
But with that said, no, we obviously don’t think having a 12-year-old kid as the co-chair of Donald Trump’s campaign in the pivotal swing suburban battleground of Jefferson County, Colorado is a good idea. The Trump campaign’s reputation for the hiring of campaign operatives most charitably described as “second string,” meaning losers and total unknowns, is not helped by putting a 12-year-old “in charge” of deploying volunteers and making phone calls. It almost seems like the Trump campaign is deliberately pushing Weston Imer’s story of “running the Jeffco office” as a positive for them.
With all due respect to a great kid with a bright future, this isn’t a good story for Trump.
One of the more significant messaging problems for Colorado Republicans this year during the legislative session was a gaffe committed by Rep. Kevin Priola, now a candidate for the Colorado Senate in closely-divided Senate District 25 in Adams County. Priola was part of a committee debating a bill to expand family leave rights for employees to attend their children’s academic functions. Priola voted no on the bill, but not before requesting a delay of the vote so he could take his own children to a doctor’s appointment.
The issue is expected to loom large in Priola’s closely-watched race for the Senate against Democratic opponent Jenise May–and as the Colorado Statesman’sJohn Tomasicreports, Priola seems eager to tackle the problem head-on:
This year at the Legislature, progressive groups pilloried Priola for voting against a parental leave bill after asking for time off from the committee that was considering the bill in order to take one of his kids to the doctor. Priola’s critics called him a hypocrite.
Priola said the flap actually says something positive about how he goes about his work at the Legislature.
“Honestly, it was going door to door that colored my decision on that bill. I’ve probably knocked 45,000 doors through the years. Not once, not one time, has one person ever said, ‘You know what, I really wish I had time off to go to my kids parent-teacher conference. [Pols emphasis] That’s a problem in my life.’ That never happened, not one time. And that’s because people live in the real world. They have good relationships with their employers, and employers know that if they’re too harsh, employees will just call in sick to go to the conference, or they’ll say their aunt died…
“It’s having that real world experience. I’m a small business owner. I work with people. I have lots of conversations. Too often, people run legislation that sounds good but that just clutters up the statutes, and no one is really coming to say this is a real problem. So you sometimes say, ‘C’mon, maybe this is just silly.’” [Pols emphasis]
Needless to say, or at least we hope it isn’t needed, this is a really horrible answer. The truth is that working parents of school-age children do need leave from work from time to time to attend their children’s academic functions. Priola “never heard about it” knocking on doors because he didn’t ask. But if you ask parents if they think they should be able to take leave from work for their kid’s school functions, they’re going to say yes in overwhelming numbers.
And that’s why downplaying parents’ need for parental leave, and especially calling the issue “silly,” is a huge mistake for Priola. Democrats have already signaled an intent to attack Priola on this issue, and this dismissive response proves the point they are trying to make. Sure there are a lot of good bosses, but Priola’s assumption that everybody has a good boss just doesn’t hold water in middle-class reality.
To have made the original mistake during the legislative session is one thing. To crassly double down like this as a candidate in a tough race? That’s a sign of real hubris.
We took note of the photo proudly posted to social media by Republican Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo from a recent campaign swing through Denver by presidential nominee Donald Trump–running in a competitive district full of the kinds of voters likely to find Trump, well, repulsive, Rep. Navarro proudly sucking up to the GOP’s controversial nominee could be considered politically very risky.
Well folks, Rep. Navarro wanted our readers in particular to know she ain’t worried:
And that is indeed a much better quality photo of Rep. Navarro with Donald Trump, everybody! This one should print out much better on Democratic opponent Jason Munoz’s mail pieces. Like we’ve said, the danger of Navarro publicly linking herself to Donald Trump is that it forces her to own Trump’s prodigious baggage–meaning that Trump’s own popularity (or lack thereof) is what makes these photos toxic or not. Photos with a Latina Republican lawmaker are of course good for Trump, but we don’t see how they help Navarro much.
The downside, however, is as big as Trump’s gap in the polls. Trump’s downward trajectory does not inspire confidence in Navarro’s judgment.