Primary Turnout Still Wheezing Along Slowly

votebuttonWe’re continuing to pass along the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary, though things haven’t changed much since Tuesday morning (numbers are accurate as of 7:55 a.m. on Wednesday):

Democrats

Ballots sent: 989,879;
Ballots returned: 154,941;
Percent: 15.65%

Republicans

Ballots sent: 997,073;
Ballots returned: 163,550;
Percent: 16.40%

How does this compare to 2014? In the June 24, 2014 U.S. Senate Primary, there were 213,746 Democratic ballots cast, compared to 338,324 for Republicans.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF).

Sierra Club Endorses Bennet, Because Obviously

Sen. Michael Bennet at Chimney Rock National Monument.

Sen. Michael Bennet at Chimney Rock National Monument.

A press release from the Sierra Club this morning announces an endorsement that’s both unsurprising and significant:

Today, the Sierra Club announced its endorsement of Colorado Senator Michael Bennet for re-election.

“The Sierra Club is proud to endorse Senator Bennet for re-election,” said Sierra Club’s Executive Director Michael Brune. “For the past seven years, the Senator has worked tirelessly to protect America’s treasured public lands, expand our rapidly growing clean energy economy, and tackle the threat of climate change. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Senator Bennet to preserve places like Camp Hale, transition to clean, renewable energy, and prevent further climate disruption.”

Since taking office, Senator Bennet has been a vocal advocate for tackling climate change head-on, protecting our public lands and waterways, and increasing clean energy technology like wind and solar.

“The Sierra Club has been a crucial partner on our work to protect natural treasures like Browns Canyon, Hermosa Creek and Chimney Rock, as well as helping to grow our state’s renewable energy economy,” said Senator Michael Bennet. “Coloradans understand the importance of clean air, clean water and clean energy to our everyday lives and environment. Together, we’ll win in November and keep working on collaborative solutions to protect Colorado and our planet for future generations.”

As a comparatively moderate Democrat, support from trusted conservation organizations like the Sierra Club greatly helps Sen. Michael Bennet shore up support within the Democrat base. It’s not like those voters would be likely to support any of the Republican primary contenders, but lingering bad feelings from Bennet’s primary victory in 2010–and of course Bennet’s middle-road voting record–could depress enthusiasm.

Between support from major players that voters recognize and the specter of any of the Republican alternatives, we’d guess that Bennet’s “base problems” won’t be much of a problem by the fall.

Donald Trump is Barely Running a Presidential Campaign

trumpHere’s why Republicans should be terrified that Donald Trump is their Presidential candidate…

If you’ve paid any attention at all to the news in the last year, you’ve probably seen dozens of headlines or ledes from reporters writing some variation of the story that Donald Trump is an absolute nightmare as the GOP candidate for President. Heck, you’ve probably seen a few versions of this post right here at Colorado Pols.

You don’t need a political science degree to understand that Trump is toxic to Republicans in a General Election, but despite the onslaught of negative news, Trump keeps marching along — which makes it difficult to gauge just how much you should really be worried about Trump if you are a card-carrying member of the GOP. But when you look past the pundits and the talk-shows and start digging into the indisputable facts on the ground…well, let’s just say that Republicans have every reason to be very nervous.

As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix,” Trump is barely even running a campaign at all:

Take Trump’s fundraising. He collected $3.1 million in the month of May and ended the month with $1.2 million in the bank. While Trump’s campaign released a statement Tuesday insisting that “the campaign’s fundraising has been incredible and we continue to see a tremendous outpouring of support for Mr. Trump and money to the Republican Party,” there’s little available evidence to suggest that’s accurate. After all, if Trump couldn’t raise any significant money in the month when he became the presumptive nominee why would June, where he has been beset by questions about his readiness to the GOP nominee, be better? [Colorado Pols note: Hillary Clinton raised $27 million in May]

Or staffing.  Trump jettisoned his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, on Monday. He still has no communications director. Put aside those senior positions and things look even worse. As of the end of May, Trump had 69 people on staff. Hillary Clinton had 685 people on staff…

…Trump is nowhere in the TV ad fight either.  He is currently spending $0 on TV ads in swing states. Clinton is spending $23 million.

Cillizza also points to a story in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer that shows Republicans are out-staffed in the key state of Ohio by at least a 3-to-1 margin. This isn’t just bad news for Trump — it should be frightening for Republicans such as incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, who is facing a difficult re-election challenge from Democrat Ted Strickland.

And unless Ohio is an outlier, there are a lot of Colorado Republicans who are in big trouble.

No Surprises in Final Senate Fundraising Report Before Primary

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman reports on the final pre-Primary fundraising totals for the five Republicans running for U.S. Senate. If you’ve been watching this race at all for the last couple of months, you probably won’t be shocked to see the fundraising updates:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet raised $1.65 million — more than 10 times as much as any of the Republicans hoping to unseat him — in the most recent reporting period, pre-primary finance reports show, although GOP candidate Jack Graham wrote his campaign a check for $500,000, bringing his self-funding total to $1.5 million.

With $5.7 million in the bank, the Democrat had more than six times the cash on hand of the nearest Republican. Reports covered the second fundraising quarter up until the June 8 reporting deadline ahead of Colorado’s primary.

Via Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman

Via Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman

As you can see from the graphic at right, none of the Republican candidates are remotely close to collecting the kind of cash that incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) has continued to put together.

If we focus only on the Republican candidates, pre-Primary fundraising numbers are following the same general trend that we’ve seen throughout 2016. The only exception was foreseeable: Darryl Glenn is finally raising some decent money ($109k) in the first fundraising period since he captured top-line at the State Republican Convention in April.

A few other noteworthy items…Former Colorado State University Athletic Director Jack Graham loaned his campaign another $500k, and Jon Keyser inexplicably contributed another $50,000 to his own campaign. Keyser’s contribution seems particularly pointless; he needed a lot more money than this to catch his Republican rivals with any sort of significant advertising buy.

Here are the cash-on-hand totals for the five Republicans with one week to go in the Primary:

Jack Graham:  $882,800
Robert Blaha:  $278,177
Jon Keyser:    $173,484
Darryl Glenn:  $50,198
Ryan Frazier:  $19,850

 

9NEWS Truth Test Confirms: Donald Trump is a Giant D-Bag


Last night, 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman examined the ad from pro-Hillary Clinton SuperPAC Priorities USA now in heavy rotation in Colorado, hitting presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump for “mocking” a reporter with a disability.

The verdict? Yes, Donald Trump really is that big of an asshole:

Supporters of Hillary Clinton are spending millions to try and undermine Donald Trump before next month’s national conventions. The ad getting the most airtime in Colorado right now doesn’t go after Trump on policy, but attacks his character instead…

It features a couple with a disabled child highlighting a speech in which Donald Trump appears to make fun of a reporter with a disability.

“When I saw Donald Trump mock a disabled person, I was just shocked,” says Lauren Glaros before the ad cuts to a clip of Trump making a serious of awkward hand gestures and speaking in a strained voice…

It is true that the reporter, Serge Kovaleski of the New York Times, has a joint condition called arthrogryposis, which causes his right hand to rest held up in a bent position.

Since Trump’s comments and gesticulations about New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, Trump has claimed he wasn’t mocking Kovaleski’s disability, and didn’t even know the reporter to mock him–a claim that basically no one believes, since as Rittiman reports, Trump and Kovaleski have known each other since the 1980s.

To the bigger claim, that Trump was mocking Kovaleski’s condition, we rate this attack as “fair.”

If you compare the pose that Trump made you can see it’s quite similar to Kovaleski’s condition.

Obviously, this is not a weighty question of policy. But it’s very smart for supporters of Hillary Clinton to zero in on universally distasteful character issues like mocking disabled people–in order to build an emotional wall (pun intended) between persuadable voters and Trump’s campaign. Trump’s lack of personal likability is at least as important to drive home in the public consciousness as his mindless demagogic agenda, since for so many low-information voters, an emotive sense of likability makes all the difference.

And from macro to micro, the more of Trump there is to see, the less there is to like.

Poll: Who Will Win The GOP HD-16 Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now just a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of key races around the state. Safely Republican Colorado House District 16 is playing host to an unusual Republican primary race between incumbent Rep. Janak Joshi and former Rep. Larry Liston.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the GOP HD-16 primary?
Janak Joshi
Larry Liston
View Result

 

Poll: Who Will Win The Democratic HD-3 Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now just a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of key races around the state. Highly competitive Colorado House District 3, presently held by Rep. Daniel Kagan, features a robust Democratic primary race between Jeff Bridges and Meg Froelich.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the HD-3 Democratic primary?
Jeff Bridges
Meg Froelich
View Result

 

Poll: Who Will Win The Democratic HD-8 Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now just a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of key races around the state. Strongly Democratic Colorado House District 8, presently held by Denver DA candidate Beth McCann, features a closely-watched primary this year between Aaron Goldhamer and Leslie Herod.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the HD-8 Democratic primary?
Aaron Goldhamer
Leslie Herod
View Result

 

Poll: Who Will Win The GOP SD-12 Primary?

With the June 28th primary election now just a week away, we’re rolling out informal polls for our readers in a number of key races around the state. Colorado Senate District 12, presently held by outgoing Senate President Bill Cadman, features a competitive Republican primary between longtime former Rep. Bob Gardner and incumbent Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt of HD-15.

As with all of our polls, we’re interested in knowing who you actually think will win this election–not your personal preference.

Who will win the GOP SD-12 primary?
Bob Gardner
Gordon Klingenschmitt
View Result

 

Primary Turnout At 15%

votebuttonHere are the latest turnout numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for the June 28th Primary (numbers are accurate as of 7:55 a.m. on Tuesday):

Democrats

Ballots sent: 986,252;
Ballots returned: 145,572;
Percent: 14.76%

Republicans

Ballots sent: 994,450;
Ballots returned: 151,650;
Percent: 15.24%

How does this compare to 2014? In the June 24, 2014 U.S. Senate Primary, there were 213,746 Democratic ballots cast, compared to 338,324 for Republicans.

For more information on turnout based on a county-by-county basis, click here (PDF). For comparison’s sake, here’s how the numbers looked on Monday.

Tuesday Open Thread

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.”

–Mark Twain

Aurora School Board Wants Eric Nelson Out

A member of the Aurora School Board and a candidate for State House in HD-42 continues to rack up calls for his resignation(s) after a series of stories last week revealed that Eric Nelson is a pretty spectacular con artist…but not much else.

Check out this statement from Amber Drevon of the Aurora School Board, as reported by Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman:

Yes, Rep. Janak Joshi Lost His Medical License

joshilicense

We wanted to make sure this report on the cut-throat GOP HD-16 primary from the Colorado Springs Independent from late last week didn’t escape mention–after all, it’s something we’ve been talking about for nearly six years now:

[A] few days ago, a mailer funded by Independent Expenditure Committee El Paso Conservative Forum of Denver hit mailboxes in the House district. The mailer, which cost $2,913.55, according to a campaign finance report, says of Joshi: “Can you trust him? A former patient trusted him … and DIED due to Dr. Joshi’s malpractice! RESULT: Colorado Medical Board revoked his license!”

The mailer provides this link to the agreement in which Joshi agreed to surrender his license.

Unlike the bizarre video circulating of an elderly woman accusing HD-16 GOP primary candidate Larry Liston of physically assaulting her, which is impossible to verify, the fact that incumbent Rep. Janak Joshi was forced to surrender his medical license before he became a state legislator is a matter of public record. We originally noted this fact in 2010 during Joshi’s first campaign for HD-16, and we’ve had numerous occasions to remind you–basically every time Joshi claimed to be “a physician.” It’s even been suggested to us that Joshi continuing to refer to himself as “a physician” after surrendering his license could itself be a violation of law.

In any event, in the nasty battle Rep. Joshi is waging against ex-Rep. Liston to keep his job, what we have here is a highly potent–and accurate–criticism of Joshi that seems to be getting very little notice. We’d say the Republican voters of HD-16 deserve to know that Joshi lost his medical license under a cloud before he was ever elected–and represents himself with no credibility as a “physician” in debates at the state legislature.

Because it’s true. Because unlike so much other mud slung in politics, this one can be proven.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 20)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenTry not to get too crazy celebrating the summer solstice. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Counting today, the Primary Election is just eight days away. If you haven’t yet received a mail ballot, you should check your registration or address status ASAP. Go to JustVoteColorado.org for more information.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s office has released updated Primary turnout numbers; both Democrats and Republicans are voting/returning ballots at a similar rate of about 12%.

 

► Former Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz is back on the campaign trail, making national news for a stop in Denver today to endorse Darryl Glenn in Colorado’s five-candidate race in the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate. As CNN reports, Cruz took a noncommittal tone toward GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump:

Ted Cruz returned to the campaign trail for the first time since suspending his presidential campaign to stump for senate hopeful Darryl Glenn in Denver — but at least one fan of the Texas senator isn’t ready to let his 2016 bid go.

As the former candidate acknowledged the “unusual” presidential race, the audience laughed, as a man shouted, “Run, Ted.”

“We may all need to run,” Cruz joked, who kicked off his remarks in his trademark way, saying, “God bless the great state of Colorado.”

Without mentioning presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, the Texas senator stressed the importance of checks and balances, “regardless of what happens in November.”

Cruz and Glenn were together at a press event this morning in front of about 100 supporters at the Westin Hotel near Denver International Airport. ProgressNow Colorado points out some of the similarities between Cruz and Glenn.

 

► The Supreme Court has ruled that statewide assault weapons bans are permissible. As the Associated Press reports:

The justices on Monday left in place a lower court ruling that upheld laws that were passed in response to another mass shooting involving a semi-automatic weapon, the elementary school attack in Newtown, Connecticut.

The Supreme Court has repeatedly turned away challenges to gun restrictions since two landmark decisions that spelled out the right to a handgun to defend one’s own home…

…Seven states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws banning assault weapons. The others are California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. In addition, Minnesota and Virginia regulate assault weapons, the center said.

Still, nobody is coming to take your guns, no matter what the NRA says.

 

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