Hickenlooper sticks his neck out on a liberal Democratic issue:Planned Parenthood

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Hickenlooper dings Romney at Planned Parenthood rally

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, never one to identify himself too closely with controversial or partisan causes, gave a short speech defending a woman’s right to choose Tuesday afternoon at a rally organized by Planned Parenthood ahead of Wednesday night’s first presidential debate here.

A late addition to the slate of speakers at the group’s “Ask Mitt” rally on the Auraria Campus, Hickenlooper criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who stated earlier this year that he wanted to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.

“I imagine when Mitt Romney comes back and looks at some of the positions he’s taken in this campaign, he’s going to have a hard time rationalizing that with pretty much everything he’s spoken and stood for for the rest of his life,” Hickenlooper said…

Hickenlooper…began his speech describing his mom, an ardent supporter of women’s rights.

“My mother raised four kids by herself and she was very focused on her household, but also focused on what kind of a world was out there for us,” Hickenlooper said.

“There wasn’t a lot of money left at the end of the week, but at the end of the year, she’d get all of us together and make three contributions. One was to the college she’d gone to. One was to the local relief organization that helped homeless folks.

“And the third one – every year, she gave to Planned Parenthood.”

For someone who does try to follow the center line and not stick his neck out, this is big in two ways: Hickenlooper expending political capital in a controversial area, and doing so in a potent partisan manner.

The “Ask Mitt” rally was part of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes plan to paint Denver pink in the days leading up to the first presidential debate, one of many protests and political actions planned for Denver.  Hickenlooper was preceded by CO CD-1 Representative and chair of the House Pro-Choice caucus Diana DeGette, a fiery Senator Micheal Bennet, and some local citizens who spoke about the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship and contraception used for medical purposes, and was followed by PPAF President Cecile Richards.  The college students in the hall were fired up as were the three or four anti-choice protestors trying to raise a ruckus outside.  

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet went even further, saying the choice is between Obama, who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions: “And the other ticket that is to the far right of their party, they do not represent the views of Colorado’s Republicans.”

The Obama Campaign has been borrowing a page from Bennet’s 2010 playbook, when he squeaked out a win by painting his Republican opponent, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, as an extremist on social issues. The campaign seems to be hinging a large part of its Colorado strategy on this, especially in TV ads that have been blitzing the airwaves here since Paul Ryan joined the Romney ticket.

This seems like it could be a safe strategy for Hickenlooper as Planned Parenthood has huge favorability locally and nationwide, Personhood has been shot down twice at the ballot box and aborted before the ballot this year, and the  ”Bennet Playbook” has proven successful already.

But for someone who is rumored to harbor ambitions to higher office, is the Governor stepping into shark-filled waters?

Hickenlooper sticks his neck out on a liberal Democratic issue:Planned Parenthood

( – promoted by ClubTwitty)



Hickenlooper dings Romney at Planned Parenthood rally

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, never one to identify himself too closely with controversial or partisan causes, gave a short speech defending a woman’s right to choose Tuesday afternoon at a rally organized by Planned Parenthood ahead of Wednesday night’s first presidential debate here.

A late addition to the slate of speakers at the group’s “Ask Mitt” rally on the Auraria Campus, Hickenlooper criticized Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who stated earlier this year that he wanted to “get rid of” Planned Parenthood.

“I imagine when Mitt Romney comes back and looks at some of the positions he’s taken in this campaign, he’s going to have a hard time rationalizing that with pretty much everything he’s spoken and stood for for the rest of his life,” Hickenlooper said…

Hickenlooper…began his speech describing his mom, an ardent supporter of women’s rights.

“My mother raised four kids by herself and she was very focused on her household, but also focused on what kind of a world was out there for us,” Hickenlooper said.

“There wasn’t a lot of money left at the end of the week, but at the end of the year, she’d get all of us together and make three contributions. One was to the college she’d gone to. One was to the local relief organization that helped homeless folks.

“And the third one – every year, she gave to Planned Parenthood.”

For someone who does try to follow the center line and not stick his neck out, this is big in two ways: Hickenlooper expending political capital in a controversial area, and doing so in a potent partisan manner.

The “Ask Mitt” rally was part of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes plan to paint Denver pink in the days leading up to the first presidential debate, one of many protests and political actions planned for Denver.  Hickenlooper was preceded by CO CD-1 Representative and chair of the House Pro-Choice caucus Diana DeGette, a fiery Senator Micheal Bennet, and some local citizens who spoke about the privacy of the doctor-patient relationship and contraception used for medical purposes, and was followed by PPAF President Cecile Richards.  The college students in the hall were fired up as were the three or four anti-choice protestors trying to raise a ruckus outside.  

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet went even further, saying the choice is between Obama, who supports a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions: “And the other ticket that is to the far right of their party, they do not represent the views of Colorado’s Republicans.”

The Obama Campaign has been borrowing a page from Bennet’s 2010 playbook, when he squeaked out a win by painting his Republican opponent, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, as an extremist on social issues. The campaign seems to be hinging a large part of its Colorado strategy on this, especially in TV ads that have been blitzing the airwaves here since Paul Ryan joined the Romney ticket.

This seems like it could be a safe strategy for Hickenlooper as Planned Parenthood has huge favorability locally and nationwide, Personhood has been shot down twice at the ballot box and aborted before the ballot this year, and the  ”Bennet Playbook” has proven successful already.

But for someone who is rumored to harbor ambitions to higher office, is the Governor stepping into shark-filled waters?

Where are Udall and Bennet?

Twenty-nine senators signed a letter to President Obama recently urging him to leave Social Security and Medicare “off the table” when dicussing  budget cuts and deficit reduction with Republicans.  Their concern is that Obama will try to strike some kind of “bipartisan grand bargain” in an effort to avoid going off the fiscal cliff.  This sounds troublingly familiar and I hope the President does not go there.  But so far two important  names have not been affixed to that letter:  Colorado Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall.  So, I’m asking the two of you here to sign on now.  If you can’t do that, then please have the good sense to know that voting in favor of any kind of “hard-fought compromise” will be met with a huge backlash that will not be pretty for your political futures.  Just saying……

Celebrating Chimney Rock National Monument, No Thanks To Scott Tipton

The Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel reports at long last:

President Barack Obama will declare Chimney Rock Archaeological Area a national monument Friday, ending an effort that was three years – and a millennium – in the making…

[Sen. Michael] Bennet, Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., wrote a letter to Obama this summer, urging him to consider declaring the monument after their bills stalled amid partisan squabbling in Congress.

Tipton sponsored and passed a bill in the House to establish the monument. It differs from Bennet’s by forbidding extra money to be spent on the monument.

Tipton’s spokesman, Josh Green, said the congressman would have preferred that Congress acted.

…Tipton’s main opponent, Democrat Sal Pace, said the Republican has been a stumbling block for Chimney Rock because he backed a bill that would have taken away the president’s sole authority to declare national monuments.

“If it was left in Congressman Tipton’s hands, this designation would never occur,” Pace said in an email. [Pols emphasis]

Let’s be clear about a few things. Rep. Scott Tipton’s decision to sign on with Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet in support of an executive declaration for Chimney Rock was important, and helped clear allegations of partisanship from President Barack Obama’s path to issuing it. Had the area’s representative in Congress not been on board with this declaration, it would have looked much worse politically, a la Bill Clinton and Utah’s Escalante National Monument in 1996. Tipton’s support has effectively defanged this as an electoral issue against Obama.

However, Tipton’s concurrent decision to sponsor legislation stripping the President of the very power he is using to declare Chimney Rock a national monument is pure double-dealing political imbecility. Tipton’s not fooling ideological opponents of monument declaration by sponsoring that bill after signing a letter asking Obama for an executive order, and to boosters of Chimney Rock, this legislation insultingly undermines his claims to support them.

In short, this could have been a great opportunity for Tipton to show some real bipartisanship only a few weeks out from the election, but he has at least partly squandered it.

Obama Wheels-Down In Denver Once Again

FRIDAY UPDATE: Golden Mayor Marjorie Sloan sets the record straight:

I’m the person responsible for the Ulysses S. Grant statement  and I’m really sorry for my miscommunication. President Obama is indeed the first sitting president to visit GOLDEN since Ulysses S. Grant and I told him so while greeting him. I should have been less ambiguous in my antecedents (“here” could mean either Jefferson County or Golden) or more willing to speak up in the middle of a presidential speech.  

Marjorie Sloan

Mayor of Golden

—–

UPDATE #3: The Colorado GOP appears to correctly take issue with President Barack Obama’s claim, as reported by CBS below, to be the “first sitting president to visit Jefferson County since Ulysses S. Grant.” They point to a 2004 New York Times article about President George W. Bush’s rally at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison–very much located in Jefferson County.

We’re thinking this may not be the only such visit either: we have to think other Presidents have found the backdrops afforded by Jefferson County to be irresistible, like Dwight Eisenhower, whose wife Mamie was raised in Colorado and who spent a great deal of time in our state. But regardless, this was clearly an error by Obama, fairly (and easily) called out by Republicans.

Having said that, AP’s Kristen Wyatt notes helpfully:

You’d hate to be the staffer who “discovered” this little factoid.

—–

UPDATE #2: CBS News:

After a week largely focused on the turmoil in the Middle East and his administration’s foreign policy, President Obama on Thursday revived his economic campaign pitch in one of the most critical counties in one of this year’s key swing states.

“We don’t believe in a top-down, trickle-down economy that says to everybody you’re on your own,” Mr. Obama said to a crowd of supporters in Golden, Colorado, against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. “We believe the economy grows from the middle class out, from the bottom up.”

…Mr. Obama noted Thursday that he is the first sitting president to visit Jefferson County since Ulysses S. Grant. “Back then you couldn’t even vote — you guys were still a territory,” the president joked with the crowd.

—–

UPDATE: 9NEWS reports from Golden at noon:



—–

The Washington Post has a good story today on the battle between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney for suburban Denver voters–just as Obama arrives in Golden.

For Obama, who won Colorado four years ago by nearly nine percentage points, the focus has been heavily on Latinos and women. One of the quirks of the new unaffiliated voters who have moved into suburbs across the country – including in other battlegrounds such as Virginia and North Carolina – is that the men who describe themselves this way tend to vote Republican, according to polls, while the women are more likely to swing between the parties.

Just as non-ideological as their male counterparts, unaffiliated women voters are also particularly moved by issues that affect them, such as contraception and abortion. The proof came two years ago, when Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) eked out a narrow victory over Republican Ken Buck largely by targeting women in the suburbs and portraying Buck as ideologically extreme.

“We created the largest gender gap in the country,” said Guy Cecil, who was Bennet’s campaign manager and now runs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “The suburbs of Virginia, the suburbs of Indianapolis, the suburbs of Denver – you have people who are turned off by the sort of extreme points of view that now represent most of the Republican Party.”

Obama is following a similar playbook…

The story identifies Jefferson and Arapahoe counties as “a central focus for both campaigns.” Given the frequency of return visits by both the Obama and Romney campaigns–belatedly for Romney, who inexplicably spent several months making stops in the unpopulated hinterlands of the state–it’s a story our metro area readers already know well, with traffic jam anecdotes.

We’ll update through the day with further coverage of Obama’s visit to Golden.

Obama Back In Denver Metro Area Thursday

UPDATE: Politico’s Charles Mahtesian profiles Colorado as one of “9 states where the race will be won” today, underscoring all the attention we’re getting:

The Romney formula depends on turning out the GOP base, especially on the energy-oriented Western Slope and in El Paso County’s Colorado Springs, home to a politically active evangelical Christian community and a heavy military influence. This year, the expectation among Republicans is that Romney will also gain more traction in the Denver suburbs than John McCain.

The Obama strategy closely resembles the one successfully employed by Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010. Bennet ran well among Hispanics and benefited from an enormous gender gap – 17 points, according to exit polls. The same themes Bennet used – notably abortion rights and contraception – have been put to use again in Colorado and were underscored at the Democratic convention in Charlotte last week.

There’s a reason the president campaigned in Colorado with Sandra Fluke in early August, and why he’ll be back again later this week. [Pols emphasis]

And here we thought Sandra Fluke was just about getting under Greg Brophy’s skin.

The above certainly makes more sense.

—–

Why don’t they just rent a house? FOX 31′s Eli Stokols:

President Barack Obama will make his first post-convention campaign stop in Colorado this Thursday with a rally in Golden, right smack in the middle of Jefferson County, one of three suburban metro area counties that will likely determine who wins this state’s nine electoral votes and, perhaps, the White House.

The rally will take place at the Golden Community Center in Lions Park at 11 a.m., the campaign announced Monday morning…

On Monday, the Romney campaign released a memo from its pollster, Neil Newhouse, advising the media not to “get too worked up about the latest polling.”

“While some voters will feel a bit of a sugar-high from the conventions, the basic structure of the race has not changed significantly,” Newhouse writes. “The reality of the Obama economy will reassert itself as the ultimate downfall of the Obama Presidency, and Mitt Romney will win this race.”

Here’s your list of ticket pickup locations. Nothing on the Romney-Ryan campaign calendar for Colorado as of now for this week, but if you wait a few minutes, that’s liable to change.

Sal Pace: On the Air

Sal Pace is out with his first ad buy.

In an email to supporters announcing the ad–and to potential supporters to help keep it on the air–the campaign touts the campaign’s efforts to cover the sprawling district:

Campaign Ticker

31,318 miles, 461 days, 427 events, 1 New Fuel Pump for the Trusty Old Ford Pickup, 1 near collision with a moose

Although the ad is a soft sell introduction to Pace, on the trail Sal is going after his opponent pretty hard.  

Pueblo state legislator and democratic challenger in the 3rd Congressional District, Pace has been working hard covering what will be the 3rd CD in the 113th Congress.

In Carbondale, Pace met with ranchers and conservationists representing the Thompson Divide Coalition, as reported in the Aspen Daily News.

There were 14 people representing various interests who participated in the roundtable discussion on Friday. Attendees included Thompson Divide Coalition members Zane Kessler, Laurie Lindberg Stevens and Dorothea Farris; Aspen Skiing Co.’s vice president of sustainability Auden Schendler; Pitkin County Commissioner George Newman and commissioner candidates John B. Young and Steve Child; Wilderness Workshop Executive Director Sloan Shoemaker, and Aaron Kindle of Carbondale’s Trout Unlimited.

If Pace wins Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District this year, one of his top priorities will be to address the Thompson Divide issue by holding another roundtable discussion between the local stakeholders and representatives from the oil companies to see if they can find common ground, he said.

“My philosophy is we’re given false choices too often,” said Pace, who is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Scott Tipton. “And it’s an option of economy and jobs versus environment. I think people try to force you to choose one or the other and those are false choices.”

Tipton, during a campaign visit to Aspen last month, declined to take a position on Bennet’s bill until it had received more public comment.

In Telluride he met with small business owners, where he talked about his support of the popular San Juan wilderness proposal, according to the Daily Planet.

“The guy I’m running against signed an industry pledge saying he wouldn’t support any wilderness under any circumstances,” Pace said. “I think that’s the wrong approach. The way I view it is in an area like San Miguel County, the San Juan Wilderness means jobs. When people come to San Miguel County, they want to bike and fish and hike and ski in a beautiful environment. There’s a broad consensus that creating wilderness designations will help grow recreation in a tourism-based economy.”

In Craig, Pace attacked Tipton on his support for the ‘Ryan budget,’ noted by the Craig Daily Press:


Tipton has twice voted in support of the Ryan Budget.

“Tipton’s multiple votes for the Ryan Budget show he’s lost sight of Colorado priorities in Washington, D.C.,” said Pace during a press call Wednesday. “We have to address the budget. But we have to do so in a fair, deliberate and responsible way.

“The Tipton-Ryan Budget goes against Colorado priorities, and I intend to work, as I did in the state house, in a bipartisan fashion to really address the deficit concerns this country faces.”

Pace also unveiled Wednesday his “Baker’s Dozen: The Worst Things for Colorado About the Ryan Budget” and an interactive online map that localizes his criticisms of the Republican proposal to cities in CD3.

And while Pace has been showing up all around the District, Tipton’s appearances have been more limited. And the crowd Scott’s been running in seems split between him and his unaffiliated challenger Tisha Casida, who has lots of the ‘real’ Tea Party support.  

Rep. Tipton has yet to go on air–and its not yet clear which direction he would be running in…toward Sal and away from Tisha…or toward Tisha and away from Sal.  

But now that Sal Pace is up, maybe we’ll see.  And since all three will be at the upcoming Club 20 debate, Tipton won’t be able to dodge the question for long.  The 3rd CD is about to heat up.  

NYT: Obama Takes Page from Bennet ’08 Campaign

Carl Hulse of the NYT says that Obama campaign is using Bennet’s campaign as a model of how to win — capture women and Hispanics — in Colorado, if not further afield. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09…

Hopefully not.

1. Bennet was running against a Certified Nut Case (CNC), a real-life Tea Partier who left rationality behind years ago in Princeton. Romney may be a robot specializing in automated flip flops, but he doesn’t really come across (yet) as completely off his rocker.

2. Bennet rode in on Obama’s coattails. Whose coattails is Obama riding?

3. To some extent, Obama seems to be running (virtually) against Todd Akin — at least to the extent that I haven’t discerned a clear set of goals or plans to associate with Obama. Truth be told, in ’08 Obama was the candidate of Change — meaning that he would be a change from the wretched GWB. This time, he’s not Romney, which may well be enough to get folks to vote for him, but it won’t be enough to get them outdoors to wander their neighborhoods to get out the vote.

4. Bennet’s campaign for the Senate can’t be separated from the primary. He was the Out of State candidate versus the in-state candidate. I once bothered to look up his contributors and sort them by Zip code. Bennet was the candidate of the Upper East Side, and no, I don’t mean Julesburg. Does Obama imagine he can duplicate that too?

Obama Stumps For Women Voters In Denver



President Barack Obama speaks at the Auraria Campus in Denver today. Photo courtesy Serena Woods

Kicking off the coverage tour of President Barack Obama’s speech at the Auraria Campus in Denver today, FOX 31′s Eli Stokols reports:

Following the model Sen. Michael Bennet used to eke out a narrow and unexpected victory here in 2010, Obama is focusing the attention of female voters, a key demographic in this critical state, on policy issues related to their own health…

Embracing the term “Obamacare”, Obama underlined the provisions in the Affordable Care Act that are helping women and seniors get more comprehensive and affordable healthcare; and he criticized Republican Mitt Romney for campaigning on a promise to repeal the law.

“When it comes to a woman’s right to make her own healthcare choices, they want to take us back to the policies of the 1950s,” Obama said. “The decisions that affect a woman’s health, they’re not up to politicians or insurance companies. They’re up to you. And you’ve got a president who will fight to keep it that way.”

Local journalist Sandra Fish writes for the Washington Post:

[Sandra] Fluke’s presence in Denver places an emphasis on Obama’s support for insurance coverage for contraception and, to a lesser extent, his support for abortion rights. Rush Limbaugh thrust Fluke into the spotlight earlier this year calling her a “slut” and a “prostitute” for testifying before Congress in favor of insurance coverage for women’s contraception.

Conservative interest group Colorado’s Future Project slammed Fluke’s presence at Obama’s Denver event, calling it insulting to women and calling Fluke “a sideshow and distraction.”

But the Obama camp is likely to continue its emphasis on reproductive issues. An Obama ad running in Colorado features women calling Romney “extreme,” a tag Democrats placed on Buck in 2010…

Politico:

“[Obama] defended my right to speak without being attacked,” Fluke said. “Mr. Romney could only say those weren’t the words he would have chosen. Well, Mr. Romney, you’re not going to be the candidate we choose.”

She upbraided him for failing to stand up to Limbaugh more forcefully, and said if he can’t stand up to such “extreme” voices, “we know he’ll never stand up for us and he wont defend the rights that generations of women have fought for.”

Fluke said, “Romney is offering us only dangerous promises to take us backward.”



Sandra Fluke Will Introduce Obama In Denver (Keep It Classy, Boys)

That’s the word last night from Sara Burnett of the Denver paper–accompanying President Barack Obama on his campaign swing this week through Colorado is one Sandra Fluke, now-famous law student at Georgetown University who was derided as a “slut” on the Rush Limbaugh radio show for her congressional testimony in favor of contraceptive coverage.

Fluke’s bad treatment following her testimony prominently included Colorado elected officials and candidates as you may recall. Sen. Greg Brophy, Republican representing District 1, responded to Ms. Fluke that “I don’t want to buy your booze, pay for your spring break or your birth control.” Then-CU regent candidate Matt Arnold posted an “infographic” on this Facebook wall that asserted Ms. Fluke is a prostitute. A week later, Senate Republicans held a rally on the steps of the state capitol where they compared Obamacare’s contraceptive coverage provisions to euthanasia, Adolf Hitler, “mind control,” and (our favorite) King Henry VIII of England.

Go ahead and click here to remind yourself that we are not making any of this up.

Between Ms. Fluke’s mistreatment by Colorado Republicans and the Ken Buck strategy” we’ve been talking about at length–that is the Obama campaign’s replication of the successful 2010 strategy by Democrat Michael Bennet to alienate GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck from women voters–having Fluke headline Obama’s rally in Denver really is a political masterstroke. She recalls to mind everything Republicans want suburban women to forget before Election Day.

Sen. Bennet rips on the false debate in Washington DC

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



I missed this last week, but I’m glad it showed up on facebook, because it’s definitely worth a watch, if people haven’t seen it already.

While the House of Representatives was busy voting to repeal the health care law for the 32nd time, Senator Bennet was bringing some Colorado commonsense to the Senate floor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…

Bennet read a moving Facebook post from Denver school board member Mary Sewell’s that described where she learned of the Supreme Court’s heath care decision – in the doctor’s office with her daughter who was being diagnosed with diabetes.

It’s a really powerful example, and showed how the debate about repeal and the mandate is missing the point. Washington is debating whether to call the mandate a tax or a penalty.  But either way, it will only impact a really small portion of the country.  Instead, the debate should be about the majority of Americans throughout the country who are paying higher premiums to cover the cost of the uninsured and people like Mary Sewell and her daughter here in Colorado who won’t have to worry about preexisting conditions for her daughter thanks to the health care law.    

2012 General Election Preview: Take Back the House Edition

(Interesting diary, and it’s obvious you put quite a bit of time into it.  Thanks for doing that. – promoted by ellbee)



With the Primary Election season concluded, a lot of people have been asking which districts are the best opportunities and the greatest risks for Democrats in the 2012 election.

This post will cover the State House side of that landscape. I will follow up with a similar analysis of the Senate races another day.

The fact is that, even though 28 members of the State House are not running for re-election (or were defeated in Primaries), the vast majority of seats will stay in the hands of the current party that holds it. It’s always possible for something unusual to happen and sometimes Dems get elected in heavy GOP districts and vice versa, but that kind of thing is pretty tough to predict.

There are a few districts, though, that are in play this year and could change party without some sort of miracle. These 10 districts will be the focus of most of the money and attention for the rest of the year.

What’s on the Line?

Democrats currently need to flip one seat in order to gain the majority. However, they gave away two districts in reapportionment that are almost certain to flip to the GOP. So this means that Dems need to win at least three contested seats to take control of the House, assuming they don’t lose any others. And with two current Dem seats that are competitive and at risk, Dems should plan to win at least 5, if not all 8 of their pick-up opportunities in order to ensure that they get the Speaker’s gavel next year.

The full details after the jump…

Method

I used voter registration numbers, as well as actual performance numbers from 2008 and 2010 to create a score for each district that offers an objective measure of each districts likely performance in a general election. (Similar to and based on the O’Hara Progressive Voter Performance Index)

A score of 0 means the district is completely balanced and no party has an advantage. Districts with scores of 0 through 20 lean Dem, while 0 through -20 will lean GOP.

Anything over 20 in either direction (+ / – ) is highly likely to go with the same party consistently over and over.

+75 = Dem forever

+50 = Strong Dem

+20 = Lean Dem

0 = Perfectly Balanced

-20 = Lean GOP

-50 = Strong GOP

-75 = GOP Forever

This isn’t a perfect method and doesn’t account for many elements that make or break a campaign. This is also based on numbers from 2008 and 2010, so some of it will have changed by now. But, acknowledging those flaws, I hope this provides a glimpse into where the action (and attention) will be this Fall.

Summary

Sacrificed Seats



These districts numbers were drastically altered or relocated to make room for Dem gains elsewhere. These are practically unwinnable for Dems.

HD56 Arapahoe and Adams County (Formerly Summit County) – Incumbent (HD30) Kevin Priola vs Dem Dave Rose (Score: -40)

HD64 Eastern Plains – GOP Tim Dore vs No Dem Running (Score: -68)

At-Risk Dem Seats:



HD3 Arapahoe County – Incumbent Dem Daniel Kagan vs GOP Brian Watson (Score: +8)

HD50 Weld County (Greely) – Incumbent Dem Dave Young vs GOP Skip Carlson (Score: +4)

Possible Dem Pick-ups



HD17 El Paso County – Incumbent GOP Mark Barker vs Dem Tony Exum (Score: +7)

HD28 Jefferson County – GOP Amy Attwood vs Dem Brittany Petterson (Score: +21)

HD29 Jefferson County – Incumbent GOP Robert Ramirez vs Dem Tracy Kraft-Tharp (Score: +20)

HD30 Adams County – GOP Mike Sheely vs Dem Jenise May (Score: +24)

HD33 Broomfield County – GOP David Pigott vs Dianne Primavera (Score: +10)

HD40 Arapahoe County – Incumbent GOP Cindy Acree vs Dem John Buckner (Score: +23)

HD47 Pueblo County – GOP Clarice Navarro-Ratziaff vs Dem Chuck Rodosevich (Score: +6)

HD59 SW Colorado – Incumbent GOP J. Paul Brown vs Dem Mike Maclachlan (Score: -2)

Denver County



Denver Districts 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 will all stay squarely in the Democrats column. It’s Denver. All have scores +50 or higher and most are over +100.

Arapahoe County (1 at-risk, 1 pick-up opportunity)



District 3 used to be mostly in Denver, but was moved into Arapahoe County during reapportionment. Incumbent Rep. Daniel Kagan is facing a much tougher election than last time. Before redistricting, HD3 was +65, but now it’s only +8. Fortunately, the very popular incumbent should be able to hold the seat.

Districts 36, 41, and 42 will Stay Dem. All are +30 or higher.

District 56 (partly in Adams County), 37 and 38 will remain GOP they are all -30 or higher.

District 40 is a great pickup opportunity for Dems. What used to be a -45 rural GOP district is now a +20 urban district. The newly reformed district is about 36% Dem and 31% GOP. The district voted for Bennet over Buck by 51/42 and voted for the 47/46 in the Regents race in favor of the Dem candidate. John Buckner has a great shot at winning this one and unseating Cindy Acree.

Jefferson County (2 pick-up opportunities)



District 22 and 27 each used to lean GOP, but were contestable, but HD22 is now a solid -40. This district will stay GOP for a while.

HD27 is -18. It’s conceivably winnable, but pretty tough for Dems. Udall won here by a little in 2008, but Buck won it by a lot on 2010.

Districts 23, 24, and 26 are less strong for Dems than they were, but are still all over +20. District 26 is the weakest at +21, but should be fine.

District 28 is another great pickup opportunity for Dems. It was a -48, but is now +21. Incumbent Jim Kerr is not in the race, so GOP Amy Attwood will have a difficult time holding the seat against challenger Brittany Petterson.

District 29 is currently held by the GOP, but never should have been. Robert Ramirez is almost certain to lose this seat to Tracy Kraft-Tharp who is running a great campaign. The district improved from +14 to +21 in the reapportionment.

Boulder County



Districts 10, 11, and 12 will all stay very Dem. They are +145, +30, and +73 respectively.

Adams County (1 sacrifice, 1 pick-up opportunity)



With the exception of HD56 which is half in Arapahoe County and scores -40, Adams County’s districts are all good Dem districts after the reapportionment.

Districts 31, 32, 34, and 35 are all Dem districts that will stay that way, being +25 or higher.

District 30 was held by Kevin Priola, but he was redistricted into HD56 (which he will hold) leaving HD30 as a great pickup opportunity for Dems. The district is +26 after reapportionment.

Broomfield County (1 pick-up opportunity)



Broomfield’s HD33 is a very competitive seat. Dianne Primavera barely lost it in 2010 and is poised to re-take it in 2012, especially with the help of a slightly more friendly district. It was +7 before and is +11 now. The seat is open this time around (incumbent Don Beezley is not in the race), so Primavera has an advantage, having served the area before. Dems should be able to pick this one up this year.

Douglas County



Douglas County is Douglas County. All of them (HDs 39, 43, 44, and 45) are -70 or worse and all will remain Republican for the foreseeable future.

El Paso County (1 pick-up opportunity)



Districts 14, 15, 16, 19, 20,  and 21 are all Republican and will stay that way. The only district anywhere near 0 is HD 21 and it’s still at -25. Unfortunately, there is no Democrat running there. There is an American Constitution Party candidate in HD21, however, named Sean Halstead. Without a Democrat running, Halstead might just make a splash in the open seat.

But the real story in El Paso County will be districts 17 and 18. In both districts, Dems have slight advantage (+7 and +16 respectively). These are districts that are competitive. The GOP currently has HD17 (Rep. Mark Barker) and the Dems have HD18 (Rep. Pete Lee). But what the Dems will have this year that they’ve never had before is American Constitution Party candidates in both races. These right leaning third party candidates could be just the thing Dems need to win. And if they do, don’t forget that it was Tom Tancredo’s semi-successful campaign for Governor that allowed all the ACP candidates to get on the ballot without having to petition. So when the Dems take back the House next year, we should all send a thank you to Tancredo for bringing a third major party into Colorado politics.

Larimer County



Districts 49 and 51 will stay solidly Republican.

Districts 52 and 53 will stay solidly Democratic, although HD52 (currently John Kefalas) will be a tougher race than usual. It is an open seat this year and was reduced from +31 to +18 when the lines were re-drawn. Should still be a relatively easy win, but if GOP candidate Bob Morain works hard enough, he could give Dem candidate Joann Ginal a run for her money.

Weld County (1 at-risk)



Districts 48 and 63 will remain solid GOP seats.

District 50 is a competitive seat. It was previously held by Jim Riesburg, who was replaced by Dave Young, both Dems. Young is running to keep the seat against GOP challenger Skip Carlson. The district has always been competitive and didn’t change much (demographically) in reapportionment. Young should be able to hold the seat, but will need plenty of support.

Pueblo (1 pick-up opportunity)



District 62 didn’t change much, it will remain Dem.

District 46 (Previously held by Sal Pace) was weakened a little in reapportionment, but not enough to make it competitive. Dems will hold here.

The balance of Dem advantage was given to District 47, which has always been competitive, but now leans slightly left. Dem candidate Chuck Rodesivich has a good shot at picking up this open seat.

Eastern Colorado (1 sacrifice)



District 64 is easily the largest, geographically, of all the House Districts. It covers 9 counties and stretches from Trinidad and the Southern Colorado border at 1-25 to three counties on the Eastern border all the way up North of I-70 and Washington County. This district is huge. But more importantly, it is completely different than the district that Dem Wes McKinley has served for the last couple years. Instead of being a balanced, competitive seat with a +0.3 score, it is now a -68 Republican bastion. There isn’t even a Dem running.

District 65 covers 7 counties in the Eastern and Northern part of the state. This district is also heavily Republican and will stay that way.

Western Colorado (1 pick-up opportunity)



District 13 covers Jackson, Grand, Gilpin, and Clear Creek Counties. It also includes half of Boulder County. It is a solid Dem seat at +106.

District 26 (The number used to be in Jefferson County) is now the combination of Routt and Eagle County. It is a little less strong than the old 26 (+20 vs +30), but the Dems should hold it, even in the new neighborhood.

Districts 54 and 55 are both Grand Junction Districts and are both solid GOP districts. They will stay that way.

District 61 is a strong Dem seat (+27) and will be held.

District 59 is a competitive seat which was made more competitive  in reapportionment, bringing it to -2. Representative J. Paul Brown is running for reelection there, but Dem challenger Mike Maclachlan has a good chance if he works hard enough.

Districts 57, 58, and 60 cover the rest of Western Colorado and are all -50 or worse.  

BREAKING: Most of Arizona SB-1070 Immigration Law Overturned

UPDATE #2: Colorado Independent:

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court invalidated the bulk of Arizona’s discredited anti-immigrant law…[T]his ruling makes clear that we must have one federal law that finally fixes our broken immigration system,” said U.S. Rep. Jared Polis in a prepared statement.

“The people who are blaming President Obama for Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform are the same people who praised Arizona’s discredited anti-immigrant law as a ‘model’ or who stood on the sidelines while Senate Republicans defeated the DREAM Act in December 2010. They should be arguing with their fellow Republicans on the need for a comprehensive solution rather than casting blame,” Polis continued.

“The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the majority of the Arizona law underscores that it is the federal government’s responsibility to enforce our nation’s immigration laws,” Sen. Mark Udall said. “It also gives further cause for Congress to act on reforming our immigration policy to be tough on lawbreakers and fair to taxpayers while keeping our borders secure. We need to work toward a bipartisan solution to our immigration challenges, while ensuring that we build adequate protections against profiling and discrimination. We cannot fully address the issue of illegal immigration with a patchwork of different laws across the country. Congress needs to act on comprehensive immigration reform.”

Democratic U.S. Sen, Michael Bennet largely agreed with Udall and Polis that the onus is on Congress to pass meaningful reform.

“The Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law has made it clear that Congress has the responsibility to enact a comprehensive and practical immigration policy,” Bennet said today.

—–

UPDATE: The Washington Post:

The court ruled that Arizona cannot make it a misdemeanor for immigrants to fail to carry identification that says whether they are in the United States legally; cannot make it a crime for undocumented immigrations to apply for a job; and cannot arrest someone based solely on the suspicion that the person is in this country illegally…

[D]eliberations were a revival of the questions of federal power and states’ rights that marked the court’s deliberations about President Obama’s health-care law.

The federal government had contended that the Arizona law, with its aim of “attrition through enforcement,” undermined the federal goal of a cohesive immigration policy by attempting to shift the problem of illegal immigration to other states…

The Obama administration has taken a tough stance against the Arizona law and against most of the other states that have implemented their own laws. Its lawyers went to court early to block SB 1070, and won at both the district court level and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

As a result, the law’s most stringent provisions have never taken effect.

—–

That’s the word from the U.S. Supreme Court this morning–here’s a link to the decision. Three out of four major provisions of Arizona’s SB-1070 immigration law, many components of which were unsuccessfully proposed in Colorado by Republican state legislators in the last two years, have been overturned. The provision that the Court did not invalidate is the “check your papers” provision requiring law enforcement to check immigration status; but “strict guidance” was given:

CNN Political Analyst Gloria Borger added that the upheld portion of the Arizona law could still be challenged in a lower court, and the ruling “limited the authority of what Jan Brewer’s police officers can do” because they can stop someone but they cannot hold somebody without contacting federal officials.



Keating/PNA Poll: Obama 48%, Romney 44% in Colorado

UPDATE: Will somebody let Dick Wadhams know that Politico is now referring to Colorado as “The Boulder State?” Wadhams should have a unique appreciation for this nickname change.

—–

Politico’s Maggie Haberman this morning:

As Mitt Romney heads to battleground Colorado this week, the Democratic-leaning firm Project New America is out with a poll showing President Obama with a slight edge in the Boulder State, [?--Pols] leading 48 percent to 44 percent.

The survey of 601 likely voters taken over three days last week also give Obama a big lead among registered unaffiliated voters, 57 percent to 30 percent for Romney.

From Project New America’s poll memo:

“A 27-point margin for the President among Unaffiliated voters is surprising,” said Jill Hanauer, President of Project New America. “Colorado elections are won among Unaffiliated voters, mostly in the suburbs of Denver. Mitt Romney has a steep hill to climb with this group.”

Obama also holds a commanding lead among the state’s fastest-growing demographic, Hispanic voters, among whom he leads 67-24.  Jason Leon, PNA’s Director of National Outreach, said, “Colorado Hispanics have been hit hard by the recession, but these numbers suggest that Mitt Romney’s economic message is not resonating. We’ve seen a significant movement from “undecided” towards Obama in the past year.”

The “gender gap” that fueled Senator Michael Bennet to a narrow victory in 2010 is relevant today, with Obama leading 51-40 among women.

Pollster Chris Keating said, “These numbers show it will be difficult for Romney to win Colorado, especially if Obama continues to appeal to women.”

The unaffiliated and Hispanic spreads, as well as the persistent Ken Buck gap” in women’s support for the abortion hard-line Republican candidate, are key bellwethers to watch and are indeed looking good for President Barack Obama if this poll is accurate. Politico is right to note, though, that Obama’s overall margin over Mitt Romney is right at the poll’s margin of error.

So needless to say, nobody gets to relax–most likely not until the second week of November.

Election-season brings heavyweight guests to Fernando Sergio’s Spanish-language radio show on KBNO

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)



When KBNO radio host Fernando Sergio launched his weekday Spanish-language talk show in 2004, you’d have been completely crazy to predict that the President of the United States would call in for a chat about seven years later.

But now, who’s surprised? Well, I was, but I shouldn’t have been.

Sergio’s show, “La Voz del Pueblo,” has grown to be the biggest and most trusted Spanish-language talk show in a state where Hispanics could easily decide the next presidential election.

And so, on Tuesday morning, a woman’s voice on KBNO said, “Hi, give me one moment, the President will be on the line.”

“No problem. No problem,” replied Sergio.

Then a minute later, Obama said, “Hello, Fernando?”

So began an interview that was scheduled for ten minutes but ran about 20. (Read about it here.)

“To the best of my knowledge it’s the first time a sitting president called into Spanish-language radio here in Colorado,” Sergio told me. “You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t appreciate that. It was a very positive experience for me and [my listeners] to have the most important man in the world calling.”

So how’d Sergio land Obama?

“We approached the Obama campaign,” Sergio told me. “They did their research and expressed interest. And then we approached Secretary Salazar, and the Secretary said, ‘I will ensure that they know your show is an important show, and the President should speak to you.’  We heard back in a couple days.”

“Four years ago, I was able to speak with John McCain twice, but we were unable to speak with Obama,” Sergio told me. “Instead, we got Joe Biden.”

Republicans are reaching out to Sergio this year as well.

“I had a conversation with [Colorado Republican Party Chairman] Ryan Call,” Sergio said. “He told me, ‘You can be sure that I will have Governor Romney on your show at least twice this year.”

Has a date been set for Romney?

“Not yet,” Sergio replied. “It’s just  a promise. It’s up to him. The doors are wide open. We will be as respectful with Governor Romney as we were with the President.”

“At some point during this process I will make the case for one of the other,” Sergio said. “Twenty or 30 days before the election. Here is who I’m going to vote for, and here are the ten reasons. But let people become well informed first. ”

“I stress how important it is to vote. Every single day, I say, you go out there and you vote. Don’t let anyone else decide this for you . This will be a permanent theme until November.”

It’s an approach that’s in keeping with how Sergio runs his radio show, which he sees as a “platform is to try to help people.”

The show, which airs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on 1280 AM, mostly addresses consumer issues, like problems with banking industry and issues with police and immigration. Immigration attorneys make regular appearances on the program.

“The platform has worked out for us,” says Sergio, who’s been doing radio for 18 years. “It’s kind of like Martino’s show, but we’re more into helping people than promoting businesses.”

Sergio has an active presence on facebook, but his show isn’t streamed online, because of steep fees that are required due to the fact that KBNO mostly airs music, Sergio told me. He hopes a solution can be found and online streaming will be added at some point.

Asked about the issues he thinks are most important to Hispanics, Sergio said:

“From my perspective, of course, it’s the economy, but immigration for me, it’s a matter of respect. It’s emotional. I feel it. There is no other issue that has the same emotional impact. I was born in United States. But I witness the difficulties they face. I listen to the phone calls and the abuse.”

“I am an independent,” said Sergio, who supported Michael Bennet in 2010 and is leaning toward Obama. “I try in my own wisdom to do what’s right for my listeners.”