On radio, Singleton doesn’t recall Coffman’s “I-Stand-by-My-Statement” interview with 9News

You recall a couple years ago, 9News anchor Kyle Clark caught up with Rep. Mike Coffman at a fundraiser and asked if voters were “owed a better explanation” about Coffman’s statement that Obama isn’t an American “in his heart.”

Using the same kind of cringe-inducing repetitious dodge we’ve seen from senatorial candidate Cory Gardner on personhood, Coffman repeated five times, “I stand by my statement that I misspoke, and I apologize.”

If you’re on the editorial board of The Denver Post, and you’re trying to figure out whether to endorse Coffman, you’d think you’d do enough research to know about Coffman’s infamous 9News interview.

But former Denver-Post owner Dean Singleton, who still votes on The Post’s editorial board, told KNUS radio over the weekend that he didn’t know about the 9News’ interview, even though The Post had just endorsed Coffman, raising questions about how closely The Post’s editorial board examined Coffman’s record.

Singleton: The Post’s endorsement of Mike Coffman shouldn’t have surprised anybody because The Post has always endorsed Mike Coffman.

KNUS Weekend Wake Up Host Chuck Bonniwell: Why do you like Mike?

Singleton: Mike Coffman is one of the hardest working Congressmen in the House.

Boniwell: He’s also one of the dumbest.

Singleton: I disagree.

Boniwell: I’ve spent time around Mike Coffman, and I think I can perceive. The Channel 9 interview, with Kyle Clark, the Mike Coffman interview, where all he could do is endlessly repeat the same one sentence given to him by his handlers. That was one of the more amazing moments in Colorado politics.

Singleton: Well, I don’t remember that.

Boniwell: I’ll play it. [laughs]

Singleton: I’ve known Mike a long time. Mike really works hard for his district.

Singleton could obviously have voted to endorse Coffman even had he known about the 9News’ ambush interview. But it’s a serious entry in the negative column on Coffman’s evaluation, and you wonder how he could possibly have not have known about it. It’s hard to find political types who don’t.

Singleton did not return a phone call this morning seeking comment.

http://www.9news.com/story/local/2012/05/22/1799524/

Clark’s questions for Coffman in 2012 came after Coffman was avoiding reporters after the release of a video of what 9News called his “birther moment,” when the congressman said he didn’t know whether Obama was even born in the United States. But Coffman said he did know that “in his heart, [Obama is] not an American. He’s just not an American.”

Colorado’s First Spanish-Language Congressional Debate on Thursday

Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican — or whether or not you even speak Spanish — you've got to admit that this is pretty cool: On Thursday, Oct. 30, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff will take part in what is believed to be the first-ever Spanish-language political debate (for a major office) in Colorado. 

Univision will air the debate live at 5:00 on Thursday. Romanoff is fluent in Spanish, and Coffman has been feverishly working to learn the language over the last year or two. It should be interesting.

Kudos to Mi Familia Vota, Noticas Colorado, and everyone involved with making this debate happen.

RomanoffCoffman-SpanishDebate

Let’s get ready to retumbar!!!

Argumentum in Terrorem: Gardner, Beauprez Appeal To Fear

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

The Colorado Independent's Susan Greene has a must-read story out today, discussing the late-game turn by GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner to an overtly fear-based foreign policy message against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall:

WITH a week until this off-year election, Republicans had two options to prod their party members to vote.

One was…to pull months of punches and put happy faces on the combative GOP challengers seeking to unseat the state’s Democratic governor and U.S. senator. The other was to try to scare the bajeezus out of voters.

They’ve chosen the latter.

“Vote like your life depends on it,” reads a recent mailer authorized by Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner’s campaign. It features a shadowy picture of four faceless jihadists-looking-types brandishing guns. [Pols emphasis]

Then there’s the $3.5 million TV ad by crisis creator Karl Rove’s political spin-machine Crossroads GPS attacking U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s national security credentials. It stars a 30-something woman identified only as “Melissa, mother of five,” sitting on somebody’s American dreamy front porch holding an iPad…

National security has traditionally been a strong point for Sen. Udall, both from his time in the U.S. House and in the Senate. Udall serves on the Armed Services Committee and the Select Committee on Intelligence, and generally has a voting record that voters like: Udall voted against the Iraq war, but has voted to support troops in the field with appropriations unlike many other Democrats. Udall's high profile on issues like National Security Agency domestic surveillance and the Senate's battle with the Central Intelligence Agency over interrogation policy, long before this election, give Udall credibility as he positions himself at odds with the Obama administration.

So naturally, knocking Udall down on this core issue is a big priority for the GOP.

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

The hit on Udall over foreign policy in the latter stages of the campaign has made use of the two most popular foreign policy scare stories in circulation nationally: the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We talked last week about Gardner's highly misleading comments about Ebola in a recent debate, refuted strongly by Politifact. Likewise, Factcheck.org notes that the attacks on Udall over ISIS from Crossroads GPS, originating in an out-of-context quote from a debate last summer, have little basis in reality:

Udall didn’t dismiss ISIL as nothing to worry about. Instead, he said the terrorist group wasn’t an “imminent” threat to the U.S. but will be in the future if the country doesn’t respond in the Middle East now.

This isn’t the only attack ad to pick up on the Udall quote. The NRSC highlighted it in an ad also portraying Udall as soft on terrorism, as did Udall’s Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner.

But the Crossroads ad is the only one to actually cite a news article that supports what Udall said. While the woman in the ad says, “As a mom and a Marine, I know the danger is closer to home than Sen. Udall seems to think,” an on-screen graphic cites an August USA Today article headlined, “Returning Islamic State fighters could threaten USA.” That article quotes experts saying that an attack on U.S. soil isn’t an imminent threat, but there’s concern about what could happen if fighters holding Western passports return home.

In the Colorado gubernatorial race, the big story over the weekend was the blowback against GOP candidate Bob Beauprez for his factually-challenged misuse of the murder of the director of the Colorado Department of Corrections last year in campaign ads–ads that became toxic after the widow of director Tom Clements told Beauprez to stop falsely politicizing her husband's murder. There is a common theme between Beauprez's untruthful attack on Hickenlooper over Clements' murder and the misleading attacks on Sen. Udall over national security.

The common theme is a willingness to lie to people in order to scare them. It's not our purpose to rule on whether this is an effective tactic, as in the right circumstances it surely can be–but it does generally occur for certain reasons. We'll leave it to our readers to discuss in this case what those may be.

2014′s “Swing Issue?” Public Education

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

We've all heard it before: "As goes Jefferson County, so goes Colorado." 

In an election year where national developments such as Ebola and ISIS have created more generalized voter angst than focused anger, Colorado's 2014 state legislative races seemed destined to enter the final stretch with no clear definition or rallying cry.

Meanwhile, in Jeffco – which has four targeted races that will ultimately determine which party will control the state Senate – the new school board majority that was elected last year was conducting itself in a way that created some concern among parents and teachers, but didn't set off particularly potent alarms outside the education community.

But, just as ballots were dropped off in mailboxes, the defining moment came: Julie Williams' proposal to sanitize AP US history. Once she tipped the board majority's hand, the deep concerns among parents about what the Jeffco School board might be planning turned into a nationally broadcast, student-protest-fueled, laser-focused rejection of what the majority was proposing. 

That's how defining issues are born. Jeffco voters who currently have no way to take direct electoral action against the board majority are looking for ways to make their voices heard. They're asking about it when candidates come to the door and, judging from a spate of new video ads from the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund, Senator Andy Kerr, Senator Rachel Zenzinger, Citizens Alliance for Accountable Leadership, and Great Education Colorado Independent Expenditure Committee, supporting public education must be polling pretty well.

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Rand Paul Did Not Appear at Denver Event

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rand Paul Joins Ken Cuccinelli At Campaign Rally In Virginia

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky did not appear in Denver this week for the Colorado Renewal Project's "Rediscovering God in America" event in Westminster, despite widely distributed promotional materials stating that the Kentucky Senator would be in attendance as a "special guest."

Paul was never planning to come to Colorado at all, Paul's press office emailed me Friday, referring to organizers of the event.

"That was an error on their part," wrote Paul spokesperson Sergio Gor.

Paul's visit to Colorado appears to have been organized by evangelical political operative David Lane, who organizes meetings between Republican presidential contenders and pastors in swing states. Lane is associated with the American Renewal Project, which advocates for more involvement by Christians in politics.

Numerous efforts get a comment from Lane or any organizer of the Colorado event were not successful. It was not clear who sponsored Colorado's pastor event this week, but similar events in the past have ties to Colorado for Family Values and the Christian Family Alliance of Colorado.

Paul's visit to Colorado raised eyebrows because Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner has been telling reporters that there is "no federal personhood bill"–and Paul is the unabashed sponsor of a federal personhood bill, called the Life at Conception Act.

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Ballots drop into the mail; $51,000 from two donors drops to Jefferson County race

Two donors, oil and gas investor Mitchell Solich and mozzarella billionaire James Leprino, dropped a total of $40,000 in late September into the Jefferson County Commissioner race supporting Commissioner Don Rosier over US Marine Lt. Colonel and Delta pilot John Flerlage.  Solich's money is on top of $11,000 he pitched in earlier and $1000 from Solich's business partner Roger Flahive.

 This cold blast to the Democrats shows two things: the impact of unlimited contributions on a race, especially late to the party, and how dicey everything is in Jeffco. Rosier's total campaign dollars at the end of the previous reporting period were $29,808.

 James Leprino pitches $10,000 to Commissioner Rosier
James Leprino's $10,000 comes after the August completion of a $350,000 improvement to his jet hangar at Jefferson County Airport, paid for in a budget supplemental by the county.  The county put $200,000 into fuel line construction and $150,000 into taxi-lane improvements. (See August 5, 2014 report).
 
Mitchell Solich tosses $41,000 to Rosier
Mitchell Solich is senior managing director and Roger Flahive is managing director of SFC Energy Partners.  The company holds many investments in oil and gas development enterprises.

 Solich's late September $30,000 comes just after county commissioners voted on changes to oil and gas set back rules for drilling from 600 feet to 500 feet. The change conforms Jeffco to state regulations, but locals wonder "why now" when the Governor's oil and gas task force will report in March.  

 Voters in south Jeffco will be most affected by drilling, as some early oil and gas exploration is going on behind the Hog Back, near the Ken Caryl Valley in the south on up to Red Rocks and Morrison.  "The Turkey Creek outcrop is oil-saturated," said Dr. Steve Sonnenberg from Colorado School of Mines in an article in the Columbine Courier.  

 Drilling in these areas hits three highly contested Senate seats in addition to the commissioner race:  SD 20 Jahn v Queen, SD 16 Nicholson v Neville, and SD 22 Kerr v Sanchez.  The County owns open space but may or may not own mineral rights, depending on location.

 Rosier was earlier under pressure from south Jeffco voters outraged by a possible flag-pole annexation of Southwest Plaza to the tiny town of BowMar.  Rosier supported the county's further exploration of the deal, but BowMar eventually bowed out.  Rosier also did not step in to protect Chatfield Reservoir from its deployment away from its recreational purpose of 45 years.

 Dems hold candidate campaign funds advantage

Despite this late influx of cash into Jeffco, Democratic state Senate candidates overall have a 3:1 advantage over Republicans running for the legislature.  Republicans, following the GOP Jeffco commissioner race model, have the big pockets of big PACS to do late ads and mail, however.

 Individual Democrats have to spend more time raising money.  But that also puts them in touch with many more voters.  This election cycle tests the logic of the divergent strategies.

 HD-22 Dem candidate Parker has her own strategy
State House candidate Mary Parker, a Democrat in a non-targeted race, is running her own course against Rep. Justin Everett.  She's focusing on Everett's records for the 2014 session:  most NO votes, most missed committee hearings until his party got on him in March, most snoozes, and 49 general assembly tardies over 32 weeks.  Her "Justin Everett Absent" video  on her opponent's late attendance to the House assembly is both funny and not funny.
 
Here's the latest Senate count:
  • 15 Senate seats are to the Republicans  (doesn't include Sens. Herpin and Rivera)
  • 13 Senate seats are to the Dems (includes Garcia)
  • 3 seats are likely Dem:  Merrifield-Herpin ($1.8:1), Jahn-Queen ($4:1), Solano-Humenik ($4:1)
  • 4 seats are up in the air: Zenzinger-Woods/Waters ($2:1); Donovan-Suppes ($1.5:1); Kerr-Sanchez ($2.5:1); Nicholson-Neville ($2:1)
To capture a majority, Republicans need to win 3 of 4 up-in-the-air seats or grab some number of the likely Dem seats.   If Dems carry the 3 likely seats, they need to capture 2 of 4 toss-up seats. 

 Contested Senate races give Dems the edge

Sen. Kerr in SD-22 has a money and campaign experience advantage over Sanchez.  He gets the edge.  The Donovan-Suppes race may turn on some of Suppes' twitter postings on ethnicity and debate statements about the United Nations. 

 The Jeffco Nicholson-Neville and Zenzinger-Woods/Waters races, along with Kerr's and Jahn's, may turn on impacts of the AP history controversy in Jeffco. Neville's wife Barb has helped sharpen her sister's school board message, but that's very bad timing for Neville.

 Right now, the Democratic betting line for state Senate simple majority is 60-40; for a majority of 20-15, it's 50-50.   

 House secure for Dems

The Democratic majority on the House side is secure at 34.  Republicans have 24 safe seats.  The following seats are toss-ups:
  • McLachlan-Brown; money advantage McLachlan, registration advantage Brown; performance advantage McLachlan
  • Primavera-Tinlin; money advantage Primavera; registration even; performance advantage Primavera
Contested House races include:
  • Kagan-Benge; money and performance advantage Kagan; registration even
  • Doyle-Keyser; registration advantage Keyser, party flip advantage Doyle, money close
  • Cronk-Tate; registration advantage Tate, slight money advantage Cronk because of primary
  • Young-Aricayos; registration, performance, and money advantage Young
  • Tyler-Barnes; registration, performance, and money advantage Tyler
  • Parker-Everett; registration and performance advantage Everett; party flip advantage Parker; money close

Weekend Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Be in love with your life. Every minute of it."

–Jack Kerouac

Help Us Pick the Best and Worst Campaign Ads of 2014

Yesterday we discussed the first TV ad from Democrat Joe Neguse, who is running for the open Secretary of State seat. We think it may be the best TV ad of the cycle, but we can't know if we've seen every TV ad thus far.

So help us out, Polsters. Nominate your favorites for Best and Worst Campaign Ads of 2014 in the comments below. Please include links when available. We'll take your suggestions and then do our own roundup in a post next week.

(Note: Unless you have an entirely different take, one nomination per ad is sufficient. This isn't a poll.)

Gun group’s attack ad appears to violate campaign-finance rules

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A "Rocky Mountain Gun Owners" attack advertisement, mailed to constituents of State Sen. Andy Kerr, appears to violate a couple of campaign finance rules.

The return address on the ad reads, RMGO SuperPAC, but the disclaimer lists the sponsoring organization as "Rocky Mountain Gun Owners SuperPAC."

Neither entity has reported a campaign expenditure attacking Kerr, according to campaign finance reports, so there's almost certain violation of the 48-hour reporting rule currently in effect.

Another problem, "Rocky Mountain Gun Owners SuperPAC," does not exist on Secretary of State's website, and sponsoring organizations must file reports. Obviously, this could be a typo-like error, but it's still a likely violation.

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Bob Beauprez’s Reckless, Factless Attacks: Too Far Again

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

One day after GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez released a TV ad citing last year’s murder of former Colorado Dept. of Corrections Chief Tom Clements’ as an example of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s failure to keep the state safe, Clements’ widow, Lisa, asked Beauprez to stop.

“Mr. Beauprez, it is with great sadness and frustration that I am breaking my silence on matters involving the death of my husband,” Lisa Clements wrote to Beauprez Thursday in a letter shared with Colorado media outlets.

“On several occasions this year, you have attempted to use our family’s tragic loss for your personal and political gain, and we are respectfully asking you to stop.  We’re requesting you to please stop referencing our tragedy in your debate statements and in your campaign ads. Because every time you do, you re-open the wounds that our family continues to suffer from.

“We have not asked you to defend or publicize our experience, and we are not interested in accepting the support of anyone who chooses to do so with the expectation of something in return.”

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has a long history in Colorado politics. Beauprez went to Congress in 2002 after winning an extremely close and bitter CD-7 race by only 121 votes–a result finalized weeks after the election. Beauprez ran for governor in 2006, and had to fight a particularly bitter primary campaign against entrepreneur Marc Holtzman: a primary that left Beauprez seriously damaged even before the race against eventual blowout winner Bill Ritter got underway.

In 2006 on the way to his historic 17-point defeat, Beauprez earned a reputation as a ruthlessly negative campaigner. Whether this is a product of Beauprez's character or the desperate battle he fought to win his seat in Congress is tough to say, but as Beauprez sagged in the polls he simultaneously threw the kitchen sink at Ritter–including highly controversial claims about illegal immigrants in Denver that resulted in a federal investigation.

We've talked a lot this year about the crazy things Beauprez has said on the record since losing the 2006 gubernatorial race. Many of the worst of Beauprez's statements date to the high tide of the Tea Party in 2009-10, when all kinds of immoderate nonsense was fashionable. Comments about President Barack Obama "pushing" the nation toward civil war, Muslim Sharia law "creeping in" to Colorado, etc. betray either pathological or deeply cynical motivations underlying Beauprez's politics.

The tragic story of the murder of Department of Corrections director Tom Clements has been crassly politicized almost from the day he was killed. Not long after Clements' death, unnamed Republican sources persuaded the Denver Post to write a front-page story essentially blaming killer Evan Ebel's release on a Democratic-sponsored 2011 law. The next day, a 9NEWS report showed that Ebel had been released years early due to an entirely unrelated judicial error, and the Post eventually admitted that the factual basis of their story was wrong.

A 9NEWS Truth Test last night explains further, referencing their earlier report:

The assassinated prison chief was a member of the governor's cabinet and a close friend of Hickenlooper's.

To portray Hickenlooper as responsible for Ebel's release from prison deliberately misleads voters.

The Beauprez camp defends this claim by pointing to a law that Hickenlooper did sign in 2011, which allows offenders like Ebel to earn time off for good behavior while in solitary confinement.

Ebel did earn time under that law.

But that wouldn't have mattered in this case. The courts made a mistake that allowed Ebel to get out four years early. [Pols emphasis]

Beauprez has repeatedly invoked Clements' death to attack Gov. John Hickenlooper on the campaign trail, blaming Hickenlooper for the legislation the Denver Post wrongly identified as the reason for Ebel's early release, as well longstanding problems with releasing inmates like Ebel directly from solitary confinement to the street. But the truth is, Clements, under Hickenlooper, was working to reform the solitary confinement system in Colorado prisons when he was killed. To mislead voters about these events to the degree that Beauprez has, for the kind of crude political scare tactics that Beauprez has employed, is objectively deplorable. It's deplorable in a way that should disgust members of both parties–anyone who considers themselves a responsible stakeholder in Colorado politics.

It is wrong, it demeans us all, and it must not be rewarded. We really don't know what else to say.

Dear Jeffco Students, Sorry if It Feels Insulting, but You’re “Pawns”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After the last big meeting of the Jeffco School Board, I was driving my teenager home from school, and we heard conservative radio host Kris Cook's analysis of the meeting:

Cook: "They had students saying, 'Don't censor my history,' and taking umbrage at the fact that we, correctly, labeled them as pawns, because they have been made into pawns. I'm sorry students. I know that feels insulting. But your critical thinking skills are not where you think they are. And that is not your fault. Honestly, you've been offered a one-sided view for so long that you don't know how to assess both sides of a situation and come down on what the truth may be." [BigMedia emphasis]

I looked over at my teenager, who definitely has enough critical-thinking skills to understand a school-board proposal, and thought, why the crass condescension?

And Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has said essentially the same thing, that teachers are manipulating the Jeffco students.

My kid doesn't go to the Jeffco schools, but if you've ever spent time with teenagers from Denver, Jeffco, or anywhere, or if you've ever been a teenager yourself, you know that when they decide to focus on something other than Facebook or Snap Chat, they're amazing.

So I emailed Cook, who hosts KLZ's Grassroots Radio Colorado, and I asked why she had such a low view of the intellect of Jeffco teens.

Cook wrote that "no censorship had been proposed by Julie Williams or anyone else on the school board," and, yet, the "students, by their own admission, were protesting censorship of the AP US History curriculum."

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Seriously, Walker, You Should Probably Stop Doing That

Republican Walker Stapleton

This email sent out by Stapleton’s campaign on Thursday wants to make sure you know that he is being accused of not showing up to work.

Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is clearly worried about recent polling results showing that he is perilously close to losing his re-election bid to Democrat Betsy Markey. Questions about Stapleton's apparent disinterest in actually showing up to his office seem to have hit a sweet spot with voters, and Markey wasted little time getting right to the heart of the issue in her first TV ad:

At best…it’s inexcusable. At worst…it’s a scandal.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. Official key-card records from his Denver office confirm… Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around ten days a month.

Often, skipping the office for weeks at a time. Or only showing up after three P.M.

For those who have yet to see the ad, worry not. For some completely inexplicable reason, Stapleton and his Republican pals are doing everything they can to make sure you are aware of the accusations against him. On Thursday, Stapleton's campaign sent out an email linking to a 9News "Truth Test" about Markey's ad; while 9News says there is "no proof" to the claims made in the ad, the "Truth Test" doesn't exactly set Stapleton free:

It's important to note that we can't prove the Markey campaign's claim wrong, either.

We asked Stapleton to respond and he called the attacks "total B.S." in a phone interview with 9NEWS.

"I don't bring my key card into work every day," said Stapleton. "And when I don't, the public entrance is closer to my car than the other entrances and sometimes people open the doors for me. The main point is every single day that I'm in Denver on my schedule I'm in the office. [Pols emhpasis]. And to suggest otherwise is a complete bold-faced lie."

The campaign for Democratic challenger Betsy Markey sent us plenty of other items to back up their theme, including a scheduling calendar and attendance records at board meetings.

None of these items prove the claims in their ad.

Likewise, Stapleton's campaign couldn't provide records to disprove them either. [Pols emphasis]

Come again? "The main point is every single day that I'm in Denver on my schedule I'm in the office." What the hell does that mean? He's always in his office, if he's in Denver…and if it's on his schedule? WTF?

Look, we get that Stapleton believes his campaign is in trouble, in large part because of Markey's ad, and that he wants to do whatever he can to dispute the allegations. However, if Stapleton can't prove them wrong, he should probably shut up about this. Markey doesn't have millions of dollars to saturate the air waves in a down ballot race like State Treasurer, so it seems pretty obvious that the best course of action is to just ride this out while coming up with your own separate messaging.

Stapleton has long been mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for Governor in 2018, so perhaps he's trying to diminish this attack for reasons beyond 2014 (although, at this point, we'd wager that Stapleton has pretty well disqualified himself as a serious challenger for Governor anyway). Whatever the reasoning, the logic is flawed; the best way to deal with damning allegations is usually not to keep bringing them up on your own.

Have you ever known someone who gets a bad haircut and is so worried about appearances that they can't stop talking about it? That's pretty much Walker Stapleton in a nutshell.