Tim Neville Full-Steam Ahead for U.S. Senate; George Brauchler, Not So Much

State Sen. Tim Neville appears to be committed to running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

State Sen. Tim Neville appears to be committed to running for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

UPDATE: In an interview with Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Statesman, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler sounds a bit less enthusiastic about a potential Senate run of his own:

But Brauchler also said people shouldn’t be surprised if, sometime in the future, they see yard signs supporting his run for another term as district attorney “or something else.” He is up for a second term as DA in 2016. The “something else” could be a run for governor in 2018, when Democrat John Hickenlooper will be termed out…

…As to his timeline for making a decision on a Senate bid, Brauchler acknowledged that Labor Day is often an informal deadline for campaign kick-offs for major races. But he said no one is pressuring him into making a decision by then. He cautioned that, if his need to “deliberate over this with my family costs me the ability to make this decision, I’m comfortable with that. This is too big a decision, not just for us but for the community and state.

“I shouldn’t get into this race unless my heart is in it. I have to figure out if that’s going to happen,” he added. [Pols emphasis]

—–

State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County) is the big story in Colorado politics this week after news broke yesterday that he is preparing a bid for U.S. Senate in 2016.

Neville is embarking on a statewide “listening tour” for a few weeks before he formally announces his Senate campaign, which can occasionally be a code for “I haven’t made up my mind yet.” That’s not the case here. Neville is privately telling Republicans that he is “in it to win it” for 2016, and is absolutely planning on a full-scale campaign to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

John Frank of the Denver Post updated his story from yesterday with a Neville interview, and the Jefferson County Republican seemed to indicate that he has made up his mind about running:

“We are doing more listening than speaking,” Neville said in an interview Wednesday. “I want to get in touch with the grassroots.”

Neville is considered one of the most conservative members in the state Senate. He defeated an incumbent Democrat in a swing seat in 2014 to win the seat. His campaign would appeal to hard-right conservatives and those aligned with the tea party…

…“I do believe he’s leaning toward it,” said [supporter Mike] Donahue, describing the prospects of a Neville campaign.

Neville sounds more equivocal. “I’m not sure there’s a lean,” he said laughing. [Pols emphasis]

Neville also told Frank that his plans for U.S. Senate are not contingent on whether or not Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler decides to enter the Republican field. As we wrote yesterday in this space, Neville’s apparent commitment to a U.S. Senate run will probably be enough to convince Brauchler to run for re-election as DA instead of seeking higher office in 2016.

 

Former Republican talk-radio host poised to jump into U.S. Senate race

(Bla-haha! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

On Facebook this morning, former talk-radio host and former Colorado Springs congressional candidate Robert Blaha writes that he will challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, if Bennet endorses President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

“If Colorado Senator Michael Bennet votes to support this deal, he must be defeated in 2016 and I will announce my candidacy for U.S. Senate. If he votes against the deal, I will stand down – Period,” Blaha wrote on Facebook, without mentioning state Sen. Tim Neville and DA George Brauchler, who are also testing the Senate waters.

Blaha’s radio show on KZNT was called Black, White, and Right, and his co-host was Derrick Wilburn, who’s now vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party. The pair didn’t disappoint those who wanted to hear from the “right.” This Muslim bashing in this segment, for example, caught my ear back in 2012.

Wilburn would often stake out ground even further to the right than Blaha. Wilburn for example, once gave “almost human” honors to mainstream Repubicans, while Baha didn’t quite go that far.

No word yet on whether Tancredo, also a former talk-radio host, will join Blaha in running for U.S. Senate. Maybe Blaha will encourage him. I loved it when Tancredo told Bob Beauprez to jump in the gubernatorial race last year: “Listen buddy, get in! The water’s fine. It will be fun.” Little did Tanc know how hot Beauprez would make water for Tancredo, due to attack ads from national Republican groups. These ads were credited with knocking Tanc out of the race, opening the door to Beauprez to lose to Gov. John Hickenlooper in November.

Blaha isn’t the only local talk-radio host who’s jumped to partisan politics. Jimmy Lakey, who hosts a morning shoe on KCOL 600-AM in Ft. Collins, ran for Congress in Colorado Springs. Tancredo hosted a show on KVOR in Colorado Springs. KVOR’s Jeff Crank was almost elected to Congress. KLZ’s Ken Clark is the Second Vice Chair of the Denver Republican Party.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 2)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► President Obama picked up a major foreign policy victory with the news that Senate Democrats have the votes to support the adminstration’s nuclear deal with Iran. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) has not taken an official position on the deal, but it now appears likely that he won’t have to make a decision one way or the other.

► Environmental groups are pushing back against attempts by Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to sue the EPA over new clean power regulations. From the Durango Herald:

Kim Stevens, state director with Environment Colorado, calls Coffman’s action “a political move” to undercut a big step forward to slow climate change.

“This is the time for Coloradans to stand up and let their decision-makers know they are ready to see them stand up and act on climate and tackle the pollution that’s causing this problem,” she said.

According to Stevens, the EPA’s plan will add jobs in the clean-energy sector and eventually cut utility bills by almost $100 per year, on average. She adds that the plan allows states to decide where and how to reduce emissions from existing power plants to meet EPA targets.

► It’s becoming more and more difficult for supporters of TABOR, the so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights,” to continue offering a defense for this broken policy. According to a study from Colorado State University, 80% of Coloradans actually pay more in taxes because of TABOR — not less.

 

 

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Brauchler Says He’s More Like Ken Buck than Cory Gardner

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Who’s most like you, Sen. Cory Gardner or Rep. Ken Buck?

Many see Buck and Gardner as Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, one wearing a smile the other seething with anger. But if you’re a Tea-Party activist in Colorado, the answer is “Ken Buck.”

So it’s not surprising that Tea-Party radio host Chuck Bonniwell put this question to failed theater-shooter prosecutor George Brauchler, who’s considering a U.S. Senate run: Are you more like Ken Buck or Cory Gardner?

Brauchler’s answer, according to Bonniwell, was, “Oh God, Ken Buck!” Here’s Bonniwell’s story, told with co-host Julie Hayden, who’s also a Fox 31 Denver reporter:

Julie Hayden (@4:40 below): We were at a function and Chuck, in Chuck’s way [laughs]. Standing-around-drinking-wine-just-put-it-to-you way, said to George, “Okay. Who do you like better – Ken Buck or Cory Gardner?”

Bonniwell: No, hat’s not what I said!  I said, “If we put a gun to your head, and said, ‘Who are you closer to on the continuum of  Ken Buck to Gardner. Which one?  You have to choose one.  You can’t sit. And to his credit, I mean I expected a kind of weasely answer, he said, “Oh, God! Ken Buck!”

Hayden: And Chuck went, “Yea!”…He didn’t hesitate at all, nor did he mince any words. He didn’t put conditions on, like “Ken Buck on Tuesday. Cory Gardner on Thursday. No, he said, “Ken Buck.”

Bonniwell: Ken Buck.

It would be interesting to know what issues draw Brauchler to Buck. Good fodder for a future radio show.

Listen to Bonniwell and Hayden discuss George Brauchler on KNUS 710-AM Saturday:

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Sept. 1)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Republicans continue their search for a viable U.S. Senate candidate in 2016, and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is the latest name floating about in the scuttlebutt machine. As Manu Raju reports for Politico, GOP leaders are fretting over their inability to find a candidate to challenge Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet — and Brauchler doesn’t sound like a candidate who is ready for tough fairly simple questions:

Asked about his ideology, Brauchler said, “I feel like I’m a conservative.”

He went on to note that he opposes abortion, when asked about his position.

“This is something that nobody cares about when you run for DA,” Brauchler said with a laugh. “Nobody ever asks you if you are in favor of Roe vs. Wade. I’m a DA, man! We don’t prosecute that, that’s not my thing.” [Pols emphasis]

Um, yeah. That’s…not a good answer. First, Brauchler brings up his opposition to abortion, and then in the next breath tries to downplay it? Fun fact: Brauchler is already on the record as being opposed to Roe v. Wade, an answer he provided in a questionnaire while running for district attorney in 2012.

► David Olinger reports on the results from the Colorado Health Access Survey for the Denver Post:

A record number of Colorado residents now carry health insurance.

Statewide, the uninsured rate plummeted from 14.3 percent in 2013 to 6.7 percent this year — the lowest ever, according to a report being released Tuesday. Nearly 5 million people are covered now.

 

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Guandolo, you fool, I like hummus, not HAMAS….

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

John Guandolo.

John Guandolo.

John Guandolo, professional Muslim-hater, is pumping up the pity party. After his “Understanding the Threat” presentation at the Centennial Gun Club didn’t get quite the attendance he would have liked, he blamed HAMAS. According to Guandolo the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Southern Poverty Law Center, and anyone else who published articles calling him an “Islamophobe”….including me – is working with HAMAS.

Yes, dear readers, your very own middle-aged schoolmarm blogger is now, according to Mr.Guandolo, in league with HAMAS. And I thought I had only expressed a preference for hummus. Because hummus is yummus.

In fact, I did call Guandolo an Islamophobe, which means someone with an irrational fear of Islam. I don’t know how I could have been more precise. However, his headline blared:

UTT Trains Hundreds in Colorado Despite Efforts by Hamas

Guandolo falsely contends that Islamophobia is a capital crime under Sharia law, and that therefore, his life is in danger. He also claims to have called the FBI to defend him from these “threats”, but, alas,

Calls and emails to the FBI by UTT concerning these threats continue to be ignored.

(Perhaps it has something to do with him shagging a witness and getting kicked out of the FBI?)

I never received any confirmation from the Denver Police Department about whether or not they were granting officers inservice credit for attending Mr. Guandolo’s “training” on how to racially profile Muslims. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman never returned my calls or emails, either.

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The race for Pueblo County GOP chair should be interesting

(Best and brightest? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A couple candidates have announced their intention to run for the Pueblo County GOP chair, recently vacated by Becky Mizel, who resigned.

First, there’s Dr. Thomas Ready, who wrote, according to a Facebook post by Brian Matar:

“I am running to be the Pueblo County Republican Party Chairman. My goal is to bring the party back together and to include all that want to be there. I’m asking for your support at the next election. Thank you in advance. Tom”

Ready made headlines last year when he asserted, during a debate, that there’s no proof the Sandy Hook school shooting happened at all. At the time, The Pueblo Chieftain quoted him as saying:

“I don’t think (the Sandy Hook shootings have) been proven. And what’s wrong with open discussion?”

A call to Ready to confirm his entry in the race was not immediately returned.

But you wouldn’t think Pueblo Republicans would let an election go by without a fight.

Yesterday, former State Sen. George Rivera announced he’s also running. Rivera, you recall, took the seat from Sen. Angela Giron in a recall election in 2013. Leroy Garcia defeated Rivera last November.

Sign the petition: CU students deserve to be there

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

AP GOP 2016 CPAC A USA MDYou’ve probably heard by now that the whole gaggle of Republican candidates for President will debate at the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus in late October.

We’re asking debate organizers to promise that at least 50% of the tickets to the debate will be made available to CU students. Sign our petition now.

The Republican presidential debate at CU Boulder is a chance to hear first-hand the positions of over a dozen presidential candidates. It’s a great opportunity to be involved with our political process that CU students have come to expect from their world-class educational institution.

But it’s critical that students be given the chance to attend.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports that no decisions regarding the distribution of tickets have yet been made. The Coors Event Center on the CU Boulder campus seats over 11,000 people.

The Republican Party is partnering with the University of Colorado to host this debate, and enlisting the credibility of Colorado’s flagship educational institution to elevate the GOP and the participating candidates. That’s why it’s so important that the audience for the debate include students of the University of Colorado. Anything less would be a deception.

Sign our petition: tell organizers of the October presidential debate at CU to make at least 50% of the tickets available to CU students.

Thanks for your quick response to this important petition. Let’s make sure that CU’s reputation is protected by making this debate open and accessible to CU students. It’s only fair.

This Really Isn’t That Complicated, Brauchlerites

George Brauchler and TwitterThis is not a story about the death penalty.

This is not a commentary on the American legal system.

This is about a very simple, logical, and straightforward concept that seems to be eluding Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and his political defenders who have been working hard to move the goalposts in the wake of the Aurora Theater Shooting Trial. Brauchler did not get the outcome he was seeking in the trial, and any attempt to spin this as something other than a political loss is nonsense.

We normally don’t pay much attention to the inane crayon scribbles over at Colorado Peak Politics, but their recent rantings about Brauchler and his political future are actually a pretty good example of the absurdly illogical spin that we’ve seen in the last week or so.

We’ve written several times in this space that Brauchler’s political future was dealt a severe blow when an Aurora jury declined to recommend the death penalty for convinced shooter James Holmes (Judge Carlos Samour Jr. ultimately sentenced Holmes to 12 consecutive life sentences, and another 3,318 years in prison for good measure). The politically-ambitious Brauchler made a controversial decision last year to seek the death penalty for Holmes instead of accepting a plea deal that would have sent Holmes to prison for the rest of his life. Reaction was mixed to Brauchler’s decision, because accepting a plea agreement would have saved millions of dollars in taxpayer money and spared some of the victims and their families who didn’t want to relive that fateful night in July 2012.

Politically-speaking, Brauchler had a lot to gain from a successful death penalty prosecution, and you can’t seriously argue otherwise. It’s only logical, then, that Brauchler would lose some political luster if he did not get the verdict he was seeking. We’re not talking about anybody (other than Holmes) being viewed as a moral loser here — this is strictly politics, laid out from the perspective of a political blog

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Get More Smarter on Monday (Aug. 31)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman says that Colorado will join in a multi-state lawsuit in an effort to stall President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. As the Denver Business Journal reports, Coffman is going heavy on the right-wing rhetoric:

“The rule is an unprecedented attempt to expand the federal government’s regulatory control over the states’ energy economy,” Coffman said. “The EPA appears unwilling to accept limits set by Congress in the Clean Air Act and instead is pushing its agenda forward through regulatory rewrites that overreach its legal authority.”

Or…the EPA and the federal government might just think it’s a good idea to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

► Colorado Republicans may be reconsidering a plan to opt-out of choosing a nominee for President in 2016. Thanks a lot, Rick Santorum.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (Aug. 28)

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Tell your co-workers to have a nice Labor Day weekend, then count to see how many of them show up on Monday. 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).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released documents detailing the moments before and after the Gold King minewater spill on Aug. 5. The EPA says the presence of metallic sediment in the Animas River is among their primary ongoing concerns related to the spill.

 

► The Aurora Theater Shooting Trial has ended, and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler now has to decide if he wants to campaign for a U.S. Senate seat that virtually every other Colorado Republican has refused. If Brauchler decides against a Senate bid, which seems likely, the GOP will start picking names out of a hat to oppose Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016.

 

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The Donald again sounding a lot like Mike Coffman, this time on debt limit

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmantrump3The Donald, whose trick to political success is never playing defense, continued his offensive stance (pun intended) this week telling Bloomberg TV that congressional Republicans should fight to stop an increase in the debt limit.

And in doing so, The Donald sounded almost exactly like … Rep. Mike Coffman.

You may recall that the last time Republicans fought an increase in the debt limit, the economy teetered and America’s credit rating was actually factually downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time, mostly because of the political sparring, not the state of our economy.

But no mention of these little problems by Trump and Coffman:

First, The Donald this week:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday said he thought it was “worth the fight” for congressional Republicans to threaten not to raise the U.S. debt limit as a way to pressure the Obama administration to agree to spending cuts.

“I would say that it’s worth the fight,” Trump said on Bloomberg TV. “Honestly there is so much fat in Washington that if you had the right people in there you could cut it.”

Next Coffman in 2013, as reported by Fox 31’s Denver’s Eli Stokols at the time:

But Republicans, having agreed to put off decisions about spending cuts, now view the looming debt ceiling as leverage — and they’re promising to use it….

Coffman: “I don’t think going over the fiscal cliff would have been a huge deal. Temporarily, the markets would have been aggravated until the next Congress could have passed new tax cuts and ironed things out.

“But the real big deal is what’s upon us and going past the debt limit. I have to see a way out of this, real spending cuts, before I vote to raise the debt limit.”

Sounds a lot like Trump, doesn’t he? So did Sen. Cory Gardner.

As I reported before, the two sound a lot alike on immigration (here and here) as well.

I know reporters don’t have time to hook every national political development to our humble locale. But they should give it their best shot, because the stakes are so high.

Republicans and Democrats increased the debt limit over 100 times (Bush and Reagan did it) until 2011, when disaster struck.

Trump gives us a chance to air the issue out again, in advance of the crisis and in front of the public.

Gazette rejects reasonable response to its inaccurate editorial trashing Planned Parenthood

(Citizen Kane would be proud – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Michael Merrifield.

Sen. Michael Merrifield.

In an op-ed in the Colorado Springs Independent yesterday, Colorado State Sen. Michael Merrifield writes:

On Sunday, Aug. 9, the Colorado Springs Gazette published an editorial that contained many of the same falsehoods about Planned Parenthood that are being spread by the extremists who made the hoax video.

I submitted a column to correct the record about the work Planned Parenthood does for Coloradans and nationally. The Gazette refused to run it — a disservice to its readers and the community I represent. I’m glad the Colorado Springs Independent has higher standards for public discussion.

It’s true that the Gazette’s editorial was full of misinformation at best, lies at worst. The Gazette didn’t even come close to informing us that no evidence exists showing that Planned Parenthood has broken any laws.

Instead, the newspaper quotes directly from undercover videos that are so altered that they have no use as evidence against Planned Parenthood.

The newspaper musters up the audacity to state Planned Parenthood has an “apparent practice of selling the organs of aborted babies.” Even if you accept what you see in the full videos, there’s no evidence that Planned Parenthood does anything other than offer fetal-tissue for research purposes for the cost of processing. That’s legal.

Next, the Gazette claims there’s an “overwhelming and growing body of evidence” that “abortion providers solicit the sale of human organs.” There is no such body of evidence much less a growing one. There’s no proof that the tissue is provided by donors on anything but a voluntary basis.

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What’s Next for George Brauchler?

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

The Aurora Theater Shooting trial finally came to a close on Wednesday when Judge Carlos Samour Jr. sentenced convicted killer James Holmes to 12 consecutive life sentences, and another 3,318 years in prison for good measure. Following the sentencing, Samour put an exclamation point on the trial when he said, “Get the defendant out of my courtroom, please.”

Privately, at least, life should essentially return to normal for Judge Samour and the countless others who have invested much of the last few years on this case. But for Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler, who is being courted by Republicans to run for U.S. Senate in 2016, he may just be exchanging one spotlight for another.

In an interview with the Colorado Independent, Brauchler acknowledged that he feels the pressure to make a decision on his political future by Labor Day – less than two weeks away. Now that the sentencing is complete, it’s a good time to look at the political ramifications of the Aurora Theater Shooting Trial for Brauchler — and by extension, Colorado Republicans in general.

We decided to do this Rickey Henderson-style by having a Q&A conversation with ourselves, so let’s get to it after the jump… (more…)

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Aug. 27)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The first two states to legalize marijuana — Colorado and Washington — are doing a pretty good job of implementing regulations and other requirements for the legal sale of weed. From the Huffington Post:

Now more than a year after sales first began in Colorado and Washington, perhaps the most profound shift of all is the normalcy in which marijuana policy, and the revenue it generates, is seen by state government.

J. Skyler McKinley, deputy director of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s (D) Office of Marijuana Coordination, said that Colorado officials look at marijuana the same way they look at any other commodity market in Colorado — just another place where the state gets some revenue, but doesn’t stake its whole budget on it.

“This was a lot less vexing than we once thought it would be,” McKinley said, repeating what his boss said about regulating the drug earlier this year. “It turns out government can be pretty good at this.”

► Officials in Silverton and San Juan County have asked for federal assistance in cleaning up polluted mining sites, but they want to make sure that you understand they might not want federal help. Or something. From the Durango Herald:

In a letter from Silverton Mayor Christine Tookey and San Juan County Commissioner Ernie Kuhlman, the officials state that while Superfund status should be on the table, they have not “foreclosed any options.” The federal listing offers additional resources to clean up blighted areas that could be toxic to humans.

Silverton and San Juan County have been fighting accusations that the town and county are partially responsible for the Gold King Mine disaster because they resisted Superfund status. Some in the community feared that a federal listing would be a black eye and endanger tourism…

…A recent joint resolution from the town and county stated that they would work to petition Congress for federal disaster dollars. Reports suggested that the move was a reversal, or a paradigm shift. But county and town officials say otherwise, arguing that the reports were filled with “misinformation.” [Pols emphasis]

To summarize, Silverton and San Juan County officials want to make it clear that they haven’t “committed” to doing anything specific to deal with toxic mines in the aftermath of the Gold King minewater spill. It’s good to know that local officials are still paralyzed by indecision.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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