Post interview spotlights Brauchler falsehood that he was “one vote away” from getting death sentence in Aurora trial

(Comes to light just days after Brauchler bailed out? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler.

Excellent reporting today by The Denver Post’s Jordan Steffen, who breaks the news that three jurors in the Aurora theater trial voted affirmatively for life in prison, according to one of the three jurors, who was previously thought to have been undecided.

Steffen’s interview is beautifully written, giving you a great sense of the juror’s struggles and a journalist’s experience talking to her, but what caught my eye, as someone who listened to prosecutor George Brauchler repeatedly say he was “one vote away” from getting the death penalty, were these three paragraphs:

“There were three,” [the juror] said. “Not one.”

…Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler has said he wouldn’t second-guess his decision to pursue the death penalty because of one juror’s position that led to the life sentence.

Last week, he said all of the deliberating jurors he’s spoken with have indicated that Juror 17’s account was accurate. He conceded that he hadn’t met with all of them.

More of an explanation from Brauchler would have been nice, because you have to wonder why a man of his intelligence and intensity would deliver rotten information about the jury count, without at least saying he wasn’t sure or acknowledging, as  juror 17 had clearly said after the trial, that juror 17 was against the death sentence and two jurors were undecided. That’s obviously three, not one, votes away from conviction.

Maybe Brauchler, who subsequently announced he wouldn’t challenge Sen. Michael Bennet, was just trying to make himself look good? But as a veteran prosecutor, he had to know that his misinformation could be hurting real people.

Steffen reported that the juror he interviewed ended “her silence because she could no longer bear to watch the weight of public scrutiny — what she described as a ‘witch hunt’ — fall solely on the shoulders of her fellow juror.”

Brauchler was partly responsible for the witch hunt, as today’s Post piece makes clear.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Oct. 2)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Uh, anybody seen Tim Neville? 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).


► Is Colorado the future? Newsweek magazine seems to think so, and is devoting its next cover issue to the idea that Colorado is a microcosm of the future of politics (we know, we didn’t realize Newsweek still printed a magazine, either).

► The debate over whether or not Silverton should receive a Superfund Site declaration, which would free up funds to help clean up scores of polluted mines, continues to center around the idea that Silverton has a reputation to uphold anyway. There are about 629 residents of Silverton, but clean up polluted mines could protect tens of thousands of people downstream. You can probably guess where Rep. Scott Tipton comes down on the matter.

Over at POLITICO Pro (behind the paywall), an increasingly bleak assessment of GOP chances at winning Colorado’s 2016 U.S. Senate race after the party’s top choices have all bowed out:

“Not a single person in the current field has a snowball’s chance of defeating Bennet or even giving him a serious challenge,” said one prominent Colorado Republican, but still expressed hope that a “credible candidate” could still be recruited…

But a very long list of possible candidates circulated through Denver this week — including, Ryan Frazier, who lost a 2010 congressional bid, state Senate President Bill Cadman, state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, state Majority Leader Mark Scheffel, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. “It’s literally back to the drawing board,” said Laura Carno, a local GOP activist.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Adams County GOP chair seethes at “cowardly, traitors known as ‘Republicans'”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Adams County GOP chair Anil Mathai.

Adams County GOP chair Anil Mathai.

Journalists aren’t reporting the seething anger of Colorado’s Tea Party conservatives at their Republican leaders for allowing the federal government to continue operating and/or for caving on what they see as GOP priniciples.

It’s an important story not only because it offers a tangible angle to explain the rise of The Donald and his ilk, but also because it shows the stress within the Republican Party  here in Colorado, as state party chair Steve House continues to face intense criticism from within.

I write a lot about talk-radio hosts, but but it’s not just the talk-radio hosts who are mad, but also folks like Anil Mathai, Chair of the Adams County Republican Party. He had this to say on Facebook:

MATHAI: The Republican Party in Washington DC has just passed a spending bill – understand they would rather Hussein Obama get everything he wants including funds to kill thousands of unborn children. WE HAVE THE HOUSE AND SENATE AND OBAMA GETS EVERYTHING HE WANTS – WHAT UTTER MADNESS!!!!! The Republican Party has become no different from the Democrat Party! Instead of supporting most of its voters, they decide to support evil and corrupt cronies. If the leadership and direction doesn’t change ASAP, we will have a Communist President in Nov 2016 and the cowardly, traitors known as “Republicans” will have the party collapse because of their arrogance. It is time to primary every RINO right now, it is time to clean house by demanding “republicans” actually support the US Constitution and the Republican platform. Sick and tired of the democrats in our party!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! 3000 more children will die today because there is no Republican party who will help them and follow our written documents of first defending LIFE then LIBERTY then Pursuit of Happiness but instead must avoid a “government shutdown”!! GOVERNMENT over LIFE – TREASONOUS!!!!! Time for pitch forks and removal of “leaders” starting first with Kevin McCarthy, Steve Scalise, and every Republican that voted today to fund abortion instead of “shutting down the government” and listen to most Americans on ending the evil Planned Parenthood. CORRUPT COWARDS!!!! ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!! [BigMedia emphasis.]

Mathai is the Republican leader of one of the most important counties in the state going into next year, in light of its surprise tilt toward Republicans in the last election.


With collapse of Rand Paul, Dudley Brown may be cash cow for Tim Neville

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Journalists have raised doubts about whether State Sen. Tim Neville, who’s expected to announce his campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet today, can raise the $10 million or more required to unseat the well-financed Democratic uncumbant. It’s a reasonable question, for sure, but recent political shifts could be opening bank accounts for Neville that were locked just months ago.

Colorado’s own Dudley Brown has had close ties to the collapsing presidential campaign of Sen. Rand Paul (See joint photo.). Paul has signed fundraising appeals for Brown, which so pissed off the National Rifle Association (NRA) that the NRA didn’t even invite Paul to an NRA Leadership Forum, which was attended by 12 GOP presidential hopeufls in April.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Brown may now be looking for a new gun-loving federal candidate prop up with millions of dollars. And that lucky candidate could be Neville, whose close ties to Dudley are not in dispute as you can read below if you need to.

But does Dudley have that kind of money? Well, he’s president of the National Association of Gun Rights (NAGR), which raised over $16 million in 501c4 political-attack funds, according to its lastest-available federal filing. It’s impossible to know how much of that dark money could be diverted to Colorado’s Senate race, but the money is big. And for what it’s worth, back in 2013, Dudley said his organization would spend at least $1 million on campaigns.


Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 30)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218So long, September. 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).


► It’s beginning to look like Congress won’t be able to come to agreement on a funding plan for the Aurora VA Hospital project. As Mark Matthews writes for the Denver Post:

With only days left to act, federal lawmakers failed Tuesday to reach a deal on how to finish construction of a VA hospital in Aurora that has made national headlines by busting its budget by more than $1 billion.

At issue is the final $625 million the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it needs to complete the facility. The VA has spent about $1 billion on the $1.675 billion project, but it needs permission from Congress to spend an additional $625 million — and soon.

If Congress doesn’t grant that permission by early October, VA officials have warned the project will run out of money and construction would grind to a halt.

While the Senate has approved a plan to pay for completion of the Aurora Hospital, the effort is being held up in the House by Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, who wants to ensure that he gets his pound of flesh from the VA first. This is not good news for Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who has been reduced to repeating Rep. Miller’s talking points while the clock ticks down. Coffman may hold the title of Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee for the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, but he has done virtually nothing to move along an important project in his own district.


 Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has built his political career on the basis of being a giant pain in the ass in Congress, and his boorish antics are finally catching up to him. Senate Republicans are openly attacking Cruz and setting him up for blame in the event of a government shutdown. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says that Cruz is “pretty much done for in the Senate.”



Get even more smarter after the jump…


Kevin McCarthy Off to a Bad Start as Speaker-in-Waiting

Rep. Kevin McCarthy demonstrates how to count to five.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy demonstrates how to count to five.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is widely expected to be coronated as the next Speaker of the House when his Orangeness, Rep. John Boehner, resigns at the end of October.

If House Republicans elevate McCarthy to Speaker, he will become the least-experienced House Speaker since…wait for it…1891 (Henry Clay is the answer to that trivia question). As our friends at “The Fix” explain, McCarthy’s inexperience could be problematic for a Congress that is already among the least-effective and most disliked legislative bodies in American history.

House Republicans are in the midst of a coronation of California Congressman Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker of the House. McCarthy’s comments about the motives of the House select committee investigating the attacks in Benghazi, Libya on Tuesday night, however, should give the party pause about whether he’s totally ready for the big job.

Prodded repeatedly by conservative Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity to name an accomplishment for the Republican-led Congress, McCarthy seized on the Benghazi committee and its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s role (or lack thereof) in the handling of the incident during her time as Secretary of State.

“Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?” McCarthy told Hannity. “But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she’s untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.” [Pols emphasis]


Yes, indeed. Whoops!

It’s embarrassing enough that McCarthy couldn’t immediately name an important accomplishment for Republicans in Congress, but it’s a mistake made even worse by his eventual answer. In other words, McCarthy thinks the most important accomplishment by a Republican-led Congress is a partisan political committee meant to take down a former Secretary of State. Republicans have held a majority in the House for nearly five years now, and McCarthy wants to talk about how much the GOP has hurt Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers? Really?

When Boehner first announced the Benghazi special committee in early 2014, he was careful to explain that the decision was about “getting to the truth” of the terrorist attack that killed four Americans in 2012. The Benghazi committee was obviously created in large part to damage the Presidential hopes of Hillary Clinton, but Boehner knew very well that he couldn’t frame the entire thing in those terms. “I intend for this select committee to have robust authority, and I will expect it to work quickly to get answers for the American people and the families of the victims,” said Boehner on May 2, 2014. 

As “The Fix” writes today:

While anyone with a brain would have concluded a while ago that the Benghazi committee wasn’t solely about policy, having the man who is about to be the next Speaker of the Republican-controlled House say exactly that is not smart. At all.


Perhaps McCarthy’s statement is exactly the kind of thing that a Republican House descending into anarchy would want to hear. Perhaps not. But for the rest of us hoping to see actual leadership in the Speaker’s office, McCarthy is off to a shaky start.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Sept. 29)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Today is National Coffee Day, because it can’t just be a Tuesday. 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).


► Congress continues to debate potential funding options for the Aurora VA Hospital project — options that ideally don’t include a federal shutdown. What does our own Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) have to say about all this? Well, whatever House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller tells him to say. From Mark Matthews of the Denver Post:

Coffman, who sits on the House veterans committee, said Miller decided to introduce the bill in spite of his reservations.

“He went forward certainly without me,” Coffman said in an interview Monday morning.

Later in the day, however, his office asked to clarify his statement and make note that Coffman supported Miller. [Pols emphasis] 

“No doubt, I strongly believe that the House approach is right, but my guess is that there will be a compromise that lands somewhere between the House and Senate versions,” Coffman said in a statement.

Remember this when Coffman pretends to be taking a leadership role on the VA Hospital project. Coffman is the Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee for the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee, and the still-incomplete hospital sits smack dab in the middle of his district…yet the Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee (Rep. Miller) is telling Coffman what he can say about funding plans.


► Three right-wing members of the Jefferson County School Board are facing a November recall, and it certainly appears as though they’ll go down kicking and screaming. The right-wing majority is now completely shutting out the other two School Board members.

Perhaps Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams have seen the writing on the wall chalkboard. As Marianne Goodland reports for the Colorado Independent:

Regardless of the outcome of the recall…

That was the mantra repeated on Sunday by the politicians, school board candidates and conservative education reformers attending an Americans for Prosperity education-reform strategy session.


► State Sen. Tim Neville tells John Frank of the Denver Post that he is definitely running for U.S. Senate in 2016…though Colorado Pols readers already knew this.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Republican chair’s praise for stem cell research puts him at odds with Coffman

(Oh really? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

houseforgopchairOn a couple of ocassions, Colorado GOP Chair Steve House has stated publicly that Rep. Gorden Klingenschmitt doesn’t speak for the Republican Party. Last week, for example, after Rep. Gorden Klingenschmitt called Allah a “false god,” House told 9News:

 “House: Representative Klingenschmitt has a Constitutional right to free speech,” House wrote in a statement. “However, as I’ve said several times in the past, Gordon does not speak on behalf of our Party, and his hurtful words do not represent our values.”

Last week on KNUS 710-AM’s “Rush to Reason,” House addressed a number of topics, and he came out in support of stem cell research, a view that’s also not shared by all in the GOP.

Stem cells are obtained from zygotes, or fertilized human eggs. Some Republicans, including Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman, want to ban stem cell research because they consider zygotes to be a human life, even if the zygotes are obtained from fertizilization clinics that would otherwise dispose of them. (Even “pluripotent stem cells,” which are sometimes used in research and are derived from adult stem cells, are grown using embryonic stem cells for comparison purposes.)

As 9News reported in 2013: “This year, Congressman Coffman was asked point blank by Colorado Right to Life, ‘Will you oppose any research or practice that would intentionally destroy the tiniest living humans, embryonic stem cell research?’ With a pen he wrote, ‘Yes.’”

On the radio Sept. 22, House included stem-cell research as part of an “optimistic view of technology” that should be part of the “GOP message.”


Get More Smarter on Monday (Sept. 28)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Chag Sameach to all of our Jewish friends (please, just don’t ask us to pronounce it). 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).


► The U.S. Senate has agreed to authorize an additional $625 million to continue construction at the Aurora VA Hospital project. As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post:

But Senate approval doesn’t mean the hospital is in the clear. Although the measure cleared the Senate without opposition, it still requires House support.

Even then, the authorization bill won’t be enough. Congress also needs to agree to a VA plan to shift money to the project; that request is tied to a stopgap spending bill that Congress must approve by Thursday or else plunge the federal government  into a shutdown.

What does Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) say about all of this? He’s not quoted, again, even though the project is in his district and even though Coffman is the Chair of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee for the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee.


► House Speaker John Boehner surprised most political observers when he announced on Friday that he would resign from Congress at the end of October. Boehner is not going quietly, however, and is using his lame-duck status to rip into dysfunctional members of his Republican Party. From the Associated Press:

 House Speaker John Boehner warned Sunday against “false prophets” in his own party making unrealistic promises, saying his resignation had averted a government shutdown this week but not the GOP’s broader battle over how to wield power.

Speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Boehner unloaded against conservatives long outraged that even with control of both houses of Congress, Republicans have not succeeded on key agenda items, such as repealing President Barack Obama’s health care law and striking taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood. He refused to back down from calling one of the tea party-styled leaders and presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, a “jackass.”

“Absolutely they’re unrealistic,” Boehner said. “The Bible says, ‘Beware of false prophets.’ And there are people out there spreading noise about how much can get done.”…

“Our founders didn’t want some parliamentary system where, if you won the majority, you got to do whatever you wanted. [Pols emphasis] They wanted this long, slow process” he said. “And so change comes slowly, and obviously too slowly, for some.”


► Are you tired of being an elected official? Do you welcome the sweet embrace of political death at the hands of the recall election? Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt demonstrates how to make the case for your own recall: Step 1) Publicly ignore your own governing procedures, and 2) Talk down to fellow board members and community members whenever possible.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Ken Witt Presents: How to Make the Case for Your Own Recall

Jeffco School Board President Ken Witt

Jeffco School Board President Ken Witt

Temperatures have been rising on the Jefferson County School Board ever since three right-wing members were elected to take over the Board majority in November 2013. As Colorado Pols readers are no doubt aware, these three Board members — Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams — are now facing a November recall election for a variety of reasons that we won’t rehash here (check Jeffco Pols for a more in-depth background into the Jeffco School Board controversies).

If you aren’t familiar with the controversies and issues that led to the November recall election, there was a moment at Thursday evening’s Jeffco School Board Meeting that perfectly encapsulates why the entire Jefferson County community has been in an uproar over the actions of Witt, Newkirk, and Williams. You can see the video yourself below, which better conveys the emotion of the exchange as Board Member Lesley Dahlkemper is nearly driven to tears out of frustration and anger in response to an incredibly disrespectful display from Board President Ken Witt.

“I am fed up with the way we are running this Board.”

— Jeffco School Board Member Lesley Dahlkemper

The back-and-forth discussion in question followed the introduction of a resolution proposing changes to the District Accountability Committee (DAC) Both Dahlkemper and Board Member Jill Fellman voiced their concern that Witt was forcing a vote on an item that the Board had not yet discussed, which is explicitly against the Board’s own policies. The resolution in question was sent around to Board members on Thursday afternoon — mere hours before the meeting was called to order — so Dahlkemper and Fellman asked Witt to schedule the vote for the following week so that the item could be discussed first.

“I don’t know how we can have a conversation and vote on something I saw for the first time 4 hours ago,” said Fellman. “I’m not willing to do that.”

Jeffco School Board Member Lesley Dahlkemper

Jeffco School Board Member Lesley Dahlkemper

Dahlkemper also noted that a discussion was pertinent because a volunteer committee of parents, teachers, and administrators had been working for months on changes to the DAC. Here’s what happened next:

LESLEY DAHLKEMPER: “At the very least, give us the time to read this, digest it, contrast it with what we have also been given by a committee that has spent more than three months analyzing state law and having conversations about this, to determine whether this is a good resolution moving forward. All I’m asking is that we follow board policy, we ask questions about this if we have any tonight, and then we put it on the agenda for the next Board Meeting to approve it. That’s all. That’s all I’m asking.”

KEN WITT: [Sarcastically] Ms. Dahlkemper, this has been read to you twice, but we can continue to go over it until you feel like you understand all of the terms. [Pols emphasis]

LD: Mr. Witt, don’t you dare speak down to me or disrespect me.

KW: I’m not…

LD: Yes, you have. And I’m sorry you don’t understand the difference between those two things…because I am done with it. [VOICE CRACKS] I can’t believe this…because I do not want to do this. But I will tell you – the mistake that you are making right now is that we have a policy on the table about how we govern. You are throwing governance right out the window because you have some agenda that you feel so critical that we have to vote on tonight…that even a simple request that is to say, “Look, our policy says we review it, and then we vote on it.” And don’t you dare insinuate that I don’t understand this policy. And stop talking down to people on this board, and also people who come forward. Enough. [Pols emphasis]

Policy disagreements are to be expected in any group of elected officials, but it’s inexcusable for Witt to a) Ignore Board policy at his own whim, and b) Display such blatant disrespect to a fellow board member. Witt’s behavior isn’t the primary reason why he, Newkirk, and Williams are facing a recall — but it’s near the top of the list.


Check out the video after the jump…



House answers reasonable questions on talk radio

After all he’s been through, you wouldn’t think Colorado GOP Chair Steve House would ever again breathe into a talk-radio microphone. But, lo, he’s made three recent appearances, taking questions from hosts and callers about topics ranging from the weedy (party finances) and the salacious (his alleged affair) to the elite (GOP debate at CU) and the ridiculous (Trump).

And, despite the hits he took recently from talk radio hosts, House even gives a shout out to radio itself, saying he “absolutely” thinks it’s a good medium (KNUS at 12:20).

Let me write about the alleged affair first, because why not? He denied it again, and, in fact, there’s still no proof he had one, and so what anyway? Edgar Antillon, who joined House during one interview, also discussed old rumors that Antillon had multiple wives, and Antillon and House said these private issues shouldn’t matter (KFKA, part 2, at 11 min).

Discussing the weedy, as in party finance issues, House claimed that things are getting better, with bills being paid down and a previously unsecured loan now secured (KFKA part 2 at 34:35). (GOP activists continue to distrust House on on financial and other matters, as you can read here.)

With respect to the CU debate, House said there’s a great after party planned, and the limited ticket offerings are due to the networks concerns about an unruly cowd (KFKA part 2 at 29:30)

OnTrump, House promised to support him if he wins the primary, though he sounds like he doesn’t support him.

House remains in the middle of a Republican brawl in Colorado, and, yet, he’s on the radio. I give him credit for that, and the hosts credit for conducting reasonable interviews. I’m looking forward to more.

Listen to Steve House on KNUS’ Rush to Reason and on KFKA’s Stacy Petty Show here.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Sept. 24)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Can Ben Carson say something ridiculously stupid every day this week? He’s sure trying. 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).


► Congress has spent a lot of time doing very little since they returned from the August recess, and they may have to put in some overtime this weekend. As Mark Matthews reports for the Denver Post, lawmakers are calling on House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to get a little tougher with his gavel:

Colorado’s three U.S. House Democrats joined with about 120 of their party colleagues this week in asking that Speaker John Boehner keep the lower chamber in session — every day — until a deal is reached to avert a government .

The request from Reps.  and  comes just days before an Oct. 1 deadline in which Congress and the White House must agree to a stopgap spending bill or else close down federal agencies.

Elsewhere, Politico is reporting that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing his “final strategy” for avoiding the second federal government shutdown in three years:

It’s make or break time for Republicans to avoid a government shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday afternoon is expected to set up his end-game to avoid a politically disastrous lapse in government funding. He will likely make his move immediately after an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood fails in the face of Democratic opposition, according to sources briefed on his plans.

McConnell can also box out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) from attempting a filibuster if the GOP leader acts quickly after the failed vote; otherwise Cruz could try to delay McConnell’s plans to jam House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with a do-or-die vote on a clean stopgap spending bill, or continuing resolution. But Senate GOP leadership is confident they can rebuff any Cruz maneuvering.

We’ve probably said it before, but it deserves repeating: How can Sen. Ted Cruz simultaneously run for President while doing everything in his power to shut down the federal government? Ted Cruz for President: Because the Government Should Just Stop Altogether. 


► Pope Francis addressed a joint session of Congress on Thursday, telling lawmakers that “Legislative activity is always based on care for the people.” The Pope also spoke passionately about acting on climate change, welcoming immigrants, ending the death penalty, and fixing the widening gap between the lower and middle class and the richest 1% of Americans. The Washington Post has an annotated copy of the Pope’s speech available online.


► Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is taking a serious look at running for U.S. Senate in 2016. The Republican sheriff is getting some good press out of D.C., particularly from National Journal and its daily “Hotline” political briefing. Smith is the first story in this morning’s “Hotline,” which notes that he has “a team of consultants already lined up.”


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith Considering GOP Senate Bid

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is about this close to running for U.S. Senate.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is about this close to running for U.S. Senate.

The conservative D.C. publication The National Journal has news on Colorado’s U.S. Senate race, and it looks like Republicans might have yet another potential candidate:

Lar­imer County Sher­iff Justin Smith, a Col­or­ado Re­pub­lic­an, says he is ser­i­ously look­ing at run­ning against Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mi­chael Ben­net in 2016, the latest in a string of po­ten­tial GOP can­did­ates to put their names for­ward in the state.

Smith gained prom­in­ence among the state’s con­ser­vat­ive grass­roots in 2013 for fight­ing against the gun-con­trol le­gis­la­tion cham­pioned by Col­or­ado’s Demo­crat­ic gov­ernor, John Hick­en­loop­er. Smith said in an in­ter­view that he was mak­ing calls and speak­ing with sev­er­al statewide elec­ted of­fi­cials about his plans.

Smith tells the Journal that he would consider not running for Senate himself in favor of Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler. As Colorado Pols reported on Tuesday, Brauchler is poised to announce his own Senate campaign in early October.

The Journal also updates the Senate race with some information that you already knew from reading Colorado Pols last week:

But even if Brauchler gets in, at least one oth­er well-fun­ded can­did­ate will be com­pet­ing for the GOP nom­in­a­tion. Col­or­ado Springs busi­ness­man Robert Blaha, who self-fun­ded a con­gres­sion­al run in 2012, vowed to chal­lenge Ben­net be­cause of the Demo­crat’s vote in fa­vor of the Ir­an nuc­le­ar deal…

Con­ser­vat­ive state le­gis­lat­or Tim Neville is on a “listen­ing tour” as he con­siders jump­ing from the state Sen­ate to the U.S. Sen­ate. And his col­league, state Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Mark Schef­fel, is also re­portedly con­sid­er­ing a run. [Pols emphasis]

After months of searching in vain for a candidate, Republicans are suddenly finding that it’s beginning to get a bit crowded in advance of 2016.

CU tops CSU when it comes to responding to pressure from GOP Congressman

(Credit where due – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CSU President Tony Frank.

CSU President Tony Frank.

Reporters should take note of the different responses, one by Colorado State University and the other by two University of Colorado campuses, to Rep. Doug Lamborn’s pressure to halt the acquisition of fetal tissue by two companies–as well as to the GOP Congressman’s demand that all NIH-funded research using fetal tissue be stopped.

Back in July, under pressure from Lamborn, Colorado State University President Tony Frank embarrassed his institution by suspending the purchase of fetal-tissue from two suppliers until vague “congressional investigations are concluded.” Never mind that such investigations rarely have anything to do with guilt or innocence–and everything to do with politics. And no evidence of wrongdoing had been produced.

In Aug., Lamborn turned his attention to the University of Colorado at Denver, demanding information on whether it also uses two fetal-tissue suppliers, StemExpress and Advanced Bioscience Resources, both of which are under attack by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress for obtaining tissue from Planned Parenthood.

In response, the University of Colorado Medical School and the University of Colorado at Denver, in a joint response, stated that they did not obtain fetal tissue from those the two companies.

And if they did, they wouldn’t stop without evidence of wrongdoing. As Richard Traystman, the University of Colorado Medical School’s Director of Research, told me, for an RH Reality Check Post:

“At this moment we’re not [using those companies], but we will if we need to. We do have other sources, as I’ve said, but those are the two major companies that many investigators order from.”

Both CSU and the CU campuses told Lamborn they would not halt NIH funded fetal research. As Traystman put it:

“It’s not acceptable to stop research using cells from fetal tissues. In my letter, I gave examples of where these sorts of fetal cells are used in research on certain diseases. They are very often used in research on diseases of the central nervous system, the brain, the spinal cord, a variety of diseases that involve brain abnormalities and diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, for example. They are also used in research on the heart and cardiac tissue and to create vaccines. I could go on.”

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Sept. 23)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218This off-year election may seem like it’s still far ahead in the future, but consider this: Mail ballots start dropping in less than three weeks. 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).



► It’s Pope time! From the Washington Post:

With the first words that Pope Francis uttered publicly on American soil, he made it clear Wednesday that he does not intend to sidestep the deeply divisive issues that are roiling this country — and indeed, that he plans to fully employ his voice and influence as the spiritual leader of nearly 80 million Roman Catholics in the U.S.

Amid the pageantry of a welcoming ceremony on the White House lawn, the first pope from the Americas introduced himself as “the son of an immigrant family. I am happy to be a guest in this country, which was largely built by such families.”…

…In his brief address at the White House, delivered in English, the pope also congratulated President Obama for “proposing an initiative for reducing air pollution. Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.”

The Popemobile will pull over at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, where Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner.


► The 2016 race for U.S. Senate in Colorado is finally starting to fill up with candidates. As Colorado Pols first reported on Tuesday, Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler will seek the Republican nomination in 2016, with an official announcement likely in early October — or sooner, given the apparent ineptitude of Brauchler flaks.

Meanwhile, a new poll from Clarity Campaign Labs shows incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) with a narrow lead over Brauchler and Republican Robert Blaha. There are several different ways you can look at these results, particularly given the sloppy makeup of the demographics, but in a nutshell, Bennet has an early lead against “generic Republican candidate X” on the ballot.



Get even more smarter after the jump…