Caption This Photo: ¡Los Dos Payasos!

This weekend at an event in downtown Denver, what will surely go down as one of the most memorable images of the 2014 election season in Colorado was recorded for posterity and forwarded to us. The event was the Fiestas Patrias festival in Denver's Civic Center Park, celebrating Mexico's Independence Day. The candidate was GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez.

The unforgettable photo was made possible by Bob's friend Ronald McDonald.

beauprezclowns

Ordinarily, we would say a photo like this should never, ever see the light of day, as long as the politician depicted in said photo retained any desire to ever be elected to political office again.

But folks, this is the politician who allowed himself to be photographed in a black hat next to a horse's ass.

And apparently, eight years of ridicule taught Beauprez no lessons on being more careful with one's image.

So don't feel bad about the captions, gentle reader. He's got them all coming.

Don Suppes Joins Ready, Dr. Chaps, in the “WTF Gang”

UPDATE: Don Suppes appears to understand the problem with his social media posts, though it seems he is still trying to figure out how to deal with this problem. Earlier, we wrote that the Twitter accounts @DonSuppes2014 had been disabled, leaving only @DonSuppes as a Twitter account for the candidate. Well…now things have reversed, for some reason. The @DonSuppes account is inactive, but the @DonSuppes2014 accounts has been re-activated. In retrospect, perhaps Suppes should have just refrained from sharing stories about white supremacists and wild conspiracy theories altogether.

—–

TheWTF-Gang

Tom Ready, Don Suppes, Gordon Klingenschmitt, and Nate Marshall

Republican Don Suppes is running against Democrat Kerry Donovan in SD-5, a huge, meandering Senate district in central Colorado that is one of the most hotly-contested races in 2014.

Suppes is apparently the Mayor of a Western Colorado town called Orchard City, and he likes to say that he is the "most conservative mayor in Colorado." We don't know if that statement contains any truth to it or not, but we won't try to refute it since we've only been aware of the existence of Orchard City for a few hours now. However, we can confidently say that Suppes is not one of the smartest mayors in Colorado, and you'll probably agree after reading this. 

Suppes is the latest Republican candidate to join the group that we'll (not-so-affectionately) call "The WTF Gang" that includes Pueblo County Commissioner candidate Tom Ready; HD-15 Republican nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt; former HD-23 candidate Nate Marshall; and a host of other characters whose public statements are often met with a similar response from average Coloradans: "WTF are they talking about?"

Following on the heels of the recent idiocy perpetrated by Tom Ready comes a video (after the jump) in which it is revealed that Don Suppes has some, well, interesting, views on race and is really concerned about one of our favorite ridiculous conspiracy theories — the United Nations is coming to steal your guns treaty.  

Don Suppes Twitter

The Twitter account above was deleted sometime in the past few days.

Suppes only recently deleted the Twitter account @DonSuppes2014, presumably to try to scrub the Internet tubes of some horrifying links that the Orchard City Mayor thought were worth considering.

Just last May, for example, Suppes Tweeted the comments, "Interesting read," in linking to Suthenboy.com, a white-supremacist website that predicts "The South Shall Rise." 

You know what is really interesting about this, Don? That you would think nothing of sharing information about white supremacists as both a sitting mayor and a candidate for State Senate.

In conservative Tea Party parlance, which Ready and others have used before, "Interesting information" or "worth of discussion" has become the conversational equivalent of saying "No offense" before saying something mean and/or inappropriate to another person. Check out the video after the jump for more of Suppes' "ideas."

 

 

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Ethics Watch Calls Out Coffman’s Frequent Franking

coffmanfrankmilitary

A press release today from Colorado Ethics Watch announces that group's request for an investigation by the U.S. Office of Congressional Ethics of GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, citing what they consider excessively heavy–and excessively political–use of the so-called "franking privilege," or free mailings to constituents that aren't supposed to be related to electioneering.

In Coffman's case, Ethics Watch alleges, the franking has gone well beyond any reasonable level:

Today, Colorado Ethics Watch asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to determine whether Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) abused the Congressional franking privilege, using tax dollars to support his re-election campaign.

Between January 2013 and the present, residents of Colorado’s 6th Congressional District have been receiving unsolicited “Official Mail” from Rep. Coffman, which has cost the taxpayers in excess of $260,000.  Ethics Watch’s request asks the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate evidence that the majority of the unsolicited mass mail is for political rather than official purposes, noting that the timing and increased frequency is likely in response to Rep. Coffman having a challenger for the 6th District, former Speaker of the Colorado House Andrew Romanoff. 

Before the race became competitive, Rep. Coffman used the franking privilege properly to communicate information about services and specific accomplishments as a Member of Congress.  After the race became competitive, Coffman went from being Rep. Coffman to candidate Coffman.  Instead of talking about specifics, the mail turned into campaign pieces meant to persuade the reader.  

“If you compare the pieces of mass mail the Congressman sent before he had a legitimate opponent for CD-6 and after he had a competitive race with the entry of Romanoff, it does not pass the smell test,” said Luis Toro, Director of Ethics Watch.  “Any reader who compares the pieces, as the Congressional Franking Commission should have, can tell when Congressman Coffman changed his tactics."

Coffman's total expenditures on franking communications with his constituents since 2013 appear to be well in excess of the average among members of Congress who send mass mailings at all (only 80% or so do accounting to the Congressional Research Service). But in addition to that, Ethics Watch says the content of Coffman's taxpayer-funded mailings is unacceptably close to Coffman's campaign message materials for re-election.

The fact is, most members of Congress take advantage of the franking privilege. But the combination of Coffman's far heavier use of taxpayer-funded mailings since his district became more competitive in the 2011 redistricting process, with what certainly looks to us to be a straightforward election-season message…well, yes. We could see the Office of Congressional Ethics reasonably taking an interest in this complaint.

Even if they don't, or more likely don't before the electin, it's another bit of evidence of Coffman's deep concerns about survival in a district that no longer fits his brand of beet-red conservative politics. Coffman barely stayed alive in 2012 against a comparatively weak opponent, and even with a major PR offensive with his new constituents, 2014 is looking like the fight of Coffman's political life–with a very good possibility of unemployment in January.

Obviously, if the PR offensive itself becomes a scandal, that won't help.

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Deleted article stubbornly remains in library’s Denver Post digital archive

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I was perusing the Denver Public Library’s Denver Post archive, on NewsBank, and smiled when I saw an article by former Post reporter Kurtis Lee titled, "Coffman shifts on abortion, personhood."

That's the story Denver Post Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett removed from the Post's website hours after it was published April 16.

I clicked on the article, and there it was, complete and unabridged. It noted that "not long ago, Coffman won praise from hard-line pro-life groups for his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape and incest and support of personhood initiatives that effectively would have outlawed abortion in Colorado." And it included Coffman's response when asked to elaborate on why he abandoned his longstanding support for a personhood abortion ban: "There are parts of it that are simply unintended. … I think it's too overbroad and that the voters have spoken."

You recall the short-lived publication of the piece unleashed long-winded criticism from progressives, and, to his credit, Plunkett responded with blog posts of his own, explaining his decision to un-publish the piece and offering Coffman's quotes and other new information in the disappeared article. But Lee's original piece was never re-published on The Post's website or in the newspaper.

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Denver Post For Sale: Anschutz? Polis? Gill? Citizen Kane?

denverpost

Fascinating speculation on the possible fate of the state's newspaper of record The Denver Post, via Aldo Svaldi:

Digital First Media's decision to pursue "strategic alternatives," including a possible sale, could result in The Denver Post, and 13 smaller newspapers in the state, operating under local ownership by early next year, media analysts predict…

Rick Edmonds, an analyst with The Poynter Institute, said wealthy investors have purchased the flagship newspapers in Washington, Boston, Minneapolis and Anchorage, Alaska, under what he calls the "Black Beauty" strategy.

"You might end up with a nice owner who gives you a warm stall," he said. "There are good odds that there might be someone in Denver and San Jose who would have that feeling."

The person most likely to fill that bill in Colorado is Philip Anschutz, whose holdings include The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City and The Gazette in Colorado Springs, predicts Mutter.

If that sends a shiver down your left-leaning spine, you may not be alone:

A bid by Anschutz, known for his conservative views, could potentially trigger a rival offer from millionaires on the other side of the political spectrum.

They include Internet entrepreneur turned Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, and Tim Gill, who made his fortune in software publishing program Quark.

Svaldi reports that wealthy Rep. Jared Polis was "coy" when asked about the possibility of buying the Denver Post. We're not privy to any discussion about this one way or the other, although news of the Post going up for sale was not itself a surprise. It's no secret that the newspaper business has been in decline for many years, and digital revenues haven't replaced the old subscription model enough to keep them profitable. Meanwhile, competition from other media for long-format detailed coverage via online publishing has eaten away at the major newspaper's traditional role as the principal contemporary historical record.

That said, acquisition of institutions like our state's biggest newspaper for any ideological purpose, left or right, could reasonably be considered troubling to those who would like to simply get straight undoctored news. That may be as old a fear as William Randolph Hearst, and partisan Denver Post political news editor Chuck Plunkett may have rendered the question irrelevant for time being anyway–but that doesn't make it sit much better with us. We can say that the Colorado Springs Gazette, a major daily paper in Colorado owned by Anschutz, has a newsroom that in our experience unflinchingly covers bad stories Republicans like Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt. The editorial board of the Gazette is conservative, but so is the market they serve.

One thing's for sure: we can't afford to buy the Post. Perhaps we'll buy a lottery ticket.

Jefferson County Democrats honor Mary Ann and Dennis Larsen with Lifetime Achievment award

The Annual Jefferson County Democratic party of Colorado is having it’s 40th annual Eleanor Roosevelt Dinner. At this Dinner, the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ was given to Mary Ann and Dennis Larson.
I asked them what this meant to them.

Question “Why is this so important to you, why does this inspire you to work for the Democrats?”

Mary Ann Larsen

When we moved here, I can remember the spot where I was, I was driving and I heard that there was some people in Congress who said that
‘No, Women don’t deserve Equal Rights’
and I stopped my car and I said
‘Am I not a human being?’
‘Am I not a citizen of the United States?’

Why do I have to spend my time and my money to fight for something that should just be mine. That was the turning point for me.
I want something better for my daughters, granddaughters and all the other women of the World.

Dennis Larsen

With Regards to Veterans, I’ve always been concerned with how they are treated after they’ve left service.
(I’ve worked on) Getting people that are like minded that want to support candidates that support Veterans issues.

Question
“How has this area changed since you moved here”

Dennis Larsen

When we first moved to this area, (Jefferson County) you could not get elected as a Democrat.

Mary Ann Larsen

There have been a lot of good leaders in the Jeffco Democrats and I want to thank everyone of them and I want to thank all of the politicians.

Dennis Larsen

We really feel privileged that we have been given the honor to represent all of the volunteers that are out there because they’re hard working and they’ve given a lot of their time and even their money to make this a better World.
Because of the honor that has been bestowed upon we give thanks to the Democratic Party of Jefferson County.

Big Line Updates: Udall, Romanoff Growing Lead

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we'll be updating The Big Line on a weekly basis.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado:

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

We don't see either Udall or Gov. John Hickelooper losing in November, but for the first time, we have Udall as a slightly bigger favorite in his respective race. Gardner's campaign has been an absolute mess, and national politicos and reporters are coalescing around the idea that Udall is in the driver's seat now.

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

We have this race tightening a little as Gov. Hickenlooper works his way out of a summer-long campaign funk. For Beauprez, this comes down to a lack of time — too much needs to happen in the next 4-6 weeks for Beauprez to have a realistic shot at knocking off Hickenlooper.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton has not had a good month, but he's still favored to beat Democrat Betsy Markey. Meanwhile, we have the AG and SOS races as toss-ups at this point, primarily because it's difficult to determine whether any of the candidates can do much to control their own destiny; the amount of money pouring into the races for Senate, Governor, and CD-6 will make it nigh impossible for lower-tier statewide candidates to get their message out.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior of late. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff has nudged ahead as Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

Boyles says “illegals” bring “bed bugs” and “weird” disease to America

(The always classy Peter Boyles – promoted by Colorado Pols)

KNUS talk-show host Peter Boyles continues to find new ways to bottom feed on KNUS 710-AM in the mornings, saying Thursday that "illegals" are bringing weird "respiratory diseases" and "bed bugs" into America.

Boyles: I am not convinced this weird disease that’s hitting the little kids across the country. There’s stuff that hasn’t been—like bed bugs. That stuff hasn’t been in this country. Bed bugs are back. This disease. Respiratory diseases. And it’s coming in with the illegals. Of course it is.

Caller: And our kids are not used to that—

Boyles: Of course they’re not—

Caller: Because they haven’t grown up with those viruses. And their bodies haven’t had the chance to react.

Boyles: It’s like introducing alcohol to the Native Americans. They didn’t have it. It killed them. Bob, I love your call. This is insanity. It’s absolute insanity.

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Wash Post: Dems Feel Good About Senate Races in IA, MI, and…Colorado

No really, trust me, says Cory Gardner

Personhood bill? Hey, look over there!

From our friends at "The Fix" comes an interesting new look at the Senate races around the country:

And so, before we ranked the twelve most competitive races in the fight for the Senate majority this fall, we chatted — via email — with a half dozen strategists in both parties to get their sense of which races are moving where. With a few exceptions, their impressions jibed — private polling rarely lies — and suggested that Republicans should feel good but not great about their chances of picking up the six seats they need to retake Senate control in November.

In pursuit of clarity, we've broken down their thoughts into three categories: 1) Races where Democrats feel good/Republicans don't 2) Races where Republicans feel good/Democrat's don't 3) Races where opinion is mixed.

In this reorganization of competitive Senate races, Colorado joins Iowa and Michigan as states where "Democrats feel good/Republicans don't" when it comes to November. Here's what "The Fix" says about Colorado specifically — which mirrors something we've been saying a lot lately:

10. Colorado (Democratic-controlled): Rep. Cory Gardner (R) is a talented politician. Unfortunately for him, some of the votes and positions – particularly on personhood – during his time in the House are being effectively used by Democrats as a cudgel against him with suburban Denver women. Those women, of course, also represent the swing constituency that a Republican must make inroads with to have a chance of winning statewide. (Previous ranking: 10)

Yes, Personhood is absolutely destroying Rep. Cory Gardner's campaign — and he has nobody to blame but himself. When Gardner tried to reverse his position on Personhood back in March, he did so with the hope that he could get this prickly issue out of the way to focus on other narratives. Not only did that experiment fail miserably, but Gardner has been chasing his tail trying to explain himself ever since. Things have gotten so bad that Gardner has been reduced to just flat-out lying about his co-sponsorship of a federal Personhood bill, telling 9News' Brandon Rittiman that "there is no federal Personhood bill." What is so fascinating here is Gardner's brazenness in insisting that the bill doesn't exist — even though it takes all of about 15 seconds to find it with a simple Google search; it takes some serious chutzpah to try to sell that shit sandwich (to a reporter, no less).

Some six months after Gardner tried to scrub himself of Personhood responsibility, the issue has become such a weight on his campaign that national reporters have picked up on the problem. So, that didn't work so well.

SurveyUSA/Denver Post: Hickenlooper 45%, Beauprez 43%

Bob Beauprez would like for you to just take a nap for a few months.

Bob Beauprez would like for you to just take a nap for a few months.

This morning the Denver Post released results from polling partner SurveyUSA on the U.S. Senate race, and this afternoon they released information about their poll of the Governor contest. As reporter Jon Murray explains for the Post:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's race against Republican Bob Beauprez was too close to call in a new Denver Post poll in which voters indicated they were still getting familiar with the challenger.

Forty-five percent supported Hickenlooper and 43 percent supported Beauprez among likely voters polled this week by SurveyUSA. The result is within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percent.

We'll admit that it is a bit surprising to see Republican Bob Beauprez polling so close to Gov. John Hickenlooper. When Beauprez last ran for Governor in 2006, polling at this point in the race showed that he was already trailing Democrat Bill Ritter by double-digits in a race he went on to lose by a staggering 17-point margin. Beauprez isn't yet in the same kind of trouble in 2014, but when you dig a little deeper into the poll results, the upside isn't as bright for Both Ways Bob. Again, from the Post

Beauprez's figures had a positive spread: 38 percent favorable to 34 percent unfavorable.

But 28 percent said they needed to know more about Beauprez, a former congressman who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, to form an opinion. Only 7 percent had no opinion about Hickenlooper.

Beauprez is polling so close to Hickenlooper largely because of the Governor's own summer of self-inflicted political wounds. Beauprez has a 34% unfavorable rating — and 28% of voters still say they don't know enough about him to form an opinion — which makes it clear that this is all about Hickenlooper's (un)popularity at this point. Poll respondents aren't saying, "We want Beauprez" as much as they are declaring "We're not real happy with Hickenlooper." This is a significant difference, which is summed up well by one telling quote from a poll respondent:

"He doesn't have a very strong backing from me, other than he's done a pretty good job in creating jobs for Colorado," said Chris Delaney, 29, a Denver resident who told SurveyUSA he planned to vote for Hickenlooper despite disapproving of his performance [Pols emphasis]. "But that's not the only thing a governor's supposed to do. He just doesn't seem to represent my views and things that are important to me."

Plenty of voters may disapprove of Hickenlooper's performance as Governor, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they want to replace him with Beauprez. And that's where things remain difficult for Beauprez; he can't control his own destiny. Beauprez needs Hickenlooper to lose voter support before he can win the race for himself, and there just isn't enough time for both things to happen.

The amount of negative information floating around about Beauprez is, in a word, staggering. Keep that in mind as we go back to that 28% of poll respondents who say they don't know enough about Beauprez — it's unlikely that uninformed voters are going to be attracted to Beauprez as they learn more about him.

If that 28% remains uninformed — and a barrage of pro-Hickenlooper TV ads don't change the Governor's numbers — then Beauprez has a chance in November. Barring a two-month power outage in Colorado, we don't see how that can happen.

 

SurveyUSA/Denver Post: Udall 46%, Gardner 42%

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

New polling out today from SurveyUSA conducted for the Denver Post shows incumbent Sen. Mark Udall with a steady four-point lead over GOP challenger Cory Gardner. Lynn Bartels reports:

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall leads Republican challenger Cory Gardner by 4 percentage points in a new Denver Post poll that shows the Democratic incumbent is ahead among unaffiliated and female voters…

The race "could go either way" at this point, according to SurveyUSA, which conducted the poll this week for The Post. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

Udall received 46 percent support to Gardner's 42 percent in their high-stakes, high-dollar race that could determine which party controls the U.S. Senate after the Nov. 4 election.

The polling memo isn't available either at the Denver Post or SurveyUSA yet, but we'll provide a link once we see it. Udall's principal strength in this poll is no surprise, reports the Post, leading with women voters by some 13 points over Gardner. The poll indicates a much smaller lead for Udall among Hispanic voters, only showing him up by two points–a number we suspect is lowballed in Gardner's favor, or at least will be once the dust settles from President Barack Obama's recent announcement that no executive action on immigration would occur before the election. We tend to agree with analysis that suggests Obama's announcement, while upsetting to Hispanic voters, isn't enough to drive them into the arms of the GOP.

Bottom line: while nobody should get comfortable, this poll underscores a reassuring trend for Democrats in this marquee race.

We're headed down the stretch, and Mark Udall is holding his own.

Chick-fil-A cuts Colorado Woman’s hours and pay and demotes her after cancer surgery

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Good Christians who run Chick-fil-A couldn't have done any better?

 A Colorado breast cancer survivor said Chick-fil-A is cutting her insurance and demoting her just after she took leave for a double mastectomy.

To Daphne Richards, a newly-divorced mother with two children to support, Chick-fil-A's family-friendly values and healthcare coverage seemed like a perfect fit.

"I lived in Indiana my entire life, and I relocated for this job," said Richards. "I could move up the ladder, and the owner told me 'Maybe someday, you could own your own store."

She started late last year as shift manager at the Larkridge Chick-fil-A in Thornton. But in May, Richards got the diagnosis.

"I had double breast cancer in both breasts," she said. She would need a bilateral mastectomy and weeks to recover.

"For this company, when tragedy struck, they stepped up," said Frederick Schaefer, the attorney for Chick-fil-A at Larkridge. "Even though she didn't qualify for continuing benefits during her work hiatus under the Family Medical Leave Act, the store continued to pay for her health insurance coverage during her medical leave."

Just after she was cleared by her doctor to come back to work last week, though, she said the store owner delivered a shocking blow.

"She said,'I no longer have a full-time management position for you, and you will no longer be receiving healthcare benefits after September,'" said Richards. "She said something about reconstructing or reconfiguring the business."

Disgusting.

And just another example that those who profess to have some kind of higher purpose and better ideology can be as greedy and uncaring as the most bloodthirsty vulture capitalist. Granted, this may be a franchisee, but individual managers and franchise owners can not, and should not, be exempt from the corporation who truly owns the business model.

 

Personhood ties run deep in Jeffco GOP campaigns

(Dance with the ones that bring ya – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Laura Waters Woods

Laura Waters Woods

I wrote last week about how senatorial candidate Cory Gardner’s support for Colorado's personhood abortion ban was part of his formula for winning the 2010 Republican caucus process, which was a big step to his being elected to Congress.

If you look at the State Senate races in Jeffco today, you see that the influence of key personhood backers persists, meaning that Gardner would likely face the same pressure to embrace personhood positions today as he did then. Gardner, of course, did not run in Jeffoco, but similar dynamics play out statewide.

The latest campaign finance reports reveal that Jeffco Republican candidates Tim Neville (SD-16), Laura Woods (SD-19), and Tony Sanchez (SD-22) all have notorious GOP strategic consultant Jon Hotaling on the payroll via his company, "Liberty Service Corporation.” Liberty Service Corporation was Sanchez's largest expenditure ($1,750) during the latest campaign-finance-reporting period and the second largest for Woods ($1,000) and Neville ($1,000).

Hotaling’s firm has worked over the years for Rep. Janak Joshi, gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, and other personhood supporters, most notably for Colorado For Equal Rights, which ran the pro-personhood campaign, fronted by Kristi Burton, in 2008, according to campaign-finance reports. In 2008, Hotaling collected about $12,000 from Colorado For Equal Rights.

Tony Sanchez.

Tony Sanchez.

​So a major consultant for Personhood is deeply integrated into the campaigns of the three Republican senate candidates in Jeffco. Neville, Sanchez, and Woods all support personhood, as defined by Colorado Right to Life, based on their responses to its candidate survey this year.

Using what Republicans themselves called unethical tactics, Woods and Sanchez hammered their Republican primary opponents on the abortion issue during their primary campaigns against Lang Sais and Mario Nicolais.

In one flyer produced by "Colorado for Family Values," Nicolais was pictured next to Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia doctor convicted of murdering babies. The caption read: “Kermit Gosnell and his ‘House of Horrors’ abortion mill operated in secrecy for 17 years before his murderous crimes became infamous. Ask Mario why he won’t publicly defend the unborn? Call Mario…”

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Truthers, Lies, and Clear Choices: Commissioner and Clerk Debates in Pueblo

UPDATE: The story of how Sal Pace outed Tom Ready as a conspiracy nut, who believes that the Sandy Hook school shootings never happened, has gone national, but you saw it here first. Here is a link to video I took of Pace and Ready's remarks, with apologies for the poor quality.

The professional-quality video will be aired by Comcast Channel 19 Community Access TV according to this schedule, starting September 22. If you were smart enough to have thought of recording it, you've got it. But you won't have the priceless audience reactions.

The Commissioner debate began at 6:00 pm.

Steve Henson of Chieftain, moderator, says that there will be no questions from the audience. Only those previously submitted by readers of the Chieftain or Action22 will be asked of the candidates.

No heckling. It is not a rule he enforces against the Ready and Head supporters, who boo, catcall, etc. , pretty much unchallenged, as you will hear and see from the video.

The County Commissioner debate, between incumbent Commisioner Sal Pace, and Republican challenger Tom Ready,  was a very wonky and respectful debate, discussing tax policy, land use, water regulations, jobs and economic development. Sal Pace gave himself some well-deserved props for progress on the Southwest Chief proposal, and a new arts initiative in Pueblo. Ready declined to go after Sal Pace about Pueblo's current County Commissioner email "scandal", for which one Commissioner was fired. This reticence on Ready's part surprised me – but Sal Pace had nothing to do with the emails, so perhaps that explains it.

It was all good – up until the point when Tom went off the rails. He started off by accusing Sal Pace of personally raising utility rates on Pueblo Customers. Sal Pace was a party to the unfortunate agreement that ensconced Black Hills Energy as the town's monopoly customer-gouger, but didn't actually personally throw the switch.  Then Tom went into why coal is cleaner than natural gas, and it kind of went south from there. Sal, appropriately, responded that if Tom wanted to get negative, how about those Facebook posts about how Newtown shootings were a hoax?

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Cosmo Endorses Mark Udall, Thanks to Personhood

Cory Gardner's Personhood twist

Cory Gardner does the Personhood Pretzel.

"Cosmopolitan" magazine on Tuesday announced that the magazine is endorsing Democratic Sen. Mark Udall for re-election to the U.S. Senate instead of Republican challenger Cory Gardner. The editors of Cosmo write that "Colorado's Senate race is crucial for women's health:"

One of the most important races for women's rights is happening in Colorado this year, between Senate incumbent Mark Udall and challenger Rep. Cory Gardner. Colorado is ground zero for anti-choice "personhood" laws, which seek to define fertilized eggs only a few cells large as people with rights equal to, and sometimes greater than, those of actual, born people. The laws wouldn't just outlaw abortion, but many forms of birth control and fertility treatments as well. While personhood initiatives have failed twice in Colorado and Gardner claims his views have changed, his name still appears on a proposed federal personhood law, [Pols emphasis] and even the president of Personhood USA says Gardner is just "playing politics" in this election, because he has "built his entire political career on support of personhood."…

…Mark Udall is a leader who stands up for Coloradans' rights and their health, not a reactionary who puts the rights of a fertilized egg over the rights of women. We are proud to endorse his candidacy.

This is the second time in two months that we have written about "Cosmopolitan" magazine and Colorado's Senate race. Critics can try to dismiss "Cosmopolitan's" endorsement and the effect it might have on the outcome of the race in November, but it's a stupid argument to attempt; Udall and his supporters will make sure that women see this endorsement, and in a state where female voters are critical, getting the approval of one of America's most iconic women's magazines is a big help indeed.

But here's the bigger point about this endorsement: Gardner's Personhood flip-flop is a mistake from which his campaign may never recover. One of the first major moves that Gardner made in his Senate campaign — which helped him earn the nickname "Con Man Cory" — was to publicly attempt to change his position on the Personhood issue. We thought this flip-flop was a terrible decision when Gardner made the move back in March, and as we sit here in mid-September, it is clear that he's never going to be able to get this particular albatross from around his neck. In fact, Gardner's own maneuvers on Personhood have done more to keep the issue at the top of voters' minds than anything Udall could have done himself. By flip-flopping on Personhood, Gardner made this into a bigger issue than it would have been.

If Gardner was never going to drop his name from a federal Personhood bill — of which he is a co-sponsor — then he should have just maintained his long-held support for the idea. It has not been lost on the media that Gardner remains a co-sponsor of the federal Personhood bill, even as he has made one ludicrous attempt after another to change the subject or to flat-out lie about it altogether. Gardner tried, for awhile, to claim that Colorado's Personhood ballot measures were different than the federal Personhood bill that carries his name, and when that didn't work, he changed tactics to just outright lying through his teeth. Witness 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman, who is not amused by Gardner's ridiculous claim last week that "there is no federal Personhood bill," or the Washington Post's Jaime Fuller, who wrote that Gardner "doesn't support his former self on this issue, either."

Over the course of his Senate campaign, the only thing that Gardner has truly shed in trying to ditch Personhood is his credibility — and that's a tough thing to get back once it's gone. After all, it's hard to support a candidate who doesn't support himself.