Celebrity state house candidate won’t say whether he’ll vote for Trump

(Don’t ask “questions” about “issues,” I’m a reality TV star! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

Donald Trump, Ben Higgins.

What does it take to score national media coverage even before you decide to run for a northwest Denver state house seat? Try being the star of ABC’s hit show, “The Bachelor.”

Bachelor star Ben Higgins has been stacking up the news coverage for his decision to run, as a Republican, for Colorado House District 4, which is an incredibly progressive northwest Denver district. I should know; I live there. Voters in HD 4 sent Democrat Dan Pabon into office with a 78 to 22 percent margin in 2014, and it’s hard to imagine his DUI arrest would turn voters to any Republican.

So how is Higgins possibly going to win in HD4? Is Higgins going to be some kind of anti-Republican Republican?

News coverage of the race didn’t illuminate his specific policy positions. So I called him with questions, and he had time to answer four on my list, leaving 21 queries for later, I hope.

This week, the biggest question for Republicans like Higgins is, will they vote for their party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump?

“How everybody votes is up to them,” said Higgins, declining to answer my question of whether he’d vote for Trump.

It’s a “good thing” that Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is from Indiana, said Higgins, who’s also from Indiana, but he doesn’t know enough about Pence, a right-wing conservative, to comment on him.

Higgins would not say whether he’s pro-choice.

“My goal as a representative will be to listen to people’s stories,” said Higgins. “We can get in the weeds and the gray areas all the time. When it comes to any social issue, my decisions we be based on my foundation, which is my faith, and I will listen to people’s stories.”

Colorado Statesman referred to Higgins’ Christian faith, but Higgins has not detailed how it would play into the mix in his policy decisions.  From the Statesman:

While producers didn’t emphasize it on the show’s 20th season, fans have flocked to Higgins in part because of his strong Christian faith, demonstrated by a prominent tattoo that has been visible in his shirtless appearances on the show and on social media. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed — Proverbs 16:34,” the tattoo reads. (It should read “Proverbs 16:3,” Higgins acknowledges, but the tattoo artist mistakenly added a “4.”)

The business analyst from Warsaw, Indiana, was considered “such a catch” that contestants competed for his affection more intensely than in any previous season, The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss told E! News in January.

Asked about gay marriage, Higgins said, “I am about everything that makes people happy. I believe love is love.”

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Chaos in Cleveland as Another Anti-Trump Effort Squelched

UPDATE (5:14 pm): It sounds like Colorado’s delegation is far from finished with creating a ruckus in Cleveland:

—–

UPDATE (4:45 pm): This was most assuredly not how Republicans were hoping to kick things off on Day 1 of the GOP Convention. From “The Fix”:

For Republicans desperately hoping that unity would be the word of the day and the week here in Cleveland, however, the damage was done. The images of unhappy Republicans shouting for a chance to show their dissatisfaction with Trump and then walking out makes for just the sort of images out of this week that Republicans were hoping to avoid.

It showed, powerfully and with the eyes of the national media watching, that the idea that the GOP was rapidly uniting behind Trump is a pipe dream. And that divisions — real and serious ones — remain, no matter the rhetorical attempts to paper them over.

—–

—–

UPDATE (2:42 pm): More details from Politico on the circus in Cleveland:

Critics of Donald Trump had attempted to force the vote and submitted the signatures they believed were necessary to do so, but after holding a voice vote on the rules, Rep. Steve Womack declared the rules approved and moved on.

Womack left the stage amid an uproar, only to return to the stage moments later for a second voice vote. He again declared that the ‘ayes’ had won, again to protests from the crowd.

Forcing a roll call vote requires support from the majorities of seven delegations. Anti-Trump delegates submitted what they said were a majority of signatures from at least 9: Colorado, Washington state, Utah, Minnesota, Wyoming, Maine, Iowa, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The also claimed that Alaska had provided signatures as well.

But Womack, after the second voice vote, said on stage that three states had withdrawn from the roll call effort, leaving it short of the support needed.

—–

Lots of breaking news in Cleveland at the moment. As the Los Angeles Times reports:

Multiple state delegations walked off the floor after the rules were passed twice by voice vote and anti-Trump delegates protested on the floor.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (July 18)

Get More SmarterIt could be worse: You could be in Cleveland right now. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Republican National Convention (RNC) is underway in Cleveland, and two Colorado politicos have speaking roles today. Jefferson County Commissioner Libby Szabo is scheduled to speak this afternoon, and Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn takes the mic this evening. John Frank of the Denver Post has more on Glenn’s moment in the national spotlight tonight:

The speech — scheduled at 7:30 p.m. (Mountain Time) and lasting about four minutes — is the biggest moment in Glenn’s political career. The 13-year local elected official in Colorado Springs emerged from obscurity to win a slot on the Republican primary ballot with a rousing speech at the state GOP convention in April, then topped a five-candidate field to secure the party’s nomination in June.

His prime-time moment gives Glenn a chance to introduce himself to party activists and major GOP donors he will need to buoy his campaign in Colorado, where many voters don’t know his name.

Tonight’s comments should be an interesting moment for Glenn, whose stump speeches thus far in Colorado have focused on his belief that compromise is stupid and his general dislike of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

 

► Despite months of hints and threats to the contrary, the #DumpTrump movement — which had some roots in Colorado — failed to get off the ground before the RNC festivities could even begin. The Denver Post provides a handy guide to the Cleveland circus, and as Politico reports, Republican insiders are looking forward to the RNC like you might be excited for flu season:

Forget about the balloons, the expressions of party unity and the quadrennial celebration of partisan pride. GOP insiders are dreading the Republican convention in Cleveland this week.

That’s according to The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 key battleground states. Nearly two-thirds of Republican insiders, 65 percent, said they are less excited about this year’s convention — which a number of top Republicans are avoiding — than previous editions.

 

► The on-again, off-again rumors about Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper potentially becoming a running mate for Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are officially on…again.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Adams County Republican Chair’s “Punk Ass Bitches”

(Stay classy! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Adams County GOP vice-chair John Sampson.

Adams County GOP vice-chair John Sampson.

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Adams County Republican chair John Sampson called Black Lives Matter “Punk Ass Bitches,” but in an interview the next day, he said he was only referring to those “who assault us, who burn, who loot, or who destroy property, because they’re having a temper tantrum.”

I called Sampson after reading his Facebook post, which stated:

To Black Lives Matter, I say this. ALL lives matter. But then again, you should already know this. Somehow you feel as if anyone of color should be held in a higher regard than those who are “not of color”.

That somehow, Black Lives Matter MORE than any WHITE or ASIAN person’s life. Say what??? And that’s the one word missing from your group’s name. It should be, given your agenda, “Black Lives Matter More”. More than “whitey”. More than “Asians”. More than Society as a whole. You’ll understand when I say you are, to use the current vernacular, “Punk Ass Bitches…”

To the “Punk Ass Bitches”, you will not destroy us. You WILL, however, destroy yourselves. with a little help from the rest of us. You are either WITH us, or AGAINST us.

But Sampson said emphatically that he did not mean to disparage all Black Lives Matter protesters, whose right to protest he respects.

“The punk-ass bitches are the ones demanding that we destroy society without having any idea of how to resolve the problem and what to replace it with,” he said. “They are out there simply to destroy it, simply for the sake of destroying it. Those are the punk-ass bitches.”

Last month, Sampson, who believes Obama uses the Social Security number issued to a now dead Connecticut man in 1977, posted anti-Islamic bigotry for the sake discussion, he said.

Adams County is widely regarded as a critical battleground in November’s election.

Nancy Doty Says Palin’s Speech was “Just Spot On”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin.

Colorado state senate candidate Nancy Doty praised Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech in Colorado last week, calling it “just spot on” and “very, very good.”

Doty made the comments to KNUS 710-AM’s Julie Hayden, who bumped into Doty at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver July 2.

“I thought Sarah Palin was right on, just spot on!” Doty told Hayden when asked for her “thoughts” on the speeches. “She was very, very good – brought a clear message that people need to get on board.  And I really enjoyed hearing [Donald] Trump.”

Given that she’s a reporter for Fox 31 Denver, Hayden knows that people want more details about Doty’s assessment of Palin. “Spot on” is exuberant and laudatory, but what really stood out for Doty, beyond the message to get on the Trump train? And what did Doty “really” enjoy about hearing Trump?

Doty, who’s an Arapahoe County Commissioner running against Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan to represent Colorado Senate District 26, didn’t return a call to explain, so I’m forced to speculate.

Palin’s speech amounted to a semi-understandable endorsement of Trump. So it’s not surprising that Doty, who’s said she’ll back Trump, would like it.

But Palin went beyond expressing support for Trump. She raved about him.

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Trump Supporter Who Poisoned Groundwater Places Trump Billboards on I76

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The plains roll on for hundreds of miles  under blank blue skies near Roggen, Colorado. Sage, scrub grass, fracking tanks, and a few cattle dot the vast landscape.  Roggen itself is a ghost of its former prosperity – the town consists of a grain elevator, a telephone co-op,  two churches, a convenience store, and a post office.

Yet, Roggen boasts two new roadside attractions: gigantic “Trump for President” billboards facing west and east, placed to catch the eyes of all travelers along I76.

Trump billboard on Cervi’s land near Roggen, CO

I wanted to find out who felt strongly enough about Mr. Trump’s candidacy to build, paint, and place these monumental political advertisements in this desolate area. I investigated, and found a family saga rooted in the heyday of Colorado political journalism, in the gas and oil boom years, including rodeo circuit stardom and family tragedy, and the criminal indictment and sentencing of the landowner, Mr. Mike Cervi, for violating the Safe Water Act by injecting petroleum wastes into the High Plains / Ogalalla Aquifer from 2001 – 2002.

Cervi’s Journal – the founding Cervi business

Eugene Cervi produced and edited Cervi’s Rocky Mountain Business Journal in Denver from 1954 until his death in 1970.   Cervi’s Journal later became the Denver Business Journal. “Gene” and his daughter, editor Cle Symons Cervi, were both inducted into the Denver Press Club Hall of Fame.   Gene Cervi was twice Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, although he was critical of JFK. Later in his career, the “Journal” became more conservative and more pro-business in viewpoint.

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Colorado GOP Chair Praises Trump’s “Nationalist” Campaign

The United States is in a dark place at the moment: Rising gun violence. Mass shootings. Astonishingly vivid deaths of minorities at the hands of law enforcement officers. Targeted killings of police officers in Dallas.

At the same time, we are in the midst of a Presidential campaign with a presumptive Republican nominee in Donald Trump who is often accused of being blatantly racist and appears, at best, to be almost indifferent to the racial and class tensions that are straining virtually every community in America.

“Donald Trump is running a Nationalist campaign.”

— Steve House

As the Republican National Convention in Cleveland approaches next week, there remain vocal dissenters within the Party who are still trying to prevent Trump from claiming the GOP Presidential nomination. Colorado delegates such as Kendal Unruh are feverishly trying to figure out a way to stop Trump; at the same time, an increasing number of Republican establishment figures are lining up in support of Trump and actually praising the divisive, racially-tinged rhetoric spewing from their Great Orange Hope.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

On Wednesday, Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House spoke with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio from the RNC convention site in Cleveland, and his comments were, frankly, stunning. House was effusive in his praise of a Presidential campaign that he repeatedly called “Nationalist.” You can listen to House’s comments in the links below, but here’s the transcription (all emphasis per Colorado Pols):

STEVE HOUSE: One of the things that he’s doing that I think a lot of Republicans haven’t completely grasped yet – including Kendal [Unruh] and her conversation about Party platform…

Donald Trump is running a Nationalist campaign. He’s not running a campaign based on ideology. 

A Nationalist campaign starts with, “How do you restore pride in America?” And what do you do about peace through strength and military, and how do you create prosperity? Those things don’t necessarily, talking-points wise, align with what you would describe as a specific ideology, then I think there’s some confusion about that.

When people get confused and say, hey, you know, he’s not talking about limited government. He’s not talking about things that we normally talk about in the Party. The reason why is that he is running a Nationalist campaign. And I think that works for a guy like Donald Trump.

 

RYAN WARNER: You say “Nationalist.” Some might say “racist.” How do you respond? 

 

STEVE HOUSE: Well, I haven’t seen anything that I would categorize specifically as racist. People bring up the issue of, you know, banning Muslims. I mean, I’ve talked to Donald Trump and I’ve talked to his team about this. What he’s really trying to tell us – and he’ll continue to detail it – is, as President, he would be responsible for our property rights. For our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness and our protection of those rights.

And I think what you have to do…when you let people immigrate into the country, you’ve got to know, what’s their background, what’s their intention, what are they capable of? Because in those three questions, you’re going to determine who should come – because we need workforce enhancements continuously in this country – and you also should determine who is not coming. And I think if he was a little bit inarticulate about how he said it up front, so be it. But I think his intention is, how do I protect you and your property rights and your right to life? And that’s what he’s all about. He’s not about racism.

Now, let’s be VERY clear about what we’re talking about here regarding “Nationalism.” The definition of the word “Nationalism” relates to a feeling of national pride and exceptionalism, but also:

“a desire by a large group of people (such as people who share the same culture, history, language, etc.) to form a separate and independent nation of their own.”

There is another, more sinister side to the idea of “Nationalism,” however, and it’s difficult to separate the racial undertones of Trump’s Presidential campaign with the form of “Nationalism” that was a driving ideal behind the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany.

Take a look at what Nicholas Confessore wrote in The New York Times on Tuesday, under the headline For Whites Sensing Decline, Donald Trump Unleashes Words of Resistance:

In countless collisions of color and creed, Donald J. Trump’s name evokes an easily understood message of racial hostility. Defying modern conventions of political civility and language, Mr. Trump has breached the boundaries that have long constrained Americans’ public discussion of race.

Mr. Trump has attacked Mexicans as criminals. He has called for a ban on Muslim immigrants. He has wondered aloud why the United States is not “letting people in from Europe.”

His rallies vibrate with grievances that might otherwise be expressed in private: about “political correctness,” about the ranch house down the street overcrowded with day laborers, and about who is really to blame for the death of a black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. In a country where the wealthiest and most influential citizens are still mostly white, Mr. Trump is voicing the bewilderment and anger of whites who do not feel at all powerful or privileged.

But in doing so, Mr. Trump has also opened the door to assertions of white identity and resentment in a way not seen so broadly in American culture in over half a century, according to those who track patterns of racial tension and antagonism in American life.

Now, let’s go back to more of what Steve House said on Wednesday. House had just finished talking about the aftermath of the Colorado State Republican Convention in April — during which Texas Sen. Ted Cruz swept the delegate field and shut out Trump completely — and was sharing anecdotes of receiving “5,000 phone calls” and several death threats from Trump supporters:

RYAN WARNER: You don’t see that as reflective of the kinds of folks who support Trump?

STEVE HOUSE: I do not. There’s a mix of people out there who are very, very angry about the status of America right now. They’re tired of 7 and a half years of a guy [Obama] apologizing for who we are. And I think that’s ridiculous. We should be proud of what we do for the world and for ourselves, and I think there’s a group of people that are just dissatisfied with low wages and health care costs…they’re very, very angry, and sometimes they take that anger out in ways that is a little bit [sic] abrupt and unexpected, but in general I think you’re going to see the mainstream Republican Party support Trump very well.

Go ahead and try to hide your comments behind some sort of make-believe shield of anti-political correctness if you’d like, but there’s really no way around the racial undertones in what Steve House is saying about Donald Trump and his campaign for President. This is the CHAIRMAN OF THE COLORADO REPUBLICAN PARTY explicitly endorsing a racially-tinged definition of “Nationalism” as a political campaign strategy for his Party’s presumptive Presidential nominee.

For Steve House and supporters of Donald Trump who embrace these ideas, there are only two explanations: Ignorance or Acceptance. Either House truly doesn’t understand what he’s saying in espousing a strategy of “Nationalism” — which is terrifying enough in itself — or the State GOP Chair is completely supportive of this movement. 

 

[Listen to the audio clips of the Steve House interview after the jump]…

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Gail Schwartz Raising Big Money in CD-3 Challenge

Gail Schwartz

Gail Schwartz

This just in…according to a press release from the Congressional campaign of former state Senator Gail Schwartz:

Gail Schwartz, candidate for Congress in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, continued to demonstrate the strength and momentum of her campaign by raising a very impressive $622,960.02 in contributions. As a testament to the efficiency of her grassroots campaign, Schwartz for Congress has $549,421.46 cash-on-hand. Notably, Colorado residents accounted for roughly 70 percent of the individual contributions in the most recent report…

…Fundraising is not the only area in which Schwartz is demonstrating strength. She has received a number of key endorsements, including the League of Conservation Voters, EMILY’s List, Colorado AFL-CIO, Colorado Women’s Leadership Circles of Influence, Blue Dog PAC, and the Sierra Club. She is well known in southern and western Colorado, since she has already represented the counties of the 3rd Congressional District as an elected University of Colorado Regent, and went on to represent 12 of the 3rd Congressional District counties as the State Senator from Senate District 5. And as a tireless campaigner, she will be on the road until Election Day to meet as many residents of the District as possible.

If incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) wasn’t sweating Schwartz’s campaign already, he certainly is now. Since jumping into the race for CD-3 in April, Schwartz has quickly racked up high-profile endorsements and big checks in her bid to unseat Tipton. Schwartz has been mentioned in prior years as a potential challenger in CD-3, and as we’ve said before in this space, she is a savvy candidate with deep money connections who would not have finally entered the race without some strong indications that she could win.

Support for Schwartz’s campaign ramped up quickly, and she should only continue to gain more momentum after such a tremendous fundraising quarter.

Coffman Votes to Restrict Abortion Access, Women’s Health Care

(Of course he did — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman's 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood's logo.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) joined House Republicans yesterday in approving a bill that would give federal cover to anyone who refuses to give, provide, or even facilitiate medical care.

Among other things, the bill would provide legal protection for Catholic hospitals not to peform abortions.  These and other medical services are forbidden by directives promulgated by the Catholic Church and are not offered at such hospitals.

A NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado news release stated:

The bill would give federal permission to any health-care company or individual that wants to refuse to cover or even “facilitate” medical care. It would even allow an administrative assistant to refuse to schedule you for an appointment if he disagreed with your choice to have an abortion…

Mike Coffman thinks health care providers should be allowed to refuse to provide reproductive health care to women in Colorado. That’s just wrong. Colorado needs someone who respects women, not insults them with what he says and does.

A news release from the Family Research Council, an anti-choice organization, states:

“Only one day after the Republican Party’s platform committee adopted a plank protecting conscience rights, the House of Representatives stepped in to do the same. I applaud the House for voting to codify longstanding federal conscience protections, and to give pro-life victims of government discrimination the right to sue in court. No person, organization or healthcare provider should ever be forced by the government to participate in the abhorrent act of abortion.

In Colorado, a Catholic hospital refused in March to allow a doctor to perform a tubal ligation, a sterilization procedure that runs counter to Catholic directives, after a C-section. The patient was told she’d have to go to a different hospital, and she elected not to have the tubal ligation.

Gardner Eyes NRSC Title (Co-Title?) in 2018

I'll take the easier route for $200, Alex.

I’ll take the easier route for $200, Alex.

Timing can be everything in politics, and few Colorado elected officials understand that better than Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Gardner was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014 for a number of reasons — foremost the fact that he ran a strong campaign while incumbent Sen. Mark Udall did not — but also because he picked the right year to make the leap from the House of Representatives. His political timing has always been impeccable, whether cruising into his prior Congressional seat in the Tea Party wave year of 2010 or getting his start in the state legislature by way of a Republican vacancy committee.

Gardner is not a risk-taker, politically-speaking, which is why this news from Politico about the 2018 Senate cycle makes perfect sense:

Sens. Thom Tillis of North Carolina and Cory Gardner of Colorado are floating a novel idea: Sharing the job of leading the Senate GOP’s campaign arm.

The freshmen lawmakers are gauging support for a proposal to become co-chairmen of the National Republican Senatorial Committee for the 2018 election cycle, a prime opportunity for the GOP to pick up seats or recapture the Senate if they lose it this year. [Pols emphasis] Democrats will be defending 25 seats vs. just eight for the GOP, and Tillis and Gardner are aggressively pursuing a leadership role at the organization to capitalize on the opportunity.

It is certainly true that 2018, a non-Presidential election year, appears to be a better cycle to be heading up campaign operations for Senate Republicans. Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker won the job in 2016 with a close insider-election over Nevada Sen. Dean Heller; considering the fractured nature of the Republican Party and its less-than-ideal Presidential nominee (Donald Trump), Wicker probably wishes he had a do-over.

Should Democrats re-take control of the U.S. Senate this year, Gardner (and Tillis) would be well-positioned to emerge as heroes if they are able to wrestle back the Senate in 2018. And by serving as “co-chairs” of the NRSC, both could avoid the brunt of the blame in case things don’t turn out so well for the GOP. Either scenario helps Gardner prepare his own fundraising efforts in advance of his 2020 re-election bid.

There’s another good reason for the NRSC to go with a “co-chair” lineup in 2018: Gardner may be good at managing his own political career, but he really sucks at identifying other strong candidates to support.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 13)

MoreSmarterLogo-SunscreenJulius Caesar may or may not have been born on this day a long time ago; we’re not doing the math regardless. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

A new poll from Monmouth University has Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 13 points in Colorado — the same margin that Sen. Michael Bennet holds over Republican nominee Darryl Glenn. Both Clinton and Bennet are also doing well in Colorado according to data from Republican polling outfit Harper Polling. As the Denver Post reports:

The survey by Harper Polling found that Sen. Bennet had a 46 percent to 40 percent advantage over Republican rival Darryl Glenn. Clinton, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee for president, was ahead 45 percent to 38 percent over presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump…

…“Glenn receives less support from Republicans (78 percent) than Bennet does from Democrats (83 percent), a result of lower name identification for Glenn among party voters,” noted Harper Polling. “Bennet holds a comfortable lead among Democratic-leaning moderates (32-48 percent) but Glenn narrows his lead to just 4 percent among independent voters (33-37 percent).”

Less comforting for Bennet, however, is that it was a tie at 38 percent as to whether he deserves re-election versus the feeling that it’s time to give someone new a chance.

We’d take that last caveat with more than one grain of salt, since poll respondents are often inclined to be more interested in something new when the question is this generic. The fact that Glenn receives less support from Republicans than Bennet does from Democrats is much more relevant in our mind, because those numbers aren’t likely to improve for Glenn given his low name ID and far-right policy beliefs. And with the Monmouth University poll showing Bennet with a 13-point lead, it’s safe to say that Bennet is comfortably ahead at this point in the race.

The Colorado Springs Independent ponders whether Glenn will continue to exceed expectations in his bid for U.S. Senate or ultimately flame out in November. If you’re playing at home, go with choice #2.

 

► We’re still waiting to hear who Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump will choose as his running mate in advance of next week’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland. While the list of potential Vice Presidential candidates hasn’t been particularly robust for Trump — many top names in the Republican Party want no part of this mess — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence may need Trump more than Trump needs him. From the Washington Post:

Pence risks looking desperate as he all but pleads for the job. During their joint appearance outside Indianapolis, it felt at times like the governor wants to be rescued from having to stand for reelection this November…

…A major reason Pence wants to be Trump’s running-mate so badly is that he could lose his bid for a second term.

— All along, the Democratic theory of the case to beat Pence this fall has been to define him as “distracted.” He ran promising to focus on jobs and education, but his tenure has been overshadowed and defined by culture war clashes, from a botched religious freedom bill (which he had to “fix” under pressure) to new restrictions on abortion.

If you aren’t catching the whiff of desperation from Pence, consider this comment from Pence during a Trump rally on Tuesday: “Trump understands the frustrations and the hopes of the American people like no other American leader in my lifetime since Ronald Reagan.”

Just 10 weeks ago, Pence endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for President.

 

► Colorado delegates may be at the front of the line in an “anti-Trump” movement during next week’s GOP National Convention. Shaun Boyd has more for CBS4 Denver.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Statesman freelancer calls on Mizel to come clean

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Larry Mizel.

Larry Mizel.

Colorado journalist David O. Williams has a great post in RealVail.com today, based on his decades of newspaper-industry experience up there, beautifully illustrating the dangers and weirdness of anonymous political journalism and calling on Republican mega-donor Larry Mizel, who’s been raising cash for Donald Trump, to come clean about whether he owns the Colorado Statesman.

I’ve shown that Mizel, in fact, controls the Statesman, which makes Williams’ post today all the more admirable, because Williams is a Statesman freelancer, whose last Statesman piece appeared in May. He’s written a handful of stories for the political weekly this year, one of them co-authored by John Tomasic.

Here’s part of what Williams wrote about Mizel in his post today:

“For me, the issue of ownership now raises the question of what Colorado political stories the Statesman is choosing to cover, and what stories the venerable political journal is ignoring.

And if you’re scratching the checks for a publication these days, why not just put your name on it and end the mystery, even if your agenda really is just about getting one person or a group of like-minded people elected to political office? Then let your readers judge whether your reporting is biased based on your agenda or fairly reflects the views of the opposition.”

You should take a moment to read Williams’ entire post, but it will be interesting to see how Williams is received by the Statesman, now that he’s challenged Mizel. I honestly wouldn’t expect any repercussions for Williams.

But wouldn’t it be nice if Mizel took this issue off the table by laying out his relationship with the Statesman?

“Really, there’s no ground game,” says Adams County GOP Chair of Trump efforts

(No, this is not good news for Republicans – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

trumpburnAfter Colorado Trump campaign director Patrick Davis said last week that Trump will rely on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican Party to mobilize voters leading up to November, a key county Republican chair said Saturday there’s no signs of any Trump ground game in Adams County, a critical battleground in our state.

ADAMS COUNTY GOP CHAIRMAN, ANIL MATHAI: Honestly, I have not seen [the Trump ground game] in Adams County.
KNUS RADIO HOST CHUCK BONNIWELL: [chuckles, knowingly]
MATHAI: It’s consistent with what happened before caucus. Really, there’s no ground game. There’s no campaign here in the state. I know that [Republican donor and Colorado Statesman owner] Mr. Mizel is helping with fundraising here in Colorado. Also, I believe Mike Shanahan and Pete Coors are helping to raise major donations for Mr. Trump.
CO-HOST JULIE HAYDEN: Right.
MATHAI: So, there is activity going on. It’s going to ramp up. But honestly, there is no real solid ground game here.And that needs to be increased. And the state party, [Sate GOP Chair Steve House], I believe, is working on that.
BONNIWELL: Well, you better get to it one of these days. [laughs]
HAYDEN: I agree with you, there, too. I was worried that that was going to be your answer because, you know, just as a reporter, having covered it and sometimes seeing the difference in sort of the Democratic Party’s ground game and the Republican Party’s ground game – it seems to me it can make a big difference.
MATHAI: It can. And we expect – I expect the state party, and I believe, will set the tone on this and set the leadership on this. They’re having a unity tour for, uh, Darryl Glenn up and down the state, going to different places, here. Yeah, it starts in Larimer at, I believe, nine o’clock, and then all the way down to Pueblo County. So, they are making attempts here to make sure that we win all of our races.

Adams County is widely regarded as one of the most important counties in the state, so the total absence of a Trump ground game there in mid-July is not good for Republicans, who’ve been facing the same problem nationally, according to an Associated Press piece yesterday titled, “A lot of holes in GOP ground game in key states.” The AP reported:

“In Colorado, recent staff departures have left about two dozen employees, far short of the 80 that were to have been in place.”

Trump campaign will “graft” itself to “robust operations” of Colorado Republican Party, says Trump state director

(Translation: they’re screwed – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

houseforgopchairColorado’s Trump campaign is relying on the “robust operations” of the Colorado Republican Party to mobilize Trump voters, including “many new people” who are drawn to Trump but are not yet in the campaign databases.

Davis: “Because Donald Trump has been bringing so many new people back to politics and to politics, they are really not in our databases,” Colorado Trump campaign director Patrick Davis told KLZ 560-AM’s John Rush on Thursday.  “We don’t know what they believe. In some cases, they are not registered to vote.  In some cases, we don’t know how to find them to remind them when Election Day is, because, believe it or not, people do forget. You do have to remind them.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Davis said the Colorado Republican Party, with its “robust operations,” is tasked with finding these newly politicized people, along with voters of “all stripes,” totaling 1.3 million people, the number of votes Davis thinks Trump needs to win in Colorado.

Davis: “Because the Trump campaign did not invest in a ground game—everybody knows it; it happened all over the country—we are having to graft ourselves into the robust operations at state Republican parties all over the country,” said Davis on air.

“Colorado is one of 11 battleground states, and the state Republican Party here has been preparing for this day for over a year. Now, I run campaigns based on metrics and numbers. We believe that for Donald Trump to win Colorado, he needs to identify and turn out 1.3 million voters in Colorado of all stripes. Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians, liberals, conservatives, we got to turn them out.”

Trump officials have been saying in recent weeks that the campaign will rely on state parties, which have uneven strengths around the country.

The unprecedented upheaval in Colorado’s state GOP in recent years, including the ouster of state chair Ryan Call last March and the subsequent efforts to depose current chair Steve House last summer, raise questions about the robustness of the party’s operations. But House has insisted in recent radio interviews that the party is fully functional and up to the tasks it needs to perform to win races up and down the ticket in November.

Correction: Talk-radio host did not blame Obama and the “left” for the Dallas shootings

My goal is to report and comment on what people actually believe. I don’t want to report inaccuracies or “catch” talk-radio hosts or anybody saying something they did not mean to say.

That’s why I usually tell people whom I interview or quote to call me if I get something wrong–or if they want to add anything that I’ve left out.

So I was glad KNUS 710-AM talk-radio host Dan Caplis contacted me to say that, contrary to what I’d written in a post yesterday, he doesn’t necessarily blame Obama for the Dallas shootings.

In fact, he pointed out that he said on air, in the audio clip below:

Caplis: ” …again I am not claiming a direct causal connection with Dallas. We just don’t know enough yet.”

In an email, Caplis also pointed out that in my audio clip, he says, in reference to what he calls the Obama and the left’s dangerous anti-cop rhetoric:

Caplis: ” …now whether that’s what happened in Dallas or not we just don’t know yet.”

So I mischaracterized Caplis, and I regret it.

Here is more of what Caplis said on the radio:

Caplis: “This kind of horror, this kind of violence, against our best and bravest has been completely foreseeable. And I’ve been talking about it as others have for ages, based upon the relentless anti-police hatred that’s been emanating from the left and the extremely irresponsible, and that’s being charitable, anti-police movement that Barak Obama has been leading, including by empowering the likes of Al Sharpton, and making it, and I’ve been talking about this for over a year on air, making it now the dogma of the left that you must be anti-cop. And you see the Michael Hancocks of the world following that. And they must know. None of these people I’ve mentioned would ever want a police officer to be shot or killed or injured.

But these are smart people, including the President, and they must have known that this relentless anti-cop movement that they’re leading could very well trigger, green light, some of the fringe element to commit acts of violence against police.

Now whether that’s what happened in Dallas or not we just don’t know yet. But we know that, overall, Barak Obama has understood it. Those on the left who have been beating this anti-cop drum have understood that…again I am not claiming a direct causal connection with Dallas. We just don’t know enough yet.”

Based on this, I thought it was fair to say Caplis thinks Obama might have caused the Dallas shoortings, but Caplis didn’t mean it this way.

“I don’t believe I’ve said that [Obama or the left] may have caused Dallas or that there is proof they caused any of the attacks on police in the past,” Caplis wrote in an email. “My point is that the anti-police rhetoric of president Obama and the left has increased the overall danger to police and has increased the risk that some fringe actors would attack police officers.”

A previous version of this blog not only mischaracterized Caplis’ views on Dallas, but it also called Caplis a “former GOP U.S. Senate candidate,” when in fact Caplis has never been an actual candidate but seriously considered a run this year and previously.