Republican Congressman Mike Coffman has worked hard over the last two years to distance himself from Republican Congressman Mike Coffman, and for good reason. Mike Coffman has said some things in previous years that Mike Coffman would rather voters not remember in 2014.
Mike Coffman is a problem for Mike Coffman in CD-6 as he tries to convince voters that he's not the same guy who was first elected to a much more-heavily Republican district in 2008. As the Aurora Sentinel noted in its endorsement of Democrat Andrew Romanoff earlier this month, "only one of the candidates would vote on most issues the same way you would, and that’s Andrew Romanoff."
There are plenty of examples of this dichotomy at play, but rarely are they as stark as this video from a 2010 Tea Party rally in which Coffman declares — repeatedly — that he is "a proud member of the Party of 'No.'"
It’s hard to get a word in edgewise, in the midst of a heated election season about anything, really, other than the horserace, the latest candidate blunder, this attack and that parley. But the world, even in the lonely places of Western Colorado, has not stopped because this or that candidate did or said this or that.
The governor’s Blue Ribbon Energy Task Force is meeting, even went on a controversial field trip to Battlement Mesa,and had to cancel a meeting. Miss that piece on our favorite political blog—even though its genesis was in a big looming fight wrought with political intrigue? No you probably didn’t.
Or what about the Sage Grouse? Not one but two species heading toward a listing in Colorado unless stakeholders act fast, and what has it become? Like the Task Force just an opportunity for candidates to spar over and pivot a nice pirouette around.
The Sage Grouse came up in a recent Garfield County BOCC debate, and has come up in the gubernatorial race as well. But it’s not often introduced this time of year as a subject to solve, but as a cudgel to bludgeon an opponent or an issue to duck if the latest polling suggests it ought to be.
It’s not like the grouse’s habitat has been protected, that any great stride has taken place, that the sage grouse took a break on teetering toward extinction. No, the listing is still imminent, time is still wasting, and leadership is still lacking or distracted while solutions wait for politics to play out, making an Endangered Species Act listing increasingly likely.
Here's the deal: Colorado faces important choices. Some include the ones we are hearing about to the near exclusion of everything else–picking this or that candidate, supporting that or this ballot measure. But other choices also need made that could have an even more profound, and lasting, impact on our state and the world's wildlife.
Can the election get here soon enough? Let’s hope it does for the Sage Grouse.
With all the negative attention on Rocky Mountain Gun Owners of late, you'd think the outfit might want to hide its name when it attempts to influence voters. On the other hand, RMGO isn't known to care about what normal people think.
It appears, though, RMGO has actually gotten the message that its RMGO name scares people. Instead of simply using its independent expenditure committee "RMGO SUPERPAC" to oppose at least one state senate candidate, RMGO is sending money to do so to an entity called "Colorado Liberty PAC."
Exactly $55,000 of the $60,000 donated to Colorado Liberty PAC comes from RMGO, according to campaign finance records. (The other $5,000 came from the "Colorado Tea Party.")
And the designated filing agent for Colorado Liberty PAC is Joseph Neville, who runs RMGO in Colorado and serves as its notorious lobbyist here. So RMGO apparently controls Colorado Liberty PAC. Neville did not return an email seeking comment.
In turn, Colorado Liberty PAC is sending mailers attacking SD 22 candidate Andy Kerr, who's Jeffco district is populated by people whom, RMGO has apparently concluded, don't like the RMGO brand.
James O’Keefe, wearing a Mark Udall sticker in Fort Collins Saturday.
MONDAY UPDATE: Mother Jonesreports this afternoon on what James O'Keefe is apparently up to in Colorado–not surprisingly, trying to bait progressive GOTV groups into either committing or condoning voter fraud. Also not surprising, he hasn't found any takers:
James O'Keefe, the conservative provocateur, has been on the prowl in Colorado, the setting of a close Senate race between Democratic incumbent Mark Udall and GOP Rep. Cory Gardner, as well as a nip-and-tuck governor's contest. Last week, O'Keefe and two of his collaborators tried to bait Democratic field staffers into approving voter fraud involving Colorado's universal vote-by-mail program, according to three Democratic staffers who interacted with O'Keefe or his colleagues.
Democratic staffers in Colorado recently came to believe they were the subject of an O'Keefe operation after campaign workers became suspicious about would-be volunteers who had asked about filling out and submitting mail-in ballots for others…
Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his twenties showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.), according to a Democratic staffer who met with him and asked not to be identified. The man introduced himself as "Nick Davis," and he said he was a University of Colorado–Boulder student and LGBT activist involved with a student group called Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis mentioned polls showing the race between Udall and Gardner was tight, and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it. [Pols emphasis]
On Friday, Udall campaigned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the University of Colorado–Boulder campus. After the event, a woman calling herself "Bonnie" approached a different staffer and, according to this staffer's boss, asked whether she could fill out and submit blank ballots found in a garbage can. The staffer, according to her boss, said that she told her no…
The repeated questions about submitting other people's ballots led Democratic staffers to suspect they were being targeted. Later, the staffers viewed photos of O'Keefe—including one taken in Colorado showing O'Keefe sans mustache and sporting a Udall campaign sticker and a Women for Udall button—and they concluded that O'Keefe and the college professor were the same person.
The story goes on to confirm Saturday's incident at the New Era Colorado as we reported yesterday. If you know anyone working on Democratic or progressive campaigns who hasn't yet gotten the word that O'Keefe is in Colorado looking to entrap them…now would be a good time to let them know. Sunday's post follows.
GOP provacateur James O'Keefe.
We just got a tip that infamous conservative "gotcha game" artist James O'Keefe is on the ground in Colorado, prowling around left-aligned campaign organizations. O'Keefe reportedly showed up at the Fort Collins office of GOTV group New Era Colorado yesterday, and according to the report we got, "tried to force his way in," necessitating a police call. We can't confirm any of those details, but O'Keefe himself was positively ID'ed. We'll update with any additional information we get about that incident.
For those who haven't had the pleasure, James O'Keefe is one of the right wing's most prolific and controversial provacateurs, but he also played a major role in the partisan destruction of the community group ACORN after posing as a pimp and seeking assistance with a hidden camera. Less known is the fact that he was later forced to pay over $100,000 to one of the ACORN workers he selectively edited. O'Keefe later faced charges for attempting to tamper with the phone lines of a U.S. Senator. Most recently, O'Keefe filmed himself crossing the Mexican border wearing an Osama bin Laden Halloween costume, a stunt that resulted in considerably more ridicule than the intended instilling of xenophobic fear.
Anyway, Democratic and otherwise lefty campaign hands across the state, if you see this guy at your office, be advised that he is not there to make you look good.
The Denver Post published a strongly-worded editorial critical of Jefferson County Commissioner (and Clerk & Recorder candidate) Faye Griffin. The editorial board's rebuke of Griffin for what the Post calls "job hopping" contains some stunningly-candid quotes from Griffin herself:
We asked Griffin why she would leave the commission two years early, and she was candid in saying it was due to term limits.
Griffin is in the middle of her second term, and if she stayed in the position, she couldn't run for the commission again — and there would be no other palatable options for her, in her mind.
"In two years, there's no county office that is open," Griffin said. So, she is seeking the office she held for eight years, starting in 1998. [Pols emphasis]
Political blog JeffcoPols pointed out Griffin's move and speculated that it could be part of a larger shuffle of Republican politicians in Jefferson County intended to avoid open-seat elections.
Even if it is wrong about the specific moves, the blog makes a valid point about how Griffin's action would cede power to the GOP vacancy committee in Jefferson County.
The 75-year-old Griffin has been repeatedly elected to various offices in Jefferson County, primarily because of her longstanding name ID, but it's pretty amazing that she is so blunt about her own personal interests taking precedence over doing right by Jefferson County. Her supporters all say that Griffin is "a very nice old lady," and we have no reason to suspect otherwise, but that doesn't make this right. When Griffin tells the Post that "in two years, there's no county office that is open," she almost makes it sound as though she has no other choice but to run for something else before the end of her elected term. Griffin is asking a lot of Jeffco voters, yet as the Post notes in its editorial, it's not too much for voters to ask that she finish the job she sought in the first place.
(Tell us how you really feel, Brownie – promoted by Colorado Pols)
Remember Michael "Heck-of-a-Job" Brown, George W. Bush's go-to guy on the Katrina disaster/embarrassment/tragedy.
Now he's a talk-radio host on KHOW 630-AM in Denver, and he's still doing a heck of a job.
We caught "Brownie," as Bush called him, on the air saying he doesn't want "stupid people" to vote, because they're "more likely than not to vote for a Democrat." Who do you think he wants to see voting?
Most talk-radio rants should just be ignored. But, needless to say, there's a great response to this one. Let's vote so the Brownies in our country don't get more power. In Colorado, you can still register at www.justvotecolorado.org.
My grandfather, a depression-era farmer, knew the value of tending to his seedlings. For him the seed needed a good beginning: fertile soil, nutrients, good soil tilth and cooperation from from Mother Nature. For the inputs he could control, he was indeed a stubborn steward. He also had two staunch beliefs: there was no other tractor than a John Deere, and his planter of choice was his red, International Harvester wheat drill. With only an eighth-grade education as his foundation he understood, with great clarity, the value of making prudent investments in labor and inputs. His reward would be a full grainary.
Our children are no different than Granddad's tender wheat sprouts. Without access to pre-natal care, a stable home, living wages, food security and a solid education there is no amount of money society can invest later in a child's life to successfully fill those voids. As a fifth-generation Coloradan myself who grew up in the small farming and ranching community of Idalia (pop. 100), I got lucky. "The Village" made sure we had all that we needed to become productive adults. In those days our region was aptly-represented by rural titans like Bud Moellenberg and Bev Bledsoe – thoughtful men who not only earned the respect of urban legislators, but understood the important role and contributions of rural Colorado to the state's economy.
They represented the best of the human and political spirit.
Unfortunately, their style of politics have become extinct.
Proposition 105 (Colorado) OFFICIAL TITLE: Mandatory Labeling of GMOs ALSO KNOWN AS: Stickers on Genetically Modified Foods
Official Ballot Language for Proposition 105:
"Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning labeling of genetically modified food; and, in connection therewith, requiring food that has been genetically modified or treated with genetically modified material to be labeled, "Produced With Genetic Engineering" starting on July 1, 2016; exempting some foods including but not limited to food from animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs, certain food that is not packaged for retail sale and is intended for immediate human consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals, and medically prescribed food; requiring the Colorado department of public health and environment to regulate the labeling of genetically modified food; and specifying that no private right of action is created for failure to conform to the labeling requirements?”
One of the Vote No 67 Campaign advertisements has been rejected by Hulu, the online streaming video service.
“According to our advertising bylaws, we are not able to accept ‘ads that advocate a controversial political or other public position,” wrote a Hulu ad representative to the Vote No on 67 Campaign.
“I was on my daily run when I was attacked, and beaten and raped,” says “Amanda” in the rejected ad. “What I’ve been through is one of the many reasons I oppose Amendment 67. When I was at the hospital, I was offered emergency contraception. Amendment 67 could ban abortion and emergency contraception, even in cases of rape or incest. Of course, we all want to protect pregnant women, but Amendment 67 isn’t the way.”
Trouble is, this ad is factual, and Hulu has been running spots on numerous other political issues.
I contacted Hulu seeking an explanation for why this ad is unacceptable and will update this post when I hear back.
Amendment 67 is the “personhood” amendment on this year’s election ballot.
Colorado senatorial candidate Cory Gardner took his falsehoods about the government shutdown to a new level this week when he told PBS’ Guen Ifill:
Gardner: “I voted for every measure that would have avoided the shutdown. I supported efforts during it to make sure we were finding ways not only to get out of the immediate situation but to make sure that we develop long-term solutions."
That's the kind of rotten information journalists should correct before it's too late. Everyone who follows this issue at all knows that Gardner voted with fellow Republicans to shut down the government in an effort to kill Obamacare. Gardner was fully behind using the threat of a government shutdown as leverage to try to de-fund the health-care law. As Gardner told KOA Radio's Mike Rosen in August: "I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work." As part of a fact-check of a recent ad, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman explained how Gardner's votes led to the shutdown, just after Colorado's horrific floods:
Gardner did vote in line with the Republican strategy that led to the government shutdown. That didn't happen by passing a bill to shut it down… Those votes were Republican spending packages, which passed the House. They would have funded the government, but also contained language aimed at curbing Obamacare. For that reason, the president made it clear he wouldn't sign that bill, which had no chance of passing the Senate regardless. Republicans knew they could cause a shutdown by forcing the healthcare issue to be part of the discussion about keeping the government open. However, it takes two to tango, and the Democrats didn't want to mix the ACA into the spending debate. It would have been possible to accept the GOP plan and avoid a shutdown. Whether it was fair to bundle those concepts is the core of the debate.
Against after reading that, even if you're on Gardner's side and you wanted to force Obama to de-fund the health-care law, is there any way you could claim, as Gardner did, that he voted for "every measure that would have avoided the shutdown?" Not.
On Tuesday we discussed the first TV ad from Democrat Betsy Markey in her race to unseat Republican Treasurer Walker Stapleton. The ad, which you can view again after the jump, doesn't waste time in getting to the point: Stapleton doesn't appear to spend much time on the job he was elected to do.
Based on data gleaned from an Open Records request of Stapleton's state-appointed key card (which he needs to enter the State Capitol), there are probably tour guides who spend more time in the building than Stapleton himself. As the script for the ad explains:
At best…it’s inexcusable.
At worst…it’s a scandal. State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.
Official key-card records from his Denver office confirm…
Stapleton only bothers showing up at his office around ten days a month.
Often, skipping the office for weeks at a time.
Or only showing up after three P.M.
This is a pretty straightforward ad that is hard for Stapleton's campaign to fully refute, though Stapleton's spokesperson, Michael Fortney, tried lamely to defend his boss when questioned by Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels. According to Fortney, Stapleton often forgets his key card, and when he does, he just enters the capitol through the public entrance.
But what about the days in which Stapleton's "key card" doesn't show up at the office until after 3:00 pm? Does his wife drop off the key card when he goes out for an afternoon snack? Or was he really just not in the building until the late afternoon?
You can see why this is a tricky problem. Stapleton's campaign is apparently worried about the effect that Markey's ad may be having with voters, because Republicans are spending an inordinate amount of time trying to explain away the mystery of the key card. Why else would you intentionally bring up the same TV ad — exposing its message to more voters — unless you felt the extra exposure was necessary in order to try to refute the message? We wouldn't want to be drawing more attention to a strong attack ad (particularly when Markey doesn't have millions of dollars for an ad buy), but then we're not Republican Rep. Frank McNulty and the Republican group "Reveal Politics."
Take it away, Frank and friends:
So…does McNulty just hang around outside every day waiting for Stapleton to show up for work?
We're joking — we know that's not the point they are trying to make here, but was this really worth bringing up Markey's ad once again? What do you think? You can watch that ad again after the jump:
The bold protest of Jefferson County, Colorado students to the actions of the conservative majority on the Jefferson County School Board in Colorado has already drawn national and international press.
Yet the school board is still proceeding with a curriculum review committee that would not just examine AP History, but would have the ability to review and change many courses, including English, Health, and Science. Organizations funded by the Koch brothers support such candidates, and would benefit from curriculum that not only promotes what the Board is considering ‘American Exceptionalism’ but also avoids questions related to Global Warming or Climate Change.
But this goes deeper — this could threaten critical thinking in the classroom.
This could not only impact Jefferson County students, but could affect all students in the country.
On October 11, 2014 students held a rally at Clement Park in Littleton, Colorado — adjacent to Columbine High School. There, they began collecting names for a potential recall.
Ashlyn Maher, Thomas Sizemore and Mali Holmes
“We are not a political agenda, and we’re not a profit margin; we are students that need to be educated.”
This issue is not just important for Colorado, but the nation. If anything the Koch Brothers have shown us, is that once they have succeeded with a conservative agenda, they will replicate that agenda everywhere they can.
There is a saying in Colorado elections, as Jefferson County goes, so goes Colorado.
Jefferson County is the biggest county and usually its voters are the pivotal votes in a statewide election. With Ballots going out as of this week – how will the extreme actions of the School Board impact the races for Governor and the even the US Senate?
And will that also be a referendum on the conservative effort to white wash our History and censor our Public Education curriculum?
Here is the extended rally video — where Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor (who is also an educator), Joe Garcia, dropped by to lend his support for the students.
From Mali Holmes — student from Evergreen High School:
Since our protest began, we’ve been featured in the Huffington Post, USA Today, and the New York Times. We’ve been covered by the Guardian and other International news outlets.
America is listening. We won’t be taken down so easily. Like pawns, the students are on the front lines of this issue. We will stand together and fight until we win this battle.
We will be the ones to call ‘Checkmate‘.
Professor Chad Kautzer of University of Colorado at Denver:
I just have one thing to say to (the Jefferson County Majority) RESIGN. (Cheers)
I have a feeling if they don’t resign, the people of Jefferson County will push them out.
Because they are an embarrassment to Jefferson County, they are an embarrassment to Colorado, they are an embarrassment to our Country and they need to go.
Everything bad in American History has been coupled with social struggles and these are the people that we need to read about, that we have to learn about, and we need to honor that history.
Rachel Hillbrecht of Golden High School:
We will not cut out History. We will not cut out Science classes. We need to know the truth every single piece of it!
The Jeffco School Board of Education has failed to do the single most important thing that any elected board has to do – to listen to its people.
We will not be censored. People did not die so that they could be erased. Jefferson County will not be erased. WE will stand together.
Lt. Governor Joe Garcia:
In high school, I had the opportunity to take AP History. In college, I had the opportunity to take Ethnic Studies. Those classes did not make us hate each other. They did not make us hate America. They made us hate oppression and injustice.
The students have given me hope and inspiration. Because these high school students now represent potentially a four-year block of students — from Freshman to Senior — that will associate the most important social education protest of their lives with Republican over-reach.
If you have been so inspired, then I will share with you this message from a parent of one of the students – a request.
“Recalls are expensive, right now, the Students don’t know if there is enough support from the community to go ahead with the effort. But maybe someone who reads your article might know someone like Matt Damon or Diane Ravitch or some other well connected person who would be willing to get behind the students with this effort.”
If you do now someone or feel this effort is worth supporting, please visit Jeffco Students for Change and like their page – let them know that they do have support for this effort.
Thanks also to Redfoxrun and to From Thin Air
who performed live at the event at Clement Park.
We're seeing a full-scale revolt by journalists against senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's obnoxious denial of the simple fact that the Life at Conception Act, which he co-sponsored last summer, is federal personhood legislation.
9News Anchor Kyle Clark: You continue to deny that the federal Life at Conception Act is a personhood bill, which you've sponsored, is a personhood bill to end abortion. And we're not going to debate that tonight, because it's a fact. Your cosponsors say so. Your opponents say so. And independent fact checkers say so. So let's instead talk about what this entire episode may say about your judgement, more broadly. It would seem that a more charitable interpretation would mean you have a difficult time admitting when you're wrong. And a less charitable interpretation is that you're not telling us the truth.Which is it?
Gardner: Again, I do not support the personhood amendment. The bill that you are referring to is simply a statement that I support life. Let me just repeat the words of Sen. Udall.
Clark: Why does no one else think that. That's what we're getting at.
Gardner: I've answered this question multiple times.
Clark: I'm aware of that.
Gardner: If you look at what The Denver Post said. The Denver Post has called Sen. Udall's campaign on these issues, because he's a social issues warrior, obnoxious, focused on one single issue. The fact is the people of Colorado deserve better. They deserve more than a single issue that Sen. Udall is attempting to give them.
Clark: Believe you me. We're going to talk about that. But what I'm asking you about here is what appears to be willing suspension of the facts. People who agree with you on the issue of life think you're wrong about how you're describing the bill. Everyone seems to have a cohesive idea about what this is with the exception of you. I'm just wondering, what should voters glean from that?
Gardner: There are people who agree with my opinion on life. There are people who don't. I support life. I voted for exceptions. The fact is, the bill that you're talking about is a simply a statement. I've answered this question multiple times, but I'll repeat the words of Sen. Udall who said, when he changed his opinion on the issue of gay marriage, that a good faith change of position should be considered a virtue not a vice. That's not my words. Those are the words from Sen. Udall.
Rittiman: And you remain on the bill, and the idea of personhood is conferring rights of normal human beings on the unborn. That's what the bill says.
Gardner: Again, I support life. And that's a statement that I support life.
Rep. Cory Gardner continues to misrepresent his record on immigration, and reporters have failed to call him out on it.
During an Oct. 6 debate, Gardner was asked if he'd vote for the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the U.S. military.
Instead of answering the question, Gardner used the dodge tactic of stating his opinion on what will happen to the DREAM Act.
"Ultimately, I think the Dream Act will be part of the solution of immigration reform," Gardner said. "It has to be. Look, I believe in immigration reform."
If Gardner had answered the question, instead of predicting the future, he'd have said that he's long opposed the Dream Act.
Gardner: "I think if you pass the DREAM Act today, you’re still not fixing the problem,’ Gardner told the Boulder Daily Camera last year. "I want to create a fair system so people who want to be here legally can be here legally.”
Gardner: "But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country," Gardner told KNUS' Steve Kelly last year." And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security."
On this very day, as I type this blog post, Gardner's website states that the Congressman opposes "giving those people [who are here illegally] benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration."