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.

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Read this, then go outside and get some fresh air. 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…

► Five Dallas police officers were killed and seven others injured by a sniper targeting police during a protest against police violence. From CNN:

The ambush began with gunshots that killed five officers and sent screaming crowds scrambling for cover. It ended when a Dallas police bomb squad robot killed a gunman after negotiations failed.

Now investigators are trying to piece together answers to key questions: Who was responsible for the shootings, which began Thursday night during a protest against police violence and left parts of downtown Dallas under siege for hours? And are any other suspects on the loose?

The deadly gunfire erupted in Dallas as videos showing two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota spurred protests and debate over police use of force across the country.

The Dallas sniper attacks are yet another horrific example of violent gun crime in America, and the deadliest single day for U.S. law enforcement since September 11, 2001. In the wake of the shootings, the spokesperson for the Colorado Senate Republicans inexplicably and disgustingly took to social media to blame President Obama for the attacks. As we wrote earlier today:

In short, to call this response to the Dallas shootings from the Colorado Senate Republicans outrageous is a considerable understatement. It may not quite rate as badly as former Rep. Joe Walsh’s declaration of war, but it’s so far from appropriate the morning after this tragedy that it shocks the conscience in nonpartisan terms.

Sean Paige, the mouthpiece for the Senate Republicans, is a former editor at the Colorado Springs Gazette and staffer at the Koch brothers-funded “Americans for Prosperity.”

 

► Jason Salzman catches a curious edit to an archived story in the Denver Post, in which a quote from Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) about his marriage to Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has been mysteriously removed. The former Post reporter who wrote the original story, Lynn Bartels, confirms the missing quote’s existence.

 

► If you thought that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was above the kind of silly political bickering that has gridlocked Congress, then you haven’t been paying attention. As the Denver Post reports:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has joined in efforts to strip Hillary Clinton of her security clearances, part of a coordinated GOP effort to continue to take advantage of her e-mail scandal.

On Thursday, Gardner and Texas Sen. John Cornyn, both Republicans, announced they had introduced a bill to revoke security clearances from Clinton and her key aides when she was secretary of state. Several of those aides are in her campaign’s inner circle. The bill they introduced, the Taking Responsibility Using Secured Technologies (TRUST) Act of 2016, would put Congress on record saying that Clinton should have no access to classified information “until she earns the legal right to such access.”

“If the FBI won’t recommend action based on its findings, Congress will,” Gardner said in a prepared statement. “At the very least, Secretary Clinton should not have access to classified information, and our bill makes sure of it.”

In other words, if law enforcement officials can’t make a case against Clinton, Republican Senators will dress one up instead! As Politico notes, this bit of political theater is unlikely to go anywhere…but it beats actually working on policy issues.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Denver Post Deletes Mike Coffman Quote About His Marriage in Archives

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Of all the crazy stories we heard last summer about the GOP efforts to depose Colorado Republican Party Chair Steve House, this snippet from the Washington Post’s Ben Terris was perhaps the most shocking.

… House arrived the night of June 15 to find himself outnumbered — and on the defensive. [Colorado Attorney General Cynthia] Coffman was joined by Tom Tancredo, a firebrand former congressman, and Becky Mizel, a Pueblo County chairwoman. Three months earlier, these three had been his biggest supporters when he challenged and beat the incumbent party chairman — but now, suddenly, they wanted him out.

They ticked off a litany of grievances: House’s bookkeeping habits, his communication style, his refusal to hire one of their allies as executive director.

“Is that all?” House asked after each point, in an exchange recalled by Tancredo and confirmed by House’s office.

“Well, there’s Julie,” Coffman said.

“I know three Julies,” House said.

Come on, said Coffman — who was he trying to kid?

“Are you accusing me of having an affair?” House asked.

“Well,” Coffman said, “are you?”

All of us have dirt to be uncovered, and you hate to see it trotted out in the media, but this story is an absolutely legitimate invitation for  reporters to take a look at Cynthia Coffman’s own house, literally, the one she lives in alone, separate from her husband, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

But it appears that the only public statement Mike Coffman has made about his marriage has been expunged from the public record by The Denver Post.

In an article last June, then ace political journalist Lynn Bartels reported Mike Coffman as saying:

Mike Coffman: “The fact the we’re married in this day and age is a success story in and of itself.”

But if you look for that quote in The Post’s archives now, you find it gone, disappeared.

Bartels tells me the quote is accurate, as recorded by her from Mike Coffman.

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Colorado’s CD-6 Gaining Ever-Larger Swing State Status

Rep. Mike Coffman (R), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D).

Earlier this week, we noted that Colorado’s CD-6, currently occupied by incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), appears to be growing in importance as Republicans worry that Presidential nominee Donald Trump may bring down the whole damn majority in November.

Today, as the Aurora Sentinel reports, national Democrats announced that CD-6 — where state Sen. Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora) is looking to unseat Coffman — is picking up more resources as a Top 10 targeted race:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has said they are coordinating a “seven-figure national ad buy” with two ads due to run starting Monday, July 11, and continuing through the Republican National Convention. The DCCC has labeled the move as somewhat unprecedented, given that a lot of similar advertising comes later in the election cycle.

Colorado’s 6th Congressional District — home to the hotly contested race between U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, and term-limited state Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora — is one of 10 U.S. House districts the ad campaign is targeting beyond the national spots secured.

The message of the ads — which come less than two weeks after Coffman’s campaign released its first ad for the 2016 election — highlights Trump and the majority of Republicans who have either voiced support for him or refused to disavow his candidacy. One ad, titled “Standards,” aims to suggest Republicans have put party loyalty ahead of their own standards in accepting Trump as their nominee. Another ad, titled “Sidekick,” likens Republican congressional candidates to “bystanders to the class yard bully.”

Both Carroll’s campaign and DCCC efforts in the CD6 race have sought to tie Coffman to Trump and his policy positions. In particular, a statement by Coffman campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm that Coffman “obviously” would support the Republican presidential nominee over Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton has been a main focus for connecting Coffman to Trump.

Coffman and his campaign team are well aware of the difficult national climate ahead, which is why they are already working hard to convince voters that Coffman is a friendlier, more accessible Coffman than in years past. They are going to have a harder time convincing voters that Coffman is not a Trump supporter, however — not unless Coffman comes out and makes a definitive break from His Hairness.

There is risk for Coffman in distancing himself from Trump as well; as much as he doesn’t want moderate voters to know that he is cool with Trump’s candidacy, he still needs to remind his base that he’s still onboard.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 7)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218If you’re still waiting for the Denver Nuggets to dive into the NBA free agent market…you might want to get comfortable. 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…

► Big news from the Washington Post this morning: Denver gazillionaire Phil Anschutz has some pretty clear links to the anti-LGBT group “Alliance Defending Freedom.” We summarized the breaking news in a post this morning:

Today’s report documents to a far greater detail than has been disclosed previous the funding and advocacy relationships surrounding the Alliance Defending Freedom–an organization that has spearheaded the opposition to LGBT rights across the nation, and responsible for the defense of figures such as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her battle to avoid having to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Since the U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, ADF has continued to push a wide variety of anti-LGBT legislation in state legislatures across the nation including Colorado’s. The organization has introduced dozens of such pieces of legislation just in 2016, from “bathroom bills” to restrict access to gender-appropriate restrooms for transgender people to “religious freedom” bills meant to carve out space for faith-based discrimination. Safe to say, ADF is diametrically opposed to the direction the nation has been headed on gay rights in recent years.

The rise of Donald Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee for President has shown a new light on the anti-everything sentiments of His Hairness, and there seems to be something of a domino effect happening as media outlets take a fresh look at the names and checkbooks behind some of the country’s more prominent hate groups.

Some of Anschutz’s money also appears to be connected to soon-to-be-former legislator Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, which is embarrassing enough in itself. Unfortunately, the list of Colorado Republicans with ties to hate groups in general seems to be expanding.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) will stump in Colorado for Republican Senate nominee Darryl Glenn. Given Gardner’s recent track record of publicly supporting one loser after another (including former Senate candidate Jon Keyser), this is probably not a good sign for Glenn.

 

► Former Colorado Senator Bill Armstrong died on Wednesday after a prolonged battle with cancer.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Dozens of Colorado Republicans linked to anti-LGBT group funded by Anschutz

(For the record – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: The Anschutz Foundation has issued a statement in response to Jonathan Capehart’s Washington Post column about Freedom for All Americans’ report “Enemies of Equality.” Here is the complete statement:

The Anschutz Foundation is not a member of [Washington Post columnist] Jonathan Capehart’s alleged “vast right wing conspiracy.” The Anschutz Foundation donates to thousands of worthy organizations each year, and it does not attempt to dictate to those organizations how they spend their monies. Moreover, those donations are made in accordance with our process and guidelines, and neither process or guidelines identify or reference in any way sexual orientation or gender issues.

Mr. Anschutz, and the Anschutz companies. invest in many businesses employing tens of thousands of people. In all instances, personal lifestyles are neither a requirement or limitation to employment.

Mr. Capehart’s attempt to smear individuals with unfounded allegations is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. It is unworthy of him and of the publication by which he is employed.

There is no reason to comment further on his unfounded statements or on the individuals quoted in his article.

————-

In a report released today, Freedom for All Americans, which aims to “secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people nationwide,” documents, among other things, a trail of cash leading from Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz to 1) Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a national anti-LGBT group, to 2) anti-LGBT extremists like former Rep. Gordon (“Dr. Chaps”) Klingenschmitt and numerous other far-right Christian conservatives.

But, as I blogged previously, here in Colorado, ADF has enjoyed the embrace not only of Anschutz but of 33 Republican state legislators who joined with ADF last year to push for an investigation of Planned Parenthood.

The lawmakers, who appeared to be led by State Rep. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, included State Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton, State Rep. JoAnn Windholz of Commerce City, and State Sen. Laura Woods of Arvada/Westminster, whose fate in November’s election will likely determine whether Democrats gain control of state government.

Last November, Windholz wrote that Planned Parenthood was the “true instigator” of the domestic terrorism at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, and last week she wrote on Facebook that pro-choice people don’t care as much about women people with anti-choice views.

In the September 25 letter to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), ADF along with the 33 GOP lawmakers requested the “standards or criteria that are required to initiate an investigation” of Planned Parenthood, and the letter asked why a heavily edited video that falsely purported to show illegal dealings in fetal tissue donation would not be investigated.

The video and others like it were part of an undercover series by the anti-choice front group the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and have been discredited and their creators indicted.

The Republicans sent their letter, after CDPHE rejected a demand by many of the same state legislators to “initiate an investigation” of Planned Parenthood.

The GOP letter was signed on behalf of ADF by Michael Norton, an outspoken social-conservative attorney in Colorado, who drafted a 2006 Amendment to the state constitution that defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

Many of the Colorado legislators who aligned with ADF were part of an unofficial “hearing” in November focused largely on the CMP smear videos and turned into a day-long condemnation of Planned Parenthood. It took place just over two weeks before three people were murdered at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic.

Correction: Crowder represents Alamosa, not Colorado Springs, as stated in an early version of this post.

BREAKING: Anschutz Linked To Anti-LGBT Groups, “Dr. Chaps”

UPDATE: A statement from Colorado LGBT and progressive groups calls out Phil Anschutz:

“Today the Washington Post revealed that while making a fortune off hardworking Coloradans – including LGBTQ Coloradans – billionaire Phil Anschutz has been giving money to organizations that have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado.

“Instead of investing in individuals and groups that spread misinformation and advocate violence, Phil Anschutz could invest in improving the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. LGBTQ students still face bullying and harassment in our schools, transgender Coloradans are denied access to the health care, identity documents, and basic rights they deserve, and it is still legal for to subject young people to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.”

“Phil Anschutz’s extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt’s ‘Pray in Jesus Name’ is shocking,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history.”

“The Anschutz name is emblazoned on public institutions across our state,” said Silverii. “Now that it has been revealed that his charity is also going to organizations that support political figures who call for gays and lesbians to be killed, it’s time to ask Anschutz to take a good look at where his money is being spent. The Alliance Defending Freedom props up the same politicians who have introduced hundreds of rights-destroying bills in legislatures across the country – including right here in Colorado. Today, we’re asking Mr. Anschutz to cancel his checks to the ADF, and instead invest in Colorado-based organizations that help improve the lives of LGBTQ friends and neighbors, not try and strip their rights away.”

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Phil Anschutz.

Phil Anschutz.

As the Washington Post reports this morning, one of Colorado’s richest Republican funders, Phil Anschutz, has helped fund an organization widely described as an anti-gay extremist group:

“We started seeing bills that looked 80 to 90 percent identical in language start to pop up around the country,” McTighe said. “The language was so clearly being coordinated.” In a report to be released on Thursday called “Enemies of Equality,” [Freedom for All Americans] shows that 17 bills in 14 states that target transgender Americans “used almost identical language and it’s based off of a model policy ADF started pushing four or five months ago.” All told, there are more than 200 anti-LGBT bills pending in 34 states…

James Dobson is founder of the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family. Tom Minnery is a board member at ADF and senior vice president of policy at Focus on the Family, which gets money from NCF and the family of Forbes 400 billionaire Richard DeVos, founder of Amway. He and his family have given money to all of the organizations founded by Dobson.

“We’re not just kind of cataloguing this for retroactive historical purposes to look back at this legislative session,” McTighe of FFAA said of his group’s effort to expose the intricate web of anti-LGBT interests. “We expect that this will be even more pronounced in the coming legislative session and that the ADF and the groups that it has sway over will continue to get more engaged and will continue to file more and more anti-LGBT bills that are being coordinated…by…national organization[s] with a clear anti-LGBT agenda.”

Here’s what Freedom for All Americans says about Anschutz:

Phil Anschutz is one of the richest people in America, with an estimated fortune of over $10 billion, and is listed at #42 on Forbes’ U.S. Billionaires list as of May 17, 2016.

His entertainment company, AEG, is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and venues, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center, and O2 Arena. In addition, Anschutz owns The Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas. He’s also one of the largest landowners in the country.

Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013. Anschutz Foundation gave $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013. Anschutz Foundation gave $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013.

Today’s report documents to a far greater detail than has been disclosed previous the funding and advocacy relationships surrounding the Alliance Defending Freedom–an organization that has spearheaded the opposition to LGBT rights across the nation, and responsible for the defense of figures such as Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her battle to avoid having to issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Since the U.S Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage, ADF has continued to push a wide variety of anti-LGBT legislation in state legislatures across the nation including Colorado’s. The organization has introduced dozens of such pieces of legislation just in 2016, from “bathroom bills” to restrict access to gender-appropriate restrooms for transgender people to “religious freedom” bills meant to carve out space for faith-based discrimination. Safe to say, ADF is diametrically opposed to the direction the nation has been headed on gay rights in recent years.

Oh, and one more thing for Colorado consumption: Phil Anschutz’s money to ADF also funded Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, perhaps the most infamous anti-gay legislator in Colorado’s history. Of course, since Anschutz owns the Colorado Springs Gazette, there was precisely zero chance of citizens in Klingenschmitt’s district ever learning of this connection to the city’s #1 sugar daddy.

Unfortunately for Phil Anschutz, he doesn’t own the Washington Post. The disclosure of Anschutz’s support for extremist anti-gay groups, not to mention “Dr. Chaps,” could be an enormous problem for his wide-ranging business interests. What will concertgoers and performers think of Anschutz’s support for hate groups as they consider attending/performing at Anschutz Entertainment Group events? Taylor Swift? Lady Gaga? It’s our understanding that funding anti-LGBT causes is not a very popular thing to do in Hollywood.

Even billionaires should be held accountable for funding hate. Even Phil Anschutz.

Koch brothers could help expose Coffman’s right-wing record

A Denver Post article yesterday heralded the decision by Americans for Prosperity (AFP) to spend an undisclosed amount of money attacking Morgan Carroll, the Democrat challenging Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), as a “big boost” for Coffman.

But not necessarily.

As ColoradoPols has pointed out, AFP’s right-wing agenda doesn’t square with the moderate image Coffman promotes of himself. Coffman is trying to run away from his right-wing record, but AFP is widely known as right-wing, and it’s funded by the poster children of the right, the Koch brothers.

The Post quoted Carroll’s campaign manager making this point.

“It’s no surprise that the far right Koch Brothers are desperate to prop up Mike Coffman’s struggling reelection campaign,” said Jennifer Donovan, Carroll’s campaign manager, in a statement. “After all, they share the goal of shilling for the wealthiest and most well connected while turning their backs on the middle-class.”

So AFP’s involvement in the race could backfire and actually help Carroll bring down Coffman, exposing Coffman as the right winger that he is.

It turns out that Coffman scored 100 percent last month on AFP’s scorecard, with a lifetime score of 96 percent.

On its scorecard, AFP trumpets votes of Coffman that are discordant not only with Coffman’s swing district but his carefully cultivated image as a moderate.

Check out those votes here.

So we’ll see how things work out for Coffman and AFP.