Best Reporting on the the State Legislature in 2016

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here’s my list of the best reporting on the state legislature this session, from a progressive perspective. The press corps is threatened and depleted but continues to crank out quality journalism. Let’s hope we can say that next year.

o In a detailed analysis of votes on numerous issues, The Denver Post’s John Frank illuminated beautifully that the split among Republicans in our state senate reflects divisions in the Republican Party nationally. His list of eight hard-right state senators, later dubbed the “Hateful Eight” by liberals, includes two in possible swing districts: Randy Baumgardner of Hot Sulphur Springs and Laura Woods of Westminster.

o The Denver Post’s John Frank broke a story exposing the tactics of Americans for Prosperity in pressuring state lawmakers to sign a pledge not to “undermine the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights by creating a special exemption for the Hospital Provider Fee.” The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins filled out the picture of AFP with an illuminating piece about the organization’s field work—as well as another story featuring the angry response of Republican Sen. Larry Crowder (R-Alamosa) to AFP’s apparent pressure on Crowder. The pressure from AFP appeared to have ratcheted up after Hutchins had matter-of-factly reported Crowder’s views in support of turning the provider fee into an enterprise.

o The Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins also banged out an excellent explainer of the hospital provider fee (and related issues), just as the legislative session was cranking up and few people understood what the fee was and what was going on.

o Rocky Mountain Community Radio’s Bente Birkeland offers a daily drumbeat of short interviews that often prove illuminating or provide a springboard more in-depth analysis (e.g., Secretary of State Wayne Williams’ position on election modernization or Sen. Larry Crowder’s stance on Syrian refugees).

o The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus asked why J. Paul Brown (R-Ignacio) had voted last year for a program offering contraception to low-income women and teens, but this year voted against it.  It’s basic journalism, of course, but often forgotten in onslaught of other news.

o The Colorado Independent’s Marrianne Goodland provided in-depth coverage on, among other legislation, a predatory-lending bill that was defeated by state house Democrats.

o Fox 31 Denver’s Amanda Zitzman put a human face on a bill aimed at informing citizens about the cost of free-standing emergency rooms versus urgent care.

o The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch is trying to do something different at the newspaper with his “Joey ‘Splains” series. He’s on the right track.

o On the legislative campaign trail, we owe thanks to the reporters who covered the caucuses and county assemblies, allowing us not to rely solely on reports by party activists. The Colorado Statesman’s coverage, especially Ernest Luning’s, on social media and in articles stands out.

o The Boulder Weekly’s Caitlin Rockett found holes in the assertion that a bill targeting tax havens was bad for small business.

o The Colorado Statesman’s Hot Sheet is a welcome infusion of legislative news. (In the advocacy world, ProgressNow Colorado’s Daily News Digest is a userful compilation of political news coverage.)

o The Colorado Independent’s Marianne Goodland was the only journalist to write about the crazy irony of Rep. Kevin Priola missing a vote on a parental-leave bill, which he opposed, because he had to take his kid to the doctor.

Statement by Your Choice Colorado Campaign Mgr Georgie Aguirre-Sacasa on Failure at the Colorado Legislature



“The session has ended and the Legislature has failed Coloradans yet again. They had a chance to make real changes to benefit Colorado consumers and give them the choices they want and deserve: real beer AND wine in grocery stores. But instead of fixing an antiquated law, the Legislature failed Colorado consumers, jamming together a last minute bill that masquerades as a compromise.

The reality: this bill only protects a handful of big liquor stores and doesn’t guarantee Coloradans a better way to buy both beer and wine; it only promises them full-strength beer in 2019. To sell wine, the bill requires a lengthy, multi-year permitting process that automatically excludes many grocery stores from the start.  To top it off, liquor store lobbyists included a provision that attempts to preempt your vote to buy beer and wine at grocery stores near you. That’s not a compromise; it’s a ruse and voters won’t fall for it.

Over the past decade, the legislative process has failed voters on this issue, delivering victory after victory to liquor store lobbyists rather than listening to what consumers want. Voters are ready for a change as is evident in YCC collecting nearly 60,000 petition signatures in a little over two weeks. Your Choice Colorado will continue to give voters the ability to make their voices heard amidst this broken system—whether through a legal challenge to this sloppy bill or as planned, taking it to the ballot in 2016.”


42 states sell Colorado beer and wine. Why can't Colorado?

Keyser’s promise to “always” answer questions is out the window

(That was before the forgeries – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jon Keyser's "two ballots."

Jon Keyser’s “two ballots.”

Reporters should note that earlier this month, former Rep. Jon Keyser said what some politicians will say, and promised to always answer questions.

The context of May 2 discussion on KOA 850-AM was social issues, but you wouldn’t expect Keyser to have one standard about answering questions on social issues and another standard for other topics, like possible illegal campaign activities.

Keyser’s promise with respect to answering questions was clear (Listen below.):

Keyser: These are all issues that we have to talk about, if it’s a social issue. If it’s a question, I always answer the question. [BigMedia emphasis]

But now, Keyser’s campaign is refusing to answer questions from 7News reporter Marshall Zelinger about signatures that were apparently forged on Keyser’s petition to put his name on the June 28 GOP primary ballot.

Zelinger reported: We reached out to the Keyser campaign with a phone call and text to the spokesman, but as of Tuesday night at 11:45 p.m., he had not returned our call, text or tweets.

It’s not as if Zelinger’s questions are out-of-bounds or anything. He’s found 10 signatures that are clearly forged from people who leave in Congressional District One, where Keyser’s campaign needed to gather 1,500 signatures to make the ballot. He got 1,520 signatures. If you subtract the 10 forged signatures, Keyser is down to 1,510, and all of his signatures from CD 1 haven’t been analyzed yet.

Bottom line, reporters should point out that Keyser has promised in the past to always answer questions. In the wake of this story, he’s not doing so.


Jon Keyser’s U.S. Senate Campaign is Basically Finished

liarliarkeyserIf you haven’t been following one of the biggest political stories in recent Colorado history, click here to get caught up. We’re talking, of course, about allegations of ballot fraud and forgery connected to the Jon Keyser for Senate campaign revealed in an an absolutely devastating series of reports from Marshall Zelinger of Denver7.

There are plenty of questions swirling around Keyser today, but here’s the important one: Whether or not his name remains on the GOP Primary ballot for U.S. Senate, does Jon Keyser have any chance at winning this election?

Here’s the real answer: Nope. Jon Keyser’s campaign for U.S. Senate is essentially finished.

There are 26 days until ballots start going out in the mail to Primary voters, and the only thing an average voter would know about Keyser from the last month of media coverage is that he has been on and off the ballot and faces serious accusations of fraud and forgery. Keyser’s fundraising in the first quarter of 2016 was awful, and unless he somehow received a major infusion of cash, it is likely that the campaign is paying bills on a check-by-check basis.

On top of all that, Keyser’s campaign has spent most of the last month making legal arguments about ballot access instead of talking to voters. Republican opponents Darryl Glenn and Jack Graham have spent the last month hitting the stump and raising money, and even Robert Blaha now has a big head start on Keyser entering the final stretch of the campaign.

We’re sure you have more questions, and so do we. Below, we also provide some answers:



Elbert Country Commissioner: “If I catch one of the sick bastards following my granddaughter into the bathroom, I will be in jail.”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a Facebook post last month, Elbert County (Colorado) Commissioner Robert Rowland wrote that he would end up “in jail” if he saw a transgender person enter a bathroom that was also being used by his granddaughter.

Rowland was commenting on an article, posted April 14 on Facebook, which quoted former Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz as saying, “Men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls.”

In the comment section, Rowland wrote,  “If I catch one of the sick bastards following my granddaughter into the bathroom, I will be in jail.”

Rowland, whose Elbert County district is southeast of Denver, said Tuesday his Facebook comment was not a threat of violence.

“I’m a Christian man,” Rowland said. “I’m not a violent man. I would certainly do one of two things. I would retrieve my granddaughter quickly or ask the person to refrain until she’s finished.”

With respect to going to jail, Rowland said, “Maybe somebody would get angry if I tried to delay them going in, while my granddaughter had a chance to get out. But that’s about it.”

“I’m an ex-cop,” Rowland, a Republican, said. “I’ve put enough people in jail. I don’t want to be on the other side.”

“It is an emotional issue for everybody,” he said.


State Employees Honored on Public Service Recognition Week

The first week of May is Public Service Recognition Week and here at Colorado WINS there’s no shortage of members we’re proud of.

Read a few profiles of the dedicated public servants who work hard each day to make Colorado the best state in the nation. They devote their lives to helping others, whether it’s through ensuring that former foster care youth have a home or that mentally ill patients get the right treatment. Each one of them performs a vital function as public employees.


Ricardo Matthias, Youth Engagement Specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Welfare


Ricardo Matthias, Youth Engagement Specialist with the Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Child Welfare











Working with young people has been Ricardo’s passion and calling since he graduated from college with a degree in psychology. He’s been working as a public servant for the past 22 years, helping young men and women with little family support to make the best of their lives.

“It’s important to make sure that when people are thinking about policies that impact young people they don’t forget about the young persons they are trying to help,” he said. “That’s why we need to have a young person sitting at that table who can say, ‘From my experience of going through foster care, this is what I think and this is what we need.’”

Read more here.


Jessica Flermoen, Licensed Psychologist, Centennial Correctional Facility

Jessica Flermoen, Licensed Psychologist, Centennial Correctional Facility

Jessica Flermoen, Licensed Psychologist, Centennial Correctional Facility

Jessica is a licensed psychologist and has worked for the state for nearly 4 years at the Centennial Correctional Facility. She offers individual and group therapy to the male offender population that suffer from severe mental illness or character pathology.

“I’ve wanted to be a psychologist since I was really young and I chose to work in corrections primarily to give voice to the people who don’t have one,” Jessica said.

As a public servant, Jessica goes above and beyond what her job description calls for. She works long hours, manages an intense caseload and does extra research into programs that deal with self-injury and can help offenders. She puts extra care in making sure her clients transition from incarceration into the community by helping them ensure that care is appropriate and maintained during that transition.

Read more here.


Ron Price, Correctional Officer, Limon Correctional Facility

Ron Price, Correctional Officer, Limon Correctional Facility

Ron Price, Correctional Officer, Limon Correctional Facility

Law enforcement has always been part of Ron’s life, but it wasn’t until he began to work as a Corrections Officer that he finally found a career, not just a job. He’s worked at Limon Correctional Facility for just over 2 years.

“My job is not easy,” Ron said. “Some days are amazing but some days are just non-stop go, go, go. You have to deal with all kinds of stuff, but facing it head on is part of the job. You have no idea what your day is until you walk through the door. You always hope that it’s going to be a good day, but you never really know until you get there.”

Read more here.


Miguel Musacchia, Registered Nurse, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan

Miguel Musacchia, Registered Nurse, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan

Miguel Musacchia, Registered Nurse, Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan

Miguel has had a few careers in his life, including time as a Marine and as a chef in New Orleans. But public service was his calling and it was part of the reason he decided to become a registered nurse.

For the past three years he’s been a nurse, working with mentally ill patients at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Ft. Logan.

“At Ft. Logan we work with a challenging clientele,” Miguel said. “You can easily just write our patients off, clock in and out just to get paid, but for me this kind of job is more than just a job. It’s something you really have to believe in.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 10)

Get More SmarterToday is the final full day of the 2016 Colorado legislative session. 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).


► With the Colorado legislative session nearing its end (Wednesday is scheduled to be the final official day), lobbyists and lawmakers alike are scrambling to get some key bills completed while end-of-session wrap-ups are starting to pop up. Legislation that would move Colorado to a Presidential Primary system, abandoning the caucus process, is still alive but almost out of time; the same is true of a compromise measure to allow grocery stores to sell full-strength alcoholic beverages. Rural school districts are also making a last-gasp effort to fight budget cuts.

The biggest outstanding question for the legislature — the “Hospital Provider Fee” (HPF) issue — appears likely to fizzle as Senate President Bill Cadman tries to run out the clock on the 2016 session instead. As John Frank of the Denver Post reports via Twitter:

To keep the issue alive, the legislation must make it through two Senate committees and pass the floor on second reading before midnight tonight.


► State Senator Tim Neville just oozes class. Well, maybe not class, but he’s oozing something.


 President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, Japan later this month. Obama will deliver a speech on May 27th about nonproliferation of nuclear weapons at the site of the world’s first atomic bombing.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Coincidence or collusion or what?

In the Sunday Daily Sentinel, dated May 8, 2016, Christian Reece, Executive Director of Club 20, was published as a guest editorial. The title was “Supreme Court ruling a victory for property rights, jobs.”
Today I found an “opinion” editorial by Kelly Brough, President and CEO of Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, published in the “Denver Post Opinion” area on May 6, 2016, titled “Yes, Supreme Court Ruled correctly on local fracking bans.” Subtitled “Private Property rights matter in the state of Colorado.”

These two “independent” editorials, though do not follow each other word for word, they are so similar in their content that it boggles the mind that these two women aren’t telepathically connected somehow. I maybe wrong, and I have no way of really testing my theory, but this appears to me to be a concerted effort to disseminate like messages to give the Colorado Supreme Court kudos? on a ruling that is flawed to its very core. In neither of these “editorials” was the “private property rights” of the surface owner taken into consideration, nor was there any discussion by the Colorado Supreme Court (CSC) in regards to surface private property.

Essentially dismissing surface rights by the CSC, the process of the “split estate” has been the most ludicrously entangled piece of ruling ever perpetrated on “surface” private property owners. Common sense alone would have predicted such an idea that forces access to hidden below-ground resources is NOT COMPATIBLE with surface living organism including humans.

The CSC ruled against the right of citizens to pursue their happiness by planning for and deciding the path of their lives and business priorities by voting in a democratically held vote. The communities determined by their vote, that their communities should support their priorities for a “healthy” and vigorous community set to move on into the future with a population not mired in respiratory illnesses, cancers, and a dead environment. For where the oil and gas companies goes to frack, there too goes all else precious to humanity. Just look to Alberta tar sands…North America’s first rout of Environmental Refugees. Picture that for the future of your kids and grandchildren.

Does embattled GOP candidate Frazier regret not going through assembly, like Darryl Glenn?

(Down goes Frazier – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ryan Frazier.

Ryan Frazier.

Denver talk-radio host Craig Silverman challenged GOP U.S. Senate canidate Ryan Frazier’s assertion May 6 that the petition path to the primary ballot is a grassroots route, and Silverman asked, after Frazier was off air, whether donations to Frazier’s campaign would “go directly to Scott Gessler and his legal fees.”

The exchange started with Frazier, who’s waiting for the Colorado Supreme Court to decide whether he’ll qualify for the primary ballot, telling Silverman that the “system is broken and the process [of ballot access] is stuck in the last century.”

Silverman responded by asking if Frazier regretted not going “through the assembly process like Darryl Glenn.”

Frazier (at 1:45): No!  Look, we got over 18,000 people to sign our petitions. You can’t tell me that’s not a grassroots approach.  That’s why we chose to go the petition route, is that we felt it was a grassroots approach to getting out to talk to tenss of thousands of voters.  We’re very, very much committed to the process we took.  But quite frankly, guys, sometimes you don’t realize how flawed the system is until you’re in the middle of it.  And that’s what we’re realizing now.  But here’s what we know –nand it’s not in question, Craig – is that the voters – these are valid Republican voters.  There’s no question about that.  And we believe that they should be counted.  So that’s what we’re fighting for.  And we believe that – or at least, we hope – that a logic will prevail in this case.

Silverman responded by saying, “I don’t understand how that’s grassroots, to pay over $100,000 to get some stranger to hold the petition outside the various courthouses where I go.  ’ve seen the petitioners. It doesn’t feel like I’m meeting Ryan Frazier or really participating on a grassroots level, if I decided to sign that.”

Frazier said he and his team are out there, too, and it’s a grassroots process.

At the end of the show, after Frazier solicited donations from listeners and then departed, Silverman wondered out loud whether Frazier’s donations would go directly to the pocket of Frazier’s lawyer, Scott Gessler, who’s representing Frazier’s cause in the courts.

Frazier (6:36):  I just want to encourage your listeners to go to We could use every donation, every contribution some can make — no matter how small – to help us as we fight to fix this broken system….

Silverman: Does that money go directly to Scott Gessler and his legal fees?

Dan Caplis: You know, it’s the nature of the business.

Silverman: I don’t begrudge it! I like lawyers to get paid

Caplis: Yeah. No, the nature. Of. The. Business.

El Paso Country Commissioner Darryl Glenn and former CSU athletic director Jack Graham easily made the Republican primary ballot, while businessman Robert Blaha and former State Rep. Jon Keyser both required a judge to add them to the ballot.

Republican’s attack on anti-vaxxer Neville richochets into anti-vaxxer Woods

(Oops – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

GOP operative Tyler Sandberg took a Twitter shot at State Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton) last month, just after Neville lost his bid to take on Michael Bennet in this fall’s Colorado Senate race.

Responding to an article quoting Neville as graciously saying “the people” had spoken, Sandberg snapped, “And the people support vaccinations.”

Sandberg is correct. Neville supported an unpopular bill in the state legislature last year (SB15-077) that would have made it even easier for parents to opt-out of getting their kids vaccinated in Colorado. Progressives have called Neville and others “anti-vaxxers” for supporting the efforts last year (and opposing sensible vaccination reporting this year) given that Colorado has some of the most lax vaccination policies in the country.

The funny part is, Neville is far from alone in the anti-vaxxer crusade. He’s joined by, among others, Republican State Sen. Laura Woods, whose Westminster race in November will likely determine whether Republicans retain control of the state senate and thus stop the Democrats, who have the governor’s office and state house, from taking control of state government.

So Sandberg’s shot at Neville inadvertently ricocheted into Woods. Or was the salvo intentional?

You don’t often see a muckety-muck flack like Sandberg, who’s been a mouthpiece for Rep. Mike Coffman, throwing shade at a candidate who’s got control of state government riding on her shoulders. And such an attack should have been spotlighted by reporters.


Get More Smarter on Monday (May 9)

Get More SmarterSunday was Mother’s Day; if this is news to you, then you best get busy ordering a shitload of flowers. 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).


► Media outlets across Colorado have been busy asking Republican elected officials about their opinion of presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump. From the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, among others:

Donald Trump wasn’t the first choice, or even the second, for many Colorado Republicans, but he’s now the only choice.

Or not. Depending.

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, the first-term GOP senator who first endorsed fellow senator Marco Rubio of Florida, moved on to another senator, Ted Cruz of Texas, after Rubio flamed out. When Cruz collapsed and Ohio Gov. John Kasich quit, only Trump was left.

The usually loquacious Gardner has had little to say about his party’s apparent standard-bearer…

…Former state Rep. Jon Keyser said he would support the GOP nominee because “Hillary Clinton’s multiple derelictions of duty disqualify her from office and I will support the Republican nominee to ensure Hillary Clinton never becomes president.”

U.S. Rep Scott Tipton, who is seeking a fourth term in the House, is a Trump backer, said his campaign spokesman, because, “Our country cannot afford a third Obama term.”

Denver7 and 9News are also reporting on the mixed reactions of Colorado Republicans toward Trump. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) tells 9News that he is still not ready to support Trump for President. Elsewhere, “The Fix” provides a handy list of the “Top 10 Republicans who hate Donald Trump the most.


► Colorado lawmakers ares scheduled to wrap up the 2016 legislative session on Wednesday after months of partisan bickeringMegan Schrader previews the final half-week of the session for the Colorado Springs Gazette.

The biggest question remaining for legislators is on how to deal with the so-called “Hospital Provider Fee” (HPF) issue, as the Greeley Tribune explains. Meanwhile, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers, a former Republican Attorney General, questions the logic of some of his fellow Republicans at the state house:

“I don’t quite understand a lot of my fellow Republicans saying, ‘Oh, we have to preserve TABOR,’” Suthers told The Colorado Independent. “The easiest way to preserve TABOR, and not increase taxes, is to remove the provider fee from the calculation. But obviously there’s a group in the Senate that feels differently.”

How Republicans choose to deal with the HPF could be a defining moment for the 2016 election cycle in general. It is no secret that many traditional GOP partners in the business community are not going to be happy if Senate President Bill Cadman ignores their pleas in order to make “Americans for Prosperity” happy.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 6)

Get More SmarterMay the Sixth Be With You; that doesn’t make nearly as much sense. 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).


► As of right now, Robert Blaha, Jon Keyser, and Ryan Frazier are all on the June 28th Primary ballot for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination. Here’s the breakdown of what’s happening. Frazier could still end up withdrawing from the race according to a deal made with a Denver judge on Thursday. John Frank has more for the Denver Post.


► Donald Trump is all but assured to be the GOP nominee for President, which has Republicans around the country completely flummoxed as to how to respond to questions from reporters. Colorado State Republican Chair Steve House issued a tepid congratulations to Trump on Thursday. House Speaker Paul Ryan, meanwhile, is still refusing to offer public support to His Hairness.


Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Wellington Webb: Real Beer & Wine Sales Work in Denver Grocery Stores

(Your grandmayor chimes in – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Wellington Webb.

Wellington Webb.

Colorado is one of the top places in the U.S. to start a small business. Case in point: Our state’s craft beer industry is one of the strongest in the nation; we rank 3rd in total craft breweries per capita.

As Denver mayor, I worked hard to ensure that our state’s capital was a place where small businesses, like breweries, could grow.

That’s why I oppose Colorado’s current 3.2 law. It caps our local breweries—that’s a fact.

During my time as mayor from 1991-2003, I personally witnessed how grocery stores can benefit local businesses and our economy. Here’s how:

Increased Shelf Space for Local Craft Breweries. The law permits one grocery store per chain to sell real beer and wine, the majority of which are in the Denver area. Local brewers’ ability to access customers in grocery and liquor stores has helped make the Denver region the cradle of Colorado’s craft beer market.

Economic Growth. Beyond just helping businesses grow, grocery stores create jobs. Walmart, Safeway, King Soopers and Albertsons alone employ nearly 60,000 Coloradans statewide. Contrary to what Keep Colorado Local claims, these aren’t corporate folks that funnel money out of state. These employees are our family, friends and neighbors. Their work generated $484 million in tax revenue for Colorado last year alone.

It’s good business to sell what consumers want to buy. And grocery stores are no exception. As one of their best sellers, grocery stores want to give shelf space to real, local beer in every store across the state—not just in Denver.

Here’s What’s Happening in the Republican Ballot Access Fight

UPDATE: Surprise! Another change:


If you’ve been following efforts to finalize the ballot for the GOP U.S. Senate race, you are well aware of the Furious Outhouse Fire that has come to symbolize the entire process (we can’t even call it a “Dumpster Fire” anymore – we’re well beyond that particular metaphor).

We’ve been trying to keep you updated on everything that is happening, as much as it is possible to do such a thing as quickly as the news keeps changing, and here’s where things stand as of this writing. Please note that things can – and almost certainly will – change again soon, and we will update this post as changes occur. For the sake of sanity and to help clarify things, we’re breaking this up into the latest events for the different campaigns and public officials involved.

One other quick note: Supporters of Robert Blaha, Ryan Frazier, and Jon Keyser like to portray themselves as the victims here (Keyser himself publicly blamed “bureaucrats” in the SOS office for his initial ballot troubles), but this entire fiasco was avoidable. Republican candidate Jack Graham was the first Senate candidate to be certified for the Primary ballot via the petition process, in large part because GRAHAM DID IT RIGHT. The general rule of thumb in collecting petitions is to turn in double the amount required in order to compensate for any potential errors, and that’s what Graham did; he submitted more than 22,000 signatures, while Blaha, Frazier, and Keyser were in the 16,000-17,000 range (candidates for U.S. Senate must collect 1,500 valid signatures from registered Republicans in each of Colorado’s seven congressional districts, for a total of 10,500). Graham did what he needed to do and hired consultants that could get it done. Blaha, by contrast, hired Frank McNulty, while Keyser was struggling to raise enough money just to keep his campaign in operation.


Colorado Secretary of State/Primary Ballots

The Primary ballot was supposed to be finalized by the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office on Friday, April 29. That didn’t happen, obviously, because the campaigns of Robert Blaha and Ryan Frazier filed a motion to prevent the SOS from doing so; that stay was granted, but ended Wednesday evening.

Today, a Denver judge issued another stay in response to a request from Frazier’s campaign; Frazier has until Monday, May 9 to file an appeal of a court ruling that he is not eligible for the Primary ballot. Secretary of State Wayne Williams plans to challenge this ruling because more deadlines are rapidly approaching: The “stay” order has been rescinded by the court in light of a new deal with Frazier.

♦ May 14 is the deadline for county clerks to transmit a Primary Election ballot to military and overseas voters (45 days before June 28th Primary).

♦ May 27 is the deadline for Primary Ballots to be “printed and in possession of the county clerk (no later than 32 days before the Primary Election)

♦ June 6 is the first day that mail ballots can be mailed to voters (not sooner than 22 days before the Primary Election).

Here’s the election calendar prepared by the Colorado SOS.


Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha

Robert Blaha
Ballot Status: ON

In the span of about 18 hours, Blaha learned that he was on the Primary ballot, off the Primary ballot, and as of this morning, back on the Primary ballot. Blaha has also called for SOS Wayne Williams to resign in the wake of the massive confusion that took place during the past couple of weeks. There is no update as to whether Blaha will proceed with this line of attack on Williams now that he is (probably) on the ballot.




Ryan Frazier

Ryan Frazier

Ryan Frazier
Ballot Status: OFF ON, pending appeal

Frazier appears to have the most tenuous position at the moment, in large part because he was the last of the four Senate candidates to submit his petitions for ballot access (click here for a detailed explanation of why this is important). Frazier is being represented in court by former SOS Scott Gessler, who will challenge a court ruling that Frazier is ineligible for the ballot. On Thursday, a judge ruled that Frazier still doesn’t have enough valid petition signatures in CD-3. Later in the day, a ruling came down that Frazier CAN be on the Primary ballot, but that he must withdraw from the Senate race if he loses his appeal.




Jon Keyser

Jon Keyser

John Keyser
Ballot Status: ON (for now)

Keyser has a court order forcing the SOS to place his name on the Primary ballot, and that’s unlikely to change. However…of the three Republicans who have been trying to get onto the ballot in the last few weeks, Keyser also has the biggest cloud hanging over his head. Keyser’s petitions included at least one, and possibly more, examples of blatant forgery and fraud in the collecting of signatures. Keyser also barely collected enough signatures from CD-1 to qualify for the ballot – he made it with just 20 signatures to spare – so more examples of forgery or fraud could put him back under the required amount of signatures for ballot access.

It’s unlikely that Keyser’s name would be removed from the ballot before Monday, but he could still end up as a “Zombie Candidate” if a judge later rules that votes for Keyser cannot be counted because he should never have been eligible for the ballot in the first place. There is some precedent here; in 2012, Michigan Rep. Thaddeus McCotter failed to qualify for the GOP Primary ballot because of questions about forged signatures. Fallout from that scandal ultimately forced McCotter to resign from Congress in July 2012.

9News reporter doesn’t let Coffman hide behind and then contradict his own spokesperson

(For the record – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Politicians like to trick us by hiding behind their spokespeople and then, if necessary, contradicting whatever their spokesperson said.

Case in point: Mike Coffman.

Yesterday Coffman put out a wishy washy statement about whether he’d support Donald Trump. But back in February, when Coffman himself was dodging reporters’ questions about Trump, Coffman’s spokesperson was adamant that Coffman would back Trump if Trump became the Republican nominee, as quoted by The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning.

Good reporters won’t let a politician, like Coffman, shove out a new position without, at a minimum, explaining why the new statement contradicts that of his spokesperson.

Case in point: Denver 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman.

He quoted Coffman’s statement about Trump yesterday and noted that it completely contradicted the words of his mouthpiece back in February. From Rittiman’s story:

In a statement, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colorado) said he’s not sold on Trump yet, calling his party’s presumptive presidential nominee “divisive.”

“Trump has a long way to go to earn the support of many – me included,” Coffman wrote.

That statement contradicts what his campaign told the Colorado Statesman in February. The relevant portion of the article (which is behind a paywall) reads as follows:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary?” said [Mike Coffman] campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm. “The answer is obviously yes. And he believes strongly it is going to be Marco Rubio.”

Other reporting on Coffman’s Trump statement ignored Strohm’s comment, but I’m sure there will be ample opportunities for reporters to ask Coffman to explain what’s going on here.