Radio host should have pointed out that Buck himself, not the “liberal media,” hurt him most in 2010

(Wouldn't that be a shock? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

During an interview on KNUS' Jimmy Sengenberger Show Sat., GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck explained what he learned from his 2010 loss to Democrat Michael Bennet.

Buck told Sengenberger that, this time around, he won't let the "liberal media" and "liberal candidates" distract him from the "issues that voters care about." Listen to Buck on KNUS Sengenberger Show 9.21.13.

Judging from what Buck has said previously about his failed 2010 campaign, he was undoubtedly thinking about his views on social issues, like abortion, which were widely viewed as his downfall last time around.

But the ironic part is, if you think back to 2010, the most damaging single utterance Buck made, caught on video at a conservative gun gathering, showed a shocking exuberance by Buck himself to talk about his opposition to abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest.


Westword interview offers illuminating national perspective on abortion issues in state elections

(Promoted by Colorado Pols) In a Westword interview published today, NARAL President Ilyse Hogue says Virginia's November gubernatorial race is "something of a test case" to find out if the anti-choice positions of a candidate prove to be his downfall, just as abortion issues tipped the electoral scales against 2010 Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck here in Colorado.

Westword's Michael Roberts reports:


Radio host should’ve corrected Herpin’s statement that he’d have no say on birth control

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

A radio talk show host should have corrected Colorado Springs recall candidate Bernie Herpin, when he denied yesterday that, if elected, he wouldn't have any power to restrict a woman's access to birth control.

Here's what Herpin said on KVOR's Richard Randall Show yesterday:

Randall @4:00: When they say, certain types of birth control, the implication is, if you elect an extremist like Bernie Herpin, you’re not even going to be able to get your birth-control pills in the state of Colorado.

Herpin: …Of course I’m not going to do anything to restrict a woman’s choice on birth control. That’s completely ridiculous, and I don’t even have that power. Jeez.

In fact, state government tries to restrict access to contraception because anti-abortion lawmakers consider some forms of contraception, like the morning-after pill, to be abortion drugs.

Herpin apparently missed the news, for example, that Oklahoma just passed a law requiring women 17 and over to show ID (and younger women to have a prescription) to buy emergency Plan B contraception. Last month, a judge stopped implementation of the law, which conflicts with recent FDA guidelines, pending a review of whether it violates the state constitution.

Judging from Herpin's past support for government restrictions to protect zygotes (fertilized eggs), you'd expect him to support such legislation, given that some believe Plan B potentially destroys zygotes. 


Chutzpah, The “Right To Choose” Edition

Laura Carno is terribly, terribly clever.

Laura Carno is terribly, terribly clever.

Next Saturday, a conservative women's group called the Colorado Women's Alliance will conduct a "Winning With Women Walk" to support the recall effort against Senate President John Morse. What's interesting about this is not the appearance of another Laura Carno-fronted "women's group" in a recall election already crowded with mercenaries, but the wording of their invitation:

Join us as "Winning with Women" takes to the streets to Get Out the Vote for the Recall Elections! Plain and simple, Senator John Morse's policies have hurt Women:  He has denied Women "the right to choose" how to defend ourselves, [Pols emphasis] his tax-and-spend policies have hurt our rural families, and now he wants to burden us with a Billion-dollar tax increase – the largest tax increase in Colorado history! Our families can't afford to have him in office a single day longer!

Morse…has denied women…"the right to choose?" That choice of words was a bit much for Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, who responded in an understandably irate statement late Friday:

"What Colorado families 'can't afford' is extremist right-wing special interests masquerading as women's advocacy groups," said Cathy Alderman, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado. "Senator Morse has been a champion for women and women's health as long as he has been in office. Senator Morse deserves better than misleading attacks from conservative groups who don't care about women or the issues that matter to us." [Pols emphasis]

Particularly after the flap over SD-11 GOP recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin's strained parsing of the (not much) difference between his Pikes Peak Citizens for Life candidate questionnaire responses and the "Personhood" abortion/birth control ban initiatives, rallying women to march against John Morse for "denying women the 'right to choose'" strikes us as too clever by somewhat more than half. We don't care what district you're running in, more women voters are going to associate "the right to choose" with reproductive choice than "the right to choose" any gun your heart desires–especially since Morse didn't ban any woman's "choice" of any legally available gun. True, excepting those who commit domestic violence, but we don't think Laura Carno will find very many women up in arms about that.

Seven days and a wake-up, folks. Until then, expect no limit to what you're asked to accept with a straight face.

Pueblo Chieftain managing editor falsely writes that recall candidate’s abortion views are “irrelevant”

(Seriously? Is this a joke? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You want a columnist to have an opinion but only if the facts supporting it are actual factual facts.

Pueblo Chieftain Managing Editor Steve Henson got the opinion part of the columnist's job right on Sunday, but he dropped the ball when it came to the facts.

In his column, Henson asked if it should matter to Pueblo voters that Republican George Rivera, who's running to replace Democrat Angela Giron in a recall election, opposes all abortion, even after rape or incest.

In explaining why abortion shouldn't matter, Henson wrote:

First and foremost, the entire issue of where a candidate stands on abortion is irrelevant. The courts have controlled this issue for more than 40 years and that’s where the debate will end up in the future. Plus, no one state-elected official will have any control over what is a national issue.

Anyone who follows abortion issues knows that it's actually factually false to say that no state lawmaker has any influence on abortion issues.

States across the country have passed a volume of laws restricting a women's right to obtain an abortion. I mean, did Henson miss the drama in Texas just last month? The Guttmacher Institute has a handy dandy chart that Hansen might want to take a look at, summarizing the 9 categories of laws passed in each state. 


Thou Doth Protest Too Much, Bernie Herpin

A joint press release today from Colorado Springs GOP usual suspects Jeff Crank and Laura Carno, the latter being the head of a group that helped fund the recall attempt against Senate President John Morse, announces a complaint against the ad you see above, claiming the ad makes "reckless and false" statements about SD-11 recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin. Excerpt:

Jeff Crank and Laura Carno, with legal analysis in hand, today have asked four Colorado Springs television stations to remove television commercials that contain “false and reckless statements”.  These ads have been produced and paid for by “We Can Do Better”.

The ads in question contain false statements against Republican Candidate for Senate District 11, Bernie Herpin, stating that he supports the Personhood Amendment, when in fact, he does not.

“I’ve fought untruthful ads run by candidates from both political parties for many years now but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such an absolute lie in a political ad.  People have little faith in politicians because of untrue, dishonest ads like this one.  The law is fairly clear that you cannot “knowingly” broadcast a lie,” said Jeff Crank.   “The group that put out this ad knows that there is no evidence that Bernie Herpin supported the Personhood Amendment yet they tied him to another candidate who does.  They lied and they knew they lied.  Under the law, these ads must be taken off the air and I call on John Morse and Angela Giron to have the guts to condemn these untruthful, despicable, exploitative ads.”

Laura Carno said, “This is about integrity in the public square. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, who lie in order to win, should reconsider their careers.  Voters want elected officials who tell the truth, and that includes telling the truth during their campaigns.”

This is an interesting development, but we don't think it was wise to challenge this ad for several reasons. First and foremost, as we discussed earlier this week, Herpin answered a Pikes Peak Citizens for Life candidate questionnaire just this past April, where he proudly claims to be pro-life, and says that we "become persons" at the "single cell" stage of development. As we noted, that's almost exactly the language of the "Personhood" amendments from 2008 and 2010. 2008's Amendment 48 stated that "the terms 'person' or 'persons' shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization." In 2010, Amendment 62's language was that "the term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." The negative effects of the "Personhood" initiative as described in the ad above are not enumerated in the one-sentence language of the amendments, but would be the net effect of passage.

Secondly, Crank and Carno appear to jettison the other recall successor candidate, SD-3's George Rivera, by claiming this ad "tied" Herpin to "another candidate" who does support the "Personhood" initiatives. Angela Giron's SD-3 is a Democratic stronghold, where support for "Personhood" is likely to hurt even worse than it would in Morse's swing SD-11. But not only are Carno and Crank unconcerned about Rivera, they're actually triangulating off Rivera and his unabashed support for "Personhood" and banning abortion.

In short, you've got a dubious challenge to a claim that, even if it's flawed and we don't think it is, inevitably segues into a conversation about abortion that Bernie Herpin doesn't want to have. Once Herpin is forced to explain these candidate questionnaire responses, Crank and Carno's claim that this ad is "false and reckless" simply breaks down. And to "save" Herpin from an allegation that actually does have basis in fact, El Paso County Republicans are throwing the Pueblo Republican recall candidate under the wheels.

Bottom line: we think they are genuinely worried about this.

Official website of new personhood initiative doesn’t mention “personhood”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reporters covering the signature-gathering campaign for the so-called Brady amendment, which would change the definition of “person" and "child" under Colorado law to include “unborn human beings,” might wonder whether to call it "personhood" initiative.

Apparently, anti-abortion activists have had the same question, prompting Gualberto Garcia Jones, who's listed on the CO Secretary of State's website as a "designated representative" of the initiative, to send an email July 24 to supporters clarifying the issue:

Some of our supporters have asked whether the Brady Amendment is a personhood amendment. The answer is yes! A personhood measure is any proposal that constitutionally seeks to recognize (without exceptions) that unborn babies are persons deserving of our love and protection by law….

One need look no further than the section of the Colorado law that deals with homicide to see how central the concept of personhood is: the homicide section is appropriately titled "Offenses Against the Person." The Brady Amendment recognizes that all human beings, not just those who are born, are persons and amends the criminal code to that effect! …

Whether it is a drunk driver who avoids facing any charges for the death of a baby that is just days from birth, or a hospital that avoids malpractice liability for the death of unborn babies in its care, or an abortionist who kills children in the womb for a living, the fact is that all three rely on the same reasoning: the baby in the womb is not a person and therefore his or her life has no value in the eyes of the law.

[Read Garcia Jones' entire email at the end of this blog post.]

But in contrast to Jones' email and Colorado Right to Life's recent comment in the Colorado Statesman, the official website of the initiative's backers doesn't mention "personhood" at all. It frames the initiative as a way to protect "pregnant mothers and their unborn children from criminal offenses and negligent and wrongful acts." 


Buck lost last time saying abortion doesn’t matter, and he’s saying it again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On KHOW radio Friday, U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck said voters can "absolutely" count on him to vote his conscience. (Listen to Ken Buck @6:50)

Normally, you might think this would be a good thing. But when it comes to Ken Buck, and you recall his conscience-laden opposition to abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, you realize that Ken-Buck-voting-his-conscience may not be so great for women.

Given how desired women are by political campaigns in Colorado, it's astonishing that Buck is already doing what he did during the last election. That is, trying to say abortion doesn't matter; no one cares about it.

As Buck told the Colorado Observer when asked if his abortion position had changed:

Buck: You know, what I believe is Congress has voted to ban late-term abortions, and I’m one who opposes late-term abortions, and voted to ban federal funding for abortion, and I’m one who opposes federal funding of abortion. I’m tired of people talking about issues that are not relevant to the public. I’m a pro-life candidate.

How is abortion not relevant when pretty much everyone agrees Buck lost last time because of abortion and women's issues? 


Bernie Herpin, Time To Dance With “Personhood”

Bernie Herpin.

Bernie Herpin.

The GOP successor candidate in the SD-11 recall special election, former Colorado Springs city councilor Bernie Herpin, is pushing back angrily against the accusation that he is a supporter of the so-called "Personhood" abortion bans that have failed in Colorado over several consecutive election cycles. As the Colorado Independent noted updating their report on the matter after belatedly hearing from Herpin's campaign:

The Herpin mailer refers to his alleged support as city council member of the “personhood” movement, which seeks to outlaw abortion by granting full legal rights to fertilized human eggs, or “life from the moment of conception,” as supporters put it. Analysts have said personhood would amount to sweeping changes in the law, where countless statutes would have to be reworked and legal interpretations extended broadly and perhaps to absurd ends, where not only birth control would be outlawed but also where activities like drinking, smoking and raw-cheese eating, for example, could turn pregnant women into suspects or criminals.*

Herpin didn’t answer calls Thursday from the Independent seeking comment. But subsequent to publication, his campaign told the Independent that, although he is pro-life, there is “no evidence” that he has ever supported the personhood movement and that, in fact, Herpin does not support personhood [Pols emphasis] and has never signed a personhood petition.

First and foremost, the attack mailer the Independent's story this weekend reports on, and that Herpin is responding to above, does not allege he signed a petition to place any of the "personhood" ballot initiatives before Colorado voters. As our readers know, the "personhood" abortion ban campaign seeks a constitutional amendment declaring that human life begins "at conception," or at the moment an egg becomes fertilized by a sperm. The logical consequences that follow from that declaration, including a ban on all abortions and even birth control that could harm a fertilized egg, are not expressly defined in the amendment but fully understood.

With that in mind, where does Bernie Herpin actually stand on the underlying issue? For that, we turn to the Pikes Peak Citizens for Life city council candidate questionnaire from last April: 


Will reporters accept silence from candidates on issues related to the Brady Amendment?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus provides an excellent update today on a personhood-backed ballot initiative aiming to change the definition of “’person’ and ‘child’” under Colorado law to include “unborn human beings.”

Signatures for the fetal-homicide measure, criticized by pro-choice activists as a backdoor abortion ban, are due by Sept. 30.

But the question still hanging out there is how Republicans, who favor the personhood position against abortion, even in the case of rape and incest, are going to deal with the latest infant-mortality measure, which is at a minimum a step toward such a ban.

Will reporters let candidates brush it off, as Coffman did in 2012, saying it’s not their focus, even though Coffman was later held up as the poster-child for Personhood USA?

Marcus couldn’t get answers from top 2014 candidates about the so-called Brady Amendment, but he provided this useful roundup on some past positions on abortion and personhood.

Republicans Veer Off Message: No Help Needed

MONDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Independent updates their story as recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin pushes back on allegations he was a supporter of the “Personhood” abortion ban:

Herpin didn’t answer calls Thursday from the Independent seeking comment. But subsequent to publication, his campaign told the Independent that, although he is pro-life, there is “no evidence” that he has ever supported the personhood movement and that, in fact, Herpin does not support personhood and has never signed a personhood petition.



The Colorado Independent's Tessa Cheek reports today on a new mailer hitting Senate District 11 mailboxes this weekend, attacking Colorado Senate President John Morse's de facto GOP recall opponent Bernie Herpin. A similar mailer is reportedly on the way to residents of Senate District 3, where Democratic Sen. Angela Giron faces a recall challenge led by Republican George Rivera:

The Herpin mailer refers to his support as city council member of the “personhood” movement, which seeks to outlaw abortion by granting full legal rights to fertilized human eggs, or “life from the moment of conception,” as supporters put it. Analysts have said personhood would amount to sweeping changes in the law, where countless statutes would have to be reworked and legal interpretations extended broadly and perhaps to absurd ends, where not only birth control would be outlawed but also where activities like drinking, smoking and raw-cheese eating, for example, could turn pregnant women into suspects or criminals.

Groups have tried and failed three times in recent years to pass a constitutional amendment to make personhood the law in Colorado. Voters in conservative Mississippi also solidly rejected a personhood proposal in 2011…

Republican George Rivera, a longtime Pueblo police officer who retired as a deputy chief, brushed off the mailers Friday on Twitter, calling them “desperate” and a “shell game” being played by Giron.

“I make no apologies for my belief in the sanctity of life,” he wrote.

But Rivera takes a hardline stance on the abortion debate, even for a conservative, and reproductive rights are sure to be one of the issues that will concern voters in Pueblo.

The recall attempts now underway against Sens. Morse and Giron began as a response to the passage of landmark gun safety bills in the Colorado legislature this year. Gun rights groups, grassroots and not so much, did the early organizing. But over time, the recalls have evolved into a much more generalized conflict between conservative and liberal political establishments in Colorado. This is particularly evident from the prominent role played by a group "advised" by Bob Beauprez and Mark Hillman in the Morse recall, not to mention Jeff Crank's Americans for Prosperity organization supplying professional staff to those "grassroots groups"–see Kerns, Jennifer–and lavish paid media support. After years of losing elections, these recalls have come to symbolize Colorado Republican hopes to springboard back into majority power.

It's important to remember that recall organizers themselves have freely expanded the scope of allegations against the targeted Senators to include the whole smorgasbord of Republican pet issues, from hating on renewable energy to civil unions–when it suited them. So nobody can accuse recall opponents of anything inappropriate by using a broader range of issues against the successor candidates now.

Bottom line: the more the recall debate veers away from the single issue of gun rights, the less likely the recalls are to succeed. Voters in both swing SD-11 and heavily Democratic SD-3 trend ambivalent at best, to strongly opposed to Herpin and Rivera's positions on just about every issue. Single-issue backlash from gun rights supporters aside, SD-3 is a Democratic stronghold, and SD-11 after reapportionment is more defensible by Democrats than the 2010 election's close result suggests. The fact is, any transpartisan appeal that recall supporters claim to have with opposition to the gun bills has a point of diminishing return–and it's these other issues, issues Democrats know very well how to use against Republicans politically, that will tip swing voters in these districts toward a "no."

Lamborn vs. The “Morning After Pill” (Again)

Plan B.

Plan B.

Reports the Colorado Springs Independent:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has reintroduced legislation aimed at banning "morning-after pills" from school clinics. The bill would prohibit federal funding to schools whose clinics provide emergency contraception, which is currently available on drugstore shelves to anyone who wants to buy it.

In a press release, Lamborn argued that school clinics should not carry the pill, citing various risks. The pill has long been targeted by conservatives who claim it can cause a fertilized egg to abort…

More from Rep. Doug Lamborn's press release:


Battle Joined: Planned Parenthood vs. Cynthia Coffman

MONDAY UPDATE: NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado weighs in:

Karen Middleton, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado today questioned whether Colorado Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman could fairly represent the state’s voters and women after a video surfaced showing Coffman boasting that she helped deny funding for women’s health care.

A video of Cynthia Coffman, an announced candidate for Colorado Attorney General, shows her bragging to a group of Republicans in 2010 that she “was the attorney for Jane Norton when she went to court to take away funding for Planned Parenthood of the Rockies (sic).”
“Colorado has spoken several times on this issue. Voters have said clearly, loudly that they do not want government to make decisions that women should make in consultation with their families, their friends, their doctors and their faith,” said Middleton.

“This is the 21st century and women are capable of making a decision that is best for them, not denying health care services to those who most need them,” Middleton continued…

“Colorado voters have twice gone to the ballot and overwhelming said that we do not tolerate extremists on this issue. So who is Cynthia Coffman representing when she brags about denying health care services for women? It doesn’t seem like she’s on the side of the overwhelming majority of Colorado,” concluded Middleton.


In response to a post Wednesday on this blog, featuring video of GOP Colorado Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman boasting of her work to "defund Planned Parenthood" in this state, Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado sent out this press release yesterday making an issue of it:

DENVER—On election night in 2012 election, voters ousted politicians who ran on the campaign platform that included the promise to “defund Planned Parenthood,” resulting in an 18 percent gender gap, the largest since 1952. Yet we already have a candidate in Colorado who is repeating this same path and in doing so, using women’s health as her political pawn.

According to, Cynthia Coffman, who worked on Jane Norton’s 2010 bid for Senate, proudly boasted, at a campaign event, that she and Norton had “defunded Planned Parenthood.”

Coffman has now declared her intention to run for the Colorado Attorney General’s office, which begs the question – is this candidate in touch with the values of Coloradans?

Norton’s move to defund Planned Parenthood resulted in 13,000 mostly rural women losing complete access to their basic health care needs including access to life-saving breast cancer screenings and contraceptives.  Norton touts this move, which completely marginalizes the women of Colorado who relied on these services for their basic health care needs, as a success in her career.  Throwing women under the bus and calling it a political win is bad policy, bad politics, and clearly yet another move by a gynotician.  Gynotician is a term used by women’s health care advocates to denote a politician who feels more qualified than women and their doctors to make women’s health care decisions.


Cynthia Coffman: “We Defunded Planned Parenthood”

Back during the 2010 GOP U.S. Senate primary, candidate Jane Norton faced an uphill (and ultimately unsuccessful) battle for the right wing of the party against Weld County DA Ken Buck. Buck appealed to social conservatives early in this race with his strident rhetoric against abortion–even volunteering unbidden that he opposes abortion even in cases of rape and/or incest.

In response, Norton made much of her work as director of the Colorado Department of Health under former Gov. Bill Owens to "defund" Planned Parenthood. This wasn't enough to put Norton over the top in 2010's GOP Senate primary, as you know–and some argued that campaigning on defunding Planned Parenthood was waiting to backfire on her during the general election, much as Buck's view on the issue wound up damaging him. After all, in the mid 2000s, abortions made up only about 3% of Planned Parenthood's services–with contraception, STD treatment, and cancer screening accounting for the vast majority of the organization's work (see chart upper right).

As it turns out, Norton had help on the 2010 campaign trail telling Republican primary voters about her efforts to "defund" Planned Parenthood. Check out this video from the North Denver Candidate Search 2010 Forum, hosted by "Tea Party" groups Revive Our American Republic, the Denver/Front Range 9.12 Project, the Broomfield 9.12 Project, and the now-defunct People's Press Collective


Colorado: Less Purple, More Blue, And No Stopping It

The Fort Collins Coloradoan's Patrick Malone put out an excellent, in-depth look at the state of Colorado politics looking ahead to 2014 this weekend, as well as a summary of Democratic gains made in this state since 2004–and prospects for continued success in a state whose demographics have permanently changed in the last two decades. A few excerpts, but make sure you click through and read this whole story:

Voter behavior provides the most obvious evidence. Electors in 2006 banned gay marriage, rejected civil unions by another name and turned down a measure to legalize marijuana.

Fast forward to 2012, when polls showed 65 percent of Coloradans favored allowing civil unions for gay couples, and 55 percent of voters approved an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.

Add Democrats’ most prosperous decade of election performances in a half-century, and it is undeniable that the longtime swing state has become a bluer shade of purple, longtime observers of Colorado politics agree…

“People are fleeing states like California, big cities like Detroit and Chicago, and coming to Colorado, for the promise of opportunity and outdoor recreation, and importing their politics,” said Ryan Call, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

He doubts the demographic advantage that the liberal ideology enjoys today is sustainable. Call predicts newcomers to the state will eventually grow disenchanted with the policies of the Democrats they elect.

Another Republican, retired professor Bob Loevy who served on the reapportionment commission in 2011, doesn't agree with Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call.

“Fifty years ago, the backbone of the Republican Party was upper-class people with good educations that mostly lived in the suburbs — old-timers called them ‘Eisenhower Republicans,’ ” Loevy said. “They sustained the party for years. Under the (President George W.) Bush administration, emphasis on those key social issues began driving upscale and well-educated people out of the Republican Party. This was particularly true of their children. That’s the main reason, in my view, for the decline of the Republican Party in Colorado.”

There's plenty here for our readers to discuss. Let us say again that the emphasis on social wedge issues Loevy talks about above continues apace in today's Republican Party, where despite warnings of long-term peril, politically suicidal abortion bans and killing overwhelmingly popular immigration reform measures dominate the agenda. The battle over gun safety bills this year, and the fallout as Republicans dump money and emotion into "making an example" of circumstantially vulnerable Democrats, won't be enough to reverse this larger and more fundamental problem the Colorado GOP has created for itself. As with these other issues where Republicans planted their flag, there is simply not enough of a base to overcome the demographic sea changes occurring all around them. In fact, as the face of Colorado's electorate changes, these "strengths" become liabilities.

As we've said, we don't know what the road back to a majority for the GOP here is. There may not be one.